Meet Dr. Alexander Yu, aka The Chiro Junkie. The Toronto-based chiropractor is also the man… er… doc behind thechirojunkie.com, Dr. Yu’s informative and entertaining healthcare-focused website featuring vlogs with easy-to-follow healthy recipes and informative answers to commonly asked questions about health and chiropractic care. We caught up with Dr. Yu to find out more…
Tell us a bit about yourself. What should people know?
Born and raised in the heart of Toronto (Little Portugal to be exact), I was a city kid through and through. But one thing I’ve noticed is that city life puts an emphasis on living life at a fast pace, which often means too much focus on work and keeping up with the social scene and too little focus on ourselves. Unfortunately this often leads to unhealthy lifestyles and poor habits, so I decided to become a chiropractor to help people tackle these issues head-on.
What gave you inspiration to start thechirojunkie.com?
Because knowledge is power. Too often I find that patients don’t understand how exactly their healthcare practitioner is helping them. I often hear new patients tell me that they don’t fully understand their condition and where it stems from, which often leads to feelings of disempowerment and mistrust in their healthcare team. I’ve found that the best way to tackle this gap in understanding between practitioner and patient is to explain concepts completely and without superfluous medical jargon. When I talk to my patients, I make sure they understand everything that I am telling them. The website is my way to reach out to people outside of the clinic to do just that. Making healthcare a fun, easy and simple way to understand through my vlogs.
What kind of topics do you cover on thechirojunkie.com?
A lot of my video posts are about food. My kitchen M.O. is to eat nutritiously and deliciously, so I teach viewers a new recipe while highlighting the health benefits of various ingredients. I change it up sometimes, too. On a recent trip to Europe, I shopped a local bakery, butcher, cheese shop, and farmer’s market to build a sandwich for a picnic under the Eiffel Tower.
I also like to address Frequently Asked Questions about chiropractic care. In a recent video, I explained what a chiropractic adjustment does for your body, using a lower back adjustment as an example.
What are a few easy ways people can drastically improve the quality of their lives?
Change up your sedentary habits. For so long we’ve been conditioned to think that hitting the gym or going for a run is enough to combat the 6 to 8 hours a day we spend at our desks, when realistically we shouldn’t be sitting for more than 2 to 3 hours at a time. Challenge yourself to do 3 activities at work: take the stairs instead of the elevator; walk during your breaks (maybe listen to music or call a friend); and fit in some yoga (a few vinyasas) or light exercise (planks, pushups, bicycle crunches) during commercial breaks while unwinding in front of the TV after work. Great way to improve stretching and strength!
What kind of fitness mistakes do you often see people make that lead to health issues later in life?
Working out through the pain. People need to stop taking the “no pain, no gain” mantra literally. A common issue that I come across in new patients is repetitive sprains or strains. Feeling a burn is one thing, but pain is your body’s way of telling you that injury has occurred or is about to occur. Here’s a tip: If you’re in pain, stop and ask for help. There’s absolutely no shame in checking in with one of the personal trainers at your gym, and definitely follow up by talking to your physiotherapist or chiropractor about the proper techniques for the activity you’re doing.
What are some of your best tips for integrating more physical activity into our busy lives?
Going to the gym can be an ordeal: You have to eat and drink at least an hour before, pack your bag, find parking, wait for machines to free up, shower, fix your hair and any other part of your getting-ready routine… Point is, it eats up a lot of time, and we often complain that there just isn’t enough time as it is! But don’t forget that going to the gym isn’t the only way to fit in exercise! If you find an activity you like, that will make it easier to carve out time. Like cycling? Consider biking to and from work, or running your errands on two wheels. Pick up a sport like beach volleyball for the summer. Have a half hour to kill before getting ready to meet friends for dinner? Throw on your running shoes for a quick jog. Another great thing about living in the city is that there are a ton of events and activities happening every day. Check out group activity sites like Meetup.com and join a group with similar interests or try something new. Suddenly giving up a couple of hours a week for an activity you enjoy doesn’t seem like such a chore!
What’s your favourite restaurant?
Pizzeria Libretto, hands down. Anyone who has been there knows exactly what I’m talking about. These guys do it right: They cook their pizza in a 900-degree oven for just under 90 seconds. The result is an authentic and full-flavoured pizza. It’s truly love at first bite!
Let’s get social for a mo’. How can people stay up-to-date with your busy life?
You can reach out to me on my website, and subscribe to get notifications on new videos at thechirojunkie.com. I’m also on Twitter, Instagram (#foodporn alert), and Facebook.