Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

So you have finally decided to get back in shape and lose those 10 pounds you gained during the last year. You hit the gym with a vengeance forgetting that a few years have passed since you were in top condition and now you wake up and you can’t move without pain. It’s in your hips and knees and muscles. Just getting out of bed hurts. You walk like a robot, and forget about bending over. What in the world is going on and more importantly - what do you do about it?

The condition is called DOMS which stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. It is extremely common and generally goes away in a few days. Some feel it is caused by micro injury to the muscles and connective tissue due to over-stressing when a new and strenuous exercise is attempted. This leads to inflammation and the two major symptoms, pain and stiffness.

So the big question is this: Do you stop exercising or press on? Well you definitely don’t want to stop exercising but you do want to lessen the intensity a bit until the symptoms subside. Try lowering the weights if you are weight training, or instead of running try fast walking. If you are performing an eccentric exercise like lunges which are particularly prone to this condition, try doing it part way. You might also want to add a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) such as Motrin or Advil to help lessen the inflammation. As the symptoms subside over the next few days you can increase the intensity until you are back in action. If the pain is not subsiding however you may be dealing with a true injury in which case you will have to back off exercising the injured area until it heals and speak with your medical provider for guidance. Even an injury should not keep you from exercising completely. In most cases you can simply work around the injured area and keep going. Remember the axiom: “Use it or lose it”.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Breast Cancer and Exercise

October is a month of beauty and change. The vibrant colors display nature at its finest. It’s a wonderful time to get outside and enjoy the spectacular show. It is a great time to take a walk and get in some exercise. Ironically it is a perfect month to be designated as “Breast Cancer Awareness Month.” Exciting new research has given women more reasons than ever to add walking to their daily routine.

There are over 70 studies worldwide that have found an association between exercise and breast cancer. These studies have demonstrated an average of 25% risk reduction in physically active women compared to inactive women. The latest study published in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention showed that even moderate aerobic activity such as walking 7 hours or more a week could lower the cancer risk by 14%. While that may seem like a lot of time, remember some simple tricks to help pile up the hours:
  1. Swear off elevators and always use the stairs
  2. Try walking part or all of the way to work
  3. Park on the far side of the Mall
  4. If you need to talk to a colleague, walk down the hall instead of using email
  5. Plan your next vacation around walking, hiking, or biking
The association between exercise and breast cancer is an inverse one meaning that the more one exercises, the greater the benefit. The importance of this study is that it clearly demonstrates a benefit in even a modest amount of activity that anyone can perform without a gym or exercise equipment. 

So let's all celebrate October, Life, and Breast Cancer Awareness by getting outside and walking.  It might just save your life!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Twelve Easy Ways to Improve Your Health

Big changes are HARD to make and even harder to stick with, which is why so many of us struggle with our weight and overall health. This is why we suggest small changes you can easily adapt into your life. Choose one easy change each month and this time next year you will have made a BIG impact in your health.

  1. Eat fish twice per week. Look for choices that are high in Omega 3 fatty acids when you can. 
  2. Choose low sodium versions of canned vegetables, tomatoes and soups. 
  3. Limit yourself to eating only half of your restaurant meal and take the other half home for another meal. 
  4. Read the labels of the foods you are buying and if you can’t pronounce anything on the label, PUT it BACK. 
  5. Eliminate one sugary or artificially sweetened drink each day and replace it with water. 
  6. Cut 100 calories from your diet each day and in a year you’ll lose 10 lbs! 
  7. Commit to some activity each and every day. It can be as simple as taking a walk or 10 minutes of abdominal exercises. Every bit counts. 
  8. Replace your dessert with a healthier option such as fruit. 
  9. Focus on stress reduction. Think about what relaxes you, take a deep breath and live in the moment. 
  10. Sleep no less than 6 hours and no more than 8 hours. Both have been shown to result in an increased appetite and weight gain. 
  11. Get a checkup… See your dentist every 6 months and doctor every 12 months for a routine examination. 
  12. Have at least one serving of vegetables or fruit with every meal.   

Commit to these simple changes and in no time you will significantly improve your health. Studies also show that success breeds success, meaning that when people see that making small health changes has a positive impact, they are motivated to make more changes and stick with them. Start today for a healthier tomorrow.