Regardless of the time of year each season brings certain risk factors for injuring your back. In the Spring and Summer many people get outside and become more active drastically increasing work or exercise intensity and frequency. In a past post I discussed how physical therapists can help your back pain but today I thought we could focus more on prevention. Below you will learn some common sense strategies, postures, and or body mechanics to help you minimize risk of back injury in the first place.
It’s no secret that facial hair has become a growing trend over the last few years. A group of men and women from Athletico have decided to raise awareness of men’s health by joining the “Movember” movement via a team effort known as “The Athletimos.” Movember is a simple concept. You spend the month of November growing your moustache or “mo” (no beards, goatees, etc) and then bring up both men’s health issues and donation opportunities when asked about the fashion statement on your upper lip. Think of the mustache as a magical ice-breaker and trust me, it works.
Childhood obesity is a rising epidemic and a valid concern for many parents. With the surge in all things electronic from televisions, computers, video games, and hand held devices, we have populations of children being sedentary rather than up, moving, playing, and active. As the economy puts stress on single, as well as two-parent, households the trend in meals has been on things fast, easy, and affordable which unfortunately does not often equate to healthy or nutrient dense. Here are some eye opening facts on childhood obesity taken directly from an article by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read More
Regardless of what you do for a living, most parents would agree that feeding your children healthy food is one of the hardest jobs in the world! I am a busy mom so I know the struggle of working all day, coming home and making dinner, and then hearing nothing but complaints when you put it on the table. Well, after a few years of fighting about dinner every night, I quit! I quit trying to make everyone happy. I quit stressing out over what everyone ‘liked’ and focused on what was the healthiest way to feed my family of four. It was time for tough love, and in looking back, I am so happy I put my foot down. Read More
I hear this comment all the time from people, “Well, I really don’t eat that much sugar.” Today is American Diabetes Alert Day and here’s the thing about sugar – it’s hiding, it’s all around you, it’s calling from inside the house! Okay, that was a little bit dramatic, but sugar really is everywhere! Read More
After this winter, I never thought it would happen, but spring is right around the corner. Spring sports and training has begun. Soccer, Baseball/Softball, and Track and Field are about to ramp up. For the athletes involved at all levels, this means an increased demand on their bodies. During the average soccer game, a player could run up to 5 miles. Double headers can mean up to 7-8 hours in the field. I think it goes without saying, if you are not putting the right fuel in your body, it would be pretty easy to run out of gas. Read More
As we head into the holiday season, you might notice that you are feeling a little more tired, a little less motivated, and overall a little “down.” You are not alone! This happens to many people every year as the cold creeps in. As the days shorten and the stress of the holidays increases, people tend to come down with the “winter blues”. Here are 6 ways that you can beat them and enjoy the winter season. Read More
Are you healthy? How do you know? What do you use to evaluate your level of health? In today’s culture, we have become health-obsessed. What IS healthy anyway?!
Size and shape, along with many other health indicators will vary from person to person depending on a thousand factors (age, family history, genetics, gender, etc). Health is certainly not one-size-fits-all. But, we can still utilize some tools to get a snap shot of your current health. Here are some basic health numbers that you should know. These numbers, all together, can give you a good idea of your overall health.
- Blood Pressure: Your blood pressure should be less than 130/80, but ideally it would be around 115/75. High blood pressure puts you at risk for many complications including heart disease. The good news is that by being proactive, many people can avoid medication through diet and exercise. Make sure you know your current blood pressure and talk to your doctor about what is healthy for you.
- Cholesterol: This is tricky. There is ‘good’ cholesterol and ‘bad’ cholesterol and triglycerides. It is hard for a non-medically trained individual to keep track. That’s why we have doctors. Make sure this is being checked yearly (or more often if you are in the high risk zone). Basically though, you want your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol below 100 mg/dL and your HDL (“good”) cholesterol above 50 mg/dL.
- BMI: This is your Body Mass Index and it is a measure of your body fat based on your height vs. your weight. To calculate your BMI you can click here or Google “BMI calculator”. A BMI of 25-29.9 is considered over-weight, and BMI of 30 or more is considered obese. You want your BMI to fall into the 18.5-24.9 range. There are, of course, many more factors than height vs. weight to determine what is right for you, but this can be a good start.
- Waist circumference: Lately this measurement has been gaining popularity in the medical community. We have learned that more important than your weight is the distribution of your weight. If you carry your weight around your middle, you are at a higher risk than if you carry your weight in other areas. You want to measure your waist at its narrowest part. If you don’t have a noticeable narrowing or waist, you can measure across where your elbows fall with arms at your side. Your risk increases for many health conditions with a circumference of 40+ for men and 35+ for women. But perhaps the best way to calculate this is to compare your waist to your height. Your waist should be less than half your height. For example, I am 5’6” which is 65 inches. Half of 65 is 32.5. Therefore, my waist should be less than 32.5 inches at its narrowest point.
- Hours of sleep: Are you surprised to see this on my list? This is one indicator of good health that is too often ignored. Most people require 7-9 hours of consecutive sleep for optimal health. When we sleep, we heal, recover, and grow. People who get enough sleep have more energy, stronger immune systems, less pain, and weigh less than people that do not get enough sleep. Don’t brush off the importance of sleep. Watch less TV, leave the laundry for the weekend, and put the computer away (after you read my blog of course). If you are having trouble sleeping, ask your MD for suggestions.
- 1-10 Scale: Last, and certainly not least, is your personal score. How would you rank your health on a scale of 1-10? 10 would be ‘never been better, full of energy, bounce out of bed in the morning, happy/content’ and 1 would be ‘every day is a struggle, always sick, no energy, overweight, depressed, etc.’ If you were truly honest with yourself, what would your number be? Anything less than 8 should be unacceptable for you! This your one chance at life, so let’s enjoy every minute of it. I feel like Jerry McGuire – who’s coming with me???
If you are not where you want to be, don’t worry. This is not meant to make you feel bad; it is meant to empower you to take control of your health. Get a physical, get some good sleep, and get moving! Let’s all live the rest of 2013 in way that leaves no need to make resolutions in 2014.