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! (more…)
Whether you’re at home training or returning to play with your team, there’s no doubt that athletes put a significant amount of time and energy into their favorite sport. 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. (more…)
The old saying that “happiness is an empty bladder” easily could be adjusted to include that “happiness is a properly functioning bowel.”
Did you know that approximately 80 percent of the population experiences constipation at some point in their lifetime? Constipation is defined as difficulty (straining to pass) or infrequent bowel movements (fewer than 3 per week). Common symptoms of constipation include the need to strain to have a bowel movement, a sense of incomplete emptying, decrease in the amount of stool passed, and the need to use enemas, suppositories, or laxatives to aid in maintaining regularity. (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.
As an athletic trainer, I see my fair share of broken bones, and anytime I can do anything to prevent them, I will. When I came across a recent study showing that as many as 70% of children in the US had inadequate levels of vitamin D (a necessary component to building strong bones), I knew I had to do something about it. After sifting through several research articles, I was reminded that vitamin D’s role extended far beyond bones as it may influence body weight, immune system function, and much more! With this vitamin playing so many important roles in the body, it’s comforting to know that although low vitamin D levels are common, they are also easily preventable with just a few easy adjustments to your routine or diet. Before we get into how to fix this problem, let’s talk about why it’s so imperative. (more…)
The phone that you’re carrying around in your pocket has more computing power than was available to NASA when the first men were sent to the moon. It can help you keep up with work, take amazing photos at a moment’s notice, and even allow you to talk to someone face-to-face on the opposite side of the planet. While a lot of us are familiar with how phones and new apps can help increase productivity (or hinder it *cough* Angry Birds *cough*), a lot of people don’t realize that there are ways to use your phone to improve your health in 5 key areas. (more…)
Every day when you turn on the news there is someone discussing the latest and greatest diet trend to “try today!” Americans have gone low carb, no carb, raw, vegan, Paleo, low fat, south beach and cabbage soup! We have tried everything, so why are we still getting bigger? What is the answer? I am sorry to say that there is no one answer. If there was one answer, we would all be skinny! So, here is a common sense, gimmick-free look at what we should be eating: (more…)
At first, hydration might seem like a dry topic, but there is more to it than just drinking water. Many people may not realize that hydration levels can affect everything from essential bodily functions to your mental and physical performance levels, making it an ideal topic to cover with hordes of athletes returning to their sports this week. (more…)