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Do you feel Born to Run, but Walk instead to save your Knees?

As long as your joints are healthy to begin with, it may be safe to pick up the pace.

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If you’ve been reluctant to make running one of your New Year’s resolutions, fear no more. A common misconception is that running puts tremendous wear and tear on the knees and can even bring on osteoarthritis. But a new study of almost 75,000 runners shows just the opposite: There was no association between running and osteoarthritis. In fact, runners were less likely to develop arthritis than people with lower activity levels. Running isn’t necessarily a higher-impact exercise, biomechanically speaking. While runners do apply more force with each step, that force is distributed over fewer steps (since their strides are longer). Walkers apply less force but take more strides. The bottom line: The impact of running or walking on your knees may be the same.

But keep this in mind: If you’re a woman over 55 or a man over 45, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you get your doctor’s okay before beginning an exercise program. While running may be easier on our joints than previously thought, it is still considered moderate to strenuous cardiovascular exercise, so it’s smart to make sure your heart and lungs are up to the challenge.

 

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10 Ways to Start Exercise: Part 1 of 2

Walking, strength training, running, swimming, biking, yoga, tai chi — the possibilities for exercise are endless. The good news is that it doesn’t matter which one you choose — it just matters that you do some form of exercise.

“If you have a choice between not moving and moving — move,” says Heather Nettle, MA, coordinator of exercise physiology services for the Cleveland Clinic Sports Health and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation Center. “Ultimately it will help with overall health and well-being.” So go ahead, find an activity you love and get moving with these 10 do’s and don’ts for starting an exercise routine.

1. Do Anything — It’s Better Than Nothing
Experts are quite clear on this point: Get 30 to 60 minutes of exercise three to five days a week for improved energy, as well as to help prevent heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer. If you can’t dedicate that amount of time, any exercise, any movement for any amount of time is better than nothing.

2. Keep Track
Tracking your steps with a pedometer is one key to success if you like to walk, says Michael F. Roizen, MD, chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic. Another is recording some basic health information before starting a new routine. “Keeping track of how your body changes inside and out over the weeks and months gives you proof of the healthy changes you’re making,” he says. A few ways to do it:
• Before your first workout, check your blood pressure at your local pharmacy. Then recheck once a month.
• Time yourself at a track or on a treadmill. See how many minutes it takes you to walk or run one mile. Retest yourself after one month of consistent exercise.
• Measure your waist circumference and your weight. Take these measurements once a week.
• Schedule a visit with your physician and request these tests: lipid panel, vitamin D and C-reactive protein. Check these levels again after six months of consistent exercise.

3. Weight-Train
There’s no question: You’ll shed pounds faster if you lift weights. That’s because strength training builds muscle, and the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism will be. And women, hear this: You will not bulk up! What you’re doing by lifting weights is preventing muscle loss. Strength training also improves overall body composition, giving you more lean muscle tissue in relation to fat, so you look toned and trim. To experience the most benefit, lift more weight than you think you can. Dashing through your repetitions doesn’t take as much effort because it allows your muscles to rely on momentum. Instead, focus on your form by practicing slow and steady movements on both the contraction and the release. This will help you strengthen every muscle fiber.

4. Head for the Hills
Do you follow the same flat path day in and day out when you go for your walk or run? Look for hills along your route that you can slip into your routine. If it’s too much for you to tackle all at once, start by going only halfway up. Walking or running up inclines boosts the intensity of your workout: It burns more calories and helps build muscle strength and cardiovascular endurance. Switching between flat surfaces and hills is a form of interval training, a type of workout that involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise in between moderate activity. This kind of exercise, practiced by elite athletes, can supercharge your workout. It can also help keep boredom at bay. If you have joint problems, go easy on the downhill — slow your pace and shorten your stride.

5. Think Outside the Box
Even if you can’t engage in rigorous, high-intensity sweat sessions, there are plenty of other ways to improve your physical health. According to a review in the American Journal of Health Promotion, mind-body practices like tai chi and qigong may help promote bone health, cardiorespiratory fitness, physical function, balance, quality of life, fall prevention and emotional well-being. Described as “meditation in motion,” tai chi and qigong involve a series of flowing, gentle movements — similar to but much slower than yoga. Interested? Get the Gaiam tai chi for beginners DVD in our clevelandclinicwellness.com wellness store.

Check back in tomorrow for the remaining 5 ways to get started on exercise!

 

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Be Prepped for your Primary Care Doctor

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The average visit with a doctor lasts mere minutes. Bring a list of your top three concerns and questions to make sure they get covered.

On average, visits to a family doctor generally last about 15 minutes. That’s not a lot of time to cover every facet of your health. Going to your appointment as prepared as possible can help both you and your doctor make the most of every minute. Before your visit, make a list of your top concerns. Why are you there? What’s been bothering you? Be prepared to describe your symptoms as accurately as possible: Where does it hurt, when did it start, does it get better or worse with movement, and how bad is the pain? Jotting everything down ahead of time will help you communicate your questions and concerns more accurately. Be prepared with a list of all the medications you’re taking, including supplements. If you see multiple doctors, make sure they all have an updated list. Lastly, write down your top three questions for your doctor, in order of importance. That way you’ll be sure to cover your most pressing concerns.

 
 

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Deep Tissue Massage too Expensive? Try a foam roller instead…

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Can’t afford a deep-tissue massage? Use a foam roller after your workouts to increase circulation and ease knots in all your muscles.

Ever wondered about those foam logs you see people rolling around on at the gym? They’re called foam rollers, and they’re an effective — and inexpensive — addition to your workout. Used as part of a warm-up, rolling improves circulation and gets the body ready for movement. It also helps with recovery after your workout. Like a deep-tissue massage, foam rollers help break up knots that tighten your muscles, helping you stay injury-free. Use them to loosen up tight areas in your quads, calves or outer thighs.

“The basic technique for using a foam roller is to slowly roll the targeted area over the foam roller. Once you hit a trigger spot, hold at that spot for a few seconds, slowly working yourself away from the spot,” says Melissa Hendricks, MEd, manager of the Cleveland Clinic Fitness Centers. “Use a foam roller with caution,” advises Hendricks. “When you hit the trigger spots, they can be very painful, and sometimes the foam rollers can cause mild bruising. Have a physical therapist show you how to properly use the roller when you’re trying it for the first time.”

 

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Everyone Needs a Pedometer

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Need a new way to motivate yourself to be active? Put on a pedometer to move more, weigh less and monitor how much you move each day.

Researchers have found that the simple act of wearing one encourages people to walk more and be more active when they would otherwise be stationary for hours at a time (like at work or in front of the TV). Even if you exercise for 30 minutes a day, you may also spend a lot of time sitting. Taking breaks to stand up, stretch and move around at least once an hour can go a long way toward keeping you healthy and fit. According to Dr. Mike Roizen, chief wellness officer of the Cleveland Clinic, a pedometer is a must-have for everyone. In fact, he recommends owning two. “Buy a backup pedometer, and overpay for it. It is one of the four things in life for which you should overpay: chef’s knife, great walking/exercise shoes, an engagement ring and two pedometers,” he says. That way, you’ll never have an excuse for not using one. Your ultimate walking goal is 10,000 steps per day. No excuses, says Dr. Mike.

 

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Don’t Lose Sleep!

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Don’t let work eat into your sleep. Lack of rest is the biggest predictor of on-the-job burnout.
Are you letting your job impact your sleep? According to a study published in the journal SLEEP, the more hours a person works, the less sleep he or she gets. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 percent of employed Americans get less than the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a day. Though you may not feel especially tired, lack of sleep could be affecting your performance at work. One study found that sleeping less than six hours a night was one of the best predictors of job burnout. Another study calculated that our collective lack of sleep costs U.S. businesses and medical centers $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity. In other words, you’re actually doing yourself — and your career — a disservice by letting work take away from your sleep time.

 

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Don’t Forget to Neglect Strength Training!

cleveland clinicWalking every day? Good for you! But don’t neglect strength training, which helps preserve muscle and improve balance.
When it comes to preventing health problems, exercise is one of the best medicines we have. It eases anxiety, lowers stress, stabilizes mood, and improves body image and self-esteem. It also helps with hot flashes, back pain and depression. Still, only 20 percent of U.S. adults get even less than the optimal recommended aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Though we’re making progress with aerobic exercise — nearly 52 percent of Americans meet the weekly, but in our opinion still minimal, guidelines of 150 minutes of exercise — only 29 percent of us make strength training a priority. Wondering why you have to do strength training if you’re already walking 150 minutes each week? Strength training helps preserve and build muscle; you otherwise lose one-half of one percent each birthday. Having more muscle also helps you burn calories, which keeps weight under control. It also improves balance to keep you injury-free, and it maintains bones, which can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, says Melissa Hendricks, MEd, manager of the Cleveland Clinic fitness centers. “I think the biggest obstacle I see for Cleveland Clinic employees is that they simply don’t know what they should be doing,” says Hendricks. “And weight rooms can be very intimidating places!” The good news is that you don’t even have to set foot in one to get a good workout. To get started, try these moves, which are perfect for beginners and require nothing more than your body and a set of dumbbells.

Original Post from Cleveland Clinic

 

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Stuck in your Car? Find ways to still be Active

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Drive time means less time for exercise. Find a gym near work and go during rush hour!

Research shows that the more time you spend commuting, the less likely you are to exercise. Time spent behind the wheel takes away valuable minutes that could be spent being active. It also adds to the total time you spend sitting each day. As Mike Roizen, MD, chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic, points out, “People who sit eight to 11 hours a day are twice as likely to die (in a given three-year time period) than folks who sit for four hours a day or less.”

Even if you can’t change how far away you live from work, there are ways to get healthier and decrease your drive time. For instance, if you’re going to be caught in gridlock, why not drive in before the rush and then go work out or take a walk near your office? Or consider doing the same after work while you wait for traffic to subside. If none of these options work, says Dr. Roizen, use your time behind the wheel to de-stress. Practice breathing exercises to elicit a sense of relaxation. Bring your attention to your breath. Inhale slowly and deeply, allowing your belly to rise as it fills with air. Allow your belly to fall as you slowly exhale. And do not close your eyes — keep ‘em on the road!

 

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Did You Know…

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MSPT has physical therapists who specialize in care of the feet. Call today for an immediate appointment.

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2013 in Did You Know...

 

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