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Physical Therapy Improves Balance & Prevents Falls

Research has shown that approximately 1/3 of all adults over the age of 65 suffer from at least one fall annually, the prevalence increases to 50 percent in adults over the age of 80. Falls are not only an inconvenience, but have also contributed in a major way to health care costs and disability in the older adults. Studies have shown that 20 percent of falls require some sort of medical attention. Furthermore, up to 10 percent of people who suffer from a fall sustain major injury such as major contusion/laceration, head trauma and disabling fractures. Fractures are a greater risk for patients with osteoporosis. You may also be surprised to find out that complications from falls are the leading cause of death from injury in adults over the age of 65.

There are multiple reasons why people fall and they include prior history of falls, visual deficits, gait abnormality, lower extremity weakness, arthritis, balance deficits and environmental hazards. As we age balance regresses, joints become more arthritic, flexibility decreases and reaction time slows down. However, balance impairments can be improved and the risk for falls can be reduced, with practice.

Medical studies show effectiveness of physical therapy interventions in treatment of balance dysfunction and therefore decreasing the risk for falls. Exercise programs may target strength, balance, flexibility or endurance. Programs that contain two or more of these components reduce rate of falls and number of people falling.

A skilled physical therapist is capable of accurately diagnosing balance dysfunction and risk for falls by a comprehensive evaluation including history taking, physical examination, as well as functional/balance tests. Physical therapy treatment should be patient specific and based on needs established during initial evaluation. Most often it will consist of a combination of balance activities, functional training, strengthening and stabilization exercises, as well as environmental awareness/modification training with the patient.

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Get Moving!

Just move! Even brief episodes of brisk exercise can make you thinner and better able to do the fun things you want to do in life.

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Try 30 minutes of moderate exercise — such as a brisk walk — most days of the week, for better emotional and physical health. New research shows that even brief episodes of vigorous activity can help prevent weight gain and promote better health. The key is to get your heart rate up so that you’re working your lungs, heart and muscles. If today you have only 10 minutes to spare, use that time to go for a brisk walk. If there’s a hill nearby, or even a staircase, try to tackle it! You may even find that you enjoy it so much you’ll find 15 minutes to spare tomorrow.

source: cleveland clinic

 

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Tone-Up Your Triceps

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Looking for a workout move to tone up your triceps? Transform your arms with the one-arm kickback.

Biceps aren’t the only muscles we need to focus on when it comes to building strong arms. To tighten loose underarms, do the tricep-toning kickback. Here’s how: Hold a hand weight in your right hand. Lean over slightly and put your left foot forward. Place your left forearm on your left leg, or on a sturdy chair or table if you need additional support. Keeping a straight line from the top of your head to your tailbone, turn your right palm upward and push your entire arm back so that your right elbow points toward the ceiling. With your elbow in this upward position, kick the weight back and twist your palm toward the ceiling. Breathe normally. Maintain the up position and don’t drop the elbow. Try to do 50 repetitions on each side.

Excerpted from YOU: The Owner’s Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider’s Guide to the Body That Will Make You Healthier and Younger by Michael F. Roizen and Dr. Mehmet C. Oz.

 

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Pink Noise & Sleep…it’s a Good Thing

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Sleep more soundly with pink noise — a low-frequency version of white noise. Playing it while you sleep improves the quality of your zzz’s.

Here’s good news for light sleepers: Adding pink noise to your bedtime routine could help you sleep better. Similar to white noise, the pink variety has a lower frequency and sounds like gentler, more muted static. Researchers found that 75 percent of sleepers reported a more restful sleep when exposed to pink noise while they slept. Brainwave activity showed that stable sleep time of people listening to pink noise increased by 23 percent.

source: The Cleveland Clinic Wellness site

 

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Frozen Produce is as Nutritious as Fresh

If you don’t have access to fresh fruits and vegetables, here’s a fact you should know: Frozen produce is as nutritious as fresh.

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Do you move past the frozen vegetable section because you believe them to be nutritionally inferior to fresh produce? Believe it or not, frozen fruits and vegetables retain just as many nutrients as their fresh counterparts. While fresh produce starts out with higher vitamin content than frozen, it may lose much of its nutrition by the time you eat it, depending on the distance to its final destination. As long as frozen fruits and vegetables aren’t packed with added sugar, salt or syrups, they are a perfectly healthy way to get your daily quota.

 
 

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10 Ways to Start Exercise: Part 2 of 2

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Yesterday’s blog focused on the first five ways to get ready for exercise. Today is the second and final piece of advice on the 10 ways to start exercise.

6. Don’t Do It If You Don’t Love It
The perfect exercise is something you enjoy, according to Gordon Blackburn, MD, director of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at the Cleveland Clinic. He recommends doing something you can fit in on a daily basis and something you can continue doing. Walk briskly, run, bike, use a program like Wii Fit. As the saying goes, it’s all good. Once you find what you love, aim to gradually increase the duration and intensity of your activity. As you get more fit, your functional capacity increases, so you really can do more. If you love your daily walk, add distance and build up speed. If you love bicycling, add another few miles or tackle that big hill. It all adds up, and getting going today will keep your heart going in the long run.

7. Don’t Stretch Too Soon
You probably learned to stretch before exercise in elementary school PE. But science has determined that holding stretches for 20 to 30 seconds prior to the start of a workout actually makes it more difficult for your muscles to perform. A University of Nevada study found that athletes who performed traditional hamstring stretches before working out generated less power from those muscles than athletes who did no stretching at all. For a good-for-you warm-up, do moves that raise your heart rate and promote flexibility, such as a straight-legged march: Kick your right leg straight out in front of you, keeping your toes pointed up. As you kick, reach your left fingertips to touch (or nearly touch) your right toes. Step your weight forward onto your right leg, then repeat on the left side, bringing your right hand to touch your left toes as you kick. Keep going for eight to 10 steps. As for those static stretches from your school days, there’s still a time and a place for them — after you’re done with your workout.

8. Don’t Forget Your Core
It’s no coincidence that core training and balance training are often grouped together. A strong core — which consists of your abdominal, back and pelvic muscles — can function like an insurance policy against balance-related injuries. “When your core is strong, then your protective stabilizing muscles kick in and protect you,” explains Dallas-based Pilates expert Karon Karter, author of Balance Training: Stability Workouts for Core Strength and a Sculpted Body. Studies have shown that taking a holistic view of balance training is probably the most effective route. That means changing up your exercise routine to challenge both strength and balance, and pairing it with core training. Use balance exercises to warm up for things like walking, running or biking. After establishing your balance on one foot (just holding still is a good first step), try raising and lowering your body on one leg, keeping your torso erect while bending at the knee and waist. As you get more confident, add repetitions, go lower, or move your free leg into different positions.

9. Don’t Walk With Weights
Though it may feel like you’re working harder, strapping on hand or ankle weights while you walk won’t give you the extra burn you’re looking for. And it may just increase your risk of joint problems or injuries. To burn extra calories, you would need to carry at least three- to five-pound weights — and that’s a definite no-no. When you swing the weights, it exponentially increases the force on your shoulder and elbow joints if using hand weights, or knee and hip joints if using ankle weights. For people with heart disease or high blood pressure, using weights can also cause a temporary spike in blood pressure. Leave the weights at home and boost your burn by walking up hills instead.

10. Don’t Focus on Appearance
If you can’t seem to muster the motivation to hit the gym, it may be time to rethink your reasons for going. Working out for the sake of how you look can actually discourage you from exercise. Instead of viewing physical activity as a means to a better-looking body, think of it as a way to stay healthy and feel great. Though you will burn calories, melt fat and build muscle, regular physical activity can also reduce stress, banish bad moods, ramp up energy levels and boost self-esteem. So even if a single workout doesn’t give you a Heidi Klum or Matthew McConaughey body, all that sweat and those endorphins can still make you feel like you look almost as good as they do.

source: Cleveland Clinic wellness website

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2013 in Did You Know..., What's New

 

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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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Gentlemen…

protect your prostate by eating olive oil and nuts. Choosing healthy fats over the saturated kind can help you live longer.

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Men, improve your chances of a long and healthy life by choosing olive oil and avocado over butter and mayo. Research shows that men who swapped 10 percent of their daily calories from animal fats with healthy fats like olive oil, seeds, avocados or nuts were 30 percent less likely to die from prostate cancer and 25 percent less likely to die from any other disease compared to those who did not make the switch. Even a single daily tablespoon of oil-based salad dressing, such as balsamic vinaigrette, resulted in a noticeable drop in mortality risk. To protect your health and enjoy delicious flavor, use oil and vinegar instead of cream-based dressings and cook your food with extra virgin olive oil instead of mystery “vegetable” oil.

 
 

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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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