Exercise Doesn’t Have to be a Workout
For many people, the idea of walking into a gym filled with 20 somethings in little workout clothes hopping and grinding their way to a better bikini body can be intimidating enough to walk into the revolving doors and staying there until the door exits you back into the street. Same situation applies for the guys…grunting and pressing enormous weights with bodies that look like the Incredible Hulk can be very intimidating to the fellow who hasn’t worked out in years. Don’t despair! Some of the best forms of exercise really don’t have to be performed in a gym and the benefits of these activities can be fun, not expensive and reap many rewards. They can help you to keep your weight within normal range, strengthen your bones, improve your balance, motor and cognitive skills, protect you from cardiovascular disease, improve your blood pressure, decrease inflammation, improve joint pain, lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and help prevent urinary leakage and pelvic floor conditions.
For the persons who do not feel comfortable riding a bicycle, rollerblading or walking the golf course, there are other fun activities to get your heart pumping, your muscles and joints moving and your mind engaged. Raking the leaves in the yard, walking the dog, playing with the children or grandchildren all count as exercise. All it takes is 30 minutes per day…walk to the Starbucks for your latte instead of taking the car. You’ll get fresh air in your lungs, exercise, and have that caffeine treat. Then, you’ll walk back home and burn off the calories you just drank!
How do you determine how often and how long you should exercise? The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans state that unless you have an underlying medical condition that would restrict your activities, 150 minutes of moderate physical activity weekly, or 75 minutes of vigorous (lots of sweating) activity per week are appropriate. Combinations of the two are even better. Mixing it up will defeat boredom and overuse of muscle groups which can lead to injury over time.
Get the Green light from your doctor. If you haven’t had a basic physical exam in over a year, now is the best time to see your doctor, get a checkup and discuss activities. If you are over 65 years of age, some activities might not be appropriate for you to engage in at 100% (if you haven’t exercised in 20 years, you might not want to go outside and run 5 miles tomorrow). Be logical and check in with your body. Do you have joint pain, osteoarthritis in the knees that might limit certain types of aerobic activities? Do you have hypertension or a cardiac issue? Do you have COPD? All these questions are addressed during an annual physical. Once you’ve the green light to exercise and what levels of activity are appropriate for you, it’s up to you to decide what will be FUN.
Give Yourself a Reason WHY
Setting a goal is always a motivator when embarking on a lifestyle change. If you have always desired to run a 5K, 10K or marathon, you’ll need to make a plan – call it a project. There are many websites available that offer free training schedules for anyone who wants to begin a running program. They typically include warm ups, cool downs, nutritional information and weekly schedules to attain your goals. You can also go to ‘meet up’ and find some new workout buddies who have similar goals. New friendships and successful goals can be made with a buddy. If it’s a smaller dress or jean size, you might want to decide what modifications in your diet will help you attain that goal in addition to exercise so the weight will come off and stay off. One less glass of wine at dinner with the addition of daily 30min walks can make big changes over a short period of time. Whatever you decide to do, do it for YOU and do what makes YOU happy.
If you have no idea where to start at a gym, hire a personal trainer (get referrals from people you know and you’ve seen results). This is being paid to motivate you, find what gives you joy in exercise, make certain you are performing all activities correctly to prevent injury and hold you accountable in your daily, weekly and monthly goals. Sometimes, spending a little money goes a long way because if you don’t keep up with the program, you’ll be wasting your time, the trainer’s time and your good money. Fitness apps are abundant – whether it be for swimming to running to weight lifting, there’s an app for it. Check out your app store on your mobile device.
The Top 5 Exercises That Won’t Make You Feel Like You’re in The Army
Swimming. I advise all my patients (when appropriate) to swim. Swimming is the perfect exercise as it is non-impact on the joints, uses every muscle in the body and promotes better circulation and respiration. Swimming can be challenging if you’re doing laps and you will work up a sweat in the water. Take it down a notch and gentle strokes for a longer period of time will work just as well. Water aerobics can be fun and a great motivator to get you into the pool and don’t worry…no one is looking at your body because everyone is focused on their own goals.
Tai Chi. Tai Chi is the granddaddy of all martial arts. Done smoothly and slowly, it promotes circulation, meditation, relaxation and can help improve muscle tone and bone strength. Tai chi is ideal for the geriatric population, because it allows this genre to focus on movement. This improves balance and strength in older people who typically lose these qualities with age. Speed up the motions of Tai Chi and it becomes a deadly martial art. There are many organizations that offer Tai Chi from the local YMCA and senior center to martial arts centers. Sign up for a package of 10 classes to you can be accustomed to the movements. Once you’re there, you’ll be hooked!
Strength training. Weight lifting/strength training contrary to myth, will not make you look like the Incredible Hulk, unless that’s what your goal is. This type of activity will not only burn calories, it will help you build muscle tone and strengthen bones. It would behoove you to hire a personal trainer to get you started with a program where you will be under supervision to ensure you are performing the exercises correctly to prevent injury and to ensure all body parts are being used in the mix.
Walking. You don’t need a dog to walk. Walking is a great form of exercise. A brisk walk will help burn calories, increase your aerobic capacity and if you add 1lb weights in your hands (2 water bottles will suffice and help hydrate you simultaneously), you’ll get a little more bang for your time. Recently, I visited Washington, D.C. and decided to walk and see the sites. Over 6 miles later, I saw so many wonderful monuments and had such a good time, I decided to walk another 6 miles back to my hotel via a different route. At the end, I had 12 miles of exercise, saw the sites and had a smile on my face. Start slow and eventually try to walk faster and for longer periods of time. Volunteer to walk your neighbor’s dog. They are the cheapest and most fun exercise machine out there. And all the attention you’ll receive with Rover at your side!
Kegel exercises. These exercises are not just for post partum women. The muscles of the pelvic floor are often ignored and can lead to urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction, painful sex and prolapse. You can be absolutely anywhere to do Kegels. Just pretend you’re holding your urine or preventing gas and squeeze the muscles you would use for this purpose. Then relax the muscles. Repeat this exercise 10 times. Work your way up to squeezing/releasing these muscles for 3 sets of 10 daily.
There are so many other activities to engage in: kayaking, sailing, baseball, soccer, basketball, tennis, pickleball, hiking – the sky’s the limit. Get out there today and get moving! Remember, exercise shouldn’t be a chore, it should be fun!
Chill n Grill Safely This Summer
The CDC just published a great ‘cheat sheet’ on how to ensure you grill safely without contracting food-borne illnesses. Check out the link for food safety tips. Enjoy your 4th of July Independence weekend. Be safe and have fun.
Sunscreens protect the skin from damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation emitted from the sun. Active ingredients contained in sunscreen when applied on the skin absorb, scatter, or reflect the UV radiation like a force field. These ingredients prevent the sun’s harmful rays from attacking the skin. This is what helps prevent sunburn and reduces the risk of skin cancer.
May is Pelvic Pain Awareness Month
Pelvic pain can be defined as chronic pain (experienced for more than 6 months) that is not menstrual (period pain for females). Pelvic pain affects both men and women and can present as some of the following symptoms:
- Sexual dysfunction
- Painful penetration
- Painful orgasm
- Erectile dysfunction
- Generalized pelvic pain
- Post surgical pain
- Scar tissue pain
- Yeast infections & Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
- Constipation & bowel disorders
- Postpartum pain
Happy New Year! The last year of another decade in time as modern man knows it. This month’s blog is not about making resolutions. Most of us don’t keep them after two or three weeks and the guilt and disappointment that go along with promises once again not kept to ourselves aren’t worth the trouble to begin with.
Today, I’d like to share with you something a bit different. It’s a little story, so stay with me and continue reading, because there’s a really good point at the end of the tale:
I was at the gym a few days prior to New Year’s Eve. Just exiting from a HIIT class, I saw a woman who changed my life in so many ways and who I never had the opportunity to thank….
Let’s go back to 1995.
HO HO HO and here we go! As Linus would say ‘good grief, Charlie Brown’. It’s December and everyone seems to get sucked into the holiday madness regardless of their religious beliefs. So, some good advice is to calm down, take a breath and remember: the holidays as we know them are market-manufactured and economically driven. This year, try to remember what it is you are REALLY celebrating: the festival of lights, the birth of your God, or celebration of family, community and culture. If neither of the upcoming holidays resonates with you, just celebrate and be grateful for all the goodness in your life – a roof over your head, good friends, a meal on your dinner plate each evening. I love to see my friends during this wintery time of the year and I’ll share with you a favorite cocktail of mine (non alcoholic version for my underaged and non-drinking friends and the designated drivers listed). It’s not expensive and if you ask each guest to come with a plate of finger food, this can be the setting for a great get together! Open up the Monopoly board, play a game or just tell fun stories of travel and adventure. It’s a stress-free evening that everyone can enjoy no matter what their religious beliefs or cultural obligations are.
The Holiday Season is here and here are some happy and healthy tips to get you through the season healthier both physically and mentally.
- Stay in the Game: keep up with your exercise routine. Regular exercise during the holiday season keeps off added pounds and the endorphins the brain releases during a workout can help alleviate stress. Working hard at the gym always makes us feel better, sleep better and puts us in the mindset to make wiser nutritional choices.
- Think Green!: if you are invited to a pot luck event, prepare a dish that is not only delicious, but healthy as well. Sauteed tuscan kale in a bit of olive oil, balsamic vinegar served with toasted pine nuts on top is not only beautiful, but tasty. The anti inflammatory properties of dark leafy green vegetables are good for just about everyone and a nice change of a side dish. Dark leafy green vegetables are a wonderful complement to any type of protein or pasta. You’ll be surprised how quickly it disappears!
- Be Kind to Yourself: life should be about balance. Schedule time for a nice long hot bath, a massage, a ‘me’ day. Holidays can be quite stressful with various types of obligations and the stress can tax your immune system. No one wants to be sick during the holidays, so take a time out at least once weekly. Try a yoga class or a meditation app. Schedule a relaxing stress-busting acupuncture session – it could be the best hour you’ve had to relax and reset your mind, body and soul.
- Give a Gift of Love and Health to a Friend, Colleague or Someone you Love: gift certificates are available and make great holiday gifts for the people who have ‘everything’. Call of email the office today and order yours!
Mama Bear Cancer Support Radio will host me LIVE for a 30 minute interview on Friday November 2, 2018 at 11:30am. Donita Wheeler is not only an amazing talk show host, but also a cancer coach who has helped navigate multitudes of cancer patients through their journeys to total wellness. A cancer survivor herself, Donita understands what it is to be a patient and survivor and her show’s audience can listen in on what top experts (I’m one of them!) in the field have to say on various aspects of treatment care and life after cancer. Set your calendars and mark the date! Please share this information with anyone you know who is a patient, survivor or caretaker….or just want to listen to my fabulous voice for 30 minutes! 🙂
HOLIDAY HAZARDS TO YOUR HEALTH
It’s November and the holiday festivities are about to commence. This is the time of year when many people fall into ‘food traps’. A ‘food trap’ is when you attend a holiday celebration and you are ‘guilted’ into eating and drinking items that are not good for you. The results can be any of the following: a day or more of feeling so ill you cannot get out of bed, 5lbs gained that you worked so hard to take off, painful joints because you ate and drank the prohibited items that aggravate an inflammatory disease, or in extreme cases – you had to be taken to the hospital because you have congestive heart disease and you just HAD to eat all those salty foods.
Folks, the holildays do not have to be a giant food fest. Of course we all want to eat, drink and make merry, but we also must be smart about our choices. Be mindful of what you choose to eat or drink at the office holiday party. You can have a great time and walk away feeling good. If you are at “Aunt May’s Annual Thanksgiving Eatathon” where all the foods you shouldn’t eat are ‘guilted’ onto your plate and into your mouth; here’s a solution….prior to the eatathon… call ‘Aunt May’ and tell her that although you love her wonderful cooking, you have a health condition and if you eat certain recipes, you will become very ill and ‘Aunt May, you wouldn’t want to make me ill, would you?’. I assure you, whoever the ‘Aunt May’ is in your life will take this to heart and no doubt cook a few items just for you, so you can still participate and stay healthy. Don’t be surprised if everyone else at the table wants your ‘special dishes’ as well.
When it comes to desserts, you don’t have to taste everyone’s famous cookies or cakes. It’s ok to say no thank you. In most cases, the holidays bring out the ‘weekend warriors of baking’ and the results aren’t worth the calories or health risks. If there is a special treat that you wouldn’t normally indulge in, have a modest slice and enjoy it. If you are trying to stay on a healthy eating plan, I do suggest the Weight Watchers app. It’s a simple points system that allows you to substitue certain foods for others and keep you within your daily calorie budget.
Very often, we let our exercise regime slide into the background during the holiday season. Stay with your workout routine. Plan your exercise classes and treat yourself to a yoga class once weekly to help lengthen and strengthen your muscles and center your mind to keep you focused.
This holiday season, be thankful for the good things in life and remember – if you have good health, you have everything you need going forward. If you would like to share the gift of good health with a colleague, friend or loved one, contact my office and inquire about our gift certificates. I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving and hope you’ll listen to me LIVE on iHeart Radio!
We are living in a very tumultuous time and the world has become a wild and wacky place. Everyday, we are bombarded with bad news, vicious gossip, conflict, war, and natural disasters. This creates such stress on our immune systems and here in New York City, many of my patients are experiencing anxiety for the first time in their lives. So, today, I’ve decided to tell you all a true story that will make you feel good, restore your faith in humankind and I hope you will pass it on and pay forward some of the kindnesses that have been bestowed on you….
A couple of months ago, a person who has been a patient of mine for many years and a thyroid cancer survivor reached out to me to tell me that a diagnosis of Stage IV esophageal cancer was given to this person and could I help. My response was “Of course, I will do everything I can to help minimize the effects of chemotherapy and boost your immune system. We will get through this and you will win this war”. We discussed the treatment strategy for the chemotherapy and scheduled acupuncture treatments so that the patient would have a treatment before and after chemo, then weekly treatments in between chemotherapy.
My next patient at the clinic that day is another long time patient who is also a breast cancer survivor and thriving/living life fully and with joy. She noticed I wasn’t my usual self and asked what was wrong (I just couldn’t keep a smile on my face that day). I told her how upset I was that my patient had been given this diagnosis – you couldn’t know a finer human being in this life and it pained me to see yet another person in my life be diagnosed with cancer. My patient said ‘I know this man who had 4th stage esophageal cancer and beat it…cancer free for over 7 years and he counsels and advocates on a volunteer basis for people who have been diagnosed. I went to high school with him…..would you like his contact information?’ I was so moved that my patient offered to help someone she didn’t know and when I became a bit emotional with her generosity, she said ‘why wouldn’t I want to help you help someone else – you’ve done so much for me’. So, I reached out to her contact, Mark Speckhart, and we spoke for almost 2 hours on the phone. I’ve not met another human like this man. He is above extraordinary. He donates much of his time to assist cancer patients in their journey through surgeries, treatments, and personal crises…just because he’s a walking angel on this earth. The man exudes life, joy and lives with gusto. As it turns out, Mark had already reached out to my patient because a neighbor of his had worked with my patient at one time and connected them (what a small world!). Mark is helping my patient every step of the way with tips on how to detox from chemo sessions to probiotics to daily routines. I didn’t know at the time Mark had spoken with my patient and when I brought up his name to my patient, I was told they had connected and how great he has been with guidance and advice. My patient laughed and said how it was amazing so many people were being presented to help and Mark should know where another connection to him was coming from..an old high school chum. My patient has a team behind him to fight this war with cancer. This person is blessed with a fine family who is very supportive, a great team of doctors, a personal trainer (we share the same trainer) who gives him extra work and attention, a great acupuncturist, and a mentor who has been through this journey and gives back to others selflessly. Yesterday, my patient told me the scans reveal that the nodules have shrunk 60-70%; a far better result than expected and the future is looking bright. The patient thanked me for my part in this process (to alleviate the side effects of treatments), but I was overjoyed that the patient said it was such a great group of people to come together to help a stranger. My patient will win this war with cancer and live to see grandchildren in this life.
The point I’m trying to make today is this: total strangers will come together to help in a big way. It only takes ‘the asking’ as the Irish would say. I’ve been blessed to know Mark Speckhart – an inspiration. I’ve also been blessed to have my patients in my life who, when they see I’m not myself, they ask and really care about me. I’m blessed that they are generous and give back to help another person they do not know just because it’s not only the right thing to do, but because they’ve been down that road themselves. I’m blessed to witness the courage of all my cancer patients – I don’t know that I have that type of courage. Today, take 5 minutes and think about this little story. Think about who in your life has given you the strength to rise when you’ve been down. Who has introduced you to a person who has made a significant different in your life. What have you done to pay it forward?
It’s ragweed season and once again you’re experiencing the itcy eyes, runny nose and scratchy throat. Tired of those meds that make you feel like a zombie? Tired of weekly allergy shots that leave your arms sore? Let me help you eliminate those symptoms without medications and shots.
Allergies can affect anyone, and do not discriminate by race, sex, age or demographic. Allergic attacks can begin at any age and can reoccur after many years of remission. Factors that can affect the severity of symptoms include stress, smoking, colognes, hormones and environmental pollutants. Allergic reactions begin in your immune system. When a person who is allergic to ragweed is exposed to the allergen, the immune system can overreact and produce antibodies to combat the microorganism. This will cause the symptoms of itchy runny eyes, watery nose, scratchy throat, coughing or wheezing. Acupuncture can improve the body’s immune system to mediate these reactions and regulate homeostasis.
So, What’s the Plan?
If you were to train for a marathon, you wouldn’t begin a week before the event. You would commence training a few months prior to the race. The same priciple holds true for seasonal rhinitis. A typical course of therapy would be to begin 2 months prior to allergy season. One treatment weekly (with the possible addition of Rx herbal pills) will ‘train’ your body’s immune system to be in fighting form so when under attack from a harmful allergen, the body will not overreact. This will prevent the microorganism and antibodies from going to war and making you miserable. In short, the allergens wouldn’t stand a chance against your now-amazing fit immune system.
The Treatment Experience
You will be lying comfortably in a peaceful setting with soft music. Hair-thin needles gently inserted less than one half inch into the arms, hands, legs and feet can help regulate your body’s immune system and stave off those reactions to allergens. Once the needles are inserted, the room lights are dimmed and you’ll just relax for approximately 20 minutes, listen to the music and most likely fall asleep. You might feel a ‘heaviness’ of the arms, a slight ‘tingling’ sensation throughout the body, or nothing at all. After the prescribed time, the needles will be removed and you’ll leave the treatment room feeling refreshed, energized, more ‘centered’ psychologically, and ready to do your day. You can work out, play, dine or participate in any activity you wish after acupuncture.
I have patients who had not lived one day of their lives without allergy medications and seasonal injections prior to undergoing treatments at my office. Many of these patients have been off all medications and shots for several years and come in for a monthly treatment to keep their immune systems in tiptop shape. Wouldn’t you like to become one of the many who spend their time outdoors during spring and fall instead of suffering needlessly indoors?
Sign Me Up!!
You’re a little late in the game, but the season’s just begun. Call or email the office for an appointment and I’ll have you off those meds and shots in no time! 917-701-7582 email@example.com
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in the treatment of patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis: a randomized‐controlled clinical trial
B. Brinkhaus J. Hummelsberger R. Kohnen J. Seufert C.‐H. Hempen H. Leonhardy R. Nögel S. Joos E. Hahn D. Schuppan
First published: 02 August 2004 https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1398-9995.2004.00540.x Cited by: 56
Acupuncture in Patients With Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis: A Randomized Trial
Benno Brinkhaus, MD; Miriam Ortiz, MD; Claudia M. Witt, MD, MBA; Stephanie Roll, PhD; Klaus Linde, MD; Florian Pfab, MD; Bodo Niggemann, MD; Josef Hummelsberger, MD; András Treszl, PhD; Johannes Ring, MD, PhD; Torsten Zuberbier, MD; Karl Wegscheider, PhD; Stefan N. Willich, MD, MPHhttp://annals.org/aim/article-abstract/1583578/acupuncture-patients-seasonal-allergic-rhinitis-randomized-trial
Acupuncture in patients with allergic rhinitis: a pragmatic randomized trial
Author links open overlay panelBennoBrinkhausMD*Claudia M.WittMD, MBA*SusanneJenaPhD*BodoLieckerMD, MPH†KarlWegscheiderPhD‡Stefan N.WillichMD, MPH, MBA*https://doi.org/10.1016/S1081-1206(10)60294-3
LIVE! I’M GOING TO BE ON iHEART RADIO!
Now here’s some news and hot off the press! Mama Bear Cancer Support Radio will host me LIVE for a 30 minute interview on Friday November 2, 2018 at 11:30am. Donita Wheeler is not only an amazing talk show host, but also a cancer coach who has helped navigate multitudes of cancer patients through their journeys to total wellness. A cancer survivor herself, Donita understands what it is to be a patient and survivor and her show’s audience can listen in on what top experts (I’m one of them!) in the field have to say on various aspects of treatment care and life after cancer. Set your calendars and mark the date! Please share this information with anyone you know who is a patient, survivor or caretaker….or just want to listen to my fabulous voice for 30 minutes! 🙂 Happy September – be safe, be bold, be yourselves, and be kind to one another.