What is osteoporosis? Can it be prevented?
As we age, our bodies are not as healthy as they were when we were younger. Muscles are slower to react. Joints are not as fluid as before. And bones are weaker than they were in our youth.
Osteoporosis is a bone disease most commonly found in older women, particularly those of Caucasian or Asian descent. Literally translated as “porous bone,” osteoporosis happens when bone density has decreased and the bones have become brittle. Unfortunately, the early symptoms of osteoporosis are easy to miss, like back pain or stooped posture. This is why most people don’t find out that they have the disease until they break a bone.
Your bones are constantly changing and creating new bone cells. When you’re younger and growing, your body creates more bone than it loses. This shifts as we reach our mid-20s, when our bodies slow down the process and we’ve reached our peak bone mass, or bone thickness.
How to adapt your workout as you age
As you get older, it’s easy to let your exercise regimen slip away. Schedules get more complicated with work, spouses and children. Bodies don’t respond as well to high-intensity workouts or longer bouts of activity. But it’s important to stay active for the long run — for a variety of reasons.
As we age, the goal of our activity may shift from weight-loss or general health to more specific goals. Injury and even death from falls is an unfortunate trend for older adults — as adults approach their 70s, they need to consider how to improve their balance and reduce their chances of falling.
The importance of a good night’s sleep
by Maria Fermoile, PT, DPT, OCS
Alliance Rehabilitation, Fresno, CA
In today’s world, there are so many demands on our time, pulling us in different directions. It’s often tempting to stay up late or to get up early just to get things done. So why is this bad for us?
Sleep gives our body the chance to maintain and repair our basic systems. Muscles, hormones, the brain and nervous system, the digestive tract — they all need a chance to recuperate from a hard day’s work. This is why a lack of sleep affects both our mental and physical health. It is associated with increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and system-wide inflammation. Lack of sleep can also affect our immune system, our cognitive abilities (i.e., our mental capacity), and our mood and mental health.
What is fibromyalgia? Can physical therapy help?
Fibromyalgia is a condition that, for many people, is associated with more questions than answers. However, physical therapists, as experts in musculoskeletal problems, are an important resource for people who have fibromyalgia.
Let’s start with what fibromyalgia is: Due to its varied symptoms, fibromyalgia can be difficult to diagnose. People with fibromyalgia usually have widespread pain throughout the body, often accompanied by tender points, muscles and joints that are particularly susceptible to pain and movement. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.”
How exercise can help prevent disease
It’s probably no surprise that exercise is good for you. The physical therapists in the Physiquality network recommend physical activity as part of living a healthy lifestyle, and we all know it can help you lose weight and feel better. But how exactly can it improve your health? Here are a few ways exercise can actually prevent health problems.
The oft-cited parameters to work out 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week (or 150 minutes a week) were published by the American Heart Association in 2011. They are part of the AHA’s simple seven rules for maximal heart health:
How do you know if your child’s coach is a good one?
with advice from Jim Liston, MA, CSCS
and Mark Salandra, CSCS
The mistreatment of athletes by coaches is nothing new (see Knight, Bobby), but it does seem to be getting more attention in the past few years. Stories of athlete abuse and harassment at such universities as Rutgers and the University of Tennessee — and even at the Olympic level — have made national headlines, while stories of coaches to younger athletes are chilling: The California teen paralyzed after tackling an opponent head first during a football game, a technique taught to him by his Pop Warner coaches, or the story of a coach berating a young player in front of his teammates, calling him a “f—ing retard.”
Studies back up these anecdotes. A 2011 paper published in the UK found that among 6,000 student athletes polled across the U.K., “75% said they suffered ‘emotional harm’ at least once, and one-third of them said their coach was the culprit.” And a 2005 study in the U.S. found that “45% of the student athletes said their coaches called them names, insulted them or verbally abused them another way during play.”
Ways to keep your blood pressure under control
with advice from Ann Cowlin, MA, CSM, CCE
and Chelsea Cole, PTA
High blood pressure, or hypertension, can put you at risk for a variety of health problems, especially heart and kidney failure, stroke and vascular disease. It’s important to know in what range your blood pressure falls, as well as whether it’s consistent over time.
When your doctor or nurse takes your blood pressure, it will be a ratio of two numbers, like 120/80. The first number is your systolic blood pressure, or your arterial pressure (that is, the pressure in your arteries) when your heart beats. The second number is your diastolic blood pressure, or the arterial pressure between heart beats (when your heart is at rest).
Does the seven-minute workout work?
by Nancy Foley, PT, DPT, OCS
Last summer, yet another fitness fad/trend received some attention. It was first published in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal, and then it received coverage in a variety of newspapers and websites, including the New York Times. While high-intensity circuit training (HICT) is not new, the specific circuit training cycle discussed in the article received attention because the circuit duration lasted approximately 7 minutes. In addition, the authors theorized that it could also benefit “the masses.”
It is important to understand that this article was a case report on how the two authors manage limited training schedules and environments for their elite-level athletes: using body-weight resistance without any other equipment, in a seven-minute workout cycle, and repeated as many as 1-3 times based on time availability. For their purposes, the authors felt that this training tool was an effective way to help their athletes manage their workouts while maintaining intensity and improving aerobic conditioning in the presence of busy lives.