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beach runIn the time it takes to watch a TV sitcom, you could be taking steps to reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. All it takes is 30 minutes of walking.

As more Americans become less active, our risk for heart disease, stroke and other diseases increases. About 80 percent of adults do not get enough exercise every week, according to the American Heart Association.

To encourage people to take charge of their health, officials at the AHA have declared April 1 as National Walking Day – a day for everyone to take 30 minutes out of their day to get up and walk.

Not only is walking one of the easiest and cheapest things people can do to reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke, it’s also a type of exercise that people often stick with over the long haul.

Ideally, adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderately intense physical exercise – such as brisk walking – every week. Children need an hour of physical activity every day.

Research has shown that walking has many health benefits. Walking 30 minutes a day can help:

  • Reduce your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • Improve your blood pressure, blood sugar levels and blood lipid profile
  • Maintain your body weight and lower the risk of obesity
  • Enhance your mental well-being
  • Reduce your risk of osteoporosis
  • Reduce your risk of breast and colon cancer
  • Reduce your risk of non-insulin dependent type 2 diabetes

Walking has also been shown to lower the risk of heart-related conditions as much as running can, according to a 2013 study published in the American Heart Association journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. Researchers found that the same energy used for moderate intensity walking and vigorous intensity running resulted in similar reductions in risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. 

The more people walked or ran each week, the more their health benefits increased, too.

Source: American Heart Association news releases

How healthy is your heart? Take the online Bon Secours HeartAware Risk Assessment to find out.

+ Learn how to choose healthy foods for your heart through the Nutritional Analysis program at Bon Secours In Motion.


popcorn, Bon Secours In Motion, nutritional analysis, healthy, weight loss, snack,Potato chips. Chocolate chip cookies. Candy.

When you need a snack, do you reach for something you want to eat or something your body needs?

Snacking doesn’t necessary have to be unhealthy, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In fact, it’s an opportunity to make sure your body is getting adequate nutrition.

“If you choose carefully, and plan ahead, sensible snacks can be part of any healthful eating plan,” said Isabel Maples, spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products make excellent choices for snacks.

“Snacks can prevent overeating at mealtimes and throughout the day,” said Maples, who is also a registered dietitian nutritionist. For children and adults alike, snacks can supply foods and nutrients that we might miss in meals.”

Snacks benefit people in different ways depending on their age.

For active kids and teens, snacks can supplement their meals because they’re still growing.

“For adults, a healthy snack can provide an energy boost, and satisfy your mid-day hunger,” Maples said. “If you haven’t eaten for three or more hours, a snack can help bring up your blood sugar level for optimal energy. For older adults with smaller appetites or limited energy, several small meals including snacks may be easier for their bodies to handle.:

To eat more healthy snacks, try these tips from Maples:

  • Plan your snacks. “Keep a variety of tasty, nutrient-rich, ready-to-eat foods nearby, for when you need a bite to take the edge off hunger. Then, you won’t be so tempted by less-healthy options from vending machines, convenience stores or the contents of your own kitchen.” Snack ideas include fresh fruit, air-popped popcorn, whole-wheat crackers, dried fruit and nut mixes, almonds and fat-free yogurt.
  • Make snack calories count. “Snack on foods that fill the nutrient gaps in your day’s eating plan. Think of snacks as mini-meals to help you eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy – foods we often don’t eat enough.”
  • Go easy on high-calorie snacks such as chips, candy and soft drinks. “They often contain solid fats, and added sugars. Make these occasional choices that fit your day’s plan.”
  • Snack when you’re hungry – not because you’re bored, stressed or frustrated. “Exercise can actually be a great way to feed those emotional urges.”
  • Snack on sensible portions. “Choose single-serve containers, or put a small helping in a bowl rather than eating directly from the package.”
  • Quench your thirst. “Water, low-fat or fat-free milk and 100 percent juice are just a few options. Flavored waters might be high in added sugars, so check the label.”

Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

+ Learn how to choose healthier foods for better nutrition and weight loss through the Nutritional Analysis program at Bon Secours In Motion.

+ Do you need help losing weight? Learn from Registered Dietitians and athletic trainers how eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can safely shed unwanted pounds.

eating, lose weight, Bon Secours In MotionFor many people, it’s not easy to just have one slice of pizza or one piece of chocolate. And French fries? Forget it.

Researchers may have figured out why. Highly processed foods have been linked to addictive eating.

At the top of the list are some of the biggest culprits you’d expect: pizza, chocolate, French fries, ice cream, cookies and chips.

The study comes as 69 percent of the adult population in the United States is overweight. Thirty-five percent of adults over the age of 20 are obese. Knowing which foods can spur addictive-like eating could help people trying to lose weight.

Previous studies in animals have found that highly processed foods, or foods with added fat or refined carbohydrates (like white flour and sugar), may be capable of triggering addictive-like eating behavior. Clinical studies in humans have observed that some individuals meet the criteria for substance dependence when the substance is food.

Although highly processed foods are generally known to be highly tasty and preferred, it has been unknown whether these types of foods can elicit addiction-like responses in humans, nor is it known which specific foods produce these responses, said Ashley Gearhardt, U-M assistant professor of psychology.

Unprocessed foods, with no added fat or refined carbohydrates like brown rice and salmon, were not associated with addictive-like eating behavior.

Individuals with symptoms of food addiction or with higher body mass indexes reported greater problems with highly processed foods, suggesting some may be particularly sensitive to the possible “rewarding” properties of these foods, said Erica Schulte, a U-M psychology doctoral student and the study’s lead author.

“If properties of some foods are associated with addictive eating for some people, this may impact nutrition guidelines, as well as public policy initiatives such as marketing these foods to children,” Schulte said.

Nicole Avena, assistant professor of pharmacology and systems therapeutics at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, and a co-author on the study, explained the significance of the findings.

“This is a first step towards identifying specific foods, and properties of foods, which can trigger this addictive response,” she said. “This could help change the way we approach obesity treatment. It may not be a simple matter of ‘cutting back’ on certain foods, but rather, adopting methods used to curtail smoking, drinking and drug use.”

Future research should examine whether addictive foods are capable of triggering changes in brain circuitry and behavior like drugs of abuse, the researchers said.

Source: University of Michigan

+ Learn how to choose healthier foods for better nutrition and weight loss through the Nutritional Analysis program at Bon Secours In Motion and Sports Performance.

+ Do you need help losing weight? Find the right weight loss program for you at Bon Secours Weight Loss Institute.


Bon Secours In Motion Physical Therapy and Sports Performance, personal training, senior health, core stability and strength, personal trainer, certified training, sports performance specialistMany back problems can be prevented by using correct posture, lifting objects properly and avoiding movements that jolt or strain your back. In fact, many work-related injuries are caused by heavy lifting, repetitive motion and awkward posture, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Fortunately, the risk for developing back pain can be reduced by keeping your back healthy. Federal health authorities recommend low-impact exercises if you’ve been inactive for awhile. Walking, swimming and riding a stationary bike for 30 minutes a day can help increase muscle strength and flexibility. Always consult a physician first before trying any exercises.

Here are some more tips from the NIH:

  • Always stretch before you exercise or do any strenuous physical activity.
  • Don’t slouch when standing or sitting. The lower back can support a person’s weight most easily when the curvature is reduced. When standing, keep your weight balanced on your feet.
  • At home or work, make sure work surfaces are at a comfortable height.
  • Sit in a chair with good lumbar support and proper position and height for the task. Keep shoulders back. Switch sitting positions often and periodically walk around the office or gently stretch muscles to relieve tension. A pillow or rolled-up towel placed behind the small of the back can provide some lumbar support. During prolonged periods of sitting, elevate feet on a low stool or a stack of books.
  • Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes.
  • Sleeping on one’s side with the knees drawn up in a fetal position can help open up the joints in the spine and relieve pressure by reducing the curvature of the spine. Always sleep on a firm surface.
  • Don’t try to lift objects that are too heavy. Lift from the knees, pull the stomach muscles in, and keep the head down and in line with a straight back. When lifting, keep objects close to the body. Do not twist when lifting.
  • Maintain proper nutrition and diet to reduce and prevent excessive weight gain, especially weight around the waistline that taxes lower back muscles. A diet with sufficient daily intake of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D helps to promote new bone growth.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking reduces blood flow to the lower spine, which can contribute to spinal disc degeneration. Smoking also increases the risk of osteoporosis and impedes healing. Coughing due to heavy smoking also may cause back pain.

If you do have low back pain, a complete medical history and physical exam can help you figure out what’s causing the pain. Some patients benefit from physical therapy, which can help strengthen core muscle groups that support the low back. Physical therapy also helps improve mobility and flexibility.

Source: National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

+ Read more about physical therapy and how it can benefit your condition.

+ Learn more about the physical therapy programs offered at Bon Secours In Motion.

Diabetes, Diabetic Counseling, Hampton Roads, Hampton, Virginia, nutritional care plans, nutrition counseling, registered dietitian, Bon Secours In Motion Physical Therapy, fitnessWe all know that exercise is good for everyone. But what if it makes a difference when you exercise?

For people with type 2 diabetes, exercise might have the best results if it’s done after a meal.

According to new research from the University of Missouri,people with type 2 diabetes who exercise after eating can more effectively lower their risk of cardiovascular disease.

People with type 2 diabetes have heightened amounts of sugars and fats in their blood, which increases their risks for cardiovascular diseases such as strokes and heart attacks. Exercise is a popular prescription for them from their doctors.

“…It is not just the intensity or duration of exercising that is important, but also the timing of when it occurs,” said Jill Kanaley, professor in the MU Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. “Results from this study show that resistance exercise has its most powerful effect on reducing glucose and fat levels in one’s blood when performed after dinner.”

Kanaley and her colleagues studied a group of obese individuals with type 2 diabetes. On one occasion, participants performed resistance exercises before eating dinner. During another visit, participants exercised 45 minutes after eating dinner. Participants performed resistance exercises such as leg curls, seated calf raises and abdominal crunches. Compared to levels on a non-exercise day, Kanaley found that the participants who exercised before dinner were able to only reduce the sugar levels in their blood; however, participants who exercised after dinner were able to reduce both sugar and fat levels. Participants consumed a moderate carbohydrate dinner on the evenings of the study.

Kanaley said her research is particularly helpful for health care providers who have patients who exercise every day but are not seeing benefits.

“Knowing that the best time to exercise is after a meal could provide health care professionals with a better understanding of how to personalize exercise prescriptions to optimize health benefits,” Kanaley said.

Kanaley also found that improvements in participants’ blood sugar and fat levels were short-lived and did not extend to the next day. She suggests individuals practice daily resistance exercise after dinner to maintain improvements.

“Individuals who exercise in the morning have usually fasted for 10 hours beforehand,” Kanaley said. “Also, it is natural for individuals’ hormone levels to be different at different times of day, which is another factor to consider when determining the best time to exercise.”

In the future, Kanaley said she plans to research how exercising in the morning differs from exercising after dinner and how individuals’ hormone levels also affect exercise results.

The study was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

+ Learn how to choose healthier foods for better nutrition and weight loss through the Nutritional Analysis program at Bon Secours In Motion and Sports Performance.

+ Do you need help losing weight? Find the right weight loss program for you at Bon Secours Weight Loss Institute.

Teenager consoling her friendWomen with post-traumatic stress disorder have double the risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to women who don’t suffer from PTSD, a new study shows.

The risk appears to increase with the greater the number and severity of PTSD symptoms, researchers said. For women in the study who had the highest number of symptoms, nearly 12 percent had developed type 2 diabetes by age 60.

The study included nearly 50,000 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study II.

“Not only is PTSD devastating to mental health, but it affects physical health, too, raising risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, said senior author Karestan Koenen, the study’s senior author and adjunct associate professor of social and behavioral sciences at Harvard Chan School.

Unfortunately, fewer than half of Americans with PTSD receive treatment, according to first author Andrea Roberts, a research associate at Harvard Chan School.

“Women with PTSD and the health professionals who care for them should be aware that these women are at greater risk for diabetes,” Roberts said. “…Our study adds urgency to the effort to improve access to mental health care to address factors that contribute to diabetes and other chronic diseases.”

The study builds on past findings by researchers, including a 2013 study that reported a link between PTSD and obesity. Other research has shown a link between mental illness issues like anxiety, social phobia, agoraphobia and type 2 diabetes.

Detecting diabetes early can help decrease the risk for complications. Some people have no symptoms. Common symptoms include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling extreme thirst
  • Feeling very hungry – despite eating
  • Fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts or bruises that are slow to heal
  • Weight loss
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands or feet

Sources: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health news release; American Diabetes Association

+ Learn how to choose healthier foods for better nutrition and weight loss through the Nutritional Analysis program at Bon Secours In Motion and Sports Performance. We also offer individual and group diabetes counseling.

+ Do you need help losing weight? Find the right weight loss program for you at Bon Secours Weight Loss Institute.

Bon Secours In Motion Physical Therapy and Sports Performance specialists, osteoarthritis, physical therapy clinics, sports injury rehab, running analysis, foot and ankle injury program, athlete, female athletes, sportsmetric injury prevention, track and field, Hampton Roads, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Virginia Beach, Yorktown, Carrollton If you feel knee pain while going up and down the stairs, you may be experiencing the first symptoms of osteoarthritis.

New research, published in the medical journal Arthritis Care & Research, found that climbing stairs appears to be the first weight-bearing activity that causes osteoarthritis pain. Researches say it’s important to detect the condition early because it can help increase the likelihood of people finding effective treatment

“At present we have little concept of ‘early’ osteoarthritis and often only see people when they have significant longstanding pain and loss of function,” said Philip Conaghan, professor of musculoskeletal medicine in the University of Leeds School of Medicine. “This research is vital to understanding early symptoms of knee osteoarthritisKnowing this will help us intervene earlier, perhaps leading to more effective ways of treating this very painful condition.”

Nearly 27 million Americans age 25 and older are diagnosed with osteoarthritis or, OA, according to published studies. Previous research reports that knee OA is the leading cause of functional limitation among older adults, making walking and climbing stairs difficult. About 80 percent of OA patients have some limitation in movement, with 11 percent of adults with knee OA needing assistance with personal care assistance, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

For the Leeds study, the team looked at the cases of 4,673 people who had, or were at high risk of, osteoarthritis. Participants completed annual surveys for up to seven years in order to help the researchers track the emergence of pain during different activities over a long-term period.

The study revealed that using stairs was the first weight-bearing task in which people noticed pain. After stairs, they reported feeling pain while walking, standing, lying or sitting and then finally when resting in bed.

Health professionals recommend walking 6,000 steps daily to help prevent the risk of developing mobility issues associated with osteoarthritis. Previous research has found that walking 6,000 or more steps per day may protect those with or at risk of knee of OA from developing problems, such as difficulty getting up from a chair and climbing stairs. That study was published in the American College of Rheumatology journal, Arthritis Care & Research.

Sources: University of Leeds, Arthritis Care & Research

+ Read about advanced techniques used in total joint replacement at Virginia Orthopaedic & Spine Specialists, which helps patients recover faster.

+ Find out how to improve your mobility and strength with the Arthritis Rehabilitation physical therapy program at Bon Secours In Motion.


Bon Secours In Motion Physical Therapy and Sports Performance, nutrition, registered dietitian, dietitian, healthy eatingEating a healthy diet can help prevent all women from developing type 2 diabetes but it’s especially helpful for minority women, new research suggests.

The findings are significant for Asian, Hispanic and black women because as minorities, they face a much higher risk for type 2 diabetes than white women, according to a news release from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“As the incidence of type 2 diabetes continues to increase at an alarming rate worldwide, these findings can have global importance for what may be the largest public health threat of this century,” said lead author Jinnie Rhee, who conducted the research at Harvard Chan.

More than 29 million people nationwide have diabetes. In 15 years, the World Health Organization projects that diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death.

For the study, published online in Diabetes Care, researchers analyzed a person’s risk for diabetes and their overall diet. A healthier diet meant eating less foods with saturated and trans fats, sugary drinks and red and processed meats while eating more foods that had a low glycemic index and a higher intake of cereal fiber, polyunsaturated fats, coffee and nuts.

People who followed a healthy overall diet appeared to have a lower risk for type 2 diabetes. An analysis showed that for every 1,000 white women, 5.3 cases of diabetes could be prevented by following a healthier diet. However, for every 1,000 minority women, 8 cases could be prevented, the news release states.

“This finding confirms that we are in the same boat when it comes to preventing type 2 diabetes by diet,” said Walter Willett, chairman of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard Chan. “Our next challenge is to put this knowledge into practice so everyone can benefit.”

Source: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health news release

+ Learn how to choose healthier foods for better nutrition and weight loss through the Nutritional Analysis program at Bon Secours In Motion and Sports Performance.

+ Do you need help losing weight? Learn from Registered Dietitians and athletic trainers how eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can safely shed unwanted pounds.

Bon Secours In Motion, avocado, cholesterol, Registered DietitianFor those who worry about “bad” cholesterol levels, make sure to grab some avocados the next time you’re in the grocery store.

Eating avocados may be a way to tackle high cholesterol.

Researchers found that eating an avocado every day – as part of a heart healthy, cholesterol-lowering moderate-fat diet – can actually improve bad cholesterol levels for people who are overweight or obese.

The research, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, found that people on a moderate-fat diet who ate an avocado every day had lower bad cholesterol than than those on a similar diet who didn’t eat an avocado a day or were on a lower-fat diet.

This doesn’t mean everyone should break out the chips and guacamole.

Corn chips are high in calories and sodium. A better way to eat avocados is to put them in salads and sandwiches and eat them with chicken or fish – lean protein foods.

Researchers used Hass avocados in their study. They tested the effect avocados had on traditional and novel cardiovascular risk factors by replacing saturated fatty acids from an average American diet with unsaturated fatty acids from avocados.

People in the study followed three different cholesterol-lowering diets. The results found that those who ate an avocado every day and followed a moderate fat diet had the biggest drop – 13.5 mg/dL – in low-density lipoprotein, also called “bad cholesterol.”

This same group also had more favorable blood measurements on the avocado diet for total cholesterol, triglycerides, small dense LDL, non-HDL cholesterol and others.

Avocados, which contain monounsaturated fatty acids – MUFAs -, also provide other important nutrients such as fiber and phytosterols, which help keep the body from absorbing cholesterol.

According to researchers, many heart-healthy diets recommend replacing saturated fatty acids with MUFAs or polyunsaturated fatty acids to reduce the risk of heart disease. This is because saturated fats can increase bad cholesterol levels and raise the risk of cardiovascular disease, the news release states.

The Mediterranean diet, includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fatty fish, and foods rich in MUFAs such as extra-virgin olive oil and nuts. Like avocados, some research indicates that these not only contain better fats but also certain micronutrients and bioactive components that may play an important role in reducing risk of heart disease, according to the AHA.

+ Discover how nutrition can benefit good health. Meet with a Registered Dietitian at Bon Secours InMotion for Nutritional Analysis.

+ Lose weight through the Bon Secours Fitness and Weight Loss Program.

Bon Secours In Motion Physical Therapy and Sports Performance, personal training, senior health, core stability and strength, personal trainer, certified training, sports performance specialistExercise may help people with Parkinson’s disease improve their balance, mobility and quality of life but it should be started early on after diagnosis.

About 60 percent of patients who have Parkinson’s suffer a fall every year. Two-thirds of them fall repeatedly.

“The resulting injuries, pain, limitations of activity and fear of falling again can really affect people’s health and well-being,” said study author Colleen G. Canning, PhD, of the University of Sydney in Australia.

For the study, 231 people with Parkinson’s disease either received their usual care or took part in an exercise program of 40 to 60 minutes of balance and leg strengthening exercises three times a week for six months. This minimally-supervised exercise program was prescribed and monitored by a physical therapist with participants performing most of the exercise at home. On average, 13 percent of the exercise sessions were supervised by a physical therapist.

Compared to those in the control group, the number of falls by participants who exercised was reduced in those with less severe Parkinson’s disease, but not in those with more severe disease. Those who had less severe disease and exercised, experienced a 70-percent reduction in falling.

“These results suggest that minimally-supervised exercise programs aimed at reducing falls in people with Parkinson’s should be started early in the disease process,” Canning said.

Overall, those who took part in the exercise program performed better on tests of ability to move around and balance, had a lower fear of falls and reported better overall mood and quality of life.

The study was supported by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council and the Harry Secomb Foundation.

Source: American Academy of Neurology news release

+ At Bon Secours In Motion our physical therapy clinic at DePaul Medical Center offers a non-invasive treatment program for Parkinson’s patients struggling with the activities of daily living. “BIG” is the treatment of Parkinson’s through an evidenced based intensive amplitude-based exercise program for the limb motor system and re-education of the sensorimotor system. The goal of the BIG program is to help these patients perform their activities of daily living with greater ease.