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Yoga Chronic, low-back pain – a common problem that’s often difficult to treat – may be eased with the practice of yoga, according to two studies.

But before anyone rolls out their yoga mat for the first time, they should understand that yoga does not replace conventional medical care. It should also not be used to postpone seeing a doctor or health care provider for any pain.

Current research suggests that yoga poses can reduce low-back pain and improve the ability to walk and move, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Studies also suggest that practicing yoga regularly may also reduce heart rate and blood pressure and help relieve anxiety and depression. Yoga has also been shown to improve overall physical fitness, strength and flexibility.

Benefits found:

  • One study of 90 people with chronic low-back pain found that after six months of practicing yoga, they had significantly less pain, disability and depression.
  • A 2011 study found that people who did yoga and conventional stretching exercises had better results than when they followed a self-care book for chronic low-back pain.

Studies on how yoga affects osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis have been inconclusive.

Before taking a yoga class, it’s important to make sure the instructor is well-trained. Some yoga teacher programs require hundreds of hours of training while others require very little. Professional organizations can often recommend certified instructors.

Hot yoga, which has become a popular trend in recent years, is when the room is heated as high as 105 degrees.

People interested in trying hot yoga should consult their physician first. People who have heart disease, lung disease and a prior history of heatstroke may want to avoid this type of practice. Many hot yoga classes recommend drinking water before, during and after a hot yoga class.

Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

+ Do you suffer from arthritis? At Bon Secours In Motion,  individualized treatment programs for arthritis care and rehabilitation are developed based on each patient’s initial evaluation. Our multidisciplinary treatment team of experienced physical therapists relies on a variety of non-invasive treatment options.


overeating, pie, thanksgivingIf you feel like you need to take a nice, long nap after Thanksgiving, don’t blame it on eating turkey.

Yes, turkey does contain tryptophan, an essential amino acid which is associated with inducing drowsiness, but that’s not what’s really making us so sleepy.

It’s actually from overeating, according to the American Chemical Society.

When people overeat, blood is diverted from the brain and the rest of the body to the stomach and digestive system. Big helpings of carbohydrates such as those found in bread, yams with marshmallows, and pie lead many people to head for a nap on the couch.

In fact, many people consume more calories during their Thanksgiving meal than they do throughout a typical day.

It’s a good reminder to remember that holidays are wonderful for celebrating but portion control is important.

Avoid Overeating with Portion Control

One way to limit how much you eat is to use your plate as a guide for a balanced meal, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Half of your plate should be reserved for vegetables, a quarter for grains, and a quarter for lean meat or protein, such as turkey.

“Remind yourself that you can always have leftovers the next day and don’t have to eat a little of everything on Thanksgiving,” said Jackie Browning, a Registered Dietitian for Bon Secours Surgical Weight Loss Center.

Sources: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American Chemical Society news release

+ Make sure your leftovers are safe to eat. Check out these tips for storage and reheating.

+ How healthy are your meals? Find out with Nutritional Analysis, a program at Bon Secours In Motion where you work with a Registered Dietitian to make sure you’re getting the right nutrients for your body.


biceps, muscle, strength, Bon Secours In Motion Carrying groceries. Lifting children. Pulling doors open.

Building strength and muscle mass in your arms – specifically your biceps – isn’t just for show. It’s important to have strong biceps for everyday activities.

But which exercise is best for targeting the biceps?

A recent independent study, commissioned by the American Council on Exercise, evaluated which of the most popular exercises for biceps most effectively strengthened the biceps brachii.

After analyzing data, the researchers observed that the concentration curl elicited significantly higher muscle activity in the biceps than any of the others. Concentration curls are performed with the upper arm pressed against the leg, resulting in better isolation of the biceps muscle, according to a news release from ACE.

“Part of our mission is to ensure people have the science-based information they need to safely and effectively achieve their health and fitness goals. For many people, that means selecting the most effective exercises for targeting the biceps,” said ACE Chief Science Officer Cedric Bryant, Ph.D. “This study helped us identify which exercise produced the highest degree of biceps engagement.”

Led by John Porcari, PhD, researchers fromthe University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse, recruited 16 healthy female and male volunteers to evaluate the cable curl, barbell curl, concentration curl, chin-up, EZ curl (both wide and narrow grip), incline curl and preacher curl.

Using data from electrodes attached to the biceps brachii, anterior deltoid and brachioradialis of each subject, muscle activity was measured during each exercise.

During the other exercises movements, the upper arm is able to sway and contribute the movement as indicated by a higher level of anterior deltoid muscle activity. According to Bryant,  “It’s important to note, however, that several of the other exercises elicited more than adequate biceps muscle activation and can serve as viable options for improving biceps muscle strength and function.”

Source: ACE news release

+ Did you know building lean muscle helps people lose weight? Learn more about the fitness and weight loss program at Bon Secours In Motion.


cupcakesIs it possible to control a craving for cupcakes, pizza or pie by the way you think about food?

Researchers believe we can. In fact, they say they may have found an effective strategy for people who want to stop acting on food cravings.

In a recent study, researchers used functional MRI scans to watch the brains of people as they viewed pictures of enticing foods such as pizza, French fries and ice cream. The researchers discovered that if the participants thought about the long-term negative impact of eating those foods, it could reduce their appetite.

“We found that simply thinking in a different way affects how the brain responds to tempting food cues in individuals with obesity,” said Dr. Kathryn Demos, assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the Miriam Hospital at Brown University. “Through the MRI scans we identified that thinking about the long-term negative impact of eating unhealthy foods increased activity in a region of the brain involved in inhibitory control and self-regulation. Our results show the promising possibility that focusing on the long-term consequences of consuming unhealthy foods could help diminish cravings and, as a result, potentially enhance weight-loss efforts.”

During the study, participants were asked to use four different strategies for combating food cravings:

  • distraction – thinking about something else other than enticing food.
  • allow – accepting one’s thoughts and recognizing they are just thoughts that need not be acting upon.
  • later – focusing on negative long-term consequences of eating the food.
  • now – focusing on the immediate reward of the food.

Strategy to Reduce Food Cravings

Using the MRI scans, researchers found that the “later” strategy reduced the urge to eat the most. It also increased brain activity the most in areas that are associated with inhibition of overeating.

Source: The Obesity Society news release

 + Need help losing weight? Learn about the Bon Secours In Motion Fitness and Weight Loss Program.

+ Are you eating the right foods for your activity level? At Bon Secours In Motion, our Registered Dietitians help clients live healthier lives through nutritional analysis.

walking, calories, Bon Secours In MotionIf you knew it would take walking five miles to burn off the calories in a 20-ounce bottle of soda, would you be less inclined to drink one?

A new study suggests you might.

When adolescents saw printed signs explaining how many miles they would have to walk to burn off 250 calories, which is how much a typical 20-ounce soda contains, they were more likely to buy a beverage with fewer calories, according to a news release from the John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The interesting twist is that the adolescents continued to make healthier choices weeks after the signs were removed.

A report on the findings, published in the American Journal of Public Health, adds to growing evidence that suggests showing calorie counts on products isn’t enough to steer Americans toward better eating habits. Although many chain restaurants must begin listing calorie counts on their menus early next year to comply with the Affordable Care Act, researchers say policymakers may want to rethink how that information is communicated.

“People don’t really understand what it means to say a typical soda has 250 calories,” said study leader Sara N. Bleich, in the news release. Bleich is an associate professor in the department of health policy and management at the Bloomberg School. “If you’re going to give people calorie information, there’s probably a better way to do it. What our research found is that when you explain calories in an easily understandable way such as how many miles of walking needed to burn them off, you can encourage behavior change.”

A 20-ounce bottle of soda contains about 16 teaspoons of sugar. It would also take roughly 50 minutes of running to work off that many calories, researchers said.

Source: news release John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

+ Does your child need help establishing healthy eating and exercise habits? Learn about the Youth Fitness program at Bon Secours In Motion.

+ Have you been recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or are at risk for this chronic health condition? Try Individual or Group Counseling at Bon Secours In Motion Physical Therapy and Sports Performance to learn how healthy strategies can help people living with diabetes.

stretch, football combine preparatory training program, Wyle Maddox, In Motion Sports Performance, football training, football coach, football specialist, combine specialist, Virginia Beach, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Hampton Roads, speed and agility trainingEnergy drinks are popular among some athletes but two new studies may lead many to rethink how they fuel their bodies for competitions, games and workouts.

Energy drinks are non-alcoholic beverages that contain caffeine, vitamins, and other ingredients for example, taurine, ginseng, and guarana. They are typically marketed as boosting energy and increasing physical and mental performance.

In one study from Spain, researchers found that energy drinks cause insomnia and nervousness in athletes in the hours following competition. Contrary to their name, “energy drinks” do not provide more energy than other soft drinks but they do produce an energizing feeling related to the stimulation provided by caffeine.

“Athletes felt they had more strength, power and resistance with the energy drink than with the placebo drink,” according to a news release from the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. “However, the energy drinks increased the frequency of insomnia, nervousness and the level of stimulation in the hours following the competition.”

Another study prompted a team of researchers from the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe in the open-access journalFrontiers in Public Health to warn that increased consumption of energy drinks may pose danger to public health.

Part of the risks of energy drinks are due to their high levels of caffeine. Energy drinks can be drunk quickly, unlike hot coffee, and as a result they are more likely to cause caffeine intoxication. Energy drinks can cause caffeine intoxication, which can lead to heart palpitations, hypertension, nausea, vomiting, convulsions, psychosis and in rare cases, death, a news release from Frontiers states.

Additionally, many young people mix energy drinks with alcohol. According to the National Poison Data System in the United States, between 2010 and 2011, more than 4,850 calls were made to poison information centers about energy drinks. Almost 40 percent involved alcohol mixed with energy drinks, the release states.

+ Learn how to fuel your body properly for your best sports performance. Consult a Registered Dietitian to learn about healthy eating tailored to your needs.

+ Improve your sports ability through many of our sports performance programs at Bon Secours In Motion.

Bon Secours In motion Physical Therapy and Sports Performance, physical therapist, physical therapyPhysical therapy after total knee or hip replacement surgery is an important part of a patient’s recovery.

But seeing a physical therapist before surgery can also help, according to a new study published in the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Undergoing physical therapy before joint replacement surgery can diminish the need for postoperative care by nearly 30 percent, researchers say.

In fact, this type of therapy – called prehabilitation – saved an average of $1,215 per patient in skilled nursing facility, home health agency and other postoperative care, a news release from the American Association of Orthopaedics states.

The findings could have widespread implications as the nation’s population ages and more people need total knee or hip replacement. Roughly 50 million adults nationwide have been diagnosed with arthritis by a physician. As the condition progresses, arthritis patients often need to have their hip or knee replaced to maintain their mobility and quality of life.

Researchers estimate that the number of hip replacements will grow by 174 percent between 2005 and 2030, while the number of knee replacements will increase 673 percent in that same timeframe.

In the study, researchers found that patients who received physical therapy before their surgery showed a 29 percent reduction in postoperative care use.

Additional benefits of have physical therapy before surgery included:

  • The percentage of patients needing postoperative care services decreased from nearly 80 percent to 54.2 patients for those who had physical therapy before surgery.
  • Patients who underwent preoperative physical therapy saved $1,215 each by not needing as much care in a skilled nursing facility or from a home health agency.

“This study demonstrated an important opportunity to pre-empt postoperative outcome variances by implementing preoperative physical therapy along with management of comorbidities before and during surgery,” said Dr. Ray Wasielewski, co-author of the study.

Source: AAOS news release

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

football, team training, men's health, weight loss, fitnessMany overuse injuries in young athletes can be prevented with simple communication.

Teaching young athletes to let their coach or parent know if they’re having any type of pain can help prevent an undiagnosed injury from becoming more severe.

Unfortunately, many young athletes are not aware that it’s easy to develop an overuse injury, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

During this time of year, it’s pretty common for athletes playing football, volleyball and soccer and participating in cheerleading to sustain an injury. In 2013, roughly 882,000 football-related injuries occurred in children 5 to 18 years old, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Nearly 434,000 children had soccer injuries. Cheerleading accounted for close to 100,000 injuries while there were more than 94,000 injuries related to playing volleyball.

“Overuse injuries are the most common type of sports-related injuries,” said AAOS spokesman Dr. Michael S. George, who specializes in sports medicine. “Often times, the initial aches and pains felt during the progression of an injury are overlooked by young athletes.”

To help reduce and prevent the number of sports-related injuries reported every year, the AAOS recommends the following tips:

  • Have a pre-season physical examination and follow your doctor’s recommendations.
  • Warm-up and cool down properly with low-impact exercises like walking or cycling.
  • Consistently incorporate strength training and stretching. A good stretch involves not going beyond the point of resistance and should be held for 10-12 seconds.
  • Hydrate adequately to maintain health and minimize muscle cramps. Waiting until you are thirsty is often too late to hydrate properly.
  • Keep an eye out for unsafe play surfaces. Playing grounds should be in good condition.
  • Don’t play through the pain. Speak with an orthopaedic sports medicine specialist or athletic trainer if you have any concerns about injuries.
  • When participating, wear protective gear such as properly fitted cleats, pads, helmets, mouth guard or other necessary equipment for the selected sport.
  • Play multiple positions and/or sports during the off-season to minimize overuse injuries.
  • Pay attention to weather conditions such as wet, slippery fields that can lead to injuries.
  • Avoid the pressure to overtrain. Listen to your body and decrease training time and intensity, if pain or discomfort develops. This will reduce the risk of injury and help avoid “burn-out.”

Source: AAOS news release

+ Learn about the Bon Secours Sports Performance’s Injury Prevention Program. Our program is built to screen for the deficiencies that cause pain and incorporate corrective exercises to allow your body to move more functionally and efficiently. Our program uses the tools that the NFL, MLS and many professional athletes are using to increase the quality of everyday life.

+ Find a certified athletic trainer through Bon Secours Hampton Roads Health System Primary Care Sports Medicine.

Diabetes, Diabetic Counseling, Hampton Roads, Hampton, Virginia, nutritional care plans, nutrition counseling, registered dietitian, Bon Secours In Motion Physical Therapy, fitnessAmericans face a 40 percent risk of developing type 2 diabetes during their lifetime, a new federal study shows.
But they may be able to lower that risk by seeking nutritional counseling that includes how to make lifestyle and dietary changes from a Registered Dietitian, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
“Health professionals are in agreement that nutrition services are one of the first treatments individuals should receive to improve conditions such as diabetes and its related complications,” said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy Spokeswoman Angela Ginn.
The study, conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that two out of every five Americans are expected to develop type 2 diabetes during their lifetime.
“As the number of diabetes cases continue to increase and patients live longer, there will be a growing demand for health services and extensive costs,” said Dr. Edward Gregg, study leader in a CDC news release. “More effective lifestyle interventions are urgently needed to reduce the number of new cases in the USA and other developed nations.”
For people who have been diagnosed with diabetes, a Registered Dietitian can help create an eating plan that’s individually tailored, Ginn said in an Academy news release. It can take into account a person’s weight, medications, lifestyle and other health problems.
“Research has shown that weight loss through moderate diet changes and physical activity plays a significant role in reducing a person’s risk of diabetes and its complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, nerve damage and other health problems,” said Ginn, who is also a certified diabetes educator. “A registered dietitian nutritionist is one of your best resources for developing a plan to make these lifestyle changes.”

RDNs often work as part of a medical team, in many practice settings, such as hospitals, physician offices, private practice and other health care facilities. Thankfully, medical nutrition therapy provided by an RDN is covered by numerous insurance plans including Medicare Part B.

“Check with your insurance plan for specific medical nutrition therapy coverage details. Your plan may cover nutrition counseling for chronic conditions and health concerns like diabetes and prediabetes. Together with a registered dietitian nutritionist, you can set nutrition goals to improve your health,” Ginn said.

+ Have you been recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or are at risk for this chronic health condition? Try Individual or Group Counseling at Bon Secours In Motion Physical Therapy and Sports Performance to learn how healthy strategies can help people living with diabetes.

lose weight, Bon Secours Weight Loss InstituteCooking and eating at home more often may be an excellent strategy for anyone trying to lose weight by watching how many calories they consume.

Researchers have found that eating out at restaurants often means consuming an additional 200 total daily calories, according to a study published in Public Health Nutrition. When you consider how often in a week you head out for lunch or dinner, those calories can quickly add up to extra pounds.

Along with the extra calories, people who eat in restaurants are also taking in significant increases in sugar, saturated fat, and sodium, a news release from the American Cancer Society states.

It’s an important finding because the United States is one of the most obese nations in the world. More than one in three adult men and women are considered obese, which means their body mass index is 30 or greater.

Obesity causes many health problems such as type 2 diabetes, increased risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. It can also shorten a person’s lifespan by 6 to 14 years.

Eating fewer calories and burning more are one strategy to lose weight. Many people also find it helpful to meet with a Registered Dietitian to learn about eating healthy meals.

For the study on eating in restaurants, researchers looked at data collected from more than 12,000 people between the ages of 20 and 64. The study found that on days when eating at a fast-food restaurant, a person ate an additional 195 calories, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 4 grams of sugar and about 300 mg of sodium.

Eating at a full-service restaurant did not mean the meals were healthier. People ate an additional 205 calories, with an extra 2.5 grams of saturated fat and 451 mg of sodium.

Source: American Cancer Society news release

+ Need help losing weight? Learn about the Bon Secours In Motion Fitness and Weight Loss Program.

+ Are you eating the right foods for your activity level? At Bon Secours In Motion, our Registered Dietitians help clients live healthier lives through nutritional analysis.