Exercising and playing team sports as a teenager can have long-lasting benefits for women, a new study shows.
In fact, exercising during adolescence may even reduce the risk of dying from cancer and other causes later in life.
A large study, which included about 75,000 women in China, has found that women who exercised up to 80 minutes weekly as adolescents had a 16 percent lower risk of death from cancer and a 15 percent lower risk of dying from any causes.
Exercising for 1.3 hours a week had a positive impact, according to the study, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
Even greater benefits were seen for women who continued to exercise as adults — they enjoyed a 20 percent lower risk for death from all causes.
“Our results support the importance of promoting exercise participation in adolescence to reduce mortality in later life and highlight the critical need for the initiation of disease prevention early in life,” said Sarah J. Nechuta, MPH, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, Tennessee.
Although the study shows an association between exercise and a lower risk for death, it does not prove that exercising leads to lower mortality, researchers said. Further studies are needed.
The research adds to an ever-growing list of potential benefits for exercise. Not only can playing sports help children build their confidence and improve their self esteem, but exercise may also improve school performance and help teens maintain a healthy weight.
Nechuta noted that “understanding the long-term impact of modifiable lifestyle factors such as exercise in adolescence is of critical importance and can have substantial public health implications for disease prevention over the course of life.”
Source: American Association for Cancer Research
+ Does your child need help with exercise and nutrition? At Bon Secours In Motion, we offer a youth fitness program to help children learn about choosing healthy foods and how to make exercise fun.
Although eating more fruits and vegetables adds nutrients to a person’s diet, reduces their risk for disease and helps manage body weight, very few American adults are including them at mealtime.
In fact, only one in 10 American adults actually eats the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables, according to a report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Federal researchers interviewed hundreds of thousands of Americans in a 2013 telephone survey to collect the data.
Health authorities say the problems vary across the country with some states faring betters than others. Virginia matched the dismal national averages with 13 percent of adults meeting the fruit recommendations and only 9 percent eating enough vegetables daily. Californians reported eating the most fruits (18 percent met the guidelines) and vegetables (13 percent).
The findings come at a time when doctors and Registered Dietitians have been urging people to replace salty, fatty and sugary foods with fruits and vegetables – much healthier choices.
How much fruit and vegetables each person needs per day depends on their age, gender and level of physical activity. A good rule of thumb is to make half your plate – at every meal – fruits and vegetables.
The problem could be addressed by promoting fruits and vegetables in grocery stores and restaurants and making them more accessible in community settings and at work, federal health officials wrote in their report.
“For example, work sites can make it easier for employees to make healthy food choices and create social norms that support healthy eating by creating policies to ensure that fruits and vegetables are provided at work-site gatherings, including meetings, conferences and other events,” the report states.
It’s not just adults who aren’t eating enough fresh and non-processed foods – 60 percent of children ate less fruits than recommended and 93 percent consumed fewer vegetables than recommended.
Instilling better eating habits earlier in life might lead to better practices later in life, federal authorities wrote. Places where children learn and play can have a strong role in improving their diet.
“School districts, schools, and early care and education providers can help increase children’s fruit and vegetable consumption by meeting or exceeding current federal nutrition standards for meals and snacks, serving fruit and vegetables whenever food is offered and training staff to make fruit and vegetables more appealing and accessible,” the report recommends.
Adding fruits and veggies to your diet only takes a few minutes of planning. Consider these tips from the CDC:
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
- Grab fresh or dried fruit to eat on the go. Bananas make an easy portable fruit.
- Bring cut-up vegetables or fruit from home when you will need a snack somewhere.
- Add fruits and vegetables to your favorite snack or recipe. Parents can often “hide” vegetables by adding pureed ones to muffins or casserole dishes.
- Always serve fruit and vegetables to party guests.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report July 2015
+ Learn how to choose healthier foods for better nutrition and weight loss through the Nutritional Analysis program at Bon Secours In Motion.
+ Does a child in your life need help losing weight and making better food choices? The Youth and Fitness program at Bon Secours Sports Performance specializes in helping children of all ages improve their health through physical activity and nutrition.
By: Erin Ludwig, MS, ATC, VAT/L, Supervisor of Athletic Training Services, Bon Secours Sports Medicine
With the summer months upon us, whether you’re running, playing a pickup game of basketball or going for a power walk, make sure you take care of your body when the temperatures rise.
Exercising in hot weather puts extra stress on your body. When exercising in the heat, you can potentially risk serious illness. Both the exercise itself and the air temperature increase your core body temperature. To help cool itself, your body sends more blood to circulate through your skin. This leaves less blood for your muscles, which in turn increases your heart rate.
If the humidity also is high, your body faces added stress because sweat doesn’t readily evaporate from your skin, pushing your body temperature even higher. In addition to circulating the blood throughout the body to cool itself, your body also uses fluids (sweat) to cool itself, causing an increase in need for fluid intake during these times. If a person is unable to meet the fluid needs of the body, a heat illness can occur.
Heat-related illnesses occur along a spectrum, starting out mild but worsening if left untreated. Heat illnesses include:
- Heat rash – a skin irritation caused by heat
- Heat cramps – painful muscle contractions that cause the affected muscles to feel firm to the touch
- Heat syncope – a feeling of lightheadedness or fainting caused by high temperatures, often occurring after standing for a long period of time or standing quickly after sitting for a long period of time
- Heat Exhaustion – medical condition characterized by sweaty, clammy skin, weakness, rapid pulse, dizziness, nausea, headache, fatigue, and irritability
- Heat Stroke – medical emergency characterized by hot, dry skin, temperature over 105, rapid pulse, unconsciousness, disorientation, headache, fatigue, and irritability
If you develop any of these symptoms, you must lower your body temperature and get hydrated. Stop exercising immediately and get out of the heat. If possible, have someone stay with you who can help monitor your condition. If your symptoms do not improve within 30 minutes, seek medical attention.
By taking some basic precautions, your exercise routine doesn’t have to be sidelined when the heat is on. Below are some tips on how to avoid heat related illnesses.
- Know your fitness level.
- Drink plenty of fluids – water and sports drinks are your best choices. Increase your fluid intake before, during and after exercise and take frequent water breaks. Don’t wait until you are thirsty. Avoid sugary drinks, alcoholic beverages, and caffeine.
- Watch the temperature and adjust your activity accordingly.
- Get acclimated – if you’re used to exercising indoors or in cooler weather, take it easy at first when you exercise in the heat and gradually increase the length and intensity of your outdoor exercise.
- Dress appropriately – lightweight, loose-fitting clothing helps sweat evaporate and keeps you cooler.
Families need to take simple steps to help their children eat nutritious foods and become more active.
The advice is part of the new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which aim to give practical steps to families to help children maintain a healthy weight. They also offer guidance on how to include healthy habits into daily life such as eating a well-balanced diet, increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviors.
“It is never too early for a family to make changes that will help a child keep or achieve a healthy weight,” said Sandra Hassink, MD, FAAP, president of the AAP and co-author of the report. “Families can improve their eating habits in a variety of ways, but it is important for healthy eating and physical activity to be tailored to the child’s developmental stage and family characteristics.”
The recommendations comes as childhood obesity is now recognized as a public health priority. Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents over the past 30 years, according to statistics from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2012, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.
To help children, the AAP encourages parents and families to model healthy behaviors. Families can take simple steps to eat healthier. Changing the food parents bring into the home – and how they store and serve it — can help children make healthful choices. The AAP recommends:
- Buy fewer sugar-sweetened drinks, high-calorie snacks and sweets.
- If you plan to serve these types of foods at a special celebration, buy them shortly before the event, and remove them immediately afterward.
- Keep healthy food in plain sight. Bring back the fruit bowl. Water, fruits, vegetables and other low-calorie snacks should be readily available and on the kitchen table or counter, or in the front of the shelf in the refrigerator.
- Keep high-calorie foods be less visible. Wrap them in foil rather than clear wrap, and place in the back of the fridge or pantry.
- Encourage children to eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
The AAP also recommends cutting back how often and how long children watch TV. One way to achieve this is to have fewer TV sets in the home and to remove the TV and other media from the bedroom and the kitchen.
Sleeping enough every night is also critical. Children who sleep less than 9 hours a night are more likely to be overweight or obese; focusing on bedtime, and understanding how much sleep children need at various ages can help improve a child’s overall health and well-being.
Families can enjoy physical activities together to meet the recommended 60 minutes of activity a day, the report recommends. This can include participating in team sports, going to a park, playground or walking/bicycle trails, bowling, dog walking, using the stairs or walking to a destination rather than driving. The AAP offers a physical activity “prescription” that pediatricians can use to serve as a reminder to families and patients about the goals they have set for physical activity.
“Even when families have knowledge of healthy behaviors, they may need help from pediatricians to motivate them to implement behavior changes,” said Stephen Daniels, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP Committee on Nutrition. “Parents and other family members are strongly encouraged to adopt the same fitness and lifestyle changes as the child.”
Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics news release, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics
+ Does a child in your life need help losing weight? More children today struggle with being overweight and obese than in years past. Read about the youth fitness program offered at Bon Secours Sports Performance to help children reach and maintain a healthy weight.
+ Improve your health by learning about nutrition from the Registered Dietitians at Bon Secours In Motion. They also offer group and individual counseling for living with type 2 diabetes.
Many parents say playing sports helps their children mentally, physically and socially, but only one in four adults participate in such activities despite knowing the health benefits.
In fact, many adults were not playing sports or exercising at all, according to a recent poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Health authorities are hoping that changes.
“Sports are a critical component of a healthy community. They help children and adults maintain a healthy weight, teach acceptance and teamwork, and expand opportunity for children living in poverty,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “This poll indicates that we must continue to encourage children to play sports, but just as important, we must find ways to keep adults engaged in sports in order to maintain health and well-being.”
When parents were asked about the benefits that their middle school or high school aged child gets from playing sports, more than 80 percent of parents said the activities help physical health and learning about discipline and dedication.
Nearly 75 percent said youth sports help their children mental health, too.
Of the adults who still play sports, more than half said it helps reduce their stress while improving their mental and physical health.
“When adults play sports, it’s about competition, personal satisfaction, and health,” said Robert J. Blendon, Richard L. Menschel Professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “More than one in five adults who play sports do so for health-related reasons, and it’s a priority in their lives.”
Men are more than twice as likely as women to play sports, according to the poll.
The top five sports played by men include: golf, basketball, soccer, baseball/softball, football and running or track. For women, the top five are: running or track, baseball/softball, tennis, volleyball and swimming.
About half of adults polled said they exercise regularly at a vigorous or moderate intensity level. Their motivation is to improve their health, stay in shape or lose weight. The most popular forms of exercise were walking, aerobics, running or jogging, weight lifting and biking.
“Despite the known health benefits of sports and exercise, more than 40 percent of Americans haven’t done either in the last year,” Blendon said.
+ Learn about Bon Secours Sports Performance programs to help prevent injuries and improve athletic endurance.
+ At Bon Secours Sports Performance, we help children build strength, athleticism and lose weight with our Youth Fitness Program. Our program also features a nutritional component, which is essential to living a healthy and active lifestyle.
Drivers have long been warned not to text and drive for the obvious dangers of distracted driving. But could your smartphone be hazardous to your exercise goals, too?
It can if you’re texting or talking while working out on the treadmill.
Researchers have found that people who use their smartphones for texting and talking actually lower their exercise intensity.
“Exercising at a lower intensity has been found to reduce the health benefits of exercise and fitness improvements over time,” said Kent State University researcher Jacob Barkley. He, and other researchers, looked at how using a smartphone to text, talk and listen to music affected average treadmill speed, heart rate and enjoyment.
The findings are important for people who exercise for better health and may be trying to burn calories to lose weight. Poor cardiorespiratory fitness is associated with having more cardiovascular disease risk factors such as high cholesterol and blood pressure levels, the researchers noted.
For the study, 44 students were asked to work out in four, separate 30-minute exercise sessions on a treadmill. Those who participated in the study went faster on the treadmill if they used their phone exclusively to listen to music. Talking increased enjoyment, maintained heart rate but reduced speed. Texting not only reduced speed and heart rate but it didn’t make working out any more enjoyable.
“It appears as if listening to music and, to a lesser extent, talking may have benefits on the durations and/or frequency of exercise due to their ability to increase enjoyment,” said researcher Andrew Lepp, PhD. “However, if an individual’s opportunity for exercise is constrained by time, then it appears best to avoid talking on a smartphone during planned exercise.”
The researchers didn’t find any fitness-related benefits of texting while exercising.
“Most people indicate that their lack of exercise is due to time constraints,” Barkley said. “When this is the case, this study suggests that a smartphone should not be used for talking or texting as both may potentially reduce fitness. If one is looking to get the most benefits and improvements out of their workout, leave the smartphone in the locker room and enjoy your music with another type of device.”
+ 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.
This blog was contributed by Curt Truhe, CSCS.
As the temperature warms up and the end of school is in the near future, it is now time to start thinking about how you will use the summer months to meet your strength and conditioning goals.
Having a basic understanding of how a strength and conditioning program should look will help you understand what exactly you should be doing this summer. You do not need to get caught up in all of the terminology, but understanding the basic cycles will help you avoid overuse injuries and maximize performance. All athletes should be following a year-round exercise program. This is called your macrocycle. Within your macrocycle will be four main mesocycles. To keep it simple, the four mesocycles for athletes are going to be pre-season, in-season, post-season, and off-season. Within each of these mesocycles there will be microcycles. These microcycles are going to be the individual strength and conditioning programs you use.
Strength and conditioning programs should be individualized and specialized to your body, your goals, and your mesocycle. There is no one size fits all program. All of us are different heights, weights, speeds and strengths, and we need different programs to maximize our individual strengths and attack our weaknesses.
What you need to know
When is your sports season? Knowing what time of year your sport takes place in will play a huge role is what your summer strength and conditioning program will look like.
If you play a summer sport, you are an in-season athlete. Your strength program should look to help you maintain your pre-season strength and help you avoid injury with corrective exercises. Use mobility movements and exercises that help release stiffness from competition and prepare you for upcoming contest.
Fall athletes will be in your pre-season program. This will be your max strength and power microcylces. Your goal will be to reach max strength, power, and speed by the time the summer is finished. Your body should be in peak condition as the season is ready to begin. This also includes proper rest for the body in the week leading up to fall season.
Winter athletes will be just finishing up your post-season training and looking to head right into your off-season workouts. The first microcycle of the off-season program should aim toward building the size, stability, and movement patterns needed for your strength and power phases in the pre-season.
If your sport is in the spring, then you are in your post season. This is a good time to use your summer strength and conditioning program to help your body recover and heal from any injuries or problems your body underwent in season to prepare for off-season.
If you have any questions about a strength and conditioning program for yourself or your child, contact your local Bon Secours Sports Performance Coordinator and find out how we can individualize your program to maximize your athletic potential this summer.
We offer Summer Strength and Conditioning camps for high school athletes at the following locations in Hampton Roads:
In Motion at Healthy Way
828 Healthy Way, Suite 130
Virginia Beach, VA 23462
In Motion at Chilled Ponds
1416 Stephanie Way, Suite A
Chesapeake, VA 23320
In Motion at Boo Williams
5 Armistead Point Parkway, Suite B
Hampton, VA 23666
To learn more about the camps or register for the camps, please call 757-IM-SPORT.
Jocelyn Ricasa, MD
This blog was contributed by Jocelyn Ricasa, MD, race medical director, sports medicine and family medicine physician at Bon Secours Medical Associates in Virginia Beach.
Have you ever noticed that your allergy symptoms seem to improve greatly when you are running, but then your stuffy runny nose and watery eyes come back with a vengeance as soon as you are done with your cool down?
That is a good example of one of the many effects of the adrenaline (otherwise known as “epinephrine”) your body produces while your exercise.
Allergy symptoms occur when your body’s immune system overzealously reacts to being exposed to an otherwise harmless substance – such as pollens, dust, or grasses. And these symptoms can contribute to asthma, which certainly affect your ability to perform during a race.
The treatment for allergy symptoms aim at counteracting that overzealous response of the immune system.
Over-the-counter oral antihistamines are a great place to start, since blocking histamines translates to blocking one of the many signals your immune system uses to ramp up its overenthusiastic response. Since most of these medications are taken by mouth, they are absorbed and distributed all over the body.
Over-the-counter steroid nasal sprays specifically work at the level of the nose, decreasing the immune response in your nasal passages that turns on the “faucet” of rhinorrhea (fancy name for “clear nasal discharge”), that causes you to sneeze, blow your nose, and have that post-nasal drip that tickles the back of your throat.
If the over-the-counter medications aren’t quite controlling your symptoms, consult your healthcare provider. There are other options that require prescriptions.
When allergic reactions are life-threatening, called “anaphylaxis,” injectable epinephrine is used, the same epinephrine adrenaline that you make when you run!
You should avoid some over-the-counter medications when you are running and exercising. Decongestants (often sold in combination with anti-histamines), are stimulants, which work similarly to your natural epinephrine / adrenaline. There is such a thing as “too much of a good thing” when it comes to adrenaline. Because of the stimulant effects, decongestants are included on the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) “Prohibited List.” So be sure to read the labels of both the oral and nasal spray over-the-counter allergy medications and avoid using decongestants when exercising.
Go forth and safely run merrily through the flowers and trees and clouds of pollen…. Achoo!
Live, Love, Run!
This blog was contributed by Jaime Lynch, DPT, clinical coordinator at Bon Secours In Motion Physical Therapy at Ghent Station.
Have you ever wondered, “What do I really look like when I am running?” or “what does it mean to have good running form?” Many factors come into play when you have good running from. From the tip of your head to the point of your toes, you could read for days on how to become the perfect runner.
Today lets zone in on the body part most people consider when running: your legs. Stride length is defined as “the distance between two successive placements of the same foot.” Having good stride technique can increase speed, decrease risk of injury, and provide for an overall better running experience. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while pounding the pavement:
- While running, concentrate on landing your foot underneath you. “Over striding,” or taking excessively long strides, may be your first instinct to increase speed, but increasing stride length requires more energy, increased hip mobility and higher levels of gluteal activation. This can lead to hip and knee injuries. To avoid injury, focus on increasing the number of strides you take (stride frequency) instead.
- For endurance running, only a slight knee lift is necessary while bringing your leg forward. Exaggerated knee lift is reserved for sprinting.
- Muscular strength is necessary for a good solid stride. Nearly every muscle of your leg is activated at some point during the running cycle. An often neglected group of muscles that are important in the stability and power of running are the gluteal and hip rotators. Don’t skimp out on your strength training days.
- Just as strength is important, so is flexibility. Muscles work at an optimal length tension ratio. If a muscle is too short, i.e. not flexible enough, they will not function properly to provide the optimal stride. Your hamstring flexibility is most directly related to stride length. Stay limber.
What is most important to remember is to do what feels good and right. Pain is the body’s best indicator that something is not correct. So listen to your body and keep putting one foot in front of the other to becoming a better runner.
This blog was contributed by Dr. Ernesto Luciano-Perez, race medical director and orthopedic surgeon with Virginia Orthopedic & Spine Specialists.
As healthy lifestyles become more popular, more people are turning to running in some capacity as a primary way to seek fitness. It is estimated that 10-20 percent of Americans run regularly and as that number grows, so does the incidence of running-related injuries. Fifty percent of runners experience injury yearly and 25 percent are injured at any given time. Certain factors are associated with running-related injuries, and prevention has become the key to maintaining a healthy running lifestyle.
Studies among novice runners have revealed multiple risk factors for injuries. Risk factors include:
- Being between the ages of 45 and 60
- Having a body mass index greater than 30
- Having previous non-running related injuries
- Possessing a type A personality
- High weekly running mileage
In addition, anatomical factors can influence the prevalence of injuries. The literature shows that cavus foot shape (or high arched feet) can lead to stress fractures and foot pain; leg length inequality can lead to hip, pelvis, IT band, and lower back discomfort; and hip muscle weakness, especially the hip abductors, can lead to hip and knee pain.
The key to enjoying running long term is the prevention of injuries. Many specialists recommend either off-the-shelf or custom-made orthotics. The orthotic can help by correcting biomechanical pathology, by adding additional cushioning to the foot, and by prolonging time to muscle fatigue during long distance training. All of these combined may ultimately prevent stress fractures and other foot pain. Recently, multiple studies are showing a decrease in morbidity with the use of specific shoes to fit foot type and gait patterns. For example, motion control shoes are recommended for over-pronators. Physical therapy is sometimes recommended to help with weakness in different muscle groups. It is shown that rehabilitation programs can totally resolve symptoms in six weeks or less. These programs then aim to build a maintenance program to prevent further injury including stretching routines pre- and post-training.
Perhaps the most important factor related to prevention of running-related injuries is following a proper training schedule. Programs involving greater than 40 miles per week are often associated with an increase incidence of pain. It is also important to avoid erratic training schedules. The sudden increase in weekly distance is correlated with a higher probability of sustaining running-related injuries. In addition, changing the type of training from flat ground running to hills or interval training to long distance also can show an increase in injury.
While running has many benefits to our overall health, it is important to train in a healthy way. Continuing to train during injury can often lead to longer injury time. It is important to adopt specific preventative measures into your running lifestyle to maintain a long running career.