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treadmillDrivers 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.

Background Information

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

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!

Bon_Secours_Hampton_Roads_In_Motion_Physical_Therapy_Sports_Performance_Run_Walk_ExerciseThis 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.

Bon Secours In Motion Physical Therapy and Sports Performance, runningThis 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.

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.