Lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Weight loss. Smaller waistline. Those are just a few of the benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables.
Now, researchers say people are less likely to have a stroke the more they eat these pieces of nature’s candy.
A new analysis of 20 studies conducted in Europe, Asia and the United States found that people lowered their stroke risk by 32 percent for every 200 grams of fruit they ate daily. The risk dropped by 11 percent for every 200 grams of vegetables they ate each day, according to the study published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke.
“Improving diet and lifestyle is critical for heart and stroke risk reduction in the general population,” said Dr. Yan Qu, the study’s senior author, director of the intensive care unit at Qingdao Municipal Hospital and professor at the Medical College of Qingdao University in Qingdao, China. “In particular, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is highly recommended because it meets micronutrient and macronutrient and fiber requirements without adding substantially to overall energy requirements.”
Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. It is also a leading cause of disability. Many people who have strokes often have problems with balance and falling. Health authorities designate May as American Stroke Month to raise awareness and to help prevent the disease.
Researchers combined the results of six studies from the U.S., eight from Europe and six from Asia. The studies demonstrated that eating a lot of fruits and vegetables can lower blood pressure, improve microvascular function, improve body mass index, waist circumference, cholesterol, inflammation and oxidative stress.
The American Heart Association recommends adults eat four to five servings each of fruits and vegetables daily, based on a 2,000 calorie diet. By eating a diet rich in a variety of colors and types, people are able to get important nutrients including vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. They are also low in saturated fat.
Source: American Heart Association
+ Learn how to choose healthy foods for you and your family through our nutrition programs at Bon Secours In Motion.
+ Read about the Bon Secours In Motion Vestibular Rehabilitation Program. Physical therapists can help clients improve their symptoms of dizziness while increasing mobility and balance. This rehabilitation helps to retrain the body when stroke, brain trauma, inner ear surgery or chronic disease like multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s affects the vestibular system.
In response to an increasing number of young athletes tearing their anterior cruciate ligament, the nation’s leading group of pediatricians has issued a a report that recommends ways to prevent such injuries in the first place.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends specific types of physical training that can reduce the risk of ACL injury as much as 72 percent – especially in young women, a news release states.
The AAP suggests plyometric and strengthening exercises to reduce an athlete’s risk of becoming injured. The ACL is one of four ligaments that stabilizes the knee joint, according to the AAP. Not only does it protect the knee during jumps and pivots but also when a runner slows down.
“Neuromuscular training programs strengthen lower extremity muscles, improve core stability, and teach athletes how to avoid unsafe knee positions,” said Dr. Cynthia LaBella, lead author of the report and a member of the AAO Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness.
Girls are often at higher risk for an ACL injury because when they reach the age of 12 they do not usually develop more muscle power, said Dr. Timothy Hewett, co-author of the report. As pre-teens go into puberty, they grow taller and heavier, which increases the risk of injury, the news release states.
“After puberty, girls have a ‘machine motor mismatch,’ ” said Dr. Hewett. “In contrast, boys get even more powerful relative to their body size after their growth spurt. The good news is that we’ve shown that with neuromuscular training, we can boost the power of girls’ neuromuscular engine and reduce their risk of ACL injuries.”
Female athletes between 15 and 20 years old account for the largest number of ACL injuries, the release states. Among high school and college athletes, females have two to six times higher ACL injury rates than males in similar sports.
Once an athlete has an ACL tear, they can experience depression because it forces them away from their sport and its social network. “Athletes with ACL injury are up to 10 times more likely to develop early-onset degenerative knee osteoarthritis, which limits their ability to participate in sports and often leads to chronic pain and disability,” the news release states. “Research suggests half of patients with an ACL injury will develop degenerative knee osteoarthritis in 10 to 20 years.”
Although many doctors have deferred surgery until a child reaches skeletal maturity, sophisticated surgical techniques that avoid impacting the growth plate allow athletes to have surgery to stabilize the knee and return to their sport. ACL surgery is about 90 percent successful in restoring knee stability and patient satisfaction, the release states.
“In many cases, surgery plus rehabilitation can safely return the athlete back to sports in about nine months,” said Dr. William Hennrikus, co-author of the report.
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics
+ Learn about the Benefits of Arthroscopic ACL Reconstruction Surgery. Considered the “gold standard” for ACL injury, arthroscopic surgery allows surgeons to visualize injuries more clearly with minimal disruption to surrounding muscles and joints.
+ Will you be recovering at home from an orthopaedic surgery? Read about physical therapy programs at Bon Secours In Motion.
Massage therapy not only alleviates muscle soreness after exercise, but it also improves general blood flow – even for people who don’t work out.
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have discovered that massage has benefits for people regardless of how much they exercise, researchers recently discovered. Their study, published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, shows that massage improved vascular function for more than three days, or 72 hours, according to a news release. In fact, people who have poor circulation or limited mobility may benefit the most from massage therapy.
“Our study validates the value of massage in exercise and injury, which has been previously recognized but based on minimal data,” said Nina Cherie Franklin, UIC postdoctoral fellow in physical therapy and first author of the study. “It also suggests the value of massage outside of the context of exercise.”
Researchers examined how much muscle soreness people felt after using a leg press machine. Half of the participants were given a Swedish leg massage after their exercise. Those who received the massage said they were no longer sore 90 minutes later. But those who did not have a massage reported being sore one day later.
Researchers also measured blood flow. They found that those who had massages had improved blood flow for three days. People who didn’t have a massage after the exercise had reduced blood flow after 90 minutes.
“We believe that massage is really changing physiology in a positive way,” Franklin said. “This is not just blood flow speeds – this is actually a vascular response.”
Massage therapy also helped the people in the study who did not exercise.
“The big surprise was the massage-only control group, who showed virtually identical levels of improvement in circulation as the exercise and massage group,” said Shane Phillips, UIC associate professor of physical therapy and principal investigator on the study. “The circulatory response was sustained for a number of days, which suggests that massage may be protective.”
For people who have limited mobility or those with impaired vascular function, further research may show that regular massage offers significant benefits, the author said.
Source: news release University of Illinois at Chicago
+ Learn more about Physical Therapy programs at Bon Secours In Motion.
+ Read more about how massage therapy can help patients with a variety of health concerns.
Patients who want to have the best results after having joint replacement surgery should try to shed any excess pounds they carry.
Although most patients who are overweight sincerely want to lose weight after joint replacement, research shows that an equal number of patients actually gain weight after hip or knee replacement. But those who were able to lose weight, fared the best, according to researchers from Hospital for Special Surgery. Not only did they see improvement in their joint function two years after surgery but also in their level of activity.
What’s uncertain is why some of the nearly 7,000 patients they followed tended to gain weight.
“Our findings represent the first report to present evidence that weight loss is associated with improved clinical outcomes, while weight gain is associated with inferior outcomes, although these results are really not surprising,” said Dr. Geoffrey Westrich, senior investigator and director of research, Adult Reconstruction and Joint Replacement at Hospital for Special Surgery.
The study looked at more than 3,000 knee replacement surgeries and nearly 3,900 hip replacement cases. The findings showed:
- Seventy-four percent of total knee replacement patients and 84 percent of total hip replacement patients did not demonstrate a change in BMI following surgery.
- Patients who underwent knee replacement were more likely to lose weight after surgery than those undergoing hip replacement.
- Patients who were obese prior to joint replacement were more likely to lose weight than those who were of normal weight or overweight, but not obese.
- Overweight or obese females undergoing joint replacement were more likely to lose weight than their male or normal weight counterparts.
- Patients with higher preoperative activity scores were more likely to maintain their weight than to gain or lose weight.
Researchers considered a number of other factors to see if they were associated with a change in weight, according to a news release from HSS. These factors included patient scores on preoperative surveys to assess pain, stiffness, and physical function; whether the patient was discharged to home or a rehabilitation facility; whether or not the patient smoked; and co-existing health problems such as diabetes, hypertension and depression. None of these factors had an effect on weight gain or loss after joint replacement.
Those who were able to lose weight after knee replacement surgery felt much better compared to those who stayed the same weight or gained. For knee and hip and replacement patients, gaining weight lead to more pain, less function and lower activity levels.
“Based on our findings, as physicians, we should convey to our patients the importance of maintaining good health and an appropriate weight, and we should help them in any way we can to achieve this goal,” Westrich said.
Source: Hospital for Special Surgery news release
+ Learn about physical therapy programs at Bon Secours In Motion Hampton Roads.
+ Discover the benefits of arthroscopic ACL Reconstruction Surgery.
Shoulder injuries are pretty common, particularly injuries with the rotator cuff, a group of four muscles and their corresponding tendons that make it possible to move the arm out away from the side of the body and rotate the shoulder. A recent study, published in The Bone and Joint Journal, was conducted to see if physical therapy without surgery could be as effective at treating rotator cuff injuries as physical therapy combined with surgery, and the results may surprise you.
When studying non-traumatic tears of the supraspinatus (one of the four muscles with corresponding tendons that make up the rotator cuff), researchers found that long-term outcomes were very similar between patients who only underwent physical therapy treatments and those who had PT in addition to surgery. The study lasted twelve months; by the end of the study, the PT-only patients were 87% satisfied with their outcomes compared to 96% and 96% in the treatment groups that had different surgeries combined with therapy.
This is good news if you’re hoping to avoid surgery due to cost, recovery time, or personal preference. Unless you have a severe, traumatic injury to the rotator cuff that would require surgical repair, non-surgical physical therapy treatment can achieve a similar result at a lower cost and without the initial downtime that a surgical procedure would require.
Visit any gym and you’re likely to hear about High Interval Intensity Training.
It’s the latest trend in fitness, promising fast results for people on a mission to meet their weight loss goals.
But before you jump into your first HIIT class, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is reminding people to approach this program – and all exercise – with safety in mind.
“The key to safe exercise is moderation,” said AAOS spokeswoman Dr. Letha Griffin. “Individuals shouldn’t be deterred from pushing their bodies to the limit because that’s how you build strength and endurance. However, pushing too far, too fast, leaves the body prone to traumatic injuries, such as sprains and even fractures.”
Dr. Griffin, who practices in Atlanta, said she treats patients for a variety of lower body injuries that are associated with extreme-types of exercise training workouts such as common knee injuries and tears to the patella tendon.
Easing into an exercise program appears even more relevant these days as the number of exercise-related injuries is climbing nationwide. In 2012, more than 939,700 Americans received medical treatment for hurting themselves while exercising – approximately 100,000 more people than in 2011, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
To reduce your risk for exercise-related injuries, the AAOS offers the following safety tips:
- Extreme workouts are not for beginners. Start with a program of moderate physical activity— perhaps 30 minutes a session. If 30 minutes is too much in the beginning, break it up into shorter intervals. For instance, walk for 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes later in the day.
- Follow a schedule. Both new and experienced exercisers benefit from following a schedule. Set a weekly exercise schedule that includes days off – rest days. For example, you might exercise every other day, with 3 days off each week.
- Embark on a balanced fitness program. A program that incorporates cardiovascular exercise, strength training, flexibility and balance training is preferable for optimal health and fitness. A balanced exercise program also will keep you from getting bored and lessen your chance for injury.
- Warm up first. Run in place for a few minutes, breathe slowly and deeply, or gently rehearse the motions of the exercise to follow. Warming up increases your heart and blood flow rates and loosens up other muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints.
- Stretch. Begin stretches slowly and carefully until reaching a point of muscle tension. Hold each stretch for 10 to 20 seconds, and then slowly and carefully release it. Inhale before each stretch and exhale as you release. Do each stretch only once. Never stretch to the point of pain. Always maintain control.
- Use proper equipment. First, look for running or athletic shoes that provide good construction, shock absorption and foot stability. Also, make sure that there is a thumbnail’s width between the end of the longest toe and the end of the shoe. As 60 percent of a shoe’s shock absorption is lost after 250 to 500 miles of use, people who run up to 10 miles per week should consider replacing their shoes every 9 to 12 months. Also, wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes that allow you to move freely and easily release body heat. When exercising in cold weather, dress in removable layers.
- Take your time. During strength training, move through the full range of motion with each repetition. Breathe regularly to help lower your blood pressure and increase blood supply to the brain.
- Stay hydrated. Drink enough water to prevent dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Drink 1 pint of water 15 minutes before you start exercising and another pint after you cool down. Have a drink of water every 20 minutes or so while you exercise.
- Cool down. Make cooling down the final phase of your exercise routine. It should take twice as long as the warm up. Slow your motions and lessen the intensity of your movements for at least 10 minutes before you stop completely. This phase of a safe exercise program should conclude when your skin is dry and you have cooled down.
Source: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons news release
+ Learn about physical therapy programs at Bon Secours In Motion Physical Therapy and Sports Performance.
+ Have you ever heard the saying fitness begins in the kitchen? Learn how to choose the right foods for your body with the Bon Secours nutritional analysis program.
Renowned for its ability to improve balance and decrease stress, yoga apparently benefits breast cancer survivors by reducing fatigue and inflammation, according to a new study.
In fact, researchers found that the more the women practiced yoga regularly, the better their results, a news release from Ohio State University states.
“This showed that modest yoga practice over a period of several months could have substantial benefits for breast cancer survivors,” said Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, lead author of the study and professor of psychiatry and psychology at Ohio State University.
“We also think the results could easily generalize to other groups of people who have issues with fatigue and inflammation.”
Researchers recruited 200 women for their study. All of them had completed breast cancer treatments before the start of the study. Only yoga novices were recruited, the news release states.
After doing yoga for three months, the results showed that on average, fatigue was 57 percent lower in women and their inflammation was cut by about 20 percent compared to breast cancer survivors not doing yoga.
Researchers said they focused on breast cancer survivors because the treatment affects their ability to exercise.
“The treatment is so debilitating and they are so tired, and the less you do physically, the less you’re able to do,” Kiecolt-Glaser said. “That’s one reason we think there are higher levels of inflammation in cancer survivors, meaning that an intervention that reduces inflammation could potentially be very beneficial.”
Chronic inflammation is linked to several health problems including:
Women in the study who practiced yoga also reported sleeping better.
“Yoga has many parts to it – meditation, breathing, stretching and strengthening,” Kiecolt-Glaser said. “We think the breathing and meditation components were really important in terms of some of the changes we were seeing.”
Six months into the study, the women who did yoga continued to see health benefits: fatigue was 57 percent lower and inflammation was up to 20 percent lower compared to women not practicing yoga.
Sleep may play an important role in the numbers.
“We think improved sleep could be part of the mechanism of what we were seeing. When women were sleeping better, inflammation could have been lowered by that,” Kiecolt-Glaser said. “Reducing fatigue enables women to engage in other activities over time. So yoga may have offered a variety of benefits in addition to the yoga exercises themselves.”
Source: Ohio State University news release
+ Learn about the breast cancer rehabilitation program at Bon Secours In Motion.
+ Many cancer patients are turning to physical therapy to help improve their health. Read more about the physical therapy programs offered at Bon Secours In Motion Physical Therapy and Sports Performance.
As residents in South Hampton Roads prepare to shovel out their walkways and driveways, it’s important to consider proper form to avoid any back and neck injuries.
Shoveling snow sends many people searching for an ice pack. In 2012, more than 34,000 people nationwide wound up in their doctor’s office or a hospital emergency room for hurting themselves while shoveling snow, according to data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
“Snow removal is high stress on the back if done incorrectly and is especially dangerous if you do not exercise regularly,” said Dr. Steven Morgan, spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. “Always proceed with caution when removing snow. If you have a medical condition, consider hiring someone or asking for help from friends, neighbors or family members to remove the snow.”
Some of the injuries from snow shoveling may involve torn muscles and shoulder pain.
To help people avoid injuries, the AAOS recommends the following tips to avoid injury:
- Push snow, instead of lifting it. If you must lift it, take small amounts and lift using your legs. Squat with your legs apart, knees bent and back straight. Lift by straightening your legs, without bending at the waist.
- Do not throw snow over your shoulder or to the side. This creates a twisting motion that can put stress on your back. Instead, walk to where you want to dump the snow.
- Clear snow early and often. Begin when a light covering of snow is on the ground to avoid having to clear packed, heavy snow.
- Pace yourself. Take frequent breaks and replenish with fluids to prevent dehydration. If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath or other signs of a heart attack, seek emergency care.
Source: AAOS news release
+ Learn about the benefits of massage therapy offered at Bon Secours In Motion Physical Therapy and Sports Performance.
The nation’s leading health experts predict the number of people suffering from arthritis to rise rapidly with the aging of the nation’s population. In fact, about 1 million people every year will be newly diagnosed with this debilitating disease.
Thankfully, there’s something they can do about it.
People with arthritis benefit from even small amounts of physical activity, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Not only does it improve mobility, but it reduces pain, increases balance and strength and improves overall health.
A recent report released by the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention found that arthritis affects 53 million in the United States – costing the economy $128 billion annually.
“The number of U.S. adults with arthritis is increasing,” said Dr. Wayne H. Giles, director of the division of population health at the CDC. “This amounts to an average increase of approximately 2,400 individuals per day. Because arthritis occurs so often with other conditions like diabetes and heart disease, arthritis limitations may be interfering with the recommended management of those conditions, especially in regards to physical activity.”
Simple exercises such as brisk walking and swimming can help improve arthritis pain and help fight off the disease.
Federal health officials recommend adults exercise every week at a moderate intensity, such as brisk walking, for two and half hours.
“Being physically active is a giant step toward improving Americans’ health by lowering risk for arthritis, as well as other diseases such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and depression,” said Arthritis Foundation Vice President of Public Health Dr. Patience White.
Sources: Arthritis Foundation and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention news releases
+ Learn more about managing arthritis symptoms through arthritis rehabilitation at Bon Secours In Motion Sports Performance and Physical Therapy.
Proper form is an important part of any exercise program. But for baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, it’s even more critical because they are at a higher risk for exercise-related injuries.
In fact, nearly 241,000 baby boomers last year sustained an injury that was related to exercise, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
According to the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, baby boomers face a higher risk for the following exercise-related injuries:
- Arthritis – deterioration of the joint cushions.
- Back pain
- Bursitis – inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs that act as cushions between bones, tendons and muscles in the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee and heel.
- Tendonitis, tendonopathy and tendon tears – inflamed, damaged or torn tendons, which attach muscles to bone.
“Exercise is essential to ensuring an active, independent and healthy lifestyle, especially as we age,” said Dr. Nicholas A. DiNubile, an orthopaedic surgeon and spokesman for the AAOS. “However, as we age our bodies change and become more vulnerable to injuries. More than ever, proper equipment and clothing, regular warm up exercises, and slowly increasing the intensity or duration of exercise, are critical. In addition, certain orthopaedic conditions require exercise modification, such as incorporating some of the exercises learned in rehabilitation into our daily exercise regimens.”
To help people prevent injuring themselves, the AAOS offers the following exercise safety tips for anyone older than age 50:
Warm up and Stretching
A warm up is different than just stretching, and usually requires “breaking a sweat” before you begin a more vigorous work out. Walking, bending, jumping jacks and running in place before exercise gets and keeps the circulatory system moving, and prevents injury. Stretching can be done before or after a work out.
Don’t succumb to the “weekend warrior” syndrome. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. Remember that moderate physical activity can include walking the dog, working in the garden, playing with the kids or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Focus on Form
Consider taking lessons for the sport you love. Whether you’re a beginner or a long-time enthusiast, proper form and instruction reduces the chance of developing an overuse injury like tendonitis or stress fractures.
Wear the Right Gear
Select the proper gear and shoes for your sport. For example, if you inline skate wear a helmet, knee pads and wrist and elbow pads. If you ski, snowboard or ride a bike, always wear a helmet.
Listen to Your Body
As you age, you may find that you are not as flexible as you once were, or that you cannot tolerate the same types of activities. If so, modify your exercise routine to accommodate your body’s needs. For example, if you’ve been a daily runner for many years, consider replacing a day or two of that activity with swimming, biking or another sport that puts less impact on your joints.
Use the 10 Percent Rule
When changing your activity level, increase it in increments of no more than 10 percent per week. Slowly build up to more miles each week until you reach your higher goal. This will prevent overuse injuries that may keep you from exercising or enjoying your favorite sport for some time. For strength training, also use the 10 percent rule and gradually increase your weights.
Maintain a Balanced Fitness Program
Develop a balanced fitness program that incorporates cardiovascular exercise, strength training and flexibility. A balanced exercise program will provide a total body workout, keep you from getting bored and lessen your chances for injury.
Take a Break
Remember to take a break, if necessary. Hard workouts can take a toll on your body, and thus require strategies aimed at recovery. Learn to take a day off or cut back your training to allow the body to adapt and recover. Gentle stretching, light aerobic exercises and proper nutrition and hydration are all helpful to the recovery process.
Consult a Doctor
If you develop or have had a sports or orthopaedic injury like tendonitis, arthritis, stress fracture or low back pain, consult an orthopaedic surgeon who can help design or modify your fitness routine to promote wellness and minimize the chance of injury.
Source: AAOS news release
+ Thousands turn to Bon Secours In Motion in Hampton Roads each year for exceptional physical therapy, including speech therapy and occupational therapy, sports rehab and sports performance. Learn more about our fitness, nutrition and weight loss programs.