Exercise for Heart Health 

The heart is a muscle, which can get stronger with an active lifestyle.  It is never too late to initiate these changes.  Even small changes can make a big difference, such as lowering your risk for heart disease.

Where to Begin?

Once you are cleared for exercise by your doctor, find an activity that interests you.  Something such as brisk walking can be an economical choice, in that it primarily requires a good pair of shoes and space to walk.  If you are more motivated in a group setting, a gym could be an option or joining a group.  In many regions, there are groups, such as a Moms Run This Town, which is a group of running moms supporting other moms in all stages of the running process.

Cardiovascular exercise is very important, but there are other areas of exercise that will also benefit your overall health. 
Stretching is beneficial in reducing your risk for injury and allows you to become more flexible.  Perform stretching after a light warm-up or following exercise.  Stretching should feel good, but should not hurt when performed properly.

Strength training uses resistance to produce a muscular contraction to build strength, endurance, and muscle size.  Strength training does not necessarily mean getting “bulky.”  Strength training can help you to build strong bones, manage your weight, and improve energy levels.

Strength Training

Strengthening can also help to manage symptoms of chronic conditions, such as arthritis.  When individuals develop arthritis pain, this can lead to a decline in activity, which can result in additional problems. Although exercise can be painful initially, this activity helps to bring additional blood flow to the cartilage in that joint.  Also, exercises helps to make the muscles surrounding the joints stronger.  The stronger the muscles are, the more weight they can handle, which reduces the stress on the joint.  This can eventually lead to reduced pain.

You can use free weights, resistance bands/ tubing, or your own body weight for strength training.  These exercises can include lunges, push-ups, or squats, none of which require any special equipment to perform.  Choose a weight where your muscles begin to fatigue after ~15 repetitions.  If you are able to perform 30 repetitions easily, it is time to increase the amount of resistance used.  Allow at least one day in between strengthening routines. 

How Much Exercise?

The American Heart Association recommends “at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week” and “moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least 2 days per week” for overall cardiovascular health.  Start where you are able and work up to this guideline.

How Breast Cancer Patients Benefit from Physical Therapy

8 Benefits of Physical Therapy
Cancer treatments vary widely, depending upon the stage of cancer that has developed. Cancer is a debilitating disease that affects the body and an individual's self-image. Individuals may experience weakness, nausea and vomiting, along with hair loss or thinning and mouth sores.

Physical therapy can help people feel better by:
  • Easing pain
  • Reducing fatigue
  • Promoting bone density
  • Stimulating the immune system
  • Reducing stress and depression
  • Ridding the body of toxins
  • Decreasing swelling and inflammation
  • Treating lymphedema

People with breast cancer often lose their appetite which can lead to serious nutritional deficits and increases the risk of infections. Bleeding, diarrhea, anemia, and early menopause or infertility may also occur. Many individuals lose weight during breast cancer treatments, while others gain weight due to reduced activity levels.

Breast cancer has a strong emotional and psychological component that can be alleviated through physical therapy. Fear, poor sleep, worry and depression are common, along with loss of sexual function that further adds to an already stressful situation.

How Breast Cancer Patients Benefit from Physical Therapy
One in every eight women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer during their lifetime Another 61,000 women will be diagnosed with non-invasive breast cancer, along with 2,600 men. Physical therapy can help, ease the symptoms of treatment and aid in rehabilitation following reconstructive surgery.

The chance of developing breast cancer has a genetic component and those with a mother, daughter or sister who was diagnosed are at greater risk. Cancer doesn't just affect breast tissue. Patients may experience lung and breathing problems, bone loss and even cognitive impairment.

Painful joints and muscles are common, but even knowing what to expect during treatment can come as a shock when the effects begin to appear on an individual's own body. It's disheartening for breast cancer patients to discover that they can't perform ordinary household tasks due to fatigue or loss of muscle strength.

For advanced breast cancers that have spread into surrounding lymph nodes under the arms, patients may choose a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. The method restores symmetry to the body and will require measures to maintain mobility and flexibility.

Treatment may also be required to address or treat lymphedema, a condition in which fluid doesn't drain correctly and collects in tissues. Well-known celebrity and two-time cancer survivor, Kathy Bates, has spoken publicly about her battles with lymphedema and the benefits of physical therapy for the condition.

A Breast Cancer Patient's Best Friend
Therapies for breast cancer will vary widely depending upon the needs of the individual and your physical therapist is one of the first lines of defense against the many symptoms associated with breast cancer treatment, surgical solutions, and the effects that can linger long after the cancer has been removed.

One of the most beneficial treatments for cancer patients is exercise to prevent bone loss and maintain strength. A customized exercise program will be created that factor in the type of cancer treatments you're receiving, your overall health and physical condition. It's important to remember that exercise doesn't have to be high-impact to be effective and assisted methods are available for those who lack strength or are unable to fully participate in the therapy.

Your physical therapist has multiple methods to help you attain the exercise you need, from yoga and tai-chi to clinical Pilates and hydrotherapy. Your exercise prescription will include movements that help build and maintain core strength, stability and coordination. Electro-stimulation may also be utilized.

If lymphedema is a problem, your physical therapist can help with treatments for drainage and compression sleeves to aid in reducing swelling and fluid retention. Physical therapy can also help you with shortness of breath due to fluid that may collect around the lungs.

Therapeutic massage addresses a multitude of symptoms associated with breast cancer treatment. It relieves pain and inflammation, stimulates your immune system, and relieves stress within the body. Another benefit is that it stimulates your body to release "feel-good" endorphins that relieves anxiety. Massage therapy is advantageous for addressing lymphedema, detoxification, stimulating the nervous system, and scarring that may occur during post-mastectomy and reconstructive services.

Your physical therapist can assist you with nutritional counseling and dietary supplements to ensure you're obtaining the right mix of nutrients. Supplements can be especially helpful if you have little appetite and fatigue prevents you from cooking. Help with assistive aids for sleep and mobility are also available.

Breast cancer strikes fear into the hearts of men and women who have been diagnosed, along with family and loved ones. Your physical therapist has treatments and therapies to help ease the effects of chemotherapy, radiation, mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. Breast cancer and associated treatments can be scary and have far reaching effects. Physical therapy can help you meet those challenges of the body, mind and quality of life.

LARD – Heart Healthy: Why You Should Be Cooking With It!!

Lard is made from pork fat. It is clarified or rendered through a process that involves heating the fat.

When used as a cooking fat, nutritionally speaking, lard has nearly one quarter the saturated fat and more than twice the mono-unsaturated fats as does butter. It is also low in omega-6 fatty acids which are known to promote inflammation.

There is a pervasive myth that animal fats increase the risk of heart disease. Our great, great grandparents consumed lard and butter and experienced extremely low rates of heart disease.

  • There is no evidence that saturated fat consumption raises the risk of heart disease.
  • A low fat diet, which is also a high-carb diet, can lead to an increase in blood triglyerides which potentially may increase your risk factor for heart disease.
  • Saturated fat intake raises HDL cholesterol which is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
  • The diseases of modern “civilization” including heart disease and diabetes skyrocketed as animal fats were replaced by factory fats including vegetable oils and margarine.

Other benefits of lard include its neutral flavor. Some oils such as coconut may flavor your food while cooking with them.

Lard is very economical compared to many cooking oils.

Lard is high in Vitamin D. Lard is the second highest food source of Vitamin D after cod liver oil. One tablespoon has 1000iu's. Also important, is that Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and therefore requires fatty acids-including saturated fatty acids-to be absorbed and utilized by the body. Lard provides the perfect package of Vitamin D along with the required fatty acid cofactor. One catch, however, only lard from pastured hogs contains Vitamin D since they must have access to
sunlight to synthesize the Vitamin D and store it in their fatty tissues. Purchase your lard from a butcher or farmer who can tell you how their pigs are raised.
In addition, providing cholesterol through quality fats reduces the burden on the body to produce cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol from whole foods like lard, supports inflammation management and hormone production.

Simple Advise for Avoiding Unhealthy Food

2 rules of thumb:

  • Avoid any food with a TV commercial.
  • Avoid any food that your great, great grandmother wouldn't recognize.

Recipe for Rendering Lard

  • Use a pot or crock pot.
  • Pour 1/2 cup of water into the pot.
  • Cut the pork fat into pieces.
  • Heat over medium heat.

It may take several hours for the fat to liquefy. When it has liquefied, you will notice some solids remain. You may remove these using a strainer or simply remove these pieces with a slotted spoon. Pour the lard into containers and refrigerate.

Did you know that February is National Heart Awareness Month?

Did you know that February is National Heart Awareness Month? Well, we are so excited to share some interesting facts on how to keep your heart healthy and happy. We have great meal ideas for you and your family to enjoy. Also, well as exercises to keep the blood pumping. There is so much to share that each week we will share a blog from one of our fabulous therapists. Our therapists will release on Monday mornings, along with a chance for you to ask them questions about that week’s blog on our “Live Stream Video” each Friday! How neat is that!?!?!?

I would like to start things off by sharing a great recipe that I found on “Pinterest”. Everyone is using this app and why not? There is so much to look at including heart healthy recipes. This recipe is called “Skinny Cajun Shrimp Skewers”. This is “oh so good” that just the thought of it makes my mouth water. What’s so great about this recipe is not only are you using grill (less dishes at clean up time) but really helps to get those fussy eaters to eat their veggies. One important key is it’s a low sodium meal but PACKS a punch of flavor and only 175 milligrams of sodium and 105 calories per serving. Plus, I just love to have a reason to fire up the grill no matter how cold it is outside.

Something else to really consider is your sodium intake. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend an upper limit for sodium consumption of 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day for adults. Because the average American’s sodium intake is so excessive, even cutting back to no more than 2,300 milligrams a day will significantly improve blood pressure and heart health.

Stay tune for next week when Janet Keller, PT from our Spring Ridge office shares her thoughts on healthy heart and how to get the blood pumping. Also, her “Live Stream Video” will be on February 10th at 1:30 pm so mark your calendars!

Physical Therapy and Diabetes

9 Benefits of Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is beneficial for those who have been diagnosed with diabetes and individuals with pre-diabetes, also known as insulin resistance. Pre-diabetes occurs when glucose levels are elevated, but haven't yet reached diabetic proportions.

Physical therapy is effective for:

  • Better utilization of glucose
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Weight loss
  • Reduced nerve disease
  • Fewer skin problems
  • Improved muscle function and flexibility
  • Pain relief
  • Lower risk of amputations

People with diabetes are at increased risk of numerous problems that accompany the disease. Damage to nerves is common, resulting in pain and disability. High blood pressure, peripheral vascular disease and stroke are very real concerns.

If not controlled, diabetes damages neurological systems that can cause blindness and one of the greatest threats to diabetics is kidney disease. Injuries heal slowly and can quickly transition into life threatening wounds that won't respond to antibiotics and limbs that must be amputated.

Physical Therapy - Your Weapon Against Diabetes
Physical Therapy - Your Weapon Against Diabetes
More than 29 million people in the U.S. have diabetes and it affects both adults and children. Diabetes occurs when the body can't make sufficient insulin, doesn't make any at all, or can't utilize what it does manufacture. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that enables people to use the glucose (sugar) they consume in foods to provide energy for the body to work and play.

There are three types of diabetes. Type 1 is known as juvenile diabetes since it typically begins in childhood. It's an autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks the pancreas resulting in little, if any, insulin production. Type 1 diabetes requires daily insulin injections.

Type 2 diabetes is often referred to as adult onset diabetes and individuals may or may not require daily insulin injections. Type 2 diabetes can sometimes be managed with exercise, diet and oral medications. It also has a strong genetic component and is exacerbated by high-carbohydrate diets and lack of exercise. It can occur at any age, but is often seen in older adults.

Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and ordinarily disappears after childbirth, but the mother will have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes at any time thereafter.

Many of the symptoms of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can be subtle, often overlooked, and are only discovered after long-term damage to the body has already occurred.

Patients with diabetes may experience:

  • Fatigue
  • Hunger
  • More thirst than normal
  • Increased need to urinate
  • Increased breakage and hair loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry mouth and itchy skin
  • Injuries and wounds that heal slowly
  • Yeast infections
  • Pain, numbness or tingling in legs and feet

People with type 1 diabetes often experience unplanned weight loss even though they haven't made any changes in their diet. In type 1 diabetes, the body can't utilize the food that's being consumed and the body begins to burn fat and muscle to produce energy. As the body burns fat, ketones are produced and when they build to dangerous levels, nausea and vomiting can occur.

Physical Therapy for Diabetes
Physical Therapy for Diabetes
Managing diabetes with physical therapy has multiple benefits ranging from more efficient use of glucose and weight loss to improved muscle tone and strength. Aerobic exercise and resistance training are highly effective therapies for managing diabetes and helps relieve pain, expand range of motion, increase flexibility, and improve balance and coordination.

Your physical therapist may choose clinical Pilates, yoga or tai-chi to address movement and weight problems. He/she can also provide nutritional counseling and dietary supplements that are specially designed for your diabetic needs. Assistance is available if you need mobility aids such as crutches, canes, walkers or wheelchairs.

Orthotic devices and shoes can be prescribed to lessen pain, alleviate sores, stabilize the gait and align the body. Your physical therapist can evaluate and care for injuries and show you how to protect your feet from wounds - particularly if you have little or no sensation remaining.

Exercise plans will be adjusted as needed as your overall physical conditioning improves. Your physical therapist has a wide array of therapies that can be used to provide you with the exercise you need to manage glucose levels, lose weight, and improve your health. Hydrotherapy is an effective treatment for improving the body that also relieves the effects of gravity and weight on the body, making it easier to move.

Therapeutic massage may also be utilized to stimulate the immune system, rid the body of toxins and reduce blood pressure. The therapy is beneficial for improving circulation, easing pain, and relieving the stress of dealing with a chronic disease.

Diabetes is a systemic problem that affects every organ in your body. Your physical therapist can help you manage the symptoms and health risks associated with the disease, assist in your continued mobility, and aid you in maintaining overall health.

Physical therapy had a wide variety of therapies that can be utilized to manage the symptoms and effects of diabetes.

Exercise is a key component in the management of diabetes and your physical therapist can create a custom exercise program that's tailored to your fitness level and mobility level.