Health

Stay Healthy at Work: 5 Ways to Stay Active and Focused

A long day at work can be bad for your physical and mental health. Your body gets stiff, your heart rate slows down and your mind can quickly wander – which makes it hard to focus on your job.

To make matters worse, if your work happens mostly behind a desk, you may have a higher risk of obesity, high blood sugar, high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol levels. In fact, one study found that individuals who sit for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity have the same risk of dying as obese individuals or smokers.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to help combat the negative health impact of sitting all day: Get up and move. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all adults, age 18-64, get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as walking, running, swimming or bicycling every week, as well as muscle strength training at least twice a week. While this may seem like a big commitment, it becomes more achievable when you spread your activities throughout the week and break them down into 10-minutes increments — the perfect amount of time to get up and move around at work.

Discover five time-sensitive ways to be active at work, so you can stay healthy and focused all day long.

1. Make Your Conference Room On the Go

Meetings are inevitable in most workplaces. If you find yourself scheduled in back-to-back meetings, make one of those a walking meeting. Ask your colleagues to do a lap around the building or head outdoors instead of sitting in a conference room. Not only does it get you out of the office, it can recharge your creativity, improve your focus and boost your problem-solving ability.

2. Take the Stairs

Next time you’re going up or down, skip the elevator and take the stairs. Duke University found many benefits of taking the stairs, including:

    • Boosting bone density in post-menopausal women
    • Building and maintaining healthy bones, muscles and joints
    • Improving good cholesterol (HDL) in the blood
    • Increasing leg power and muscles

3. Bring Lunch to Work

Bringing your lunch to work has three major benefits. It helps you:

  • Eat healthy
  • Have more energy
  • Save money
  • Save time during your lunch break

If the thought of packing a lunch during a hectic morning seems overwhelming, try a little pre-planning. Make a list over the weekend of what you want to eat for lunch and pick up what you need at the grocery store. Some swear by making all their lunches for the week on a Sunday. But if that seems too time consuming, just plan to make lunches the night before (or at least gather up ingredients you need so they’re on-hand during the morning rush). Or you can pack up the leftovers from dinner to eat the next day. Be sure to plan healthy lunches that include fruits, vegetables, protein or complex carbohydrates to stay focused throughout the day.

4. Sit Up Straight

Posture may not seem like it has much to do with your health, but sitting (or standing) up straight can help improve your range of motion and boost your balance. It can also help improve your focus, making it easier to get through your to-do list at work.

Do a few posture checks throughout the day to make sure you’re sitting correctly. Your:

  • Chin should be parallel to the floor.
  • Knees and feet should be pointing straight ahead.
  • Shoulders, hips and knees should be even.

5. Do Some Desk or Chair Exercises

There’s no need to break out the wristbands or legwarmers with these simple desk and chair exercises:

  • Leg lifts: Lift one leg up straight and hold for two seconds; lower your foot and stop just above the floor and hold for 5 seconds. Switch legs, doing 15 reps on each leg.
  • Neck rolls: Slowly drop your head so your right ear nearly touches your right shoulder. Gently press your head a little lower using the opposite hand. Hold for 10 seconds. Straighten head and repeat on other side.
  • Sit tall: Stretch both arms above the head and hold for 10 seconds. Then, extend the right hand higher, and then the left.

Emory Healthcare

At Emory Healthcare, we’re here to help you find the care you need, when you need it. With more than 2,000 doctors and 300 locations, including six hospitals, primary care offices, urgent cares and MinuteClinics, we’re delivering specialized care across the region. Find a doctor near you to help you get and stay healthy.

About Dr. Collins

Caroline Jones Collins, MD, joined Emory at Peachtree Hills in January 2018. Dr. Collins grew up in Snellville, GA, and gained her bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from the University of Georgia. She attended Emory University for both medical school and her internal medicine residency. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and their two children. Dr. Collins is passionate about preventive health and helping patients live healthy, happy lives.

 

 

Get the Facts on Nutrition: Eat Healthy and Feel Good

Fruit Vegetable FactsThe facts on eating healthy are clear: Good nutrition helps your body run the way it should. Research proves the many benefits to our health time and time again, including:

  • Boosting your mood and appearance
  • Giving you more energy
  • Lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Reducing your risk of cancer
  • Reducing your risk of diabetes

Why, then, do we struggle to make healthy eating a priority? Often, it’s because there is an overwhelming amount of information about nutrition to navigate and lack of time. That’s why, with this blog, we’re taking it back to the basics by offering simple nutrition facts to help you maximize your healthy eating habits.

Nutrition Fact No. 1: 5-9 Fruits and Veggies a Day Keep the Doctor Away

If you’re committed to eating healthier, the best place to start is by adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet every day. Not only are you filling up on good-for-you vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other powerful nutrients, but you’re cutting empty calories and sugar out of your diet.

Five to nine fruits and vegetables may sound like a lot, but start slowly and consider some of these simple substitutions throughout the day:

  • Grab a banana for a convenient on-the-go snack.
  • Dedicate at least two-thirds of your plate to fruits and veggies at dinnertime.
  • Dip raw veggies in Greek yogurt or hummus to power through your mid-day slump.
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth in the evening with a bowl of fresh fruit.
  • Swap your regular sandwich at lunch with a salad packed with dark, leafy greens, tomatoes, shredded carrots, dried fruit and a hard-boiled egg.
  • Top cereal or yogurt with one cup of blueberries or strawberries at breakfast.
  • Keep dates and unsalted nuts available for a healthy snack.

Plan meals with your favorite fruits and vegetables to keep it enjoyable. Challenge yourself to try at least one new fruit or vegetable a week to mix it up and expand your taste buds. Try different methods of preparing your vegetables, such as sautéeing, roasting, or grilling. You never know what you may discover!

Nutrition Fact No. 2: Maximize Freshness

It’s happened to all of us: We load up our carts with fresh and nutritious food, only to let them spoil in the refrigerator. Not only is food waste a drain on our budget, it’s also bad for the environment. The National Resource Defense Council estimates that up to 40 percent of the food in the U.S. is never eaten. That’s food that’s going straight from our homes to the landfill, untouched.

Another downside of food hanging out in the fridge is that fresh fruits and veggies can lose their nutritional punch after being harvested. Add in transportation time to local grocery stores, and it can be anywhere from 3 days to several weeks before consumers even have a chance to buy fresh produce.

Try eating frozen vegetables. Frozen vegetables are packaged soon after they are picked, so they are more likely to retain their nutrients rather than fresh vegetables that hang out in the refrigerator. Be sure to check the nutrition label for added sugar or sodium.

A recent article in Healthline found that fresh fruits and vegetables lose nutrients over time — some as soon as they’re picked, including:

  • Soft fruits, such as berries, can lose nutrients after three days of refrigeration.
  • Vitamin C in fresh vegetables declines as soon as it’s picked from farms.

Maximize freshness and nutrients in produce:

  • Buy produce you plan to eat in the next 3-5 days.
  • Freeze fruit that’s nearing its shelf life or make a smoothie to use up fruit on hand.
  • Rinse and cut fruits and veggies to have on hand for snacking. Be sure to store them in airtight containers in the fridge.
  • Store produce appropriately to maximize its freshness. Some fruits and vegetables do best at room temperature while others should be stored in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Fact No. 3: Read Food Labels

The food labels on the back of packaged foods can help you find healthy options to add to your diet. Look past the claims on the front or sides of packaging and zero in on the food label and ingredient list.

Here are a few tips to help you choose healthful foods:

Look for Wholesome Ingredients in the Ingredients List

Manufacturers are required to list ingredients based on how much is used in the product. If sugar is the first, second, or third ingredient, that means there is more sugar in the food than whole grains. Another good rule of thumb is to look for ingredients you can pronounce. While most packaged foods contain preservatives that can be a mouthful, most ingredients should be easy to read, easy to say and recognizable.

Check the Serving Size

Manufacturers can sometimes make food look healthier than it is based on the serving size. Double-check how much is considered a serving and then consider how much you typically eat to be sure you are keeping “healthy” foods healthy.

Cut Back on Sugar

These days sugar is added to almost every packaged food. Keep your sugar consumption in line with the recommended daily intake: 3-6 teaspoons (12-16 grams) for women and 6-9 teaspoons (16-36 grams) for men. Sugar can increase your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease and add pounds and inches to your waistline.

Focus on Healthy Fats

Avoid saturated and trans fat in food to help reduce your risk of heart disease. Instead, find foods with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, like fish, nuts and vegetable oils. Be sure to limit fat to 25-30 percent of your calories. Fat from plant-based sources like avocados, nuts, and olives pack a lot of omega 3 fatty acids, which help reduce heart disease.

Cut Back on Salt

Manufacturers add sodium to most packaged foods. Look for foods that are low in sodium and high in potassium to help combat heart disease and manage high blood pressure. Avoiding canned vegetables high in sodium is preferred. But if you do eat canned vegetables, rinsing them off can reduce some of the sodium you consume.

Nutrition Fact No. 4: Drink More Water

Drinking water throughout the day offers many health benefits. Research has shown that drinking water can help you:

  • Feel energized
  • Improve kidney function
  • Keep skin looking hydrated, smooth and glowing
  • Lose weight
  • Stay hydrated and help your body run properly
  • Avoid constipation

The most common advice is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Reach for water when you’re thirsty and be sure to drink more on hot, sunny days or when you’re working up a sweat.

Nutrition Fact No. 5: Refrigerate Leftovers

Skipping takeout and making homemade food is another great way to boost your nutrition. Leftovers also make a great, healthy lunch the next day or can do double-duty for dinner two nights in a row. Be sure to refrigerate your leftovers safely to reduce the risk of bacteria or other contamination.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers several tips on leftovers and food safety:

  • Divide food into shallow containers to cool it more quickly and safely.
  • Reheat food safely, in the microwave, stovetop or oven. Food should reach 165 degrees, and sauces, soups and gravies should be brought to a rolling boil.
  • Refrigerate leftovers two hours after food was cooked or removed from a warm appliance.
  • Store food in airtight storage containers or wrap it in airtight packaging.
  • Store leftovers safely in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 3-4 months.

Emory Healthcare

At Emory Healthcare, we’re here to help you find the care you need, when you need it. With more than 2,000 doctors and 300 locations, including six hospitals, primary care offices, urgent cares and MinuteClinics, we’re delivering specialized care across the region. If you have questions about how you can boost your nutrition, find a doctor near you to help you get and stay healthy.

 

Allergies: Know Where to Go to Get Relief This Season

For allergy and asthma sufferers in Atlanta, there are effectively three seasons: summer, winter and pollen.

With a warmer than average winter, high pollen counts have already been reported across the U.S. In Atlanta, this warmer than usual weather triggered an early release of tree pollen. As a result, pollen counts started rising in mid-February. This means allergy season is already here — which may seem unfair, considering we are still at the tail end of flu season.

Click here to learn more about pollen counts and what the numbers mean.

Respiratory allergies, such as asthma and allergic rhinitis (also called hay fever), flare up because of a heightened immune system response to pollen particles. Allergic rhinitis produces the typical sneezing and runny nose associated with pollen season, as well as itchy watery eyes. You can also experience itching in your ears, nose and throat.

For some people, this is mildly irritating but can be handled by staying indoors when pollen counts are high. Symptoms are also treatable with over-the-counter or prescription medications. A primary care physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant can help. Older adults, children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk to their health care provider before taking over-the-counter medications.

However, allergic rhinitis can set the stage for viral or bacterial infections to take hold in your sinuses, ears, throat and chest. If left untreated, these infections can develop into more serious conditions.

Tip: Not sure whether you have allergies or a sinus infection? If it’s allergies, your mucus will often be clear. Mucus that’s cloudy, white, yellow or greenish can indicate a sinus infection.

Pollen sensitivity can also trigger asthma or bronchitis, both of which are conditions that affect airways in our lungs and can cause shortness of breath and wheezing. Asthma is caused by muscles tightening around the airways, causing them to narrow and restrict the amount of air that gets in your lungs. Meanwhile, bronchitis occurs when the lining of the airways becomes inflamed and is usually caused by an infection. It’s possible to suffer from both at the same time, which is called asthmatic bronchitis.

Where to Get Relief for Your Allergies

Start with your primary care physician. Because your PCP knows your complete health history and how you respond to medication, he or she can develop the best course of treatment. If you have ongoing or severe allergy or asthma issues, your primary care physician can also refer you to a specialist.

MinuteClinics and Urgent Care Centers are good alternatives if you need to see a health care provider sooner than you can see your PCP, or if you need care outside of your PCPs normal office hours.

Emergency rooms are best for life threatening health concerns, and a severe asthma attack can certainly require emergency care. Respiratory infections with high fevers that don’t respond to medicine are another example of good time to visit the ER.

When in doubt, don’t hesitate to call your PCP or the Emory HealthConnection at 404-778-7777 and speak to an Emory nurse for assistance.

About Dr. Colovos

Nick Colovos, MD, received his degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine in 1993, and completed his residency in emergency medicine at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Toledo Ohio in 1996. His work experiences in the academic, public and private sectors of medical care have allowed him to develop a very unique perspective on the business of healthcare and its delivery to patients. He currently serves as Medical Director for the Emory Healthcare Urgent Care and CVS MinuteClinic Strategy. Assistant Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta Georgia

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Aging Parents and Multiple Health Problems – What Adult Children Can Do to Help

aging-parents-emailAs we age, the likelihood of developing multiple ongoing conditions increases. These problems can include high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and congestive heart failure, to name a few.

Multiple medical conditions also means multiple prescriptions, therapies and physicians, all of which can become confusing. Sometimes, they might seem at cross purposes as well.

Join us July 27, 2016, from noon to 1 p.m. to chat online with Anthony Nguyen, MD, Emory Healthcare Regional Medical Officer for the Emory Coordinated Care Centers, part of the Emory Healthcare Network Advantage program. Dr. Nguyen works with Emory primary care physicians and Coordinated Care Center staff to deliver continuous coordinated care to older patients.

He will discuss how caregivers – and patients themselves- can communicate with their doctors to help manage health conditions like

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Anticoagulation Therapy Program
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • COPD

He will also explain the therapies, services and treatments offered at the Coordinated Care Centers that can help with this more intensive health management, including:

  • HealthStart assessments
  • Fall prevention
  • Medication management
  • Nutrition advice
  • Smoking cessation programs
  • Behavioral health support

During this chat, you’ll be able to ask questions and get real-time answers from Dr. Nguyen. Register now for our July 27 chat at emoryhealthcare.org/mdchats.

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Create a Personal Fundraising Page

Personal Giving Page ImageYour support is vital to everything that we do here at Emory. That’s why Emory Healthcare is excited to announce the inception of Personal Giving Pages. Personal Giving Pages are a fun and easy way to support Emory’s groundbreaking research, patient care, and professional education.

With just a few clicks, you’ll be able to create your own Personal Giving Page. After you’ve created your page, you’ll be able to invite family and friends to join you in supporting Emory Healthcare. We’ve already created special fundraising messages for birthdays, in honor or memorial of someone special, holidays, or any day that may be important to you.

Personal Giving Pages are a great way to both promote good health and help others get involved in the effort to put an end to serious diseases. These pages are a fun and easy way to do just that. With your support and the support of others like you, there’s no telling what we’ll be able to accomplish. We’re so proud to have the opportunity to serve you and our community.

If you’d like to know more about how to create your own Personal Giving Page, please click here.

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Managing Your Stress Live Chat on December 22nd

stress-chatThe holiday season is in full swing, and there’s no better time to think about stress management. In short spurts, stress is actually helpful and can propel us through a tough situation or help us react quickly to avoid one. However, prolonged or severe stress may trigger physical, psychological and emotional reactions that can lead to health problems or worsen existing ones.

On Tuesday, December 22, 2015 from noon to 1pm EST join Emory Healthcare Network’s Sharon Horesh Bergquist, MD for an interactive web chat on Stress Management. Sign up, send questions and learn about

  • Symptoms of stress
  • Long-term effects of stress on your health and body and
  • Techniques for reducing stress

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About Dr. Bergquist

avatar-horesh-bergquist-sharonDr. Bergquist is an Emory Clinic Primary Care Physician and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. Her expertise includes healthy aging, heart disease prevention and management, women’s health, diabetes, nutrition and obesity counseling and treatment of mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression. She has appeared in over a hundred health segments, including Good Morning America, Fox New Network, CNN and Fox 5, has served as an editorial consultant for WebMD and wrote the TED Ed Lesson, “How Stress Affects Your Body.”

Infertility Statistics and Infertility in Men

couple-walking-autumnInfertility is a common problem that affects one out of every ten couples trying to conceive. Perhaps because of social stigma, infertility is rarely publicized or discussed, despite common occurrence. Recently, several celebrities have opened up on social media about their personal struggles in trying to conceive. Hopefully, these discussions will promote greater awareness of the both the causes of infertility, and the treatments for infertility.

Historically, any discussion about infertility has focused on infertility in women. People are often surprised to learn that 50% of all cases of infertility involve infertility in men. Causes of infertility in men range from abnormalities in sperm count, to hormone imbalances, and problems with ejaculation. In many cases, these male fertility issues can be treated either medically or surgically.

As a urologist who specializes in Men’s Reproductive Health, I can say that a diagnosis of infertility affects all aspects of a man’s life. Medically, a diagnosis of infertility can be worrisome because it may be an indicator of a potentially serious underlying medical condition. Psychologically, a diagnosis of infertility can lead profound feelings of guilt, anger, and low self-esteem.

Infertility statistics clearly show that infertility is a couple’s problem, and must be faced as a team. If you have concerns about your or your partner’s fertility potential, or need more information about fertility treatment options available at the Emory Reproductive Center, call 404-778-4898 to schedule or visit Emory’s Reproductive Center.

About Dr. Mehta

mehtaDr. Akanksha Mehta is an Assistant Professor of Urology at Emory University School of Medicine.

Dr. Mehta graduated magna cum laude from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, with double Bachelor degrees; Science (Biology) and International Relations. Dr. Mehta attended Alpert Medical School at Brown University/Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI, where she also did her General Surgery internship and Urology residency. She then completed a fellowship in Male Infertility and Microsurgery at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York, NY, before joining Emory Urology in 2013, as the inaugural Health Services Scholar. Dr. Mehta is a Diplomate of the American Board of Urology (2015).

Dr. Mehta’s clinical interests lie in the area of male reproductive and sexual medicine, and microsurgery. She currently serves at the Director of Male Reproductive Health at Emory Urology, and is a Guest Researcher in the Division of Reproductive Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Mehta’s research interests lie in studying the impact of male factor infertility on clinical outcomes following the use of assisted reproductive technologies, as well as the recovery of sexual function among prostate cancer survivors. She is the recent recipient of a Urology Care Foundation Research Scholar award for her work.

Dr. Mehta currently serves as the Director of Undergraduate Medical Education, and is closely involved in teaching and mentoring medical students and urology residents. She has authored several book chapters and peer-reviewed publications in Urology, and has presented at both regional and national meetings.

Outside of Urology, Dr. Mehta maintains a keen interest in International Health; she has been involved in providing clinical care in Cambodia, Kenya, and Bangladesh.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Male Infertility Information

The New and Improved Emory University Hospital at Wesley Woods

entrance-wesleyMental illness is an epidemic in the United States today. In the state of Georgia, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death (www.namiga.org). As more and more people are seeking treatment for depression, anxiety, and other mental health illnesses, there is a rising need for more treatment options. Sitting down with Emory University Hospital at Wesley Woods Clinical Administrator, Jen Schuck, helped to shed light on how Emory Healthcare, is working towards addressing the needs of this rising epidemic.

In the past year, Emory University Hospital at Wesley Woods (EUHWW) has undergone significant changes. Ms. Schuck says EUHWW as a whole, are trying to move away, “from the negative stigmas” by referring to psychiatric services as “behavioral health.” In addition to promoting a more positive way to talk about mental health, Ms. Schuck explains how EUHWW has essentially re-vamped the treatment method for behavioral health. Inpatient behavioral health has two units and offers two different outpatient treatment tracks. One unit is for “acute behavioral services such as paranoia, delusions, hallucinations or schizophrenia type illnesses” says Schuck. The second inpatient unit is for patients with medical co-occurring illnesses. The two tracks recognize the differences between patients and treating them to meet their specific needs. “We have to provide patients with life skills or coping skills for discharge readiness” says Schuck. She also reports the inpatient units are largely “stabilization” units. After receiving short term inpatient treatment, patients can step down to outpatient treatment—and again EUHWW offers two different tracks patients can choose from, based on their specific needs. Outpatient behavioral health services has different levels of acuity-

  • Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)
  • Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
  • Continuing Care Program (CCP)

This breakdown makes it, “so we are always caring for the patient” throughout their course of treatment. Schuck says patients should be “treated for 6 to 8 months” post acute episode. The second outpatient program track offers patients a Transitional Care Clinic. Essentially, a nurse driven program for patients not going the PHP/IOP/CCP track. The nurse will contact the patient following their discharge from their inpatient stay. The Transitional Care Clinic follows patients for 30 days post-discharge and will make contact with the patient within 7 days of their inpatient hospitalization. This ensures patients are receiving the proper after care treatment. Schuck summarizes this new structure as, “patients who are inpatient can either go the PHP track post discharge or the Transitional Care Clinic track. Either way—it allows us to be more engaged in their after care.” Thus reducing recidivism because the patient will be supported long-term, rather than only acutely.

How do these changes impact the general community, you ask? Schuck says “number one, it provides easier access to behavioral health services. Gives ability to manage behavioral health services with comorbidities which is not commonly treated.” She also says being backed by a university, gives “access to cutting edge” treatment options for the community. She emphasizes the newly structured behavioral health systems at EUHWW serves patients who are “more fragile” and is special to the Atlanta area community because traditionally, medical and psychiatric co-occurring illnesses are not treated together.

When asked for her thoughts in general on psychiatric services for the 21st century at EUHWW, Schuck referred back to how the new treatment structures are more cohesive. She reports also EUHWW has a Neuromodulation clinic, which partners with Treatment Resistant Disorders (TRD) clinic to provide patients with ECT (electro-convulsive therapy—which is much less invasive now as it was in previous years), ketamine infusions, and Emory Healthcare has also just launched RTMS (Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Services). Schuck reports this will provide options to patients other than ECT—RTMS uses magnetic brain waves to change the brain chemistry in people with mental illness. Schuck reports the overall “global” goal is for the programs to continue to care for people beyond the walls of this hospital. She hopes to bridge our care continuum to outside providers and be able to treat the whole patient—rather than just one piece. When asked why families should choose Emory Healthcare for their behavioral health needs, Schuck references the above re-vamped treatment structure. She also reports such changes supports EUHWW moving towards, “being a world class treatment facility” providing individualized treatment. Schuck hopes in the next 5 years, that EUHWW psychiatric services will be expanded. She also says behavioral health needs will increase by 10% according to strategic planning and that “we need to be ready.” She re-emphasizes her goal of community outreach—having our continuum of care stretch beyond the four walls of our hospitals—reaching into the community. When asked what she would want the community to know about EUHWW, Schuck says “we have re-invented ourselves” explaining we are apart of a greater system within Emory Healthcare by creating a new identity, we are not a nursing home, and serve more than just geriatric patients; requiring many cultural changes. Schuck reports, “we are getting to a place that is more comprehensive” treating the acute system for long-term. Thus, it is tapping into a larger “brain health system”, providing care for more patients for longer time periods—a connection that other systems may not have. This is also a connection that could save a life. We are all in this together. Together, with the newly re-invented structures at EUHWW, we can help patients and families thrive in mental health wellness.

Emory Healthcare Behavioral Health Services:
Inpatient treatment- 404.728.6222
Outpatient treatment- 404.778.5526
PHP/IOP/CCP- 404.728.4776.

4 Low Impact Exercise Options

tai-chiAs we all know, regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. But because of various injuries and/or health conditions, instead of running on a treadmill or jumping rope, many people must choose to participate in low impact activities. If you’re someone who is impacted by musculoskeletal issues ranging from tender joints to osteoarthritis, check out the four activity options below for healthy ways to stay active without all the wear and tear.

Swimming

Swimming is a great way for everyone to stay active, but is especially well-suited for those seeking a low impact way to get or stay healthy. Stiff and sore joints can benefit from the buoyancy of water and the fact that your body bears less of its own weight when underwater. The increased resistance afforded by water (vs. air) means exercise can be even more effective in building not only strength, but also your range of motion.

Yoga

Because the foundation of yoga is stretching, it is an ideal exercise option for those requiring low impact options for staying fit. The slow and gradual movements associated with yoga allow the body to gracefully ease into each position and ensure joints avoid taking on the heavy impact associated with many other forms of exercise. Yoga can help improve strength, balance, and flexibility, all while going easy on your body.

Cycling

Cycling is a fantastic low-impact way of working cardiovascular exercise into your routine. Both indoor and outdoor cycling allow you to incorporate resistance training into your workout and get the heartbeat up to burn calories, build stamina and boost your overall health!

Tai Chi

Rooted in a combination of martial arts and meditation, tai chi provides core strengthening, balance and aerobic benefits, along with an opportunity to get in some time for deep breathing and stress relief as well. Leveraging slow, graceful movement, tai chi removes the impact from your workout and is easy on the joints while reducing stiffness and even improving your sleep!

These are some great options for low impact exercise. What are your other favorite low impact exercise options?

Health Benefits of Yoga

yoga-classDeveloped in India thousands of years ago, yoga has become an incredibly popular form of exercise in the United States. There are more than one hundred different types of yoga, and most focus on three core elements: breathing exercises, meditation, and assuming poses (or postures) that stretch and flex various muscle groups.

You’ve probably heard yoga is good for you. Maybe you’ve even tried it and found that you walked away feeling better than when you came in. Yoga not only feels great, but it’s also great for you, providing instant gratification and lasting transformation (if you stick with it!) But while you probably know that yoga can help you become more flexible, you may be surprised by the wide range of health benefits—both physical and mental—that yoga can help you achieve.

Physical Benefits

  • Builds muscle strength – Many yoga poses require you to support the weight of your own body in new ways, including balancing on one leg or supporting yourself with your arms. Poses such as downward dog, upward dog, and the plank pose, build upper-body strength. The standing poses, especially if you hold them for several long breaths, build strength in your hamstrings, quadriceps, and abs. Poses that strengthen the lower back include upward dog and the chair pose.
  • Improved flexibility – Typically the first and most obvious benefit of yoga, improved flexibility tends to be clearly evident, even to beginners. Moving and stretching in new ways helps to increase the range of motion and lubrication of joints, which is key to performing everyday activities with ease as you continue to age.
  • Posture – When you’re stronger and more flexible, your posture improves. Most of the standing and sitting poses develop core strength because your abdominal muscles are needed help support and maintain each pose. With a stronger core, you’re more likely to sit and stand tall.
  • Bone and joint health – It’s well known that weight-bearing exercise strengthen bones and helps ward off osteoporosis, and many postures in yoga require that you lift your own weight. Yoga also can have a significant effect on healthy joint function as certain poses promote the release of fluids while strengthening the muscles supporting vital joint systems.
  • Heart healthy – When you regularly get your heart rate into the aerobic range, you lower your risk of heart attack. While not all yoga is aerobic, if you do it vigorously or take certain classes (like Ashtanga), it can boost your heart rate into the aerobic range.
  • Breathing – Most of us take shallow breaths and don’t give much thought to how we breathe. Because most forms of yoga involve deep breathing and attention to our breath, lung capacity often improves. This in turn can improve sports performance and endurance.

Mental Benefits

Aside from the array of physical benefits, yoga also has some great mental benefits. Unlike more traditional forms of exercise, yoga’s incorporation of meditation and breathing help a person improve his/her mental well-being.

  • Stress reduction – One of the best benefits of yoga is how it helps a person manage the devastating effects of stress. Physical activity is good for relieving stress, and this is particularly true of yoga. Yoga’s quiet, precise movements and emphasis on being in the moment can also help by taking the focus off external stressors. Many people leave yoga classes feeling less stressed than when they came in.
  • Body awareness – Doing yoga will give you an increased awareness of your own body, as you are often called upon to make small, subtle movements to improve your alignment. Over time, this will increase your level of comfort in your own body, which can help with early detection of physical problems or ailments and allow for early preventive action.
  • Mental Calmness – Many of the breathing exercises practiced in yoga have been developed to calm and tame our seemingly endless stream of thoughts. This leads to greater concentration as you work your way through each pose—and, in most cases, a calmness that lasts the rest of the day.

If one or many of these benefits appeal to you, you should look into the various schools of yoga and determine which is right for you. The great news is that just about everyone can do it, too — body type and fitness levels do not matter because there are modifications for every yoga pose and beginner classes in every style. So get out there and give yoga a try; you may just be amazed at what it can do for you.