Wellness Resources

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.

5 Common Summertime Emergencies

SummertimeEmergencies _ 7-9Summertime is fun time! The beautiful weather demands you come out and play. Enjoy your hiking, biking, gardening, and all the activities that are much more enjoyable when it’s warm and sunny, but be careful. Emergency visits tend to rise with the temperatures.

While many injuries are relatively minor and will heal quickly on their own, it’s important to understand when it’s appropriate to go to the emergency room. It could save a life.

Here’s a list of five common summertime injuries and the symptoms you need to know:

Heat Stroke

As temperatures rise in the summer, it’s important to remain cool, well rested and hydrated. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures and dehydration are a lethal mix causing your body to overheat. This can lead to heat cramps, heat exhaustion and the most serious of all – heatstroke. Heatstroke is a very serious problem that causes internal organ failure. If left untreated, it can kill.

Seek help immediately if you experience extremely high body temperature (104 F or higher), fainting, nausea and/or vomiting, an intense headache, seizures, confusion, disorientation, rapid breathing or increased heart rate.

Head Injuries

Summer wouldn’t be complete without a few bumps and bruises. Most are harmless, resulting in minor pain or tenderness. Head injuries, though, can be tricky. Sometimes the symptoms of serious problems do not reveal themselves for several hours…or even days.

You will want to go to the hospital if, after a blow to the head, you experience a headache or stiff neck, sleepiness, vomiting, loss of movement in your arms or legs, or don’t seem to be thinking straight/acting normal.

Bee & Wasp Stings

Everyone reacts differently to bee and wasp stings. Some will barely notice a sting while others may have a life-threatening allergic reaction. Usually there isn’t anything to worry about. The pain will go away within a few hours. Swelling from more moderate reactions will go down within a few days. But severe allergic reactions are nothing to take lightly.

Call 911 if, after being stung, you have difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat and tongue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness or fainting, or additional skin reactions such as hives.

Wrist and Elbow Fractures

Falls become more frequent in the summer as outdoor activity levels increase. Our natural tendency is to catch ourselves, causing our wrists and elbows to pay the price. Early detection and treatment of fractures can help speed the recovery process and prevent complications in the future.

Head to the emergency room after a fall if you notice an obvious deformity, difficulty using the injured area, pain, swelling, warmth, bruising or redness.

Snake Bites

Most of the time, snakes are not aggressive and they will try to avoid people. Even if they do attack, many bites are not life-threatening. However, you should treat every bite as a medical emergency unless you are absolutely positive the snake was not venomous.

General symptoms of a bite may include bleeding from the puncture wound, severe pain, swelling and burning of the skin, blurred vision, dizziness, diarrhea, fever, fainting, increased thirst, and weakness.

For more information, download our Know When to Go Quick Reference that outlines the top 10 medical conditions that should prompt you to go to the emergency room.

Additional resources:
Prevent Sunburns & Other Skin Burns this Summer
Infused Water Recipes: Hydrate & Improve Health
Your Heat and the Heat

Partial Hospitalization Program – What is It?”

Partial Hospitalization ProgramI have been a part of the Emory family for 6 years. Over the past 6 years, I have worked in the Transitions Seniors Program, better known as PHP. When attending different community events, a question I hear all too often is, “PHP? What’s that?” PHP is short for Partial Hospitalization Program. I hope this blog can answer the question, “PHP? What’s that?”

What is Partial Hospitalization Program?

Partial hospitalization is defined by the American Association of Partial Hospitalizations as: A distinct and organized intensive psychiatric outpatient treatment that closely resembles short-term inpatient program. The Medicare psychiatric partial hospitalization benefits were established to provide patients with an acute mental illness, services in lieu of inpatient psychiatric care (Block & Lefkovitz, 2009). The PHP patient care is an individualized treatment plan developed by the physician and a multidisciplinary team with input from the patient.

Who is part of the multidisciplinary PHP team?

Our team includes a physician, a program director, four licensed therapists, a registered nurse, and an advanced practice nurse. All team members are very experienced in the mental health field and serve our patients with pride, compassion, and integrity.

Who should use PHP?

Patients admitted to a PHP program require a minimum of 20 hours per week of therapeutic services. Here at Emory Wesley Woods, we have a PHP program that is geared specifically towards older adults. We target patients who are 60+ struggling with a mood disorder (such as depression, anxiety, bipolar, etc.) and need a higher level of care than outpatient treatment. Patients do not need a doctor referral; however, they must meet certain diagnostic criteria.

About Our Program

Emory Healthcare’s Transitions Senior Program (PHP) of Wesley Woods was established in 1997. It is a hospital based program represented by the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems and is part of a larger continuum of care for older adults. As of 2013, we were also recognized under the Joint Commission as a “Top Performer on Key Quality Measures.” According to the Joint Commission website, to be recognized, is a “symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to meeting certain performance standards.” We are honored to have this. Click here for more information on Joint Commission.

The Transitions Senior Program is designed to provide intensive therapy to older adults experiencing behavioral health difficulties. The structured format provides medical monitoring as well as therapeutic groups on a wide range of topics. The program can be used as a step down from inpatient treatment for older adults needing an intensive level of care, but not hospitalization. Additionally, the program can be a preventive measure for patients at risk of inpatient hospitalization. The advantage of this program is that patients are able to continue their normal life activities with very minimal disruption. After assessment of needs, each patient receives a personalized treatment plan. The therapy program is voluntary and is conducted daily from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm, Monday through Friday. The average length of stay is between 4 to 6 weeks. Our program is the only senior-specific partial program in the metro Atlanta Area as well as the only one to provide free transportation to and from the facility.

In addition to the PHP program, we have also launched an IOCP (Intensive Outpatient Counseling Program) in September 2014. This is a 3 day program (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) in a less intense setting than PHP, where patients can attend for up to 36 treatment days (roughly 3 months). This program takes the concepts learned in PHP and teaches patients how to apply and use them in their daily lives. A patient does not have to go to PHP in order to join. Patients do need to provide their own transportation for this program. IOCP is Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 11:30am to 2:15pm.

I am proud to say I work in the Transitions Senior Program. The psychiatry department is thriving as PHP and IOCP continue to grow daily. If you are ever at Wesley Woods, feel free to stop by to speak to anyone on our team. We are on the first floor of the hospital, adjacent to the cafeteria. Both PHP and IOCP are housed in the same suite (B-1200). For more information on either program, please call 404-728-4776 or our program director, Ed Lawrence, at 404-728-6975.

We look forward to accommodating your geriatric psychiatry needs soon.

Choosing a PCP: It’s a Big Decision

Primary Care PhysicianChoosing a primary care provider is a very important personal decision, and a number of factors should be considered to make sure you are selecting a healthcare professional with whom you can form a long-term relationship.

A primary care provider, or PCP for short, works with you to maintain your overall health by focusing on wellness and the optimum management of your chronic conditions to avoid future problems. And while your PCP is your health care hub, he or she can also help you with selection of and referral to a specialist should your condition warrant the additional expertise. While specialists focuse on their area of expertise, your PCP maintains a holistic perspective. In that way, your PCP will work with your specialist, or specialists, to guide you through your treatment course and provide high-level oversight of treatments, medications, therapies and recommendations to ensure your care is as coordinated as possible.

Here are a few tips to help you choose the right PCP for you:

  • Ask Around – Talk to friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers about their providers. Also consider asking other healthcare professionals for their opinions. Many hospitals also offer referral services, and professional sites, like the state licensure boards, or certification boards (e.g. American Board of Medical Spectialties), confirm whether or not a doctor is Board certified or has any special qualifications you may require.
  • Consider The Details – Once you’ve got a list of potential providers, winnow it down by asking yourself some practical questions:
    • Do I prefer a male or female doctor?
    • Is the doctor in my age bracket? Will I be able to relate to him/her?
    • Where is the office located? Do I need a doctor close to home or the office?
    • What hours of the day is the office open and will those hours be convenient for me?
    • Is the office staff courteous and efficient?
    • Does the office use an electronic medical record and are they able to access your results electronically from the hospital, lab, or other providers.
    • If you are interested, does the PCP offer online and nontraditional options for communication and alternatives to face-to-face visits?
    • If I need to be admitted to the hospital, which hospital would I prefer? Does the doctor normally refer patients there?
    • Does this doctor accept my insurance? If not, am I willing to pay out of pocket ?
  • Board Certification – While there are several online lists and rankings of providers, very few have objective assessments of the provider’s clinical performance. However, while imperfect, Board Certification, does indicate that the provider has met some minimum requirements. It is important to recognize that many fine clinicians have not earned board certification for very appropriate reasons.
  • Board certified physicians have:
    • Earned their degrees from a qualified medical school
    • Completed three to seven years of accredited residency training
    • Are licensed by a state medical board
    • Have passed one or more exams administered by the ABMS
    • Career-long continuing education requirements they must meet to certification
  • In-person Interviews – Once you’ve decided which doctor looks best on paper, take the next step and interview him or her at his or her practice. Most doctors encourage this, although some may charge a small fee for their time.
  • During the visit, be aware of your total experience, including:
    • How easy – or difficult – was it to make the appointment.
    • Consider the way you are greeted by staff members when you arrive
    • Notice the length of time you spend waiting after you check in.
  • When interviewing the doctors
    • Feel free to ask tough questions.
    • Make sure you feel comfortable with his/her responses and that you are both on the same page when it comes to medications, treatments for chronic issues, and other factors important to you.
    • Consider the PCP’s bedside manner. If your personalities don’t align it will be hard to build trust.
  • Review Your Choice – Following the interview, carefully review the experience. If you weren’t happy with the outcome, continue your search. However, if all went well and the provider met your expectations, then it’s time to start building this very important relationship. You will rely on it for years to come.

About Dr. Gitomer

Richard Gitomer, MDRichard Gitomer, MD, is the President and Chief Quality Officer of the Emory Healthcare Network. Dr. Gitomer has been practicing internal medicine for more than 30 years at Emory.

Related Resources

What Is A PCP and Why Do I Need One?

Primary Care ProviderA primary care provider, or PCP, is your main point of contact for healthcare in non-emergency situations. Think of this type of healthcare provider as the quarterback of your entire health care team, the central point person whose role it is to coordinate your overall patient care, treatment and education.

Overall, your PCP is key to:

  • Providing preventive care and guidance on how to achieve a healthy lifestyle
  • Diagnosing and treating acute common medical conditions, such as cold, flu, infections, etc.
  • Treatment and management of chronic diseases such a high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.
  • Determining the severity of your medical problems, so he or she can direct you to the most appropriate care provider
  • Referring you to medical specialists when a condition requires more targeted treatment

In addition, a PCP ensures prescribed medications will not adversely affect other medications or supplements you may already be taking. Over time, your PCP learns your health history and what is most important to you and your long-term wellness. This high-level oversight ensures all of the treatments, medications, therapies and recommendations from various providers are as effective as possible.

Even if you are relatively healthy right now, things can and do change. This is especially true of millennials (the segment of the population born between the early 80s and the early 2000s), who are in the perfect position to establish health and wellness baselines with a dedicated primary care provider.

PCPs are usually physicians; however, physician assistants and nurse practitioners (collectively referred to as advance practice providers), who work under a qualified physician can also be your PCP. There are also different types of primary care physicians, some of which you may need at different points in your life, depending on your health care needs.

This chart identifies the different types of primary care physicians and can help you pinpoint which can help you most, depending on your health care needs.

Primary Care Physician

About Dr. Colovos

nick colovos, MDNick Colovos, MD, received 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.

 

  • Program Director of Urgent Care Services
  • Assistant Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta Georgia
  • Assistant Clinical Professor of Family and Preventative Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta Georgia

 

Related Resources

Find a Physician
Emory Primary Care Clinics

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

seasonal affective disorderSeasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or Seasonal Depression is a type of depression that correlates to changes in seasons. Most people with SAD start to experience some symptoms in the fall that continue, and can sometimes worsen, in the winter months. In people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, symptoms of depression will usually dissipate in the spring and summer, though a small percentage of people do report SAD symptoms during the summer.

Causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder

There are many external factors that can contribute to Seasonal Affective Disorder. Winter can often bring dreary weather, such as colder temperatures and lots of precipitation. These factors, combined with shorter daylight hours, can make it difficult to find the energy to get through the season. Geographically, those who live farther from the equator, either north or south, are more likely to be affected by SAD, perhaps because they experience longer periods of darkness in the winter and/or longer days in the summer.

Additionally, if you have a family history of clinical depression or if you are also suffering clinical depression or bipolar disorder, you could be at higher risk for developing SAD or experiencing worsening symptoms during the winter months.

Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

  • Weight gain
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Carbohydrate craving
  • Lethargy/lack of energy
  • Oversleeping
  • Lack of interest in normal activities
  • Hopeless and/or suicidal feelings
  • Social withdrawal

Though some experience only a mild form of SAD, a small percentage experience symptoms severe enough to require hospitalization or dramatically affect their quality of life. Those suffering from SAD who work long hours or during the night may have their symptoms further exacerbated, as they see less daylight.

Treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder

SAD is a mental health condition that can be improved with treatment. Treatments include stress management and light therapy using a special lamp that imitates daylight. Of those who seek treatment for SAD, about 80 percent see a reduction in their symptoms. The important thing is that you not dismiss your feelings of sadness as just another case of the “winter blues.” Seek professional help from a psychiatrist or therapist, or by talking with your primary care doctor. There is no need to suffer from SAD symptoms in silence, take the professional steps you need to maintain your health and happiness!

References

Emory Johns Creek Hospital continues Community Health Classes

Wellness ClassesLooking for a way to kick start a healthier lifestyle in the new year? A new 5-week course starts Feb. 25 at Emory Johns Creek Hospital focusing on health and wellness. Classes are taught by community and hospital healthcare providers and provide general education on nutrition and health issues to help participants progress toward developing personalized health plans.

Classes meet every other Wednesday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Physicians Plaza Suite 109, located at 6335 Hospital Parkway in Johns Creek. The cost for all five sessions is $75. Class topics are:

  • Feb. 25: Introduction and Initial Health Screening. Taught by Andrew Pugliese, MD, a Disease Prevention Physician at Emory Johns Creek Hospital, will set the foundation with information on how a healthy, active lifestyle can influence personal risk factors for disease. Licensed lab technicians help participants complete a personalized physical health assessment.
  • March 04: Health Eating Habits and Their Effect on Chronic Disease Management. Julie Parish, an Emory Johns Creek registered and licensed dietitian, will provide disease specific diet education relevant to participant’s personal risk factors and demonstrate how to use a food diary to track progress.
  • Feb. 11: Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives. Emory Johns Creek Food Services Director, Amy Davis, will talk about organic and sustainable cooking tips and how to stock your kitchen to achieve dietary success. The class will also participate in a cooking demo and prep their own healthy dinner for four to take home.
  • March 18: Preventative Benefits of Exercise. Kay Halbert, Outpatient Rehabilitation Services Supervisor at Emory Johns Creek, discusses setting goals and general requirements for physical activity. Class participants can register to win a Fitbit to help track fitness and nutrition goals along with a pair of shoes from fleet feet and a gym membership with LA fitness.
  • March 25: Wrap-up with General Well-being. Emory Johns Creek Hospital’s Sleep Lab Coordinator and Registered Respiratory Therapist Joyce Neidert and Licensed Pharmacist Roland Tam. Discuss stress management with the Director of Marketing for Massage Envy Barb Hornsby. Class members can experience a free chair massage, take home a one hour session, and enter to win a custom pillow.

For more information or to register online, visit emoryjohnscreek.com/events-classes or call 678-474-8200 to register.

Emory in Your Community – Free Osteoporosis Prevention Program

nurses screening patientsEmory Healthcare’s Community Health Partnership* is offering a complimentary Osteoporosis Prevention Program at the United Methodist Church in Tucker. This 6-week program will screen and educate participants on ways to reduce their risk of osteoporosis.

Sessions will be facilitated by Emory specialty nurses who will provide:

  • Osteoporosis screenings
  • Personal progress consultations
  • Individual evaluation and follow-up

Start Date

Tuesday, February 17
5:30 – 7:00 PM

Location

Tucker First United Methodist Church-Wesley Center
2397 Fourth Street
Tucker, GA 30084

Register today as space is limited to the first 20 participants.

To register or for more information, call 404-778-7777 or e-mail ayibatari.owi@emoryhealthcare.org.

*Emory Healthcare’s Community Health Partnership is a collaboration between Emory and the North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC). This partnership provides community wellness screenings and health education programs to the local communities of selected United Methodist churches within the metro-Atlanta area.

Hit Your New Year’s Goals – Every Single Day!

It’s the first full week of the new year! Many of us have made lengthy lists of New Year’s Resolutions that probably include many long-term goals. While long-term goals are great – and necessary for success – sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated when you know that your goal is far off in the future. An easy way to avoid that discouragement is to set daily goals that you can meet every single day. Feeling a sense of accomplishment every day will help you stay motivated to reach your future, long-term goals. Here’s a template of simple, healthy goals you can meet every single day. Visit our Pinterest page for a printable version you can hang on your fridge and check off every single day. Good luck, and Happy New Year!

Daily New Years Goals