Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

What is Better for My Health? Weights or Cardiovascular Exercise?

Cardio vs. WeightsFor the promotion of overall health and reduction of risk around developing diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease, the most effective fitness plan incorporates both cardiovascular training and strength training. There are different benefits to the different types of exercise, so it is ideal to plan your weekly workout routine split (2-3 days of each) between strength and cardio training.

Benefits of cardiovascular training

  • Breathing harder and deeper increases amount of oxygen in the blood
  • Heart, lungs, blood vessels work more efficiently with cardio exercises to transport oxygen through the body
  • Burns calories – one hour of running burns approximately 600 calories in a average female and 750 calories in the average male

Benefits of strength training

  • Increase muscle mass – you will be able to do activities longer after building muscle mass
  • Maintain joint flexibility
  • Increase bone density
  • Manage your weight – Note that muscle burns more calories than fat so if you have more muscle your metabolism is likely to be higher and you are likely to be slimmer.

Lack of sufficient exercise contributes to the possibility of developing conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and several types of cancer. All forms of exercise can reduce your risk of developing diseases that can be harmful to your overall health.

If you can exercise 5 – 6 days a week for over 30 minutes a day, you are ahead of the game. And if you can’t make 30 minutes a day, start small by taking the stairs at work, doing some calisthenics when you wake up in the morning, or by going for a short bike ride with your children. Work it in when you can – your body and health will thank you for it!

Related Resources:

How to Prevent Plantar Fasciitis
Understanding & Preventing Tennis Elbow
Tennis Elbow Isn’t the Only Thing that Causes Tennis Elbow
Understanding IT Band Syndrome
Understanding Runners Knee

About Dr. Mason

Dr. Amadeus MasonDr. Amadeus Mason is an assistant professor in the Orthopaedics and Family Medicine departments at Emory University. He is board certified in Sports Medicine with a special interest in track and field, running injuries and exercise testing. He has been trained in diagnostic musculoskeletal ultrasound, orthopedic stem cell therapy and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy. Dr. Mason is Team Physician for USA Track & Field, Tucker High School, and Georgia Tech Track and Field.

Dr. Mason is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, the America Road Racing Medical Society, and the USA Track and Field Sports Medicine and Science Committee. He has been invited to be a resident physician at the US Olympic Training Center, a Sports Medicine consultant in his homeland of Jamaica and the Chief Medical Officer at multiple USA Track and Field international competitions. He is an annual speaker at the pre-race expo for PTRR, Publix marathon and Atlanta marathon commenting on a wide variety of topics related to athletics and running injuries.

Dr. Mason is an active member of the Atlanta running community. He attended Princeton University and was Captain of the track team. His other sports interests include soccer, college basketball and football, and the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). A Decatur resident, he is married with three children.

About Emory Sports Medicine

The Emory Sports Medicine Center is a leader in advanced treatments for patients with orthopedic and sports-related injuries. From surgical sports medicine expertise to innovative therapy and athletic injury rehabilitation, our sports medicine physicians and specialists provide the most comprehensive treatment for athletic injuries in Atlanta, Duluth, Johns Creek and the state of Georgia. Constantly conducting research and developing new techniques, Emory sports medicine specialists are experienced in diagnosing and treating the full spectrum of sports injuries.

Our sports medicine patients range from professional athletes to those who enjoy active lifestyles and want the best possible outcomes and recovery from sports injuries. Our doctors are the sports medicine team physicians for the Atlanta Falcons and Georgia Tech and provide services for many additional professional, collegiate and recreational teams. Appointments for surgical second opinions or acute sports injuries are available within 48 hours. Call 404-778-7777 today.

6 Tips for an Injury-Free Transition from Indoor to Outdoor Sports

Outdoor Sports TransitionWarm weather is right around the corner and athletes of all ages will be out in force tearing it up on the athletic fields playing the games they love! Injury prevention during the seasonal sports transition is key. It is important to take care of your body and follow certain precautions as athletes transition from winter to spring sports. This is especially important for the young athletes. Outdoor elements such as soggy, muddy field conditions or bad weather, can negatively affect young athletes. Many times young athletes don’t have as much opportunity to train in an environment similar to which they will be playing in during their season. This can greatly increase the risk of athletic injury.

Below is a list of suggestions to help athletes adjust and prepare for the transition from indoor to outside venues and prevent injuries in the process!

All outdoor and field sport athletes should know:

  1. Stretching is extremely important in all sports. Typically, you should hold stretches for 30 seconds! Do some 20 – 30 yard runs, starting out slower and ending up at full speed to loosen the muscles up.
  2. Make sure your cleats are “broken in.” W e highly recommend that the young athlete begin wearing cleats outside on the field surface which they will be playing before the season starts. This will help ensure the cleats fit well and feel comfortable on the playing surface during practice and games.
  3. Arrive to the field early on game day and allow your body to adjust to the outside temperature.
  4. If you are able to arrive early, take a few minutes to walk the field to assess for soft or uneven spots in the field. If it has rained, scout the field for standing water puddles. This is especially important if you haven’t ever practiced or played on the field.
  5. Keep your muscles warm as long as possible before the game. Keep your warm-up gear on til the last second. You can also wear thermal type clothing like Under Armour under your uniform if you are playing in cold temperatures.
  6. Do not let muscles get cool during the game. If you are not playing, stand and keep moving as much as possible.

Spring sports are exciting for the athletes and for all the spectators! We want to help you make sure you stay healthy so you can enjoy them from the field!

About Dr. Brandon Mines

Brandon Mines, MDBrandon Mines, MD, is an assistant professor of orthopaedics. Dr. Mines started practicing at Emory in 2005 after completing his Sports Medicine Fellowship at University of California – Los Angeles. Dr. Mines is board certified in both family practice and sports medicine. He has focused his clinical interest on sports injuries and conditions of the shoulder, elbow, wrist/hand, knee, foot and ankle. He is head team physician for the Women’s National Basketball Association’s (WNBA) Atlanta Dream.

Dr. Mines is a rotational physician for United States soccer teams and a consulting physician for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons along with various local high schools, colleges, and community club teams. He enjoys giving talks and lectures regarding the prevention of sports injuries. In fact, as an active member of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and the American Society for Sports Medicine, Dr. Mines has attended and presented at various national conferences. Through the years, he has helped all levels of athletes return to the top of their game.

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How NOT to Gain Weight During the Holiday Season

Keep Weight Off During HolidaysIt is possible to maintain a steady weight during the holidays!  It is difficult but I know many people who indulge in some of the delicious holiday food and enjoy the holiday season but they are also able to brag in the New Year that they did not gain weight!

Take note of some basic things you can do to keep your waistline trim this holiday season!

Use only one plate at holiday gatherings!

It is so easy to go crazy at holiday gatherings but make sure to review the menu or the items first and take a small sample of everything you want but stick to the one plate rule.  This will allow you to enjoy the foods you want but at smaller quantities so you do not overeat.  Dessert calories add up very quickly so include that in your one plate rule as well!

Slow DOWN and taste your food!

Many of us get so excited about all the great foods that are on our plate but many of us just scarf the food down without enjoying it!  Slow down and taste your food.   Your taste buds are in your mouth, not your stomach!

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Hydration is important all times of the year but especially important when we are tempted to overeat. Many times when you feel hungry you are actually just thirsty so keep a water bottle with you at all times and when you feel hungry drink 8 oz of water. If you are still feeling hungry choose snacks with high water content such as celery, watermelon or oranges.  You will know if you are hydrating properly by examining the color of your urine.  Clear to pale yellow is good.  Dark yellow means you need to drink more water.

Move that body!

During the holidays it can be hard to get your normal work out in but just because you can’t go to the gym does not mean you can’t exercise.  Grab a co-worker and go for a walk at lunch. Do some sit ups and push ups while watching TV and encourage your family to join you making a fun game of it to see who can do the most. Break up your normal workout into 2 workouts – go for a 15 minute walk at lunch and then another after work with your dog. A bike ride around the neighborhood or a few minutes on that stationary bike in basement is also a good way to burn some calories.

Manage blood sugar

Eat plenty of protein (lean meats like fish and lean chicken are good options) but also include a good amount of fiber (in fruits and veggies) to your diet to maintain proper blood sugar balance.  People tend to overeat when they starve themselves and then say they can eat what they want.  By maintaining consistent meals and snacks you are less likely to overindulge in the holiday goodies!

In summary, it is all about planning and making good choices!  If you decide what you will do before the gathering then you are more likely to stick to that plan.  Get a “party buddy” and hold each other accountable for your food choices.

I know at the time of temptation it can be hard to follow these rules but you will be so proud and thankful you did when the New Year comes and you don’t have to make that resolution to lose weight!  Your athletic goals in 2013 will be easier to accomplish if you don’t have excess weight to lose!

Check out even more holiday weight loss tips from the Emory Bariatric Center!

About Dr. John Xerogeanes

John Xerogeanes MD

John W. Xerogeanes MD, is Chief of Sports Medicine at the Emory Orthopaedic & Spine Center. Known as Dr. “X” by his staff and patients, he is an Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Emory University as well as an Adjunct Professor at Georgia State and Mercer University. Dr. Xerogeanes is entering his 11th year as Head Orthopaedist and Team Physician for Georgia Tech, Emory University, Agnes Scott College and the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA. Dr X specializes in the care of the knee and shoulder for both male and female athletes of every age. He is Board Certified in Orthopaedic Surgery and has his Sub Specialty Certification in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine.

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Celebrate Women’s Health and Fitness!

National Women's Health and Fitness DayToday,  September 26, is National Women’s Health & Fitness Day, and we here at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the importance of taking good care of yourself.

Since we’re bones and joint people, that’s our focus here. So consider this a simple reminder to treat your body kindly, whether you’re working or playing, exercising or just hanging out.

Here are some things to keep in mind to protect and preserve your bones and joints every day (you’ve heard these before, but it doesn’t hurt to hear them again):

  • Eat healthfully. What you put in your body affects your bone health. Not just today but down the line. (Yes, we know you know, but we had to say it anyway.)
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise helps keep your bones strong, and even moderate regular exercise can make a real difference in your physical and mental health.
  • Don’t smoke.In addition to all the bad things you already know about smoking, did you know it can cause back problems? Nicotine is toxic to spinal disc cells, and the carbon monoxide in cigarettes puts spinal discs at risk for rupture.

Most importantly, make time for you. You may be a boss, a wife, a daughter, a mother, a sister, a friend, a mentor – but you’re also an individual. Women spend so much time taking care of everyone else that their health and wellness often take a back burner. Set time aside each day to get in a little exercise and do something you want to do, whether it’s read a book, take a bubble bath, practice yoga, or just enjoy a few moments of silence. Because every day should be women’s health & fitness day.

How will you celebrate National Women’s Health & Fitness Day? What do you do every day to celebrate wellness? We welcome your questions and feedback in the comments section below.

The Meatless Workout – Making Sure Vegans Get The Nutrition They Need for Exercise

vegan diet and exerciseIt turns out, a healthy vegan workout diet doesn’t differ much from a healthy omnivore workout diet. Everybody needs the same energy-sustaining fuel, and effective fuels don’t have to be meat, eggs, or dairy products.

People choose to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet for a multitude of reasons, and a meat-free diet can be a very healthy diet. In fact, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, appropriately planned vegetarian diets, whether vegetarian or vegan, may provide health benefits that aid in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.

So how do you make sure you’re eating the right foods to keep you going strong during a workout? It’s all about getting the fuel your body needs both during and after working out, whether you’re doing cardio or strength training.

Cardiovascular workouts – High-carbohydrate foods will fuel your body for cardio. Whole-grain oats with nuts and dried fruit are a great start for a morning workout. Some other excellent high-energy vegan options are bananas, dates, potatoes, whole-grain pastas, and mixed-grain salads. Just be sure to give your body about an hour to digest each 200 calories you take in before you go for that run. And don’t forget to hydrate!

Strength-training workouts - Choose foods that are high in protein to give working muscles the amino acids they need to rebuild. A protein smoothie with berries, soy milk, and soy or hemp protein makes a tasty and quick pre-workout vegan snack. Other protein-rich foods include tofu, chickpeas, kidney beans, unrefined grains, and nuts and nut butters (like almond, cashew, and peanut). The one-hour/200-calorie rule also applies to strength training, as does the hydration.

After you exercise, be sure to replenish your body’s energy stores with high-carbohydrate, medium-protein, low-fat snacks and, of course, plenty of water. That goes for the omnivores, too.

If you’re a vegan or a vegetarian, what do you eat before you exercise? Do certain foods give you more energy? We welcome your questions and feedback in the comments section below.

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3 Things You Can Do Now to Prevent Future Back Pain

At some point in our lives, most of us struggle with lower back pain. The good news is it’s never too late to make positive changes in your lifestyle. Preventive steps now can help keep your back healthier down the road.These three things may make the difference between future suffering and living pain free:

1. Get active. Staying active may be the single most important thing you can do to maintain a healthy back. When you don’t get enough exercise, the muscle tone in your lower back can weaken, which may cause the pelvis to tilt too far forward, causing back pain. Regular exercise helps prevent back pain by strengthening your back and abdominal muscles. Just 30 minutes a day of a low-impact exercise like swimming, walking, or stationary cycling can increase muscle strength and flexibility. Yoga is also great for stretching and strengthening muscles and improving posture. If you’re already experiencing back pain, you may want to meet with an Emory physiatrist or physical therapist, who can customize an exercise plan for you.

2. Lose weight. If you’re overweight or obese, chances are you already experience back pain. One of the best things you can do now to ease pain and prevent future back pain is to lose weight. Being overweight or obese affects not only the cardiovascular and endocrine systems but the skeletal system. The skeletal system is made to support a healthy weight. Obesity puts an extra strain on all your weight-bearing joints, such as the hips and knees, but also on the spinal column. The resulting poor posture can cause chronic back pain.

3. Stop smoking. If you’re a smoker, you already know it’s not healthy. But you may not have realized it can contribute to back problems, not just later in life, but now. Many of the chemicals in cigarettes, including nicotine, have been shown to be toxic to spinal disc cells in laboratory experiments. Also, the carbon monoxide in cigarettes decreases the amount of oxygen in the blood. Because spinal discs have no capillaries, they rely on osmosis for oxygen delivery. Without oxygen-rich blood, the discs don’t get the nutrients they need, making them brittle and at risk for rupture.

Do you suffer from back pain? If so, what treatments have worked best for you? We welcome your questions and feedback in the comments section below.

Osteoporosis: Not Just a Women’s Disease

Osteoporosis MenThought you were safe from osteoporosis because you’re a guy? Think again. Osteoporosis is not just a women’s disease. In fact, one in eight males will develop an osteoporosis-related fracture in his lifetime.

When you’re young, your bone is constantly changing—old bone is removed and replaced by new bone. Osteoporosis occurs when new bone is not generated quickly enough to replace old bone, leading to decreased bone mass and a weakened skeleton. This weakening, in turn, leads to an increased susceptibility to fractures. While more women than men develop osteoporosis, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it still poses a significant threat to millions of men in the U.S.

Why do fewer men than women develop the disease? Men have larger skeletons—meaning more overall bone mass—and don’t undergo the same bone-loss-causing hormone changes that women deal with during menopause. Bone loss in men starts later and progresses more slowly. However, because men are living longer these days, osteoporosis has become an important public health issue.

While osteoporosis in women is generally age related, most men develop the disease for different reasons. Some of the risk factors that have been linked to osteoporosis in men include:

  • Smoking, excessive alcohol use, low calcium intake, and inadequate physical exercise
  • Chronic diseases that affect the kidneys, lungs, stomach, and intestines or alter hormone levels
  • Regular use of certain medications, such as glucocorticoids
  • Low levels of testosterone

A “silent disease,” osteoporosis progresses without symptoms until a fracture occurs. Those fractures most often are in the hip, spine, and wrist and can be permanently disabling. Hip fractures, in particular, are dangerous, as men who sustain hip fractures are more likely than women to die from complications.

In men, all too often osteoporosis isn’t diagnosed until a fracture occurs. If you have any of the lifestyle risk factors for developing the disease, or you experience a loss of height or change in posture, a fracture, or sudden back pain, tell your doctor. When detected before significant bone loss has occurred, osteoporosis can be treated with medication, improved nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle changes. If you think you may be at risk for osteoporosis, make an appointment with your Emory physician for a medical workup and bone mineral density test.

Do you have osteoporosis, or do you know someone who does? How are you dealing with it? We welcome your questions and feedback in the comments section below.

At-Home Workouts Ease Osteoarthritis Pain

Osteoarthritis at home workoutsIf you have osteoarthritis, you already know that exercise can help reduce pain and improve mobility. But did you know that working out at home with a DVD may bring even more relief?

According to a study presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), 107 people with osteoarthritis in the knee were randomized to either a DVD-based exercise group or a control group. The DVD group received a DVD-based exercise program along with verbal and hands-on exercise instructions for the first four to eight weeks. Participants in the DVD group reportedly exercised 5.3, 5.0, and 3.8 times per week at three-, six-, and 12-month intervals and had significantly greater improvement in pain and physical function than those in the control group.

While exercise did not make a significant difference in the progression of osteoarthritis, the reduction of pain and mobility among the DVD group speaks to the benefits of adding a video-based home exercise program to an existing exercise regimen.

When you exercise regularly, you strengthen the muscles around the arthritic joint, which helps decrease the pain of osteoarthritis and improve function. We suggest you do whatever keeps you on track to exercise regularly, whether it’s a video-based exercise program or exercising with a friend. But first, we recommend that you have an exercise program designed specifically for you by a physical therapist who understands osteoarthritis, to avoid injuries from overdoing it or doing the wrong exercises. The physical therapists here at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center have the experience and the expertise to develop an exercise plan that meets your unique needs and helps bring relief from osteoarthritis pain.

Do you have osteoarthritis? Has a regular home-based exercise program helped ease your pain? We welcome your questions and feedback in the comments section below.

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Should I Eat Before, or After I Exercise?

exercise nutritionI myself have heard friends make unsupported claims that working out on an empty stomach is more effective, or that people should wait a certain amount of time after exercising to eat. Because I’ve been wondering whether it’s better to eat before or after I exercise, and more specifically, which foods I should be eating to support a physically active lifestyle, I reached out to our own Dr. Amadeus Mason to get answers to my questions.

My first question for Dr. Mason was:  Do you recommend eating before or after a workout? Does your recommendation change whether the workout type is cardio-based or strength training?

Dr. Mason’s answer was extremely helpful, “Eating after exercise is pretty much the standard recommendation now. But what you’re eating is actually more important than when you eat it. For people who exercise often, high carbohydrates, moderate protein levels and increased fluid intake is important.” He noted though, that “carbs are the most important.”

After hearing this, I was curious. I typically like to avoid making my diet too heavy in carbohydrates, but I trust Dr. Mason and knew that he would help clarify this concern. So I asked, what is your daily recommendation for carbohydrate intake for people who work out regularly?

Again, Dr. Mason came through with some great answers, “I recommend 6-10 g/kg/day of carbohydrates.” Wait, I thought, ‘g/kg/day!? What does that even mean!?” G/kg/day is a reference to the grams of carbohydrates a person should intake daily, depending on their weight, in kilograms. I personally don’t know my weight in kg and I’m sure I’m not the only one. If you’re looking to calculate your personal ideal g/kg/day carbohydrate number, you can convert your body weight into kg here.

Once I understood that concept, Dr. Mason broke down the details on when I should be intaking these carbohydrates. “You should consume 1/5g/kg within 30 minutes of exercising and an additional 1.5g/kg within 2 hours of your workout. You should seek to consume remaining 3-7g/kg over the course of the day.”

That’s extremely helpful information. To keep your body functioning at peak performance and make your workouts more effective, it’s really not so much about whether you eat before or after you workout as it is about what you’re eating and how you’re breaking it up. One last cool tip from Dr. Mason? “Try high carbohydrate liquids too, such as chocolate milk, which is great for supporting workouts.”

Thanks Dr. Mason for helping me answer these questions for both my own workout practices and our readers!

Could Yoga be the Solution for Your Chronic Low Back Pain?

Yoga for Low Back PainIn September, we shared with you some resources on the health benefits of practicing yoga, in honor of Yoga Awareness Month. Make sure to check that resource out, as a new study has recently found that participating in weekly yoga classes is equally as effective as regular deep stretching in relieving symptoms of low back pain. The study, from which findings were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, followed over 200 people for up to 26 weeks, making it the largest study focusing on yoga’s effect on low back pain.

Of the 228 followed, subjects participated in weekly classes in which they practiced either yoga or deep stretching and also practiced the same thing at home, with the help of instructional CDs 7 DVDs for 20 minutes, at least 3 days a week. The outcomes for the group who practiced yoga and the group who practiced deep stretching in classes were compared to a “control” group, whose members were given a book with tips and best practices for relieving chronic low back pain. The results of the study showed that both yoga and deep stretching were equally as useful in easing or relieving low back pain, as long as either the yoga or stretching were practiced regularly.

Couple these results with the fact that 80% of people will suffer from low back pain at some point in their lives with the fact that Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on low back pain 1 and it becomes obvious that yoga could evolve to be an easy and fairly cost-effective method for alleviating chronic low back pain with potential to be as beneficial for improving pain as it is for reducing stress and improving flexibility and breathing.

Has your low back pain been improved by practicing yoga? If so, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below!