Posts Tagged ‘fitness’

Beginning an Exercise Routine

Exercise RoutineFor people of all ages, regular exercise is one of the best ways to stay healthy. It can slow the aging process, lengthen your life and improve brain health. If you don’t have a regular exercise routine, you may not where to start. But take heart — it’s easier than you think.

Talk to Your Doctor and Trainer

If you’ve never followed an exercise routine or have let it slide for a while, check with your doctor first. A physical exam can determine your overall health for your age. Your doctor can also recommend suitable exercises if you’ve had injuries such as broken bones, muscle or ligament injuries, or have had surgery like hip or knee replacement.

After talking with your doctor, you might also consider working with a professional trainer who can show you proper exercise technique and form to help you prevent injury.

Know Your Fitness Level

You may think you know how fit you are, but your doctor or trainer can give you baseline measurements so you can track your progress. These may include:

  • Body mass index
  • Number of situps and pushups you can do
  • Pulse rate before and after walking a specific distance, usually a mile
  • Waist size

Plan Your Routine

Whatever your age, the best exercise is the one you enjoy the most. You can’t stick with your routine if you don’t like it. Determine the types of exercise you want to do and what you want to get out of them. Do you want to increase muscle strength? Improve your cardiovascular health? Prevent osteoporosis? Or maybe you want to maintain mobility and overall quality of life. Here again, a trainer can help you. Common types of exercise include:

  • Calisthenics (lunges, sit-ups, push-ups and pull-ups at a medium pace)
  • Flexibility exercises (muscle stretches)
  • High-impact aerobics (running and dancing, etc.)
  • High-intensity interval training (short bursts at high-intensity followed by low-intensity or rest periods)
  • Low impact aerobics (swimming, walking or bicycling)
  • Resistance training
  • Weightlifting

Get In the Swim of Things

Swimming is a great cardiovascular workout that strengthens muscles while putting minimal stress on your bones and joints. And, it’s perfect if you have arthritis or osteoporosis. If you can combine your other exercises with a swim before or after, so much the better.

Eat Well for Fitness

Eat a well-balanced diet to get calories and nutrients that fuel your daily activities, including your exercise routine. Learn to eat the right types of food at the right times of the day. If you’re not sure what types of foods are best for you, your doctor can get you started. And, if you feel that more focused education and guidance are needed, your doctor may also recommend a dietitian or nutritionist to further help you.

Don’t Exercise on Empty

You should eat one or two hours before your workout to ensure you have enough energy. It’s important to achieve the right balance of carbs and protein. For a pre-workout snack, avoid junk food packed with sugar and fat. Eat snacks that combine carbohydrates with protein, such as bananas, berries, grapes, oranges and nuts. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water.

Set Goals, Start Slow

Don’t overdo it. Have a realistic picture of what you can do. While doing 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week is recommended, it may not be what you’re comfortable with at first. Start at your own pace and simply strive to increase your goals over time. You’ll soon improve and won’t injure yourself in the process.

Choose the days and times that are best for you. You won’t keep going to the gym at 5 a.m. if you’re not happy about it. Exercise when it suits you best. You’ll find working out the same days and times helps you stick to your exercise routine — and that’s the most important part!

Stay Off the Injured List

Sports medicine specialists at Emory Sports Medicine provide outstanding care for athletes at all levels who enjoy active lifestyles and want the best possible outcomes and recovery from sports injuries. To ensure your fullest recovery, our professional, highly skilled, and caring staff at Emory Physical Therapy offer unparalleled clinical care and evidence-based treatment.


About Dr. Mautner

Dr. Kenneth MautnerKenneth R. Mautner, M.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. He is board certified in PM&R with a subspecialty certification in Sports Medicine. He is the Director of Primary Care Sports Medicine and Fellowship Director for the ACGME accredited Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship.

Dr. Mautner is considered a leader in the field of Orthobiologics treatment for chronic soft tissue and joint disorders including Platelet Rich Plasma and Stem Cell injections. Dr. Mautner is the head team physician for the Atlanta Hawks, Harlem Globetrotters, and Pace Academy, as well as a team physician for the Atlanta Braves, Georgia Tech, and Emory University.



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.

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.

Related Resources:


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.

Related Resources:

Takeaways from Running Injury Live Chat

Dr. Amadeus MasonOn Tuesday, Dr. Amadeus Mason of Emory Sports Medicine, held a live chat that answered your questions about preventing running injuries. Dr. Mason provided some great answers to some very interesting questions; from how to prevent running injuries to the ideal length of time one should consider when training for a 5k and other long distance races.  Dr. Mason also provided participants with resources on things like: knee pain and strengthening and IT Band Syndrome.

The following is a recap of the live chat, or you can check out the transcript from Dr. Mason’s Preventing Running Injuries chat.

Q. Is it better to stretch before a run? After a run? Or Both?

A. For runners stretching for flexibility, it’s better to stretch after their run, because muscles are looser and more receptive to the stretch at that time. Dr. Mason also noted that while stretching before a run doesn’t hurt, runners should keep in mind that it’s best to spend at least ¼ of the time you spend running on stretching. As an example, Dr. Mason suggests if a runner trains for an hour, it’s best to stretch for at least 15 minutes.

Q. How does a runner prevent shin splints from reoccurring and preventing the pain’s longevity?

A. Runners experiencing recurrent shin splints, or moderate to severe pain in the shin that lasts for a long period of time, should see a specialist. Make sure not to train too much, too quickly, that’s one of the most common causes of shin splints, according to Dr. Mason. If shin splints occur, it’s recommended that a runner modifies their training regimen to accommodate for pain relief. Females, who experience shin splints on a fairly regular or recurrent basis, should contact their Physician.  Continuous shin pain is a possible indication that there’s some sort of hormonal imbalance or insufficient caloric intake from a female runner’s diet.

For more information on preventing running injuries, check out Dr. Mason’s chat transcript. You can also download the resources he shared in the chat by using the links below.

Related Resources

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!