Balanced exercise activity

I have recently had more opportunities to talk with patients about the importance of a balanced exercise program.  Most folks are aware of the benefits of cardio activities and will opt for that type when starting a new exercise routine.  What I think is important, is to include exercises for strength and flexibility. 

Adding regular yoga practice, or Pilates is a terrific way to help protect bone density as we age and to improve and support our ability to control our bodies in space, maintaining balance, thus reducing the risk of falling. 

Along with good nutrition, participating in regular weight-bearing, resistance and stretching type exercise activities will contribute a great deal to keeping us strong, healthy and out of the nursing home.

Spring Fever

Since we have had an unusually mild winter here in Lawrence, KS, and spring has already begun to show a bit of the seasonal glory, it causes me to reevaluate my daily routines.  Maybe to shake out what doldrums might be hanging around , while I shake out the rugs and clean the windows, so I can see and feel more of what life has to offer.  One of the areas I want to restructure is my physical exercise routines.  I have benefitted by the racquetball and weight training that are my usual activities, but with warmer weather, I feel the need to add more outdoor exercises.  It helps to keep boredom at bay when we add something new, replace those activities that seem old, with another that might also stimulate our mental activity.

I know that reading the newspaper or watching the news while on the treadmill is a common approach to cardio exercise, but I find that walking outdoors in a good pair of shoes, especially going up and down hills, not only gives me a good cardio workout, but allows me time to watch the evolution of the spring happenings around my neighbohood.  Sometimes I get so caught up in the visual stimulation that I want to continue the walk far beyond my regular exercise time.  Unless I am in a time crunch, it is a treat for me to be lost in the process while I add more good movement and fresh air. 

What a great time of year…isn’t Mother Nature something!?

Spinal health and digestion

I am frequently reminded of the close relationship between the middle of the spine and the health of the digestive system.  Often, when a patient complains of indigestion, we can help to improve the symptoms with proper alignment of the thoracic spine and adding some digestive enzymes.  We also try to address lifestyle issues that may be contributing to the situation.  High stress, eating large meals, diets high in simple carbohydrates, not drinking enough water, eating late at night are a few of the possible contributing factors over which we have control. 

Exercise, oddly enough, also has an effect on digestion.  Using the muscles in the abdomen helps to increase blood flow to abdominal organs and creates a massaging effect on the digestive organs, which encourages proper movement of food through the system.