Spring is upon us, promising longer days, warmer weather, and a feeling of freshness and growth. It is the time when we start to squeeze out of jumpers and coats and see the winter plumpness with disdain. It is a perfect time to take that move to committing to being more active again.
Exercise is a word that for many invokes a sense of dread and ‘it’s not for me’. The fact is that exercise takes effort and the pain of committing to that effort is too much for many to get going. For those of you who need persuading, let’s look at the balance of what’s in it for you.
The downsides of exercise usually come down to making time to exercise, being prepared to work hard enough at it for it to do any good and feeling comfortable in an exercise environment with others. If we are honest with ourselves, we generally have quite a bit of time to sit in front of the TV. Just three shows less a week would make a difference, so lack of time is an excuse, not real, especially when you know the shows will be repeated anyway. You can of course choose to exercise on your own, if you feel awkward about exercising with others. So that just leaves the effort you put into it, which I will leave you to ponder on after I tell you about the consequences of not exercising.
So ‘what’s in it for me’ if I don’t exercise? Take a good look around next time you go shopping, obesity seems to be an epidemic. Around 50% of over 65’s are already on a cocktail of five or more drugs as GP’s try to fight off health problems. Their task is going to get a whole lot tougher when the next generation hits retirement age.
When we slouch in our chairs, watching TV, we don’t breathe correctly causing less lung capacity, lower oxygen intake, poorer blood flow, a weaker heart and less nutrient delivery. Muscles will contract to take up slack and blood pressure will rise. The reduced blood flow cannot sustain sudden movements any more, leading to dizziness and the increased risk of accidents.
The gut slows and digestion fails. Sugar metabolism struggles and diabetes is more likely to take hold. Men’s sexual potency falls. Bones get weaker making fracture more likely.
This list doesn’t make good reading does it? The pain coming your way if you don’t exercise is most probably going to make the effort to exercise look insignificant.
Exercise is vital for healthy aging. Whether you are 40 or 80, regular exercise will help you stay physically and mentally healthy and improve your life. It is widely acknowledged that a healthy body equals a healthy mind. A recent study suggests that intense physical activity may offer greater benefits for brain function in later life than less intense, but regular exercise. The researchers found a gradual increase in memory scores with higher intensity exercise.
If you are new to exercising, start with a few minutes a day, a small start puts you well on your way toward longer periods of exercise. Walking is a wonderful way to start exercising.
Exercise doesn’t have to mean you have to endure lengthy intense programs or take on a gym membership, although I think the discipline of going and the social angle is great.
If you are exercising on your own, you still need to add in working out with weights as well as aerobic exercise such as walking.
Your bones are remodelled throughout your life and they respond to stresses put on them by weight bearing activity. Space travel confirmed this when it was discovered that weightlessness prevented bone matrix repair and the bones thinned.
In the same way, running, cycling, and swimming are not enough to reverse osteoporotic changes. A one year study of mature ladies doing aerobic exercise only, without any weight bearing activity, showed an average 4% bone loss. This may not sound much, but it took two years of weight building exercises to reverse it. That’s why both the American College of Sports Medicine and the Osteoporotic Society insist on the prescription of aerobic exercise to include weights.
A word of caution. Exercise is an integral part of keeping healthy muscles and bones, however don’t push through bad pain whilst exercising, as all you will do is create chronic tissue damage. If you have an injury or are suffering arthritis, then exercise alone is not a worthy substitute and never will be for hands on treatments such as physiotherapy combined with modern technology, so visit us first.
Springtime is about new beginnings and inspirations. Spread the word about the benefits of safe, enjoyable exercise.
We march into joint problems with innocent ignorance. A poor diet full of processed sugar, excess fat, caffeine and alcohol, leading to obesity, compounded by poor posture and footwear. These dark winter days we rarely get the correct amount of exercise to protect our joints, putting our bodies through repeated stresses and strains with weak muscles. On top of this it is difficult to keep a positive mindset with such negative world news.
No wonder arthritis creeps in.
My patients often ask if they have arthritis and what type. They often think that fibromyalgia is a form of arthritis.
Broadly speaking there are two kinds; osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis(RA). An examination by your physiotherapist or GP with xrays and bloods, should determine which it is.
OA, the most common type, is wear and tear in the smooth cartilage protecting the bones in joints, which eventually leads to bone erosion, bone spurs and unsightly bony end thickening. The joint juice, the synovial fluid, swells and becomes inflamed and sticky. The attacked bone haemorrages precious calcium. By 50 years old 8 out of 10 of us have OA and by 60, 9 out of 10. Left untreated, OA can have a massive negative impact on quality of life and eventually need surgery. When bone is very fragile, it becomes osteoporotic and breaks easily. By the age of 70, 1 in 3 ladies suffer this.
Clearly, for everyone, it is well worth investing time to prevent the worst. I have mild OA in my right knee following surgery and if I follow the plan enclosed, I keep the symptoms at bay.
RA is totally different to OA, whereby the malfunctioning of the immune system is self destructive to joints and muscles. It is linked to genetic makeup and believed to be triggered by a viral attack.
I am frequently asked about Fibromyalgia, but this is not arthritic or inflammatory. The symptoms of fatigue, sleepless nights and muscle pain are believed to be a malfunction of the mitochondria energy processing system in the cell.
Exercise regulary every 48 hours, include gentle exercise like Tai Chi or Yoga when you are feeling sore and stressed up, and try to exercise outside to get your daily sunshine, vital for vitamin D.
Consult a nutritionalist to check for food allergies and consider a liver function test. Many natural products support the liver, milk thistle, artichoke and dandelion.
Increase fruit and vegetable intake, especially raw. Best for arthritis are; carrots, green peppers, watercress, tomatoes, beetroot, berries, grapes, cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts and kale.
Eat less red meat, dairy, sugar laden and deep fryed food, drink less alcohol and caffeinated drinks.
Increase water, ionised if possible.
Consider supplementing, check with a nutritionalist. I take high quality antioxidants, minerals and Omega 3 & 6 every day. Calcium, magnesium and phosphorus are very important for arthritis.
For fibromyalgia, 5 HTP can help sleep, try malic acid with magnesium for pain and to boost ATP energy cycle, manganese and coenzyme Q10.
Check your blood sugar level. Vitamins C,E, manganese and chromium can help with this.
Menopause can increase the problems with arthritis and fragile bones. Mineral uptake can be poorer, vitamin D low in winter, hormone levels of oestrogen and progesterone and parathyroid can be out of kilter. There are great self help books out there, and your GP can advise you on your hormones and bone density.
If pain worsens on walking, consider a biomechanical check for your footwear.
For preventive treatment ask us about on the revolutionary German MBST technology that repairs and regrows cartilage and bone cells for osteoarthritic and osteoporotic sufferers.
For Fibromyalgia: the above plus Gunn IMS dry needling.
For Osteoporosis: MBST
If you would like help, please contact Nicky Snazell Clinic, 01889 881488.