While movement with osteoarthritis can be arduous, it actually can be a great way to relieve pain when done right. Some of the keys to look for in a good approach to exercise is a focus on low impact movement and, not surprisingly, fun. In a recent piece for EverydayHealth, I discuss how activities such as tai chi and water aerobics can improve your quality of life. By both strengthening your body and alleviating stress, these 5 activities can make life both more comfortable and enjoyable. Give them a try!
Do winter blues have you down? Here are some simple, inexpensive ideas to rejuvenate your body and improve your mood throughout the winter season.
Even if going to a spa is out of the budget, get yourself a handheld massager to use in the comfort of your own living room. And when it’s cold out, the next best thing to a massage is a hot bubble bath with some soothing music. You get the added benefit of increased blood flow to muscles, helping you relax. Music itself can be a relaxing way of helping you take your mind off your worries as it is the universal language of emotions. From timeless classics to contemporary jazz, indie, and fusion, the secret is to turn the volume down so low that it is almost imperceptible. This little trick allows you to focus on listening and helps silence racing thoughts.
Chronic stress can produce too much cortisol, a hormone that can ramp up appetite and lead to overeating. A simple exercise like walking just 30 minutes a day helps facilitate weight management and stress reduction all in one.
Nap time. Sleep loss causes slowed metabolism and increased appetite, putting us at risk for overeating, unhealthy food choices, and inactivity. Most of us don’t make enough time for rest. Curling up with a good book and some hot cider or tea before lying down can help us fall asleep faster during stressful times.
Cutting your expenses is a good idea any time of the year. Studies show that financial stress is one of the main reasons adults worry. This concern can be transmitted to your kids. While most kids don’t bear the financial responsibility of their parents, they can often sense something is wrong. Save money by drinking water instead of coffee and sugary beverages. Don’t plan to make any large purchases on credit until you are out of debt. Lastly, pay yourself first, even if it’s only a dollar a week.
Take up mood-boosting yoga, tai chi or meditation! These mind-body strategies incorporate improving posture, relaxing, and stretching to improve balance and coordination while simultaneously decreasing stress. Take time to breathe deeply and say a prayer, or just sit down in a quiet place and simply meditate with relative peace and quiet.
Never underestimate the power of a good, healthy sex life and reconnecting with your significant other. Enough said.
Comedy is good for the soul, and there are clear health benefits of laughter. Whether you rent movies, download comedy sketches, or even go to improv or karaoke, a good laugh goes a long way. Consider taking your kids or young family members skating, skiing, or snow boarding, where everyone is engaged in lighthearted physical activity. Laughter lowers stress hormones and improves blood flow, which increases your energy levels. The more energy you have, the less likely it is you’ll be overwhelmed by depression that sometimes comes with the winter season.
This article was featured on SutterHealth's "MyLifeStages".
Creating a weight loss lifestyle in 2012 doesn’t have to seem like an insurmountable goal. Break down your goals into smaller, more attainable pieces that will have you creating healthy eating habits, rather than shedding pounds using crash dieting methods that won’t last.
Weight loss is an excellent resolution to have in spite of how difficult it may seem. Although there are many diets and fads that come and go, even a 10-pound weight loss can improve your health and your risk for diseases associated with obesity, like type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.
This article was written by Dr. Moshe Lewis and was featured on You Cant Outsource Weight Loss
Many students, celebrities, soldiers, and even company owners are turning to meditation to help them with their daily activities. ABC News has written a great article on the benefits of meditation. The article even includes tips and opinions on meditation from the Dalai Lama himself.
A quiet explosion of new research indicating that meditation can physically change the brain in astonishing ways has started to push into mainstream.
Several studies suggest that these changes through meditation can make you happier, less stressed – even nicer to other people. It can help you control your eating habits and even reduce chronic pain, all the while without taking prescription medication.
Read on ABC News: Re-Wiring Your Brain for Happiness: Research Shows How Meditation Can Physically Change the Brain
More reading: Meditation 101: Tips for Beginners
In light of the following article, I have always strongly encouraged my patients to actively involve their family by bringing them to visits. In addition, I strongly recommend participation in the California Neuropathy Support Group and to openly discuss their feelings with our healthcare team:
Abuse of narcotic pain relievers, insomnia drugs and anxiety drugs by women is landing a growing number of them in emergency rooms for drug-related suicide attempts.
A recent report by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows a 49 percent rise in emergency department visits for drug-related suicide attempts by women aged 50 and older between 2005 and 2009.
While some of the increase can be attributed to population growth of women in this age group, the study found stark increases in emergency department visits for drug-related suicide attempts involving drugs that treat anxiety, insomnia and pain, such as hydrocodone and oxycodone products.
Michael Dulle, clinical director of the Salt Lake substance abuse treatment center Odyssey House, said he is personally aware of five to eight female patients, ages 50 and up, who have been hospitalized for accidental overdoses or suicide attempts from prescription drugs in the past 18 months.
1. Get up 15 minutes earlier.
2. Prepare for the morning the night before.
3. Don’t rely on your memory-write things down.
4. Do nothing you have to lie about later.
5. Make copies of all keys.
6. Practice preventive maintenance.
7. Be prepared to wait.
8. Don’t procrastinate, do it now.
9. Plan ahead.
10. Repair or get rid of anything that doesn’t work right.
11. Allow 15 minutes of extra time to get to appointments.
12. Reduce or eliminate the caffeine in your diet.
13. Always set up a 'contingency plan’ just in case.
14. Relax your standards.
15. Count 10 things you are grateful for everyday.
16. Ask questions and repeat directions or instructions.
17. Say “no” more often.
18. Unplug your phone.
19. Learn to meet your own needs.
20. Simplify, simplify, simplify.
21. Avoid negative people.
22. Stand up and stretch.
23. Remember you always have options.
24. Get enough sleep. Set your alarm for bedtime.
25. Organize! Losing things is stressful.
26. Monitor your body for stress signs.
27. Write you thoughts and feelings down on paper.
28. Take deep breaths when you feel stressed.
29. Visualize success before any experience you fear.
30. Stop a bad habit.
31. Talk out your problems with a friend.
32. Quit trying to ‘fix’ other people.
33. Learn to live one day at a time.
34. Do something you really enjoy everyday.
35. Add an ounce of love to everything you do.
36. Take a bath or a shower when you feel tense.
37. Do a favor for someone when you feel tense.
38. Focus on giving rather than receiving from others.
39. Do something new.
40. Accept the things that you can’t change.
41. Be flexible. Some things are not worth perfection.
42. Stop negative self-talk: “I’m too fat, too old. etc.”
43. Change pace on the weekends.
44. Pay attention to details in front of you.
45. Do one thing at a time.
46. Allow time everyday for privacy, quiet and thinking.
47. Do unpleasant task first and enjoy the day.
48. Delegate responsibilities to capable people.
49. Go out to lunch and get away from your work.
50. Don’t say something that could make matters worse.
51. Forgive people and events. The world is not a perfect place.
52. Practice being more optimistic and cheerful.
53. Identify the things that cause you stress.
55. Believe in yourself.
56. Keep in touch with friends and relatives.
57. Give and receive attention regularly.
58. Exercise at least three times a week.
59. Live within your budget.
60. Have a network of friends and acquaintances.
61. Eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water.
62. Look for the silver lining.
63. Do something fun at least once a week.
64. Use your time wisely.
65. Get strength from your beliefs.
66. Look at your problems as challenges.
67. Think good thoughts.
68. Take more breaks from your work.
69. Talk less, listen more.
70. Make your environment more comfortable.
71. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
72. Seek the help and advice of the people you trust.
73. Work on things that are important.
74. Treat yourself and others with respect.
75. Set daily goals.
76. Be gentle with yourself.
77. Avoid interruptions.
78. Don’t let other people’s problems become yours.
79. When you are feeling overwhelmed, say so.
80. Trade in the upsetting nightly news for a comedy.
81. Read 15 minutes daily from a book that you enjoy.
82. Refuse to listen to or repeat gossip.
83. Have fun. Plan silly breaks.
84. Get out in nature, even for a few minutes.
85. Music...listen, sing, dance and turn off that TV!
86. Pray on a regular basis.
87. Practice grace under pressure.
88. Create a support group of people, places and things.
89. Always tell the truth, it’s easier to remember.
90. Know your limitations and let others know them too.
91. Ask for help when you need it.
92. Know your values and priorities and be true to them.
93. Listen to your dreams.
94. Learn, give and accept compliments.
95. Buy yourself flowers.
96. Live in the ‘here and now’ as much as possible.
97. Laugh as much as possible.
98. Watch the world go by and let yourself do nothing.
99. Indulge when you need it.
100. Keep your life free of clutter.
Relatively clear evidence emerged to suggest that t'ai chi is effective for fall prevention and improving psychological health and was associated with general health benefits for older people. t'ai chi is a practice that combines deep breathing and relaxation with slow and gentle movements and is based on the Confucian and Buddhist belief that health is controlled by 2 opposing life forces, yin and yang. This is based on a recent extensive review of the literature by Myeong Soo Lee as reported in the May 16th British Journal of Sports Medicine.
However, t'ai chi seems to be ineffective for the symptomatic treatment of cancer and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Interestingly, a separate paper that was presented at the Royal College of Nursing’s research conference within the same week has found that T’ai Chi sessions may “help those with rheumatoid arthritis to gain increased self-efficacy and confidence through greater control over their mobility and condition within a supportive environment.”
It is also important to note that Tai Chi is only one form of Qi Gong. The various aspects of Qi Gong exercises can be even more beneficial for your health. T’ai Chi was developed hundreds of years ago in China as a series of graceful physical movements combined with deep breathing, and is now thought to be practiced by at least 2.5 million people around the world.
Meditation has long been touted as a holistic approach to pain relief. And studies show that long-time meditators can tolerate quite a bit of pain.
Now researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have found you don't have to be a lifelong Buddhist monk to pull it off. Novices were able to tame pain after just a few training sessions.
Sounds a bit mystical, we know, but researchers using a special type of brain imaging were also able to see changes in the brain activity of newbies. Their conclusion? "A little over an hour of meditation training can dramatically reduce both the experience of pain and pain-related brain activation," Fadel Zeidan, a neuroscientist and the study's lead author, tells Shots. That finding's a first, Zeidan says.