Boot Up Properly To Walk Anywhere

19 04 2018

Marc Woodard, April 2018

I’m often ask why I ‘Boot Up’ to walk Tigard’s easily accessible sidewalks, parkway and greenway paved trail systems. That is, I typically wear boots and protective clothing with backpack. My reasoning is basically 5-fold.

1) I often walk through narrow dirt trail systems in publically owned wooded areas with overgrown brush and weeds within City boundaries. You can find these remote trails within and around Dirksen Nature Park, Bull Mountain Park, and Cook, Cache and Sunrise Parks and sections of Genesis loop. Also Fields and Brown property behind the Tigard Library running parallel with the train tracks. To include other unimproved land areas not well known to the general public.

2) If you love trail walking or work within rural and forested environments, or like to hike, camp, hunt over the weekends – protective all-weather clothing, backpack and supportive footwear in my opinion is the best attire to wear during daily walking exercise to keep the feet and body conditioned to participate in any of those activities year around.

3) Boots are more resistive to walk in than tennis shoes and require daily use to keep feet conditioned to wear them comfortably for any occasion. They also provide a superior level of protection from puncture, abrasions or blunt force that may occur on uneven and unstable outback surface conditions.

4) Regardless of foot wear choice and activity, an improperly fitted boot like any shoe can cause hotspots and blisters; to include lift toenails ever so slightly which allows fungus to enter under them. Toenail fungus is the cause of yellowish, thickened and cracked nail and painful conditions. To learn more about proper fitting foot ware, foot care and toenail fungus connection and treatment – Read: “Clear up Yellowed, Thickened and Cracked Toenails….” Visit: MirrorAthlete article – Click on short link: https://wp.me/p8mORL-uu

5) If you have ankle supination problems [where the foot strikes the outer back edge of heal first with unstable force], a properly fitted boot with 6”ankle height support will likely keep the foot from buckling inward – and may prevent strain or sprain of the outer ankle joint.

Loaded Back Pack – 25lbs of apples

My go-to walking gear consists of ankle high tactical boots with insole inserts for additional padding and arch support. I also wear lightweight protective long-sleeved and tactical flex-pant clothing, hat and often Don a backpack with 3 liters [~6.6lbs] of water. Additional gear consists of a flashlight, jerky or power bar, rain proof wind breaker, extra pair of socks, water purifier drinking straw, first aid kit and a pair of well-worn boots – should the primary boot compromise a foot during a long walk.

 If boot change out or foot treatment does not occur prior to ‘hotspot-limping’… This can result in a painful domino effect in any combination(s) of weight bearing joints, i.e., knee, hip, back and neck. In general and in many cases – weight bearing joint pain begins at the feet first and works its way up the body as exercise activity continues without foot ware adjustment. If foot discomfort is not addressed timely and pain persists daily this doesn’t motivate people to walk more.

My recommendation for anyone looking to condition the feet and body for long walks; traverse up and down hills as much as you walk the flatlands. It is hilly slops where boot ware can be tested for excessive slippage, uncomfortable pressure points and hotspots caused by improperly fitted footwear. This is the time to make adjustments, not while on a long or remote hike in the mountains. I can’t begin to tell you how many types of insoles, socks, moleskin [protective adhesive hotspot Band-Aid-like patches] and boots I’ve gone through to find the right combinations that allows me to walk on average 8-10 miles per day comfortably anywhere without pain.

Before beginning long distance walking… It is helpful to first plan to condition the feet in footwear of choice over a 4 week period and make adjustments accordingly. I recommend walking daily at a pace and distance you’re comfortable – then increase duration gradually. There is a secondary benefit to hauling up-to10-12lbs of essentials on daily walks most don’t consider. The additional weight takes extra cardio and muscular endurance effort while burning more fat calories.

No matter the adventure… foot maintenance should be the priority.

Once feet are conditioned, try donning a lightweight back pack and add weight gradually on a daily basis if you want the increased fitness benefits, or planning to condition the body for a remote hiking expedition.

To learn more about Tigard City trail locations to plan daily walk loops, or want to know more about the Cities trail master plans visit: http://www.tigard-or.gov/community/Parks/docs/trail_system_master_plan.pdf

Good health to you and your family.

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET., is a member of the Tigard City Council. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2018 Copy right. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., “To learn more about MirrorAthlete Fit Healthy Lifestyle, City Recreation and free monthly newsletter, visit: http://www.mirrorathlete.com”





Nature’s Best-In-Class Stair Master on Bull Mountain

14 02 2018

Walking to Bull Mountain Trail Head

Like most fitness enthusiasts I’m always looking for a variety of exercise activities that’ll keep me motivated to walk daily – If I can find it outdoors all the better. After the Holidays and during the winter months there’s nothing better than a “Mid-Intensity fat burning walking activity,” especially on an uphill grade with multiple switchbacks and preferably in a wooded area. If such a place exists, you’ve just found nature’s Best-In-Class Stair Master. Not only will an uphill walking effort challenge anyone’s cardio and muscular endurance… it requires more body fat fuel to power the exercise opposed to flat land walking.

Within the City of Tigard a public-use wooded trail system like this exists. I’m happy to share its location for those looking for a different type of mobility challenge and experience. If you want to burn even more calories and get in better shape, consider making it a habit to walk in places like it – even during inclement weather.

Those of you who served in the military with boots on the ground… recall, “If it’s not raining we’re not training.” It’s a fact, when it’s cold and rainy, the resistive forces on the mind-body just increased a notch. Anyone can use nature’s outdoor Stairmaster throughout the year to personally challenge themselves and increase fitness levels regardless of rain or shine.

Molly our Red Setter – Loves this site – She stakes her claim.

The well-designed dirt trail runs approximately half a mile with multiple switchbacks and is located on the West side hill of Bull Mountain Park where Kruger Creek cuts through its slopped base in a valley-like wooded environment. I’d estimate the trail grade varies from top-to-bottom, 4-8 degrees. There are seated areas along the switchback segment of the pathway to rest and reflect on all that matters. Molly our red Irish setter loves the rest area approximately 2/3 way up the switchback segment. And believe me she doesn’t slow down a bit once closing in on that spot.

That’s the look… she also likes the white stuff.

“Glancing back at me only momentarily with excited eyes and happy pant, she pulls with full gusto.” I sense she’s concerned if I’m keeping up with her. And in that moment “we lock eyes and both know, ‘It’s all good – onward and upward we go!” If you need motivation to walk with purpose an energetic dog will definitely do the trick. Once in this peaceful place the sights and sounds of nature do its thing… “In itself is worth the effort, simply for peace of mind.”

Rest area and observation site near top of switch back trail system

While observing the surroundings in this spot, anyone would be drawn to read the two small plaques posted next to the picnic table where Molly proudly poses for the picture. The first one reads, “Hiking Trail and Picnic Table, Eagle Scout Project of Nikolai Hanson, Troop 419, June 2013. The second one reads, “Stairway railing and rock wall, Eagle Scout Project of Benjamin Love, Troop 799, and September 2014.”

Recognition for volunteers who built the great trail system and rest stops along the way.

I’d like to personally thank those Eagle Scouts and community volunteers responsible for this trail system and rest stops along the way… And of course the newly developed park.

If you’ve not been to Bull Mountain Park, or walked the switch back trail segment here’s how to access them. Park and walk the Morningstar Greenway trailhead beginning at SW Greenfield Drive and Benchview Terrace to experience the uphill hike to the switchback trail segment – ending in Bull Mountain Park.

SHORT VIDEO: FROM TOP OF PARK TO FIRST SWITCH BACK AND PICKNICK TABLE

Or drive to the park – If you want to access the switchback trail segment from Woodshire lane once parked… continue walking straight ahead [Westerly] past the maintenance shed, outhouse and playground structure.

Previous property owners, “Beverly Dawson Paul, MSW and David Parameter, M.D.

Walk just a little further forward and as the asphalt turns to bark chip, look for the ground level plaque on a rock to your left. The trailhead plaque reads “Beverly Dawson Paul, MSW and David Parameter, M.D. ‘They loved this place and lived here from 1979 to 2008.” Walk down ~100’ to the first switchback and 100’ more to the picnic table, have lunch and enjoy nature.

Bull Mountain Park

The official ribbon cutting ceremony recognized all involved in raising the money necessary to develop Bull Mountain Park and its trail systems, 15 October 2017. “This 10-acre neighborhood park is comprised of woods, open space, and riparian areas. The park features accessible trails, a picnic shelter, a nature play structure, and interpretive elements.” Learn more about the park and how community came together to raise funds and develop it. http://www.tigard-or.gov/community/bull_mountain_park.php

Tigard parks development and recreational outdoor events hosted in them continue to grow popularity. Events and activities in parks are directly supported by city council’s 5-year recreation goal #2 – Expand outdoor events (movies, concerts, pop‐ups in the park; including programs and classes with outside providers; and partnership opportunities, etc., 2012-17). On March 7, 2017 the City Council updated those goals for the next two years – 2017-19. Learn more about them.
http://www.tigard-or.gov/document_center/Council/Council_Goals.pdf

Zip line down this wooded valley hillside… anything is possible.

I must say, “When city leadership and community recognize the value of the fit healthy benefits city parks and recreational events and activities provide within them… COOL things like Nature’s Best-In-Class Stairmaster come to life. What’s next, “a Zip-Line with tree tower, repealing base camp and Ninja Warrior style obstacle courses throughout the trail system area?

Recreational activities, partnership opportunities and possibilities are only limited by the imagination, recreation personnel and public support. Regardless of whether a Zip-line and Ninja Warrior-like obstacle challenge course becomes reality in Tigard, I know one thing for sure…

2017 Street Fair & Latino Feast – Rotary Plaza

“When parks and trail systems become accessible, useful and activated… ‘More people spend their leisurely and play time hours in and around them.”

When community plays together anything is possible – “Including realization of COOL activities that bring people together and fit healthy for all who physically participate and spectate within it.”

Good health to you and your family.

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET., is a member of the Tigard City Council. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2017 Copy right. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., http://www.mirrorathlete.com





Control Diabetes & Lose Weight Naturally

20 01 2018

Visit COOL-places that motivate you to walk more.

Last Updated:  20 January 2018

A good way to manage diabetes and lose weight safely is to understand the connection between the different types of carbohydrate foods consumed…  And the effects unhealthy food choice has on blood sugar levels can lead to illness and disease.

Learn how to select healthier food choices listed in a Glycemic Index (GI).  When applying this knowledge consistently – helps to maintain safe blood sugar levels and supports safe and natural weight loss.

The Glycemic Index (GI) ranks carbohydrate foods on a scale of 0-100.

Zero represents foods low in absorbable blood sugars – whereas 100 is at the top of the high absorbable sugar content of foods.  When blood sugar levels increase above safe levels, or blood sugar count is above 105-110 for sustained periods of time, the body produces more insulin.  This hormone regulates blood sugar levels for metabolic use and stores the unused energy-fuel into fat cells for later use to get work done.

How are Low-GI foods a healthier choice?  Because they are low absorbable sugar foods [carbohydrates] they are slower to digest and absorb more efficiently into the blood stream.  Low-GI foods have a better metabolic efficiency exchange to regulate blood sugar levels, body weight and reduces other related illness and disease health risk associated with obesity.

In short, diabetes is defined and diagnosed as type 1 or 2. Whereas insulin function is designed to sustain “healthy blood sugar levels and metabolic receptors.” However when insulin and receptor function become less efficient, or break and not medically treated – blood sugar levels remain high and weight continues to increase as well as health risk.

To learn more about Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and the differences between the two – Click on the link to learn more on topic,Diabetes a Serious Disease.”

Both simple and complex carbohydrates are necessary in the diet to maintain good health.  However it is a balance of quantity and quality of total carbohydrate calories consumed that can predict an obesity or pre-diabetic course.  Eating too much of any one food, or the same types of macro and micronutrients daily without variety [Tip: Balance macro nutrients: proteins, carbohydrates and fats] – can lead to any number of health risk problems – the focus here is overload of high sugar concentrate foods.

It is the complex carbohydrates [low sugar concentrate foods] that also delay hunger pains, making weight loss an easier proposition; while alleviating, or preventing the symptoms of diabetes.

Also don’t be fooled in believing “ONLY” low glycemic foods listed within an index can fully remove or resolve all ill-health symptoms; and/or health risk when sedentary and other bad habits and behavior don’t change.

Walk Daily – Get Fit Healthy

The other 50% of the healthy metabolic exchange equation requires daily aerobic exercise.

I’ve worked with many clients throughout the years providing them Customized Fitness and Healthy Habit Programs relative to lifestyle.  Once they learned how easy it was to apply a balanced whole foods diet and exercise daily – weight loss goals were achieved.  Learn More at:  Weight Loss and Fitness Secrets Revealed – New Year New You!

The food groups listed below are determined by medical and dietary professionals as healthier food choices for anyone. Especially those diagnosed as obese and/or with diabetes.

The American Diabetes and American Dietetic Associations have not yet adapted the GI concept.  It appears this has more to do with lack of empirical data required of each food group within the macronutrient-carbohydrate category.  Regardless of empirical data – the GI provides healthier food choice selection for anyone… whereas a majority of the medical community would acknowledge the index as a safe and nutritious guideline for those needing to lose weight safely and control blood sugar levels.

If you have not been successful at weight loss, I highly recommend you request a referral from a primary care physician to see a diabetic, metabolic, or endocrine specialist.  Also ask the medical specialist about healthy food choice using a preferred Glycemic Food Index (GI).  Find out more about GI food choices through an Internet search engine, or visit your local book store.

Listed below are a few food examples listed in the GI.

Eat more healthy farmed fresh whole foods

Lower Glycemic Food Index (GI).   Sugar alcohols (Sorbitol, Maltitol) Soy drinks, milk, yoghurt, Sweet potatoes, yams, vegetables, Fruits – plums, pears, peaches, grapes, grapefruit, cherries, bananas, apples, avocados, fresh juices.  Dried beans, peas, lentils.  Spaghetti, pasta, Basmati rice, Whole grain breads and pita Nuts and seeds.

Higher Glycemic Food Index (GI) Ice cream (low-fat), frozen yogurt.  White bread, doughnuts, croissants, rice cakes, bagels.  White potatoes, corn, white rice.  Low fiber cereals – Cornflakes, RiceKrispies, Fruit loops, etc.  Pineapple, cantaloupe, watermelon, ripe bananas.  Soda, sugar sweetened sports and energy drinks.  Candy, sugar.

High Glycemic Deserts

If you get into the habit of choosing and consuming healthier foods – It will take about 2 weeks to naturally begin craving them.

Giving up an addictive hyper-palatable food habit is the toughest challenge for those struggling with unhealthy body weight and diabetes.  However, if you can stick to healthier low sugar content food group; you’ll feel better, have more energy, lose weight and experience less hunger pain while increasing fitness levels.  And just maybe you’ll be less dependent on certain medications.

Sedentary habits and behavioral disorders aren’t the only cause of unhealthy weight gain. Limited mobility, genetic disorders and other medical conditions must be considered and treated by a medical specialist, especially when complicated by obesity and diabetes.

As a side note…  never forego taking prescribed medications even if you improve diet and have significant weight loss and experience relief of diabetic, or other ill-health symptoms.  Follow all doctor prescription and treatment recommendations.

Good health to you and your family.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2018 Copyright, All rights reserved.  MirrorAthlete Inc.,  Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free monthly eNewsletter.





Walkable Cities Motivates Bodies to Move

19 04 2017

Weight loss resolutions represent the number one commitment people make each year.

Now more people than ever are attracted to walkable communities with recreational amenities to help melt away those pounds.

The National Center for Health Statistics show more than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults have obesity (NCHS 2015).  Overweight conditions don’t just present a diabetes and heart disease risk for adults.  There is now what some consider a near epidemic of childhood obesity cases growing nationwide. “Today, about one in five school-aged children (ages 6–19) has obesity (Center for Disease and Control 2017).” This should be very alarming to parents, educators and city leaders.

Of all resolutions people could commit to weight loss is the most challenging. Especially if now in a sedentary and obese state. The good news for those living in walkable communities like Tigard, OR, city leaders support Form Based urban city design and development that incorporates connected sidewalk pathways, trail systems and safe routes to school that motivate people to walk more than ever before.

Marc Woodard Walking Fanno Creek Regional Trail System

As a city councilor I fully support Tigard’s strong vision to become the most walkable community in the Pacific Northwest where people of all ages and abilities enjoy healthy and interconnected lives. I understand how public walk ways draw people outdoors and onto trail systems and parks to play, spend leisurely time and exercise and enjoy family time.

Recently I published an article “Recreation Saves Lives and Cities.”  Within the article I show how walkable communities who invest in recreational facilities and other amenities are desired by residents.  And how these investments attract, retain and sustain affordable housing and city services .  Click on the link above and learn how recreation saves lives and cities.

Click on the duck and watch the video of my trail walk with them.

Although walking in nature and observing cute critters along the way is a motivating in itself to walk more…  It is also the connections to other neighborhoods and marketplaces, parks and plazas that motivate bodies to stay in motion.

A major study shows when city urban designers and architects work together to improve human life, “design of urban environments has the potential to contribute substantially to physical activity” and “reduce the health burden of the global physical inactivity pandemic (The Lancet, Volume 387, No. 10034, p2207-2217, 28 May 2016).”  Like many others motivated to walk in similar environments, I find walkable city sidewalks and trail connections motivational enough to walk them everyday to stay fit healthy.

If you’ve not taken the opportunity with family or friends to walk, jog or ride a bike along Fanno Creek Regional Trail System in Tigard, Oregon, I highly recommend it.  This is a very relaxing way to get a little exercise while taking in nature’s beauty.

Marland Henderson and Marc Woodard in Bailey’s Burger Shop

Bailey’s Burger Shop DownTown Tigard

Along the way be sure to spend a little time walking Down Town Tigard, visit the local shops like Bailey’s organic burgers, fries and milkshake to fuel the metabolism to continue exploration of Fanno Creek trail system.

If you’d like to experience Tigard’s “Fanno Creek Regional Trail System” Prepare first by planning your walk or bike route using a printable Fanno Creek Regional Trail System Map.

Click on Fanno Creek Bird and watch it fly away.

Tigard has many neighborhood connections within Fanno Creek regional trail system.  Learn how to explore and make use of safe pedestrian friendly walk loops to other interesting places from your own back yard.  Also learn more about Tigard walk day events by visiting the city’s Tigard walks web page.  Here you can meet and participate in low aerobics walking exercise in the company of other Tigard residents.

If you’d like a more challenging walking exercise experience… MirrorAthlete is looking to begin a monthly and/or quarterly walk activity in Tigard.  Our walk loops will be no less than 5-8 miles.  We plan to host 5 -15 mile walk loops centered in and around Tigard.

MirrorAthlete has created an affiliate page on FaceBook named DaringToWalk.

If interested in participating in MirrorAthlete walk loop exercise activity, simply click on the DareToWalkDaily link above, “LIKE” us on that page.   We’ll send out the day, time, place to meet and other pertinent information on an event calendar.  I plan to schedule one walk a monthy or quarterly in Tigard.  We’ll see where interests go from there.  Learn more details about Walking Tigard Monthly with Marc Woodard.

Good Health to You and Your Family!

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. Is a member of the Tigard City Council. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2017 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., http://www.mirrorathlete.com





Walk Tigard with Marc Woodard

19 04 2017

Bailey’s Burger Shop in Down Town Tigard

If you’d like a more challenging walking exercise experience… MirrorAthlete is looking to begin a monthly and/or quarterly walk activity in the City of Tigard.

Our walk loops will be no less than 5 miles.  If you want to participate more information will be provided at MirrorAthlete’s affiliate FB page named DaringToWalk .

If there is enough interest in a dedicated chat room at MirrorAthlete home site, we can provide that service for the group to share information and walking experience, etc.

Cooper Mountain Trail System beginning in Beaverton is the most challenging course to sustain 4.0 mph up and down the terrain.

We plan to walk 5 to 15 mile loops beginning in Tigard.  Some of our walks will go through and around Beaverton, Portland, Tualatin, Sherwood, WestLinn and Lake Oswego.

If interested in walking with Marc 1 day per month/quarterly, simply click on the DareToWalkDaily link above, “LIKE” us on that page and join the event once posted.

We’ll also be using the MapMyWalk app to track mileage and calories burnt.

Simply download the app to your smart phone and “LIKE” Marc Woodard on MapMyWalk app.  I can then create monthly walk challenges and invite members to compete against mileage walked on their own time.

You will be motivated to walk further distances as you lose the weight you want and get more fit healthy.  Participating in longer walk loop events will become a reality and you’ll make new friends that motivate you to put in more miles weekly.

We’ll send out the day, time, place to meet and other pertinent information for those who “LIKE” us on DareToWalkMore FB page.   Then we’ll Gage where the walking interests go from there.

Walk and Shop

Depending on interests will determine when we start, frequency of event and how challenging the walk loop distance and terrain will be.

For those that “LIKE”  DareToWalkDaily FB page, we’ll create a walking event calendar and you’ll be invited to walk with us.  The group will walk at an average set pace between 3.7 – 4.0 mph.

If not conditioned to walk at this pace and distance but would like to join the event, simply show up per start time and location posted with proper walking attire and water container.  You begin walking with the start group, then follow the designated walk loop map to walk part, or all of it at your pace.

Either way you have bragging rights within the group.  The goal thereafter is to walk a little further each day on your own.  Then you become more fit and aerobically conditioned.  Thereafter you’ll be physically able to walk with the group at the next event and throughout the entire course if you so choose.

Down Town Tigard

Walking event day of the month will likely be a Saturday.  Walk times will vary.  Most likely they’ll begin around 9-10am.  Start locations will likely begin and end at Tigard Main Street, Cook Park, Dirksen Nature Park, or Woodard Park.

To learn more about MirrorAthlete simply visit our home site at http://www.mirrorathlete.com and be sure to subscribe to our Free monthly Newsletter to stay up-to-date on everything fit healthy.

Good Health to You and Your Family.

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. Is a member of the Tigard City Council. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2017 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., http://www.mirrorathlete.com





Back Pain Relief Wisdom

24 01 2016
Don't let back pain prevent you from places you want to be.

Don’t let back pain prevent you from exploration and activities you enjoy.

Last Updated:  24 Jan 2016

The most common muscular skeletal weight bearing pain typically occur within the lower back for many.  Whereas soft tissue and bone, or musculoskeletal tissue becomes compromised.  Which include nerves, cartilage, disc, ligaments and tendons where localized swelling, soreness and aggravating and radiating pain occur.

Human studies and statistics have shown low back pain will account for more sick leave and disability time than any other single medical condition.  Nearly 80% of all adults will experience back pain some time in their lives.  It is for this reason it is important to understand how to take preventative and corrective measures to avoid, alleviate and timely treat weight bearing joint pain.  Also recognize the difference between common causes of back pain, severity of condition and treatment course options.

Weight bearing and repetitive physical work pain is often medically defined as an acute or chronic pain condition that may be caused by injury, postural imbalance, repeated physical activity and diagnosed as a strain or sprain, or compression injury, or Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).  A Repetitive Strain Injury is also known as Cumulative Trauma Disorder (CTD).  Which has a compromised muscle-tendon relationship.  Some cause examples of these pain disorders may be a result of the following activities: administrative work, gardening, biking, walking, jogging, running, sports, commercial painting, plumbing, electrical and other laborious work etc.

“There are also chronic nerve compression injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, radial tunnel syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome. In these cases, the spaces through which the nerves run are narrowed due to inflammation or fluids putting pressure on the nerves (Kriskarr 2012).”

Of course there are many pathological musculoskeletal compromise possibilities which could cause weight bearing or low back pain in vertebra joints.  Some of the more familiar diseases of the back are: degenerative discs [wear & tear on between vertebra space], herniated discs, [swollen, and irritated “overblown” discs], spinal stenosis [narrowing of vertebrae canal presenting sciatica radiating numbness and pain down the leg].

Off Road Trail Hiking Exercise.

Remove back pain and experience off road trail hikes, enjoy nature and get more daily exercise.

Regardless, our focus is not to play doctor or learn all the possible causes of back pain.  But instead to understand how to recognize and prevent unnecessary pain through prevention and seek corrective medical treatment when needed.

Poor ergonomic posture or laborious repetitive work or sedentary lifestyle combined with weight gain almost always put undue stress immediately on the low back.  And when poor work and activity posture, footwear and overweight conditions are not addressed, it’s just a matter of time before weight bearing joints begin to ache, strain and become painful.  If left uncorrected that pain will worsen, slow you down and increase risk of injury and put you out of commission.

The biggest difference between strains vs. “sprain” is the severity of injury and healing time.  For instance sprains are typically long-term injuries which may or may not require surgery and almost always require physical therapy and rest to alleviate the compromised soft tissue condition.

Most of us are familiar, or have experienced a strained [overstretched] or sprained tendon, ligament or muscle.  Sprains are often verified and substantiated using MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) equipment to determine exact locality, severity and corrective treatment for tissue damage.  The technology can see the degree of partial or full tear of soft tissue sprain often associated with significant swelling and bruising of injury site.  Whereas x-ray typically cannot and is mostly used to confirm broken and fractured bone and observe bone density health.

Many who experience weight bearing pain of the foot, ankle, knee, hip, back or neck don’t make the pain origin or cause connection.  That pain cause is often the result of musculoskeletal postural misalignment.  Whereas misalignment of musculoskeletal weighted posture starting at the feet cause imbalance and joint instability while walking, working and during exercise activity.  And this condition often results in multiple radiating joint pain areas up the body’s trunk and can cause a painful limp.

Like pain free body posture, A tree is only as healthy as the foundation.

Like pain free body posture without compromised food mechanics… a tree is only as healthy as the root foundation system.

The sole of the foot is like a tree root system.  For instance, when the soil erodes from one side of a soil bank, the tree may begin to lean due to a breach of ground foundation stability.  Then the roots on the opposite side grow and strengthen and absorb the stress to keep the tree growing upright.

Through time the trunk grows slightly offset to relieve stress on the compromised root system, but may cause the mid-line tree trunk to crack or snap during a heavy wind storm.  Similar to upright walking posture, if walking with a painful lower back caused by a compromised foot foundation, if left uncorrected this condition will have an effect on an number of distal weight bearing joints [foot-to-knee-hip-back pain].      Whereas poor foot mechanics like the compromised tree root system make it likely to cause multiple joint pain and injury possibilities.

However it is possible with corrective insoles and supportive footwear to realign and balance body posture and completely alleviate stress and pain of other affected joints, even the neck and shoulders.  In this case the corrective lift at the insole, or bottom of foot may realign the low back and neck vertebrae simultaneously while removing a painful limp caused by sciatica for example.

If any type of acute joint pain condition appears more frequent and severe…. “Pay Attention!”  It is important to remember weight bearing pain is often a result of unconditioned physical body, sedentary lifestyle, overweight condition and improper footwear, or disease.  The good news is it can be corrected if timely action is taken.  Like a tire realignment, corrected foot mechanics can achieve the pain free goal.

Recommendations to treat weight bearing pain before it becomes chronic

  1. If experiencing acute weight bearing pain:  a) “Apply Ice right away.  Ice reduces inflammation and pain.  Be careful not to use ice for more than 15-20 minutes, every 2 hours.  Even though heat is used to ease tension & soreness, heat might cause more swelling in the first 2-3 days.  b) “Place the ice on the painful area in a fanny pack while you are up and moving around.  Apply ice consistently as long as you have swelling and pain.”  c) “If you have diabetes or circulatory problems, limit applying ice and heat to 8-10 minutes.”  d) “Take medication as directed.  Common medications are acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (such as Motrin) and naproxen sodium (such as Aleve).  In some cases, prescription pain medications may help.  It may take 10 to 14 days of taking it as prescribed to be fully effective.” 

Reference:  (Kaiser Permanente Brochure Recommendations, Items 1, a-d) 

Note: If you experience any abnormal pain seek medical advisement, diagnosis and treatment from your doctor immediately.

  1. Maintain Ideal Body Weight.  Simply enter into any Internet search engine, BMI (Body Mass Index) use free calculator, enter your height and weight.  This will give you an ideal of whether or not you’re underweight, normal or overweight for your current body mass stature.  If too heavy over normal body weight for height, you’re at increased risk for weight bearing pain.  Most specifically:  foot, ankle, knee, hip, back.

    IMG_1061

    Exercise comes in all fun forms and exciting playtime activities.

  2. Perform daily aerobic exercise to burn fat (e.g., bike, walk, aerobic dance exercise not less than 3/week @ 20-30min/day).  When heart rate is increased for extended periods of exercise, the body’s metabolism during aerobic activity burns more of the preferred fuel source from body fat.
  3. Balanced nutrition:  consume more fiber, drink more water and decrease total calorie intake daily.  Remove high processed fat and sugar foods and drinks.  Focus more on shopping and consuming fresh whole foods more in line with Mediterranean diet which contains plenty of fish, fruits and vegetables.  Avoid fried foods if possible.

    Catch it yourself it does a body good.

  4. If your feet are in pain, the likelihood of sustaining daily aerobic exercise activity is greatly reduced.  Seek a referral from your Primary Physician to get a diagnosis and treatment from podiatrist (foot specialist).  See if your foot posture is the cause of your weight bearing pain.
  5. Realize:  a) In order to perform daily aerobic exercise activity will likely require good insoles and footwear to offset pain and lose weight.  b) Don’t pay $300-$1500/year for custom molded insoles out-of-pocket from your podiatrist if you don’t have to.  First try inexpensive insoles at a local pharmacy center if your health care situation is limited in services, deductions and co-pays are high.  Simply stand on a free foot analysis machine and receive corrective insole inventory selection based on the postural hot spot(s) imbalance foot imprint.  And if the insoles remove pain it is well worth the effort and cost.  However, do see your doctor to positively determine pain cause and origin.  If you do get a referral to podiatrist, decide if you want to try the inexpensive insoles before paying the cost of customized insoles, especially if you have to pay over $50.00.
  6. Do you need surgery or other treatment? Ask your doctor about Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS).  “Electrical nerve stimulation is a procedure that uses an electrical current to treat chronic pain. Peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) and spinal cord stimulation (SCS) are two types of electrical nerve stimulation. In either case a small pulse generator sends electrical stimuli that interfere nerve impulses to alleviate the pain (WebMD 2014). Reports show SCS use results in: 84% reported that their quality of life was improved or greatly improved, 77% had good or excellent pain relief, and 82% decreased their use of pain medications (St. Jude Medical 2016).

    Seek adventure, explore, get excited about life and move the body.

    Seek adventure, explore, get excited about life while moving and exercising the body.

  7. “Tens Therapy” electro muscular-stimulation can provide significant relief.  Ask your doctor about obtaining a Tens unit through health care coverage, or if covered to receive electro muscular-stimulation physical therapy sessions.  “Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a therapy sometimes used to treat localized or regional pain. During TENS therapy, electrodes deliver electrical impulses to nearby nerve pathways — which can help control or relieve some types of pain. TENS is often used to treat osteoarthritis and chronic and postoperative pain (Thompson 2014).”
  8. Tens units can also be purchased on-line, or provided by HMO.
  9. Acupuncture – “May also reduce chances of chronic back pain from occurring.  “One of the largest studies to date on acupuncture and chronic pain — a meta-analysis of 29 well-conducted studies involving nearly 18,000 patients and published in October 2012 in the Archives of Internal Medicine — found that acupuncture is effective for treating chronic pain and therefore is a reasonable referral option (Palermo 2015).”

If acute back, or any joint pain seems abnormal or Intolerable, or you’ve recently experienced an injury consult your physician immediately for diagnosis and treatment.

Citations:

Kriskarr. “What Is a Compression Injury?” VACUPRACTOR. Vacupractor, 23 Oct. 2012. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.

Thompson, Jeffrey, M.D. “TENS Therapy: An Option for Fibromyalgia Treatment?” – Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, n.d. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.

Palermo, By Elizabeth. “What Is Acupuncture?” LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 05 Mar. 2015. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.

St. Jude Medical. “Power Over Your Pain.” Spinal Cord Stimulation: A Proven Therapy for Pain. St. Jude Medical, Inc., 2016. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.

WebMD. “Electrical Nerve Stimulation for Chronic Pain.” WebMD. WebMD, 12 Mar. 2014. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2016 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., http://www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.

 





How to Exercise Safely and Increase Fitness Levels

20 02 2014

 

IMG_20140126_134514Article last modified:  19 Feb 2014 by Marc Woodard

There are so many exercise programs one could engage in to increase fitness levels.  How does one know which is right for them?

This question is important why?  Increased fitness levels contribute to healthy heart, lungs, metabolism, lean body, body strength, reduced body fat, weight loss, sustainment of body weight and better physical endurance and energy levels.  Not to mention, excellent  pain alleviation benefits for weight bearing arthritic joints.

So what you really want to know is what exercise activity will give you the best bang for the buck?

I highly recommended if you are getting back into an exercise fitness program or activity, you condition your way back through a 3-5 day/workout program.  This may take you 2-6 weeks or longer to get back into good physical condition before you ramp up your efforts.  Especially if you’ve just recovered from some type of physical adversity.

Five day exercise program – Consider making two of your exercise days on Saturday and Sunday to include family fun activities as substitutes for exercise activity.  Work in the other 3 exercise activity days with exercise you enjoy and can stick too.

This type of programming will provide more flexibility at first to develop healthy fitness activity around your busy schedule while reducing stress.  After the fitness habit is maintained for 2 week period, begin to incorporate more activity choice into the plan to keep it interesting.   I’ve always found it important to take two days off in the week for needed rest [Typically Mon & Fri for me].  I don’t recommend a 6-7day workout routine unless you are training is too meet some particular fitness goal as are conditioned to do so.

Recommendations, Tips, How to safely increase fitness levels and activity,

You must develop a plan that lists your daily fitness objectives to meet your fitness goal.  Is your goal to lose weight, increase fitness level, build muscle, better health, sustain weight, increase muscular endurance, higher level of competitive sport, improve task specific activity (ski, golf, walk, biking, running, etc.).  So now you know before you spend money on an exclusive fitness membership, be sure to have a plan to achieve the fitness goal you have in mind.

Second, you must be realistic about your daily schedule. If you’re a working adult with children, there are considerations that must be thought out.  Like working around busy work and family schedules.  However, it is not impossible to squeeze in exercise activity even with a busy schedule.  It’s a matter of priorities.

For example, if you want something bad enough like a new car, getting the furnace fixed, or watching a game, or taking the spouse out to a movie you manage to find the time and resources don’t you?  Yet you have a tough time making time for any type of exercise activity.  Your fitness levels and health must be as valuable to you as any other tangible thing like a home or car you insure.

Only through daily continuous daily movement activity can one “insure” an additional layer of protection from life stresses on the mind-body.  Sustained exercise activity daily is also a proven centurion attribute, or better known to others as a fountain of youth fitness principle.

If you have time before work or after the children are in bed a daily exercise program can become a habit you will become addicted too once the commitment is made.  You simple must want increased fitness health as bad as you want to create a better lifestyle for your family.

For me, working out provides great stress relief and fitness benefits.  And for many years I’d get up at 5:30am go to the gym, or jog where the adrenalin and metabolism was at full throttle just before hitting my full time job at 7:00am.  This habit served me and my professional careers well and ensured I was always at the top of my game, I didn’t need energy drinks to start my day.  Now in my mid-50’s, my age appropriate exercise activities is walking 7 days a week and 2-3 days strength conditioning in the gym.  I’m just as competitive at these exercise activities as I was when I played football during by high school years.  I attribute much of my career success, energy levels and clarity of thought to age appropriate continuous exercise habits.

Like anything else it takes dedication to be successful at anything you do.  It’s more a matter of finding an activity that you really enjoy, get excited about and can become addicted to it.  I tended to become addictive to new exercise conditioning if I could get through the first 5 days.  If I didn’t make the 5 days, I’d reduce intensity until ready for more intense training.  I didn’t quit the training; I took it down a notch until I could physically and mentally accept the fitness conditioning plan.  To push when your not ready for it is defeating and causes too many beginners to give up when they’ve not planned accordingly.

Third, your never too old to begin a daily fitness conditioning program.   All too often I hear people give up on their fitness and activity aspirations because they “self proclaim” their too old to exercise.  And then begin to look for unsafe – fountain of youth short cut gimmicks to lose weight, increase sexual performance, anabolic steroids for max muscle increases, etc.  This line of reasoning is absolute nonsense; when did 40 become the 80 plus crowd?  Exercise activity is a metabolic optimizer that increases hormone production and immune system to keep us healthy and stimulate all things that keep our bodies, mind and spirit engaged in a satisfied lifestyle.  “Without the need of dangerous manmade chemicals that temporarily mask the real reasons were not happy with our bodies energy levels, how we feel and physical performance.

Forth, if you are infrequent about your exercise, or activity routine, it is very important you learn to pace yourself each time you exercise until your body is ready for a 3-5 day exercise activity routine. Ease into your workouts, forget about competing with what others are doing.  Set your mind to see yourself as the healthiest 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 year old possible in your neck of the woods.  If you think exercise-activity appropriate per decade, you’ll stick with a healthy exercise program for your age while physically appearing and feeling 20-30 years younger.  Why don’t I talk much about 80+ years old and fitness training programs?  Actually, 80 years and above should walk-swim, push light weights, participate in flexibility exercise, eat balanced nutritious foods, socialize and travel as much as possible for quality lifestyle experiences.  At this age, I thoroughly believe, each day is a blessing and one should enjoy life to the fullest while reducing life stresses.  And these life stresses and health are adequately sustained through social activity and low-stress walking, swimming and dance exercise.

Fifth, if you over consume too many calories per day, especially after 7:30 pm, or binge over the weekends it will be harder to lose weight.  Body metabolism slows down tremendously during evening hours and excess calories will be stored as fat for every hour you take in calories after 8pm.

Weekends will be your worst enemy with regard to calorie consumption if you don’t have an activities plan to offset food intake with caloric expenditure.  This is why in the next paragraph I recommend plan fun movement activities on the weekends.   This will help increase metabolism and will help burn off extra calories that may be put back on over the weekend.  Then over the weekdays if your mindful to balance calorie intake and expenditure relative to days of the week, you can actually continue to lose weight.

Sixth, find a workout routine you can stick with and enjoy. Various examples:  Try biking, stationary treadmill, stationary rowing, dance, ball room dancing with spouse, tennis, walking, golf, jogging aerobics sessions, swimming, etc., 3 days a week (mix it up with gym activity).  Make sure you get in 2 days a week exercise activity and 3 days aerobics (walking, biking, treadmill, elliptical walker, swim, hike etc.) minimally.   On the weekends substitute an aerobics week day activity with a planned family outdoor activity, backpack, dance, walk and shop for your meals, camping, beach walking, fishing, etc.

I recommend 5 days a week exercise activities to sustain fitness levels and good health.  I use combinations of all these activities listed above to sustain my age appropriate fitness levels and overall health.

Changing up fitness activities will help with motivation and will power to stick with exercise activities daily.  Mixing up activities also becomes very addicting when you  break the initial 2 week conditioning barrier.  It takes about this long for brain chemical stimulation and muscle toning to optimally provide the motivation and will power to sustain this lifestyle change.  Brain chemical release (adrenalin, epinephrine, dopamine, serotonin) through exercise activities is as addicting as nicotine is to a smoker; and is chocolate  to a chocoholic.

Now that I’ve provided you “How to Exercise and Increase Fitness Levels,” get out there and get it done!  Try various combinations of exercise activity.  At a minimum, if you can walk you can improve your fitness levels and experience greater lifestyle experiences.

The cost to to walk is nothing, other than your time, effort and commitment to sustain it.  Through daily walking fitness levels will increase.  This will also positively impact mood as well as how your body feels.  Sustained walking activity is good for you heart, lungs, metabolism and overall fitness goals.

Take one step at a time, one block at a time, and one mile at a time.  Do what you can daily if your exercise activity is walking.  Put no time lines, intensity of pace, or distance limitations on yourself.  The mind-body will tell you each day what it’s capable of doing.  If you have the ability to walk you’re much further ahead in becoming more fit and healthy.  The key is to move more daily, work to reach 10-15min/day exercise activity at a minimum before increasing distances and intensity of pace.  Be consistent at daily walking activity to sustain greatest fitness and health benefits.

Other tips:  Consider “not taking” your car to the store for daily staples once you can walk half a mile total distances.   Make a goal to walk and shop for your evening meals, or drive to and walk the mall.  Get a small backpack “once able to walk small distances;” carry healthy produce, products to the car, home etc.

Never carry more in weight than you can do so comfortably.  For example, I personally never carry more than 5lbs in bags, one for each arm, greater than 1 mile.  That’s .5 mile one way.   In other words when starting a shop & walk activity program, you don’t haul extra weight until you lose weight, or alleviate weight bearing joint pain [if this is a problem for you].  To do so when the mind-body is not ready may risk secondary weight bearing injuries to body compromising overall increased fitness success.

The information presented within this article and on our website, is in no way intended as a substitute for medical consulting or treatment.  Always consult a physician before starting any course of fitness programming, particularly if you are pregnant or currently under medical care.

Also Read:  Relative Fitness Programming Sustains Active Lifestyles

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET. 2010 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.