Resolve to Lose Weight through Simple Changes

11 11 2014

Wild Turkeys in California on Rural Walk

So your New Year’s resolution is to improve your fitness levels.  What will your fitness goals look like and how will you achieve them?

The most common and desired fitness goals by clients are:  weight loss, reduced body fat, muscle strength, increased cardiovascular and muscular endurance and flexibility.

One must also recognize the will power necessary to change habits and behaviors and is an essential mind set attribute if long-term fitness goals are to stick.  So what will be your fit-healthy strategy to succeed in your New Year’s resolution?  First you must know how to develop and apply a fitness plan that’s relative and right for you.

What fitness goal will you be working on?  The most typical New Year’s Resolution after the Holidays is weight loss.  Since I’m targeting weight loss as a fitness goal you will have to have a little will power and motivation to do this on your own?

First of all, “you know yourself better than anyone.”  Am I right?  Of course I am.  If you’ve been telling yourself for the last 2-3 years your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight and you’ve still had no success, hopefully this insight will help increase your will power and motivation to achieve a desired weight loss result.

I know many of you are conflicted with life events that seem to sabotage your fitness plan each year.  Like you, I can easily relate to these things.  For example, job stress, kid and adult care, relationships, feeling tired, addicted to bad habits that take away motivation-energy-will power (bad food & drink habits, smoking, drugs, etc.), lack of sleep, stressful and/or toxic environment, etc.  I could go on and on, but I’ll stop here.

You get the picture.

If any of these life events and issues are preventing you from achieving a fitness goal(s), you must find a workable solution to change a bad situation/ or stressful environment if you expect an opposite result.  If you cannot make the positive lifestyle changes needed that motivate you to achieve personal goals, you’ll forever struggle to enjoy life to the fullest while fitness levels, mindset and health continue to suffer.

And if you fail repeatedly and continue to feel bad about yourself and situation, you’ll eventually give up on other life ambitions and goals.  Repeated fitness failure and feeling miserable for too long is a recipe for “depression,” which is also a common cause of physical illness and disease.

Also, if you begin a restrictive and dangerous weight loss program out of desperation as a short cut to lose weight you may cause further harm to your mind and body.  When the body’s metabolism discovers it’s been duked unnaturally, it will eventually retaliate by packing on weight with a vengeance after the fact.  And if you become dependent on  yo-yo dieting abusive tactics, you’ll break your metabolism permanently, gain more weight and in time will cause more pain, depression and other unnecessary illness and disease.

When weight loss failure happens too often, this reinforces a defeated mindset, “I can’t lose weight,” therefore I’ll continue the bad habits and further compromise health and quality of life experiences.  The mind then accepts an unhealthy viewpoint which intern harms the encompassing being throughout time.   I’m here today to tell you, you don’t have to accept unhealthy weight loss short-cut practices to lose weight naturally.

Through years of personal client experience, I explain the healthy and unhealthy lifestyle habits and resulting effects and how to eventually change a poor dietary and/or bad activity habits.  But it ultimately is the individual, armed with useful and relatable information; and if medical help is needed seek it out; and where they must chose, decide and truly want to make change.  The key elements in achieving a desired fitness goal, if you’ve not been successful at it for years is to admit you need help in understanding the following concepts and applying the necessary lifestyle changes.

1)    If you have “repeated” failures at losing weight or your health is at risk, you must change the habits, or behaviors that are causing your weight problems.   If you are grossly obese and/or your health is at risk seek medical attention immediately!  See your primary care physician and seek a referral to a behavioral therapist, nutritional, life coach or fitness trainer-consulting service to help target your weight gain nemesis, or bad behavioral habits.  Then build an action plan and resolve to change to healthier lifestyle habits and/or healthier environmental conditions.

2)   It is my belief you must exercise to have effective long-lasting weight loss and sustaining results.  However, for those that have not participated in a fitness exercise activity and now find themselves overweight, a walking program will be your best course to aerobically burn body fat and lose weight with minimum risk of weight bearing joints.

Exercise activity can be performed in many different ways, e.g., resistive weight training, walking, hiking, biking, jogging, etc.   Basically anything that moves the body consistently for a period of time provides an aerobic fitness benefit.  Walking at a brisk pace (3-5 days/wk for 15-60mins) is the best metabolic fat burning, low-stress exercise activity which results in weight loss and cardiovascular benefits.  However, if you are just starting a walk program, “do not start out walking at a fast pace,” you may work your way to higher intensity, or brisk walking pace over an extended period of time if you’ve been sedentary for awhile.

When you incorporate exercise into a weight loss program you reap other benefits, such as:  Increased metabolism, muscle development, fat loss, body toning, mood enhancement, strength, flexibility.  And decreased cholesterol levels, blood pressure, mood swings, depression, stress and other illness and disease risk.

3)   There are certain habits that will sabotage any weight loss goal:  Uncontrollable and bad eating habits and smoking, drinking and legal/illegal drug addictions need to be addressed.  Behavior therapy or in combination with cessation treatment and group therapy may be ideal in order for you to be successful in your weight loss and healthy lifestyle objectives.

4)   As we age our bodies require anti-oxidant and whole food quality nutrients to boost metabolism, increase energy, mood; maintain weight and overall health.  So balanced diet in the form of healthy macro and micronutrients become more important especially if one expects to optimize weight loss results.  If you can’t get fresh whole foods in your diet, I highly recommend you supplement your food source with a high-quality vitamin-mineral product.  Food is energy and certain foods have more or less high nutrient concentrates that don’t always find their way into the daily diets for whatever reason.

5)   It is also true, in the short-term a weight loss program which incorporates exercise may add weight.  You say what?  That’s right, depending on body type and exercise activity it can increase muscle mass (muscle cells are more dense and heavier than fat cells).  When you exercise the muscle fiber can increase in mass and weight.  So as you lose body fat “at first,” muscle mass increase will keep your weight consistent and may even show a slight increase on the scale.  The trick here is to understand this is normal and eventually, the more muscle developed means greater fat burn.  This equates to greater fat weight loss in time.  Eventually, the weight on the scale begins to drop after the bodies muscles become better conditioned.

6)   There are simple weight loss measurements to measure success.  If this is not done you may lose focus on your goal.  The simplest and quickest form of weight loss measurement is a scale and the way clothes fit around the waste.  If my weight increases and waist band feels loose, I equate this to muscle mass weight increase.  If my weight decreases and waist band feels tight, I equate this to body fat increase and muscle mass loss.  If my weight decreases and waist band feels loose while aerobics walking activity continues; I equate this to lean muscle mass toning and body fat loss.  “For me,” this represents an easy way to measure my weight loss success.

Is this the best way to measure fitness and body fat weight loss success?  No it’s not, but it serves as an inexpensive base line reference that provides some positive feedback results for your efforts.

So what is the perfect weight loss program for you?  The answer lies within developing a relative daily exercise and balanced nutrition program relative to your lifestyle needs and wants, and a plan in place that can sustain healthier habits long term.

When exercise is included into the day then will power also increases to stay the healthy lifestyle course.  Why?  because the mind and body craves the addictive body chemicals released by exercise!”   Read article (Get Skinny by Activating Addictive Body Chemicals, November 2014, Woodard).

In understanding these concepts and principles you’ll experience more daily productivity, feel happier, healthier, have more energy, feel and look better and enjoy more quality living experiences.  You will also boost your MirrorAthlete image “the way you see yourself in the mirror” which will definitely boost your ego and motivate you to accomplish other life goals you thought impossible.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2014 Copyright, All rights reserved.  MirrorAthlete Corp., Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.





Recreational and Medical Marijuana Use Perspective

23 07 2014
Life is full of many potential roads that can be traveled.  Which life roads will you choose?

Life has many potential roads to travel. Which lifestyle path will you choose?

It is very interesting to learn how attitudes have changed about  marijuana use since I was a kid. After speaking with local youth in two states (California and Oregon) regarding marijuana use… there is a nonchalant attitude regarding medicinal and recreational use of this natural weed.

The common answers to my questions, “don’t you think marijuana will harm you in any way if you continue to use it?”  Or more to the point, “if you keep smoking the stuff, aren’t you afraid of addiction and associated health risks?”  Much like laying a bet, are you assured you are not gambling with your future life potential, relationships and health?

The common answers in reply, “Marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol or cigarettes.” “Alcohol unlike marijuana use is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths, broken families, job loss etc., where cannabis use does not appear to be the case.”  Other common answers I get from adults, “I can quit anytime I want to, it’s not addicting, it’s not a gateway drug and I don’t drink; I choose this drug as my recreational drug or pain management program of choice.  ‘I prefer this vice opposed to drinking.”

Others simply state, “For me there are no problems regarding the use of this drug, therefore, no harm to career, health, family or other future endeavors.” Much or our youth and many adults don’t appear to see recreational or medicinal cannabis a harmful substance derived from mother earth.  They see man-made pharmaceuticals and other illicit drugs to be worse compared to a natural weed habit or medical use.

It is interesting to note, they mostly compare weed within the same legal recreational drug class as tobacco, spirits, wine and beer. In other words, “on the street,” cannabis use perception is that weed is an  acceptable recreational and medicinal drug choice that is a right and should not be outlawed from such use.  However, there are risks of potential drug addiction and health problems from smoking marijuana just like any other toxin that needs to be filtered from the body.  Such as respiratory and carcinogenic risks from carbon monoxide inhalation.

My sampling of these queries is rather small, around 50 discussions on this topic where 80-90% concede (teenagers and adults), cannabis is probably the least harmful of the illegal drugs.  Almost all adults I spoke with acknowledge the medicinal properties and benefits for chronic pain sufferers and cancer patients.

Consumers today are very educated because of the Internet.  Allot of the paranoia over this natural weed has been removed from society.  Through demographic and cultural studies consumers see how various peoples have used marijuana socially, spiritually and medicinally for thousands of years without any documented deaths caused from an overdose.

I can see the medicinal benefits from scientific studies, however “all” drugs have the potential to addict the user and cause respiratory, or other secondary health and social problems similar to alcohol and tobacco overuse. Science does show in research studies where cannabis can have a negative impact on growing minds and bodies especially if one becomes addicted during the developmental stage of their lives [18 and younger].  This physiological fact alone can destroy a life before it begins.  This is why sales and regulatory controls must be put in place once State medicinal and recreational laws are passed.

I felt it was very important to add two addiction articles back in 2009 that support this updated article “Medical Marijuana Use; Part 1 (pain benefits) and “Lay your Bet” 2 (scientific support data) for chronic pain sufferers.”  As you read those two earlier articles, there is a very good case to continue THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) research and medicinal benefits.

There is some very good science based around severed or damaged nerve endings where only the THC and other cannabinoid receivers at the nerve endings provide pain relief through cannabis use.  Science also shows these damaged nerve endings do not respond to the typical opiate prescription; hence pain alleviation through the pharmaceutical prescription gold standard has little to no effect in many chronic pain controlled studies.  Read Part 2, Pain Relief Benefits. Regardless of the medicinal benefits, we must be very vigilant with our children while our states continue to relax marijuana use laws for patients and now recreational use in some states.

I’m in favor of legalized marijuana use for chronic pain sufferers and other ill-health conditions.  My concern over Recreational use legalization is controlling the substance distribution on a large commercial scale and keeping it out of the hands of our children. I’m very aware and concerned about our children’s access to marijuana should it become fully legalized for recreational use.  This would add an additional drug within hundreds or retail outlets and thousands of households that requires the same protections as prescription drugs, liquor and tobacco.

If and when recreational use of marijuana is approved by voters, it must have similar controls and penalties as our states liquor laws. In preparation for recreational marijuana legalization, parents must not and cannot depend on any school, or government agency to protect children from abusing any drug.  It is our responsibility as parents and educators to teach them to know differences between right and wrong and consequences of any form of substance abuse.

As part of this educational messaging, confusion can be mitigated amongst your youth if our federal government fully recognizes states rights per voters approved marijuana use laws and conflict of their drug laws.   Regardless of the voter approved marijuana use  consumers should not have to fear Federal prosecution because State and Federal laws differ.  Our kids and young adults should not be confused over Federal and State rights conflicts where incarceration may occur from an outside agency having no right to interfere with States Voters rights.  So long as its use and distribution stays within the legalized States boundaries.

Until DEA controlled substance laws relative to marijuana use become reclassified as less then a scheduled 1 controlled substance or recreational drug use, then cannabis users may be prosecuted over States rights by the FEDs.  These legalities must be resolved as cannabis will eventually be legalized in many states for medical marijuana and/or recreational use.  To not resolve this State’s right issue can only ruin young lives through unjust incarceration.

Here’s an interesting conflict within our DEA drug schedule classification.  THC the psycho active ingredient in marijuana is already legally sold as Marinol & prescribed by HMO medical providers.  However, most consumers don’t know this information.

Marinol is listed and classified by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), as a scheduled class III drug under the same physician prescription controls as Tylenol pain relief medication.  This is very easy for the patient to get their hands on. So instead of smoking the cannabis, or eating it which is the illegal part, you are legally able to ingest the THC oil [psycho active ingredient] prescribed by most HMO’s for almost any type of pain and/or disease.

Maybe our government within its infinite wisdom determined it would be easier to control marijuana distribution through legal pill prescription so children couldn’t get their hands on it.  Since Marinol must be refrigerated, it seems to me, it would be easier for our children to get their hands on these tiny capsules, conceal and consume.  So do they really have our children’s best interests in mind?

So it stems to reason, the medical community understands the medicinal use of THC and also enjoys the profits from this high cost prescription drug.   If the government was truly concerned about a chronic pain or cancer patient wellbeing the DEA would cooperate with States rights to fully legitimize the use of cannabis for pain patients.  They could do this by simply declassifying the DEA drug schedule to list medical marijuana as a Class III prescription similar to Marinol; and remove the fear of a patience medicine being taken away and prosecuted.

Recreational marijuana use on the other hand is a different ball game which requires a different set of rules to protect our children from drug abuse and addiction.  If and when medicinal and recreational use in your community occurs, it will be up to all parents to get involved within home town politics and tell elected officials your expectations of how local government will create home town policies to protect our kids from those that don’t want to play by the rules.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2014 Copyright, All rights reserved.  MirrorAthlete Corp., Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.





Are Honey and Cinnamon a Cure All?

12 05 2013

Bees are attracted to all types of flowers

I was asked by a co-worker if honey and cinnamon is a cure all for every ailment known to man.  I certainly didn’t know the answer to this question, so I did a little research on topic.

It appears there are a lot of nutritional and research information at our finger tips that supports honey and cinnamon as very good for us.  I’m not sure that when combined they are a cure all for all that ails us.  But the health benefit data is pretty impressive, especially when combining honey and cinnamon in the daily diet.

What most of us do know is that honey comes from a bee’s nectar and is known as a healthy food sweetener.  And Cinnamon is a spice harvested from a dried plant tree bark grown in a tropical climate.  Now we can build our knowledge base from here to see how this delicious tasting sweetener and spice can be so healthy for us.

Cinnamon History and Facts,

“Although cinnamon is grown within many countries such as Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Maurtius, Reunion and Guyana, it is also grown in South American, West Indies and other tropical climates.  The best and “one true cinnamon” are native to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and are known to date back to Chinese writings in 2800 B.C.”  (Filippone, 2013)

Ceylon and Cassia are the two most common cinnamon species that can be purchased within the marketplace and known to have the most potent healthy properties.   Both are great antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, etc.  However, it is the ancient Ceylon cinnamon that is considered by some to be denser in curing nutrients.  Many studies have identified Ceylon as the best diabetes preventative and combatant medicine, where other studies show cassia regulates blood glucose just as well.  Both cinnamon spices show blood thinning agent coumarin in them.  (Health Diaries.com, 2013)

Taking a closer look at the Cassia species, commonly known as Chinese cinnamon, or from Saigon Cinnamon is believed to cause liver damage when taken in high quantities because of its high concentration of anticoagulant properties, but considered safe when taken in moderation.  However, the blood thinning agent found in Ceylon’s true cinnamon is considered of little to no risk due to low density of naturally occurring coumarin.  Note:  During times of injury, it is necessary for our blood to maintain its ability to coagulate.  But taking excessive intake of plant coumarin content can pose a health risk.  (WHfoods.com, 2013)

The 10 most common cinnamon health benefits,

  •  Blood sugar regulation – Several studies show cinnamon to be beneficial for type 2 diabetics, and is likely due to regulatory effect on blood sugar.
  • Lowers blood cholesterol – Half a tsp of cinnamon per day can lower the bad cholesterol (LDL).
  • Cancer prevention – The U.S. Depart of Agriculture in Maryland showed cinnamon reduced lymphoma and leukemia cancer cell proliferation.
  • Anti-clotting – Cinnamon has an anti-clotting (blood thinning) affect on blood.
  • Helps with yeast infection – Studies show cinnamon to have the ability to stop medication resistant yeast infections.
  • Anti-bacterial – If added to food it stops food spoilage and bacterial growth.  It is nature’s natural food preservative.
  • Brain health – A study showed cinnamon to boost cognitive brain function and memory.
  • Arthritis relief – Taking a half a tsp of cinnamon powder and combined with a tsp of honey before breakfast daily; a Copenhagen University study showed significant relief of arthritis pain after a week.  And in one month patients participating in the study could walk without pain.
  • High in nutrients – Calcium, iron, fiber and manganese.
  • E. Coli fighter – A Kansas State researcher found cinnamon to fight E. Coli bacteria found in unpasteurized juices. (Health Diaries.com, 2006)

Chinese medicine practitioners say that if Cinnamon is organic, it is warming and nourishing for our kidneys.  Both Chinese and folk medicine practitioners have used honey and cinnamon in combinations for years to cure, or heal what ails them.  Both offer powerful “antibiotic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory remedies, not only for humans but also for Animals.”  Common conditions this organic sweetener and spice provide when used are claimed to remedy and/or cure:  Upset Stomach, immune system, colds, cholesterol, bladder infection, indigestion, longevity, gas, toothache, influenza, skin infections, weight loss, cancer, fatigue, bad breath, general infection, etc.  (Halcyon, February 27, 2013)

Honey History and Facts,

Honey has long been used as a nutritional and medicinal powerful antioxidant with antiseptic and antibacterial properties for the past 2,500 years which includes the days of Aristotle (384-322BC) and its use is well documented within Greek, Roman, Christian, Islamic and other historical text.  Today, honey is still considered part of an alternative medicine.  Holistic practitioners consider honey one of nature’s best all-around remedies.  In its raw form, honey contains about 69% glucose and fructose enabling it to be used as the sweetener we know and love to eat.

Raw honey like fine wines has its own aroma, taste and color depending on the location that it was farmed.   ‘This is a surprise to many people because most honey purchased in supermarkets in the United States is made from unidentified blends of honey with a similar taste and appearance between brands.  Unblended honey from various geographic locations tastes different when produced of nectar from flowers and then sweet excretions of insects (honeydew) is not mixed, or chemically treated.  Just like all flowers, grapes have different colors and aromas, and so does honey.

“Depending on the proportions of flowers in the area where bees collect nectar and the timing of the collection of honey from the hives, honey may be either:

  • Multifloral honey: Created from the nectar of many types of flowers around the hive, or
  • Single flower or monofloral honey: Created mainly from one type of flower or honeydew

Once you have tried unblended honey from a single flower source or location, you’ll likely not seek blended brands because you’ll enjoy the unique flavors that each one offers.  (Honey Traveler.com, 2013)

It is also interesting to note that honey is the only sweetener that will not spoil.  Instead, when it sits for periods of time, it will turn to a form of sugary base, but will not spoil.  It should never be micro waved or heated, because this destroys the enzymes and natural curing properties of it.  (New Realities.com, 2013)

There appears to be one health concern for a specific demographic,

The USDA National honey board and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services state “Do not let babies eat honey.”  This is because the spores of the botulism bacteria are found in dust and soil that find their way into the honeydew.  The immune systems of infants is not developed enough to defend against this type of potential “paralytic disorder’ in which an infant is given anti-toxins and placed in infant care on a respirator.  ‘Dr. Jatinder Bhatia a Georgia neonatologist who heads the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition.  “She has never seen a case of infant botulism.   She also mentions, honey in cereals is fine because it’s a cooked product.  It’s the bottled honey that presents a health risk to infants.” (Edgar, 2013)

The 10 most common honey health benefits,

  • Helps with skin ailments – Honey dressings have been used to treat burns, scrapes, irritations from post surgical process and ulcers caused from radiation.  Bees produce the enzyme hydrogen peroxide, “sound familiar” which is found in honey and eases skin ailments.
  • Relief from mosquito bite – Since honey has anti-inflammatory properties it’s a good option to help reduce the itch and irritation.
  • Honey is an immune booster – Since honey is full of polyphenols found in plant life, it is a known antioxidant that protects cells from free radical damage.  It is also promoted as a heart healthy nutrient and cancer preventer.
  • Digestive health –  A study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2006 found that honey used in place of sugar reduced gut microflora of male mice.
  • Acne treatment – Honey can effectively treat acne vulgaris, a skin condition caused by infection and inflammation on the face, chest and back.  (Shape.com, 2013)
  • Energy source – Honey can be easily converted into glucose energy for working muscles and accepted by the most sensitive stomachs.  It is very easy to digest.
  • Weight loss – When honey is consumed with warm water it helps to digest fat stored in the body.  Similarly, a combination of lemon juice, honey and cinnamon help reduce weight as well.

  “Normally, to digest sugar, the vitamins and minerals stored in body are utilized, rendering the body devoid of these nutrients. These nutrients are essential to dissolve fats and cholesterol.  Thus when you eat too much sugar you tend to increase weight not just because of the calories but due to lack of vitamins and minerals. On the contrary, honey being a good source of nutrients helps you in reducing weight.”  (Organic Facts.net, 2013) 

Improving athletic performance – Honey maintains blood glucose levels and muscle glycogen restoration after the workout.  Blood glucose and muscle glycogen is the preferred fuel food when intense exercise activity is required.

A valued source of Vitamins and Minerals – Depending on the flowers used in apiculture (beekeeping), honey commonly contains Vitamin C, Calcium and iron.  Concentrates of vitamins and mineral contents vary.

Antibacterial and antifungal – It can be used as a natural spread on antiseptic.  (Organic Facts.net, 2013)

Folk remedies have been around for generations and there is a reason why they stand the test of time.  For instance, to knock out a common cold in one or two days make a warm tea, add 1 teaspoon of honey and ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon.  It is best to buy the powdered or grind the cinnamon sticks from the plant species previously mentioned.  There are many remedies that include honey and cinnamon to cure what ails you.  If you want to know more recipes, simply research on folk remedy medicines that include this natural sweetener and spice.

 My favorite breakfast is a big bowl of raisin brand, or oat flakes, 2 tsp of honey, 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon and 1% low fat milk.

For daily antioxidant, immune, weight loss, common cold, organ health and so much more, science supports adding raw honey and cinnamon to Cereals and hot drinks a couple times a day to promote good health.  There are lots of ways you can incorporate these two food nutrients into your diet if you’d like to take advantage of their healthy properties.

Works Cited

“10 Health Benefits of Cinnamon.” 10 Health Benefits of Cinnamon. Health Diaries.com, 23 Mar. 2006. Web. 10 May 2013.

“5 Health Benefits of Honey.” Shape Magazine. Shape.com, n.d. Web. 10 May 2013.

“Benefits of Honey in Weight Loss | Animal Product | Health Benefits.” Benefits of Honey in Weight Loss | Animal Product | Health Benefits. Organic Facts.net, n.d. Web. 10 May 2013.

“Ceylon Cinnamon Vs. Cassia Cinnamon.” Ceylon Cinnamon Vs. Cassia Cinnamon. Health Diaries.com, n.d. Web. 10 May 2013.

Feature, Julie EdgarWebMD. “Medicinal Uses of Honey: What the Research Shows.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 10 May 2013.

Filippone, Peggy T. “Cinnamon History.” About.com Home Cooking. About.com Guide, n.d. Web. 10 May 2013.

“Halcyon Days.” : Cinnamon and Honey: Cure-All or Hoax? Sandra Halcyonday, 27 Feb. 2013. Web. 10 May 2013. <http://sanda-halcyondays.blogspot.com/2013/01/cinnamon-and-honey-cure-all-or-hoax.html&gt;.

“The Healing Benefits of Cinnamon and Honey.” New Realities. New Realities.com, n.d. Web. 10 May 2013.

“Health Benefits of Honey | Organic Honey | Organic Animal Products.” Health Benefits of Honey | Organic Honey | Organic Animal Products. Organic Information Services, Pvt, Ltd., n.d. Web. 10 May 2013.

“Honey Buyers Guide.” Honey Traveler Everything in the World About Honey. Honey Traveler.com, n.d. Web. 10 May 2013.

“What Is the Difference Between Cinnamon and Cassia?” The Worlds Healthiest Foods. WHfoods.com, n.d. Web. 10 May 2013.

Woodard, Marc T. “Mirror Athlete’s Fitness Secrets!” Mirror Athletes Fitness Secrets. Mirror Athlete Inc., 7 Apr. 2013. Web. 10 May 2013. <http://mirrorathlete.com/blog/2013/04/07/foods-and-drugs-that-dont-mix-well/&gt;.

Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, CPT, MSC ARNG Retired.  2013 Copyright, All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





Familiar Supplements that Relieves Chronic Pain

23 11 2011

The Golden Years Don’t Have to Be Painful

It is now known through scientific studies there is a correlation between low levels of vitamin D in the body and pain.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that chronic pain is the leading cause of disability in the United States.  And they also show through research that a significant amount of pain patients lack Vitamin D in their diet.  This research also concludes on the average, pain patients with low Vitamin D levels use twice as much “on average” pain medications (morphine, fentanyl, oxycodone) than those that supplement their diet.  And those also low in Vitamin D also have higher measures of body fat which place them in the obesity category.

Where does this vitamin come from?  It comes from sun exposure and a few natural occurring foods you consume:  E.g., tuna, salmon, mackerel, cod liver oil, mushrooms.  Small amounts can be found in beef liver and egg yolk.  Of course, there is fortified vitamin D in the American diet, i.e., milk, cheese, ice cream, breakfast cereals, orange juice, yogurt, margarine, etc.  Apparently, it is very difficult for many to get “enough” Vitamin D nutrient in the daily diet, unless you get adequate (1hour) sun exposure daily. Of course, natural exposure to the sun’s benefits is dependent upon season, weather conditions, geography and not always considered healthy for those that receive too much exposure.

Vitamin D is essential to propagate calcium absorption for healthy bones and bone growth.  And low levels of this Vitamin for too long can result in bone surface softening (osteomalacia), where this condition causes pain.  And the area of the body that seems to suffer greatest for lack of this nutrient and most prone to pain is the lower back.  For those that suffer from fibromyalgia, bone and joint pain, phenomenal pain relief can be experienced through vitamin D supplementation.

Researchers state a daily 1000IU/day to grow healthy strong bones for children and adults that suffer from chronic pain could experience significant pain relief at a 2000IU/day regiment.  Also the health risk with “D” supplementation has a highly favorable safety profile when used simultaneously with prescription drugs.  This supplementation simply doesn’t interact with many types of drugs unless one uses extremely high doses of Vitamin D (e.g., 50,000IU and over).  Since vitamin D also promotes a healthy nervous system, those that suffer with radiating neuropathic pain can also experience better pain alleviation, movement function and greater quality of life experiences.

If you are self paying for your pain prescriptions, also keep this in mind.  A daily 2000IU/day for Vitamin D can cost as little as $.07-.10/day.  This could be your safe, cost effective ticket to alleviating chronic pain in a way where other prescriptions have failed and without breaking the bank.  Although there is no guarantee this will be a complete substitute for your pain relief program, it is likely it would help alleviate your pain and do no harm.  However, it is always prudent to ask your physician about vitamin D supplementation for pain relief.  I will tell you that physiatrists (pain specialists) will advise you to supplement with 2000IU/day for chronic pain alleviation.  If your lab results show lower than 50-70 nonograms/milliliter; a vitamin D supplement for natural pain relief will most likely help you relieve pain.

Since there are so many natural chronic pain relief supplements to choose from, listed below are the top candidates for further research and dietary pain supplement consideration.

Anti-Inflammatory plants and herbs – If you’re not big on NSAID medicines because of the possible long-term side effects (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and Celebrex)… Try turmeric, green tea, ginger, rosemary, cat’s & devil claw, and willow bark.  The apparent winner of all the natural anti-inflammatory I’ve listed appears to be the turmeric.  Significant pain relief for those that suffer from osteoarthritis and back pain (Leopold & Edwards, T., M.D.).  Turmeric can be purchased as a capsule supplement.  Patients using blood thinners should first check with their physicians if a turmeric pain supplement would be right for them.

Magnesium – This is a tough supplement to get in daily quantities because most of us don’t eat enough of the following foods:  Soy products, peas, beans, whole grains, bananas, dried apricots and avocados, sunflower, pumpkin seeds, etc.  It appears magnesium supplementation can help those that suffer with fibromyalgia and migraines.  What depletes magnesium levels in the body? Alcohol.  Chronic pain patients may well benefit with this additive in their diet.

Fish Oil – Not only does omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties to relieve chronic pain, it can also help with many other conditions, i.e., depression, asthma, cardiovascular problems, autoimmune (rheumatoid arthritis), back pain, some nerve pain and headaches (Rakel, David P., MD, founder and director of the University of Wisconsin’s Integrative Medicine in Madison).  The effects of fish oil can be boosted by combining with other natural supplementation from this list.  However, Dr. Rakel advises you consult with your doctor.

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) – There appears to be scientific controversy over migraine pain relief with Vitamin B2 use.  Dr. Rakel thinks it’s safe to try for a period of 8 weeks considering its safety rating.  However, consult your treating physician for frequency, dose and duration of use.

Glucosamine sulfate – The best data on joint pain alleviation comes from glucosamine supplementation.  The data is very good on osteoarthritis pain alleviation in the knee and slowing the progression of the disease.  And supplementation with chondroitin combined could provide additional benefits.

Bromelain – This is an enzyme that is derived from the pineapple plant.  These enzymes appear to reduce inflammation and pain associated with osteoarthritis.  There appears to be a mystery on how this enzyme gets absorbed through the stomach lining.  The mystery is the stomach acid should neutralize the benefits of this enzyme.  More research is needed to understand how the delivery system transports the benefits of this enzyme through the digestive system.

Capsaicin – Topical capsaicin is derived from chili peppers.  The soothing effects when applied to skin for all types of pain relief include:  Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, shingles, osteoarthritis, diabetic neuropathy.  And like many of the other natural pain relievers, may offer relief for fibromyalgia and headache pain.

Alpha-lipoic acid – Like acetyl-L-carnitine (a nutrient that seems to ease and regenerate damaged nerves and restore sensitivity over time due to nerve pain from diabetes).  Alpha-lipoic acid appears to help for those that suffer with diabetic neuropathy.  Not only do scientific studies show pain reduction, but also the slowing of the neuropathic condition.  This in fact could protect the nerves from further damage.  Another benefit for people with diabetes is that Alpha-lipoic acid may enhance insulin sensitivity and help those that suffer nerve damage from cancer treatment.

References:

MNT Medical News Today, Vitamin D a Surprising Champion of Back Pain Relief, 25 June 2008, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/112633.php

R. Morgan Griffen, WebbMD, Natural Pain Relief: Chronic Pain Supplements, http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/chronic-pain-relief?page=1

Anderson, Bryan, Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic Researchers Link Vitamin D and Chronic Pain Relief, March 20, 2009, http://newsblog.mayoclinic.org/2009/03/20/mayo-clinic-researchers-link-vitamin-d-and-chronic-pain-relief/

Evert, Alison, MedlinePluse, Magnesium in diet. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002423.htm

Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET. 2011 Copyright, All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.

 





A Familiar Supplement that Relieves Chronic Pain

23 11 2011

The Golden Years Don't Have to Be Painful

It is now known through scientific studies there is a correlation between low levels of vitamin D in the body and pain.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that chronic pain is the leading cause of disability in the United States.  And they also show through research that a significant amount of pain patients lack Vitamin D in their diet.  This research also concludes on the average, pain patients with low Vitamin D levels use twice as much “on average” pain medications (morphine, fentanyl, oxycodone) than those that supplement their diet.  And those also low in Vitamin D also have higher measures of body fat which place them in the obesity category.

Where does this vitamin come from?  It comes from sun exposure and a few natural occurring foods you consume:  E.g., tuna, salmon, mackerel, cod liver oil, mushrooms.  Small amounts can be found in beef liver and egg yolk.  Of course, there is fortified vitamin D in the American diet, i.e., milk, cheese, ice cream, breakfast cereals, orange juice, yogurt, margarine, etc.  Apparently, it is very difficult for many to get “enough” Vitamin D nutrient in the daily diet, unless you get adequate (1hour) sun exposure daily. Of course, natural exposure to the sun’s benefits is dependent upon season, weather conditions, geography and not always considered healthy for those that receive too much exposure.

Vitamin D is essential to propagate calcium absorption for healthy bones and bone growth.  And low levels of this Vitamin for too long can result in bone surface softening (osteomalacia), where this condition causes pain.  And the area of the body that seems to suffer greatest for lack of this nutrient and most prone to pain is the lower back.  For those that suffer from fibromyalgia, bone and joint pain, phenomenal pain relief can be experienced through vitamin D supplementation.

Researchers state a daily 1000IU/day to grow healthy strong bones for children and adults that suffer from chronic pain could experience significant pain relief at a 2000IU/day regiment.  Also the health risk with “D” supplementation has a highly favorable safety profile when used simultaneously with prescription drugs.  This supplementation simply doesn’t interact with many types of drugs unless one uses extremely high doses of Vitamin D (e.g., 50,000IU and over).  Since vitamin D also promotes a healthy nervous system, those that suffer with radiating neuropathic pain can also experience better pain alleviation, movement function and greater quality of life experiences.

If you are self paying for your pain prescriptions, also keep this in mind.  A daily 2000IU/day for Vitamin D can cost as little as $.07-.10/day.  This could be your safe, cost effective ticket to alleviating chronic pain in a way where other prescriptions have failed and without breaking the bank.  Although there is no guarantee this will be a complete substitute for your pain relief program, it is likely it would help alleviate your pain and do no harm.  However, it is always prudent to ask your physician about vitamin D supplementation for pain relief.  I will tell you that physiatrists (pain specialists) will advise you to supplement with 2000IU/day for chronic pain alleviation.  If your lab results show lower than 50-70 nonograms/milliliter; a vitamin D supplement for natural pain relief will most likely help you relieve pain.

Since there are so many natural chronic pain relief supplements to choose from, listed below are the top candidates for further research and dietary pain supplement consideration.

Anti-Inflammatory plants and herbs – If you’re not big on NSAID medicines because of the possible long-term side effects (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and Celebrex)… Try turmeric, green tea, ginger, rosemary, cat’s & devil claw, and willow bark.  The apparent winner of all the natural anti-inflammatory I’ve listed appears to be the turmeric.  Significant pain relief for those that suffer from osteoarthritis and back pain (Leopold & Edwards, T., M.D.).  Turmeric can be purchased as a capsule supplement.  Patients using blood thinners should first check with their physicians if a turmeric pain supplement would be right for them.

Magnesium – This is a tough supplement to get in daily quantities because most of us don’t eat enough of the following foods:  Soy products, peas, beans, whole grains, bananas, dried apricots and avocados, sunflower, pumpkin seeds, etc.  It appears magnesium supplementation can help those that suffer with fibromyalgia and migraines.  What depletes magnesium levels in the body? Alcohol.  Chronic pain patients may well benefit with this additive in their diet.

Fish Oil – Not only does omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties to relieve chronic pain, it can also help with many other conditions, i.e., depression, asthma, cardiovascular problems, autoimmune (rheumatoid arthritis), back pain, some nerve pain and headaches (Rakel, David P., MD, founder and director of the University of Wisconsin’s Integrative Medicine in Madison).  The effects of fish oil can be boosted by combining with other natural supplementation from this list.  However, Dr. Rakel advises you consult with your doctor.

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) – There appears to be scientific controversy over migraine pain relief with Vitamin B2 use.  Dr. Rakel thinks it’s safe to try for a period of 8 weeks considering its safety rating.  However, consult your treating physician for frequency, dose and duration of use.

Glucosamine sulfate – The best data on joint pain alleviation comes from glucosamine supplementation.  The data is very good on osteoarthritis pain alleviation in the knee and slowing the progression of the disease.  And supplementation with chondroitin combined could provide additional benefits.

Bromelain – This is an enzyme that is derived from the pineapple plant.  These enzymes appear to reduce inflammation and pain associated with osteoarthritis.  There appears to be a mystery on how this enzyme gets absorbed through the stomach lining.  The mystery is the stomach acid should neutralize the benefits of this enzyme.  More research is needed to understand how the delivery system transports the benefits of this enzyme through the digestive system.

Capsaicin – Topical capsaicin is derived from chili peppers.  The soothing effects when applied to skin for all types of pain relief include:  Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, shingles, osteoarthritis, diabetic neuropathy.  And like many of the other natural pain relievers, may offer relief for fibromyalgia and headache pain.

Alpha-lipoic acid – Like acetyl-L-carnitine (a nutrient that seems to ease and regenerate damaged nerves and restore sensitivity over time due to nerve pain from diabetes).  Alpha-lipoic acid appears to help for those that suffer with diabetic neuropathy.  Not only do scientific studies show pain reduction, but also the slowing of the neuropathic condition.  This in fact could protect the nerves from further damage.  Another benefit for people with diabetes is that Alpha-lipoic acid may enhance insulin sensitivity and help those that suffer nerve damage from cancer treatment.

References:

MNT Medical News Today, Vitamin D a Surprising Champion of Back Pain Relief, 25 June 2008, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/112633.php

R. Morgan Griffen, WebbMD, Natural Pain Relief: Chronic Pain Supplements, http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/chronic-pain-relief?page=1

Anderson, Bryan, Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic Researchers Link Vitamin D and Chronic Pain Relief, March 20, 2009, http://newsblog.mayoclinic.org/2009/03/20/mayo-clinic-researchers-link-vitamin-d-and-chronic-pain-relief/

Evert, Alison, MedlinePluse, Magnesium in diet. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002423.htm

Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET. 2011 Copyright, All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.

 





Learn to Embrace the Pain, Exercise and Get Fit

23 09 2011

    The mindset change required to work around your pain is most important in order to meet your fitness goals; especially if your challenge is to manage acute and chronic pain.  The mind must learn to embrace and adapt to a specific ill-health pain condition(s) and/or physical-mental limitations in order to increase fitness levels.  And it is important to understand your medical condition and limitations before applying exercise.  Without this knowledge you may further injure yourself during activity.

    The only true way to understand your limitations brought about by pain is to work with your medical providers.  By working with medical pain specialists you can then better understand what triggers and aggravates your pain when working through Range-Of-Motion (ROM) activities.   By becoming knowledgeable about your body and ill-health pain condition, you “can” prevent further aggravation or injury and alleviate your pain with customized exercise programming.  A fitness goal of yours should be to “find a way” to continue some form of movement activity no matter the mobility status (bed ridden, wheel chair, walker, cane, or other ambulatory challenges, e.g., prosthetics).

     Exercise activities are important because body movement provides oxygenated-enriched blood, while strengthening and providing nutrients to muscles, tendons, ligaments and vital organs no matter how “limiting” the movement may seem to the patient.  Exercise movement activities also activate natural feel good pain reducing endorphins.  These hormones are necessary to provide a feeling of overall wellbeing and thwart depression.  Physical activity is also a metabolic booster:  Weight control, immune deficiency exciter, repairs tissue as a mending facilitator, tones muscle, improves cognitive brain function, realigns and strengthens posture, improves cardiovascular health and promotes good skin, hair, nails etc., with many more benefits too numerous to mention.

    It also must be understood that not all preexisting, or recent injuries to the body you experience may ever be 100% pain free.  This is because once there is internal-external, or injury breach to the bodies postural integrity, it is most likely this damage will be felt infrequently after the mend and throughout life.  And as you age, and if activity exercise is not continued this pain can become more problematic.

     Most first experience acute (infrequent) pain after injury, or surgery, and then with age, these infrequent (acute) trigger pain sights can become a chronic pain condition.  If movement is limited for too long because of pain, this can/does become more aggravating if ignored.  If you experience unacceptable pain after injury or surgery, ensure you follow up with your medical specialists.  Don’t just ignore the pain for years.  Learn to properly manage an ill-health and/or alleviate a painful condition by working with the right referred medical resources in a timely manner.

    My personal experience when managing pain, whether acute, or chronic; pain is less severe if exercise and activity are applied daily.  And when adequate movement is not applied, frequency and intensity of pain episodes at damaged tissue sites tend to increase. 

    This then translates from the mind to the body an unacceptable pain experience.  With unacceptable pain, the mind tells the body to “guard” the pain.  Guarding simply means the mind instructs the muscles to tense up and become rigid at the pain sight to prevent full ROM within a body segment to reduce the pain.  Another way to explain this is the body becomes less flexible and unwilling to use a full ROM to accomplish work.  And this guarding condition if allowed to continue “will” create more radiating pain while reducing your ability to accomplish work.  Guarding can also damage other tissue in the surrounding trigger pain site; because now other muscle tissue that creates the guarding effect is now under stress.

     When the mind tells the body to guard a segment of body, it becomes isolated to varying degrees when work (i.e., task, exercise, activity) needs to be done.  And since this body segment is guarded the circulatory system that provides oxygenated enriched blood to this area is also working metabolically less efficient.  And when chronic guarding occurs, this segment of body (muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, and organs) is now very prone to further ill-health aggravation and injury for lack of sufficient nutrients.  This is how more tissue damage and pain occur!

     Internal tissue damage requires a constant supply of oxygenated-enriched blood and nutrient lubrication through good circulation to heal optimally.  With movement activity, damaged tissues, i.e., nerves, muscle, and joints that create the stiffening and tightening effect can be relieved.  And this relief can prevent further damage to surrounding tissues while mending the trigger pain site and maintaining the neural connection integrity.

    Keeping pain within toleration requires one to be more in tune with the body’s trigger mechanisms.  In other words what movement causes your pain and how can you apply proper exercise technique to reduce the guarding effect?  While working with your physician and pain specialists, you must listen and apply their exercise instruction to improve overall muscular endurance, circulation and flexibility when customizing your fit-healthy pain management program.   And to do this will require you tolerate an “acceptable” amount of pain.

     Although your primary care physician will not provide customized exercise prescription information to manage pain for the encompassing being… Instead learn as much as you can about your medical condition(s) and limitations and apply information I provide to you to learn how to advocate for the “best” referred pain management services (Visit MirrorAthlete Free Articles Repository often to learn these best known fitness secret practices).  Learn to advocate and self-refer to a pain management specialist through your primary physician (i.e., immunologist, rheumatologist, generalist-holistic pain specialist, physical therapy, physiatrist, sports medicine, certified pain management fitness trainers, orthopedic specialists, etc.).

    By working closely with your primary care physician, you can activate many needed referred services to help you better manage your pain.  In this way, you begin to build a customized activity exercise program that will help to alleviate your pain and increase your overall fitness levels (Cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, strength, muscular endurance, improved posture, reduced body fat, encompassing being mending, neural conductivity repair etc.).

     You also may be taking a cocktail of pharmaceuticals, causing you to lose productivity and gaining weight only to find out years later, your pain disease has progressed to the point you need surgery!   Again, my point is to learn as much as possible about your medical pain condition “while in the early stages of development” and advocate through your primary physician to self refer to the medical pain specialist you need.  Don’t just accept years of pharmaceuticals to bandage your underlying pain problems.

    If your pain management program is just about pill management, this will likely create many other secondary risks that will complicate your pain story and make it more difficult to focus on exercise activity to alleviate your pain.  Why is this?  Because your body & mind can’t feel the natural healing effects (biofeedback mechanisms are broke due to the numbing effect of opiates) from exercise if overusing medications that also have mind altering qualities.  Therefore your brain messages body to quite the exercise and take more pills to offset the ever increasing pain.  Note:  I’m not saying to stop taking your prescribed medications.  I’m saying you may need help in “balancing” your prescription use with exercise activity.

     Fortunately, I now live a lifestyle with tolerable managed pain.  Although I must admit, to get to this point was not easy.   And I understand, my pain will always be with me and I do have to manage it daily.  Nobody else can mentally, physically or spiritually do this for me.  It would be easy to become depressed about daily pain, but pain and depression once managed can be very tolerable.  And the only way to do this is through medically managed pain therapy that incorporates a customized exercise and daily activity fitness program that is “always” unique to each pain patient.

     It is also understood one can have pain in a specific, or multiple areas throughout the body.  It is my experience after going through many medical consultations and conversations with other pain patients; most are not educated on how to work around pain and prioritize the pain therapy safely, especially if you suffer from multiple pain sites.  I believe this has mostly to do when a physiatrist, sports medicine, exercise physiology or physical therapist is not involved in a pain patient’s therapy. 

     The next thing you should think about when identifying your fitness goals while working around pain, what do you enjoy doing?  Do you enjoy exercising in a gym, walking, biking, swimming, gardening, shopping, arts and crafts, reading, computer work, etc?  Why do I ask?  Because without an identified patient activity goal of interest, it is hard to know what the right motivating movement and exercise activities should consist of for therapeutic pain alleviation success.

     When I list activities, it also should be understood that mental exercises that appear to be more sedentary then physically active do not “activate optimally” your body’s fit-healthy metabolism.  But any activity can improve the overall condition of the body whereby depression, anxiety and stress is minimized, hence an overall health benefit is gained.  For example, if bed ridden, a mental activity stimulus can transfer a portion of that benefit to the physical body.  This is due to the psycho-somatic neurological connection (mind-body).

     Once you identify your physical and mental limitations to include fitness goals that may interest you, pay close attention to the prescribed pharmaceutical(s) you ingest.  When you pursue fitness activity, as mentioned previously; medications can reduce pain sensation (numbing effect) with a false sense of security while increasing physical activity loads.  Also, there are many medications used that regulate blood pressure, balance hormones, cholesterol control, weight management, depression, the list goes on.

     I do not claim to be an expert in pharmaceuticals or their prescribed use.  However, it is well known your health risk(s) will increase when pursuing an exercise program while on certain medications.   Therefore you need to consult with your pain management specialist [seek referral to a physiatrist first before customizing an exercise program if you have chronic pain].  Also ask about safe usage of prescribed medications before participating in any exercise program!

     For those that are using more pharmaceuticals and moving less, you must find some way to become less dependent on pain killers.  If not, fitness levels and overall health issues tend to get worse through time.  I’m not advocating you quit using your medications!  I’m advocating increasing your daily activity levels while balancing pain medications to reduce your overall pain experience.  I know through fitness activity you’ll become less dependent on the opiates.  Of course, you need to work through this process with your pain management specialist to help you reach this balance.

     I believe if patients are armed with safe exercise fitness activity, pain management information and therapy options, they would enjoy a better quality of life, especially if they suffer with chronic pain.

     It is unfortunate our medical and health insurance institutions are not designed, or set up with a consistent therapeutic exercise protocol for pain patients.  It is for this reason I write these types of articles so you can learn how to live fit-healthy lifestyles even if you suffer with chronic pain.  Learn to advocate directly with your primary health provider and pain specialist(s) for referred medical services to improve upon your fitness levels while alleviating pain.  In this way you can achieve your fit-healthy goals, improve upon your ill-health condition and increase your quality of life experiences!

     By reading Mirror Athlete Articles you can learn how to customize a fitness-pain management program that works well for you (subscribe to our free monthly eNewsletter and be sure to stay up-to-date on all hard to find fitness secrets information).

 Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2011 Copyright, All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





Rehabilitation Tips to Improve Active Lifestyle

23 02 2011

A Herd of Elk on Oregan Coast Near Seaside

    Anyone that has experienced rehabilitation after physical injury, illness or disease understands nursing oneself back to health presents a huge undertaking.  This is especially true if the disability setback is long enduring.  And, or the disability is permanent and you need to learn how to work around the trigger pain(s) to get work done.

     It is also most certain that when you become injured, or disabled for long periods of time, a whole new set of emotions you’ve never experienced impact the psychosomatic (mind-body) connective wire ways.  This occurs first through physical limitation and pain.  Then if an injury converts to long-term chronic care conditions that include significant pain challenges, then depression can further affect the body’s ability to resist susceptibility to other illness and disease.

     And then the third component of being (soul-spirit) can further be challenged which also can impact one significantly.  Without a well developed understanding of how a 3-part being (mind, body, soul-spirit) perceives a traumatic and painful event; understand “any” long-term rehabilitation process can create other illness and disease challenges through depressed feelings of being.  The goal during any rehabilitation phase is to stabilize a chronic condition and learn to live with limitation challenges the best you can [if this is the case], “without dwelling on what you can no longer do.”  With this understanding and from this point forward, your quality of living experiences can and will improve!

     Pain does not discriminate with only one part of being [physical]; it also challenges our mental and spiritual health.   It stands to reason, if you have a fit-healthy encompassing being (mind, body, soul-spirit) before “any” stress, or disability event occurs; a much better processing of the pain adversity that follows will be much easier to deal with.

     Now, let me get back to rehabilitating self after a stressful life event has occurred; or after injury-surgery, or you now experience illness and/or disease pain.

      After talking to many people that had similar rehabilitative physical and mental pain challenges, I find we had commonalities that put us on the fast track mend while learning to manage our pain.  And I’m here today to share these commonalities through tips that appear to make a significant difference in lifting ones spirit to get up and active with life after adversity strikes.

     First of all, be realistic about the extent of your illness, disease, or injury; in doing so you can then begin to heal yourself.   I’ve found by understanding my limitations and working around pain triggers, I have improved upon my daily productivity and quality of life experiences while alleviating pain.  Listed below are lessons learned that helped me to work around my daily pain challenges.  In realizing and accepting these personal experiences as truths, I’ve been able to move forward with my life “productively” in a way I could never have thought otherwise.

1.   First, realize you have a physical/or mental limitation that may/may not be permanent.  And may be further aggravated into insidious illness or disease. If you don’t understand what activity will exasperate, aggravate and excel the pain condition(s); you must also know, by not changing activity habits per pain threshold (pain intolerance) and mental acceptance of change, you may likely cause further decline in overall health.

2.   To allow a physical limitation(s) to control your mental ability in living a productive fit-healthy lifestyle relative to pain challenges, will put further ill-health stress on being.

3.   Understand mental limitation also impacts physical activity.  When mental road blocks tell you, you can’t participate in activities; it also begins to tell you, you can’t participate in “any” activity.  This is absolutely an untruth conjured within the conscious mind.  You are capable of other forms of activities.  Soul search to find a new activity you can participate in.

4.   You can rehabilitate yourself around pain triggers.  Trigger pains can occur throughout the mind and body.  Your medical provider, pain specialist, physical therapist can work with you to provide many tools you’ll need to alleviate pain for better quality living experiences. 

5.  Humans are social creatures by nature and have need of social contact.  Without social contact the mind can become depressed leading one to become recluse from society.  And through a depressed mindset often follows physical-mental illness and disease.  You must find social interactivity with friends and family in order to maintain a healthy mind-spirit.  This in turn provides the physical-mental being more tolerance to “pain intolerance.”

6.   Humans desire and crave activity.  From the beginnings of time, man was designed to walk and accomplish work.  Our bodies and minds require exercise activity.  And walking is the best form of aerobic, fat burning exercise to accomplish all we need in life.  Walking is the best metabolic enhancer and centurion secret to long healthy living experiences.  If you cannot walk, there are other interactive physical activities to participate in.  Work with your physical therapists and rehabilitation personnel to tap local medical resources, educational workshops, therapeutic sessions, etc., to develop lifelong activity programs appropriate for your rehabilitative and fit-healthy needs.

7.   You must learn to advocate for timely and applicable medical care.  When you feel ill, or pain for too long, you must seek medical advisement.  To push off long-term illness can eclipse into acute and chronic pain disease.

8.   You must not become addicted to pharmaceuticals.  Take medications as prescribed by your physician.  If you become addicted to medications seek help from your primary care physician, or pain management specialist.  Addiction to pain killers for example has the potential to create many more secondary problems that can only complicate your particular mind, body and spirit-soul pain.

9.   Understand how important daily activity is to your overall rehabilitation success.  Without structured daily physical therapy and/or activity exercise the body will take longer to heal.  Inactivity will have an adverse effect on your mental thought processes and hamper will power to effectively change your physical and pain situation.  To compromise “will power” for lack of an active exercise plan will depress your entire being.  And when you become depressed in mind, body and spirit “being” is susceptible to further pain aggravation, illness and disease.

10.  You must not think with a social disability expectation.   In other words, do not allow yourself to believe you are disabled, even if limited mobility is the case.  You must understand, even when you have physical, or mental limitations you can reinvent your lifestyle to accommodate any physical challenge.  If you believe mentally you are disabled physically, your quality of living experiences will become just that, a limitation in your abilities to maintain social and mobile interactivity.  And regardless of disability severity, “believe it or not,” it is possible to enjoy better quality living conditions if your mindset does not limit your belief in what you can and cannot do.  As I’ve experienced, when real physical limitations are placed on mobility it requires one to retool the way you think in an approach to living life to the fullest.

11.   Take control of your life and lead your way through recovery.  I’ve found to lead my way through anything in life is much better than following anyone’s “long-term” advice on how to get through a difficult and personal physical-mental challenge.  This is because it’s easy for people to render a personal opinion based on what they feel is right for you.  Remember, they don’t feel, or think your pain-limitation challenges daily.  The point is, we all know inherently what each of our physical and mental limitations are, however, many of us have been conditioned by others making decisions for us.  It is now time for you to take control of your life, especially if you are now having difficulties through a rehabilitation, illness, disease or chronic pain scenario.  Only in this way can you begin to mend in a way that is fit-healthy for you.

12.  Instill belief in self that quality living experiences are in your future.  You must believe you can change your condition for the better if you stay consistent and work your rehabilitation, or pain management program.  You also must be prepared to partake in a program that could take months, or years before obtaining 50% of your physical abilities back for example.  There must be acceptance that in the end [if this is the case], if 50% is gained in activity ability, this becomes your new 100% physical capability [with limitations].  Activity goal setting is an important tool when programming activity plans through rehabilitation.  In knowing ill-health adversity experiences is not the end of quality living activities; instead, can become a new and exciting life experience.

13.  Don’t accept negative feedback.  I can’t tell you how many times I was told I’d most likely need assistive devices to walk for the rest of my life.  I didn’t accept this consult from my physicians.  Although, I surely thought it was a possibility.  In other words, I accepted the possibility of limited mobility disability but worked my physical therapy and exercise activity faithfully.  After 4 years of self-rehabilitation, I’m now free of assistive walking devices since 2008.  The point here, the mind-body conduit is a powerful electro-neuron stimulator.  If you believe you can physically do something to where you were unable at one point, the mind is capable of rewiring movement around pain.  I’m now capable of walking 10-14miles per day and am now working to get my 1996 upper body bulk fitness build back.  Can I achieve this goal?  I won’t know until I try.  Follow me in future eBook publications and I will share my rehabilitation and fitness stories (See, our home site Books page).

14.  Always present to your medical providers a fitness plan during the rehabilitation portion of your program while working through the rehabilitation process.  This is important why?  Because, all too often after a life changing event we return back to old habits that may have contributed to our inpatient stay.  It is important to realize fit-healthy life changing habits must continue after any rehabilitation treatment picture.  To do any less is to experience more suffering and pain then necessary.  I find it helpful while working with the medical community during the rehabilitation phase of recovery to compare fitness activity notes.  This way one can make the best informed decision for the best daily activity exercise with less risk of aggravation and secondary injury.  To have a physician, or specialists input on your daily activity, or exercise program goals helps you to customize a fit-healthy program that’s safe and right for you.

15.  What should the fitness plan look like?  The plan should look right for you.  In other words you know what your interests are and you also know your capabilities and limitations.  If you are more social, gage your activities around social activities.  If you are more physically active, interact in some form of daily movement activity.  If you are somewhere in-between, inter mix activities that put you into a socially interactive fitness environment.  Either way, you gain body-mind interactivity within the world around you.  This is fit-healthy for your 3-part being (mind, body and soul-spirit).

16.  Sustain healthy activity and habits for life.  Regardless of whether you’ve experienced a significant physical or mental pain challenge is not the point here.  The point is ill-health prevention and preparedness for the challenges that we will all experience is a must to alleviate pain experiences, “especially during the aging process.”  And we all can minimize our life pain experiences by learning to take charge of our own pain, stress, depression, malnutrition, addictions, illness, and disease and rehabilitation predicaments early on in life.  To do otherwise is to create more pain and suffering upon ourselves and our loved ones.

17.  Educate yourself on your condition.  Through education and understanding your illness, disease and rehabilitative life challenges will mitigate the ill-health effect and mobility limitation you may otherwise impose upon yourself [knowingly, or unknowingly].  Through education on your medical condition(s); an effective plan in preparation of what will ensue through the rehabilitation phase for example, will help increase your will power to pull through the physical therapy phase of recovery.  In knowing this you can discuss your life fitness activity ideals with your medical providers.  Allow them to make their recommended safe activity limitation input.  But you get to make the final decision on how you proceed with your life activities from that point forward.

     We all have a purpose in life.  And only our maker knows why we must experience pain adversity.  Also, it is important to note, had I listened to all of the medical opinion with regard to my mobility limitations, I would have limited myself possibly to a wheel chair, or assistive walking devices for life. 

     Don’t allow a social disability expectation and addictions to this expectation prevent you from living a quality of life that could otherwise be.  All too often, we listen to others that don’t understand what’s in our best interest.  They have their interests of not wanting to see us suffer.  You really can’t blame your loved ones for that, but in many cases this doesn’t help the one that is experiencing the pain challenges.  It is good for you to understand caring about a loved one’s comfort is human nature and you should expect this to occur.  But also, in this light you need to understand, you don’t have to proceed to limit yourself from participating in life to the fullest, especially if you are capable!

     What I needed was a good kick in the ass to get myself out of a rut.  We’ll nobody could do this for me; I kicked my own butt mentally by telling myself I was capable.  And you know what, I was!  Besides, I was getting pretty tired of feeling sorry for myself and others feeling bad for me.  This was enough for me… I had enough pity.  Regardless of my life long limitation outcome, I was determined to work towards becoming the best I could be physically and mentally and interactive with life.

     Once I decided to accept my physical limitations everything got better.  The depression left, I learned to work around pain thresh holds that would keep most down and got my life back.

     You can do it to if you want it bad enough.  Never give up on yourself, or your family!

 Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2011 Copyright, All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.