Use Opioids Effectively to Control Pain and Reduce Health Risk

15 03 2019

Live life to the fullest and pain free.

Last Updated: 3/15/2019, Marc Woodard

Scientific studies prove, pain relief decreases while pain sensitivity increases from excess use of opioids.

In other words, if you’re a chronic pain sufferer and have used opioids for long periods of time, greater sensitivity to pain will occur. Especially when patients ignore the doctors prescription program.

So you ask yourself, how could taking more pain killers cause greater sensitivity to pain?  “I thought pain killers were supposed to lessen the pain.” This is true if you are following the  doctor’s pain management program. When pain pills are over prescribed, or used in abundance – the body builds up tolerance to them and you feel more pain. The medical term for this relationship is referred to as Opioid-Induced Hyperalgesia (OIH). Taking too many pain pills is the cause of more physical and mental pain addiction and increased health risk and accidental death.

Simply stated, OIH is “pain intolerance,” meaning: to become more sensitive to any pain stimulus. How does tolerance to pain killers cause more sensitivity to pain? The best way to describe this is your body produces a morphine like substance (via spinal cord secretions) known as endorphins to alleviate pain when you stub a toe, or slam your finger in a car door for instance.

This substance lessons the painful stimuli experience. If a person takes “too much for too long” morphine like drugs, then the spinal cord no longer secrets the body’s natural pain relief agent.

So when your body hurts really bad (chronic) you no longer have that supplemental “natural” pain killing agent in your body. Instead, you solely rely on your prescriptions.  The pharmaceutical prescription at this point is not enough to provide adequate pain relief. Taking “too many” pain killers results in an overall increase in pain sensitivity because the pain patient now blocks the body’s ability to dose/mask pain naturally for lack of the body’s natural morphine like defense.

In recent years the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) introduced REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies) guidelines to help manage the known risks for pain medication use. This is a program intended to improve upon patient safety, education and compliance to mitigate risk of abuse, addiction and serious side effects through smart physician-to-patient consults.

Once these guidelines became known to the pain patience, there was fear (amongst some) REMS would result in limiting their access to needed prescriptions. This is simply “not” the goal of the FDA REMS guideline program.

Why would pain patients fear such a thing? If your addicted to pain killers and you have a risk evaluation (REMS) by a pain managing specialist, it may be determined the best course of pain alleviation may be to switch pain medications, or reduce the dose, etc. For example, a patient prescribed transdermal fentanyl medication may be reduced dosage by 25%. [Note: Fentanyl is only prescribed for the most serious chronic pain cases and is reported as one of the most lethal drugs an addict could put in their body unmonitored. Death has occurred simply through skin absorption and inhalation]. Fentanyl is a potent synthetic (man-made) narcotic]. A 100g dose of fentanyl is approximately equal to 10 mg of morphine. Fentanyl stimulates receptors on nerves in the brain to increase the threshold to pain.

So when a pain patient has been using Fentanyl to alleviate pain, a reduction of dose by 25% will appear odd to a patient, but necessary to get pain under control. It takes a bit of education and understanding on how to use high dose pain killers safely and effectively.

After REMS application during a 4 week period – with reduced dose – patients report overall improved coping ability with pain sensitivity.

Click on the book image and learn how to control pain naturally.

If pain is not managed effectively, secondary health risks can and do occur.  The list below targets the health risks. If you are a patient on pain medication and experience any of the symptom and signs listed below, contact your primary care physician immediately to get help.

1. Opioid-Induced Hyperalgesia – Ineffective pain relief.

2.  Respiratory Depression – Slow rate of breathing, loss of urge to breathe.

3.  Central Nervous System complications – Dizziness, euphoria, drowsiness, etc.

4. Cardiovascular – Decreased blood pressure, edema (swelling), slow heart rate.

5.  Musculoskeletal System – Osteoporosis, muscle rigidity and contractions.

6.  Skin System – Itching, “this may not indicate allergic reaction.”

7.  Immune System – Data suggests long-term use, indicates immune suppression.

8.  Pregnancy & Breastfeed-Neonatal depression, avoid opioid use during feeding.

9.  Ocular System – Constriction of pupil.

10.  Gastrointestinal System – Constipation, nausea, vomiting, bowel problems, etc.

11.  Genitourinary System – Urinary retention.

12.  Endocrine System – Hormonal and sexual dysfunction.

13.  Withdrawal Syndrome – Runny nose, shivering, diarrhea, gooseflesh, etc.

14.  Constipation – Increase fiber intake, and/or use stool softeners will help.

The FDA REMS guidelines are now required within all pain patient-physician consults; providing the patient an excellent opportunity to learn about the benefits and risks of using pain killers. This program will no doubt reduce prescription addiction and secondary ill-health risk factors that also decrease accidental deaths and lawsuits.

Enjoy life with family pain free.

If you now have a problem with addiction and/or your pain is getting worse, or out of control – ask for help and get a referral to see a pain management specialist [Physiatrist].

Through smart pain management consults, education and timely/applicable self-referrals your pain alleviation program will work safely for you. Taking a self interest in your chronic pain and addiction circumstance is important if you want to continue living life to the fullest with loved ones.

References,

  1. Pain Pathways, http://www.painpathways.org
  2. Federal Drug Administration, http://www.FDA.gov
  3. American Chronic Pain Association Consumer Guide, http://www.theacpa.org

Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET.  2019 Copyright, All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter. 

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MirrorAthlete Reveals Fitness Consulting Trade Secrets

20 03 2018

Updated: 20 March 2018

Marc beginning a 10mile walk in Central CA.

A former client Sid asked specific questions regarding information I posted on MirrorAthlete’s first web site back in 2007. His queries provided an opportunity to share more of the company’s history with readers and reflect on how we got into publishing our first book.

[Sid’s Questions] … I can’t seem to locate your MirrorAthlete pain chronicles I read back in the early years.

“I remember it as a unique informational pain management and personalized chronicles website. Have your memoirs been moved?  ‘Where can I find them?”

“And do you still take on clients for fit healthy lifestyle consultation and customized fitness and assessment programming?  ‘I’m also interested to learn more on how you improved your fitness levels after injuries and chronic pain story.” 

A friend of mine coincidentally lives in your neck of the woods. She also recalled like I did, “you produced and sold nutritional supplements under the name of Dynamic Dimensions in Tigard and surrounding cities, while offering 1:1 services in fitness assessments in the 90’s for a consulting fee.”

I’m looking to become more fit and increase muscle mass and lose weight naturally.  But now feel I’m losing ground because of lower body joint pain.  Although I’m working with my doctor and yet another fitness trainer, ‘they don’t have that unique fitness trainer – pain management perspective I understand you’ve mastered.  I see you’re on LinkedIn, FaceBook, and Twitter and now a City councilor in your home town since 2011. ‘You’ve not slowed down a bit – especially after what I remember of your 5-year mobility challenge.” 

I do walk miles daily. Best aerobic activity one could perform daily

Marc walks on ave 50-60 miles walking per week.

I also hear you walk on average 7-10 miles daily on a regular basis and no longer take on clients.  ‘would you consider taking on a former client?”

Sincerely,

Sid.

From the Desk of Marc Woodard,

Sid, thank you for considering to put your trust in me once again. You and your friends memory of what I was doing years ago is impressive.

Unfortunately I no longer take on clients.  I found it more productive to put that knowledge and energy into a soon to be released ‘Very Unique’ fit healthy lifestyle book – A fitness and health book like no other… sorry I can’t be a personal coach for you at this time in your life. However once published, the book will be like me being right there with you. Once you begin reading it – some parts of the consulting logic will be very familiar to you – and a comfort for others looking for similar information.

I’ve included the personalized fitness and healthy lifestyle programming processes and practices I used during past client consultations; including industry secrets, client cases and stories; and my personal physical adversity challenge not published anywhere else.

‘Once I became my own client’ – I also became ‘forever MirrorAthlete’ with a renewed life purpose. ‘My job now is to manage personal health and maintain sustainable mobility so I can be there for my family and community for years to come.

To answer your question directly, the pain chronicle link at the old web site contained memoirs throughout 2007-08; I ran that journal for just over a year as I was rehabbing my way back to good health and walk-ability after disease and injury took it away for awhile.

And through that rehab process, I also contemplated sharing that knowledge and much more through a unique fit healthy lifestyle book… useful for just about anyone at any age.

I jotted down those ideals initially in a notepad during a 1999 Mexican Rivera cruise – Four years before injury and disease came knocking at my door.  Little did I know ‘those notes’ would be useful 10 years later to begin writing an impossible book concept.  It was larger than any project I’ve ever undertaken, even in graduate school… and harder to put into words than ever imaged.  I began chipping away at it in 2011.  But really got serious about the ideal of publishing a book in 2012-14.

Now 2018 – “God willing, it will be published this year.”

In early 2008 I decided to pull the MirrorAthlete Pain Chronicles from the original site and placed some of that context into the original manuscript.  But the original manuscript outlined in 1999 read more like a bunch of short stories. At that time I was not well versed in story telling and integration of factual information with personal stories. The project at first was a writers nightmare… “one I dreaded chipping away at most days.”

“I wrote many manuscript versions after the first one, but still lacked an interesting story line that would capture the heart, mind and spirit of anyone looking to self-improve themselves physically, mentally and spiritually – And ‘would want to refer back to the chapters content time and time again as lifestyle changes occurred.”

Unfortunately for me I was more or less a skilled technical writer… not a creative story teller. Two very different and distinct writing styles and skill sets. Learning how to integrate the two, including narration is not something I learned in any school.

So there you have it. It took years of failed manuscripts and grammatically incorrect article writings to learn how to develop an interesting story telling and factual writing style that ‘I NOW know from editorial and publishing experts – the manuscript is near ready for book publication. There are just a few more minor tweaks: editorial, book cover design and reference and citation details to refine.

I look back at those Chronicle posts and early article publications from 2007-2012; my writing style and grammar wasn’t good.  I’m still slowly but surely updating the article archives within our current website. I’ve rarely as of late written any new MirrorAthlete articles.  The latest articles I’ve written is strictly City related and published within our community newspaper once per month. After it is published and released through Tigard Life Community Paper, a week later I publish it at MirrorAthlete for the archives.

My focus is to update older MirrorAthlete articles, write for the community paper [city recreation, fitness and health related topics]; and complete the 10-year book project.

Initially I didn’t plan to start a fitness and health information and articles publication web site based business…  And still wasn’t sure I wanted to write a book since I didn’t consider myself a good writer. Even today it’s still a challenge to write well… the passion that drives me – “I want to reach out to help others that need help losing weight, want to get more fit healthy ‘NATURALLY;’ and are going through a physical or mental adversity challenge and need help with those things.” Including to provide solutions to reverse childhood obesity within K-12 schools. The book is something I know peopled need and want now; and will benefit future generations – It’s really about customized fitness and healthy lifestyle programming for all walks of life.

Marketplaces are globally connected.

Living Life to the Fullest in Portland OR

In 2012 I nearly quit writing after my first manuscript submission to a publishing company.

The publisher liked the content and unique fit healthy lifestyle concept; but recommended I make ~550 changes. At that time the book was a 25 chapter manuscript.

Well hell, “I might as well have just thrown it in the garbage.” The whole thing was marked up in red – “What an Ego-Defeating blow!”

I almost quit writing at that point because the task of learning to write well – “quite frankly was ‘intimidating and overwhelming.” It literally SUCKED if I can say that… guess I just did – “Senior editor has its perks.”

Like many new authors doubting their ability to write well, I was no exception. Eventually I put my pride aside. I had to make a decision, “Quit or press on, ‘thankfully I pressed on.”

Jefferson Library within Congressional Library Washington DC

Jefferson Library within Congressional Library Washington DC

“Oh well 18 years later is better than never.”

… Once I incorporated the principled fit healthy lifestyle philosophy into the umpteenth revised manuscript… “I don’t know – I lost count…”  Everything began to fall in place. I knew I had something special and different than anything else out there in the marketplace.

A book so unique and timely for those desperate to change their lives and live it agelessly to the fullest – even for THE mobility challenged; ANY literary agent would want a stake in marketing it and now I know it.

“This is when the real work began – polishing and revising and modifying it to perfection before publication.”

I chose a specific publishing company to help me through minor book editing, styling and grammatical polishing process. I was finally ready to submit a new and improved manuscript unlike the one marked up in red. This manuscript was markedly and significantly improved from it’s 25 Chapter to a lean 18 Chapter version; with a whole lot more bang for the consumer buck.

The new and improved manuscript fully incorporates MirrorAthlete 18 principled fit healthy lifestyle philosophy based on unique lifetime experiences, client cases, industry knowledge, fitness consulting trade secrets revealed and lifetime education and client case lessons learned, etc..  Now I’m providing this information so it can be applied by anyone. Even those going through a tough physical or mental adversity or mobility challenge that need help in achieving a state of well-being.

MirrorAthlete® Principled Fitness and Healthy Lifestyle Philosophy is based on 18 principled fit healthy lifestyle beliefs [Some of these Principles have been Revised within the 2018 Editorial Process and manuscript soon to be published].

1   “Optimize fitness results by defining and relating to applied fitness practices”

2   “Ill-health prevention through health literacy education can save a nation in pain”

3   “Working muscle metabolism prefers specific fuel mixtures to optimize fitness results”

4   “Due diligence relative to unnatural consumer product use reduces health risk”

5   “Balanced food nutrients support optimum health and fitness levels”

6   “Consumer needs and wants determine marketplace supply and demand”

7   “Removing a bad habit may require a substitute practice to achieve the goal”

8   “Man adds hyper-palatable ingredients to foods that addict and harm health”

9   “Relating to lab results can influence lifestyle change and consumer choice”

10 “Successful Weight Loss does not Require Abstinence from the Foods you Love to eat”

11  “Select Cooking Fats that Benefit Weight Loss, Health and Fitness Goals”

12  “Childhood experiences influence adult habits and behavior”

13  “Commit to healthy habit change & achieve Weight loss goals”

14  “Chemically and genetically engineered foods increase health risk”

15  “Physical activity releases natural body chemicals that support fitness and health goals”

16  “Oxygenate the body, burn more fat and reduce illness and disease risk”

17  “Nature provides what we need to live happy, healthy and productive long lives”

18  “Relative exercise programming optimizes fitness & healthy lifestyle goals”

In ending each chapter I’ve included my Personalized Fitness Challenge Story relative to each chapters content, including client stories and the programming processes and practices I used for years. Which are backed by hundreds of professional referred citations throughout the book.

And to make it even more appealing for visual readers [like me] – there are ~50 unpublished and unique satirical cartoons, including useful tables and forms similar to what I used during my 1:1 client consults. Our Cartoonist John Fiedler does not disappoint. Please feel free to learn more about John and his lifetime work by clicking on Ole Fuzz Cartoons.

Sid, “you won’t have a long wait to hear the rest of the story… and get the consulting information you need and want now!”

Marc at the capital.

Marc as a City Delegate at the capital.

My wife often asks when the book will be released.

I simply reply, “It’ll be ready when it’s ready and not before.”

I’ve also had other writer’s say, “You know Marc it will never be good enough in your eyes.  ‘Just submit it, let the publishers tweak it through the editorial process and get it published… and consider a ghost writer if you need to.

But if I let anyone write any part of it… well it wouldn’t be written by MirrorAthlete.

I’ll admit I’ve become a much better writer and editor now than those early years.  I know the book quality and competitive writing style and consumer value is there. At least the last editorial review I received from the current publisher was more than positive… They inspired me to get it published this year.

It seems I’ve read each chapter a hundred times.  And to tell you the truth the content is captivating to a point where I look forward to a reading it again and again… as I know others will. Often as I read, I still don’t believe I’m the creative and technical writer and author – It’s almost as if someone else wrote it “I have to pinch myself… ‘Yep it’s me.”

I guarantee – The reader will often refer back to it as I have; a lifetime reference to receive timeless professional fit healthy lifestyle advise, guidance and behavioral-habit directional change when its needed to sustain a state of well-being.

And for those struggling with physical, mental and spiritual adversity… I believe the “Personal fitness Challenge Stories” at the end of each chapter will resonate on a personal level; and of great comfort; especially those struggling with mobility challenges, disease, injury, the aging process, body weight, self-image, anxiety and depression, etc.

Now thousands of consumers like you [Sid] will have my 1:1 consulting services without paying a consulting fee and continue to live life to the fullest regardless of fitness or health condition, or age.

By having access to my ‘timeless’ best-in-class principled fit healthy lifestyle insider consumer and fit healthy lifestyle programming truths – “especially the ones the mega-industries hope you never discover, ‘you will experience greater well-being and body image satisfaction never thought possible without paying hundreds of dollars to find these hard-to-find insider consulting truths.”

Sid,

Thanks so much for the memories and opportunity to share MirrorAthlete history and update our readers in search of this hard to find fit healthy lifestyle consumer information – ALL available in our first book publication soon to be released.

I assure you… “I know when the book is published, everything you and others looking for NATURAL diet, weight loss, health, well-being, physical performance, increased fitness and activity levels, and anti-aging information, etc., you’ll not be disappointed.”

“Good health to you and your family!” And thank you for thinking and believing in me throughout the years.

Sincerely,

Marc.

Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2018 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., http://www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free monthly newsletter.





Walking is a Superior Fat Burning Activity

17 07 2017

What many people don’t know is during low-intensity aerobic exercise like walking the muscles prefer to burn fat fuel.

That’s right the metabolic energy needed to walk prefers stored body fat to move the large muscles in the legs and buttocks.

But those same muscles used during high-intensity aerobics exercise like running, sprinting or high intensity aerobic dance or boot camp training prefer mostly blood glucose [sugar] and stored liver and muscle glycogen fuel from carbohydrate conversion.

When intense exercise is performed the priority of fuel need by the metabolism is blood sugar and stored carbohydrate energy… and less body fat fuel. Thereafter the body needs to replenish the quick energy storage tank. That’s one reason why high intensity exercise cause carbohydrate food cravings… thereafter many become famished, overeat and gain weight. The point here is – “you don’t have to train hard to lose body fat weight and experience extreme carbohydrate food cravings that add undesired body weight.”

City trail pathways are a great for daily walking activity.

It will take approximately 1-2 weeks to become addicted to a daily walk habit to lose more body fat and body weight. However everyone differs slightly in metabolism, exercise and activity interest, intensity, frequency and duration where fitness results and weight loss do vary. But in the end, daily low-impact aerobics exercise will help moderate food cravings and increase will power to continue the exercise and natural weight loss course

Join a walking group and stay motivated to repeat the daily activity..

To improve the odds of sticking to a daily  exercise habit, 10 lifestyle changes will help sustain daily exercise activity and weight loss goals 1) Stop substance abuse and unhealthy over indulgences.  2) Get 6-8 hours of sleep. 3) Remove yourself from unhealthy and stressful environments. 4) Make the time for “daily” low impact exercise activity. 5) Eat more fresh whole foods like fruits and vegetables and less processed and high sugar foods. 6) Invest in a good pair of walking shoes with insole inserts if needed. 7) Don’t quit after 1 or 2 days of walking activity, be consistent and exercise on a daily basis. 8) Give up artificial sweeteners, they cause weight gain and acute and chronic disease. 9) Drink more water daily – up to 8 glasses will help with weight loss and reduce weight bearing joint pain. 10)  Find a walk group, or walking partner.  This will provide more will power to stay the course.

When beginning a daily walk program it doesn’t’ require much will power to get started. But it does require commitment. The excuse I often hear people use to avoid any form of exercise, “I don’t have the time.” But if you can make time you’ll lose weight and feel better almost immediately. If you haven’t exercised for awhile it may feel uncomfortable and you may experience a little soreness. But if you can walk or bike at least 15-30 minutes or more each day you’ll notice results and feel better in no time.  Remember, “Rome was not built in a day.”  Slow down and let your body adjust to the weight bearing exercise activity.  Then increase duration and intensity over a period of days.

Low Impact Aerobic Dance is a great fat burning activity.

I’ve had plenty of overweight clients walk or ride a stationary bike for a year before they achieved successful weight loss. Thereafter participated in a long distance walk, hike, jog or ran or biked a marathon. They never imagined being capable of doing anything like it. They simply believed it possible because they could relate to the low-impact aerobics and fat burning engine truths.  Truths that got them pointed in the right direction to achieve greater fitness goals.

Now go get addicted to the natural feel good chemicals and fat burning metabolism produced by your own body through low aerobic exercise.  Dance, walk, jog or ride a bike but don’t overdue it.  Then reap the ideal body weight, healthy longevity and increased mobility and energy benefits you need, want and deserve!

Good Health to You and Your Family.

Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 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.

 





Challenging Social Disability Expectation

17 05 2015
Managing Back Pain As Natural as Possible is the Only Way for Me

Author: Marc Woodard on a 15 mile rural walk within/outside of hometown city limits

Updated: 17 May 2015

I know many out there are hurting with disabling mental, spiritual and physical pain thinking there is nothing more that can be done to improve the situation.

I do understand the feelings associated with loss of finances, immobility, productivity, loneliness, worth and dignity.  I’ve personally experienced these things during my own physical adversary and mobility challenge from 2003 to 2008 after injury.  And one thing I know for certain, physical loss almost always leads to mental depression.  And if not prepared with a plan to beat it, the mind and body begin to experience more illness and pain.

However, if you are able to mobilize your body for longer periods of time throughout the day, especially outdoors when possible, nature has a way of inspiring, providing solutions and purpose, while allowing the mind and body to heal. The encompassing being when connected to God’s universe have healing energy. Read: What is Pranic Healing and does it Work

Regardless of whether you’re recovering from injury, addiction, illness or disease and feel broke, you can be made whole again through self-healing effort. Even when temporarily or permanently confined to a wheelchair, dependent on crutches or cane(s); or have loss of limb(s). You’re capable of finding new and exciting purpose while enjoying life to the fullest.

Walking desolate dried up Northern California lakes and river beds for exercise

When the mind and body are stimulated, energized and challenged by changing environmental surroundings and activity; the brains cerebrum thinks, perceives and processes everything within and around it. Through transport of mind and body the processing of sight, sound, smell, sense and touch stimulation of environmental and spiritual elements has therapeutic and healing benefits.

However, if the mind actually believes the body cannot receive such a benefit through mobility activities then a disabled social expectation may likely result.

All too often we tend to lock ourselves away when we become mentally and physically ill or hurt. “Then ponder on all the whys.” Why did this happen to me, why won’t the pain stop, why can’t I continue the same lifestyle habits, why should I continue on to self-improve or help others, why bother?

When instead the focus should be on “the” who, what, where and how. Who are my real friends and family, what environment do I need to surround myself in to heal and get healthy, where do I find the best treatment and support group, how do I need to reinvent myself, contribute to community and find new purpose while living life to the fullest?

What is a social disability expectation?  I coined this term back in 2004 when I understood my injury was permanent causing lifelong pain that must be managed daily.

I believed for a short period of time my new purpose in life was to live as a disability casualty, or learn to live the way I believed society and medical doctors viewed and classified me. Especially as I struggled to walk correctly with mobility aids for many years while battling pain depression. It became apparent post op recovery; psychologist, orthopedic specialists and physiatrists’ recommendations were to live life as comfortable as possible and not stress over the “whys” but to move forward the best I could, as comfortable as possible. But I was discouraged from challenging my physical body more due to possible re-injury and neurological pain complications radiating throughout my body.

Marc after Second Hip Surgery

Nothing easy about a post op and recovery scenario

At that time I didn’t understand how to reinvent myself within a less mobile and pain ridden circumstance. This was my physical adversity challenge for many years and is chronicled throughout the “soon to be released” MirrorAthlete book chapters. It is also one of the integrated client stories and lessons learned. To learn more about my personal adversity challenge visit MirrorAthlete home site. Then click on Book Project link and read the narratives. Release of our first MirrorAthlete book publication will occur 1st quarter of 2016.

Make no mistake, it makes no difference if depression begins within your mind’s eye, caused by bodily pain, substantiated medical diagnosis, public perception, etc. Severe and chronic depression is a serious medical condition and without proper treatment and support may spell disaster for a patient on the mend. Read, L-Tryptophan, The Obesity, Depression & ADD Silver Bullet Solution?

In either case, the psychosomatic [brain and body] are connected through Neuro biochemical transmitter conduits [hormones, and feel good chemical pathways]. The point being, mental and physical illness, disorders and disease can all depress, stress and cause neurological pain through the same neuro transmitter conduits which can further sicken and disable the encompassing being.

I know many of you have woken up on certain days and felt bad, or under the weather and didn’t go to work. Imagine feeling that way every day. How would that affect your daily activities, mood, feelings and outlook on life? And what would you be willing to do to make yourself numb to those feeling? Begin a bad drug or drinking habit? Or fight your way back from the obis through self-healing activities.

When the mind is sickened and depressed then the body and spirit often follow suit. And when this goes on for too long mental fatigue transmits less of the healing feel good chemical energy (serotonin, dopamine and adrenalin, etc.) and begins to put more stress on bodily functions and cellular health. Then as internal and external environmental stressors continue, increased oxidative stress damage to cells occur. Then increase risk of illness and disease and more pain depression follow.

IMG_0277

So many ways to mobilize the body and experience life to the fullest.

I know from personal, medical consultation, client and educational experiences there is a universal energy capable of healing all that ails us [1/3 encompassing being is “spirit”]. Reversing ill-health can be accomplished through lifestyle change that connects our physical being to nature’s spiritual surroundings and energy. My healthy spiritual connection is made through daily walking activity on suburban and rural trail systems as a city dweller. Read: Learn to Embrace the Pain, Exercise and get fit.

To make sense of everything that proceeded to this point, let’s experience what it may be like to live the social disability expectation through another mind’s eye.

You now live a changed lifestyle due to injury or disease or mental disorder. You may/may not have limited mobility, take drugs of some form and receive disability checks monthly. People in general understand disability payments is a needed resource for those clinically diagnosed as disabled of the mind, or body, or both. What becomes bad about those payments are when recipients stop living life to the fullest when in fact capable of doing more.

For example, some believe their not capable of doing anything after disability rating and award of support. Other than living a sedentary lifestyle and stuck inside their home while partially or fully mobile. And others fear if they try to increase activity effort or become more productive, they may lose their disability finances. In either case this is wrong thinking.

Which life road will you choose? A path of adventure and purpose, or isolation.

One does not have to live a 100% disabled and sedentary lifestyle if on 100% disability benefits. There’s room to increase daily mobility activity and improve productivity, while managing pain without fear of losing financial support. Keep this in mind, once substantiated disabled by a medical doctor and awarded support, this will not stop unless you’re gaming the system [an entirely different scenario and discussion].

If you’re now suffering from a depressed state of mind, body and spirit, realize no matter the physical adversity challenge… you have greater purpose in life than meeting a 100% social disability expectation. For instance, does physical disability mean your brain or body is not capable to some capacity of increased productive function?

Does this not mean one can’t help others who now find themselves in the same situation and need a voice, guidance and advisement on how to move forward, heal and fine purpose in life?

Does this mean there’s no greater good one could aspire because of partial, or full immobility, disease, mental disorder and pain challenges?

Does this mean a broken body or mind can’t reason and mend itself out of depression and limited mobility with proper treatment and support resources?

To tell you the truth I could go on and on with reasons why someone should not meet a social disability expectation based on any other opinion than a medical doctor(s) and the knowledge gained once you’ve connected and participated within a relative self-healing treatment program. MirrorAthlete soon to be released book provides all these connections you need to know, get well and live life to the fullest.

The point is, everyone has purpose on planet earth.   Your decision to make… will you accept your disability as a lifelong sentence without hope of better circumstances? Or will you fight for happiness, purpose and quality of life experiences for the sake of self, family and community.

Family Needs You…

To fight and die for a cause is a noble endeavor. To lie down without a fight serves no purpose, especially when capable of doing more. In my mind, only total incapacitation [hospice care] should relieve one of further service and purpose to self, family and community. For that life purpose has been served and will be judged and rewarded not of this earth.

I know many broken bodies have given up on themselves because of injury(s) or chronic medical condition(s) and dependent on disability services making life more comfortable and secure. But in knowing you’re provided for there’s opportunity to help others when capable. Stay mindful, the spirit is strong and when connected to universal energy can overcome many types of physical and mental adversity challenges.

Even if your diagnosis and health condition is classified as stationary permanent (means condition is stable, may/may not improve and “may” get worse with age) is certainly not a reason to throw in the towel. To age without challenging disability on a daily basis is to limit mobility and life purpose. And for many increase health risk. This is where depression begins its insidious course on the organic brain and body.

If lack of mobility causes body weight to climb, then cardio circulatory and disease often follow and may further complicate primary disability circumstances. And when you see no way out of this progressive negative you experience more mental and physical depression and pain than need be.

Don’t let disability and society dictate how to live your life. Don’t accept or fulfill a social disability expectation that’s less purposeful than needed to accomplish life goals and especially when capable.

Be a MirrorAthlete® Warrior and take back as much of your life as possible.

See the world and enjoy yourself in social gathering space and experience positive life interactions.

Live life to the fullest, with purpose and in a way that makes you feel good about your time here in these mortal bodies!  Then you may experience life to the fullest with no regrets. And find peace within your mind’s eye, heart and soul.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2015 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing, http://www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





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.





Relative Fitness Programming Sustains Active Lifestyles

23 02 2014
Get your aerobics in over the weekend on your bikes in new and exciting places.  Exploration on foot or bike is one of our families favorite activities.

Get your aerobics in over the weekend on your bikes in new and exciting places. Exploration on foot or bike is one of our families favorite activities.

I’m often asked, what’s the best way to get in shape and lose weight?  The first thing that comes to mind, you must find an exercise activity program that’s “relative for you.”  Through client consults it is not surprising to learn if you’re not passionate about “your” exercise activity, you’ll not stick with it, thereby compromising your health and overall lifestyle. 

    Fitness levels can be increased simply by identifying a duration activity that motivates you to move your body with purpose.  Most aerobic and anaerobic exercise routines center on a 3 to 5 day program, 30-60 minutes in duration.  Typical fitness goal requests from clients look to achieve weight loss, muscular endurance, tone, increased strength and increased range of motion. 

    Anaerobic activity is defined, where strength, power and high muscular intensity effort is applied during exercise.  Whereas aerobic activity is exercise of low-medium and high cardio intensities that rarely exceed 85% of our max heart rate for a majority of us.  Target Heart Rate (THR) is often used to monitor heart beat rate at the carotid (neck) or radial (wrist) artery.  Heart rate tells us when to increase or decrease exercise intensity to stay within the fat burning zone to achieve the best results. 

    Science shows us that aerobic exercise intensity at ~60-70% THR zone is the fat burning “sweet spot range” to burn fat and reduce body weight.  Look up “THR zone” within any search engine to calculate your THR relative to age and current fitness levels to burn more body fat. 

    How does one determine and build a relative fitness program?  Many individuals have learned through time to build a program that works for them.  However, many others need the services of a professional fitness trainer.

    What do I consider a professional fitness trainer?  An undergraduate [physical and health sciences] that is certified, experienced in fitness profiling and obtaining client profile data points including fitness assessments meeting specific protocol criteria and standards.  Then analyzing the data to build a customized fitness program relative to the client’s fitness and health needs. 

    The data points necessary to build a relative fitness program may include the following: medical history analysis, fitness objectives and activities goals analysis, nutritional analysis and fitness level assessments [strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, cardio endurance, postural analysis and body fat%], etc.  A customized fitness program designed around fitness objectives with subjective client criteria in mind has the best chance of optimizing fitness results.  And for many American’s the number one fitness goal is weight loss. 

    All too often relative fitness programming is disregarded where some jump on others band wagons in hopes of receiving the same results.  It is often thought if one follows another’s exercise routine, they’ll receive the same fitness benefits.  Sometimes this strategy works, but all too often it fails because it’s relative to another’s unique mind, body and spirit and environment(s) in which they live.   

    Whatever it is others are doing won’t necessarily work for you in the same way.  Why?  Maybe it’s not relative to your current state of mind or health, or conducive to the environments in which you live, work and play.  Also, what is your body type and state of health?  For example, what exercise activities would best optimize your current physical abilities relative to your current body shape, health and fitness levels? 

    I’ve seen people buy a year’s gym membership, purchase home equipment, work out with a buddy that pushes too hard, or buy non-certified professional 1:1 trainer serves, etc., then get too sore or hurt themselves.  Since this is a bad experience they drop out of the program because they weren’t profiled and programmed relative to their lifestyle, fitness and health needs. 

    Exercise intensity is important for increased fitness levels and performance.  But one must be eased into intensities if absent from exercise beyond a typical walk pace or daily routine for some time.  Once you become conditioned to increase movement and exercise activity daily there is an effort of intensity “sweet spot” relative to your fitness goals.  This effort of intensity is not too low and not too high, somewhere in the middle and just right for a majority of us to achieve our fitness goals. 

    Those involved in intermural or professional sports activities who condition themselves at higher intensity levels must be programmed at higher levels of exercise intensity to keep a competitive advantage.  If you are not trained or conditioned to exercise yourself above 70-85% THR, you’ll likely have a bad physical experience and you’re New Year’s resolution will go right out the window.  Professional athletes often train above 85% THR intensities conditioning themselves for a muscular endurance and/or strength event. 

    For the novice, it is recommended a 1:1 session and orientation to exercise programming.  I highly recommend purchasing professional and certified fitness trainer services that includes fitness profiling and assessments to develop a customized fitness program that’s relative for you.  Especially if you’ve failed previously in the gym environment, or have been out of the exercise circuit for a long period of time, or have not been able to stick with any other form of exercise no matter how hard you try.  The cost of these professional services is usually reasonable for the time spent in consultation, fitness programming and 1:1 exercise training. 

    A good trainer will balance a variety of aerobic and anaerobic exercise activities inside/outside of the gym environment to keep boredom at bay with environmental lifestyle in mind.   For example two or three days a week your focus could be strength training exercises and/or Circuit weight training where you use 8-12 stationary pieces of equipment providing aerobic and anaerobic benefits completed within 20-30minutes. 

     On the same days or alternate days you may also make a commitment to participate in a low-to-high impact aerobics activity dependent on activity interests.  Such as, instructor lead classes, or home exercises:  Spinning (stationary bike), Zumba [dance moves of salsa, reggaeton, mambo, flamenco, rumba and hip-hop], or boot camp exercise classes. 

    Or instead of organized fitness instruction classes, you may be more comfortable, or practical dependent on activity goals analysis to engage in self-pace exercise activity in the home or outdoor walking, jogging, biking, rowing, swimming, ballroom dance, or competitive intermural sports (indoor racquetball, basketball, squash, etc.).  

    There is also stationary aerobic exercise equipment that is found in most gyms, or can be purchased for home use:  stair-stepping, treadmill, or recombinant bike-steppers, cross trainer elliptical, Nortrac Ellipticals. 

    What is elliptical?  These are aerobic stationary exercise machines that simulate stair climbing, rowing, walking and running that also increase range of motion without causing extreme stress on weight bearing joints. Thereby reducing the likelihood of injuries and optimizing the fat burning benefits while toning core muscle groups. 

    People recovering from injury often rehabilitate themselves at a low intensity pace on these types of machines.  But don’t underestimate their usefulness.  Resistance can be set to provide an intense workout to lose more body fat while toning muscles and optimizing cardiovascular and muscular endurance performance. 

    For intermediate and advanced exercise enthusiasts if you’ve been working out for years and feel like you’re physical performance, or competitive advantage is stagnant you may need the services of a fitness trainer that specializes in competitive task specific/sports activity profiling.  A professional sports trainer can help design and develop a program that’s relative to achieving the desired competitive advantage and overall fitness sports goal.  These sports trainer specialists can design a relative task specific sports program to get you to the next competitive level. 

    Regardless of experience, fitness level or goals, once you become exercise and activities conditioned, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself.  Do increase intensities, duration and frequency of activities to modify your fitness program (mix it up) once your conditioned to do so.   

    Continuous improvement through variety using a relative plan that’s right for you is a sure fire method to ensure you achieve and sustain your fitness goal(s).  This will ensure your fitness results and performance don’t plateau and you stay excited about the next day’s work out.  If you want to sustain a healthy and active lifestyle for the long haul, professional fitness programming provides a relative road map to get you there and keep you on target.

Also Read, How to Exercise Safely and Increase Fitness Levels

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