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.





This Year’s Goal is Weight Loss

22 12 2010

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?

And really, what is a fitness goal anyway?  A fitness goal is a desired physical outcome that can be programmed by a planned strategy or objectives to to achieve it.

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

One must also recognize will power to change habits and behaviors is a driving factor toward meeting long-term fitness goals.  Will power is enforced to sustain the course when  positive results are realized.

So what will be your fit-healthy strategy to succeed in your New Years fitness resolution?  First you must know what it is you’d like to change about your current fitness-health-relational situation, or lack thereof and make a plan that is 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 and to become more fit.

Most don’t know the body can remove short-term weight gain hiccups and get more fit rather quickly once you get back into a low-intensity activity exercise program.

It stands to good reason that weight loss is a number one New Year’s resolution after eating so many rich foods during the Holiday season.

Since I’m targeting weight loss as a fitness goal how will you set a realistic weight loss program that fits your unique lifestyle and one in which you will not lose enthusiasm?   Do you need support to achieve the goal and will you have the will power and motivation to do this on your own?

First of all, “you know you 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 or lack will power to change old habits you’ll surely be able  to make use of this insight .

I know many of you are conflicted with many daily issues that seem to sabotage your fit-healthy plan each year.  Let me name a few, I’m sure you can identify with them:  job stress, kids, significant other, too tired, not enough time in the day, addicted to bad habits that take away motivation-energy-will power (drinking, smoking, drugs, etc.); lack of sleep, lack of enthusiasm, extended family influence, general environment, etc.  I could go on and on, but I’ll stop here.  You get the picture.

If any of these issues resonate within your inability to succeed at your fitness goal you must find a solution to change it if you expect the desired results.  If you cannot make positive change in your life by modifying your lifestyle, you will forever struggle to enjoy life to the fullest.

And when you fail repeatedly, you tell yourself you can’t do it, what’s the point.  The point is repeated failure and feeling miserable for too long is a recipe for “depression,” and other ill-health problems throughout time.

Also, if you begin a restrictive and dangerous weight loss plan as a short cut to lose weight fast through diet pills and restrictive diets in general; you will have short-term weight loss results.  But when the body’s metabolism discovers it’s been deceived, it will pack on weight with a vengeance after the cheating practices stop.  After years of yo-yo dieting abuse, “these short-cut methods will stop producing results all together and you will, if this course does not change, get sick!””

When this happens, this newly formed weight gain and poor health reinforces the defeated mindset, “I can’t lose weight, therefore I’ll accept my obesity and other health problems.  The mind then accepts an unhealthy lifestyle which than has an impact on the physical body.   I’m here today to tell you, you don’t have to accept unhealthy short-cut practices to fix your weight gain problems temporarily!

There are 7 common practices that can support healthy weight loss.  These practices coupled with years of personal client experience tell me optimum weight loss success can be achieved with slight modifications of daily habit and behaviors.

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.   See your primary care physician and/or seek referral to a behavioral, nutritional, life coach or fitness consulting service to help target your weight gain nemesis and develop an action plan to resolve the problem that is sustainable.  If you are grossly obese and/or your health is at risk seek medical attention!

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 and now overweight a walking program will be your best course to burn body fat and lose body weight with minimum risk of weight bearing injury.

Exercise comes in many forms: resistive weight training, walking, hiking, biking, jogging… Basically anything that moves the body consistently for a period of time provides a fitness benefit.  Walking at a brisk pace (3-5 days/wk for 15-60mins) is the best metabolic fat burning, low-stress exercise that results in weight loss and cardiovascular benefits.  However, if you are just starting a walk program, “do not start out walking at a brisk pace,” you must work your way to higher intensity walking exercise over a longer period of time if you’ve been sedentary for some time.

3)   There are certain habits that will sabotage any weight loss fitness goal:  Bad eating habits, smoking, drinking and legal/illegal drugs.  Behavior therapy or in combination with cessation treatment and group therapy may be required in order for you to be successful in your weight loss program.

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 super food high-quality vitamin-mineral product.  Food is energy and certain foods have more or less nutrient concentrates that don’t always find their way into the daily diets for whatever reason.

5)    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.  Decreased:  Cholesterol levels, blood pressure, mood swings, depression, stress and illness/disease risk.

6)   It is also true, in the short-term a weight loss program that incorporates exercise may add weight.  You say what?  That’s right, depending on body type, exercise will typically increase muscle mass (muscle cells are more dense and heavier than fat cells).  When you exercise the muscle fiber increases 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 of weight on the scale.  The trick here is to understand this is normal and eventually, the more muscle developed means greater fat burning.  This equates to greater weight loss in the long run.  Eventually, the weight on the scale begins to drop after the body becomes better conditioned.  Read [Science Proves Exercise Alone May Promote Weight Gain, Woodard, Oct 2009]

7)   There are simple weight loss measurements to measure success.  If this is not done, “out-of-sight/mind” will not help to keep you  focused on your goal.  The simplest and quick form of weight loss measurement for me is a scale and the way my pants feel around my 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.

So what is the perfect weight loss program for you?  The answer lies within customizing daily habits and behaviors that are relative to your needs and wants and a plan that you can sustain.

When daily activities are changed to accommodate healthy habits then will power also  increases to stay the course because it craves these addictive healthy changes!”  This also occurs because of released addictive brain chemicals that occur during exercise activity.  Read article (New Year’s Resolution, Activate Addictive Healthy Chemicals, January 2009, Woodard).

In understanding these concepts and principles you will experience more productivity, feel happier, healthier, have more energy, feel more fit and experience more quality living experiences.  You will also boost your Mirror Athlete image on a mega-success scale that will definitely alter your ego and lead you towards other successes in life!

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





This Year’s Fitness Weight Loss Goals

22 12 2010
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?  It is easy to make testament and claim to improve your overall fitness levels.  But to say it and make an effective plan are two different things.  And really, what is a fitness goal anyway?  Let’s start by defining what a fitness goal is, or should be.  A fitness goal is achieved by modifying behavior resulting in an intended fitness outcome and is measurable.       Measureable fitness goals are:  Lose weight, reduce body fat, gain muscle or increase cardiovascular endurance, reduce blood pressure or cholesterol etc.  In order to accomplish any of these goals behavior must be modified to achieve the desired outcome.  One must also recognize will power to change behavior is a driving factor toward meeting long-term fitness goals.  Will power is enforced with a deep desire to make a change in life style habits and behaviors that may require months, or even years to achieve the desired outcome results.  (Also Read, “Will Power to Control Compensation Weight Gain Effect, Woodard, Nov 2009).

     So what will be your fit-healthy criterion to gain a wellness benefit for the New Year?  First you must know what it is you’d like to change about your current fitness health, or lack thereof.  You must make sure your goals are realistic and you have a specific plan to reach them.  Also you most likely are aware there will be days that you will lack enthusiasm as fitness goals will appear “through time” to get further and further away.  This fact alone is enough to knock the best intended New Year’s fitness resolution right off the table.

     What fitness goal will you be working on?  The most typical New Year’s Resolution for many is to lose weight, quit smoking-drinking and/or get into better shape, etc. 

     For me, weight management is the toughest.  This is because I can flex in weight by 5 lbs on any given day.  And I can hold these higher end weights for days.  But I understand my physiologies metabolism based on a bunch of factors.  And I will tell you, my weight is in decline during my weight loss program even though I see these hiccups in weight gain sporadically.  I also understand the body’s ability to hang onto liquids and fats and that these things are temporary when I slip off my weight management program.

     Most don’t know the body can remove these short-term weight gain hiccups rather quickly once you get back on target.  My point is, regardless of your fitness activity program, you must not give up if you have a few bad days.  Stay focused and keep chipping away at your fitness goal(s).  Your net result will be a new look, which will motivate you to stay the course for the long duration.

     It stands to good reason that weight loss is a number one New Year’s focus due to our abundance of fast foods and access to food in general causing a great percentage of our obesity problems and lack of activity.  Since I’m targeting weight loss as a fitness goal for you how will you set a realistic weight loss program that fits into your lifestyle and one in which you will not lose enthusiasm?  Will you set a short-term or long-term goal strategy that will take weeks, months or years to complete?  Do you need support to accomplish the fitness goals, or do you have the will power and motivation to do this on your own?

     First of all, “you know you better than anyone.”  Am I right?  Of course I am.  If you’ve been telling yourself for the last 3 years your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight and you’ve still had no success and/or lack will power to change habits; you may need some help.  I know many of you are conflicted with many daily issues that seem to sabotage your fit-healthy plan each year.  Let me name a few conflictions that interfere for many that I’m sure you can identify with:  Lack of funds to purchase fitness membership, clothing and/or specialized diet, or supplements; job stress, kids, significant other, too tired, not enough time in the day, addicted to bad habits that take away motivation, energy, will power (drinking, smoking, drugs, etc.); lack of sleep, lack of enthusiasm-motivation, extended family influence, cooking is a big part of your family culture, etc.  I could go on and on, but I’ll stop here.  You get the picture.

     Have I hit on one, or numerous conflicts you’ve experienced in attempting to lose weight, or to get more activity, or exercise as a fitness goal?  If any of these conflictions resonate within your decision making process you must find a solution to remove it in order to get the desired fitness result.  If you cannot make positive change to your lifestyle by modifying behavior, or removing the bad habits you will forever struggle to achieve your goal.  And when this happens, you tell yourself you can’t do it and what’s the point.  The point is for many “depression,” and letting your body go will lead to other ill-health problems through time.

     I’ve stated the obvious for many now leading into the meat of the topic.  The not so obvious weight loss secret our industries don’t reveal to the consumer.  Many quick result weight loss diet programs are designed to result in short-term weight loss results.”  Read how this occurs by clicking on the link, [Lose Weight, Through Behavioral Change Not Fad Dieting, Woodard, Oct 2007].

     Recall, you get as much out of something as you put into it.  Literally, if you exert little energy to achieve a fitness goal such as losing weight by swallowing pills, or consuming a specialized diet; a majority of consumers will often experience a short-term weight loss result.  But little effort to achieve short-term results doesn’t appear to last long.  And quick results also tend to provide the consumer with a short lived euphoria of weight loss success.  This is because most fad diets don’t change behaviors, especially if you have addictions.  Instead the weight loss results are based on tricking the body’s metabolism into reducing weight.  But when the body’s metabolism discovers it’s been deceived, it will pack on weight with a vengeance after the cheating practices stop.  After years of abuse, if repeating yo-yo diets, “they stop producing short-term results all together!”

     And when this happens, this newly formed weight gain reinforces a defeating aspect within the conscious mindset.  The mind then accepts an unhealthy fitness lifestyle “once again.”   Why?  It is easier for one to accept their lot in life.  By embracing behavior that is incapable of changing bad habits, insidious ill-health conditions “through time” build within the mind and body.  And I’m here today to tell you, you don’t have to accept an unhealthy lifestyle!

     So what are the answers to achieving healthy long-lasting fitness goals for a new you?  This is a very tough question to put into summarized print.  But I’ll do my best.

     I believe there are 8 principle givens in understanding “how to” apply long-lasting weight loss and increased fitness results that will stick; when applied, “with commitment!”  These scientifically proven givens coupled with personal experience tell me optimum weight loss success is based on a combination of these givens.

 1)     If you have “repeated” failures at losing weight or health is at risk, you must change the behavior, or habit that is causing your weight problems.  Get professional medical advice if you have not done so.  See your primary care physician and ask for a referral to behavioral and/or nutritional counseling and target the stimulus triggers that are the cause of your weight loss failure.  If you are obese and/or your health is at risk seek medical attention!

 2)   It is my belief you must exercise to have effective long-lasting weight loss and sustaining results.  However, for many that have not participated in a fitness exercise program, see your medical care provider to see what type of exercise/activity you should start with.  Exercise comes in many forms: Within a fitness center, walking, hiking, biking, jogging… Basically anything that moves the body consistently for a period of time provides a fitness benefit.  Walking at a brisk pace (3-5 days/wk for 15-60mins) is the best metabolic fat burning, low-stress exercise that results in weight loss fitness benefits.  However, if you are just starting a walking program, “do not start out walking at a brisk pace,” you must work your way to higher intensity walking exercise if you’ve been sedentary.  Read [Improve Fitness after Rehabilitation, Woodard, March 2010].

 3)   There are certain habits that will sabotage any weight loss fitness goal:  Bad eating habits, smoking, drinking and legal/illegal drugs.  Behavior therapy or in combination with a cessation prescription treatment may be required by a prescribing physician in order for you to be successful in your New Year’s Resolution weight loss program.  Read [Defeat Anxiety and Panic Attacks, Woodard, November 2010].

 4)   As we age our bodies require super food quality nutrients to boost metabolism, increase energy, mood; maintain weight and influences will power.  So balanced diet in the form of healthy nutrients become more important especially if one expects to optimize fitness results.  If you can’t get super food quality foods in your diet, I highly recommend you supplement your food source with a super food high-quality vitamin mineral product.  Food is energy and certain foods have more or less heavier nutrient concentrates that don’t always find their way into our daily diets for whatever reason.  Think of vitamin-mineral supplementation as metabolism optimization insurance to assist in body-mind fitness efficiency results.  Read [Lose Weight with Super Foods, Woodard, January 2009].

 5)    When you incorporate exercise into a weight loss program you reap other benefits, such as:  Increased metabolism, muscle mass, body toning, mood enhancement, bad-to-good habit changes, increased will power, strength, flexibility.  Decreased:  Cholesterol levels, blood pressure, mood swings, depression, stress and illness/disease risk.

 6)   It is also true, in the short-term a weight loss program that incorporates exercise may add weight.  You say what?  That’s right, depending on body type, exercise will typically build muscle (muscle cells are more dense and heavier than fat cells) dependent on the exercise.  When you exercise the muscle fiber increases in mass and weight.  Your body for some period will attempt to hang onto the fat, cause you to want to eat more; hence you gain weight (Excess Calorie Storage + Increased Muscle Mass).  So as you lose body fat “at first,” muscle mass increase will keep your weight consistent and may even show as an increase of weight on the scale.  The trick here is to understand this is normal and eventually, the more muscle developed means greater fat burning.  This equates to greater weight loss.  Eventually, the weight on the scale begins to drop after the body becomes better conditioned.  Read [Science Proves Exercise Alone May Promote Weight Gain, Woodard, Oct 2009]

 7)    There are conflictions within daily life that sabotage our New Year’s Resolution weight loss goals.  See conflictions above and find solutions to resolve these road blocks to your fitness goals.

 8)   There are simple weight loss measurements to measure success that must be performed daily and tallied on a daily calendar.  If this is not done, “out-of-sight/mind” will not help to keep you on track.  The simplest and quick form of weight loss measurement for me is a scale and the way my pants feel around my 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 and fitness aerobics in the gym increases; I equate this to lean muscle mass toning and body fat loss.  “For me,” this represents a successful long-term weight loss and sustaining weight management program.

   So what is the perfect weight loss program for you?  The answer lies within the 8 principles and customizing these concepts in a way that works for you.  And one you can stick with long enough to receive a fit-healthy result.  That’s right, once you understand these principles; you can customize a weight loss fitness program that will become a long-lasting habit that modifies behavior for life.  “And when behavior and activity is changed to accommodate healthy habits then will power is optimized because it craves the healthy addictive changes!”  This also occurs because of stimulating and releasing addictive brain chemicals that occur during exercise and activity.  Read article (New Year’s Resolution, Activate Addictive Healthy Chemicals, January 2009, Woodard).

   In understanding these principles you will experience more productivity, activity, feel happier, healthier, have more energy, feel more fit and experience better living quality experiences.  You will also boost your Mirror Athlete image on a mega-success scale; that will definitely alter your image ego to accomplish bigger goals in life!

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





"How Healthy Feet Equate to Healthy Mind-Body-Spirit"

24 05 2010

Let’s first look at the fitness and health connection problems from misaligned feet unattended for many years through my personal example and experience (also read preceding article, Uncorrected Posture Alignment was Important, What Happened?”   Mirror Athlete Blog Article, 25 April 2010).

        When I went into the military; during my physical examination the examining physician said, “You have another 5miles left on those feet,” he laughed a little with me [I had no idea what he meant-only to be enlightened 30 years later by a number of orthopedic surgeons] and sent me on my way to the next exam station.  The doc’s diagnosis: I was flat-footed with a little arch left in both feet.

    I sailed through the physical exams and off to basic I went.  Of course, being a young male with plenty of testosterone, I paid no heed to this diagnosis until years later when foot aggravation caused much pain throughout my body at various stages of my life.   I did note during Army field training exercises my feet were always grossly blistered and in pain like many other soldiers.  So this just seemed to be a normal physical result of the training.  After years of hard physical military training and poorly supported military boot ware, this took a toll on my feet, ankles, hips, back and neck.  Today I interchange 3 different insoles into various foot ware dependent on what activities I’m doing.  These custom support insoles make a big difference in my ability to alleviate pain during movement activity.  My overall health is good because my pain tolerance is acceptable to get work done (aerobic walking, hiking, yard work, etc.) while keeping my body conditioned through this corrective ware.

    Now let’s look at my potential fitness and health future had I not figured out what was going on and the impact that may have had on my overall health.  Like many, I could have continued doing work daily while sucking up pain for years due to uncorrected foot problems while slowly becoming a pain prescription junky.  In time, the misalignment of musculoskeletal tissue would cause permanent nerve and soft tissue damage with more radiating pain.  This pain disorder would then cause pain depression, possibly affecting my mental health diagnosed as clinical depression.  If pain becomes chronic, less motivation to take care of overall fitness health often occurs.  For many, this means weight gain and other associated health problems can get out of control in a very short period of time if not corrected.

    I don’t have to tell you that obesity in itself impacts blood pressure, heart, lung, kidney, liver health function… The list goes on.  At the same time excess weight on otherwise healthy weight bearing joints can and does cause potentially irreversible damage to the integrity of the soft tissues surrounding these areas.  It’s never too late to correct misaligned posture, which at a minimum will alleviate pain.  And in many cases damaged tissues corrected through foot posture alignment may forgo unnecessary surgical correction.  Although I have structural damage throughout my spine, correction of my foot ware has alleviated enough pain that back surgery is now off the table.

    There should be greater importance impressed upon postural alignment and pain prevention programs in all educational institutions.  When I was a kid, there was minimal information on this matter.  As an adult, even during my undergraduate work in Exercise Science, there was postural alignment education, but “not” emphasizing the foot relationship to overall effect on “healthy posture-healthy mind-body.”  These relationships were implied with no extensive focus on any scientific model of the time between foot alignment impacts on wellness.  I believe at the time of my undergraduate work wellness and alternative health science was experiencing a renaissance of encompassing being (mind, body and spirit).  Now there are literally thousands of such books available.

    In the military, there was no emphasis on the postural alignment system at all, except PT (Physical Training) form to standards.  In our school systems, your children may/may not receive corrective information with regard to sitting up straight during the early grade school years; and less, if any emphasis on proper foot ware.  It appears our shoe manufacturing industry has incorporated better designs for proper foot alignment per activities (sport, walk, running, etc.).

So will our foot ware industry take care of our feet and body alignment needs?

    There are a few problems with this line of thought.  If the foot to total body health is not prioritized in our schools and community at large, priority to postural health will not be emphasized starting at the feet.  This means one will give less priority to good shoe design when purchased.  And also, less priority on replacing shoes that are badly worn.  Wearing shoes badly worn and also shoes with bad design can cause much pain to weight bearing joints.  If this practice continues on without correction, irreversible soft tissue damage and pain can and does occur throughout the postural system.

The point is, preventative illness and disease education is up to each and every parent and educator.  Hopefully in the near future our education systems will teach our children early on in matters of this importance.   Take a preventative course of action now.  See our icon links (skeleton, posture chart, or foot icon on Chronic Pain page at the home site), click,  read up and learn about Posture Control Insoles if you, or your children are in sports are experiencing any pain in the following weight bearing points of the body:  Foot, ankle, knees, hips, back, neck and read up on how posture correction starting at the feet can help to promote greater activity, fitness and health benefits for life.  Words of wisdom, “if you have little arch in the feet and go into the military, walk and run a lot, or sports professions, ensure you invest in some good insole shoe support, “even if your feet are in good shape!” This will preserve the integrity of the foot anatomy and body health for a lifetime.

 Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET2010 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





"Uncorrected Posture Alignment was Important, What Happened?"

23 04 2010

Read the rest of this entry »





“Good Posture Alignment was Important, What Happened?”

23 04 2010

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How to Safely Build Exercise Programs for Increased Fitness Goals

8 04 2010

  Regardless of age, fitness goals, health, disabilities situation, or condition… Everyone has an interest in increasing fitness levels. Why? Because most of us at some point want to know how to loose weight, exercise, increase cardiovascular-circulatory health, get in better shape, etc., safely. I provide a 6 step process in which one should consider if interested in increasing fitness levels safelty, especially if all other diet-exercise products, gimmicks have failed you. It is also important to have a fail safe movement activity plan especially if you’ve come out of surgery, on the mend, or are in a rehabilitative process. Ensure you read the article in full at http://www.mirrorathlete.com, click the health repository tab. Also visit http://www.daretowalk.com site page and support our fitness and pain management outreach concept for all of those who take preventative measures to alleviate pain through walking.