- Written by MattLopez
- Category: My Diabetic Journey
- Hits: 1572
It’s good to blog my daily exercise routine. It forces me to be consistent. Today I managed a six mile run. That is a total of 11 miles in two days. So, with that mileage behind me, tomorrow will be swimming and weight-lifting.
I am about to end my self-imposed sabbatical and by the middle of the month I may return to regular work. What’s different this time is, my work will be per diem or part time, I will take control of my time from now on. Which is something I deserve after working like a dog for many many years. Though I am single, I took upon my self to take care of my extended family and after putting most of my nieces and nephews to college and all of them, thankfully, are employed now, it is but proper for me to stop the daily grind and begin looking after myself. So I am cutting work and I am taking another college degree. I have to pursue my nerdy desires.
Which is in agreement with the philosophy of this website. The sport of being healthy isn’t limited only to physical. It encompasses everything - spiritual, mental, social, financial, moral. I think I made it clear from the beginning that this site won’t teach you how to be sexy or attractive to the public. Or how to be rich. Or how to be a good manager or shrewd human being. Those things come about naturally when you work on them. I think the sexiest and the most beautiful and successful person is one in harmony and in balance. And that comes from the inside, not outside.
That is my goal in life. I won’t talk about how to lift weights or how to get the ripped body or how to be a cool dude with everybody. Lord knows how many sites can probably teach you exactly that. And with all the infomercials around us, I bet majority already know how to ‘muscularize’ and ‘sexitize’ their bodies. Go ahead if that’s what you want. As for me, I am just here to talk to you about being naturally the best you are and how, in the best of your ability, you can overcome the pernicious problem of being unhealthy.
And the best way to discuss it is through what I do with my own self. There is nothing artificial here. I won’t sweeten a thing.
I may sound like a repetitious cymbal but I once again reiterate what being healthy is all about.
1. Eat properly
3. Reduce stress/Be happy
4. Be safe
These are the main rules that are already established and are known by almost everyone .These are the same rules that are extrapolated in many forms by people who are the ‘gurus’ of healthy lifestyle. If you break down all their programs offered to address poor health, obesity, inactivity, they are all based on these 4 principles.
When it comes to eating there are those who promote :
A. Less carbohydrates, more proteins
B. More proteins, less carbohydrates
C. Limit self to pure vegetarianism
D. Limit self to increased protein only
For exercise, there are also different schools of thought:
A. Focus on weight lifting, body sculpting
B. Focus on cardio-vascular
C. Focus on sports
D. Combination of many
E. Pure yoga, pilates and other new exercise routines.
F. There is the latest trend called muscle confusion.
For relaxation many health experts recommend:
F. and many others
Just like many other exercise fads that come and go in my lifetime, any of the programs and routines offered by anybody will always work. From Jenny Craig to Nutri system to e-diets all sprouting on the internet, all promising good results, and they all do - while you are in those programs.
The question is - what can make you keep your gains beyond your ‘discharge’ from these programs? This is the same question bugging me everyday when it comes to treating my patients. Sure I can make them better, sure I can make them exercise to achieve a certain level of strength/endurance, sure I can make them nearly independent and functional, that is, as long as they are in my program.
Once I discharge them, some of them will be consistent with their home exercise programs and keep their gains while the others, oh well, they keep coming back and back and back, in a see-saw kind of decline and improvement.
This is the very issue, the main, main issue this website is trying to answer. What I am trying to answer is - how can one be able to consistently follow his regimen daily to maintain or improve his health without an outside intervention?
- Written by MattLopez
- Category: Physical Therapy
- Hits: 1503
So Medicare is beginning to curve a bigger pie in national debate nowadays. It is getting so contentious that politicians lose votes depending on their position related to it. The real problem, as we all know, is not only Medicare. It is the whole health care system.
I have been in health care business for more than 20 years. I’ve witnessed its peak and now its lowest point. And because I have been part of it, I often wonder how it fell under. Who are the culprits?
Any health care plan is designed to insure that its subscriber receives medical/health care if s/he gets sick. Like any other insurance, with contributions and premiums, it is meant to provide comfort and peace of mind. But with Medicare, something wrong happened along the way. First, the cost of care became exorbitant largely due to high degree of technological advancements, Research and Development, expensive litigation and lawyers catering to lawsuit-driven consumers - these are just a few of the contributing factors to its high cost. As one Doctor puts it, what will happen if lawyers and Doctors and politicians and all other health care practitioners see trillions of dollars available out there? Of course they will spend it.
And it is very easy to blame doctors and lawyers and chief executives and politicians for all the health care woes but as I delve deeper into this, I also see the patient or consumer a part of the problem. Through the years, an increasing amount of people live with total disregard to good health because they have a false self-assurance that their health benefits will ‘take care of everything’ if they got sick. That is a dangerous belief. We have arrived at a point where who owns and guides our health is not ourselves anymore but some outsider. We have lost our control because drugs and surgery and therapy took the helm of our lives.
We have given up our ‘Self‘ as the main judge, juror and executioner of our health. We have lost control over our lives. The fact that ? of the US is obese is a sign that most of us have stopped owning our lives and allowed junk food, over-indulgence, inactivity, doctors, prophets of easy-fix, imbalanced lifestyle dictate us. Even now, we seem to think that the resolution of our health care crisis rely heavily on Washington.
Imagine this, if all Americans will try owning their health, if they, from now on will live healthy lives barring accidents and genetic predispositions, we will not even be talking about health care crisis in our future. To me, health insurance is only needed when absolutely needed. I will probably get so angry with myself if I suffer from a health condition because of my own negligence, over-indulgence, lack of discipline or lack of knowledge. To own our health, we must first learn what it takes to have good health. The next step is to have enough determination to achieve or maintain the best health possible within our means. The third step is to get habituated to the notion that there is nobody out there who will determine the course of our lives, especially our health except ourselves.
...As an example of the problem, according to theAssociated Press, the average wage couple jointly earned $89,000 annually in 2010. Upon attaining eligibility for Medicare and retirement in 2011, they would have paid in $114,000 in Medicare payroll taxes total. But their expected average medical services, including prescriptions are expected to cost $355,000, about three times what they paid in. When the last of the Baby Boomers retire in about 2030, 80 million people will be expecting coverage; the ratio of tax payers supporting the system is expected to drop from today’s 3.5 for each person, to 2.3....
...The fundamental problem is that the ratio of workers paying Medicare taxes to retired people drawing benefits is shrinking, and at the same time, the price of health care services per person is increasing. Currently there are 3.9 workers paying taxes into Medicare for every older American receiving services. By 2030, as the baby boom generation retires, that is projected to drop to 2.4 workers for each beneficiary. Medicare spending is expected to grow by about 7 percent per year for the next 10 years. As a result, the financing of the program is out of actuarial balance, presenting serious challenges in both the short-term and long-term....
- Written by MattLopez
- Category: Exercise
- Hits: 1438
One of the most difficult aspects of maintaining good health/fitness/wellness is consistency and motivation. Sure there are things like having a partner to work-out with, pushing oneself, taking notes of progress etcetera but really, it is tough especially when you have a million things to do. I can't even offer any solution for this.
I was just in the bookstroe yesterday and read an Article from Scientific American that in a few pages, addressed the issue of American obesity and poor diet. It is truly alarming to learn that 30 percent of Americans are obese and another 30 percent are considered overweight. That's a whopping 60 percent of the population. The billion dollar multiple sometimes conflicting diet solutions and fitness trends that burst and fade along, aren't helping at all. That already gives us an idea about the intensity of this problem facing the country. If we think this will pass, well, we will all be in for a big surprise.
Studies after studies link obeisty and becoming overweight with many medical problems. I know this because I see it everyday in my patient load. Chances are, on a given day, 6 out of my 8 patients suffer medically because of conditions associated with obesity: high cholesterol, high sugar, high blood pressure, stress, and difficulty moving because of years and years of sedentary living.
It is very easy for me to make this site as my pulpit to lecture everybody about what I think is the problem - but if I do, I will just be like everybody else, a lecturer and a problem-seeker, not a soultion-maker. What Scientific American has found out is that the consistent effective way of dealing with obeisty is behavior modification. Yes, there is a brain/body connection to the problem of obesity and unhealthy lifestyle. What this generation should explore is a solution to American obesity that involves changing of habits and reasoning/rational for living a healthy lifestyle and eating right.
I find this effective on my patients: they lose significant weight and increase significant active 'lightness' when they attend my PT sessions regularly. Then a few weeks after discharge they either resort back to their old conditions or even worse. There is a connection between having someone to help you improve your health than doing it alone.
The trouble is - we mostly do our exercises/eating alone. It is important then that we have another 'pusher', another 'reason', another 'motivator' to make us consistent with our personal quest for healthy living. (Next, we will explore the different approaches).
- Written by MattLopez
- Category: Physical Therapy
- Hits: 1531
So I have been busy lately with exams in midterms. It's been a while since I made an update. I may not be as 'regular' in updates as I wish I could but I still update this site with the latest news on health whenever I can. And I can talk a lot if given the opportunity. I am taking 6 credit hours towards an IT degree and still working more than full time as PT. The one thing I am regretting is 'my lost week' last week in terms of exercises due to mid terms. I should be able to resume work-outs as soon as I can.
There is a whirlwind of events that transpired in South Florida since my last post. First, there was a clamp down on 'pain mills' that multiplied in this area like ant colonies in the pat couple of years inviting crooks who sell them and addicts who procure them. Pain meds have been abused a lot in this part of the world. It poses a great challenge to me as a health care worker to address this epidemic.
I have a friend who, if not for my prodding to avoid pain by non-narcotic options would have become a casualty now of these pain mills. I was suspicious initially, thinking that he could just be using pain to get access to meds until he told me he was ready to 'end it all' if he kept on dealing with horrible pain for the rest of his life. All the other conservative approaches: multiple PTs, cortisone shots, did not stop him from taking pills month after month and the amount was increasing. Tha'ts when I suggested surgery. I just did not feel that a person should become dependent on pain pills in life. Pain pills are friends for a moment but they can kill if they stay for the rest of your life.
Anyway, after surgeries and recent rhizotomies, he is now back to swimming and though his work can sometimes trigger the pain, resting usually relieves it. But the search for a lasting non-narcotic solution is ongoing.
The trouble with pain is - it is a symptom that we try to get rid of - as a symptom. We fail to address its source, its roots, its cause. For every pain there is a cause. And that cause is injury to the body. It could be a muscle tissue, ligament, bone, disk, organ, any part of the body. As long as the source is neglected and ignored, it will linger.
The most common pains are easy to manage. Tooth aches, headaches(some), stomach aches, post-surgery pains, sports injury pain are pretty much manageable. Pain meds are sometimes necessary in this case, albeit temporarily for one to live a normal life. These are called acute pains. Then there are other pains that linger forever and are the main culprit when we talk of pain-med dependencies. We talk of chronic back and neck pains that can last anywhere from six months to forever. These are the ones difficult to treat and the ones that will most likely lead a person into some form of pain med dependency or addiction.
The question is - why does the back cause so much misery to some people when it hurts?
There is something I call antenna principle.
Most of us are born without back pains. When you see an infant, back pain is probably the last thing he would cry about. Something, in our growing up years, happens to our bodies. First, at twenty five, our bones would have reached their full maturity. At age 30, our physical decline begins. Also at this age, we go to college, go to work and burden ourselves with lots of responsibilities.
In college, we sit longer to study or listen to lectures. At work, we mostly sit down especially in jobs associated with desks and and remain immobile for long periods of time. These activities only lead to a few problems. Our erect bodies are like the old antennas attached to out roofs. First we erect the spine of the antenna and then support it with wire strings until it stays straight.
Imagine the antenna as the spine and the supporting wires as muscles. Those muscles do a good job as long as these are well-connected and are equal in tone (tautness) and obviously not broken.
Lets say something happens such as an accident and one muscle get injured. Most likely the the upright antenna will lean to one side. To prevent collapse, the other muscles will tighten up.
Leaning leads to postural deformity. The unequal tightening of muscles lead to core muscle imbalances. If we'd look at the details of this, the spine which is made of different vertebras interconnected by disks, ligaments and muscles will be placed in an over compensation mode.
There begins man's problem of back pain. What causes back pain? It's postural mal-alignment, muscles imbalances and overall weakness. Once we correct this 'leaning antenna', the pain will get resolved.
I have an excuse of course. I've been busy with my school and between projects, assignments, presentations and the upcoming mid terms, you know what that means. But I am truly having fun in learning what I am learning right now so the exercise routine varies a lot. What affects my performance are weather, schedule, level of fatigue - but I still keep myself at it when I get the chance. It's awesome to be in a wonderful situation. I am at an age when I just do what I want to do and mostly I prefer to be in school, or in the park or in a bookstore. In fact, I just assembled this new killer computer desktop and for less than 200. Maybe I can start assembling and selling computers don't you think?
Anyway, I was not able to register for the Fort Laudedale race only because of lack of preparation but I keep on my regular running as much as I can. I usually maintain a 4-5 mile distance 3-4 times a week and when I get the opportunity, I run at least a ten miler, like when I have a day off on a good weather. What I noticed so far is this:
1. If by any chance you stopped running for at least three days, be careful in returning back. Start a little slower to accomodate the 'over-rested' muscles. A sudden burst of actvitiy like sprints or long distacnes after prolonged rest can be detrimental.
2. Try to be as actvie as you can on your non-exercise days due to busy schedule to keep the jonts flexible and muscles conditioned. Avoid sitting too long, lying on the couch too long or being in front of the computer too long(like me) unless you have a real good reason.
3. Squeeze in a small run, a small jog, a short visit to the park, a short visit to the gym, anything just so you can have this self assurance that you did some 'activity' for that day. I found that a 30-40 minute run in the park has a lot of effect on my brain with less effect on my muscles and joints.
4. It is really good to have someone who would pester you about exercising, like a dog maybe :), or a partner, or at least find a very very compelling reason to keep exercising. I always use cholesterol and sugar levels as my reasons.
5. But if you are really really tired, or you don't feel good, or you just can't get in the groove for that day, your body is probably telling you something, so you need the rest or if feeling worse, seek medical help.
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