- Written by MattLopez
- Category: Exercise
- Hits: 1488
So far I am trying to manage my work-out, squeezing it somewhere in my busy schedule. I am also re-assessing my goals as far as my health is concerned. A few things I'd like to do this year 2011:
1. Run a half marathon with better pace and speed without the cramps.
2. Participate in a triathlon.
3. Control and maintain good sugar, cholesterol levels through diet and exercise.
4. Improve strength of muscles to maintain bulk (as I am approaching 50, my muscles are genetically predisposed to losing some bulk).
5. Be great in my current area of concentration in PT: focus more on outpatient conditions.
6. Have more travels and have fun fun fun.
For me to accomplish these, a few revisions will be needed. In principle, in the great scheme of things, I can no longer afford to procrastinate. I must have a better focus and a pragmatic approach to life - to plan ahead, know when to do what, prepare properly and be consistent. Last Sunday, I tried to simulate a half marathon in my training. My task was to see if my cramps are related to - dehydration, drop of glucose or muscle fatigue. Well, despite the GU and the water which obviously provided me my energy, I still cramped when I tried to speed up in the last 11-14 miles. The verdict sadly points towards muscle fatigue which, if analyzed correctly, emanates from weak muscles, which means, improperly trained muscles, which means, overloaded muscles. And this is where inadequate training comes into the picture.
I always jokingly tell my friends that I am the guy who trains in a high school football to play in NFL come the season. I am the perennial champion fish in a fishpond only to be thrown into the vast ocean.
So, to summarize my last week's work-out (and I'm the first to admit this: it was wrong wrong wrong :) ) I managed 2 short runs, 1 long run, 1 swim. Guess what's missing? Weight training. And... interval training and Pacing.
Yes, the last experiment I am embarking on is the effect of weight training on cholesterol and glucose. And improving speed in long runs with good muscle endurance. Here comes the interplay of lactic build-up, proper nutrition, rest, good training. Of course I pretty much have an idea but it's better to prove theories through the workings of my body.
I am finally getting more and more comfortable with outpatient setting in my hospital and my patients are beginning to appreciate my work for them. There is nothing more fulfilling than watching a man broken in five different places walking once again (with a minor limp of course) but thankful for whatever we've accomplished together. And I am thankful for the wonderful patients who are serious and motivated to get well. The hard work they put into the regimen is something that inspires me.
Right now, I am reading a good book, "My Own Country - A Doctor's Story" by Abraham Verghese. I don't know... I used to work in Tennessee and I thought I had a chance of working with the author. Just a hunch because he mentioned that he once worked in Lebanon, TN.
- Written by MattLopez
- Category: Physical Therapy
- Hits: 1451
Alright, I finally found a moment to sit down - the whole week was so busy that - I was not able to do any work out three days in a row. Yeah, after the swim last Monday, the next work out I managed was a three mile run a while back. I quit after three because I needed to get a new battery for my glucose reading meter so I can resume my sugar monitoring. Hopefully I can squeeze in some work-outs in the next couple of days.
I am really proud of my current blood readings. People I know that are in the 'know' including myself long theorized that sugar and cholesterol can never be solved by diet and exercise alone. There must be some medication somewhere. I am not trying to prove anybody wrong but based on my experience, it is possible. The question is - how long can I maintain this?
This is perhaps the biggest puzzle which can only be answered by faith. Who knows what the future holds but if one has faith, no matter the persuasion, it is easy to assume the best prospects. Being spiritual and having faith is logically very healthy. It gives me peace of mind. It provides me an optimism even for the world beyond. People like me, who had been described as superstitious and fatalistic more than once, still possess a lot of hope no matter how unrealistic. It pushes me to take a leap of faith.
It is all about peace of mind.
As I reach the more mature age the more peaceful I become. Gone are the days of searching for everything elusive: money, love, intelligence, good looks, social life, wild life. I am gravitated to the more introspective, geeky kind'a sporty lifestyle. And this may not be your kind of lifestyle but let me tell you that it is fun.
Sometimes I get lazy to get out to run or work-out but what pushes me, besides my diabetes/cholesterol, are the many patients I have in my caseload. How, in their infirmities and limitations struggle so hard to achieve something as little as walking to the bathroom or being able to stand without failure or being able to climb the stairs. How much they are willing to give just so they could take another step without fear of losing balance and falling.
Thinking of them, I find it truly amazing that I can run no matter how slow, that I can swim no matter how cold the water is, that I can still drive to the gym or the bookstore, that I can still spend a couple of hours with friends talking and thinking normal. How many people would give everything so they could enjoy what I enjoy?
Stroke is such a devastating accident. And it is so easy to have. All you need is to be lazy, eat the wrong food to obesity and ignore high blood pressure and voila, you are on a wheelchair wishing to be independent even just for a day. Diabetes is so sneaky that by the time you learn about it you probably have damaged some of your precious physical normalcy - there is damage to your eyes, your feeling in the legs, dry skin, destroyed gums and teeth, susceptibility to infections, possible amputations. Worse, you may be needing dialysis.
Stroke and Diabetes can be so foreign to our ears until they hit us bullseye and they become a traitor and heavy stone tied to our bodies for the rest of our lives.
We always talk about non-dealing with traitors/terrorists - these are exactly that. And there is only one way to win over them: being healthy and living a peaceful life. I will talk more about this as I move along in this web site.
- Written by MattLopez
- Category: Relaxation
- Hits: 1439
There are many things to consider to make one's work-outs do well for one's body. I have patients who get so consumed by exercise and diet regimen when starting sessions with me that they call in sick the following week. A case in point is Mr X, a giant of a man that stands at 6'4" and weighs maybe close to 400 lbs. He came to me in the outpatient clinic to address his poor walk, poor endurance and general weakness. He comes with the attitude of 'lets do this' followed by 'now!' Somehow I had to taper his enthusiasm because that's when people get injured mostly. Over-enthusiasm is dangerous at times. He came on a wheelchair, his legs stretched out (due to some joint problems in the past) and he is also being managed by Wound Care for his wounds. He is insulin dependent for his diabetes.
Of course my role here is purely therapeutic - using exercise as a treatment. The question is, treatment for what? Having been used to hospital settings all my life, I am more into "let me get you out of bed and prepare you to go home or go to some facility somewhere".
With the outpatient, I am thinking more along the lines of "let me get you fit and healthy to live a functional happy life." Mr X case requires more than simply walking and getting up the stairs, do shower, clean house, do work, etc. This is not a case of back pain where a management of manual therapy and exercise will suffice. This is a case of lose weight, exercise and then things will do well. I talked about diabetes management, weight management, exercise protocols etc. The man comes thirty minutes earlier than scheduled so he could do his 'exercise' early. I let him do simple weights and ROM exercises but I emphasize to him (and to most patients in general) that Physical Therapy is not a profession that builds you up, you need a personal trainer for that. I can help you design a program you can follow on your own but I can not bill you for something like a gym work-out. Going to the gym is much cheaper than coming to an outpatient clinic. What I offer are exercises and other modalities meant to treat your problem and for that, you must have a problem first. Mr X problems does not require a long term PT treatment because it requires a self-managed exercise program, medically managed diabetes, a nutritionist-managed diet, and I am here to facilitate all that. The poor guy decided to exercise a lot, diet a lot, and walk a lot on his own. The result is - he called in sick the following week. This is a case when I need to address the importance of gradual re-building, gradual return to active lifestyle and concomitant to that, the value of rest. It is all good to be enthusiastic but overdoing not only prevents us from going further, it also destroys the gains accomplished. This is a classic example of yo-yo fitness. Someone goes to the gym, promises himself to look good when? Tomorrow! or Next week! What happens is in that particular day or particular week, this person will do all the possible exercises he can muster in the gym, will skip eating (in a form of mistaken dieting)and probably lose sleep due to soreness or excitement. The result? Depleted immune system and via exposure to bad elements surrounding gym machines, a cold. Then this person will say, ah, this is not meant for me. Sometimes I need to tell my patients to chill out. Over-enthusiasm can cause not only cold due to suppressed immune system, it can also cause heart attack, diabetic coma, injury, and stroke.
So chill out. The keyword here is gradual, gradual, gradual. Rest is just as important as the exercise itself.
- Written by MattLopez
- Category: Physical Therapy
- Hits: 1428
Age of Maturity
I rarely get introspective in life but yeah, after things begin tofit in their proper places and you discover that what you hold dearly all your life is nothing but a puff of wind, and the things you invested on are not really as valuable as you thought they would be. I remember investing on books only to find them very cheap in the second hand bookstores. I invested in gadgets only to discover they are worthless in less than a year. I invested in material things that held zero value at the end. Being matured as I am now, I know better. Age teach people and I guess that’s where I stand nowadays.
In my caseload I meet people of different backgrounds. Most are middle class, every now and then there is an indigent, and occasionally, one that belongs to the upper class. I remember in particular a very special patient, a Harvard educated lawyer, very successful and yet there he was all by himself, relying on an aide who values only the money he pays her and he was very lonely despite multiple marriages and equally successful children and grandchildren.
There are so many lonely people in this world who, despite their relative successes haven’t found true happiness.
Yesterday I met with K who was had a major fight with his girlfriend in front of me. I have warned K longtime ago NOT to invest too much love emotion onher. Time and time again I told him,“you cannot own someone, you can not turn her into a robot that will act and feel the way you expect her to.” I may be jaded and admittedly never been through‘all –out’ love and I may have no right to proclaim I am better than other lovers but my goodness, I have limits if I fall in love. I don’t think the one I love would want me falling apart when it’s over. Idon’t the one I love would be happy if I start monitoring all her moves. That can be creepy, frightening and downward stupid. To love someone to the point of abandoning self-dignity and self-respect or to be so heart sick that I start stalking her, that is pretty much criminal and no matter how much obsessed and in love and romantic you think you are, that is still sick in my book.
Having someone is just as good as letting go especially when love gets so stale and one sided. When one falls out of love, the other should let go and move along.
It’s funny I haven’t really thought much about love until I hanged out with K yesterday. While watching their love fight, ( I was more a referee than a spectator), I couldn’t help but think, “Am I to stay put watching this idiocy or should I go somewhere?”
Really, what’s the point of people’svery personal matters being revealed to me like I were a judge?
That was the time I remembered my Harvard patient who was so lonely in this world. How can people waste their time in petty quarrels and vendettas and agonies and endless argumentation when in the end, what matters is only your own self’s preservation and happiness? Who will remember your fights, your awards, your jokes, your deep emotional love, your investments, your wealth, your intelligence, your good looks, your ability to lead and win when in the end, you are there sitting on a wheelchair taken cared of by an aide who is there because you are paying? Why won’t I invest on what is truly valuable – my peace, my sanity, my health, my spiritual sustenance?
In the middle of their lovers’ fight, I hurriedly left because I wanted to run in the park. I wanted to complete an 11 mile run before I go to sleep.
- Written by MattLopez
- Category: Diet and Nutrition
- Hits: 1369
(This will be an ongoing article)
I finally got my third lab result in a span of nearly one year. Everything in it is good news. My cholesterol, sugar and everything else has turned into normal values. But this was not based on a hunch or diet programs being promoted out there. It was based on medical, dietary, physical consultations. I am pretty sure of my findings because they are my evidence to whatever claims I will be making from now on.
First, in achieving optimum health, diet or exercise can NOT work alone each. They have to be together. In my experiment, dieting did not improve my numbers . Neither exercise alone. When I put the two together, they worked on me like magic.
My cholesterol alone, and this is without medication, has improved from 290s to 180's. (HDL 55, LDL 125)
My sugar also, considering I am diabetic, has improved from Hemoglobin A1C of 8.9 to 6.4. Without medication.
What I have done is two-fold - I kept on the work-out which I did regularly and reduced my carbohydrate loading significantly. For this I consulted lots of materials on physical activities, choosing those that can use up calories the most. Running and Swimming were the chosen ones. Then, after consultation with a friend and co-worker nutritionist Jeremiah, I was able to pick up the best food that is meant for me, and I later studyied the effects of different foods on my sugar levels through blood sugar monitors.
I am sure many of my conclusions have already been published in different journals and articles out there but this is the first time I personally tested their veracity through my own body. And though I may show you my jubilation and happiness over my results, I would not fool you into thinking these were all accomplished very easily.
I have to make some important admissions first: I love fruits and vegetables, I run half-marathons and train for them appropriately, I swim laps for an hour or so at a time. I work almost everyday. Occasionally, I falter in my disciplined routine and I go on binges but I make up for those days immediately.
So far, I have lost and maintained a 25 pound weight loss and have been on that weight for a year now. Though I have increased my protein intake, I make sure I have fibers, veggies, fruits everyday.
As far as food intake is concerned, I follow the proverbial 'eat like a king in the morning, like a courtesan in the afternoon and like a pauper in the evening'.
All my carbs are loaded into me at breakfast and a little again at lunch. And then, if I can help it, I eradicate carbs from my dinner table before 7pm at nights. And this has nothing to do with weight loss program or dieting. It has something to do with my diabetes.
This may sound pure torture for some. Bitter melon from Asia requires an acquired taste but it is one of the greatest super foods in the world. And I can eat it in my own way.
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