The Real Weight of Obesity: What It’s Really Doing to Your Body

Obesity is a complex health disorder in which excess weight gain puts an individual at high risk for osteoarthritis and several life-threatening medical conditions. Although the obesity epidemic is currently affecting millions of Americans across the country, each person’s battle with obesity begins right at home with personal lifestyle choices.

Contributors to obesity include:

  • Diet including intake of high-calorie foods
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Genetics (to an extent)
  • Some illnesses
  • Lack of sleep
  • Certain medication use (such as steroids)

Effects of obesity may include (but are not limited to):

  • High blood pressure
  • Osteoarthritis – breakdown of cartilage between bones
  • Diabetes
  • Difficulty sleeping and breathing problems
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Stroke
  • Depression and social isolation
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Increased healthcare-related costs

Step-by-step on how to Fight Obesity:

  1. Drink lots of water! Keep your body hydrated throughout the day.
  2. Eat right! Fill your diet with whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins; avoid foods with processed sugar and high animal fat content.
  3. Get active! Even a daily 10-minute walk can help. Challenge yourself by taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
  4. Stay active! The Physical Activity Guidelines for America recommends at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week to stay heart healthy and to add 2 additional days of strength training.
  5. Stay motivated! Find friends or family to share your experience with. Weight loss is a marathon not a sprint, losing 1-2 pounds per week is a healthy pace.

**Remember!! Every pound lost is a success! Small amounts of weight loss have been shown to have substantial benefits including reducing knee and hip pain from arthritis, increasing blood flow through the body and heart, and improving overall quality of life!

Cortisone Injection

A Cortisone shot is an injection that is given to decrease pain and inflammation. Most doctors limit an individual to 2 or 3 injections per area over a 12 month period because repeated injections may lead to tissue damage. Some patients might get a cortisone injection prior to beginning physical therapy. Some patients may not get an injection unless pain is preventing progress with physical therapy.

Tips for Walking in Snow and Ice

1. Wear boots or shoes with textured soles. Avoid shoes that have smooth surfaces on the bottom.
2. Watch where you walk. Avoid dark and shiny patches. Walking on the snow will give you better traction.
3. Avoid being off-balanced by carrying things in your hands. Use a backpack if you are walking long distances and keep your hands out of your pockets so you can use them for balancing yourself.
4. Take small, quick, shuffling steps if you are walking through an icy spot and keep your weight slightly forward. It’s usually better to fall forward than it is to fall backwards.
5. Make sure you remove snow quickly from your steps or walk before it hardens and turns icy. Put some type of ice melt product down to ensure it won’t be slippery.
6. Avoid walking in shaded areas where ice tends to build up.

During the winter, physical therapists see many patients with injuries from falling on the ice. Thinking ahead and taking your time could prevent a lot of bruises, sprains and even fractures.

Can a Flu Shot Cause Long Lasting Pain or Injury?

After receiving a flu shot, a small portion of people complain of pain in their upper arm/shoulder that lasts for several weeks or months. A theory of why this occurs suggests that the vaccine is being injected into the joint capsule or bursa and causing an inflammatory response.

For relief, you can apply a heating pad to the shoulder/upper arm and rest the arm. If after several days your pain still persists, you should contact your physician that provided you the flu shot. At that point, your physician might refer you for physical therapy.

Physical therapy treatment is usually brief and can provide pain relief and increased range of motion. With use of manual techniques such as massage and stretching, range of motion can be restored and pain decreased. Strengthening exercises can help to restore any weakness that has occurred from lack of use of the arm.

If you have experienced pain from a flu shot that is lasting longer that you expected, seeing a physical therapist can help facilitate healing of your muscles, tendons and shoulder joint.

How to Decrease the Likelihood of a Running Injury

Most running injuries are caused by overuse, overtraining, wearing the wrong shoes, and overcompensating for a muscle imbalance or biomechanical problem. Here are some ways you can prevent the likelihood of a running injury.

1. Gradually increase your mileage. Increasing your weekly mileage by no more than 10% will help prevent injury.
2. Wear supportive shoes that are not worn out. It is suggested you replace your running shoes every 300-500 miles or every 6 months. Also, make sure your shoes address any biomechanical issues you may have with your feet and arches. Most running stores provide an analysis of your feet.
3. The best surfaces to run on that provide the least amount of impact is grass and woodland trails. Avoid running on concrete which is the hardest surface you could run on. Asphalt is a little better than concrete. If you run on grass, look for a flat area of grass. While running on a trail, watch out for slippery, muddy areas.
4. Stretch after you run to prevent your muscles from being too tight.
5. Cross train instead of just running. This way you will be strengthening various muscle groups and one particular muscle group will be less likely to be strained.

If you are unsure how to progress running safely to meet your goals, need help creating a stretching program, and or cross training programming, contact Harbor Physical Therapy for an appointment. We also offering running assessments to uncover your specific running stride and provide you specific tailored exercises to help diminish any muscle imbalances.

Exercising with a Physioball

Purchasing a Physioball:
The size of the Physioball depends on your height.
– 5’ 4” or shorter- purchase a 55 cm diameter ball.
– 5’4” and 5’10”- purchase a 65 cm ball
– Taller than 5’10”- purchase a 75cm ball.
* When you sit on the ball, your knees should be at a 90 degree angle.

Examples of Physioball exercises:

1. Crunches- Sit on the ball and walk your feet out so the ball is under your mid back. Clasp your hands behind your head and do a partial sit up. You can also come up rotating to each side to work the obliques.

2. Push ups- Lie over the ball with your stomach on the ball and your hands on the
floor. Walk your hands out so the ball is under your thighs to perform a push up. The farther the ball is toward your ankles, the harder it will be to do the push up.

3. Squat- Put the ball behind your back against the wall. Tighten your abdominal muscles and perform a squat holding it for 5 seconds.

4. Russian twist- Sit on the ball and walk your feet out in front of you until the ball is under your shoulder blades. Clasp hands toward the ceiling or hold on to a weight. Rotate your upper torso to the left then the right.

5. Bridge- Lie on the floor and put your feet up on the ball with your knee straight. Raise your bottom up into a bridge and hold for 5 seconds.

Abdominal Crunch Exercise
Abdominal Crunch Exercise
<

Muscle Stiffness

Causes of Muscle Stiffness:
1. muscle strains
2. arthritis
3. vitamin deficiencies
4. injuries
5. poor sleeping posture
6. obesity
7. illness
8. inactivity
9. dehydration

Treatment for Muscle Stiffness:
1. Apply heat
2. Massage
3. Stretching

Harbor Physical Therapy can provide treatment and education on specific exercises to decrease muscle stiffness. Please contact Harbor Physical Therapy for more information.

Staying Hydrated with Exercise

Drinking too much or being dehydration can decrease your workout productivity. To determine if you are well hydrated, take a look at your urine volume and color. If your urine is light yellow in color and you are going on a regular basis (every 3 to 4 hours), you are well hydrated. If your urine is dark, you are dehydrated.

It is important to make sure you are well hydrated before working out. It is recommended to drink between 8 to 16 ounces of water 15 minutes before your workout. During your workout, it is recommended to drink 4 to 8 ounces every 15-20 minutes. If you are working out vigorously for over 90 minutes, it is recommended you drink 8 to 10 ounces of a sports drink every 15 to 30 minutes.