By Christine Harrison, OTR/L, Jared Ernest PT, Diana Cratem OT, CHT
Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute Rehabilitation
Stretch Spring Edition – Keeping Bodies in Motion
Please read these articles in our Stretch Spring Edition. We hope these articles are helpful to you as a JOI Patient.
Exercise: To Help Ease Aging
Aging comes whether we like it or not. As the years add up, so can the effects on the body. Changes in bones, joints and muscles can lead to stiffness, weakness, and aches and pains as part of the aging process— but not necessarily. We can prevent or ease these changes with exercise. As we get older, bones lose mass and become less dense with increased risk for fractures from falls or other accidents.
In joints, the ends of bones are cushioned by a layer of cartilage and fluid that lubricates the surfaces. With age, a decrease in fluid combined with thinning cartilage can contribute to a feeling of stiffness with reduced joint flexibility. In addition, muscle mass shrinks and tone decreases as we get older affecting strength and endurance. Exercise and movement can be the solution to these negative structural changes.
Exercise comes in many different forms. Working in the yard, riding a bike, swimming, or washing the car can serve to stretch and mobilize your joints and strengthen muscles and bones. Stretching exercises like yoga can help to improve joint flexibility, while free weight training can help strengthen and promote muscle mass. Just 30 minutes of exercise a day can mean the difference between continuing to enjoy life or succumbing to the negative effects of aging on your bones, joints, and muscles. Check with your doctor before changing your activity level and for help with developing a specific exercise program. Do yourself well and get moving!
Breathing for Healing
Breathing is necessary for life. Only a few minutes without it can lead to a loss of consciousness and eventually death. Making good breathing a part of your day can facilitate healing and well being. Proper breathing impacts wellness by lowering stress, relaxing muscles, and decreasing perspiration. When our blood is highly oxygenated, it becomes difficult for viruses and bacteria to grow in our body. Breathing well also supports muscle growth and promotes energy to finish our daily tasks. When we are conscious of our breathing, we realize that we breathe very shallow. One of the best techniques is abdominal breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing. The diaphragm is a large muscle in our chest that contracts and creates a downward force that causes the abdomen to expand. This improves the venous return to the heart and improves stamina during activity.
Training the Breathing Process
1. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen.
2. Take a deep breath in through the nose—the hand on your abdomen should rise higher than the one on your chest. Exhale through the mouth.
3. Take another a deep breath in through your nose (as deep as you can). If possible, count to 7 or 9 as you inhale.
4. Slowly exhale through your mouth in less time than you inhaled (if inhale to 9 , exhale to 7). As you exhale, gently contract your abdominal muscles to completely release the air.
5. This technique should be practiced one to two times each day. It is like taking a “wellness break” during your busy day. Deep breath, in through the nose, slow release through the mouth.
Abdominal breathing improves energy throughout the day. It helps the body to rest, gives us a feeling of calm and serenity, and creates a harmony of the mind, body and spirit. It takes about five deep breaths in a row to switch our body over to this relaxed healing mode. When you breathe deeply, you give your internal organs a message of well being while oxygenating your blood. Do not try to breathe deeply in all situations. We are not designed to breathe deeply at all times. If you get into a rhythm of deep breathing daily, you will heal faster and live a much healthier life. Where there is oxygen, there is life.
When Less Is More! How to Avoid Over-training
It is the start of a New Year, and just like millions of Americans, you have decided to get fit. However, one issue that can derail your New Year’s pledge is the concept of over-training. What is Over-training? Over-training can occur in any type of fitness activity. Over-training happens when you perform more training than your body can handle or recover from. Your body functions on nerve impulses sent from the brain through the spine to tell the muscles what to do. When you over train, it actually overloads the system and causes the impulse to weaken and become less effective.
Stretch Common Signs of Over-training?
Lack of motivation: Instead of invigorated, your training leaves you flat Increased soreness after a workout: This is soreness that borders on pain and actually will last for a few days.
You stop seeing results: Working out too much can actually cause you to lose muscle and add fat. This happens as the body produces a lower testosterone ( also bad for females) and a increased level of cortisol. The body will increase both insulin resistance and fat storage.
You become restless or lose focus: high training levels cause your sympathetic nervous system to go into hyper drive. This causes restlessness and inability to focus. It also results in decreased sleep.
You feel sluggish all day: Again a result of decreased testosterone and increased cortisol level. These can actually produce cold-like symptoms
Chronic soreness in the joints, bones and limbs: DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is normal after a workout but if you feel like a Mack truck hit you, then that is over-training.
Sick more often: You work out to be healthy, but if you are over trained , your immune system can actually weaken.
How to Avoid Over-training:
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Eat right
- Manage stress to include workout intensity
- Training : Vary your routine.
- Recovery: Take 1-2 days between training sessions
- To schedule an appointment for physical therapy, please call JOI Rehab at 904-858-7045.
We hope you have enjoyed reading this version of Stretch. To read other articles by JOI Rehab, please go to: stress fracture or compartment syndrome.
JOI and JOI Rehab
JOI Physicians continue to offer online new patient appointments. This is another option to make it more convenient to make new patient appointments with less phone hold times. Follow the link below to select your JOI MD and schedule online.
You can still call 904-JOI-2000 to make new patient JOI Physician Appointments if that is your preference.
To make appointments with JOI Rehab, please call 904-858-7045.