Exercise for Women Can Recharge Mind-Body Energy

Posted by Angie Quehl on Nov 1, 2010 3:08:00 PM

 

After a long, tiring day, the last thing I want to think about is exercising. My body feels cranky and my mind is exhausted from focusing on a thousand details. My physical and mental batteries need recharging. The thought of getting home and collapsing on the sofa is all that my waning energy would seem to allow. It’s on those days that I find it’s most valuable to do the opposite.  

When it comes to boosting mood, new research suggests that exercise is a gift we can give ourselves that creates both an immediate and a long-lasting benefit.  Moderate intensity aerobic exercise improves mood immediately and those improvements can last up to 12 hours, according to a study conducted by Dr. Jeremy Sibold, Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation and Movement Science at the University of Vermont.  

The mood-boosting effects of exercise are partly due to a rise in levels of chemical neurotransmitters, such as endorphins, in the brain.  “It’s clear that exercise is critical for both physical and mental health”, summarized Dr. Sibold.    After I read about this study, I decided to test it out. On the next day that I felt mentally burdened and physically unmotivated, I decided to take a moderately brisk walk, followed by some stretches.  I have to admit; in 30 minutes I had a major energy adjustment in my body. I even went grocery shopping on the way home! What a simple remedy, yet I had to choose it.  

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So, I would invite you to try the same strategy: The next time you fall exhausted into your car after work (thinking of the shortest route to the couch), choose instead to go to the local fitness center for a mind-body “battery recharge”.  Take any one of the group fitness classes that are readily available with a friend, or listen to music while you walk or cycle. Just move your body and breathe deeply; the biochemistry will take care of itself!

Submitted by Lyn Loy, PT at The Women's Club

 

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Topics: women's health, exercises for women, Women's Wellness, physical therapy, back health, back pain, Lyn Loy

Women's Wellness Series: How to Attain a Healthy Back

Posted by Angie Quehl on Sep 20, 2010 7:17:00 AM

Woman holding lower backIt is estimated that over 80% of all women suffer back pain at some point in their lives.  Back pain is the #2 cause of loss of work next to the common cold, and occurs in all age groups.  The encouraging news is that most back problems respond well to conservative treatment or rest from the offending activity.  But the majority of back injuries can be prevented by understanding how to take care of your spine. I have designed an easy way to remember the keys to keeping your spine healthy….

To attain a healthy back, remember the following “M.O.V.E.” principle:

 

MECHANICS:  The worst enemy of the spine is a mechanical force called compression.  Since we can’t escape gravity, a way to minimize compression on the spine is to CONTROL YOUR WEIGHT and AVOID PROLONGED SITTING.  The spine is happiest when there is proper movement and flexibility between vertebral segments and when there are balanced muscular forces around it. 

OXYGEN:  A main mechanism of injury in back pain is damage to the vascular structures of the spinal discs and joints.  Smoking constricts these small blood vessels, cutting off nutrients to the tissues.  DON’T SMOKE!!  Another way to facilitate nutrition to the spine is to INCREASE CIRCULATION through movement and deep rhythmic breathing…that is what happens when we EXERCISE!

VARIATION:  If we VARY POSITIONS & ACTIVITES of the spine, we can minimize “wear and tear” on the joints as we age; this prevents the advancement of osteoarthritis.  Constant compressive forces and repetitive movements create unnecessary damage to the spinal system.  A variety of exercise and frequent change of positioning helps the spine to be more resilient, so get out of your chair and move often throughout your day!

EXERCISE & EDUCATION:   The most important first step is to attain proper POSTURE in all activities of daily living: sitting, standing, sleeping, lifting, exercising.  MOVEMENT actually helps to keep our joints lubricated and can change the pressure inside our vertebral discs.  STRENGTHENING MUSCLES of the legs and core (trunk) gives stability to the spine, which prevents injury during activities.  If we EDUCATE ourselves about spine care, LEARN SUCCESSFUL WAYS TO EXERCISE, and consult with a health care professional if back pain persists more than 7 days, then we can begin the journey of attaining a healthy back.

Submitted by: licensed Physical Therapist, Lyn Loy

Learn more about Lyn Loy Physical Therapy at The Women's Club

 

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Topics: exercises for women, physical therapy, back health, back pain, fitness tips, fitness for women, exercise programs for women, Lyn Loy

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