Physical Activity

Physical Activity Articles

Should you add foam rolling to your workout routine?

Foam rolling helps release tension in the muscles, relieve muscle soreness, and improve flexibility and range of motion. It’s not clear exactly how that happens, although it could be that foam rolling and sustained pressure on the muscle signals the central nervous system to reduce muscle tension, similar to the effect of a deep tissue massage. Most people will benefit from foam rolling as part of a pre or post-workout routine, or simply as a quick break from sitting. (Locked) More »

Take the plunge: Try a water workout

Swimming and water aerobics can be a good way to stay fit, especially for people who have arthritis, are overweight, or are recovering from an injury. Swimming differs from land-based exercises because during swimming, a person’s body is horizontal rather than vertical and is mostly immersed in water. Both factors mean blood pools less in the legs. The heart refills with blood a little faster, which means it may work a little harder during swimming than during other forms of exercise. Yet swimming is considered safe for people with stable heart disease and is sometimes used in cardiac rehabilitation. (Locked) More »

The wonders of winter workouts

Exercising in cold weather may have some special benefits people don’t always get in summer, such as improved endurance and protection against seasonal affective disorder. While cold-weather exercise is usually safe, people should first check with their doctor, especially if they have conditions like asthma or heart problems. Also, they should take extra care during workouts, such as wearing protective clothing, choosing safe spots to exercise, and making sure to hydrate. More »

The drug-free approach to pain management

One of the main reasons for the growing addiction to pain medicine is the ease at which it is often prescribed. Yet, depending on a person’s type and severity of pain, there may be nondrug options available that can help control, manage, and perhaps treat the underlying cause of painful flare-ups. These include physical therapy, yoga, mind-body therapies, and complementary treatments, among others. More »

Babying your back may delay healing

Back pain often comes on without warning and will usually get better on its own, even when imaging shows changes such as arthritis and disc degeneration. The best way to treat back pain is to avoid prolonged rest and stay active instead. Aggressive interventions may actually make the condition worse. More »

Moving away from knee osteoarthritis

An estimated 10% of men ages 60 and older having symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or aspirin, and steroid injections can temporarily soothe arthritis pain and inflammation. But an easier and safer way to manage symptoms is to be more active as bones and cartilage need the stimulation of regular movement to stay healthy and pain free. More »

Take that, muscle cramps!

When muscle cramps strike suddenly, gently stretching the muscle can relieve pain. A shortcut for nighttime leg cramp stretches is sitting up in bed, looping the blanket around the foot, and gently pulling the toes up while keeping the knee straight. A “child’s pose” yoga posture can help ease back cramps. A “forward bend” yoga pose may relieve hamstring cramps. After stretching the muscle, it helps to put a heating pad on the area to promote blood flow, and then to gently massage the muscle. (Locked) More »

Walk this way

A walking cadence of about 100 steps per minute may be a good way to gauge moderate-intensity exercise, but not necessarily for everyone. That pace might feel a little slow for fit people who exercise regularly. But it may be too fast for people who are not exercising regularly or who have illnesses or injuries. A different measure, the “rate of perceived exertion” scale, may be a better guide for determining whether someone is exercising intensely enough. More »