Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Get Smart by Exercising!

That title can be a little misleading.  You would be smart to exercise more as this would help you stay healthy and physically fit.  But a new study shows that you can strengthen your brain with physical exercise.  Researchers at the University of South Carolina conducted a study where they analyzed cellular activity of the brain of two populations (of mice), those who ran on a treadmill and those who just sat around their cages.

We already know that exercise can help remodel muscles in our body.  Part of this remodeling includes the synthesis of Mitochondria in the cell.  This part of the cell floats around and acts as an energy powerhouse to the cell.  This in turn makes our muscles stronger and healthier.  The researchers wanted to see if the same changes occurred in the brain.

The group of exercising mice not only performed better on a “run to exhaustion test” on a treadmill but upon studying cells in the brain showed an increase in the amount of Mitochondria.  This is a very important finding.  “There is evidence…that mitochondrial deficiencies in the brain may play a role in the development of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.”1 

So get out there and revitalize your exercise program or begin an exercise program if you have not already started.  The physical exercise can potentially sharpen your thinking, reduce mental tiredness, and decrease your chances of developing life changing diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

The smartest thing you could do is begin an exercise program at Hayashida and Associates Physical Therapy Inc.  Contact for more info..


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Neck Hurts… So Why is My Physical Therapist Treating My Back?

Many people will have neck pain at one point in their life.  It is estimated that up to 50% of all Americans will suffer from neck pain each year.  It is only second to low back pain on the list of disabling musculoskeletal disorders.  Some neck pain is caused by injury such as falls or whiplash injuries but the majority of pain in the region is caused by gradual stresses, such as poor posture, abnormal lifting patterns or awkward sleeping positions.  It is common practice in physical therapy for mobilizations or manipulations to be used to decrease spine pain and restore normal movement patterns.  Many people that I talk to are uncomfortable having their necks manipulated or “popped.”  Luckily for those who are against mobilizations/manipulations of the neck a recent study in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy(JOSPT) shows that mobilizations of the upper back may ease or eliminate neck pain.

This study was actually a review of many past studies in the area.  This type of study is held in high regard because many different factors are considered and only high quality studies are compiled for results.  The researchers looked into studies where patients received upper back mobilizations/manipulations and were then compared to patients who received other forms of physical therapy.  The researchers found that mobilizations/manipulations of the upper back “as part of the treatment resulted in less pain, increased neck motion, and improved function.”1

Patients in my clinic who prefer not to have mobilizations/manipulations of the neck can receive these same treatments to the back in order to decrease their neck pain while increasing their function.  Mobilizations and/or manipulations to the upper back are very safe and may help you feel better faster.  Your Physical Therapist can help determine if you are a good candidate for this type of treatment.  This evidence only further validates the treatment choices already in place at Hayashida and Associates Physical Therapy where upper back mobilizations/manipulations have been used often to treat patients with neck pain.

 J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2011;41(9):643. doi:10.2519/jospt.2011.0506

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How Am I Supposed to Workout When I Am So Busy?

Everyone seems to get all excited about getting their beach bodies in prime condition once the warm weather of the spring rolls around.  But during the fall and winter time many people complain that they do not have enough time between work, school, fall cleaning, holidays, along with many other daily activities.  I know it is difficult as even I am constantly battling getting to the gym or doing a short run after work.  We are often tired, can think of a million things we need to do around the house and most of all we would like to just relax.  Below are a couple ideas to get you motivated, if your physical and mental health as well as weight control are not big enough motivators.

WORKOUT WITH OTHER PEOPLE – This is a great way to keep on track.  In the digital age you can even set up workout plans with your friends or family across the country with Facebook or E-mail.  In this fashion you can post your daily workouts, goals, and progress towards those goals.  If you do not post your workouts or do not meet your goals, everyone will see.  This is a great motivator.  Of course you can also go the conventional way and join group fitness classes such as the ones at Hayashida and Associates where everyone will know when you are missing.

PUT YOUR WORKOUTS ON YOUR CALENDAR – Often if you schedule it on your calendar you will see it and this can motivate you to follow through.  This will also make sure that you do not schedule other activities during this time.  Most calendars on computers or phones nowadays will pop up reminders which will jog your memory (no pun intended) that you need to get working out.

FIND A FORM OF EXERCISE THAT YOU ENJOY – This might be the most important aspect of this whole blog entry.  If you choose to run because it is the easiest thing to do and the most accessible but you hate every moment of it, you are less likely to do that activity.  If you enjoy watching TV or listening to a podcast make sure to incorporate that into your fitness routine.

For those of you who dread your workout each day hopefully these simple ideas make you look forward to your next workout so that you can stick to a schedule, meet your fitness and health goals, and maybe even catch up on your favorite TV show while you do it.  If you need a kick start, come to a FREE fitness class here at Hayashida and Associates Physical Therapy to see how fun exercise can be.