July 2010 - Advanced Physical Medicine
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Benefits of Good Posture and How to Get It

It is amazing what simply sitting up straight can do for your health! Taking a few seconds to properly position your shoulders over your pelvis is so easy—and with so many benefits—there is no excuse not to!

Benefit 1 - Health

Good posture is important in the prevention of neck and back pain and injuries. You will reduce strain on your joints and muscles that may suffer as you hold your body in an unnatural position. Slipped discs and strained muscles can be extremely painful, so do your best to avoid them.

Benefit 2 - Health

Did you know you can’t breathe as deeply if you slouch? Sitting up straight allows for your lungs to fully expand, increasing air flow. Improved air flow contributes to higher body and brain function, which is important in all aspects of life.

Benefit 3 - Health

You will improve your fitness level with good posture, as proper posture prevents worn joints that fatigue. You will recover more quickly and breathe better, as well, all important factors in an athletic body.

Benefit 4 - Health

Prolonged slouching can cause your spine to settle into a hunched or otherwise crooked position. This could require more serious repairs, like surgery.

Benefit 4 - Looks

By standing or sitting up straight, you improve the impression people get from you. Research shows that people who stand up at  full height appear more attractive, confident and capable to the members of the opposite sex. Slouching has the opposite effect, making people think you lack self-confidence and are weak.

If you have not followed the laws of posture, try these tips to help alleviate the damage:

Tip 1

Avoid carrying heavy items on the same side every day, and in general. A rolling bag is best for books and laptops.

Tip 2

Try pilates or yoga. Both can teach you to naturally sit up straight and improve your overall fitness.

Tip 3

When seated, plant your feet on the ground firmly. It will help you maintain balance in general.

Tip 4

Visit a chiropractor to help you assess your body’s alignment and get help in correcting it.

Tip 5

Invest in a healthy chair and bed for sleeping and working. This will help you better access the posture that will create health benefits for the rest of your life.

Don't wait, there is no excuse for you to keep slouching, work on your posture and start living a healthier life!

Why You Shouldn’t Take Creatine

Creatine has become increasingly popular with young athletes, as it promises to give the user extra energy with increased ATP production. Creatine offers a lot of the benefits of anabolic steroids without their serious side effects, but it has its own list of warnings to consider before beginning usage. Here are some things to think about before getting started on a Creatine regimen:

Internal Organ Risks

The heart, kidney and liver can be damaged by Creatine, particularly in those who have had prior problems with any of them. High dosages of Creatine are particularly bad for the kidneys, because a dangerous waste product must filter through them and has been known to cause collapse and kidney stones.

Lower Sports Performance

Disrupted water retention patterns linked to Creatine usage can cause weight gain and bloating. The swelling of water can cause muscle and tendon sprains, cramps and injuries, not to mention slow down performance in many athletic sports.

Stomach Issues (not cool)

Stomach issues like cramps, nausea, diarrhea, gas, loss of appetite and vomiting are also common. They typically occur when people ignore the normal dosages of Creatine, so pay attention to what is recommended.

You Can't Drink Coffee

Never combine Creatine with medications or herbal supplements, as many of them can cause serious and fatal results. Ephedra should never be taken at the same time as Creatine, and users should be sure to limit their caffeine intake. Some prescription medications can increase potential for dangerous complications, so check with a doctor before deciding to take any supplemental chemicals.

Babies Hate It

Pregnant or nursing women should avoid Creatine at all costs, and it is not recommended for teen usage as there is limited data on how it can affect a developing body.

Check with a doctor, adhere to proper dosages and be sure to purchase from a credible source, though there will always be some risk of dangerous complications. The long term effects of Creatine usage has not been studied, so be sure to have regular check-ups with your doctor to monitor the effect it has on your body.

4 Dietary Supplements You Should Add to Your Routine

Walk into any health store or vitamin aisle and it’s quite easy to become overwhelmed with the selection.  Will this work for me?  What does it do and what effect will it have?  Is this pill safe?  These are all valid questions that one may have when faced with bottle after bottle of supplements.  FDA requirements for supplements do not stipulate that a manufacturer show the product’s safety or effectiveness before it is sold, so consumers MUST look into what they are buying and why. Here’s a guide to some of the more effective options out there:

-Calcium

One of the most well known vitamins, and with good reason because it builds strong bones, affects the heart, and aids in the body’s metabolism. One issue with not getting enough calcium is that it can make people overweight because the body starts to release hormones for fat production because it feels that the body is starving.  Pretty much no one wants that to occur!  For the ladies, it can help with premenstrual mood swings, so bottoms up on a large glass of milk.  As a supplement, 1000 milligrams would make a great addition to any diet.

-Vitamin D

The best friend of calcium, helping it get acquainted with the body and showing it the ropes for fitting in with the cool kids by aiding in the absorption of calcium.  In addition, it helps with insulin secretion and boosts the immune system.  Pretty much, vitamin D is the perky cheerleader that you want on your side!  Super supportive and hardworking is its middle name.

-Folic acid (Vitamin B9)

An amazing addition to your regimen because it helps to impact the maturation of red blood cells which prevents anemia.  Most importantly, this vitamin is necessary for expectant mommies because folic acid prevents spinal cord deformities and brain damage in fetuses.. Taking this supplement early in the pregnancy can aid in preventing premature births as well.  The recommended amount for pregnant women is 400 micrograms a day, not to exceed 1000mcg.

-Zinc

Important for the immune system, strong muscles, as well as eyes, kidney, liver and much more.  This is one of those vitamins that you want to make sure that you have enough of, as it affects so much.  Along with a 450 milligram a day supplement, there are many delicious foods that you can consume in order to get your zinc, especially in protein rich foods like beef, lamb, salmon, cheese, peanuts, beans, and pumpkin seeds.

Be sure to consult a physician before starting any dietary supplement/regimen because different dosages may be better for certain people while others may benefit from a totally different group of vitamins all together.  These are just some of the key ones that most can use safely and effectively.

Fish Oil: What’s the Big Deal?

Look, we’re not going to lie to you—fish oil is gross. It tastes bad. But, like most things that taste bad, it’s great for you! Here are all the ways it can help you out, so pinch your nose and swallow it down:

1. Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which promote anti-inflammation and disease prevention. Fish don’t make them on their own—they get them through consumption of microalgae or other fish that eat microalgae. Fish that are particularly abundant in these fatty acids are anchovies, bluefish, herring, mackerel, menhaden, salmon, sardines, sturgeon and trout.

2. Fish oil has been lauded as a treatment for depression, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia and cancer. The main reason people take it is to help cure heart disease and circulatory problems. Fish oil is known to lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease and strokes. It is frequently relied upon to lower blood pressure after a heart transplant, as this can post-op damage to the kidneys and blood vessels.

3. Fish oil is low in saturated fat and high in protein. You don’t have to drink it, though—try baking or boiling fish for dinner twice a week, as recommended by the American Heart Association.

4. You can take fish oil via a supplement if the oil itself grosses you out. These supplements come with added benefits like calcium, iron, and vitamins like A, C, and D. Take up to 3 grams a day, but no more.

Consume fish and fish oil in moderation to avoid any possible side effects, like nausea or mercury poisoning. If you would like to add additional omega-3 fatty acids to your diet, look up what plants and nuts can help you out. The benefits of this addition will certainly make any bad taste worthwhile!

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