April 2011 - Advanced Physical Medicine
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Top Five Myths About Your Health That Are Actually True

People are obsessed with healthy living nowadays more than ever. Before you overwhelm yourself with all the articles, research and journals on how to lead a healthier life, think first about the everyday advice you have heard since your childhood.

Chicken soup: An Rx for the common cold

How many times do people “prescribe” chicken soup to you when you are sick? Turns out they are right. A Reuters article published by CNN.com in 2000 states that scientists at the University of Nebraska Medical Center found that chicken soup contains anti-inflammatory agents that ease cold and flu symptoms. The ingredients in chicken soup (i.e. carrots, parsley, celery, etc.) prevent the spread of certain white blood cells called neutrophils that are given off by viral infections.  Next time you are feeling under the weather, eat a bowl of chicken soup and you may bounce back sooner than you think.

An apple a day does keep the doctor away

This one sounds like a no brainer, right? Eat fruit every day and you won’t get sick. But what’s the hype on apples? Apples are loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants that help reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and diabetes, according to a 2004 article published in Nutrition Journal. In addition to preventing disease, apples also significantly aid weight loss and will even help keep the dentist away. Apples work as a natural teeth-cleaning agent and prevent plaque buildup, as noted on WebMD. That being said, an apple a day certainly holds true.

Eat your crust

Your mother always told you to eat the crust of your bread. Yes, mom’s right again. In separate studies cited by Discoveryfitandhealth.com and ScienceDaily.com it was found that the crust contained significantly more cancer fighting antioxidants than the soft inside of the bread. So listen to mom on this one and eat your crust.

Sore throat relief in a glass?

Next time you think about heading to the nearest drug store to buy medicine for your sore throat, think again. Gargling warm salt water will do the trick just as well, if not better than over-the-counter medicines. WebMD suggests gargling once an hour to help beat throat inflammation and soreness. However, the benefits of this natural home remedy do not end there. A 2005 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine concludes that gargling salt water can prevent upper respiratory tract infections.  In this case, it really is better to skip the meds.

Pass on the midnight snacks

Here’s something that might scare you. Eating before bed really can cause nightmares. A study published in The Journal of The Mind and Body in 2000 found that eating before bed prompted brain waves that cause nightmares. What’s more, the study found unhealthy foods to be the biggest culprit. Unhealthy foods signal more brain activity than healthy food, thus increasing the likelihood of nightmares. Unless you’re up for some bad dreams, pass up that midnight craving.

At Home and In-Office Workouts

Finding time to fit in a workout can seem like an impossible task with a full time job and then any at home routine for your family such as dinner and homework help after work.  Toning up a bit does not need a whole weight machine system or a gym membership, there are quick moves that can be done from the comforts of your office chair!  While typing up that report, you could work those legs a bit and feel better for those days where you have to run and catch that train!  There are many at home or in office workouts that will get your heart rate going and muscles pumping, and they are so easy that they’ll be no excuse not to fit them in somewhere in the day!

Office chair leg exercises.

Why just sit in a chair when you can turn it into your own personal gym?  Leg extensions are very easy to and require you to sit up straight with abs tucked in then lift one leg until it is straight in front of you, hold for a couple of seconds and then lower.  Repeat this for about 16 reps on each side!  You could also work on those jiggly inner thighs by putting a water bottle in between your knees, holding it tight with your legs and then releasing halfway (don’t drop the bottle!) and tightening again.  Do this as well for about 16 reps.  If no one is around to look at you crazily, you can do some squats at your desk to tone your thighs and butt so that they will look like you spend time caring how you’ll look in your jeans.  Stand up and then sit down slowly, tightening your butt muscles as you do so.  Soon enough, a cute perky booty could be your reward!

Office chair arm exercises.

Fancy having Michelle Obama’s sleek toned arms?  Then work on them while you are at that office!  With a full water bottle, you can do bicep curls on each arm.  To work the triceps hold the water bottle straight in front of you, raise it to about shoulder level, then continue it behind your head and over your shoulder.  Make the arm straight and slowly lower it back down again in front of you.

Workout DVDs.

At home, there are many workout dvds formatted to be quick, fun, and for the person without a lot of time.  They often don’t require much equipment other than maybe a light dumbbell, a kitchen chair, floor mat,  or an exercise ball so no need for super expensive equipment.  There are boot camp style dvds, hip hop and dance inspired workouts, mommy workouts, sexy flirty girl workout dvds, and many other options to choose from!  They generally last for 15-30 minutes, so they can easily be fit into your schedule at some point.

Chasing the kids around.

Having an hour of play time with the kids will be a good way for everyone to get in shape!  Go kick around a soccer ball, jump rope/play double dutch, play tag, throw around a frisbee, or chase the dog around the block.  Everyone will have a good time and it gets some activity happening instead of lounging around the television or playing video games.

There are many ways to fit in a workout if someone is so inclined.  Choose an above option or two, put down the donut and mocha latte frappe with whip, and get those glutes in shape!

5 Worst Diets

When it comes to get slim fast diets, take them with a grain of salt (figuratively speaking).  Generally, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!  Losing and KEEPING weight off takes commitment and planning, so anything that promises 40 lbs gone in a matter of weeks is probably feeding you a load of bologna!  The public likes quick fixes but these types of diets usually only end up with more weight gained and unhealthy eating habits formed.  Here are some of the worse offenders:

1. One food only diets.

Cabbage diets, grapefruit diets, etc are a way to lose weight quickly but does it stay off?  Your body needs a variety of foods for nutritional value and you are more apt to get bored with it and give in to your cravings if you are only consuming one type of food.  Honestly, how long can you survive by eating only one food?  That will last for a week, tops, before you want to throw that food out of the window and maybe yourself along with it.

2. Raw foods only vegetarian diet.

Upping vegetable and fruit intake is certainly important and a good thing, especially in its raw state which keeps it packed with nutrients, but cutting out good fats, proteins, and all carbs could have bad long term effects. Your body needs protein to keep the muscles working, brain functioning, and for fuel, so why on earth would you cut that out completely?


3. Miracle juice or supplement diets.

Have you heard of diets where you can eat all that you want but as long as you add whatever miracle product is being touted (grapefruit juice, apple cider vinegar, green tea, etc), you’ll lose weight in no time?  Those are all good things to add to your diet, but they certainly won’t let you eat chocolate cake all day every day and lose 40 pounds by drinking a bit of juice with it.  Some foods or drinks do speed up the metabolism, but they work best with a balanced diet.

4. The tapeworm diet.

Whoever thought of this one was one sick person!  It was super popular back in the early 1900’s, but so was heroine and cocaine as medicine so those were truly crazy times and it’s a miracle that anyone survived!  Basically, you ingest tapeworm eggs and let them eat what you eat and help you to lose weight, which could be accomplished by just starving yourself anyway as that is what you are doing!  Most people are trying to keep parasites and bugs out of their system, not put them in.

5. The junkfood diet (twinkie diet, bacon diet, the hollywood cookie diet, etc).

these diets just consider calorie count and say that as long as your caloric intake stays below a certain number, then you should lose weight.  Clearly you won’t be getting vital nutrients though and this diet is unsustainable for the long term.  Sure, you may eat 3 twinkies throughout the day and lose weight, but you are simply starving your system and are bound to become sick.

If it sounds too good to be true, think about it hard before starting a new diet!  Smart weight loss is key for weight that won’t come back and plague you indefinitely.  Get slim quick schemes are usually ways that won’t have any good long term effects and you’ll find yourself looking for the next fix shortly; instead, create a sound meal plan and workout regimen and get those pounds off the right way!


5 Best Pillows for Your Body

Pillows aren’t just those things that you rest your head on to get a good night’s sleep; they can be utilized to relax on when pregnant, comfort an aching back or neck, prop up a hurt ankle, and much more!  Deciding on the best pillows for your body’s needs can be as simple as reading on for different styles of useful pillows:

1. Lower Back Pillow

Lower back pillows between the seat and the waist can help to reduce the chance of back strain, ache, leg pain, or tension.  This handy pillow is great for when you have to sit for a long length of time, such as during a road trip or while at work if you have a desk job.

2. Neck Pillows

For those who travel often or suffer from cervical conditions, there are many types of neck pillows that will allow you to experience comfort and the correct alignment. The c-shaped pillows can be put around your neck while on a long flight and allows you to sit up while being able to go to sleep without prompting a crook in your neck or muscle aches.

3. Full Body Pillows

These full length pillows support and align your body correctly while you sleep so that there is less chance of pain and body aches in the morning.  Pregnant women especially love the comforting plushness of the pillow.  One that wraps around the body such as the above photo will allow for sustained support even if someone turns over during the night.

4. Memory Foam Pillows

Nothing feels more customized than a memory foam pillow!  It contours to your specific measurements and weight, making sleep a truly luxurious experience.

5. Donut Pillows

These pillows look like their namesake and ease the discomfort of those who suffer from tailbone injuries.  The whole in the middle helps to keep pressure on the tailbone away so that there isn’t any pain.

Your body will often times tell you its needs and you simply have to pay attention.  These various pillows will have you on the road to ache-free days and comfortable nights!

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