July 2012 - Advanced Physical Medicine
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Treadmill Running vs. Outdoor Running – Which is Better?

Do you want to lose weight and have a fit body? Do you want to improve your health and metabolism? Do you want to expand your lungs and have better endurance? If you answer yes to all these questions, then it’s time to get involved with one of the best forms of exercise - running. This activity has been highly recommended for people who want to lose weight, improve their health and get into better shapes. Running is also proven to help blood circulation, so if you feel like you have problems with your cardiac system, then this is the perfect activity.

What Do You Need to Run?

There are so many people who are big fans of running. Running attracts people from all walks of life, and they are usually from different athletic backgrounds. If you want to run, you need to know the kind of equipment you need to have. First, you don’t need gym bags. However, you can bring a belt to carry your water bottle. Secondly, you can get eye gears if you are doing outdoor running to prevent your eyes from harmful objects. Also, you need to have an appropriate set of running outfit, which includes tight shorts or spandex shorts, jogging pants, running shoes and running shirts. Before you start running, these items are the essential items for serious runners. 

Two Different Types of Running

There are many forms of running such as treadmill running, outdoor running, beach running, desert running, etc. However, the two most popular forms of running have to be treadmill running and outdoor running. Treadmill running is mostly an indoor activity that requires you to use a treadmill. A treadmill is a type of exercise equipment that runners can run on, and it is very popular among beginners. Although you are just running on the same spot the entire time, the good thing about treadmill running is that you can do it at home in front of a television. On the other hand, outdoor running implies that you have to actually get out of your home and run to a destination of your choice. One of the advantages of outdoor running is that you expose yourself to the outdoors. Running in these tougher conditions requires quality running shoes that last for a long time. Many runners start with indoor running and then proceed to outdoor running after they build up their muscles and stamina.

The Dilemma

As you can see, every runner has his or her own reasons for running. However, for most runners, the toughest decision is always to choose between treadmill and outdoor running. Treadmill and outdoor running are two activities that achieve the same goals, so the decision depends mostly on the runner's own experience and discretion. While some runners prefer to be inside and away from the heat, others get more out of the activity from running outside. Therefore, it’s really up to you what you like to do with your running shoes.

This guest post was brought to you by Runner's Mark, we are the leading retailer for performance running shoes.  Check out our latest selections of women's running shoes, http://www.runnersmark.com/Womens_Running_Shoes_s/1974.htm

Standard and Alternative treatments for back pain

Our spines have to put up with a lot; sometimes just putting up with our habits is enough to have them sending sharp signals to remind us that we’re supposed to bend at the knees before lifting heavy objects, or that lolling in our office chair is not Plan A.  Most people suffer from a form of back pain at one or more points in their lifetime.  Normally back pain is not a major problem, though even a short lived, minor attack can be debilitating and depressing.  Back pain is normally caused by moving, twisting, lifting or sitting incorrectly.  Some conditions can result from an accident, while others can be part of more serious conditions, including arthritis.  Treating pain is usually straightforward and a range of options for self-treatment are available. 


Painkillers are the most effective form of relief from back pain in the short term.  Paracetamol or Aspirin are well known to quickly reduce pain and can be used by most people.  However painkillers are not suitable for all people and certainly longer term use of painkillers is not normally recommended.  Side effects are not uncommon even with standard issue painkillers, while those with additional medical conditions may not be able to take painkillers.  Back pain can last for several weeks and alternative treatments should also be considered.

Alternative Therapies

Alternative therapies don’t have to involve candles, incense and a midnight dance around a pile of old rocks.  Naturally, if you like that sort of thing, they may help; sometimes state of mind can play a big part in recovery from a whole range of illnesses, and back pain is one of them.  If you’re taking the less trodden path round that pile of rocks then just take care when jumping and twisting!  Many ‘alternative’ therapies are well known and include simple techniques involving physiotherapy, heat treatments and relaxation techniques. 

Hot Flushes or Multiplying Chills

Heat pads, or cold compression pads, can help many people to reduce pain and the effects can be relatively long lasting.  Both work by reducing the sensation of pain and heat treatment may also work by relaxing tensed muscles and tendons.  Packs can be bought from a pharmacy or home-made treatments using complex technical equipment like a hot water bottle or pack of frozen peas are occasionally carefully crafted at home.  Both can work pretty well as long as you’re careful to avoid burns (from both sources).  Wrapping a towel round your weapon of choice should reduce this risk, and in the case of children both preparation and application of the cure should be supervised. 

Electrical Options

Electrical treatments have been used to relieve pain since the Romans discovered that some fish give off electric shocks.  The science has moved on since those days (thankfully) and TENS machines are now widely used, in both clinical and self-help settings.  TENS machines are not safe for everyone, so check with your doctor first.  Additionally TENS machines don’t work for everyone although they are considered to be effective for many cases.  Emitting small electrical impulses the machines disrupt the pain signals to the brain and provide medication free relief.  They can be particularly useful for longer periods of back pain and for those who cannot (or would rather not) use medication. 

Long Term Care

Most cases of back pain are short lived and can be easily resolved with a combination of the treatments discussed above.  For longer term problems (anything over six to eight weeks) have a chat with your doctor.  In most cases of long term pain the underlying cause is damage to the spine, which in itself may not be serious but may require longer term pain management.   Good posture, good lifting practices, losing a little weight and staying active will all help to reduce the risks and impact and risks of back pain. 

Being human, unfortunately, means the occasional bout of back pain.  A range of treatments are available from TENS machines to painkillers.  Check with your doctor for advice on TENS or other suitable solutions to managing pain. 

Living with back pain – or not

Back pain; you can’t live with it and you can’t, erm, live with it.  A lot of us do though.  In fact, the majority of people will experience some form of back pain at some point in their lives; often on many different occasions.  For the unlucky few (well, unlucky quite a lot) pain can be long term and chronic.  Arthritis is a common cause of long term back and joint pain and sciatica is also a well-known form of nerve pain.  The latter is particularly common during and after pregnancy but can be the result of an injury to the back from a large number of causes. 

Symptoms and causes

Often described as a tension or stiffness back pain is commonly the result of annoyingly simple causes; sitting incorrectly, lifting badly, stretching, bending and twisting.  All of these particular risks are things we encounter most days on several occasions, which explains why back pain is such a common issue for so many people.  Ultimately it’s one of those occupational hazards of being human.  Generally, the lower back is the focus for a whole range of aches and pains and most back pain is felt at the lower end of the spine.  Though robust, and designed to perfection over the millennia, our spines have a lot to put up with.  In most cases they spend every waking minute keeping us in an upright position and, although well adapted to this, they can be vulnerable to the occasional injury.  Even a minor back pain can be unpleasant and many back problems can take up to twelve weeks to completely recover. 

Common Treatments

Although debilitating, most cases of back pain will clear up without major medical intervention.  Treating back pain is normally straightforward and everyday painkillers will have a swift result in reducing and relieving the pain.  The best advice is to stay active and try to continue as normal.  Bed rest, although often prescribed in the past, is about the worst thing you can do to treat normal back pain.  This will reduce the strength in the tendons and ligaments that support your back, making the recovery time longer and potentially making the problem worse. 

  • Some people respond well to hot or cold compression treatments which can reduce the tension in the muscles around the back and also alleviate the pain.  Compression packs can be bought from a chemist although most doctors will point out that for cold compression a bag of frozen peas will do the trick! 
  • Physiotherapy can make a considerable difference for those suffering with back pain.  This aims to strengthen the muscles and tendons that support the back and also helps to improve posture and reduce stress on the spine.  This should help to alleviate the symptoms and should, hopefully, help to stop further problems in the future.  Simple lifestyle changes such as losing a little weight or remembering to sit and lift properly will also help to limit repeat occurrences.
  • TENS machines have been shown to reduce pain for a wide range of conditions, including back and neck pain.  For those who have pain resulting from sports injuries, or simple posture related problems, they can provide a healthy, non-medication route to pain relief.  Clinical trials have not proved conclusively that TENS machines work for every individual, and it seems to be the case that they will work for some sufferers but not others.  If TENS machines work for you they are an excellent solution to short term back problems, while for those with longer term conditions they are something of a life saver. 

Staying Healthy

Generally back pain will clear up without the need to visit your doctor (do see a doctor before considering TENS machines, as these should not be used by certain people) and you’ll soon be back to your normal active self.  One bout of back pain should be enough to convince you that prevention in future is better than treatment; remember to sit correctly, take exercise regularly and learn (or remember) how to lift correctly.  Our spines have a lot to put up with and as you only get one, it makes a lot of sense to look after it. 

Back pain affects most people at some point in their lives, if not several times.  For some, chronic back pain requires medication and treatment, for others the pain is short lived.  TENS machines are one method that can rid you of pain without the need for medication or physiotherapy. 

Gorgeous Bodies for Busy Moms who can’t get to the Gym

It's hard looking after the kids all day. You must get no time to yourself. I know how you must be feeling. You want to find some way to exercise but you don't know how. How can you fit anything in with everything you have on? You can't if you need to go to the gym to get fit. There's just no time.

Luckily you don't have to. To get fit and healthy you don't need to step foot in a gym. It's a big misconception it's the only place to get fit. You have everything you need right now. Yourself. Even your kids. Here are some easy to do exercises you can put into action right away to get the body you crave.

Play time with the kids

Everything revolves around energy. You eat food which gives you a surplus of energy, and you burn it by moving. That's right. If you move more you will lose weight. You already have the kids to look after so why not get them involved. It's also going to get them fitter, too.

Go outside and play some games. It doesn't matter what you do as long as you keep moving. You can be as creative as you want. Go for treasure hunts along the river. Play hide and seek in the woods at the back of the house. If you get tired you can just walk. That's moving too, and everything helps.

Firm up your stomach

There isn't much point in losing weight if you aren't going to be firm, right? Every woman wants a flat stomach. It will make you feel great. If you think you know anything about how to achieve this I want you to stop. Think. Were you thinking of sit ups? They are actually the worst possible way to get a flat stomach.

Sit ups will build your abs up and can you guess what happens if you build muscle? Your belly will just end up sticking out more. Ask Britney Spears. What you need are planks. You've probably seen them before. You just lie on the floor with your forearms on the ground. Now lift yourself up and try to stay still as long as possible.

Would you like a cute butt?

Go have a look in your wardrobe and stare at your favorite jeans. Put them on if you want. Now go and stand in front of the mirror. How does your butt look? Is it cute? No, probably not. You could certainly improve it. Harsh, but true. What you need is an exercise that's easy to perform anywhere, whenever you have a spare 2 minutes. That's where squats come in. I don't want you having visions of lifting 400lbs weights like all those massive guys on TV.

I'm talking about bodyweight squats. A sure fire exercise to firm up your butt while keeping your legs elegant and slim. Stand on the floor with your feet shoulder width apart. The trick is to sit backwards, while keeping your back straight, and lowering yourself as low as you can go. Keep it up and you'll be able to bounce coins of your butt.

Jack is a freelance writer and a fitness expert. He writes about health, diet and fitness and has many articles about scoliosis exercises to his credit.

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