Nutritious Back-To-School Meals

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Submitted by the Baylor College of Medicine…..

healthychoicePlanning children’s meals during the school week can be made simple when providing nutritious foods. Alicia Beltran, research dietitian at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital, maps out healthy meals and snacks to feed your child before, during and after school.

Breakfast

Protein fills you up for longer, so you should always include protein in your child’s breakfast. Eggs are a perfect and flexible meal that keep your child full, especially if you incorporate vegetables, which adds more fiber to the meal. Another simple morning meal is a quesadilla with chicken and cheese. Make this with a whole wheat flour or corn tortilla for more fiber and less fat. Serve this with a side of fruit and milk to give your child energy for school.

For a quick breakfast, you can give your child yogurt with fresh fruit and granola so they get their dairy and grains. You can also make them a fruit smoothie. According to Beltran, parents often serve their children orange juice, which is simple sugar since you are not incorporating the fiber of a fresh orange, and is not filling. Instead, make a fresh fruit smoothie with no added sugar to get more nutrients that will keep them full.

Lunch

Make sure you always include protein, whether it’s baked or grilled chicken or low-sodium deli meat. For adequate dairy intake, pack cheese, yogurt or milk in your child’s lunch. Be careful when purchasing yogurt, as many of them contain added sugars. Fruit flavored yogurt also can double as dessert for the meal. It’s important to always include fresh fruit or vegetables in their lunch – preferably both. Talk to your child to learn which produce they prefer, and pack them for lunch daily.

Parents often choose easy meals over nutritious foods for their children’s lunches. Buying processed foods seems easier, but you spend more money purchasing this instead of taking time to prepare healthier meals for lunch. Beltran suggests making tuna or chicken salad with Greek yogurt instead of the traditional fatty mayo. Children can enjoy this in a sandwich with whole wheat bread or in a whole wheat wrap. You can also change it up and serve it with crackers.

“You can use the same protein in different recipes, depending on what your kid prefers.”

Avoid packing sports beverages or juices that are not 100 percent juice, since they contain added sugars. Chocolate milk should not be their main source of dairy for the meal, but can be packed as a dessert or treat. Pack plain milk for dairy. Children should drink water throughout the day. If they want flavor, try adding fresh orange slices or other fruits to their water. Make sure your child always has water and can refill their bottle at school.

“Add a little treat or note for dessert. It’s ok to pack a small cookie or piece of chocolate from time to time. Just choose wisely,” Beltran said

After-school snacks

Children should eat a snack after school to keep energized for homework and extracurricular activities. Beltran lists nutritional snacks that will keep kids full until dinner:

  • Cheese sticks or string cheese
  • Cut up fruits and vegetables
  • Raisins
  • Trail mix
  • Plain popcorn
  • Fruits they can easily peel, such as citrus like mandarins or cuties
  • Carrots with hummus or low-fat ranch
  • Small peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a small amount of jelly

saladheartRefrain from giving children sugary cereal, candy or other snacks that are high in sugar after school. These snacks will not fill them up or hold them over for dinner. They will grow hungry and cranky quickly.

“Plan ahead. Making lunch doesn’t have to be a nightmare,” Beltran explains. “Take your kid to the grocery store and involve them in the preparation. This makes it fun for them, and they will enjoy it more.”

Common Fitness Mistakes And How To Correct Them

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Submitted by the Baylor College of Medicine….

stretchRegular exercise or sports participation is a great way to sustain a healthy lifestyle, but mistakes in your training could lead to injury or keep you from achieving your fitness goals. A sports medicine expert at Baylor College of Medicine discusses common mistakes that can result in injury.

Repetitive Stress Injuries

“Repetitive stress injuries are common when you are doing the same activity, such as running, swimming, throwing and lifting repeatedly, particularly without supportive cross-training, core conditioning and rest days,” said Dr. Theodore Shybut, associate professor in the Joseph Barnhart Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Baylor.

Often when people experience pain during their preferred activity, they try to push through it or rest for a minimal amount of time and resume the activity as soon as it starts to feel slightly improved. Shybut advises stepping back and looking at the big picture.

“It doesn’t make any sense to push back to activity too fast. If the stresses of a sport or exercise have resulted in injury, returning to that same activity too quickly may not allow for proper healing and recovery,” he said.

It’s important to identify issues early on, he said. For example, speaking from his own personal experience as a Boston and New York Marathon runner, people training for a marathon generally start training 15 to 24 weeks ahead of time. They can get too focused on their day-to-day workout goals, pushing through pain to complete a day of training, and lose sight of the overall goal of finishing the race.

But according to Shybut, people training for a marathon should identify pain early and take a few days to a few weeks off to cross-train, work on corrective rehabilitation and let the issue resolve before pushing back into hard training. Evaluation by a sports medicine specialist and rehabilitation with a good physical therapist also may be beneficial and is recommended for any pain that persists.

The same is true for repetitive upper extremity workouts, such as swimming, throwing, Olympic lifting, rowing, etc. Shoulder pain can indicate rotator cuff injury, muscle strain, an impingement syndrome, and evaluation with an experienced sports medicine specialist can help diagnose the problem and optimal treatment.

Muscle pulls and tennis elbow also are common with repetitive workouts. Keep in mind tennis elbow does not only occur during tennis. It can be the result of any repetitive stress, including lifting weights, rowing, other racquet sports and may even occur in some professions such as butchers, plumbers and carpenters whose work involves repetitive wrist and forearm activities.

seniorjoggerIt is fine to rest for a few days and modify training to pain-free activities to see how your injury responds. Some training aches such as delayed onset muscle soreness will improve, and athletes may quickly resume high intensity training. If pain persists, see a sports medicine physician or physical therapist.

“It’s important to remember that when you see world-class or elite-level athletes, they have done a lot of extra work in training to get where they are. This includes cross-training, proper dynamic warmups, strengthening and flexibility work, preventative exercises, core fitness and corrective exercises focused on the weakest elements of their kinetic chains,” Shybut said.

It’s also important to understand your fitness program may have relative deficiencies, Shybut said. Common deficient areas include core strength, postural and small muscle groups, endurance and eccentric tolerances. The goal of a good corrective program is to find a way to strengthen the deficient muscles in a way that replicates the activity without the extreme level of stress and build the muscles up so that they are strong enough to handle the actual sport or movement, for example throwers performing a PEP (Prevent Injury and Enhance Performance) program or runners doing eccentric single leg squats.

Proper Technique

Understanding the proper technique for different workouts is key in injury prevention. Using bad form during activities such as squatting can aggravate your knees or strain your back if the body is not properly aligned.

Shybut suggested engaging with a fitness trainer with a strong rehabilitation background when starting a new workout routine.

Too Much To Soon

Shybut said that he often sees injuries when people do too much too soon in a new exercise routine. For example, if you’re starting high-intensity interval training that involves Olympic lifts and sprints, where muscles are maximally engaged, be aware of your baseline fitness first. If you haven’t been working out, start with basic cardiovascular fitness exercises, including walking, biking or swimming. Start weight training with light-resistance exercises to get comfortable with the proper form before you “max out.” Seek out coaching guidance.

“It’s important to know when to stop, and severe pain should be a red flag. While some soreness is normal, the amount of soreness you experience with workouts should decreases as your body adapts. See a sports medicine specialist for evaluation if you experience joint pain, swelling, painful popping or catching, or instability,” Shybut said. “Exercise is medicine, so do exercise and have fun.”

Managing Frequent Nose Bleeds

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Submitted by the Baylor College of Medicine….

BaylorCollegeBloody noses, while incredibly common, are inconvenient and can often be alarming to whoever experiences one. While everyone has their own idea of how to remedy the occasional bloody nose, Baylor College of Medicine’s Dr. Eddie Liou breaks down what is really happening to cause the bleed and how to manage it.

“People of all ages experience nose bleeds, and most are caused by simple dryness due to weather or air conditioning, picking the nose or a trauma event, such as a fall or sports injury, or by predisposed conditions like septal deviation or inflammation due to allergies,” said Liou, assistant professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Baylor. “Though very rare, more serious causes can include growths, tumors or elevated blood pressure. Additionally, older individuals who are on blood thinners may experience more frequent nose bleeds.”

Liou explained that most bleeds happen in the anterior area of the nose, or the cartilaginous portion at the front of the septum.

“The interior lining of the nose can dry out and become brittle and break, much like a chapped lip can split, causing a bleed. Because the blood supply to the nose is so rich, it can take a little longer to subside,” Liou said.

When experiencing a nose bleed, Liou said the best thing to do is to pinch the nostrils together and apply pressure to the flexible, cartilaginous area of the septum, as opposed to the bony bridge of the nose, for about five minutes.

“A common misconception is to pinch the bridge of the nose, but that is not where most bleeds are originating from. People also often ask if they should tilt their head forward or back, which is another misconception. The angle of the head does not have an impact on stopping the bleed, and, conversely, swallowing blood can actually cause nausea,” Liou said.

After applying pressure to stop the bleed, Liou recommends using an over-the-counter decongestant spray, which causes the blood vessels in the lining of the nose to constrict. Moisturize the lining by applying nasal saline followed by petroleum jelly, which can be applied twice a day with a cotton swab.

“If you have a nose bleed lasting longer than an hour, or experience regular nose bleeds over the course of a couple of weeks, it is important to consult your physician, as there might be a bleed in the posterior area of the nose, near the throat, that needs to be cauterized by a doctor,” Liou said.

Kidney Stones: What You Need To Know

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Submitted by the Baylor College of Medicine…..

BaylorCollegeRoughly half a million people – both men and women – will head to the emergency room this year for issues related to kidney stones. A Baylor College of Medicine expert discusses symptoms, treatments and prevention of kidney stones.

 What are Kidney Stones?

“Kidney stones are hard crystalline deposits that are made from the chemicals in urine, and the size can range from a grain of sand to a golf ball,” said Dr. Wesley Mayer, assistant professor of urology at Baylor. He explains that urolithiasis, or kidney stones, is a catchall term used to indicate stones that may be located anywhere in the urinary tract, including the kidney, bladder or ureter.

 Symptoms

One of the most common signs of kidney stones is pain, ranging from mild to extreme. Areas of pain can be variable and can include the front and side of your lower torso, your back, beneath or below your ribs, groin, pelvis, and reproductive organs. The most common pattern, however, is pain that radiates from the back to the groin.

 Other symptoms of kidney stones include:

  • Painful urination, urgency, frequency and pelvic pressure
  • Blood in your urine
  • Fever (see your doctor or an emergency room immediately if fever is accompanied by urinary tract obstruction)
  • Nausea or vomiting

Tests and Treatments

doctorIf you are experiencing the symptoms above, consult your doctor. Imaging methods to test for kidney stones include CT scan, ultrasound and X-ray.

Some urine and blood tests can be used to determine whether you have too much of a particular substance, such as calcium or uric acid in your blood or urine, which can cause kidney stones.

 There are multiple treatment options. One is passing the stone through urination, but there are a few points you must ensure before attempting this:

Good renal function

No infections

Well-controlled pain

Reasonable likelihood of spontaneous stone passage

Able to keep down liquids without vomiting

If you do not pass the checkpoints, you may need surgery to remove the stone. If you have a small stone (less than 1.5 to 2 centimeters), there is shockwave or laser lithotripsy, which breaks up the stone with shockwaves or lasers so the pieces can then be removed. If you have a bigger stone (more than 1.5 to 2 centimeters), there is PCNL (percutaneous lithotomy), a minimally-invasive procedure that allows access to the kidney directly through a small incision in the back and breaks the stone into smaller pieces to be vacuumed out.

Causes and Prevention

According to Dr. Mayer, some medicines can increase the risk of stone formation, including high-dose Vitamin C, Airborne, Emergen-C and Topomax (migraine relief medicine), among others. There also are common dietary causes such as an excessive amount of salt and animal protein consumption, processed foods, underconsumption of fruits and vegetables, and being dehydrated. Make sure to stay hydrated by drinking at least 80-100 fluid ounces of water a day.

Other important tips regarding prevention include:

  • Drink lemon water to help reduce the risk of developing kidney stones.
  • Don’t cut out calcium-rich foods but talk to your doctor before taking a calcium supplement.
  • Consume salt, animal protein and processed food in moderation; target less than 3,000 milligrams of sodium per day. Read food labels to help stay on track.

Sleepless Nights Linked To High Blood Pressure

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Submitted by the University of Arizona News Service…..

mansleepingatdeskA bad night’s sleep may result in a spike in blood pressure that night and the following day, according to new research led by the University of Arizona.

The study, to be published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, offers one possible explanation for why sleep problems have been shown to increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and even death from cardiovascular disease.

The link between poor sleep and cardiovascular health problems is increasingly well-established in scientific literature, but the reason for the relationship is less understood.

Researchers set out to learn more about the connection in a study of 300 men and women, ages 21 to 70, with no history of heart problems. Participants wore portable blood pressure cuffs for two consecutive days. The cuffs randomly took participants’ blood pressure during 45-minute intervals throughout each day and also overnight.

At night, participants wore actigraphy monitors – wristwatch-like devices that measure movement – to help determine their “sleep efficiency,” or the amount of time in bed spent sleeping soundly.

Overall, those who had lower sleep efficiency showed an increase in blood pressure during that restless night. They also had higher systolic blood pressure – the top number in a patient’s blood pressure reading – the next day.

More research is needed to understand why poor sleep raises blood pressure and what it could mean long-term for people with chronic sleep issues. Yet, these latest findings may be an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to understanding the pathway through which sleep impacts overall cardiovascular health.

“Blood pressure is one of the best predictors of cardiovascular health,” said lead study author Caroline Doyle, a graduate student in the UA Department of Psychology. “There is a lot of literature out there that shows sleep has some kind of impact on mortality and on cardiovascular disease, which is the No. 1 killer of people in the country. We wanted to see if we could try to get a piece of that story – how sleep might be impacting disease through blood pressure.”

The study reinforces just how important a good night’s sleep can be. It’s not just the amount of time you spend in bed, but the quality of sleep you’re getting, said study co-author John Ruiz, UA associate professor of psychology.

Improving sleep quality can start with making simple changes and being proactive, Ruiz said.

“Keep the phone in a different room,” he suggested. “If your bedroom window faces the east, pull the shades. For anything that’s going to cause you to waken, think ahead about what you can do to mitigate those effects.”

For those with chronic sleep troubles, Doyle advocates cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, or CBTI, which focuses on making behavioral changes to improve sleep health. CBTI is slowly gaining traction in the medical field and is recommended by both the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine as the first line of treatment for insomnia.

Doyle and Ruiz say they hope their findings – showing the impact even one fitful night’s rest can have on the body – will help illuminate just how critical sleep is for heart health.

“This study stands on the shoulders of a broad literature looking at sleep and cardiovascular health,” Doyle said. “This is one more study that shows something is going on with sleep and our heart health. Sleep is important, so whatever you can do to improve your sleep, it’s worth prioritizing.”

The Top Places You May Forget To Apply Sunscreen

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Submitted by the Baylor College of Medicine…..

sunYou may always wear sunscreen while spending time in the sun, but when it comes to protecting every part of your skin there are certain places that people commonly forget about. Baylor College of Medicine’s Dr. Carina Wasko, associate professor of dermatology, shares the top places people miss when putting on sunscreen and ways to prevent skin cancer and aging.

Tops of ears

When applying sunscreen to the face, people often overlook adding it to their ears as well. This is a common area on which to find precancerous abrasions as well as skin cancers during routine skin cancer screenings, Wasko said. 

“As far as places where people miss their sunscreen on a daily basis, the tops of the ears really come to mind,” Wasko said. “Women who have longer hair and cover them are a little less worrisome, but it is more worrisome for individuals with shorter hair who often forget the tops of their ears.”

Scalp

The scalp is another one of the most frequently missed places to apply sunscreen. While putting sunscreen on your scalp may not always be an option, Wasko recommends wearing a wide brimmed hat whenever you plan on being outside for an extended period of time or keeping your scalp away from direct sunlight.

“Maybe people will wear sunscreen when going out for a run, but on a daily basis it’s hard because people aren’t going to be spraying sunscreen in their hair and also don’t want to necessarily wear a hat,” she said. “You can get a lot of sun damage on the top of your head so that can be a little tricky.”

Hands

It is important to remember your hands when applying sunscreen to your arms or face. Wasko addresses that you should not only apply it while outside, but also when driving because the car windows do not fully block out the sun’s ultraviolet rays. She adds that this is one of the first places people begin to notice signs of aging.

“It’s important to apply it for skin cancer risks but also for photo aging and photo damage,” Wasko said. “A lot of people later on look at their hands and are very disappointed about how much freckling and wrinkling they have – much of that has to do with time spent driving in your car. The top of your hands are getting of sun exposure even if you’re not spending a lot of time outside.”

Forearms

It may be common knowledge to wear sunscreen on your forearms while at the pool or beach, but Wasko explains that this is an area where skin cancers often are found. Like the top of the hands, your forearms are also exposed to the sun while driving or during day-to-day activities. She recommends wearing sunscreen on your hands and forearms whenever you spend anytime outside or even simply driving to work.

“People think, ‘I’m at work and just in my office all day,’ but when you drive a lot of sun comes through the windows,” Wasko said. “Windows do not filter out all UV light, so we get a lot of sun damage, especially on the left side of the body where we drive”

Upper chest

twokidsunAlthough it is relatively common to apply sunscreen to the upper chest, Wasko explains how people tend to forget it on a daily basis. She said it is a frequent area where dermatologists find all types of skin cancers, including melanomas.

Wasko addresses that even when you are not spending time in the sun, it is important to apply sunscreen on those common places that could be exposed during the day, such as the chest, arms and legs.

“We try to really emphasize the importance of wearing sunscreen every day for exposed areas even if you’re just going to work, but if you’re going to be out it’s a different story – you must reapply,” Wasko said.

Since dermatologists check the entire body from head to toe during skin cancer screenings, Wasko stresses the importance of remembering to wear sunscreen every day and thinking about the areas that could be missed. She adds that it is also possible for melanomas and skin cancers to grow on areas of the skin that are not as exposed to the sun.

“Generally, skin cancer screening is from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet,” Wasko said. “People will often think if they don’t get sun exposure they can’t get skin cancer in that area, such as a part of their leg that’s usually covered up or the bottom of their feet, but skin cancers can occur anywhere, even in the areas that don’t get sun.”

Wasko recommends wearing a SPF 30 or above sunscreen even during cloudy or rainy days to prevent skin cancer and aging. If you are outside on a sunny day, it is essential to reapply about every two hours or when you towel off after swimming. For skin cancer screenings, she recommends the average adult visit their dermatologist at least once a year for a routine check.

What To Know About Osteoporosis

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Submitted by the Baylor College of Medicine….

seniorwoman2About 54 million Americans have low bone mass, putting them at risk of developing osteoporosis, which is characterized by bone fragility and discrepancies in both quality and quantity of bone mass in the body. During National Osteoporosis Awareness Month, Baylor College of Medicine’s Dr. Brendan Lee explains the causes and risk factors of osteoporosis.

There are many known genes that contribute to osteoporosis, but there are preventative measures both men and women can take to help protect themselves against the common bone disease, even if genetically predisposed.

“While we know that about 60 percent of bone mass traits are genetic, there are environmental factors, such as physical activity level, vitamin D intake, medications and sun exposure, that can contribute to bone deterioration over time as well,” said Lee, chair and Robert and Janice McNair Endowed Chair and Professor of Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor.

Those at the highest risk for osteoporosis are post- and perimenopausal women, because estrogen is important for maintaining bone density. While more common in women, men also can develop osteoporosis, as well as younger people who have chronic or inflammatory diseases or take certain medications.

To help protect against bone density loss, Lee recommends exercising regularly, not smoking, getting adequate levels of calcium and vitamin D, as well as monitoring bone mass earlier in life, especially if there is a family history of osteoporosis or brittle bones.

“Osteoporosis is essentially a pediatric disease at first onset. Bone mass begins to decline in our 20s, so if it does not reach peak levels before that point, we are starting to decline from an already reduced bone mass level. Losing bone mass from an earlier age and from a lower baseline puts us at risk for osteoporosis later in life,” Lee said.

Warning signs of low bone density include bone pain, curvatures and easy breaks or fractures in adults, and children also may experience slightly stunted growth. Osteoporosis can be measured by a bone density test, which involves a scan, or it can be diagnosed by a physician if the patient experiences frequent fragility fractures.

5 Reasons Why Non-Athletes Should Get Sports Massage Therapy

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By Marc Innes

joggerAthletes know how beneficial sports massage therapy is for their training. Like nutrition, recovery contributes greatly to an athlete’s performance. Sports massages improve flexibility and mobility, and help prevent injury.

Despite what its name implies, sports massage therapy is beneficial for anyone. Because sports massages emphasize injury prevention and aid recovery, anyone who is physically active can experience its benefits. This can be someone who takes a CrossFit class, or a regular gym goer.

But what about non-athletes? Sports massages can also benefit sedentary individuals who find themselves stuck behind a desk for work. Sports massage therapy can address posture problems that occur due to prolonged sitting.

Unlike traditional massages, sports massage therapy targets specific muscle groups. A sports massage therapist will use a combination of massage techniques to target the affected muscle group to promote healing and recovery.

If you have yet to experience the benefits of a sports massage, here are five compelling reasons to give sports massage therapy a try.

Reason 1: It prevents injury.

One of the main reasons to get a sports massage is to prevent injuries. Even if you don’t participate in active exercise, your body can be prone to injury.

Ergonomically incorrect workstations are one of the leading causes of office injuries. A workstation that is awkwardly set up can contribute to neck and back pain. Repetitive tasks typically involved in office work can irritate tendons and result in severe physical injury.

Regular sports massages can reduce muscle fatigue brought on by these repetitive movements.

They can effectively treat soft tissue injuries such as neck and back pain. Sports massage can also address tendon overuse by breaking the scar tissue, improving blood flow and increasing elasticity.

Reason 2: It reduces stress.

Prolonged desk work contributes to psychological issues as well. Stress is more present in our daily lives, negatively affecting our mental health. Chronic stress can disrupt natural body processes.

This can increase the risk of other health problems such as depression, anxiety, and heart disease.

Because sports massage therapy can be used to trigger specific muscle groups, it can be used to relieve tension and decrease stress. A sports massage activates the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation. A relaxed mental state improves workplace productivity.

Reason 3: It increases flexibility and range of motion.

The increased sedentary lifestyle many people lead today is resulting in more people experiencing stiff and tight muscles. Increased muscle tightness limits flexibility and range of motion.

Decreased range of motion can prevent normal functions and increase the risk of muscle injury. This becomes even more problematic as we grow older since the loss of flexibility is part of the normal aging process.

Sports massage therapy is a preventative treatment for reducing restriction and increasing muscle elasticity. Sports massage modalities can manipulate muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other affected areas to initiate movement.

These modalities will have a tremendous effect on the body, increasing tissue elasticity and flexibility.

Reason 4: It provides chronic pain relief.

People who suffer from chronic pain conditions (back pain) or chronic disorders such as fibromyalgia know that there is no cure for such conditions.

While there is no cure for chronic pain, sports massage therapy can be used to alleviate pain and help chronic pain patients get back to normal functions. In conjunction with regular exercise, sports massage therapy can provide pain relief benefits.

Treatment provided by sports massage therapy decreases inflammation and reduces stress and anxiety. This is particularly helpful for specific chronic disorders like fibromyalgia or arthritis knee pain.

stressedwomanReason 5: It alleviates chronic tension headaches.

Tension headaches can severely interfere with your daily life. Chronic tension headaches can limit productivity in the workplace and affect other areas of your life. Since tension headaches are a common form of head pain, treatment usually involves pharmaceutical drugs.

Sports massage therapy provides the same relief as its pharmaceutical counterpart, without the side effects. Regular sessions of sports massage therapy can relieve muscle tension and postural alignment issues. Both are contributing factors of tension headaches.

By focusing on trigger points, sports massage therapy can eliminate pain sensations associated with tension headaches. It also addresses chronic neuromuscular stimulation, a symptom of tension headaches.

Enhance your daily life with sports massage therapy

While sports massage therapy is traditionally geared towards athletes, non-athletes can also benefit. Even if you have limited physical activity, the therapeutic techniques found in sports massage therapy can address numerous physiological and psychological issues.

If the majority of your day involves long hours of sitting or standing, a professional sports massage therapist can get your body back to performing at optimal levels.

– Marc Innes is the Owner and Principal of the School of Natural Therapies, a training school for Massage & Holistic Therapies located in London. Marc began his career in the NHS, working in a number of managerial and training roles within the Ambulance Service in London. He spent much of that time educating and coaching medical staff. Over time, he developed an interest in all things complementary to Allopathic Medicine, in particular, Reiki Healing and EFT, which culminated in running a successful teaching and ‘energy healing’ practice. Marc is passionate about the massage and complementary therapy industry.

How Stress Can Affect Your Sleep

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Submitted by the Baylor College of Medicine….

stressStress not only harms your well-being but it also can prevent you from getting a reasonable amount of sleep. A Baylor College of Medicine sleep expert explains how stress can interfere with your nighttime schedule and ways you can sleep more when life becomes busy.  

“Stress can affect sleep in different ways,” said Dr. Annise Wilson, assistant professor of neurology and of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine. “What we commonly see is insomnia.”  

Wilson explains that people who are stressed think excessively about responsibilities such as work, family and finances. For teens and young adults in school, this stress often focuses on exams and other important assignments. When one attempts to fall asleep, those thoughts continue and cause numerous disruptions in sleep patterns.  

“High levels of stress impair sleep by prolonging how long it takes to fall asleep and fragmenting sleep. Sleep loss triggers our body’s stress response system, leading to an elevation in stress hormones, namely cortisol, which further disrupts sleep,” Wilson explained. “Research has shown that sleep plays an important role in learning and memory. Chronic sleep deprivation also has been associated with decreased metabolism and endocrine dysfunction. ” 

It can be difficult to reach the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep when your mind is still active from daily responsibilities. Modifying your nighttime behaviors are the first step to feeling less stressed in the evenings and being able to fall asleep more efficiently, Wilson said. 

“Stimulus control therapy and improving sleep hygiene are well-validated methods to enhance sleep,” Wilson said. “If you find it difficult to turn your mind off, one technique we recommend is jotting down your thoughts before bed. Also, there are a lot of apps that can guide you through meditation and breathing exercises.” 

She also advises relaxing activities such as warm baths and yoga before bed to help you wind down after a long day. Other factors that can impact your sleep include screen time before bed, drinking caffeine late in the evening and excessive light exposure in the bedroom.  

“Creating an optimal sleep environment is crucial,” Wilson said. “One modern issue is the blue light emitted from smartphones, tablets and other electronics, because that particular wavelength is quite activating and can affect melatonin secretion. There are blue light filter apps available, and on the iPhone there is a pre-installed setting to eliminate it. But ideally, just limit screen time.” 

stresssleepingWilson also advises carving out a sufficient amount of time for sleep and finding ways to offload daytime responsibilities when possible, such as using delivery services and strategic planning. She also notes the importance of keeping a consistent sleep schedule throughout the week by sleeping the same hours on weekdays and weekends.   

While insomnia can be caused by excessive stress, Wilson notes that insomnia also can be related to other medical conditions, such as superimposed sleep apnea, mood disorders and chronic pain.

Not receiving an adequate amount of sleep throughout the night can cause daytime impairment, Wilson said, which can be dangerous when driving or operating heavy machinery. While many attempt over-the-counter remedies such as melatonin to address their sleeping troubles, Wilson advises visiting a professional when significant daytime impairment occurs or insomnia becomes a long-standing.

 

ACSM Publishes Science Behind The Updated Physical Activity Guidelines For Americans

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From The American College of Sports Medicine…..

joggersThe American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) today published a collection of 14 new pronouncements that present the science behind the updated Physical Activity Guidelines released in November 2018. Authored primarily by ACSM subject matter experts, each pronouncement addresses a specific topic, sharing the scientific evidence and identifying key knowledge gaps for future research to address. The “Scientific Pronouncements: Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd Edition” collection is published in ACSM’s flagship research journal, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise®.

“Publishing these papers aligns with ACSM’s mission to advance and integrate scientific research to improve education and the practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine. It also gives us an opportunity to highlight the innovative research and collaboration of our members,” said ACSM President-elect and Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee member William E. Kraus, M.D., FACSM. “While the Physical Activity Guidelines rightfully receive a great deal of attention, the research evidence underlying them doesn’t. The translated research will help people worldwide be more active, combat chronic disease and ultimately live longer, healthier lives.”

Authors used best practice methodology to conduct the scientific reviews. This is a multistep process that includes identifying specific questions to answer, developing criteria, conducting systematic searches, reviewing evidence, assessing quality and composing a comprehensive summary. The steps mirror what ACSM uses to develop its own position stands and newer umbrella reviews. This methodology ensures the reviews accurately represent the science and reflect the current state of knowledge.

Topics addressed in the pronouncements range from the relationships between physical activity and health outcomes like cancer, cognition, hypertension, pregnancy and aging to specific physical activity metrics like daily step counts, activity bout duration and high intensity interval training (HIIT).

Health care and fitness professionals as well as basic and applied scientists can use the pronouncements to identify gaps in literature and plan future research projects. They can also cite the pronouncements as current evidence in research papers and grant applications. Additionally, the information can inform the development and delivery of effective interventions.

seniorjogger“ACSM is thrilled to bring these noteworthy papers together in one collection that is freely available for members and the public,” added Kraus. “Having all of the papers in one place provides health care and fitness professionals, as well as basic and applied scientists, with the information they need for day-to-day work with clients, teaching students or with patients in a clinical setting.”

In addition to the U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Report—Introduction, titles included in the ACSM Scientific Pronouncements: Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans collection are:

  • Daily Step Counts for Measuring Physical Activity Exposure and Its Relation to Health
  • Association between Bout Duration of Physical Activity and Health: Systematic Review
  • High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for Cardiometabolic Disease Prevention
  • Sedentary Behavior and Health: Update from the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee
  • Physical Activity, Cognition and Brain Outcomes: A Review of the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines
  • Physical Activity in Cancer Prevention and Survival: A Systematic Review
  • Physical Activity and the Prevention of Weight Gain in Adults: A Systematic Review
  • Physical Activity, All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality, and Cardiovascular Disease
  • Physical Activity and Health in Children under 6 Years of Age: A Systematic Review
  • The Benefits of Physical Activity during Pregnancy and Postpartum: An Umbrella Review
  • Physical Activity, Injurious Falls and Physical Function in Aging: An Umbrella Review
  • Physical Activity to Prevent and Treat Hypertension: A Systematic Review
  • Effects of Physical Activity in Knee and Hip Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Umbrella Review
  • Physical Activity Promotion: Highlights from the 2018 PAGAC Systematic Review

View and download the collection of scientific pronouncements at www.acsm.org/pagpros2019.

About the American College of Sports Medicine
The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 50,000 international, national and regional members are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to improve educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine. More details can be found at www.acsm.org.