Pets Can Boost Your Mood and Ease Your Pain

If you’re a pet lover, you know that spending time with a beloved cat, dog, rabbit or other pet can lift your mood, but science shows it has real physical and mental health benefits, too. Studies show that spending as little as five or 10 minutes with a pet can help lower stress and anxiety, relieve loneliness and reduce pain and depression.  Continue reading Pets Can Boost Your Mood and Ease Your Pain

Come Clean To Your Doctor

If you’ve ever told a white lie to your doctor – or just didn’t tell the whole truth – you’re not alone.

A recent study in JAMA Network Open found that the majority of the 4,500 patients studied withheld information from their physicians. Those with more health problems were even less likely to be completely open; for example, by not admitting they didn’t understand instructions, they disagreed with their doctors’ advice or they didn’t take medication as prescribed. That’s a problem.   Continue reading Come Clean To Your Doctor

5 Global Grains to Add Healthy Variety to Your Plate

Eating fewer refined grains and more whole grains has many potential benefits, like helping lower inflammatory markers in the blood and promote weight loss. But if you’re tired of brown rice and whole wheat bread, diversify your wholegrain portfolio. These varieties from around the world pack a nutritious, flavorful punch.  Continue reading 5 Global Grains to Add Healthy Variety to Your Plate

Best Foods to Eat Before, During and After Your Exercise Routine

Want to make the most of your workout? Fuel up with the right foods. “What you eat and drink can affect how you feel and how quickly you recover,” says Sonya Angelone, a San Franciscobased registered dietitian who works with athletes. Here’s her advice on what to have before, during and after exercise.  Continue reading Best Foods to Eat Before, During and After Your Exercise Routine

Gardening Solutions for Achy Joints

Gardening boosts your mood and fitness, but it can be tough on your body. The right tools and moves can reduce the stress on your joints, says Amy Wagenfeld, associate professor of occupational therapy at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. This spring, tend to your green thumb – and your arthritis – with these simple solutions.  Continue reading Gardening Solutions for Achy Joints

What You Should Know About the Latest Fitness Fad: Stretching Gyms

While stretching is an important part of any workout, fitness studios known as stretching gyms make it the focus. Stretching instructors help lengthen and loosen muscles, either working one-on-one with clients and physically adding gentle pressure to deepen stretches, or by guiding a class through a series of stretches with props, such as foam rollers and bands. 

“There’s no question that stretching benefits people with arthritis,” says Cory Feger, a physical therapist in Louisville, Kentucky. “It improves range of motion, lubricates joints and increases blood flow to muscles.” But are these new gyms and classes safe for people with arthritis? While they can be useful, Feger recommends proceeding with caution. Here’s how: 

  1. ASK INSTRUCTORS ABOUT THEIR QUALIFICATIONS. What’s their background and experience working with people who have arthritis? Many instructors are personal trainers, massage therapists or yoga instructors but may not have experience with arthritis or chronic pain patients. 
  2. ALWAYS WARM UP FIRST. This allows deeper stretches for a longer period of time and decreases the risk of injury. Get moving with light exercise, such as walking. Or do dynamic stretches, such as leg swings and arm circles, which prepare your body for specific movements. 
  3. GO AT YOUR OWN PACE. Don’t try to keep up with everyone else in a class. “You don’t want to overdo it,” says Julie Jasontek, a physical therapist and supervisor of rehabilitation services at Mercy Health in Cincinnati. This may lead to an injury, such as a strained muscle. 
  4. AVOID BOUNCING. To lengthen muscle fibers and increase flexibility, hold each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds, then releasand repeat. These are called static stretches. 
  5. DO STATIC STRETCHES AFTER WORKING OUT. After exercise, muscles are warmed up. Stretching also boosts circulation. As part of a cooldown, it also lowers your heart rate, which may help aid recovery. 
  6.  DON’T PUSH TOO HARD. Mild discomfort is normal, but stop if you feel a sharp or intense pain. 
  7. MAKE IT A REGULAR HABIT. To increase flexibility, stretch at least five times a week. 

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