Category Archives: Fitness | Exercise

Quick Fix for Life’s Embarrassing Health Conditions

Itchy Man Cartoon_AdobeStock_85546839If you’ve ever had an annoying bout of athlete’s foot, jock itch, ringworm, or a vaginal yeast infection, blame it on fungus. Fungus, you say? Wait a minute… you had mushrooms on your salad last night. Aren’t they a form of fungus? Yep. A fungus is actually a primitive vegetable, just like mushrooms.

Fungi (pronounced fuhn-jahy), the plural for fungus, live and reproduce in the air, in soil and water, on plants… and on YOU. Those embarrassing health conditions mentioned above are caused by an excessive amount of fungus growing on the surface of your skin. Think of that fuzzy green mold that grows on decaying old fruit hiding in the back of your frig or the mildew that grows on shower walls. Same idea.

Please Don’t Pass the Fungi

Fungi reproduce through tiny spores in the air. That means, you can inhale the spores or they can land on you! As a result, fungal infections often begin in your lungs or on your skin. That means they’re easy to get and PASS AROUND.

Only half of them are harmful, but they can be annoying, itchy and difficult to kill. If you have a circulation problem, weakened immune system, diabetes, or take antibiotics, you may be more likely to get a fungal infection. (Antibiotics may disrupt the balance of natural microflora in your system which causes fungi to overpopulate.) It’s important to get treatment at the first sign of a problem.

Where They Thrive

Fungi will grow on anything and can multiple in enormous mass. They grow best in areas that are warm, dark and damp, such as:

  • Locker rooms
  • Exercise machines that haven’t been disinfected after use
  • Boxing gloves
  • Shared towels, clothing or footwear (e.g., rental bowling shoes, ski boots, ice skates, or roller skates)
  • Tanning beds
  • Skin folds
  • Toenails and fingernails
  • Plastic gloves

Treatment

In healthy people, fungi don’t spread beyond the skin’s surface, so they’re easy to treat with a topical ointment. But for a serious and more persistent infection, you may have to take an oral antifungal medication.

Get Out of Gross Gear

Since I’m always encouraging you to exercise which involves some degree of sweat, be aware that fungi grow in sweaty gear. Here are a few antifungal fitness tips:    Continue reading

Weight Train After Your Heart Attack and Live Longer

Man has heart attack

After your heart attack or some other “cardiac event”, such as a coronary artery bypass graft and/or stent placement, you may have received conflicting advice as to what level of activity is acceptable. Some of the things you may have heard are:

  • Don’t lift anything over 5 lbs.
  • Don’t lift anything over 10 lbs. “for a while”.
  • Don’t lift anything for a week.
  • Don’t drive more than 30 minutes.
  • Don’t “get exhausted” for a month.
  • Don’t exercise for a few weeks.
  • Don’t lift over 5 lbs. for a period of time — or ever.
  • Go back to whatever you were doing before.

These guidelines can be confusing and promote anxiety and inactivity. Physicians generally prescribe aerobic/endurance exercise, such as walking, to strengthen your cardiorespiratory system, but in order to return to activities of daily living (ADLs), resistance training is necessary to accomplish everyday tasks, such as:

  • Mowing the lawn
  • Vacuuming
  • Carrying your children, groceries, or suitcase
  • Loading and unloading the trunk of a car/truck
  • Bending over to pick up the newspaper or toys off the floor
  • Lifting your grandchildren
  • Placing or removing items from a high shelf
  • Closing the trunk of a car or van
  • Opening a heavy door (e.g., door of a car, building, refrigerator, freezer, or dishwasher)

Resistance training enables you to perform these daily tasks safely, independently and more efficiently. By having a stronger musculoskeletal system, you decrease the cardiac demands of daily activities and increase your endurance capacity for other activities. Strength training has also been shown to maintain and build stronger bones as well as slow or prevent bone loss. A strong structure will reduce your risk for developing other debilitating diseases (e.g., osteoporosis) and ultimately help you live a longer, stronger and happier life.

Grandparents And Grandson Playing Game Indoors TogetherMuscular strength and endurance are important to prevent falls and safely return to vocational and recreational activities as well as activities of daily living. Most people need to do some type of lifting, carrying, or pushing in their daily routine. Your body has nine (9) fundamental human movement patterns. The foundation of your workouts should develop these movements:    Continue reading

How’s Your New Year’s Resolution Working for You?

exercise new year_600x600_dollarphotoclub_73123624If you made a promise to exercise more starting on the first of the year, three months have now passed. If you enthusiastically invested in the latest and greatest home fitness equipment or a membership at the nearest gym, how many hours have you logged in so far?

If you’ve had trouble sticking with your exercise regimen because it’s become too hard, too boring or just too _____ (you fill in the blank), here’s a New Year’s Resolution ‘addendum’ that may help.    Continue reading

Motivation… What Makes You Move?

balance strong man
If you have trouble sticking to your exercise program, and it’s not due to a lack of desire to get fit, then it could be because the exercise doesn’t fit your personality. Everyone has their own exercise goals and needs, that is, everyone has their own ‘fitness personality’.

Here are five distinct fitness personality types:

  1. Predictable
  2. Methodical
  3. Competitive
  4. Social
  5. Dynamic

#1 – Predictable

  • Thrives on routine
  • Is a reliable, independent and stable exerciser
  • Goes to the gym and develops rigid schedules and regimes

Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: Due to the lack of variation in your exercise program, you may hit a plateau by doing the same routine and become frustrated. By incorporating resistance, circuit or high intensity interval training and/or adding new activities each week, the positive physical changes may help reboot your enthusiasm.    Continue reading

♥ Daily Dose | Golf and Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Did You Know…

golf-course-landscape_PDGolf courses are the fifth most common place for people to suffer from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). SCA is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops functioning. According to the American Heart Association, a golfer is one of over 380,000 people in the United States each year to suffer from out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest… and less than seven percent survive. The other four most common places for SCA are airports, shopping malls, stadiums, and jails.

How to Be Prepared

The worst case scenario is having a cardiac event on a distant hole. On your next golf outing, it’s a good idea to do the following when you schedule your tee-off time:   Continue reading

♥ Daily Dose | Why You Need a Strong Core

If you were to ask how you could quickly reverse the aging process, I would suggest you start by developing your “core”. Your core spans muscles, bones, and joints in your abdomen, back, buttocks, sides, and hips/pelvis. Weak, tight or unbalanced core muscles can affect your ability to move, work, function independently and enjoy physical activities.

The major core muscles to strengthen are your:

  1. Abdominals – Stabilize your core, twist your trunk, and allow you to bend forward at the waist and to each side.
  2. Back – Stabilize your core and allow you to straighten up, bend backward, forward, and to each side.
  3. Hip Adductors – Pull your thigh towards the midline of your body.
  4. Hip Flexors or “Iliopsoas” – Stabilize/rotate your pelvis, stabilize your body when you stand, and allow you to bend at the waist and hike up each leg.
  5. Gluteals or “glutes”(a.k.a. your rear end) – Extend/rotate your hip, rotate/abduct your thigh. (Abductors push your thigh away from the midline of your body.)

Why You Need a Strong, Stable Core:

  • Heart Running on TreadmillMakes it possible to stand upright and move on two feet which enhances your balance and stability.
  • Is essential to sit and move (e.g., walk, jump, dance, and run).
  • Helps prevent falls.
  • Distributes the stresses of weight bearing which protects your back and reduces back pain.
  • Improves athletic performance. (Powerful, rapid muscle contractions start from the center of your body out.)
  • Improves posture.
  • Enhances arm and leg function which helps build powerful arms and legs.   Continue reading

♥ Daily Dose | Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)

Arterial BlockageWhen you walk or climb stairs, do you have… cramping, pain, aching, or tiredness in the muscles of your calves, thighs, buttocks, or hips? If so, you could have peripheral arterial disease (PAD), a narrowing of arteries (blockages) in your pelvis and legs.

Other symptoms can include:

  • Leg numbness or weakness
  • Cold legs or feet
  • Sores on lower extremities that won’t heal
  • Toenail color change

When PAD worsens, it’s typical to develop ‘exertional leg pain’, a symptom known as claudication. It occurs when you’re exerting yourself and feels like a muscle cramp. These symptoms usually go away after resting, but return when you walk again.

Do NOT try to “walk off the pain” or “tough it out”. Your limbs need to reoxygenate. Claudication does NOT go away if you continue to walk — it is only relieved by rest. 

The pain is no different from ischemia (lack of oxygen) of your heart in that the delivery of oxygen does not meet the metabolic oxygen demand of working muscles. What makes it worse when you’re walking is your blood has to move ‘upstream’ through narrowed arteries in your lower extremities to get back to your heart for more oxygen.   Continue reading

Healthy Veins for a Healthy Heart

Nearly sixty percent of men suffer from varicose veins, so it’s not just a problem for women. These ballooned veins develop a gnarled bluish/brown appearance, but they’re not just a cosmetic concern.

Varicose veins afflict young men as well as grandmas

Varicose veins afflict young men as well as grandmas

These weak bulging vessels can rupture and bleed as well as cause swelling and throbbing which can cut into your daily activities.

To avoid varicose veins, exercise. It’ll keep your vessels strong which will promote healthy venous return and cardiac output. Poor cardiac output results in an inadequate delivery of oxygen to your muscles and vital organs.

Be sure your exercise routine involves working out the often neglected, but very important, calf muscles. Gravity causes blood to pool in your legs which expands the vein walls. Sitting or standing for long periods exaggerates this problem and over time, the veins don’t return to their taut condition.

When your calf muscles contract, they actually act as a ‘pump’ and are essential for maintaining blood flow from your legs back up to your heart. Keep the blood vessels in your lower extremities in optimal condition with the following six exercises:   Continue reading

The Health Reporter Now on Evōx Television Network

Karen Owoc, The Health Reporter, can now be seen on the Evōx Television Network. Karen’s article and appearance on the Jen and Barb Mom Life Show discussing “How Active Do Your Kids Need to Be?” can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/1cS0T5C

Evōx is a new kind of television — the next evolution in entertainment — that puts caring about the planet and the people at the center of what they do. They are an online entertainment television network and a conscious marketplace with original television programming on health, wellness, global and social issues, food, wine, travel, community projects, and conscious consumerism. Evōx Television inspires positive changes in the way people live and work.

Gluten-Free for Getting Fit

291961-New_certified_gluten_free_label_has_stringent_audit_and_review_processMore and more gluten-free products are taking up valuable real estate on grocery and health food store shelves. This is great news for people who suffer from celiac disease and cannot eat foods that contain gluten. But many people who do not have the disease perceive a gluten-free diet as healthier and for that reason, gluten-free diets have become a growing lifestyle trend.

Why Go Gluten Free

This diet excludes all foods that contain gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, malts, and triticale. The G-free up side is that this diet is essential for people with celiac disease or a gluten allergy or sensitivity. By eliminating gluten from the diet, many popular processed snack foods, cookies and cakes that are high in calories and void of nutrients are off limits. Note that opting to drop junk food from your diet alone can make your feel better, but it’s not necessarily because you’ve eliminated gluten.   Continue reading