Tag Archives: Physical exercise

Some Health Advices

No time to exercise :
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Many peaple say that they donot have any time to exercise but everyone (irrespective of age) should do some form of exercise regularly to mainten good health and less sufferings from ailments.There is a saying “people who donot have time to exercise will have much more time to suffer from illness”

Walking or skiping are very good exercises. There are several innovative ways to skip — using one leg, two legs, alternating legs. That makes in interesting.

Continuous stair climbing for 15 minutes, up and down, not 15 times but 15 minutes. One thing one must do to wear good supportive footwear for these activities. You also need to stretch before and after.

Girl aged 16 years has not yet started getting her periods:
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Usually, if the height, weight and other physical characteristics (figure) are normal, you can wait until the age of 18 years to see if she matures. If you are worried, you can do an endocrinology work up and a scan of the pelvic organs. If there is any specific defect, an endocrinologist will be able to treat it.

Cat bites or scratches:
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Cat bites are as dangerous as dog bites because cats can also transmit rabies. If you get bitten by an animal, clean the wound well with soap and water. You need to take a tetanus booster, and anti rabies injections. You need the post exposure schedule, which consists of five injections. The newer vaccines do not hurt, are given in the upper arm (deltoid) and not around the navel or in the buttock. They are available in private clinics, pharmacies and hospitals. You do not have to go to a government hospital.

Back ache:
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Sometimes if the bed or mattress is not ideal — too soft, too hard, lumpy — this can happen. Try sleeping on a mat on the floor for a few days. If this does not help then you need to consult a doctor to evaluate your spine.

To Prevent UTI:
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Women tend to develop urinary tract infection (UTI) more frequently than men. The problem is anatomical. The urethra is shorter and has only a single valve. It is situated close to the anal opening where there are a lot of potentially infective bacteria. A few preventive measures will help: drink 3-4 litres of water a day, empty your bladder before and after intercourse and lean backwards while passing urine to reduce the angulation between urethra and bladder.
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Period pain:
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You need to consult a gynaecologist and get an ultrasound scan of the pelvis done. If everything is normal, you just need a painkiller like mefenemic acid on the days that you have pain. If there is anything wrong, the gynaecologist will be able to advice you.

If there are no abnormalities, pain during periods will reduce with regular exercise.

Resources: The Telegraph,(Kolkata, India)

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Minimum Amount of Exercise Needed To Keep A Person Fit

 

When an extensive study was done in Taiwan on 4,20,000 randomly selected adults (men and women) for 10 years,  it was found that compared with individuals in a totally inactive control group, those in the low-volume activity group, (who exercised for an average of 92 minutes per week) had a 14 per cent reduced risk of all-cause mortality and a three year longer life expectancy. Every additional 15 minutes of daily exercise beyond the minimum amount of 15 minutes a day further reduced all-cause mortality by 4 per cent and all-cancer mortality by 1 per cent. These benefits were applicable to all age groups and both sexes. So the minimum required is probably 15 minutes a day (90 minutes a week) of moderate-intensity exercise.
CLICK   &   READ    :  Fun ways to keep fit in your office

Source: Published in The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Some Health Quaries & Answers

Fight that fever :
Q: I read in the newspaper that there is a lot of flu around. I am worried as I get sick every winter.

A: There is an epidemic of influenza. It is especially dangerous in the paediatric and geriatric age groups. Medication called Tamiflu is available to treat flu once it has developed. If you have been prescribed this medication, please remember to take the entire course. Ideally, it should be given twice a day for five days.

Flu can be prevented with a readily available vaccine, which needs to be taken as a single injection and provides protection for six months. Hopefully by that time the flu season will be over.

Ankle ache


Q: I twisted my ankle a year ago. After that I found that if I skid while walking, I tend to sprain it repeatedly. This is very painful.

A: There are ligaments around the ankle joint that should hold it firmly in place. Once you sprain your ankle, the ligaments become stretched and weakened. A slight slip will cause injury and pain. You need to go to a physiotherapist and learn ankle-strengthening exercises. It may make sense to wear an ankle support for a couple of months to prevent slips and strains.

Best exercise :

Q: What is the best exercise to do? There is so much conflicting advice that I am confused.

A: Ideal exercise really depends on how much time you have on your hands. Theoretically you need to do an hour of running or jogging and 20 minutes of stretching. Most people cannot spare that much time. If you are confined to a limited space and cannot go outdoors you could do the same amount of exercise using a stationary exercise cycle, rowing machine or treadmill. But, to make whatever exercise you do more efficient, increase the intensity for 6 minutes and then decrease it for 6. A slow one-hour stroll will improve your health significantly but these variations and additions will add benefit.

Sports physicians have come to the conclusion that the “Burpee” is the best exercise. It involves a squat, followed by a push-up and a leap into the air. Doing about 20 of them is ideal.

Clotty truth

Q: I am going to have cataract surgery and I am on 75mg aspirin once a day. The doctor asked me to “stop it before surgery” but did not specify for how long I should do so. Also should I take clopidogrel instead?

A: Aspirin and clopidogrel have similar actions. Both prevent platelets from sticking together and increase the time taken by blood to clot. You need to stop both for a week before surgery.

Kids and TV

Q: How much television should I allow my children to watch?

A: Television is a free baby sitter. You can place your child in front of it and have some quiet time for yourself. However, more and more studies have shown that television is detrimental for the social and cognitive brain development of the child. The rapidly flashing images deplete brain chemicals. Memory becomes poor and school performance suffers. The educative programmes and channels too have the same effect. Children learn far more from playing with their peers and having books read to them.

Hookah harm:

Q: I found a hookah bar near my college. My friends said it is smokeless tobacco and hence not harmful. Is it true?

A: Hookahs use specially treated flavoured tobacco and then pass the smoke through water. This does not do much to reduce the health risks. The cancer causing chemicals and nicotine are still present in high concentrations. Also since the smoking sessions last longer (an hour or so) the total amount of these poisonous substances inhaled may actually be proportionately greater. The risks for throat and lung cancer remain the same.

Jogging in pregnancy :

Q: Is running during pregnancy safe? Recently I read an article about a woman who completed a marathon and then delivered. But my parents worry even if I walk.

A: The marathon woman obviously was a regular runner with a well-conditioned physique. The dangers in exercising vigorously are dehydration (which will adversely affect the baby) and falls, which may result in injury. If you have not been advised to take bed-rest then try walking for a half hour in the morning and evening. It will build stamina, strengthen your leg muscles and help you have an easy delivery.

Groin pain :

Q: I have pain on the right side of my groin if I cough or sneeze. Do I need to worry?

A: You might be developing a hernia. You need to consult a surgeon.

Sources: The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Learn to Walk

Do you know how to walk? Of course, most people would say, everyone knows how to walk; it is as instinctive as breathing. The comparison is apt — just like many people breathe inefficiently, in today’s increasingly motorised world many have forgotten how to walk. If you look around, you will see that by the time people reach their fifties, they either waddle with a sideways swaying movement or have a forward shuffling gait. This unnatural way of walking pushes the spine, hip and knees out of alignment, eventually resulting in aches, pains and even degenerative arthritis.

As we grow older, we need to concentrate on maintaining a proper walking technique. Slouching, bad posture and an improper gait are avoidable pitfalls. Whenever you walk, hold your head high and the neck straight. The eyes should be focused 15-20 feet ahead, the chin held parallel to the ground, the stomach pulled in, the feet a shoulder-width apart and the arms should swing naturally at right angles (not across the body).

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It is even more important to learn to walk properly as a toddler but cramped housing and an unsafe environment makes fearful parents confine children indoors. Also, early unsteady steps often result in falls, leading to bruises and bumps. Anxious parents then start carrying children or restrict them to prams. Watching television programmes seems safer and less stressful (for the caretaker) than letting tiny tots walk around.

That, however, is not the right attitude. Toddlers attempting to take their first steps need active encouragement. Hold them by the hand and make them walk alongside for around 20 minutes morning and evening. Encourage them to walk fast, run, jump and skip. This will improve muscle tone, balance, coordination as well as make them confident and sturdy. This will help them all through life.

The preparation for a healthy life in which one (barring an unforeseen event) remains active and mobile well into the nineties, should ideally begin in the twenties but it is never too late to start. Even the sixties or the eighties is not too late. These days doctors recommend an hour of aerobic activity a day. Of all the activities — jogging, walking, running swimming, dancing and sports like tennis — walking is the easiest. It does not require much training or equipment, no partner is required, and it is the least likely to cause an injury.

The intensity or speed of the walk can be varied to obtain maximum health benefits. The perception of the intensity of exercise can be misleading. This is why it is important to have an objective assessment. The “target heart rate” should be calculated from the formula 220-age. In light activity, 40 per cent of this heart rate is reached, breathing is normal, sweating is minimal and it is possible to carry on a conversation. In moderate activity, 50-70 per cent of the target heart rate is reached, breathing is rapid, sweating occurs and it is possible to speak but not sing. During vigorous activity 70-80 per cent of the target rate is reached, breathing is rapid and it is not possible to speak without pausing for breath. The intensity of exercise should be gradually built up over a period of months to the “vigorous stage” as this confers the most health benefits.

It is important to wear seamless socks (will not injure the feet) and proper footwear while walking. Slippers slap up against the heel. After many kilometres, this is likely to result in heel pain. Clothes should be loose and made out of natural or “climate controlled” material, not tight fitting synthetic and non sweat absorbing.

In 10-15 per cent of people over the age of 65, walking can result in a pain radiating down the leg or in the buttock or calf. After a period of rest, the pain disappears. This is a condition called intermittent claudication and is caused by poor blood supply to the leg muscles. It can occur in diabetes, hypertension and if cholesterol plaques block the vessels owing to elevated lipids .It can be a precursor to strokes and heart attacks. Intermittent claudication responds 250 per cent within a few months to walking for at least an hour a day with rest whenever the pain arises.

People who walk regularly get an endorphin (mood-elevating chemical) boost. The constant pounding helps calcium enter their bones making them stronger. Recent research has shown that the hippocampus (the area in the brain responsible for memory) expands by as much as 2 per cent in people who walk regularly. In sedentary elders it shrank by 1.5 per cent.

Have a clear aim, like eventually being able to walk for an hour. Make walking a habit, beginning each day with the thought “when I finish my walk,” rather than “if I walk today”. In short, walk to be fit, healthy, happy and to have a good memory.

Source : The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Calcium Every Day Keeps Fractures Away

Debility, illness and loss of independence are assumed to be an inevitable part of ageing. In  Indian society , where there are no health benefits and minimal social security, old age can be frightening. Unfortunately, young people do not realise that if they take remedial action, some of the incapacitating changes of ageing like osteoporosis are preventable.

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Osteoporosis occurs because of calcium deficiency the bones became fragile and brittle. This means that the slightest trauma can lead to a fracture. In India, the incidence of osteoporosis is high and, with our ageing population, it will only climb.

Patients do not realise that anything is wrong until the first fracture. The trauma that caused the break need not be severe; a trivial fall may be sufficient. The commonest sites are the wrist and the hip. Treatment usually requires setting the bone surgically and screwing it into place. Healing is a long-drawn-out and painful process. Fear of surgery may lead people to native bonesetters, who set fractures with bandages and egg whites. But these ancient treatments are not successful in osteoporosis, especially when the fracture occurs in a deep-seated bone like the hip.

Apart from fractures, early signs of osteoporosis are a decrease in height as the spinal vertebrae grind into each other. This also results in a stooped appearance with a “dowager’s hump”.

The only way to avoid osteoporosis is to have enough calcium, which is necessary not only for healthy bones but also for the proper functioning of cells and enzymes. If there isn’t enough calcium in the blood, the body gets it from the bones. If this calcium is not replaced, the bones become increasingly fragile. Bones are built up in childhood, adolescence and the early twenties. So it should be ensured that the body gets enough calcium during this period. The final strength of the bones is determined by genes but diet and lifestyle can modify this.

The body gets calcium from dairy products such as milk and cheese (processed as well as cottage). Other calcium-rich foods are sardines, custard apples and green leafy vegetables. To absorb dietary calcium, the body also needs 400 IU of vitamin D, 400mg of magnesium and 110 micrograms of vitamin K. The skin can synthesise sufficient vitamin D from sunlight but the problem is that most people either work indoors or use sunscreen and umbrellas. The other source of vitamins is green leafy vegetables. However, the requisite amounts of these vitamins are usually not available in a normal diet. Therefore, you need calcium supplements, most of which contain additional vitamins and minerals to aid absorption.

Calcium supplements are best absorbed if taken after meals in 500mg doses several times a day. Other minerals such as iron and zinc interfere with calcium absorption. Even though many people need supplements of all these elements, they have to be given separately or at least 12 hours apart. A common mistake is to try and combine all these ingredients into one giant biologically ineffective capsule or tablet.

The other thing that can interfere with calcium absorption is too much protein, caffeine (coffee and cola) or alcohol in the diet. There is a demonstrated difference between the bone density of people who drink colas every day and those who drink it once a month.

Osteoporosis can also occur as a side effect of medication like corticosteroids (called secondary osteoporosis). These are prescribed for ailments such as arthritis or asthma and patients are sometimes not aware that they have been given steroids on a long-term basis. Sometimes, it is part of the unlabeled medication dispensed by practitioners of alternative medicine.

Some antacids contain aluminium, which acts as “bone poison” and interferes with the incorporation of calcium into the bones, increasing the risk of osteoporosis. Thyroid disorders or malfunctioning parathyroid glands can also increase the risk of developing the disease. Lactose (milk) intolerance results in an inadequate intake of milk and dairy products with subsequent calcium deficiency.

It is never too late to contain osteoporosis. Physical activity helps bones retain and even gain density all through life. Effective exercises are running, jogging, skipping, stair-climbing, tennis and badminton. Exercise also improves muscle strength and coordination so that falls and injuries are less. One should exercise for an hour every day, all through life. Although exercise at any age is a boon to health, to build bone strength one needs to be regular and consistent.

Daily calcium requirement

• 1-3 yr: 700mg
• 4-8 yr: 1,000mg
• 10-20 yr: 1,300mg
• 20-70 yr: 1,000mg
• Women over 50: 1,200mg
• Men over 71: 1,200mg

Source : The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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