Fitness – an entity beyond weight loss

What is your idea about fitness? Are you striving for weight loss in order to keep yourself fit and healthy? Let me broaden your perspective about fitness so that you can take the best decision for yourself.

Fitness is a very extensive term which is much more than just following a homogenous exercise routine regularly. It is about being healthy from head to toe and inside out. It can be described as one’s competence to accomplish his daily grind with complete vigilance and abundant energy without unreasonable lethargy or exhaustion. It is never exclusively about hitting the gym and undergoing a strict diet routine to merely shed some extra kilos. Fitness is a collective state of a healthy mind and body both.

Components of fitness

Endurance – Relatable to stamina. Capability of an individual to perform a low intensity activity repetitively. It also encloses the cardiovascular health of a person.

Strength – Potentiality of a person to execute high intensity activity. It is directly proportional to the amount of weight one can lift.

Flexibility – It refers to the mobility or range of motion of joints and stretchability of muscles in varied positions. For example – bending down to touch your feet without arching your knees.

Balance – Ability of an individual to distribute body weight evenly in order to maintain correct upright posture steadily.

Core Muscle Strength – Core is the powerhouse of human body. A healthy and strong core supports the body efficiently and protects the body from various ailments.

If any of the above-mentioned components is left unaddressed, you have failed at your idea about fitness. Each of these has its own distinctive importance and relevance in life. While one maintains your stamina, other keeps your bones strong. All are strongly inter-related. Ideal fitness is achieved only when all are worked upon collectively.

As fitness is often masked by losing weight, different people adopt various practices to lose weight. Some engage themselves into physical exercise while others concentrate on diet alone.

  • People who choose diet plans without participating into any physical exercise end up with flabby muscles, loss of tone and generalised weakness.
  • On the contrary, exercising alone without maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet makes you weak internally.

All the elements of fitness need to be targeted upon in order to attain and maintain a fit body and mind. For an instance, solely running on the treadmill without involving into any strengthening exercise will increase your stamina but will adversely affect your knees due to lack of strength. Also, only being engaged into strengthening exercises and not performing any stretching activity before and after workout predisposes you to body pains and stiffness.

So, losing weight by targeting a single component is a myth. It can never deliver long term effects and will not be able sustain a completely healthy body.

To avoid this, you should consult a physiotherapist or an exercise expert for proper conditioning as well as strengthening of your body. A proper fitness protocol should be designed so that all the factors are addressed in a channelized manner.

7 Tips To Prevent Golfer’s Elbow

It is golf season!  Many of us look forward to this time of year for recreation and good times.  However, golf injuries such as “golfer’s elbow” can occur and are very painful.  Golfers elbow is also known as Medial epicondylitis or pitcher’s elbow.  It is a condition that causes pain where the tendons of your forearm muscles attach to the bony bump on the inside of your elbow.

When you use these elbow muscles repeatedly, small tears develop in the tendons. Over time, this leads to irritation which results in inflammation and pain where the tendon is attached to the bone.

Despite the name, this condition doesn’t just affect golfers. Any repetitive hand, wrist, or forearm motions can lead to golfer’s elbow.

The injury can occur from using the poor form or overdoing certain activities, such as:

  • Golf
  • Baseball and other throwing sports, such as football and javelin
  • Racquet sports, such as tennis
  • Weight training
  • Repeated twisting of the wrist

People in certain jobs may be more likely to develop it, such as:

  • Painters
  • Carpenters
  • Plumbers
  • Construction workers
  • Cooks
  • Assembly-line workers
  • Computer users
  • And more…

Common Symptoms of golfer’s elbow include:

  • Pain and tenderness. Usually felt on the inner side of your elbow, the pain sometimes extends along the inner side of your forearm or wrist. Pain typically worsens with repetitive wrist movements. The pain of golfer’s elbow can come on suddenly or gradually.
  • Stiffness. Your elbow may feel stiff and making a fist might hurt.
  • Weakness. You may have weakness in your hands and wrists.
  • Numbness or tingling. These sensations might radiate into one or more fingers — usually the ring and little fingers.

You can prevent this condition by doing the following:

  • Strengthen your forearm muscles. Use light weights or squeeze a tennis ball. Even simple exercises can help your muscles absorb the energy of sudden physical stress.
  • Stretch before and after your activity/game. Walk or jog for a few minutes to warm up your muscles. Then do gentle stretches before you begin your game Stretches at the end of the game/activity is also very important as it helps with decreasing soreness after strain full activity. Please talk to your physiotherapist to give you these stretches.
  • Correct your form. Whatever your sport, ask an instructor or your physiotherapist to check your form to avoid overload on muscles.
  • Use the right equipment. If you’re using older golfing irons, consider upgrading to lighter graphite clubs. If you play tennis, make sure your racket fits you. A racket with a small grip or a heavy head may increase the risk of elbow problems.
  • Lift properly. When lifting anything, including free weights, keep your wrist rigid and stable to reduce the force to your elbow.
  • Know when to rest. Try not to overuse your elbow. At the first sign of elbow pain, take a break. If you feel minor ache on the inner part of the elbow or forearm or weakening of the grip, if the soreness lasts more than 72 hours then please talk to your health professional before returning to the activity.
  • Stay hydrated: Always make sure that you are hydrated during the game.

 

It is important to rehab this injury by visiting a physiotherapist and following these recommendations:

  • Resting or pacing the activity which increases the symptom
  • ICE: Apply ice packs to your elbow for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, three to four times a day for several days. To protect your skin, wrap the ice packs in a thin towel. It might help to massage your inner elbow with ice for five minutes at a time, two to three times a day
  • Modalities: Your physiotherapist can use modalities like Ultrasound, Laser, IFC, etc. for pain relief and help with inflammation.
  • Stretching: Selective stretching will help you to maintain muscle flexibility and to decrease the chance of any future injury
  • Strengthening: it is important to strengthen your forearm and wrist muscle so that they can take the the strain you put during activity/game.
  • Guarding the part by brace or taping: a counterforce brace on your affected arm, which might reduce tendon and muscle strain
  • Posture education and maintenance during game or activity: Keeping proper posture during the activity/game can decrease the chances of injury significantly please talk to your physiotherapist regarding postural.
  • Gradual return to the activity: It is very important that you gradually return to activity/game as it gives time to your muscles to meet up with work demand.

Dr. Vikas Puri 

B.Sc., D.C, Toronto, Canada

President and Co-Founder of Intelligent Health Group.

WINTER ACHES & PAINS

 

Winters are around the corner, bringing relief from the scorching hot summers and leading towards this year’s festive season. The festive season starts with Dusshera & Diwali and continues till Christmas & New Year’s Eve. Most people have various events and activities to plan during this time which requires a lot of recreational work like cleaning the house, office, new decoration, etc. All these activities require a lot of physical work like lifting heavy bags, moving furniture, continuously moving upstairs and downstairs, etc. All these strenuous activities most of the times result in physical stress and end up in chronic aches and pains. These activities also make people prone to muscle injuries, joint pains, and physical wear and tear. Most people ignore the initial symptoms which result in chronic pain and injuries sometimes resulting in minor or major surgeries.

Orthocure Clinics provides a range of services in physiotherapy which not only answers to most of these problems but also advice on how to avoid such physical stress in day to day basis.  Our Physical Therapist Dr. Meenal Sharma talks about how cold weather impacts your joints and muscle pain and how to address it on a day to day basis. A snapshot of the interview with Dr. Meenal Sharma is provided below:

 

Is it common to feel aches and pains?

Dr. Meenal Sharma- First of all, to address aches and pain we need to focus more on the causes of such pains. One of the major causes of such pains is the wrong posture for carrying out day to day activity. Most of the people in winters are packed with a lot of woolen clothes and they tend to clench themselves to preserve heat. However it is important to preserve the heat but

on the other hand, most people don’t understand that with a lot of clothes, people also need to correct their posture for day to day activity. In general, we observe people in winter hunched, shoulder raised, forward head, chin jotting, which results in the tightening of muscles, leading to cramps and pain. With the cold weather kicking in people also get a bit lazy and forget to undertake their regular exercises, leading to increased inactiveness. Aches and Pains only hit people who are more sedentary and don’t carry a good posture.

 

 

 

How does this occur?

Dr. Meenal Sharma- In winters, our joints have less elasticity and the blood supply to our muscles is also less than regular because of the cold environment overall. Besides, inactiveness adds on to muscular weakness and poor posture. To address this we have to keep our body warm and bring a regular movement of joints so that blood supply can be improved. Also, we need to regularly stretch our body and do exercises- both flexibility and strength training.

 Can winters results in weakness of muscles?

Dr. Meenal Sharma – Definitely YES!! But not because of its cold weather, although it is due to increased inactiveness resulting in muscle weakening. The more the movement of the muscle/joints the less will be the problems!! So the idea is to KEEP MOVING!

 

What type of exercises are helpful?

Dr. Meenal Sharma – Staying active in general is helpful. The problem is when it aches we tend to avoid exercises and move as little as possible. But you can avoid it by exercising. You can do any form of exercise which can be as simple as

 

  • Going for a regular WALK,
  • Taking staircases most of the times,
  • Doing some YOGA especially at night which can ease aches and pains and help you sleep better and in general, It is gentle and relaxing.
  • Be sure to STRETCH. Stretches are good to keep you warmed up. Now its time to recall the winter posture which I talked about previously! We have to just do the opposite of that in our stretch regime. A SIMPLE TECHNIQUE- Pulling your body up, lengthening your back, pulling belly muscles in, squeezing your shoulder blades a little bit together to try and maintain better posture. Be in each position for some time and it results in stretching as well!
  • STRENGTH training has to be done 3 times a week to keep your muscles strong. In the winters when the world is hibernating our bodies still have to be ACTIVE. The stronger your body is the healthier it will be and more likely you will overcome winter aches and pains.
  • General mobility Exercises like pumping of ankle and foot, squeezing of hands and making a fist and opening It for better circulation.
  • DRINK more of lukewarm water.
  • Do HOT FOMENTATION twice a day or even can have a bath with Epsom salt hot water to rush that blood flow and soothe your muscles and joints.
  • In case of any swelling still, COLD PACKS are applicable.
  • EAT LIGHT but some days can be cheat days too! You can have chocolates, cakes, watch Netflix, sit back and enjoy winters too!!
  • If you want to stick to an exercise program that boosts strength, increases flexibility and gives you a cardio workout, you can’t beat SWIMMING. It’s easy on your joints and limbs and gives you a full-body workout and stretches out your body relieving aches and pains.

 

Do I need to see a Doctor?

Dr. Meenal Sharma – Do try exercising for at least 15-20 days and be active. If these home remedies aren’t helping and the pain persists, then don’t confuse it with normal winter aches and pain and SPEAK TO YOUR DOCTOR.

 

 

Dr. Meenal Sharma

Physiotherapy Head and Senior Spine Therapist

BPT, MPT, CDNT, CKTT, FOMT, COMT