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What you need to know about a stroke

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Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States, with approximately 795,000 people suffering stroke each year. However, did you know that studies have shown that up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable?

A stroke occurs when a blood clot or broken blood vessel interrupts blood flow to the brain, causing brain cells to die. A transient ischemic attack (TIA), or mini-stroke, happens when blood flow to the brain stops briefly and then resolves. While this generally does not cause permanent damage, a TIA can be a warning sign that a full stroke is coming. Other signs and symptoms of stroke include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or difficulty understanding speech.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or lack of coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause. Continue Reading »

Combating cancer-related fatigue

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According to the American Cancer Society, fatigue is the most common side effect found in individuals going through cancer treatments. In fact, about 90 percent of patients have fatigue while they are receiving treatment. While working with various individuals throughout different stages of diagnosis in treatment I have found this to be a fairly accurate symptom assessment. The main difference that most people do not understand is that cancer-related fatigue is completely different from everyday tiredness or fatigue. Cancer-related fatigue makes general activities such as shopping, showering, dressing, household chores or work extremely difficult. The other major difference is that it can occur without warning and is not relieved with rest. Cancer-related fatigue is physically, mentally and emotionally draining for an individual, and it affects their ability to actively participate in daily life.

Some sings of cancer-related fatigue are: Continue Reading »

Knee exercises to help prevent basketball injuries

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ACL injuries are more common in female athletes than in male athletes, at a ratio of around 8-to-1. That may seem discouraging for women athletes, but there is good news! There are specific sets of ACL-protective exercises that can be incorporated into practices to reduce the number of injuries. The Affinity Orthopedics & Sports Medicine departments have videos that demonstrate these exercises to reduce injury risk, and most school athletic trainers are well versed in describing these exercises. Other common injuries in basketball include kneecap dislocations, meniscus tears, hamstring/groin pulls and tendinitis. The plan below will outline how to best avoid these problems.

First, I’ll discuss a few facts about knee injuries and basketball, then a few warm-up exercises important for most running, cutting and jumping sports, followed by a number of dynamic exercises to prevent injuries to the knee. Finally, I’ll end with a summary of lower extremity exercises to avoid. Keep in mind that basketball practices should begin with light cardio and dynamic stretching before heavy competitive maneuvers are added. Static stretching is, in general, best added at the end of a practice to keep muscle fibers as responsive as possible during play. Continue Reading »

11 Stretches You Should Do Every Day

stretchingIn my previous blog post, we learned the basics of stretching; now it’s time to get down to the specifics. Here are 11 stretches that you can perform every day to improve your overall flexibility and help decrease the likelihood of nagging injuries. We’ll start from the feet and work our way up.

  1. Prone Calf Stretch:

Begin in a push-up position. Next, keep your legs straight as you walk your hands backward toward your feet. Bend at the hips so your butt rises into the air while the heels of your feet press into the ground. Continue to walk your hands backward until a comfortable stretch is felt in both legs. You can increase the stretching sensation by bending one knee while keeping the other straight.

  1. Side-Lying Quad Stretch:

As the name suggests, start by lying on one side. For an example, let’s begin on our left side to stretch the right leg. Pull the heel of your right leg toward your butt. Grab your ankle with your right hand and add some additional pressure. Be sure to keep your knees together to perform the stretch properly. Once you’re finished with the right leg, flip over and perform this exercise with the left leg.

  1. Seated Hamstring Stretch:

To begin this stretch you need to be in a seated position. Keeping your right leg straight out in front of you, bend your left knee and bring your left heel into your groin. Now, keep your back straight as you bend forward at the hips. You can reach forward with both hands, but be careful to not round your back. Repeat with the left leg. Continue Reading »

Staying Healthy During Flu Season

sneezingWhile the best way to stay healthy this flu season is to get vaccinated, there are some other things you can do to protect yourself.

Here are a few:

1.  Practice good hand hygiene. Encourage everyone in your family to practice regular handwashing, especially after using the bathroom, before and after handling or eating food and after coming in from the outdoors. Handwashing is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick and prevent the spread of germs to others.

2.  Take cover. Get into the habit of sneezing into your inner elbow. If you have a tissue, cover your nose and mouth with it when you sneeze or cough.

3.  Don’t touch. Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose or mouth with your hands.

4.  Replace and wash items. Buy a new toothbrush after a cold or other illness. Wash your bedding at least once a week, especially pillow covers. Wash gloves, scarves and any other attire that covers your face or mouth. This is helpful in keeping germs away.

5.  Stay hydrated. Dry nasal passages make it easier for the flu virus to breed, so its important to drink plenty of fluids. Water is a natural moisturizer for the inside of your body. Aim for eight cups of water a day. Swap out fizzy carbonated drinks for herbal tea. Increase your fluid intake if you are on a high-fiber or high-protein diet. Continue Reading »

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