Exercise is Medicine by ACSM

March 2022 // Archive

Date based archive
28 Mar

What’s breakfast without cereal when you were a kid?? Super convenient and taste bud pleasing, but is cereal actually healthy?? Cereal does come from processed grains. How cereal is made is highly processed starting with processing the grains into flour, then adding sugar and water, undergoing high temperatures to shape the cereal, and then drying out the product into the final shapes. Nutrients are added, hence many of the labels stating fortified with vitamins and minerals. This crunchy food is typically enjoyed with milk or yogurt in puffed, flaked, or shredded form.  

The major trouble that comes with cereal is the added sugar. Consumers are often misled by false claiming labels. You have to read the nutrition facts, not the claims that say they can lower cholesterol or help fight diabetes. The next problem with cereal is that most people eat well over one serving at a time. Most cereals abide by ½ cup to 1 cup per serving with around 200 calories. However, a “bowl” of cereal is much more than this amount. Many cereals also contain refined grains, so it is important to find those that are whole grain so that more of the nutritional value is intact. To help out, always look for cereals that contain at least 5 grams of fiber per serving. Another worry with cereal is that it can pack on the sodium. Therefore, between the added sugar and sodium, it’s no wonder we want to keep adding more and more to the bowl if there is milk left. Some cereals contain up to 500 mg per serving. When it comes to sugar, some cereal equates to eating cookies. Cereal also does not contain much protein at all, which means it doesn’t necessarily keep you satiated unless of course you eat a large quantity of it.  

There are close to 6 million types of cereal. There are many crispy and crunchy brands. Cereals is quick and easy, and of course has a longer shelf life than eggs and toast since it is a highly processed food. There are also hot cereals such as oatmeal and grits. All types of cereal either come in corn, wheat, or rice form. This ready to eat packaged option makes the morning routine much easier to manage. The worst types of cereals are those made for children and they can contain up to 50% sugar. The packages only claim the good qualities, but it is important to read further into your selection. All of the colors and shapes make cereal fun and attractive. Even in adulthood we can be nostalgic for a good bowl of cereal. For some, it’s a late-night snack too. Always read labels, always. Then make more informed choices because how you start your day can direct your energy, mood, and performance.  

21 Mar

Developing in a unique way 

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a type of developmental disability that affects people in different ways. A person with autism will communicate, interact, and behave differently. There is not a single cause or single type of symptom which makes this disability very unique to each person. Symptoms also appear differently and can start as early as in the first few months or life or can start in early childhood. Most of the time, signs appear before age 1, and if not 80-90% of parents see the symptoms by age 2. The spectrum is also very wide. Some children also “out-grow” certain behaviors. Some children show very noticeable symptoms while others have very mild forms. The common denominator is the person’s ability to communicate and interact, which all ties into social behaviors. Social skill problems are the most common difficulty people with ASD have. Relationships are hard to handle.  

Understanding diagnosis can be complicated. Certain signs to watch for include:  

  1. Preferring to be alone.  
  1. Disinterest in talking, sharing, or playing with others.  
  1. Not understanding emotions.  
  1. Avoiding eye contact and/or physical contact.  

For 40% of autistic children, they do not talk at all. However, some do start to talk later in life and others (25-30%) do have language skills but then lose them. Trouble with language skills might include repeating the same phrase over and over (echolalia), trouble pronouncing, delayed speech, having a robotic voice, trouble staying on topic, and not responding to humor or sarcasm.  

There are also tell-tale sign behaviors. Repetitive hand motions are common like flapping or twirling. Having routines and rituals are common and a person with ASD does not like these habits to be disrupted. They can become fixated on certain tasks or habits. Pacing or feeling hyper is common. Being extremely sensitive can be a trait or having aggressiveness. Clumsiness is also a behavior.  

The key is early detection. Therefore, as a parent, be sure to take notice if your child has one of the following characteristics:  

  1. Does not smile by 6 months. 
  1. Does not coo or babble by 12 months. 
  1. Cannot speak with single words by 16 months. 
  1. Does not play or have imaginative qualities by 18 months. 

Doctors don’t know what exactly causes autism. Genes seem to be the biggest culprit. There is not a lab test to diagnose ASD, rather, determination is based upon observed behaviors. Every child needs to have their regular check-ups with their pediatrician. It is in fact a fallacy that vaccinations can cause autism.  Having a healthy pregnancy is important. ASD is a special condition that many people still grow up to lead successful lives with. Behavior is a learned trait, so with time ASD can be addressed with different therapies and with practice these actions become more and more manageable and controlled.  





14 Mar

The 1970s introduced the exotic and interesting field of acupuncture to the world of medicine. Yet, this needle practice has been around for thousands of years in Chinese medicine. I have me a number of clients who use this form of treatment for various reasons, but have never fully understood the pros and cons. The fitness learning fanatic in me had to do some research.  

The goal of acupuncture is to heal. And of course this approach is very controversial in terms of scientific backing of its effectiveness. Thus, “The traditional explanation for acupuncture’s effectiveness is that it modifies the flow of energy (known as qi or chi) throughout the body, but there is no scientific consensus that this is actually its mechanism of action” (https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/balanced-living/wellness-therapies/acupuncture/). But the good news is that it has worked for many, and when researching this blog there aren’t statistics to show results. That debate may lie in Western medicine’s lack of acceptance of acupuncture.  

Acupuncture is used for a number of reasons. Here is what I found, “The benefits of acupuncture can extend to a wide variety of conditions, from emotional disorders (anxiety, depression) to digestive complaints (nausea, vomiting, irritable bowel syndrome). It can be beneficial for pain syndromes due to an injury or associated with chronic degenerative diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. It can also be helpful in treating neurological problems like migraines or Parkinson’s disease, or as a rehabilitation strategy for individuals who suffered a stroke. Respiratory conditions, including sinusitis and asthma have been relieved with acupuncture, as have many gynecologic disorders and infertility. Acupuncture has also proved beneficial for reducing fatigue and addictions, and for promoting overall well-being (https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/balanced-living/wellness-therapies/acupuncture/) . 

There aren’t many serious complications from using acupuncture. Bleeding and soreness could occur from the points of insertion and needle manipulation. I can say that I can certainly get a tattoo but have a fear of trying this out. Sometimes traditional methods aren’t getting the job done, so acupuncture can become an option to remedy the problem. We want to be at peak performance on our fitness journeys so do what is best for your body to accomplish this. After all, science doesn’t indicate you FEEL.  

07 Mar

We all hear of this cancer treatment, but what exactly does the process of chemotherapy entail?? Simply put, it is a way to kill cancer cells with drugs. Cancer cells grow and divide vary quickly, so treatment is a race against this spreading. Chemotherapy specifically targets the cells that do spread quickly. “Chemo” can work throughout the entire body, which is different from radiation or surgeries that can only target specific locations. The trouble is that chemo can also affect healthy cells too such as those of the hair, skin, bone marrow, and intestines. That is what causes the detrimental side effects of this treatment.  

Although there may be side effects to this method, the goal of chemo is to either ease the symptoms, help control, or even cure cancer. It works to shrink the cancer-causing tumors, and to keep them from spreading, and to hopefully absolutely destroy the cancer cells. Many times, doctors combine chemo with another form of treatment. It can be used to shrink cells prior to radiation treatment (using radioactive particles to kill cells), after a doctor removes a cancerous tumor, or in addition to vaccinations and antibodies that work to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy has the ability to make other treatment forms more effective.  

Chemotherapy varies from person to person. Factors to consider include the type of cancer, the way your body responds, how far along the caner has gotten, and what the ultimate goal of the treatment is (shrink, cure, ease pain). Sometimes chemo is administered in cycles that allow the body to recover between treatments. A person might do chemo for one week then take a three week break before returning for more. Treatment can be done via injection to a major muscle such as the thigh, hip, or stomach. It can come in oral form or even topical. Intravenous (IV) is also a method which goes directly to the vein. Intra-arterial (IA) is when it goes directly to the artery. Intraperitoneal (IP) is when it goes directly to peritoneal cavity which includes the liver, intestines, stomach, and ovaries.  

Most people feel absolutely worn out from this process. There are even certain laws that can help a person with their place of employment because working during treatment can become just too daunting. Health insurance is incredibly important to have for all of this. Chemotherapy is a difficult but incredible process that saves lives. Patience is key and having a network of support because the body is fighting to heal itself, renew itself, and make those most what it can do to keep the body alive and well. As the saying goes, if at first it doesn’t succeed, then try, try, try again and beat cancer once and for all.