Health and Fitness

The Spanish Flu Pandemic and the Current COVID-19 Pandemic

The American Osteopathic Association just published an article titled “Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) Techniques Addressing Respiratory Symptoms of COVID-19.” It demonstrated and explained several simple techniques that may have profound effects on our respiratory patients.

Approximately 30,000 to 40,000 people die in the United States every year from influenza. It is estimated that approximately 675,000 people died during the 1918 to 1919 Spanish flu pandemic.  This was out of a population that was approximately a third of the current size.Currently it it is estimated that as many as 200,000 people in the United States may die this year from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Osteopathic Manual Medicine techniques assist with mobilization of fluids and activation of the bodies immune system and assist the patient’s body’s ability to heal itself. OMM provided a significant benefit to countless patients 100 years ago. It is no less relevant today.

Simple techniques such as rib raising, suboccipital release, lymphatic pumps and soft tissue techniques help to mobilize fluids and improve aeration

There are many accounts in the literature of the past 10 to 20 years warning of the coming pandemic. Since it has been 100 years since the last grade pandemic, we were overdue. This, combined with the current great deal of travel made it all the more likely.

Hopefully, next time we will be better prepared from a equipment and technical standpoint. What we always will always have at our disposal however, is the ability to use our hands to treat our patients. The greatest gift we can give is to assist our patients own body’s ability to heal itself.

Health and Fitness

Working out at Home

This past month, my daughter enlightened me to the fact that you can get a great workout at home by rotating through different stations. She set up five separate stations in our basement that we rotate through every couple minutes. She may have 20 variations of similar stations. Using basic, inexpensive exercise equipment, she was able to devise a great full-body, at home workout that only took approximately 25 minutes

Due to the presence of the novel coronavirus, local gyms and YMCAs are temporarily closed. Because of this, people are working out more at home. There are many creative and relatively inexpensive ways to do this

Is important that you add both aerobic endurance exercises and anaerobic strength and resistance training. There are many easy ways to add aerobic exercises. These include a jump rope or simple front and side kicks. Another simple, inexpensive piece of equipment would be a stepper. You can increase the height and speed to give yourself a high intensity brief workout.

Strength training with inexpensive dumbbells or resistance bands allow you to work multiple muscle groups throughout multiple different angles.

Large Thera balls are great for working your core and strengthening your abdominals. You can add simultaneous dumbbell work to increase the efficiency.

Use your carpet and floor or a good cushioned exercise mat to work your core with planks or improve your strength and flexibility with down dog yoga poses.

You can maintain the strength and fitness that you’ve built up if you stay creative and keep moving. Mix different activities so you don’t get get bored or injure yourself. When the lock down is released and the social isolation is lifted, we can return to the gyms feeling ready to get back to work.

Stay fit and healthy!

Health and Fitness

What’s Next?

The current Coronavirus pandemic that we are all living through, has caused me to ask “What’s next“? Is it possible that we will come out on the other side of this crisis better than we are now. I want to believe that there will be a fundamental reset, not just of our own health but the health of our communities, and the environment at large.

Recently, an old friend mentioned the book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”, by Michael Pollan. In it, he clearly details the need for a reset of how we obtain food and what we eat. He explores the question of where our food comes from, and how the growth, processing, marketing, and distribution of food affects our health, animal welfare, and the environment.

After World War II, our food system radically changed. An industrialized system of mass production and distribution replaced small diverse farms that had provided our food for generations. These changes adversely affect the health of our communities, soil, animals, and most importantly, us.

The big box stores that have emerged in our communities, only source approximately 18% of their products locally. They use non-renewable fossil fuels for the long distance shipping and processing of the unhealthy food products. This is the opposite of a true organic food chain that works with nature.

Even a small reset, where we begin to support our local grocers and communities a little more would grow to a great movement. Going forward, if we show greater love and respect for the world and the animals that God has entrusted to us, We’ll show that we are stronger than the Coronavirus

What’s next?

Health and Fitness

Diet Soda

Last week I wrote about the health effects of drinking whole versus fat free milk. Many people are left wondering, “what should I drink?”

“Should I choose diet soda?” you may ask. In general, diet soda is not a healthier alternative to most other drinks. Although they contain few calories, their adverse health effects make them an unhealthy alternative to most other drinks.

Drinking only one diet soda day may actually increase your risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes by 36%. Metabolic syndrome is a grouping of conditions including obesity, hypertension, elevated glucose and cholesterol levels. These all put people at higher risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Artificial sweeteners may actually cause us to crave more sugar and dull our senses to naturally sweet foods. Artificial sweeteners further may trigger insulin release which leads to fat storage.

Increased frequency of headaches and depression are associated with regular diet soda consumption as well. it appears that brain condition such as dementia stroke and cognitive decline are associated with diet sodas as well. It is not known for sure why they increase the risks of these diseases. It is most likely multifactorial. It may damage blood vessels directly, cause chronic inflammation, or it may be secondary to the unhealthy habits that tend to go along with diet sodas, such as craving sweets or a feeling that you can eat less healthy because you’re drinking a calorie free drink.

When in doubt, choose water!

Health and Fitness

What Should I Drink?

Until recently, most kids grew up drinking whole milk. As you grow older, most of us switch to low-fat or skim milk for ourselves and children. In many cases, this may have not been the right thing to do.

because skim milk contains no fat, it has significantly less calories per cup. 146 cal for a cup of whole milk versus 83 for skim milk. Other nutrients including vitamin D, calcium, protein and carbohydrates are about the same. A significant nutritional difference however, is that whole milk contains 183 mg of omega-3 fatty acids and skim milk only contains approximately 2.5 mg.

Back in the 70s, health policy was based on a semi erroneous connection between saturated fat and heart disease. This led to nutritional guidelines that instruct people to reduce their saturated fat intake. Now, it would appear that the only drawback of whole milk is that it is simply higher in calories.

The negative drawback of high calorie whole milk may well be offset by its ability to reduce triglycerides, lower blood pressure, or even reduce the chance of a an abnormal heartbeat. They further may help certain mental disorders and improve brain function

For approximately half of adults, milk can be hard to digest. It is because the lactose that is found in milk is not being completely broken down, may ferment and lead to cramping or bloating. Most adults produce less of the enzyme need to digest milk after age 5. Milk with lactase enzyme added is a great solution.

Milk consumption has decreased over the past several years. In some cases, however, it has been replaced with unhealthy alternatives such as sugary drinks that contain many chemicals. When deciding what to drink with your lunch? Don’t forget good old fashion whole milk!