How to beat shin splints

Submitted by emily.griffin on

If you do any type of exercise with lots of running, you have probably had shin splints at some point. In that case, you know it is no fun. So, take our short quiz to prevent getting them again or what to do in case it happens. 

 

 

If you think you have shin splints, you should contact your doctor. Although they typically get better with rest and the tips provided in this article, occasionally, it could be something else.  

 


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How to beat shin splints

Take our short quiz to prevent getting shin splints again or what to do in case it happens. 

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Surviving the test of time

Submitted by emily.griffin on

Why you should give Tai Chi a try  

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in alternative exercise options for adults. One such option gaining popularity is Tai Chi, an ancient Chinese martial art that combines slow, flowing movements with deep breathing and meditation. Here are some of the physical, mental and emotional benefits people discover when they start to learn centuries-old Tai Chi movements.  

Improved balance and flexibility 

Numerous studies have shown that regular practice of Tai Chi can significantly improve balance and flexibility in adults of all ages. This is particularly beneficial for older adults, as it reduces the risk of falls and related injuries. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that Tai Chi reduced the risk of falls in older adults by 47%. 

 

Increased strength and endurance 

Despite its gentle appearance, Tai Chi engages multiple muscle groups, improving strength and endurance. Research suggests that Tai Chi can enhance upper and lower body strength, which is vital for maintaining functional independence.

 

Reduced pain and joint stiffness

Individuals with chronic conditions such as arthritis often experience joint pain and stiffness.  

Tai Chi has been found to alleviate these symptoms, offering a low-impact exercise option that promotes joint mobility and reduces discomfort.  

 

Stress reduction 

Tai Chi incorporates mindfulness and meditation, promoting relaxation and reducing stress levels.  

 

Cognitive function 

Research suggests that Tai Chi may have positive effects on cognitive function, including attention, memory and executive function. It is believed that the combination of physical movement and mental focus in Tai Chi contributes to these cognitive benefits. 

 

Sleep quality 

Insomnia and poor sleep quality are common issues among adults. Tai Chi has been shown to improve sleep patterns, leading to better overall sleep quality and increased energy levels during the day. 

 

Whether you are a young adult looking for a low-impact exercise option or an older adult aiming to maintain functional independence, Tai Chi can be a valuable addition to your fitness routine.  

 


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Surviving the test of time

Here are some of the physical, mental and emotional benefits people discover when they start to learn centuries-old Tai Chi movements.  

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Early to bed, early to rise

Submitted by emily.griffin on

Research says add exercise 

Most people know the next two lines in American statesman Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote, “Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” In Colonial times, surviving required hard physical labor. Rising early to exercise was not even considered.  

 

Fast forward several centuries, however, and steady gains in health and life expectancy have slowed. Despite marvels in medicine and science Benjamin Franklin could not have envisioned, life expectancy in the colonies is slipping backwards. 

Houston, we have a problem. And that problem is obesity.  

 

Staying true to the American belief that we can overcome anything with hard work, many people turn to diet and exercise. Finding the right combination of the two is a nonstop conversation on all the media outlets and especially, amongst ourselves.  

 

Research to the rescue  

A recent research study outlined in the journal Obesity reported that people who exercised in the morning, specifically from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., had lower body mass index (BMI) and smaller waist sizes than people who exercised at other times. The researchers, from Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire, placed 5,285 individuals in three workout groups – morning, afternoon and evening.  

As mentioned above, the individuals who worked out in the morning had a lower average BMI (27.4) compared to those who worked out in the afternoon (28.4) and evening (28.2). Waist circumference showed a similar association; the morning exercise group’s average waist was 37.7 inches, compared to 38.5 inches for the afternoon group and 38.3 inches for the evening group. 

 

Morning movement, circadian rhythms and weight loss 

Researchers don’t fully understand why exercising in the morning appears to be more effective for battling obesity. The key to that question is likely circadian rhythms, the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.  

Hormones linked with weight loss and obesity, such as insulin and cortisol, are closely tied to circadian rhythms, which can affect things like sleepiness, hunger, fat burning (lipolysis) and fat storage (lipogenesis). Therefore, just like how the timing of when you eat can affect weight gain, so too can the timing of your exercise appear to affect weight loss. 

“Additionally, working out in the morning helps to improve cognitive function by stimulating brain activity. It enhances alertness and concentration, increasing productivity throughout your day. Morning exercise, especially outdoors, also gives us morning light, which is critical to regulating our circadian rhythms. 

 

Fun fact

Here’s a little more motivation to get up and go. The morning workout group exercised less and engaged in more sedentary time than the other groups but maintained healthier BMI and waist size. 

 


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Early to bed, early to rise

Staying true to the American belief that we can overcome anything with hard work, many people turn to diet and exercise. 

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Need motivation to exercise? Read this.

Submitted by emily.griffin on

You have probably heard, “Use it or lose it.” Or “Sitting is the new smoking.” Everywhere you turn, experts encourage exercise. We know it is good for us, but do you know just how good it is? And do you know the immediate benefits?  

In the short term, exercise can:  

  • Help control your appetite. 

  • Boost your mood. 

  • Improve sleep. 

The connection to better sleep is easy. You exercise, you get tired, you sleep better.  

However, exercise can help control your appetite? Research is still delivering mixed results, but multiple studies indicate that exercise, especially longer workouts that are harder to do, often decreases a person’s appetite for hours. You can review one study on the National Library of Medicine website.  

As for boosting your mood, when you exercise, your brain releases the “feel good” hormone dopamine, into your bloodstream, which often makes you feel better. Want to learn more about dopamine? Read this article on Harvard Health Publishing.  

Now that you have extra motivation to exercise, what should you do? For adults, the standard recommendation is 150 minutes of exercise per week. It is easier than you think. You can break it into 30-minute sessions five days a week and still have two days off. For more specifics, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. You will find recommendations for moderate-intensity aerobic (i.e., walking), vigorous-intensity aerobic (i.e., running) and a mix of both.  

For more insight, read this article on Harvard Health Publishing that explains exercise types, including aerobic, strength training, stretching and balance.  

Before starting any workout program, talk to your family doctor for recommendations so you can safely begin at the appropriate level.  

 

 


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Genesis HealthCare System’s Health and Wellness content conveniently provides accurate and helpful information. Your health history and current health may impact suggestions provided through our Health and Wellness content. Although we hope this information is helpful, it is not a substitute for your doctor's medical advice. Before making any significant changes, please consult your doctor.

Need motivation to exercise? Read this.

Everywhere you turn, experts encourage exercise. We know it is good for us, but do you know just how good it is? And do you know the immediate benefits?  

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Pickleball’s health benefits for the young and old

Submitted by emily.griffin on

Raise your hand if sticking to an exercise routine is a challenge.  

Look around. If there are two-to-four people with their hands raised, you’ve got a pickleball team. If you’ve got a pickleball team, sticking to an exercise routine just became a lot easier.   

Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States. In early 2023, the USA Pickleball Association reported there were more than 8.9 million players nationwide. 

It’s a great workout for people of all ages, it’s easy to learn and the rules are simple. You can play at a slower pace or go for the gold with a team of fierce competitors. (Going for the gold is just a saying. It’s not an Olympic sport. Yet.)  

 

What is pickleball? 

Pickleball is often described as a cross between tennis, badminton and table tennis. It can be played as singles or doubles, and all you need to bring to the court is a ball, a paddle and a pair of sneakers.  

It was invented in the summer of 1965 by a group of fathers in response to their children claiming they had nothing to do, and it took off from there.  

It has a reputation as a sport for older adults, but that’s changing. Here are some of the benefits of this rapidly growing sport. 

 

Improved heart health 

Because pickleball is such an intense cardio workout, it’s great for heart health. In fact, one study showed that playing pickleball may lower the risk of heart disease by reducing common risk factors like high cholesterol or high blood pressure.  

Pickleball also helps improve lung function and control blood sugar levels. 

 

Exercise for the brain 

Pickleball is a fast-paced game that requires split-second decisions. Research has shown that playing pickleball can help improve cognitive function and memory recall. Another bonus is an improvement in hand-eye coordination over time.

 

Easy on the joints 

Pickleball is a low-impact sport. Unlike tennis or running, pickleball doesn’t put a lot of stress on joints and muscles. The Parkinson’s Foundation lists pickleball as an ideal sport for Parkinson’s patients who need exercise and movement to help slow the progression of the disease.

 

Stress relief 

Aerobic activities like pickleball release endorphins, the feel-good neurotransmitters that help relieve stress and anxiety. Players report that focusing on the rules and guidelines is a positive and enjoyable replacement for worries.

 

Best of all, it’s social  

Pickleball is a social sport. It’s a great way to meet people and make new friends, especially for those who join a club or league. Studies have shown that the social components of pickleball protect players, especially older players, from loneliness, depression and the physical illnesses that can be caused by or made worse by depression. 

Finally, it’s fun, which is probably the strongest selling point.  

 

 


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Pickleball

Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States. In early 2023, the USA Pickleball Association reported there were more than 8.9 million players nationwide. 

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Your body is the only workout equipment you need

Submitted by emily.griffin on

Gym memberships and home gyms are typically expensive and usually either take a while to get there or take up a lot of space in your home. However, exercise is one of the best things you can do to stay healthy and live a longer and happier life. So, what do you do? Find a decent pair of shoes, a space with room to move, maybe your basement, backyard, park or wherever and use your body-weight to get fit.  

 

Before challenging your body, challenge your mind to learn more about body-weight exercises. 

 

Do you want more body-weight exercises? Visit the National Academy of Sports Medicine for nine exercises and step-by-step on instructions on how to perform them.  

 

Before starting a body-weight workout program, talk to your family doctor to make sure you are in good enough shape to start and for tips.  

 


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Your body is the only workout equipment you need

Before challenging your body, challenge your mind to learn more about body-weight exercises. 

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Take the plunge

Submitted by emily.griffin on

Have you heard of cold plunges? It’s just what it sounds like – jumping into icy water (anywhere from 39 to 59 degrees). It’s another, more intense form of cold therapy.  

 

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, cold therapy is used to reduce swelling and sensitivity to pain. When you have a sprained ankle, you typically apply an ice pack to reduce inflammation. A cold plunge is like covering your entire body with an ice pack. It’s not just for professional athletes and celebrities. Many people are starting to take the plunge at home. 

 

There are many reported benefits to bathing in icy water. In a 2020 study, people who swam in cold water had higher wellbeing and health than those who did not.  

 

Other reported benefits of cold plunging include: 

  • Reduced stress and anxiety 

  • Improved mood 

  • Boosted immune system 

  • Increased circulation 

 

With both physical and mental advantages, you may be tempted to dip your toe in. While you can invest in a pool specifically for plunging, your bathtub works the same. There are some risks associated with cold plunging, so definitely have a conversation with your doctor before you take the plunge.  

 

Tips for cold plunging: 

  • Get your doctor’s approval 

  • Start slow and gradually add more time 

  • Have someone with you 

  • Warm up slowly so you don’t shock your system 

If you are still hesitant to jump in, you can start with cold showers. Taking a cold shower has many of the same benefits.  

 

 


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Genesis HealthCare System’s Health and Wellness content conveniently provides accurate and helpful information. Your health history and current health may impact suggestions provided through our Health and Wellness content. Although we hope this information is helpful, it is not a substitute for your doctor's medical advice. Before making any significant changes, please consult your doctor.

Take the plunge

Have you heard of cold plunges? It’s just what it sounds like – jumping into icy water (anywhere from 39 to 59 degrees). It’s another, more intense form of cold therapy.

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Which Way to the Pool?

Submitted by emily.griffin on

Whether it’s called water aerobics, water exercise or aqua aerobics, a workout in your local pool is a great way to improve your overall fitness and well-being.  

Here’s why.  

It doesn’t feel like exercise

The magic of water exercise is in the fact that the buoyancy of the water will support some of your body weight while you perform physical exercise to support the rest. 

Water exercises increase muscle strength because you’re pushing against the weight, or resistance, of the water. Stronger muscles improve balance and coordination, which can help lessen the risk of falls as people age.  

Buoyancy matters 

Your body is considerably lighter in water. A March 2022 review in Healthcare found that water aerobics helped people with osteoarthritis relieve stress on their joints because the buoyancy of water supports the body's weight, reducing the impact on joints and the intensity of pain.  

Take two laps and call me in the morning  

Water has a calm and soothing effect on your body and your brain. Exercising in water for just 30 minutes, three days a week has been shown to lower stress levels, improve sleep patterns and lower anxiety and depression.  

Helps with weight loss 

There is strong evidence stating that aquatic exercise is a better treatment for obesity than land exercise. A 2020 study reported that aquatic exercise increased calorie loss with less fatigue.  

The fun factor  

Water exercise is a great way to introduce more physical and social activity into your life. You don’t have to be a good swimmer, or even know how to swim, to join a class. Find a class and give it a try, but first let your primary care doctor know that you’re planning to start a water exercise routine. In fact, if you ask your primary doctor first, they may have heard of a class that people rave about.  

 


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Genesis HealthCare System’s Health and Wellness content conveniently provides accurate and helpful information. Your health history and current health may impact suggestions provided through our Health and Wellness content. Although we hope this information is helpful, it is not a substitute for your doctor's medical advice. Before making any significant changes, please consult your doctor.

Which way to the pool?

Whether it’s called water aerobics, water exercise or aqua aerobics, a workout in your local pool is a great way to improve your overall fitness and well-being.

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Choosing the Right Workout Clothes for You

Submitted by emily.griffin on

There’s nothing like new workout clothes to put you in the mood to hit the gym or go for a run. Not only are our workout clothes a reflection of our personal style, but they can also make us feel more confident and motivated to get active. 

While it’s easy to focus on how we look and feel in our clothes, when it comes to gym apparel, it’s also important to make sure they’re practical for our favorite workouts.  

Wearing the right clothing for your workout can help you: 

  • Stay comfortable  

  • Prevent injury 

  • Regulate your body temperature 

  • Maximize your workout 

So, next time you go shopping for new gear, ask yourself these two questions before you head to the checkout line. 

Will I feel comfortable in this clothing during my workout? 

Wearing clothing that is a little too tight or too loose may not be a big deal when you’re out running errands, but when you’re working out, it can cause issues. 

When trying new clothes, shop with your preferred workout in mind. Are you biking? Strength training? Just going for a casual stroll with your dog? Your chosen activities will determine what clothes you need to purchase for a safe, comfortable workout.  

According to the National Library of Medicine, loose-fitting clothing is a great choice for activities like walking, gentle yoga, strength training and basketball. If you prefer activities like running, biking, swimming or advanced yoga/Pilates, stretchy and form-fitting clothing may work better. You may need a few different styles of clothing depending on which workouts you like best. 

If you’re looking at shoes, choose a shoe that matches your activity. Choosing a shoe specifically for running, walking, or strength training will keep your feet from hurting after your workout.  

Not sure which workout is right for you? Check this article on our blog to learn more. 

Will this clothing keep me from getting too hot or cold during my workout? 

Making sure you don’t overheat or freeze during your workout is important for staying safe. Choose sweat-wicking fabrics to keep yourself cool. Cotton should be avoided because it does not dry quickly and can leave you feeling damp and uncomfortable. 

It’s important to consider seasonal changes as well. Make sure to purchase clothing that can be layered easily if you’ll be working out in colder temperatures. If you’re exercising in warmer temperatures, make sure to choose clothes that keep you cool and protect you from the sun. 

 

 

Genesis HealthCare System’s Health and Wellness content conveniently provides accurate and helpful information. Your health history and current health may impact suggestions provided through our Health and Wellness content. Although we hope this information is helpful, it is not a substitute for your doctor's medical advice. Before making any significant changes, please consult your doctor.

Choosing the right workout clothes for you

There’s nothing like new workout clothes to put you in the mood to hit the gym or go for a run. Not only are our workout clothes a reflection of our personal style, but they can also make us feel more confident and motivated to get active. 

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Maximize Your Workout with Recovery

Submitted by emily.griffin on

Whew! You got a great workout in... now what? Don’t let all your hard work be for nothing! Whether you want to gain muscle mass, lose weight or keep your healthy lifestyle, it’s essential to take time to recover after your workout. Follow these four steps to help your body and brain feel even better after exercise.  

Cool Down

cool down

The National Library of Medicine says active cool-downs may promote faster cardiovascular and respiratory systems recovery. An active cool-down is a brisk walk after a cardio session. Following a strength training session, an active cool-down is stretching or gentle body movements. Typically, a cool down ranges from five to 10 minutes. The goal is to circulate your blood and slow your heart rate gradually. Take these few minutes after your workout to reset your body and reflect on your hard work.

Hydrate

Through sweating and heavy breathing, your body loses water during exercise. Drinking plenty of water after your workout helps restore your body’s temperature and muscles. You can prevent dehydration by drinking water before, during and after your training. 

hydrate

Fuel

The International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends eating protein and carbs after exertion. Protein helps repair muscles. Carbs replenish your glycogen stores. Eating these two together will speed up your recovery. You’ll feel ready to work when you hit the gym again. 

fuel

Rest

rest

Exercise and sleep go hand-in-hand. Research from The National Sleep Foundation shows that adults who exercise tend to sleep better. They recommend between seven and nine hours of sleep per night for the average adult. This is when your body does the bulk of its recovery. When you’re not getting enough sleep, your body doesn’t have enough time to repair itself from activity. 

Add these tips to your exercise regimen to maximize your results.  

 

Genesis HealthCare System’s Health and Wellness content conveniently provides accurate and helpful information. Your health history and current health may impact suggestions provided through our Health and Wellness content. Although we hope this information is helpful, it is not a substitute for your doctor's medical advice. Before making any significant changes, please consult your doctor.

maximize your workout

Follow these four steps to help your body and brain feel even better after exercise.  

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