With the winter months upon us, my patients and families are concerned how to maintain activity levels when it’s cold, rainy, and gets dark outside too early. Even in the warmest months, there may be reasons a child might be inside more than out – including safety concerns. Fortunately, there are many fun ways children CAN stay active indoors when playgrounds are cold, ball fields are icy, yards are soggy, or the sun goes down too early.
Here are some ways kids can play inside while also working on strength, balance, flexibility, or coordination:
Can physical activity help treat or prevent lung cancer? According to a 2007 study presented at the American Association for Cancer Researcher’s 6th Annual International Conference on Cancer Prevention, the answer is yes!
Physical activity is linked with a lower risk of developing lung cancer. The benefits of physical activity extended to men, women, current smokers, former smokers and never smokers. The activities did not require hours a day or an expensive gym membership. Even gardening twice a week reduced the risk of developing lung cancer.
A growing body of research shows that it is safe for patients with lung cancer to exercise before, during and after treatment. Pulmonary rehabilitation programs have
A concussion is a mild brain injury that causes a change in mental status that can occur with direct insult to the head. A concussion may also occur with movement of the body that cause acceleration/deceleration forces to the head.
What are the symptoms of a concussion?
- Loss of consciousness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Difficulty balancing
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to noise
- Ringing in the ears
- A healthcare provider should evaluate every child or adolescent suspected of a concussion.
- If this occurs during a sporting event, the child should sit out the rest of the game
- Your provider may conduct a standardized neuropsych assessment to help guide return to activities/sports
- Rest, rest and more rest!
- Absence from school may initially be necessary until one can concentrate on a task without exacerbating symptoms
- Avoid excessive time texting, on the computer, watching television, playing video games or listening to loud music
- Return to activity too soon can lead to worsening and prolonged symptoms. A second injury to the brain while the brain is healing can lead to severe brain injury that is life-threatening
A person with a concussion should not return to play until they no longer have symptoms at rest for at least 24 hours. Return to play should then be a step-wise progression. The child/adolescent should be symptom free for 24 hours before progressing to the next level of play:
- Light aerobic exercise (e.g.: walking)
- Sport-specific exercise
- Non-contact training drills
- Full contact practice
- Return to play (Must first be cleared by a provider)
Swedish’s Spine, Sports and Musculoskeletal Medicine team has developed a Sports Concussion Clinic with the following resources:
- Baseline neurocognitive testing with a computerized exam called ImPACT can be done prior to playing a sport to assess changes and recovery if a concussion occurs.
- Comprehensive concussion management, including clearance for return-to-play
It is important that our kids return safely to help prevent overuse injuries from occurring during the season. Common overuse injuries in baseball are injuries to the elbow (ulnar collateral ligament, UCL) and shoulder in the throwing arm. A proper warm up, maintaining an age appropriate pitch count and good throwing mechanics are essential to preventing overuse injuries.
Here are some specifics to keep in mind:
The benefits of exercise and being physically fit is what many people strive for. However, a recent study added a new dimension to what exercise can do to enhance health. In other words, exercise did more than keep a body fit. It also made study participants think better. You may ask, why is this new information important?
Cognitive impairment is one of multiple scleroris (MS) ’s most disabling features and it can affect between 22% to 60% of people living with the disease. Cognitive deficits may include problems with: slower information processing speed; memory impairment; difficulty with new learning and executive functioning. Historically, medical and rehabilitation approaches to the problem have been inconsistent in improving cognition.
The new frontier of exercise for improved cognition provides hope. This study’s objective was to determine if there was an association between improvements in objective measures of physical fitness and performance on cognitive tests.
Participants were people with MS who participated in a telephone based health promotion intervention, chose to work on exercise, and who completed pre and post intervention assessments. Participants were then measured for strength, aerobic fitness, and cognition at baseline and 12 weeks later.
After controlling for variables such as age, gender, MS disease activity, MS type, etc. there was evidence suggesting that cognitive functioning changed over time based on level of fitness. Participants in the physically improved group showed improved performance on measures of executive functioning after 12 weeks of exercise. The results of this study add support to the hypothesis that change in fitness is associated with improved executive functioning in people with MS. The desired outcomes are that improved cognition correlates with better quality of life, activities of daily living, vocational endeavors, and rehabilitation measures.
Where do we go from here? Since less is known about exercise training and cognition in MS (compared to studies demonstrating aerobic and strength training significantly improving cognitive functioning in older adults and people with mild cognitive impairment), we need more studies to examine this relationship in the MS population.
Unlike cavemen, barbarians and knights, we don’t face extreme danger very often. Unfortunately, every-day stress also triggers your alarm system.
Work. Commute. Kids. Relatives. Friends. Death of a loved one. Money. Everything in life can cause stress.
Stress takes a toll on your body — including your heart. Because stress can linger, your body continues to produce extra adrenalin and cortisol.
When your body’s alarm system doesn’t turn off, you may eat more, exercise less, lose sleep, argue more, forget things, get depressed, or smoke or drink more than usual. These things put an added burden on your heart and increase your risk of heart disease. Recent studies have shown that laughter and positive thinking promote heart health, while anger and job stress can increase the risk of heart attacks.
Here are some tips to protect your heart from stress:
The classic triad of rhabdomyolysis is dark urine, muscle weakness or fatigue, and muscle pain. Although exercise can be the primary factor, other key contributing elements such as dehydration, genetic conditions (e.g. sickle cell), metabolic disorders, nutritional supplements, drug use, and heat stress can exacerbate muscle damage. Without appropriate medical evaluation and care, rhabdomyolysis can cause permanent damage to the kidneys and may even be life-threatening in severe cases. Here are some tips to help your young athlete remain active and healthy:
- Maintain adequate hydration – preferably with plain water. Sports and energy drinks may often contain caffeine and excessive amounts of sugar which can cause dehydration. On average, children that are 6-10 years old should have about 1L of fluid a day, children 10-14 years old should have 1.5L/day and teens over 14 years should have at least 2L of fluid a day. It is important to increase fluids with increased activity due to the additional fluid losses that occur.
- Eliminate protein supplements. A recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found ...