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February is National Cancer Prevention Month and March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Unfortunately, according to a study conducted by Northeast Regional Cancer Institute (NRCI), our area has a higher rate of cancer compared to the rest of the United States. Residents of NEPA must be vigilant! While there is no fool-proof method for cancer prevention, scientific research does support the fact that healthy lifestyle choices are essential.

Important Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Cancer:

  1. AVOID SMOKE AND SMOKING! - Perhaps the most important thing one can do to prevent cancer is to avoid smoking…first hand or second hand. It has been directly linked to cancer of the lung, head and neck, bladder and pancreas and others. Smoking increases the risk of lung cancer by 20 to 30 times.
  2. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise - 30 -45 Minutes of moderate exercise or physical activity 4-5 days per week is recommended to reduce the risk of cancer. Walk, ride a bike, swim, or join a gym, just do something! However, individuals exercising for longer durations at higher intensities were shown to experience the greatest reduction in their risk cancer.
    • Why Exercise Works - Various biological mechanisms including hormonal changes have been suggested as possible reasons for the reduction in cancer through exercise. However, current research has demonstrated a strong link between cancer and stress. Stress, which reduces our body’s natural defense mechanisms, such as adrenal cortical or stress hormones, increases our susceptibility to disease including cancer. Exercise and physical activity has been shown to not only reduce stress, anxiety, and depression but also to elevate mood. These psychological improvements may be the reason why exercise and physical activity are effective in preventing cancer.
      • Obesity as a risk factor for cancer has been demonstrated in the scientific literature for years. Individuals that are more physically active are usually not overweight. Exercise increases basal metabolic rate, expends calories, and burns fat to help control your weight and to help maintain a more normal lean body mass. Physical activity and exercise prevent obesity.
    • Colorectal Cancer - Physical activity and exercise has been shown to have the greatest prevention against colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among American men and women combined. Physical activity reduced the risk of colorectal cancer up to 70% for both men and women.
    • Breast Cancer - Research has been able to establish a similar relationship between physical activity and breast cancer. Approximately one out of every eight women in the United States can develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. Exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer up to 40%.
    • Prostate Cancer - Prostate cancer, the second most common cause of male death, will affect one in every five American males. However, the risk of prostate cancer can be reduced up to 30% through physical activity and exercise. Researchers hypothesize that exercise may have its greatest protective effect against prostate cancer when initiated early in a man’s life.
    • Cancer of the Lung/Uterus/Cervix - Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Cancers of the uterus and cervix will accounts for 7,400 deaths annually in the United States. Exercise and physical activity can reduce the risk of lung and uterine/cervical cancer up to 40% and 90%, respectively.
  3. Avoid Obesity and Stress - Both obesity and stress, as mentioned above, have been linked with cancer of various types. A healthy low-fat diet, limited in red meat, with moderate amounts of fish, rich in fruits, vegetables and nuts along with and regular exercise are essential components for prevention , especially for colorectal and prostate cancer.
  4. Use a Water Filter - The use of a good home water filter has many healthy benefits. It may reduce your exposure to carcinogens and other harmful chemicals. Also, using a steel or glass container to store drinking water is important to avoid chemicals such as BPA found in plastic bottles.
  5. Drink Plenty of Water - The American Cancer Society recommends drinking more than 8 cups of water per day to prevent bladder cancer by diluting the concentration of urine in the bladder. 
  6. Limit Consumption of Meat - Processed, charred, blackened, and well-done meats are associated with heterocyclic amines, which are cancer causing and formed when charcoal broiling meat. Marinating meat for an extended time prior to grilling has been recommended to improve safety according to some studies.
  7. Eat Green Vegetables - Some studies suggest that the really dark greens such as spinach, kale, collards and broccoli are valuable in cancer preventions. Endive, arugula, and romaine must be added to this list.
  8. Eat Nuts - Some studies show that snacking on Brazil nuts and other nuts high in antioxidants, lowers the risk of some cancers such as bladder, lung and colorectal.
  9. Limit Sun Exposure - Take time to use adequate sun block and proper clothing to protect your skin from the sun to prevent skin cancer, especially if you are light skinned. At all costs, avoid sunburn!
  10. Eat Organic and Natural Foods - When possible, buy fresh foods and meats free of antibiotic and hormones. Choose organic produce grown free of pesticides. Eat farm-raised fish and limit consumption of fish from waters high in mercury concentration
  11.  Visit Your Physician Regularly - Regular check-ups by your physician is essential to stay healthy and have early detection of disease. Many tests and vaccinations offer life saving information such as: PAP tests, mammograms, colonoscopies, PSA blood tests and others. Ask your physician about new vaccinations such as HPV, Human Papillomavirus. These are important for the prevention of cervical cancer in women and head and neck cancer in men.

Source: American Cancer Society

EVERY MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” via Blog

EVERY SUNDAY in "The Sunday Times" - Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” in hard copy

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: drpmackarey@msn.com

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy in Scranton and Clarks Summit. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. For all of Dr. Mackarey's articles, visit our exercise forum!

Kick Start Your Wellness New Year’s Resolutions: PART II OF II

January is the time of year that many people set goals and resolve to be their very best. Not surprisingly, weight loss and fitness are the most common resolutions. It is also a time when many residents of NEPA will plan vacations and travel to warmer climates. Well, it may be that you can do both… This year consider visiting a “Fitness Resort.” According to “FitStays,” fitness resorts are rapidly gaining popularity for people of all sizes and shapes. Last week in Part I of “Fitness Resorts” we discussed value of fitness resorts. This week we will present “a typical day, how long you should stay, expected costs, and some recommended resorts.

What is a Fitness Resort? (fitstays.com)

A fitness resort is a vacation destination where travelers go to exercise and lose weight. Sometimes called a “weight loss resort”, “fitness retreat”, “wellness resort”, “weight loss boot camp”, or “adult fat camp”, fitness resorts around the United States cater to people of all shapes and sizes.

Most fitness resorts consist of pre-determined, calorie-limited menus to help travelers in their weight loss journey. Some resorts promote menus of 1,000 to 1,500 calories-per-day, which is fewer than most people burn naturally via their resting metabolic rate (RMR).

In addition to net-negative calories through nutrition, fitness resorts and retreats typically have an extensive workout plan as part of their standard program. Many resorts and retreats offer daily hiking, in addition to strength classes, cardio, sports, and other physical activities.

The combination of healthy nutrition and active exercise means that most visitors can expect to lose weight at a fitness resort. Specific weight loss goals are determined by which fitness resort you pick, how long you stay, and how strenuously you want to stick to the program.

Fitness Resort – What’s it all about?

Fitness resorts (fitness retreats) are not your average “Reality TV Fat Camp.” In fact, your do not have to be excessively overweight to attend as people of all shapes and sizes benefit and enjoy the experience. Thousands of people chose to visit fitness resorts and fitness retreats every year because they are looking for a healthy alternative to a typical vacation. Instead, many want to “kick-start” a healthy lifestyle in a controlled environment. The basic concept of combining a limited-calorie diet with daily exercise, most people will have net-negative calories every day, lose weight, and gain strength and endurance at a fitness resort—provided they stick to the program.

Length of Time/Cost

Typically, fitness resorts offer one week programs but multiple weeks with a variety of options are available. However, for the best outcomes and carryover, experts recommend 2-3 weeks for your first visit to a fitness resort.

Fitness resorts, like everything else, vary in cost. According to FitStay, programs cost as little as $1,500 per week (all-inclusive), while some are more than $7,000 per week.

To choose the best fit for you, your budget, and goals, visit fitstay.com. Remember, most fitness resorts are all-inclusive, meaning that you won’t need to budget any extra for food. The program includes meals. Also, when choosing a fitness resort consider: location (where would you like to travel?); cost (how much can you afford to spend?); how long can you stay (one, two or three weeks?)

FitStays – Top 20 Fitness Retreats (7 of these discussed below):

NOTE: One of these includes a fitness retreat in our very own Pocono Mountains!

EVERY MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” via Blog

EVERY SUNDAY in "The Sunday Times" - Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” in hard copy

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: drpmackarey@msn.com

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy in Scranton and Clarks Summit. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. For all of Dr. Mackarey's articles, visit our exercise forum!

Kick Start Your Wellness New Year’s Resolutions- Part I of II

January is the time of year that many people set goals and resolve to be their very best. Not surprisingly, weight loss and fitness are the most common resolutions. It is also a time when many residents of NEPA will plan vacations and travel to warmer climates. Well, it may be that you can do both…this year consider visiting a “Fitness Resort!” According to “FitStays,” fitness resorts are rapidly gaining popularity for people of all sizes and shapes.

What is a Fitness Resort? (fitstays.com)

A fitness resort is a vacation destination where travelers go to exercise and lose weight. Sometimes called a “weight loss resort”, “fitness retreat”, “wellness resort”, “weight loss boot camp”, or “adult fat camp”, fitness resorts around the United States cater to people of all shapes and sizes.

Most fitness resorts consist of pre-determined, calorie-limited menus to help travelers in their weight loss journey. Some resorts promote menus of 1,000 to 1,500 calories-per-day, which is fewer than most people burn naturally via their resting metabolic rate (RMR).

In addition to net-negative calories through nutrition, fitness resorts and fitness retreats typically have an extensive workout plan as part of their standard program. Many resorts and retreats offer daily hiking, in addition to cardio and strength classes and assorted sports and other physical activities.

The combination of healthy nutrition and active exercise means that most visitors can expect to lose weight at a fitness resort. Specific weight loss goals will be determined by which fitness resort you pick, how long you stay, and how strenuously you want to stick to the program.

Fitness Resort – What’s it all about?

Fitness resorts (fitness retreats) are not your average “Reality TV Fat Camp.” In fact, you do not have to be excessively overweight to attend as people of all shapes and sizes benefit and enjoy the experience. Thousands of people chose to visit fitness resorts and fitness retreats every year because they are looking for a healthy alternative to a typical vacation. Instead, many want to “kick-start” a healthy lifestyle in a controlled environment.

Positive Results

Fitness resorts have been found to be effective for most attendees. The basic concept of combining a limited-calorie diet with daily exercise, most people will have net-negative calories every day, lose weight, and gain strength and endurance at a fitness resort—provided they stick to the program.

While some people report losing 1-3 pounds-per-week at a fitness resort, others experience much more success. Exactly how much you will lose will be dependent on a wide variety of factors, including the duration and intensity of your exercise and activities and the calories you consume. Inherently, men tend to lose weight more easily than women, and younger people typically have an easier time shedding pounds than older people.

Ideally, for long term success, a fitness resort program should be a part of a healthy lifestyle, rather than an absolute weight loss goal. Be aware that many “spas and wellness centers” entice people with lavish facilities in a beautiful environment but mostly offer passive modalities such as massage, meditation, acupuncture, manicures, pedicures and facials. While these modalities have value, if your goal is jump start on weight loss and physical fitness, a fitness resort may be a better option.

Frequently Asked Questions…“Will they starve me?” “How intense is the exercise?” “Will I be intimidated?”

Most fitness resorts are not “diet retreats” or painful “boot camps.” With a little effort, you can easily find the right fit for you. You will not starve! While you need to limit caloric intake, you also need enough energy for the 3-6 hours of exercise and activities (swimming, biking, hiking, Zumba, Yoga) offered. There is no need to be intimidated as most attendees are like-minded people with the same goals and needs. A good resort will not only provide the right amount of calories and exercise for your goals but also educate you how to prepare meals and engage in proper exercise once you return home.

A Typical Day at a Fitness Resort

According to FitStays, most fitness resorts offer a set schedule and a camp-like experience for adults with three meals every day, usually prepared by expert nutrition staff and/or dietitians, designed around healthy foods. A typical morning begins with extended cardio exercises, such as a run, bike or hike. The afternoon may have more intense exercise classes such as strength training classes as well as more fun activities such as sports and games. Educational classes are offered throughout the day, so you can carryover the lessons from your fitness resort experience when you return home. Evenings are usually lighter to allow for leisure, rest, or spa services, which are also offered at many resorts.

NEXT WEEK: FITNESS RESORTS - PART II – A typical day at a fitness resort, recommended length stay, cost and top 20 recommended resorts.

EVERY MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” via Blog

EVERY SUNDAY in "The Sunday Times" - Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” in hard copy

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: drpmackarey@msn.com

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy in Scranton and Clarks Summit. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. For all of Dr. Mackarey's articles, please check out our exercise forum!

Last week we discussed the healthiest New Year’s Resolutions, however, given the fact that 80% of those who made resolutions will have failed by January 19th, this week I will recommend the use of technology to improve the odds…there is an App for that!

While some apps can be a waste of time, when you find the right app for you most polls show that it can be extremely helpful. They can be used for learning, socializing, calculating, writing, graphing, news, weather, music, school, money AND HELPING YOU KEEP YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS!

According to “Per Statista,” the most common resolutions are as follows: save money (59%), exercise more (50%), more time with family and friends (40%), lose weight (35%), spend less money (26%), less time on social media (19%), and less job stress.

Apps for Saving Money

Goodbudget, YNAB (You Need A Budget), PocketGuard, and Quapital are some of the better budget Apps. Some of these Apps are free, while others require a nominal fee. In addition to tracking spending and saving, most allow you to set you own parameters and goals. Some helpful features are: moving money from checking into savings every time you buy a coffee.

Apps for Tracking Exercise

In addition to wrist trackers like Fitbit and Smart Watches, there are exercise equipment options with programs and tracking like Peleton, Norditrack and exercise mirrors like Tonal. However,  there are also specific Apps that help you set goals and see your progress. Some of these include: Fitness22, FitNotes, MyFitbnessPal and Strong. Some of these allow you to input your exercises and create graphs showing progress in body weight, fat percentage and more.  These Apps are especially useful for those who dislike going to the gym.

Apps for Prioritizing Time with Family and Friends

While distance-base technology such as Skype, WhatsApp, and Zoom worked well to keep connected during the pandemic and after, there are other Apps that offer more personal ways. Cozi is one of the best as it offers a simple organizer that displays the schedule of the entire family to assist you in planning a get together. Cozi is a great option as a simple organizer that offers a clear visual representation of the entire family’s schedule. It not only shows when people are free but also tracks the amount of time you spend (or don’t spend) with these special people.   

Apps for Losing Weight

There are so many weight loss apps available that it is easy to get confused or overwhelmed. Some of the most popular with the best reviews are: Noom, Reverse Health, Perfect Body, WeightWatchers and MyFitnessPal. MyFitnessPal has the added benefit of tracking exercise and activity with a calorie expenditure report. Simply set a goal, enter food intake and exercise/activity output and the app calculates the rest. A bar-code scanner makes it even easier!

App for Bill-Tracking

Keeping a better eye on finances and expenses is a common resolution, especially as the holiday bills come in. Stax Bill, NetSuite, Paystand and Rocket Money are highly rated. These apps help you budget, save, provide an income analysis and credit scores, and disclose recurring fees.

App for Reducing Stress at Work and Home

Reducing stress is another common resolution and learning stress management techniques and incorporating them into our daily lives is vital. Some of the highly rated apps are: Personal Zen, Sanvello, The Mindfulness App, Headspace and Moodfit. These apps not only give you the tools for managing stress but also provide insights into your mood patterns and stressors. In addition to a “blue mood” you can also track gratitude and other feelings. Also, nutrition, sleep, and medications, which can affect your mood, can also be tracked. Once a pattern is established, tools can be applied to reduce and manage stress.

App for Reducing Time on Social Media

While at first glance it may seem odd that one might use an app to stop using another app but…don’t rule it out! OneSec is an app that creates a 10 second delay after you open an app to allow you time to pause and take a deep breath before you indulge. It will also tell you how many times you have opened the app in the last 24 hours…you might be shocked!

SOURCE: LIFEHACKER

EVERY MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” via Blog

EVERY SUNDAY in "The Sunday Times" - Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” in hard copy

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: mmptc@msn.com

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice in Scranton and Clarks Summit and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at GCSOM. For all of Dr. Mackarey's articles, visit our exercise forum!

New Year’s Resolutions are very predictable. While most New Year Resolutions are health oriented, I purport that a healthy mind, body and spirit requires a healthy lifestyle. Interestingly, the ten most popular resolutions listed below, all have an impact on a healthy life.  

  1. More Time With Family And Friends
    • Polls repeatedly show that one of the most consistent resolutions for the New Year is to make more time to spend with family and friends. Moreover, research shows that the comfort and camaraderie of these people whom we love is important to our health and well-being.
  2. Begin or Improve a Fitness Program
    • The benefits of regular exercise is no longer anecdotal, it is factual. Daily exercise, even in small doses, has been associated with more health benefits than anything else known to man. Studies clearly demonstrate that it reduces cholesterol and coronary artery disease and the risk of some cancers. Also, it increases longevity, helps achieve and maintain weight loss, enhances mood, lowers blood pressure, and even improves arthritis. In short, exercise keeps you healthy and makes you look and feel better. If done properly, there is no down side. So, make this year the year to do it!
  3. Adhere to a Weight Loss Plan
    • Recent studies report that more than 66 percent of adult Americans are considered overweight or obese. As a result, weight loss is one of the most popular New Year's resolutions. However, adhering to a weight loss program is not easy. It requires many things, including, setting reasonable goals and staying focused. Often, professional help is required. While this may be one of the most difficult goals to attain, the ultimate reward and value is well worth the effort.
  4. Stop Smoking
    • Second only to losing weight, this resolution, while extremely difficult, is another life-saving goal that must be attempted. Studies report that smokers try and fail four times on average before they are successful. SO, KEEP TRYING! Get help. Talk to your physician about using over-the-counter or prescription nicotine replacement therapy and proven quit-smoking aids. Consider smoking cessation classes, support groups and hotlines in addition to the meds. This is one goal that is worth the effort.
  5. Find Your Smile
    • Due in great part to our hectic and stressful work and family demands, the United States is home to millions of people requiring the use of mood elevators and antidepressants. As a result, it is important to learn what really makes you happy in order to FIND YOUR SMILE. It requires the balance of a healthy mind, body and spirit. It might be a walk in the snow, taking dance classes or a trip to the spa. One hint, it is often something simple and inexpensive.
  6. Moderate Drinking
    • This is one tip for a healthier New Year that I expect to receive plenty of flack about! But, I would be remise if I did not mention this potentially harmful habit. While many people use the New Year as an incentive to finally stop drinking, most are unable to adhere to such a rigid goal. Studies show that moderate drinking can offer many health benefits such as lowering cholesterol and coronary artery disease but that is defined as one or two 8 ounce drinks per day and red wine is preferred. However, many heavy drinkers would do well to taper off to a moderate level. Consider participating in “Dry January!” For those with a problem and have decided that you want to stop drinking, there is a world of help and support available such as Alcoholics Anonymous. There are also a number of treatment-based programs, as well as support groups for families of alcoholics.
  7. Get Finances in Order
    • This is one tip that few consider being health related. However, serious stress from financial problems affects millions of Americans every day. This cumulative stress can be very harmful to your health and can be lessened by initiating a plan. Get professional help and learn how to downsize and reevaluate your real needs…less toys with less stress for a longer life!  
  8. Try Something New
    • There may be no one thing more important to gaining a new perspective on life that to have learned something new. It could be as drastic as returning to school to prepare for a career change or as simple as learning to play bridge. Have you vowed to make this year the year to learn something new? Take a course at local college or read a new book. Visit the Everhart Museum or take the free tour of the Scranton Cultural Center. It will enrich your life and make you a more interesting person. Most local colleges and universities offer distance and adult education programs.
  9. Service To Others
    • Service to others is service to you! There may not be anything more gratifying than providing a service to others in need. Volunteerism makes you a better and healthier person. It fits into any schedule. Donate clothes, time or resources. Locally, we have many charitable causes in need of help: Be a “Friend of the Poor,” or serve lunch at St. Frances Soup Kitchen.
  10. Get Organized
    • The goal of organization, like the goal of financial order, has similar health implications because it eliminates tremendous stress. There are many books and websites that offer suggestions on how to organize just about anything in your life. For this reason, I love my iPhone – there’s an App for that!

SOURCE: A. Powell, About.com Guide

EVERY MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” via Blog

EVERY SUNDAY in "The Sunday Times" - Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” in hard copy

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: drpmackarey@msn.com

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at GCSOM. For all of Dr. Mackarey's articles, visit our exercise forum!

Every December, as we finish the last of the leftover turkey, patients begin to talk about the holiday season and gift shopping. This conversation invariably leads to suggestions for gift ideas related to health, exercise and fitness. The suggestions below offer a wide variety of fitness related gifts, some expensive and frivolous and others reasonably priced and practical. I hope it makes your shopping a little easier. 

1. Dry Tech Exercise Clothing

Dry Tech is the best thing that has happened to exercise apparel since “jogging suit” was donned by all the “cool dudes” in the 70’s and 80’s . It is has great style and even better function. The specially made material is light weight and breathable and wicks moisture from the skin to the outer layers. Therefore, it will not get heavy with sweat which can weigh you down and cause friction with your skin which can lead to chaffing and blisters. The following exercise apparel is now available in Dry Tech:

NOTE: Shoes are a very important aspect to safe and comfortable exercise but are unique for running and other specific sports (tennis, basketball). Sneakers may be too difficult to buy for someone else. A gift certificate to an athletic shoe store (Scranton Running or Dick’s) may be a better choice.

2. Trekking Poles

For walking and hiking enthusiasts, trekking poles can be the perfect gift, especially for those over 50 and when on uneven terrain or inclement weather. The research is compelling…less stress on the lower back, hip, knee and ankle, as well as improved balance and safety. Leki, Black Diamond, and Trekology are good name brands while LL Bean and REI are reputable companies.

3. Exercise Mat

An exercise mat is helpful if you decide to exercise at home. Also, a required equipment for participating in yoga or Pilates classes is a mat.

4. Hand-Held Dumbbells and Sandbag Leg Weights

These are essential for those interested in home exercise. For the average beginner, 3-5-8-10 pound (two of each) weights will be adequate.  Dumbbells are good for shrugs, biceps, and triceps, bent over rows and lats, and lunges. Incremented and stackable dumbbells are also available by Bowflex SelecTech 552 (5-52 pounds for $299). and NordicTrack $189. Sandbags, which can be purchased as graduated weights from 1 to 5 pounds, are good for leg extensions, hamstring curls, hip hikes and hip abduction.  

5. Resistance Bands

These cheap and versatile bands are also essential for a home program. The bands come in different colors to represent the amount of resistance with yellow being the easiest and black the most difficult. They are useful for upper and lower body. For specific band exercises visit a previous column in “Health & Exercise Forum” at The Times Tribune or www.mackareyphysicaltherapy.com

6. Aerobic Equipment

NOTE:  Peloton, NordicTrack, SoulCycle are some of the companies that offer interactive exercise programs (usually through an internet subscription) for aerobic exercise using bikes, treadmills, ellipticals or rowing machines.

7. Fitness Club Membership
8. Personal Trainer Gift Certificate or Home Virtual Trainers

This can be an opportunity for someone to either get the proper advice from a professional to begin a fitness program or to revamp and tune up an old stale program. Word of mouth is a good way to find a reputable certified trainer.

Peloton – ($2,495 bike, $3,495 treadmill); Mirror Exercise – ($1,495); Tonal ($3,995.) FightCamp – ($1,219.); Forme Studio ($2,495.)

9. Electronic Fitness Monitors or Wearable Tech Monitor

These devices use GPS technology to help the user track their activity to get more out of their exercise routines. They monitor activity, heart rate, distance, location, calories, and more. Some examples are:

10. Nutritional Counselor Gift Certificate

Sometimes you need professional help to get started and stay focused. Just as with a personal trainer, a qualified and licensed nutritional counselor will assist you in establishing a safe and effective program to meet your nutritional and dietary goals. Again, ask around to see who has a good reputation or who may be a good fit for the recipient of your gift.

These gifts can be purchased at most local sporting goods stores or on-line.

EVERY MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” via Blog

EVERY SUNDAY in "The Sunday Times" - Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” in hard copy

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: drpmackarey@msn.com

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice, located in Scranton and Clarks Summit, and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at GCSOM. For all of Dr. Mackarey's articles, check out our exercise forum!

Since 1949 May has been designated as National Mental Health Month for the purpose of eliminating the stigma associated with mental illness by raising awareness. One of the most common mental health conditions is depression. New research from Boston University School of Public Health has found that depression has been increasing in the United States and life with COVID for more than two years has accelerated it rapidly. In 2021 the number of people suffering from depression increased more than 32 percent, affecting 1 in every 3 American adults. However, research also has good news to offer: one of the most understated benefits of exercise is mental health! Specifically, aerobic exercise (exercise that increases your heart rate for 30 minutes or more) such as walking, biking, running, swimming, hiking, elliptical & stepper machines to name a few, is the secret to “runner’s high.” This exercise euphoria is not limited to runners alone, but all who engage in aerobic exercise are more likely to experience high energy, positive attitude, and mental wellness.

Physical activity, specifically aerobic exercise, is a scientifically proven useful tool for preventing and easing depression symptoms. Studies in the British Journal of Medicine and the Journal of Exercise and Sports Science found that depression scores were significantly reduced in groups that engaged in aerobic running, jogging or walking programs, 30-45 minutes 3-5 days per week for 10-12 weeks when compared to a control group and a psychotherapy counseling group.

Depression is the most common mental disorder and is twice as common among women as in men. Symptoms include: fatigue, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, decreased sexual interest, weight change, and constipation. Many of these symptoms are likely to bring an individual to their family physician.

HOW EXERCISE REDUCES DEPRESSION

According to research, exercise reduces depression in two ways, psychologically (mentally) and physiological (physically). 

Psychological or Mental Benefits of Exercise on Depression:

Physiological or Physical Benefits of Exercise on Depression:

HOW TO BEGIN EXERCISE FOR DEPRESSION

  1. Consult your primary care physician to confirm the diagnosis of depression. Be sure that your symptoms are not related to other health problems. Also, if you are using antidepressant or other medications discuss the impact it may have on your exercise program with your physician.
  2. Recognize and fight depression symptoms that are contrary to or prohibit physical activity such as: fatigue, lack of energy, slow motor skills. *Work hard to recognize and overcome these symptoms to begin an exercise program. An aerobic exercise routine should eventually lessen these symptoms.
  3. Be realistic. Expect that aerobic exercise will take time to have a noticeable benefit. Do not get overly ambitious and set yourself up for failure. The studies that demonstrated benefits took place over 12 weeks.
  4. Begin slowly with an aerobic exercise program that is practical and destined to succeed. For example: inactive and deconditioned people should begin walking 5 minutes per day, 3-5 days per week for 1 week. Then, add 3-5 minutes each week until you attain 30-45 minutes per walk 3-5 times per week. Younger and fitter people can begin to walk for 15 minutes and continue until they attain 45-60 minutes per walk, 3-5 times per week. Remember, what seems impossible today will be easier and routine in 3-4 weeks so JUST DO IT !
  5. Find a pleasurable environment: a beautiful park (Nay Aug), a scenic lake (Lake Scranton), quiet countryside (rural farmlands of Dalton). Use a mall in inclement weather.
  6. Find a friendly, uplifting group to walk, talk and exercise with. This may be more appropriate for people feeling isolated or withdrawn. Others may enjoy the peace and quiet of exercising and meditating alone.
  7. Be specific and compliant! Make a serious commitment. Keep a journal or exercise log. Mark a calendar. 30-45 minutes, 3-5 days per week – NO EXCUSES! Get and exercise buddy you can count on and help keep you compliant!
  8. Make it fun! Mix it up. Walk 3 days, swim or bike 1-2 days, some days alone, some days with a buddy.
  9. BE RELIGIOUS! Be religious about exercise BUT don’t get too compulsive!

NEXT MONDAY - Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey’s "Health & Exercise Forum"!

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: drpmackarey@msn.com

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor  in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at GCSOM.

For all of Dr. Mackarey's Articles, check out our Health and Exercise Forum!

Part II of II

After a long winter, spring is finally in the air as indicated by the warm (summer-like) temperatures last week. While your mind may be ready to play golf (and other outdoor activities), however, it is important to remember that without proper warmup and preparation, the risk of injury can increase substantially. PGA professionals benefit tremendously from sport science, physical therapy and fitness programs on tour year round. Amateur golfers in northern climates require diligence and planning to prepare for the game after 4-6 months off to avoid injury.  

 Muscle strains, ligament sprains, neck and LBP is prevalent in the early season for golfers, especially for the amateur. The reasons are many: general deconditioning after winter inactivity, poor golf swing mechanics, excessive practice, inadequate warm-up and poor flexibility and conditioning. The very nature of the golf swing can create great stress on the body, especially after time off.

PRESEASON TIPS FOR GOLF

Keep Fit and Trim

Core Tips- A Strong Core is Critical for a Healthy Golf Swing

Photo 2
Photo 1
MODELS: Ross Zanghi, Physical Therapy Student; Ashley Ottaviani, Physical Therapist Assistant
Visit your doctor regularly and listen to your body.     

NEXT MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!”  

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: drpmackarey@msn.com

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at GCSOM

Access all of Dr. Mackarey's articles at our Health and Exercise Forum

Part II of II

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), 32.2 million adults and children, 10.5% of the population in the United States, have diabetes. Unfortunately, one-third of these people are not aware that they have the disease. It will be the purpose of this column to raise the level of consciousness through education and offer recommendations for lowering blood sugar levels naturally.  

Perhaps no goal is more important to a person with diabetes than maintaining a healthy blood sugar level. When managed over time, healthy blood sugar levels can slow the onset of complications associated with the disease. According to the ADA, pre-diabetes, or impaired glucose tolerance, occurs when blood glucose levels are higher than normal (110 to 125mg/dl) but below type 2 diabetes levels (126mg/dl). 54 million Americans have pre-diabetes in addition to the 20.8 million with diabetes.

While medications are effective in maintaining blood sugar levels, for those who are borderline, there are effective ways to lower your blood sugar naturally. Your physician will determine which treatment is most appropriate for your problem. Also, maintaining your ideal body weight is always important.

10 Tips to Lower Your Blood Sugar Naturally

**This column is based on information from local physicians Kenneth Rudolph, MD, Gregory Borowski, MD, the American Diabetes Association L (ADA), and Lifescript

NEXT MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!”

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: drpmackarey@msn.com

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at GCSOM.

For all of Dr. Mackarey's articles, visit our Health and Exercise Forum

Part I of II

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease in which the hormone insulin is not adequately produced or used by the body. Insulin is needed for cells to take up glucose after it is broken down from sugars, starches and other food that we eat. When working properly, this provides the fuel necessary for activities of daily living. While the exact cause is not completely understood, genetics is known to play a big role. However, environmental factors such as obesity and inactivity have also been found to play a large role.

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), 10.5% of the population in the United States or almost 34.2 million adults and children has diabetes. Unfortunately, one-third of these people are not aware that they have the disease.

Diagnosis

A Fasting Plasma Glucose Test (FPG) or an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) can be used to screen a person for diabetes or pre-diabetes. Due to the fact that it is easier, quicker and cheaper, the FPG is the recommended test by the ADA. A FPG test results between 110 and 125 mg/dl indicates pre-diabetes. A FPG of 126 mg/dl or higher indicates diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1diabetes occurs when the islet cells of the pancreas are destroyed and unable to produce insulin. Without insulin the cells of the body are unable to allow glucose (sugar) to enter the cells of the body and fuel them. Without the hormone insulin, the body is unable to convert glucose into energy needed for activities of daily living. According to the ADA, 5-10% of Americans diagnosed with diabetes has type 1. It is usually diagnosed in children and young adults.

While type 1 diabetes is serious, each year more and more people are living long, healthy and happy lives. Some conditions that may be associated with type 1 diabetes are: hyperglycemia, ketoacidosis and celiac disease. Some things you will have to know: information about different types of insulin, different types of blood glucose meters, different types of diagnostic tests, managing your blood glucose, regular eye examinations, and tests to monitor your kidney function, regular vascular and foot exams.

Symptoms 

While symptoms may vary for each patient, people with type 1diabetes often have increased thirst and urination, constant hunger, weight loss and extreme tiredness.

Complications

Type 1 diabetes increases your risk for other serious problems. Some examples are: heart disease, blindness, nerve damage, amputations and kidney damage. The best way to minimize your risk of complications from type 1diabetes is to take good care of your body. Get regular checkups from your eye doctor for early vision problems, dentist, for early dental problems, podiatrist to prevent foot wounds and ulcers. Exercise regularly, keep your weight down. Do not smoke or drink excessively.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes as most Americans are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. It occurs when the body fails to use insulin properly and eventually it fails to produce an adequate amount of insulin. When sugar, the primary source of energy in the body is not able to be broken down and transported in the cells for energy, it builds up in the blood. There it can immediately starve cells of energy and cause weakness. Also, over time it can damage eyes, kidneys, nerves or heart from abnormalities in cholesterol, blood pressure and an increase in clotting of blood vessels.

Like type 1, even though the problems with type 2 are scary, most people with type 2 diabetes live long, healthy, and happy lives. While people of all ages and races can get diabetes, some groups are at higher risk for type 2. For example, African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders and the aged are at greater risk. Conditions and complications are the same as those for type 1 diabetes.

Symptoms

People with type 2 diabetes experience symptoms that are more vague and gradual in onset than with type 1 diabetes. Type 2 symptoms include feeling tired or ill, increased thirst and urination, weight loss, poor vision, frequent infections and slow wound healing.

**This column is based on information from local physicians Kenneth Rudolph, MD, Gregory Borowski, MD and the American Diabetes Association and Harvard Health Publications

NEXT MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!”   This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: drpmackarey@msn.com

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at GCSOM.