Tag Archives: alternative health

Improve Fitness After Rehabilitation


Marc after Second Hip Surgery

MAE Video \”Marc Talks about Rehabilitation through Walking\” 

If you have just recently had surgery, experienced an injury and now are finished with your HMO rehabilitative services and want to become fit there is a post exercise mobility therapy habit that needs to be considered to ensure quality living experiences.  Many that are going through physical rehabilitation tend to gain weight, lose strength, cardiovascular endurance and suffer acute to chronic pain from inactivity.

 If you experience weight bearing acute to chronic pain in any of your weight bearing joints, i.e., back, neck, hip, feet, legs and have put on weight, or simply want to take control of your weight, a safe starting movement activity is the way to go.  This means to find some form of activity where you can move your body to begin increasing your fitness levels. 

 There are exercise activity routines you could participate in to rehabilitate yourself to walk, if not able to walk well.  For example, there’s extended physical therapy offered by many health insurers, to include Medicare.  If your insurance does not cover extended specialized services because you have annual limits on these services which you’ve used up, all is not lost.  The same is true if you have coverage that only includes short-term, or very limited medical services.  If you have the ability to walk, you are in a better position to rehabilitate yourself through walking movement activity.

 Now if you’re in a bad way and you need assistance to get yourself rehabilitated, don’t go it alone!  Suck up your pride, reach out and recruit a friend or family member to drive you to the nearest social security administration if you can’t do this yourself, or visit www.socialsecurity.gov online, or call by phone toll free 1-800-772-1213 to reach a representative.  Office hours are between 7a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday to get further application, appointment, qualifications, self help information and office location in your area.  Also check into the supplemental home assistance programs and other available services.

 Even with disability supplemental assistance programs success to rehabilitate oneself to get active with life will depend much on your ability to begin actively moving your body to receive a fitness benefit.  The disability assistance is nice because you now don’t have to worry about paying your basic living expenses.  However, a word of caution…  All too often, those with limited movement and pain begin to move even less when outside supplemental services are provided.  This level of comfort somehow nestles many to believe they are taken care of meeting the social disability expectation.  This may be true from a cash flow perspective, but absolutely false from a health and increased fitness level perspective.

 To develop a habit of less activity when one should be attempting to rehabilitate working toward increased activity, especially if one can walk is detrimental and a contradiction to their wellness health goals.  Remember, to improve fitness levels and overall health does not mean your social security benefits will end.  All too often, fear in not meeting and maintaining the social disability expectation prevents many from ever improving their disability conditions.  This dependent and addictive support habit often continues to degrade health for fear of losing needed supplemental government services.  Believe me, I’m not opposed to the services, I’m drawing awareness to proper pain management and quality living philosophy where movement activity is balanced into the rehabilitative mix.  I also realize many dependent on physical or mental aid will never have the ability to work for an employer because of disability limitations.

 My message for those that find themselves in this situation, you can have better quality life experiences if you can find a way to get yourself busy in life through a walking activity.  Especially if you can pain manage this activity.  And if you can do this, you will also be able to travel a little more, visit family members, go to a ballgame, maybe even do other activities; like ballroom dance, walk the dogs, sit for periods of time and write that book you’ve always dreamed about.  The list goes on.  Through walking many ailments can be pain alleviated and fitness levels increased.  Of course, keep what I’m telling you in perspective.  Your quality living improvements are relative to your health condition(s), physical and mental limitations.  Never the less, you will experience more feel good endorphins if you begin moving your body.  This will also improve mood, motivation to do more with your time in a day, boost self-worth and reduce dosages on pain medications daily.

 The cost to you to walk is nothing, other than your time, effort and motivation commitment toward improved mobility.  Through daily physical movement activities fitness levels will increase.  This will positively impact mood disposition.  This is important why?  Increased fitness levels contribute to healthy heart, lungs, metabolism, lean body, body strength, reduced body fat, weight control, pain alleviation, better physical endurance, excellent circulatory properties, reduced depression and other ill-health prevention, etc.  A combination of healthy habits, such as daily activity exercise movement and balanced nutrition are two of the ageless body prevention formulas.   This combination instills “proven” ageless fountain of youth methods centurions have known about for years and apply daily to enjoy quality living experiences for life.  To know this information is a “powerful mind-body motivator” for those that are in daily need of rehabilitative strategies to improve overall fitness and health.

 But in order to begin movement exercise activity safely; if you’ve been a couch potato, post surgery patient, or are in some form of physical rehabilitative condition, overweight, etc., you must first develop a fitness activity exercise plan and include your primary care physician and/or specialists to discuss a physical fitness program to ensure it is right for you. 

 Remember we’re all different in age, have various fitness goals, pain issues, disease, life circumstances, etc.   For example, I didn’t use a gym for many years while I worked to rehabilitate my body after surgeries.  I simply walked around the house, short stints with mobility aids in/outside the house, did PT exercises in bed the best I could until my body got stronger.  After I was able to crutch my way around the neighborhood an 1/8 of mile I incorporated other activity.  I’m not telling you to base your exercise mobility routine like mine; I’m simply providing what worked for me as an example.  I also had 4 physician specialists I coordinated with to assure my plan was not going to be detrimental to my overall health.  I know making appointments with specialists to compare notes is an additional burden.  It is a necessary part of any rehabilitative effort to ensure when customizing a fitness mobility exercise program it is done safely with your specialist(s) in the loop.

 Even with an undergraduate degree in Exercise Science, although I’m well versed in fitness activity and the effects on mind and body, I’m not a doctor.  There are many aspects of illness and disease pain pathologies, medications and effect’s on the “encompassing being” I cannot safely forecast when incorporating a daily movement activity to improve overall fitness and health during a rehabilitative scenario.  This is why you need to include your primary care physician at the least before you undertake a daily exercise mobility fitness activity.  But one thing for sure that is consistent in achieving good health, that’s daily movement activity.

 One must get back up on their feet one way or the other and move forward to become more fit.  The best way I know how to do this is achieve a goal to walk without mobility aids if possible.  This may not ever be physically possible for some.  The key is movement activity.  So when I mention walk, if you cannot do this without a mobility aid, simply increase your daily movement activity using a cane, wheelchair, walker, etc. 

 To achieve more movement activity requires daily exercise activity.  This is certainly possible and applicable to all of those using mobility aids.  I’ve got to tell you, I got the best workouts using wheel chairs and crutches.  It takes much conditioning to get into shape to haul your body weight around.  I know this from personal experience.  I challenge any walker to keep up with an avid mobility challenged person that’s conditioned to do so daily.  A word of caution with mobility walk aids.  I did suffer torn rotor cuffs and neck strains because of my aggressive competitive nature to excel in all I do.  So beware, you can hurt yourself while increasing your fitness levels through exercise with crutches and wheel chairs.  To get conditioned with these mobility devices takes the body time to build up strength, postural balance, muscle toning coordination and cardiovascular endurance.  These things are true in training for any form of physical task specific activity.  And with this said, there are correct ways to train for increased activity and wrong ways.  I’ve learned within my rehabilitative experiences, I need to better pace myself and not train for a marathon right out the gate.  After all I’m no longer in peak condition as I once was many moons ago.

 Take one step at a time, one block at a time, and one mile at a time.  Do what you can daily.  Put no time lines, or distances on yourself.  The mind-body will tell you each day what it’s capable of doing.  If you have the ability to walk you’re much further ahead in becoming more fit and healthy.  Move around, or walk daily regardless of mood, etc.  Do your in home physical therapy in bed, flexibility, range of motion exercises, walk in place, move up and down stairs if possible.  The key is to move more daily, work to reach 10-15min/day exercise activity at a minimum before increasing movement walking activity outdoors.  Be consistent at daily movement.  Don’t miss a day.  This is important if you want to improve your fitness level activity circumstances.  If you use a walker, wheelchair, or cane get out and move forward/move daily.  Build up walking endurance with a walking mobility aid if necessary to achieve goal distances of 100ft for example.  Physical therapy exercises will vary for each individual and will not be covered here.  However, if you need ideals on how to warm up and exercise before walking activities research the following:  Use the library, Internet, magazines, primary care HMO home PT exercise book, relevant rehabilitative subscription information/self-help recommendations for your conditions, etc. 

 There are many self-help books and free HMO pamphlets available.   I personally like Pilates and plank exercises for core strengthening exercises after passive and active warm-ups like, hot shower and range of motion stretching exercises.  I also do these slow stretch exercises while I watch the morning news, or evening shows and in-between writing my daily articles.  My slow stretch exercises include seated reach for toes and hold, standing slow stretch side bends, neck rotation/side tilts and squatted back stretches holding from 10’s of seconds to minutes at any time within the day’s activities.  I then go on my daily walk (active warm up and conditioning) and incorporate Pilate’s stretches and body part light strength training at the local fitness center.  I do manage pain daily by knowledge of working around pain threshold trigger points during activity and certain prescribed medications.  Check out books and literature on Pilates and core strength exercise examples.  There are thousands of exercise examples.

 Other tips:  Consider “not taking” your car to the store for daily staples once you can walk half a mile total distances assisted mobility device or not.  Make your fitness goal each day to walk to a market that’s near.  Make a goal to walk and shop for your evening meals, or drive to and walk the mall for example “a safe environment as you rehabilitate through movement activity.”  Get a small backpack “once able to walk small distances;” carry healthy produce, products to the car, home etc. 

 Never carry more in weight than the weight you lose.  For example, I personally never carry more than 5lbs in bags, one for each arm, greater than 1 mile.  That’s .5 mile one way.  This has more to do with my chronic back-neck problems than weight lost.  So you need to factor in acute-chronic pain triggers under load.  In other words when starting a shop & walk activity program, you don’t haul extra weight until you lose weight, or alleviate pain significantly.  Just like you won’t move your body by walking without a cane, or walker after injury, or surgery until your body was conditioned to do so. An unconditioned body to walk without crutches, walker, cane, or wheel chair adds more body weight to weakened weight bearing joints.  To do so when the mind-body is not ready will risk secondary weight bearing injuries to body compromising overall health.

 When you’re strong enough to walk a 1/8mile one way for a total of ½ mile without walking aids you are then ready to begin a 3-5 day fitness activity program.  Even if mobility aids will be with you for life, you can still work toward customized fitness mobility assisted 3-5 day walking program.  The fit body results will still be experienced, i.e., cardiovascular, muscular, postural, mental function, mood and pain alleviation benefits in varying degrees.  Regardless you achieve more activity in life which equates to better quality living and healthy mind-body experiences

  Please look for the following article at the home site to get on a 3-5 day activity exercise program that’s right for you after you complete your rehabilitative mobility exercise activity goals.   The article you’ll want to search for to progress to the next activity level, “How to Exercise and Increase Fitness Levels.” Try various combinations of exercise activity, break up the fitness conditioning patterns and don’t go into any activity program at full intensity unless trained to do so.  Good things in life come to those that take the time to do it right while balancing all life activities and fitness goals.

The information presented within this article and on our website, is in no way intended as a substitute for medical counseling. Always consult a physician before starting any course of medical, or fitness treatment program, particularly if you are pregnant or currently under medical care. Always read and follow product packaging directions and warnings.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2010 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.org,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.

“Dare To Walk,” TV Reality Game Show


See MAE Video \”Dare to Walk,\” Stay Fit, Alleviate Pain, Save American Families One Step at a Time!\

“The original Concept “Dare to Walk another Day” came from a 30 chapter Mirror Athlete manuscript (currently seeking publication).  The 30 chapters encompass preventative exercise and pain alleviation modalities known as “Mirror Athlete Science,” fitness and pain management philosophy.

“Dare to Walk” another Day is devoted to 2-3 chapters in the manuscript.  It explains the importance of this game concept in the last chapter and why this fitness and pain management philosophy would be of great interest to all Americans, including the politics centered around preventative health and Medicare issues.  The intended audience (76 million baby boomers) and family interest in this type of Reality TV Game show would be huge, also educational.  This show could put our nation’s health first by using walking as the preventative health outreach initiative through a competitive and exciting walk Reality TV game show. Those that manage pain effectively and walk show you “how they do it!”  The globe would benefit and the audience would expand immensely by the second year of production because of the shows promotional unique appeal and draw to boomers and families of all ages throughout the world.  “Dare to Walk” SITE ,” WGAW Registry #1409703, Feb 2010 (“Dare to Walk,” TV Reality Game Concept).  Copyright Mirror Athlete Enterprises, All rights reserved 2010.

Read the Full Story - “Dare to Walk,” Reality Heals a Nation’s People in Pain! See how the origin of this concept began.   You’ve read nothing like this, nor have you heard of any TV reality concept that comes near this caliber of entertainment.  Read the full story and “Dare to Walk, another day!”

Tell your walking clubs and walking partners to visit MirrorAthlete.com and sign up as a free subscriber of interest.  The goal is to get 10,000 interested fellow walkers while officially submitting the full pitch concept to Reality TV producers.  This concept has been registered under intellectual property register WGAW#1409703, 2 Feb 2010.

See other Mirror Athlete Corp projects you may be interested in, such as “Viking Carnivores” Reality TV Game Show.”

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET. 2009 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.org,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.

Alleviate Pain-Movement Based Therapies


In many of my articles I have stated the importance of movement specifically through physical exercises or activity.  For without movement activities, the body and mind will quickly deteriorate creating more aggravating pain while increasing risk for more illness or disease.  There is a direct connection between the mind-body (psychosomatic) neurological meridian connections.  I like to refer to these meridians as the “health highways” electrical conduits throughout the body.  This is because mobility or lack of it can have an impact on positive “healing” nerve-holistic body stimulation, delay, or worsening of the healing process through these connections.

There are two fronts where lack of motion or mobility can impact overall health byway of these health highway connections.  1)  Mind-Body connection – Depression can and does contribute to pain disease if you allow it to motivate a sedentary lifestyle; opposed to pain tolerance learned and applied appropriately provide greater mobility and health benefit.  On the flip side, 2) Body-Mind – You “may not” be depressed but have severely limited your activities due to body function pain.  In either case, lack of activity creates a negative impact on motivation, self-esteem, disease mitigation, quality of life and other health risks.  Both ends of the “mind-body/body-mind” connection can turn full circle limiting activity, causing depression and can cause serious or grave harm to your overall health.

You must never give up on finding some form of activity, therapy and/or exercise within your day to offset further body degradation while maintaining a pain management program.  Depression is a pain patient’s worst enemy (MAE Health Blog, “Dealing with Depression,” M.T. Woodard, 25 Aug 08).  In my opinion, incorporation of a movement based therapy program is essential toward a holistic pain healing, or health maintenance program.  For without a daily movement program it is very difficult for a pain patient to thwart off depression and worsening of pain!  I do realize there are some that are completely incapacitated where my recommendations to increase activity or mobility may not be practical.  However, I encourage and highly recommend you consult with your doctor, or specialists to see if they could assist, direct, or refer you toward specialized movement based therapy resources relative to your chronic pain condition.

Some examples of non-specialized movement based activities if your pain tolerances will allow full or partial participation:  Gym membership, task specific exercise, i.e., walking, riding a recumbent stationary bike, low impact aerobics, e.g., treadmill, hand pedal stationary unit, bicycle and daily stretching exercise, etc.  Hobbies/social – Camping, fishing, community involvement, church choir, hiking, travel, home and garden, etc.  Find something that will get you excited about life and within acceptable pain tolerance that does not cause severe aggravation, or further damage to existing pain problems.  Discuss these movement based activities with your pain specialists, etc., to assess your pain conditions before you incorporate any of these recommendations into your pain program.  Just because you have varying levels of chronic pain, does not mean you are 100% “movement” disabled (MAE HealthBlog, “Disabilities & Public Perception,” M.T. Woodard, 7 July 2008).

Listed below are specialized movement based therapies to further your research and consideration of such program (s) within a customized pain management program while working with pain specialists and/or doctors.

1.  Physical exercises or activity.  Physical activity provides benefits to strengthening muscles, joints, ligament, tendons; oxygen-enriched blood to all cellular structures; improved structural alignment and release of natural feel good endorphins.

“You’re body produces natural and addictive chemicals that are optimally activated during exercise, or during increased activity:   1) Adrenaline a neurotransmitter and hormone produced by the adrenalin gland just above the kidneys, also known as norepinephrine and epinephrine (provides attention focus in brain).  Together these chemicals activate your fight or flight stimulation designed to get the body out of a stressful situation, or survive an injury scenario.  It acts as a natural pain killer, boosts oxygen and glucose fuel to brain, muscles and suppresses depression.  2)   Dopamine is produced and synthesized in the brain which boosts positive behavior, cognition, motor activity, motivation, sleep, mood, learning and attention.  3)  Serotonin is synthesized within the CNS (Central Nervous System).  This chemical is also found in many mushrooms, plants, fruits and vegetables.  Research shows Serotonin plays an important role in liver regeneration and induces cell division throughout the body (important for repair and healing of the body).  Serotonins role as a neurotransmitter of the brain is to modulate anger, mood, aggression, sleep, sexuality, appetite and metabolism.”  (MAE HealthBlog, “An Addictive Chemical to Stimulate Will Power,” M.T., Woodard, 22 Jan 2009).

“I know a lot of you out there are hurting with disabling pain thinking there is nothing more you can do to increase your physical activity, receive further health benefits and/or improve your health condition, or quality of life.  There are solutions, but you have to want to become a mirror athlete as your number one goal.  Remember a mirror athlete will use health management techniques customized within a pain management program to improve posture, alleviate pain, while improving, or contributing to overall health through daily activities and/or exercise maintaining a healthy mind, body and soul.”

My contention, if you can move segments of your body, you “can” receive a health benefit.  If you suffer from depression, there is group support within the medical community and much information to be found in libraries or the Internet.  If you’re on a pain management program, you “may be able” to reduce your daily pain prescription to allow focus on activities for periods of time in a day.  (MAE HealthBlog, “Disabilities & Public Perception,” Woodard, 07 July 2008).

2.  Physical Therapy – Since movement is central to good health, physical therapy focuses on rehabilitation, promotion of body movement, or exercise.  The major pain alleviation modalities are manual handling, electrotherapy, massage, physical medicine, ultrasound, etc.   Other areas of physical therapy specialization include:  Health limitations due to cardiopulmonary, geriatrics, neurologic, orthopedic, pediatrics problems, burn patients and post surgical treatment in assisting with focus in habilitation, or rehabilitation (enable take care of oneself; restore to former state).  Physical therapy includes the use of many variations, or singular pain treatment modalities to assist and stimulate healthy movement, while working through pain issues, recovery, rehabilitation, etc.  Other areas of physical therapy specialization focus on psychological and emotional well-being activities.  Therapy is performed by a licensed physical therapist (PT) or an assistant acting under PT direction.  Offices and practices vary by demographic and specialties mentioned above, settings include:  Hospices, industrial workplaces, outpatient clinics, offices, inpatient rehab facilities, extended care facilities, private homes, and education, also research centers.

3.    Specialized and assisted movement programs.

a.  Yoga, Indian meditation posing and stretching – Purification of the physical body or mind to strengthen the body, or well being as a whole unit.  I will not go into the detailed specifics behind various Yoga philosophies as this is beyond the intent of information I’m providing you.  If you want to learn more about Yoga philosophy and techniques I highly recommend you contact a Yoga studio, read books on Yoga, or research the Internet to become better informed how Yoga could benefit your well being.  Yoga posing and stretching techniques have positive health benefits on the mind and body while alleviating pain.  Positive mind focus through concentrated and careful body movement focuses energies on piece of mind while stimulating the natural physical healing cycle of the body.

b.  Pilates, strengthening core muscles through resistive exercise routine – The premise of Pilates uses the mind to control the muscles.  Since the program focuses on postural muscles; abdomen, lower back, hips and buttocks, there is great benefit in body balance through strengthening these “core” major muscle groups which is essential to spine health.  This program concentrates on breathing ensuring proper alignment of the spine while strengthening deep torso muscles.  Pilates breathing techniques teaches the importance of continuous and deep breathing techniques as essential to remove toxins and provide oxygen enriched blood to maintain overall health and pain alleviation.  Those with disabilities can apply a customized Pilate’s program to better aid in and improve overall function.  One should “only” participate in a Pilate’s program while under the supervision of a certified instructor.  If interested in learning more about the Pilates program research the largest certified Pilates program worldwide, Stott Pilates.  Also see Pilates Method Alliance (PMA), which is an umbrella organization attempting to standardize certification worldwide.

c.  Tai Chi, Chinese practice of slow movement and focus on balance.  This program makes use of Soft Chinese internal martial arts where “chi” energy makes use of an opponent’s strength against them – Instead of using overpowering muscular force and strength to defend against an opponent, the body’s chi energy is effectively tapped where brute force is not necessary to protect oneself.  The opposition’s strength is applied against forced assertion through focus and fluid motion during the defense.  Tai Chi has many health benefits associated with this form of concentrated, low impact and fluid motion just through practicing concentrated movement techniques.  The health and fitness benefits of Tai Chi exercise are well recognized worldwide without the physical strains associated with intense exercise.  The benefits associated with the practice of Tai Chi’s relaxed movement techniques:  Lowers stress levels, slows down aging, improves postural alignment, better breathing technique, pain alleviation, improved blood circulation, flexibility, etc.  Disease prevention and/or health disorder mitigation: Arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, cardiovascular, etc.  The theory of Tai Chi is based on traditional Chinese medicine, through the body’s electrical Chi meridians (neurological “health highways”) much in the way acupuncture is used to remove blockages that create pain in order to heal disease.  Tai Chi exercises can be used to achieve the same results.

d.  Feldenkrais – Efficiency of movement through specialized therapy. Physical well-being is established through movement patterns.  Therapy focuses on assistance in re-learning more proficient movement behaviors as opposed to inefficient and negative health impact movement that may lead to further body degradation.  Moshe Feldenkrais believes the mind and body are inseparable and as such every action is a single process of thinking, feeling, sensing and moving.  As each action impacts ultimate health transmitted through the nervous system, therapeutic movement can reinforce, or even reinstate better health and well-being by activating healthy movement patterns by triggering past feeling and thinking behaviors.  By shaping the body through active movement the whole (holistic) body, mind & soul receive the benefit.  As prior to therapy, one may have been confused, fixated and maybe lacked purpose of being.  Through Feldenkrais exercises a more relaxed and stress free holistic body creates a greater zest for life.

Common exercises include stretching, strengthening and aerobics.  However a fundamental drawback is these exercises… They do not effectively improve our characteristic movement.  In other words, you may be able to go through exercise where precision and exact movement may not be fluid, or within your pain range tolerance to perform certain moves, or movement characteristic of an unimpeded person.  However, you do receive a health benefit by participating!  General exercise routines very rarely improve useful functionality, while often aggravates habitual movement throughout the day.  Inefficient action or movement can lead stiffness, aches and pains, arthritis, fatigue and limitations.  Pain alleviation through Feldenkrais bases exploration of movement possibilities integrated with flexibility, strength and cardiopulmonary health is well worth consideration as a movement therapy incorporated into your pain management program.

By learning to sense self through proper relaxed movement one can sense proper balance, articulation, felt movement, tissue tension, pressure and pain.  Hence if tension and aggravation is felt through improper movement, one can learn to correct the pattern that is creating pain through sensory feedback to the brain.  Since Feldenkrais derives effortless pleasure in motion and holistic improvements compared to conventional stressful exercise those that participate in a program such as this want to continue to improve their abilities and overall well-being.

The key point I want you to take away from this read… Stay active; find an alternative movement based therapy, hobby, or interest to improve your quality of life through motion and/or exercise.  Although there is a balance of pain tolerance one must learn to overcome during movement based therapies… Specialized movement techniques are well worth the exploration and research to consider participation.  Through movement, one can relearn to mobilize and heal themselves through acceptable, low impact pain sensory rehabilitative feedback exercises, and/or activity.   I believe any movement therapy, or activity has a direct connection between the mind and body through neurological “Health Highways” establishing healing energy (Chi) to damaged tissues while alleviating pain and mitigating illness and disease.  Using non-stressful movement techniques or other activity participation “in my opinion” will improve well-being and should be included within any pain management program if at all possible.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2009 Copyright, All rights reserved.  Mirror Athlete Enterprises Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.org, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.