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Exercise or Have Fun? Why Not Both?

One reason people give for not exercising is that they don’t “enjoy it.” Yes, sometimes we have to force ourselves to get off the couch or drive to the gym after a long day at work, but exercise CAN be enjoyable if you find the right “happiness mix.” Research has shown that happy people have common characteristics, and many are under our own control.  Here are some ideas on how to make an exercise program enjoyable and even fun! 

1. When you start a new exercise program, aim low.

In other words, most people try to do too much, too soon, too fast and for too long. They end up fatigued and sore which is definitely not fun. Eventually, they give up. If you joined a gym to start weight training, limit your first session to 30 min and use weights that seem extremely easy. You should be able to perform the exercise for 15 repetitions (reps) before muscle fatigue sets in. As you get stronger, you can increase the weight and lower the reps. If you’ve decided to begin jogging, start slowly! You shouldn’t hear yourself panting or feel seriously out of breath. Go easy and limit yourself to no more than 10 minutes if you haven’t jogged since, well, forever. Walk for another 10 minutes or so. Then add a couple more minutes of jogging every session or two and soon you will be jogging for 20 minutes or more. Make the initial workouts feel a little too easy and you’ll be back for more next time.

2. Make exercise a party!

Or at least make it a social activity.  Joining an exercise class, sports team, or training group means meeting new people and getting inspired by the instructor, coaches, and athletes more advanced than you. However, you still need to follow tip 1make sure the workout is a little too easy the first few days.  Don’t kill yourself to complete all the bootcamp exercises like the advanced students, and don’t try to keep up with those goat-footed hikers racing ahead of you on the trail.

3. Have fun with technology.

There are many different types of fitness trackers, GPS watches, phone apps, websites, etc. that provide more data than you will probably know what to do with. You can track your daily steps, your average heart rate, your max heart rate, your stress level, your sleep quality, calories burned, pace, distance, and more. You can generate maps of your runs, hikes, swims, bikes etc., to share with friends.  You can compare your workout efforts over the weeks and months to see how much you’ve improved. Be careful though, that you don’t become overly obsessed with collecting data and miss the actual experience of the workout.

4. Make it meaningful to yourself.  

Why are you exercising, to look good and improve your health? Those are great reasons, but they may not be enough to keep you motivated over the long run.  One way to stay focused is to have a larger goal.  Are you trying to overcome an injury? Don’t let where you are now, limit your potential, dream big!  Perhaps you’d like to complete a marathon, sky dive, or snorkel the great barrier reef?  Is there a mountain you always wanted to climb, a wave you wanted to surf, or a sport you always wanted to try? If you don’t know how to achieve your goal, consult with a personal trainer who can set up a customized plan to get you where you want to go and keep it fun along the way. When you’ve accomplished one goal, enjoy your success and then pick something new to work towards.  You will have achieved a fitness-based lifestyle!

5. Make it meaningful for others. 

Many charities sponsor awareness and fund-raising runs, walks, races, and so on. Staying fit while helping others can be very rewarding. Even without a charity, you can dedicate your efforts to someone or something you care about. Create your own team, design your own t-shirts, medals, events, and so on to proudly accomplish your goals in honor of a greater cause.

push button in car6. Use music.

It’s great to listen to your tunes while exercising on your own or feel the beat in a group class. But you can also use music to get yourself pumped prior to your workout. Listen to inspirational music when you first get up in the morning or in the car while you drive to your workout and you’ll be less likely to talk yourself out of exercising. Not a big music fan? Try listening to positive affirmations, freely available on YouTube and other sites to get your motivational juices flowing.

7. Get outdoors.

It may seem obvious but staring at the same four walls for every workout is not conducive to calling it “fun.” If you usually swim in a pool, learn how to swim in the ocean, it’s really quite different! Instead of an indoor rowing machine, try joining a recreational paddling club or rent a kayak.  Attend an outdoor Taichi or Yoga class.  Go for a full moon walk.  Play a new outdoor sport like Frisbee (Disc) golf or lawn bowling. Use your creativity and don’t let the weather keep you indoors. With the right attire, you can enjoy just about any sport in most conditions.

 

The key to achieving a lifestyle where exercise is consistent and productive is to make it fun.  After a year of fun, you may be surprised how fit and healthy you have become and possibly made new friends along the way. 

How’s Your Brain Today?  How Will It Be Tomorrow?

We’ve all had the experience of struggling to find a word, remember a name, find our car keys, or memorize a grocery list. But what if you took your dog for a walk around the block, then couldn’t remember which house was yours? What if you forgot the difference between red and green lights while sitting at an intersection?

The symptoms of cognitive decline, brain injury, and brain diseases are often difficult for most of us to recognize or comprehend.  Symptoms may worsen in the evening, during stressful situations, or vary from day to day. Imagine if you had:

  • Short term memory loss:
    • Did I eat breakfast already? <How would you know?>
    • Where’s my purse? <This can create continual anxiety.>
    • Why are you so frustrated with me? <After asking the same exact question 3 times in five minutes.>
    • Who is that? <After meeting a new person a few minutes earlier.>
  • Inability to recognize:
    • Who is that? <When seeing an old friend or family member.>
    • What is that? <When handed a common object like a hairbrush.>
    • Where am I? <Not recognizing your driveway, street, neighborhood, etc. Getting lost frequently.>
  • Inability to plan or anticipate:
    • I don’t understand what you mean. <When describing future events such as a medical appt.>
    • Why is that important?  <When unable to forsee consequences of actions such as not leaving the front door open.>Questioning woman
  • Inability to organize:
    • Wearing clothes backward/incorrectly.
    • Unable to pay bills on time.
    • Difficulty keeping a clean, organized kitchen, bathroom, refrigerator.
  • Inability to follow directions, perform sequential tasks:
    • I want to make tea but I don’t know how.
    • I’m sitting in the car ready to drive. What do I do next?
    • I’m at the computer but I can’t remember how to use this keyboard.
  • Other physical and mental problems:
    • Forgetting how to read, use a phone.
    • Easy prey for  scammers and criminals.
    • Anxiety, fear, depression, confusion.

Those of us unaffected by brain issues perform these types of things so automatically we forget how complicated some tasks can be. It can be very frustrating when a friend or loved one forgets how to do basic things, can’t follow simple instructions or anticipate consequences of actions.  How can we better understand what these people are going through?

Screenshot

Regarding dementia, Alzheimer’s Research UK has tried to do just that. They’ve created a unique Google Cardboard app designed to put us in the shoes of someone living with dementia. There is information and a video about it here:  https://www.awalkthroughdementia.org/

When we realize how difficult life can be for people experiencing dementia and other types of cognitive impairment, it makes sense to do whatever we can to help. Small improvements in daily function can help decrease anxiety, prevent depression, and improve safety.

Here at OrthoSport Hawaii, we asked the question, “With the resources and talents at our disposal, how can WE help?”  After extensive research1 into the subject, we discovered that aerobic exercise performed while simultaneously challenging cognition, memory, problem solving, etc., is an effective way to maintain or improve brain function for a variety of conditions. Well, helping people exercise is one of the things we do best!

So we started BrainFit.

Elderly couple exercising

Our BrainFit program combines heart-healthy aerobic exercise with specific, research-based brain exercises and games tailored to your individual skill level.

To achieve the best results, you need to maintain an optimal heart rate while performing brain challenges. Our personal trainers will inspire you with fun, interactive brain games while monitoring and helping you maintain your optimal heart rate based on your fitness level and ability.

Your BrainFit program includes 10 sessions which you will attend once or twice per week, depending on your preference and schedule.  If you have a friend or relative who is at a similar level, you can even attend your sessions together! You will begin with an initial assessment of your brain ability using a phone or tablet. Then, each session will start with valuable information on lifestyle factors that affect brain health such as nutrition, sleep quality and so on, customized to your specific situation and lifestyle. Up next will be the active part of the session where your trainer guides you through a fun workout for both body and brain.  You will probably be laughing a lot!

At the completion of your 10 sessions, you will re-take that initial assessment to test your progress and see how much you have improved! After completing the program, you will have options for additional training or a program to work on at home to continue to improve.

So far, feedback on BrainFit has been extremely positive.  If you, or someone you know may be experiencing cognitive issues or would simply like to increase brain function while improving fitness, then BrainFit may be for you. For more information, please contact the OrthoSport Medical Gym through this website, or call (808) 373-1114.

Click to watch our Hawaii News Now Segment with Jim Mendoza.

1 Research references available upon request.

 

OrthoSport Hawaii T-Shirt Challenge

Announcing OrthoSport Hawaii’s T-shirt Challenge!

We love how awesome our patients and clients are and we really want to show you off! Wear any OrthoSport Hawaii T-shirt or other logo-wear while doing something picture-worthy and submit your photo on our website at this link:

OrthoSport Submit Page

Your photo will be posted on our Facebook page and you will be entered into a drawing for cool prizes like a 30 min massage, gift cards and more. You should receive an email to confirm your submission and then look for your photo on our page. You can wear your “graduation” t-shirt, or buy some swag at the Medical Gym in an assortment of styles and colors.

Winners will be announced on our Facebook page so please Like our page to keep up to date.

Mahalo for your support!

The OrthoSport Hawaii Physical Therapy Experience

Our guest author for this post is one of our favorite patients and medical gym members, WENDY PUNG!  She offers her own experiences and advice for anyone who may benefit from physical therapy and medical fitness to improve their movement, strength, functional mobility, and to decrease or eliminate pain. Thanks Wendy! 

PT – IT’S NOT SO SCARY

By Wendy Pung

So you’ve seen your doctor for that nagging pain or you’ve just had surgery and you’ve been given a prescription for physical therapy (PT). This is your first experience with PT and you have no idea what it is, what to expect, and probably most important of all—am I going to hurt even MORE? Just to let you know, the person who is writing this piece to try to allay your fears about PT is not a physical therapist or any other person working in the medical profession. If OrthoSport Hawaii were an airline, I would be called a “frequent flyer” as I have been sent to PT for nagging pains and post-surgery rehab too many times to count! And these many treatments have nothing to do with anything that the Physical Therapists have done or not done; I just have a lot of physical problems. What is PT anyway?

Woman laughing in aquatic therapy pool

To put it simply, physical therapy is a medical treatment to help decrease your pain and stiffness and improve your motion, strength, and overall functional mobility. The therapists do this using a variety of techniques such as exercises, pool therapy, ice, soft tissue and joint mobilization, to name a few.

You may need a prescription from an MD for PT, it depends on your insurance. You can call OrthoSport Hawaii to find out if you’re not sure. In any case, before arriving at your first appointment, you should find out:  what to wear, whether your medical insurance requires a co-payment for each appointment, what documents you need to bring with you (e.g. a list of medications and hospitalizations, insurance and ID cards, etc.) and the clinic’s cancellation or no-show policy.

When you arrive at your first appointment you will be given a set of forms to fill out and sign. These are no different than the forms that your doctor would give you at a first appointment. The most important form would be the one that asks you to describe the problem that brought you to the clinic to be treated by the therapist. Providing details of your pain, limitations, and the goals you would wish to achieve after PT is completed is crucial at this point so don’t be afraid to lay it all out.

You will then start your appointment with the physical therapist. He or she will start the evaluation by asking questions and assessing your overall condition, by taking measurements and testing your strength, range of motion, flexibility, and balance among other parameters. Remember that if you are having any concerns during this procedure, speak up! I have been treated by MANY therapists and none (so far) has bitten, and all have been very understanding. They are always more than helpful, answering my questions with impressive knowledge of the complexities of the human body and how it works.

Your physical therapist will then devise a plan that is just for you, to get you back to moving and feeling better than when you first arrived, using the techniques mentioned above. If you are given exercises to do in the clinic and “homework,” be sure to do them as directed so that you can achieve the best outcome from the therapy. But if anything that is prescribed gives you more pain or any other new symptoms, be sure to tell the therapist. He or she can then modify your treatment—PT can be hard work sometimes but it shouldn’t make you feel worse so talk to him or her!

Besides the channel of communication between you and your therapist, there is also one between the therapist and your doctor. Your doctor will be sent reports on your progress with PT and if additional treatment is required to get you to your goal, they will coordinate that with your therapist so they’ve got you covered! All you have  to concentrate on is going to your appointments, doing what is being asked of you at the clinic and at home, and you will receive the best outcome from PT! Good luck!

New Year, New Ideas

OrthoSport Entrance Sign

Aloha! It’s February and the year 2019 (the Earth Pig) is well underway. When the year is new, many people like to begin projects, self-reflect, clear clutter, and start off on a new foot. Here at OrthoSport Hawaii, we’ve decided to commit to improved communication with our clients, patients, customers, and referral sources, as well as the general public, to promote health, mobility, function, and fitness on Oahu. In addition to these regular posts on our website, you will be seeing more interesting content on our Facebook and Instagram pages. We will be running contests and challenges, offering fun prizes, and encouraging more interaction from you – our favorite people!

One of the many things that makes OrthoSport unique is our Medical Gym. Did you know that we used to call it the “MOG” which stood for “Medically Oriented Gym?” You may still hear some of our long-term (notice I didn’t say “older” 😉) members referring to the MOG, but we dropped that moniker in favor of something a little less, well, odd-sounding. Whether it be a MOG, a MedGym, a Medical Gym or just a great place to focus on health and fitness, doesn’t really matter though because what does matter is the care and treatment our members receive; which starts when they begin their initial orientations.

Unlike big franchise gyms, YMCAs, and even the exclusive fitness clubs on the island, the OrthoSport Medical Gym focuses on providing a variety of health and fitness services to individuals of all ages, abilities, health conditions, and fitness levels. We meet our customers right where they are. Today. Our complimentary, no-obligation fitness orientation helps you assess where you are in terms of your health, physical fitness, diet, and overall well-being. Based on that, we recommend services tailored to your budget, needs, and goals.

For example, a typical member of our Medical Gym may have completed physical therapy for a knee injury but doesn’t yet feel ready to return to his or her favorite sport, let’s say tennis. I know tennis players will do just about anything to keep playing! This member may work 1 on 1 with a personal trainer to regain their strength and agility, but with the confidence that comes from knowing our trainers are educated and equipped to professionally challenge their clients without causing re-injury.

Another member may be struggling with balance due to age or illness. A balance screening can assess whether he or she should pursue physical therapy first, or if our Balance and Bones group class might be a good fit. In addition, a nutritional consult with our Registered Dietitian may help address feelings of light-headedness, dizziness, and so on.

And of course, we have many members who literally adore our heated therapy pool. Some people will join the gym solely to use the pool to continue their aquatic therapy program or for pain relief and relaxation.

Whether you are a past or current physical therapy patient, a Medical Gym member, or someone interested in improving the quality of their life, OrthoSport Hawaii is here to serve your needs. We are always happy to chat with you about your health concerns and goals. We have physical therapists and Medical Gym trainers waiting to meet with you, so what are you waiting for?

For information on Physical Therapy call: (808) 373-3555.

For Medical Gym services call (808) 373-1114.

Contact us via our web page.