Why I Believe: Kristine Lohr

Kristine M. Lohr MD, MS is a professor of medicine and a rheumatologist at the University of Kentucky. We asked her a few questions about why she is a member of Movement is Life Caucus.

Why are you committed to the Movement is life Caucus? Many of the patients I see would benefit from the outreach of the Movement is Life Caucus.

Why are fighting disparities important? I’ve always worked at safety net healthcare institutions and I am concerned about the potential and adverse effects of current and future health policies.

Since the caucus is about movement, can you tell us one thing you do in your health and wellness journey? I get a lot of benefit from riding my horse, playing with dogs learn yoga and focusing on spirituality.

 

Why I Believe: Erik Santos, MD, PhD

Recently we sat down with Dr. and PhD. Erick Santos an Orthopedic Surgeon from Corpus Christi Texas to discuss why he is a proud member of the Movement is Life Caucus and their efforts to fight health care disparities. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, he is former United State Air Force flight surgeon.

Why are you committed to the Movement is life Caucus?   I want to end health care disparities having seen them first hand as a surgeon in South Texas.

Why are fighting disparities important? Fighting discrimination and advocating for the good of my patients is the right thing to do. By eliminating disparities we bring better health to all.

What is one way to fight unconscious bias? Education, communication and transparency are key. It will also be important to know that sharing will also work to get the message out.

Since the caucus is about movement, can you tell us one thing you do in your health and wellness journey? I exercise three-four times per week and walking four miles on the treadmill.

What is one health and wellness resource you value? I think a great resource is the website: www.ortholnfo.org.

 

 

Can Exercise Help You Tolerate Pain?

New York Times health blogger Gretchen Reynolds shares the results of a new study indicating that regular exercise may alter how a person experiences pain. The longer we continue to work out, the new findings suggest, the greater our tolerance for discomfort can grow.

Scientists have known that strenuous exercise briefly and acutely dulls pain. As muscles begin to ache during a prolonged workout, scientists have found, the body typically releases natural opiates, such as endorphins, and other substances that can slightly dampen the discomfort. This effect, which scientists refer to as exercise-induced hypoalgesia, usually begins during the workout and lingers for perhaps 20 or 30 minutes afterward.

Pain threshold is the point at which we start to feel pain. Pain tolerance is the amount of time that we can withstand the pain, before we cease doing whatever is causing it. The study found that volunteers who exercised had no change to their pain threshold but did have increased pain tolerance.

According to the lead researcher on the study, the findings “could be meaningful for people struggling with chronic pain.”

Read the entire article here.

 

6,000 Steps Per Day May Be Enough for Those With Knee OA

Researchers from Boston University have found that walking reduces the risk of functional limitation associated with knee osteoarthritis (OA). The study, in part funded by the NIH (National Institutes of Health), was just published in Arthritis Care & Research. The researchers measured the daily steps taken by nearly 2,000 people with—or at risk for—knee OA. All participants were part of the Multicenter Osteoarthritis Study; each person had his or her walking measured for seven days and their functional limitation evaluated two years later.

Bottom line: Dr. Daniel White said, ” … despite the common popular goal of walking 10,000 steps per day, our study finds only 6,000 steps are necessary to realize benefits. We encourage those with or at risk of knee OA to walk at least 3,000 or more steps each day, and ultimately progress to 6,000 steps daily to minimize the risk of developing difficulty with mobility.”

Read the entire article in Orthopedics This Week.

How Much Does Physical Activity Help Maintain Mobility in Older Adults?

It’s something we’ve all heard: Exercise can help keep older adults healthy. But a new study, the first of its kind to focus on frail, older adults, proves that physical activity can help these people maintain their mobility and dodge physical disability. The University of Florida study shows daily moderate physical activity may mean the difference between seniors being able to keep up everyday activities or becoming housebound. In fact, moderate physical activity helped aging adults maintain their ability to walk at a rate 18 percent higher than older adults who did not exercise.

Read the University of Florida Health article here.

Exercise Increases Independence for Older Adults

As we age, losing the ability to walk a short distance often means losing independence. Now researchers say they have found a treatment that, for some, can prevent the loss of mobility.

The prescription: a moderate exercise program. The program of walking, strength training, stretches and balance exercises was tested on sedentary adults ages 70 to 89, all of whom started out in declining physical condition. Results were published in the medical journal JAMA.

Read the full article in USA Today.

To Age Well, Walk Frequently

Regular exercise, including walking, significantly reduces the chance that a frail older person will become physically disabled, according to one of the largest and longest-running studies of its kind to date. The results, published in the journal JAMA, reinforce the necessity of frequent physical activity for our aging parents, grandparents and, of course, ourselves.

Reported in the New York Times. Read the entire article here.

 

Hispanic Americans and Targeted Physical Activity Interventions

The Hispanic American population in this country is growing; health disparities affect Hispanic Americans; and this group’s rate of overweight and obesity is growing at an alarming rate. Physical inactivity is greater among Hispanics when compared to that of other groups. This study featured in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health reviewed reports of physical activity interventions targeting the Hispanic American adult population across a four-year period.

Here are some key points found:

  • Most of the interventions were community based while some were clinical, family-based, and faith-based.
  • Barriers to physical activity often relate to time constraints and environmental access.
  • The Hispanic Americans studied felt like they had little time for social interactions – which included physical activity – given the demands of home and family.
  • Social support increased the likelihood of participation in physical activity, and an extra benefit was the friendships formed during the physical activity intervention.
  • Important factors in the success of the interventions included each individual’s sense of commitment, his or her self-efficacy, and a strong sense of group identity.
  • Activities that included staff from the same ethnic group of the population being studied reported improved recruitment.
  • We need legislative policies that increase Hispanic Americans’ access to physical activity opportunities.

Read the entire article here.

Moderate Excercise: How Intense Must It Be?

How do we define “moderate exercise”? The question is prompted by federal guidelines recommending that we get 150 minutes of moderate — or 75 minutes of vigorous — aerobic exercise each week. American guidelines suggest that during moderate exercise, you should be able to “talk, but not sing.”  It seems subjective, so researchers at York University in Toronto set out to determine how realistic people’s perceptions are about how intensely they exercise. They found that volunteers overestimated how hard they were exercising and so might not obtain the full benefits they were expecting. Read the full article for information about how the study measured exercise intensity. The article concludes with a bit of encouragement: “any amount of physical activity at almost any intensity will have some health benefits.”

 

 

 

 

Osteoarthritis Patients are Better Off Walking

Orthopedics This Week reports on a study finding that osteoarthritis patients benefit from walking and should not fear that walking might cause increased damage to their joints. “People with osteoarthritis can decrease the possibility of developing physical limitations by walking more,” according to physical therapist Daniel K. White, Sc.D., PT, of Boston University, and his colleagues.

Key points:

  • Increased steps (1,000 more steps per day) were associated with a lower risk for later deterioration whether assessed on an objective performance-based measure or on a self-report measure.
  • Walkers who totaled 5,000 to 7,500 steps per day cut their risk of complications from osteoarthritis in half.
  • Less than one-third of primary care physicians advise their patients with osteoarthritis to walk.
  • White and his group suggest that physicians who are recommending walking to their patients set an initial goal of 3,000 steps per day.

Read the full article here.