Why Walking Is One of the Best Cardio Workouts

Article featured on Healthline

If your idea of an effective cardio workout involves long-distance running, high-intensity cycling, or a vigorous aerobics class, you’d be right, but you’d be leaving out a simple, but effective activity.

Brisk walking is a great cardio workout that can be done indoors or outdoors, at any time of day or night, and without the need for a gym membership or a lot of special gear.

All you need for a walking workout is a comfortable, sturdy pair of shoes and the motivation to lace them up and get on your feet.

This article will take a closer look at the benefits of walking as cardio exercise, and how you can boost your fitness and health by putting some pep in your step.

Is walking a good type of cardio exercise?

Cardio is short for “cardiovascular,” which means it involves the heart (cardio) and blood vessels (vascular). Cardio is also used interchangeably with aerobic, which means “with air.”

A good cardio workout gets your heart pumping stronger and faster, moving oxygen-rich blood more efficiently to all the muscles, organs and tissue throughout your body.

You may associate all that blood-pumping action with running and wonder, “Is walking cardio?” The truth is that any activity that gets your heart and lungs, as well as your large muscle groups, working harder can be considered aerobic or cardio exercise. A brisk walk does all those things.

Summary

Walking is an excellent type of cardio activity. But in order to challenge your cardiovascular system, you need to walk at a pace and intensity that increases the demands on your heart, lungs, and muscles.


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:
503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm

How to Stay Strong and Coordinated as You Age

Article featured on Harvard Health

So many physical abilities decline with normal aging, including strength, swiftness, and stamina. In addition to these muscle-related declines, there are also changes that occur in coordinating the movements of the body. Together, these changes mean that as you age, you may not be able to perform activities such as running to catch a bus, walking around the garden, carrying groceries into the house, keeping your balance on a slippery surface, or playing catch with your grandchildren as well as you used to. But do these activities have to deteriorate? Let’s look at why these declines happen — and what you can do to actually improve your strength and coordination.

Changes in strength

Changes in strength, swiftness, and stamina with age are all associated with decreasing muscle mass. Although there is not much decline in your muscles between ages 20 and 40, after age 40 there can be a decline of 1% to 2% per year in lean body mass and 1.5% to 5% per year in strength.

The loss of muscle mass is related to both a reduced number of muscle fibers and a reduction in fiber size. If the fibers become too small, they die. Fast-twitch muscle fibers shrink and die more rapidly than others, leading to a loss of muscle speed. In addition, the capacity for muscles to undergo repair also diminishes with age. One cause of these changes is decline in muscle-building hormones and growth factors including testosterone, estrogen, dehydroepiandrosterone (better known as DHEA), growth hormone, and insulin-like growth factor.

Changes in coordination

Changes in coordination are less related to muscles and more related to the brain and nervous system. Multiple brain centers need to be, well, coordinated to allow you to do everything from hitting a golf ball to keeping a coffee cup steady as you walk across a room. This means that the wiring of the brain, the so-called white matter that connects the different brain regions, is crucial.

Unfortunately, most people in our society over age 60 who eat a western diet and don’t get enough exercise have some tiny “ministrokes” (also called microvascular or small vessel disease) in their white matter. Although the strokes are so small that they are not noticeable when they occur, they can disrupt the connections between important brain coordination centers such as the frontal lobe (which directs movements) and the cerebellum (which provides on-the-fly corrections to those movements as needed).

In addition, losing dopamine-producing cells is common as you get older, which can slow down your movements and reduce your coordination, so even if you don’t develop Parkinson’s disease, many people develop some of the abnormalities in movement seen in Parkinson’s.

Lastly, changes in vision — the “eye” side of hand-eye coordination — are also important. Eye diseases are much more common in older adults, including cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. In addition, mild difficulty seeing can be the first sign of cognitive disorders of aging, including Lewy body disease and Alzheimer’s.

How to improve your strength and coordination

It turns out that one of the most important causes of reduced strength and coordination with aging is simply reduced levels of physical activity. There is a myth in our society that it is fine to do progressively less exercise the older you get. The truth is just the opposite! As you age, it becomes more important to exercise regularly — perhaps even increasing the amount of time you spend exercising to compensate for bodily changes in hormones and other factors that you cannot control. The good news is that participating in exercises to improve strength and coordination can help people of any age. (Note, however, that you may need to be more careful with your exercise activities as you age to prevent injuries. If you’re not sure what the best types of exercises are for you, ask your doctor or a physical therapist.)

Here are some things you can do to improve your strength and coordination, whether you are 18 or 88 years old:

  • Participate in aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, jogging, biking, swimming, or aerobic classes at least 30 minutes per day, five days per week.
  • Participate in exercise that helps with strength, balance, and flexibility at least two hours per week, such as yoga, tai chi, Pilates, and isometric weightlifting.
  • Practice sports that you want to improve at, such as golf, tennis, and basketball.
  • Take advantage of lessons from teachers and advice from coaches and trainers to improve your exercise skills.
  • Work with your doctor to treat diseases that can interfere with your ability to exercise, including orthopedic injuries, cataracts and other eye problems, and Parkinson’s and other movement disorders.
  • Fuel your brain and muscles with a Mediterranean menu of foods including fish, olive oil, avocados, fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, whole grains, and poultry. Eat other foods sparingly.
  • Sleep well — you can actually improve your skills overnight while you are sleeping.

The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:
503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm

6 Benefits of Trail Running

Article featured on Verywellfit

If you’re tired of running the same routes on city streets or on the treadmill, then trail running may be a great way to break the boredom, reduce your risk of injury, and challenge yourself in a new way.

Trail running is exactly what it sounds like: lacing up those sneakers to clock the miles in nature. The difference between road running and trail running is that trail running is a bit more unpredictable, meaning you are not guaranteed a smooth, paved path.

While elevation changes may occur in both road and trail running, depending on the location, trail running may also have unpredictable terrain with surfaces (such as rocks, roots, and streams) that require a special shoe designed to help support your foot during this style of workout.

Health Benefits of Trail Running

According to Kelly Pritchett, Ph.D., RDN, CSSD, Associate Professor in Nutrition and Exercise Science at Central Washington University, road running and trail running share similar benefits such as improved aerobic fitness, increased muscular endurance, and a boost for mental health. While Pritchett notes the cardiovascular outcomes are likely comparable between both types of running, research has yet to determine whether trail running provides a greater cardiovascular benefit than road running.

Nevertheless, science has shown us that trail running indeed has health benefits that extend far beyond our physical health. Let’s take a closer look at these benefits.

Promotes Longevity

Good news! A 2020 systematic review has shown that running was associated with a lower risk of death related to cardiovascular and cancer disease states in both men and women. Pritchett points out this review did not have specific trends for weekly volume, pace, duration, or even terrain, yet noted that some running (or jogging) versus no running (or jogging) proved to have improved health in participants as well as longevity benefits. And, more is not necessarily better when it comes to logging those miles. The authors also noted that higher doses of running may not have greater mortality reduction benefits.

Improves Cardiovascular Health

Whether running or jogging, you are moving more than just the muscles in your legs. Yes, your heart is a muscle too! With every stride you take, your heart is pumping out blood to help support your workout while strengthening itself over time.

A stronger heart sets you up for success, just like the 2020 systematic review above noted with a lower risk of mortality seen from cardiovascular disease in participants who logged any amount of running throughout their week.

While this benefit isn’t isolated to trail running, it’s a baseline for further research that could look at the cardiovascular differences between road versus trail running.

Improves Muscular Strength and Balance

Amanda Brooks, running coach and author of Run To The Finish: The Everyday Runner’s Guide to Avoiding Injury, Ignoring the Clock and Loving the Run, notes one of the best benefits she shares with her clients to get them on the trails is the added benefit of strength training that the terrain offers to work stabilizer muscles.

Pritchett agrees, sharing that given the varied terrain with trail running, runners may see improvements in lower limb strength, balance, and neuromuscular benefits. Plus, it reduces the impact on the joints due to the softer surface which may, in turn, reduce the risk of injury.

But, Pritchett advises moving with greater awareness as there may be a greater risk for tripping over roots or rocks. This is especially true when hydration and fueling are neglected and decision-making and cognition are impaired.

May Reduce the Rate of Some Injuries

Running on the road is harder on your joints than running on a soft surface like a trail. In fact, you may reduce your risk of certain injuries by heading out onto the trail instead of the pavement. In a study conducted in 2020, researchers compared road runners to trail runners and specifically analyzed the impact of each on the Achilles tendon. The study authors found that road runners have higher loads on the tendon and less shock absorption that can result in Achilles tendon structure changes.

Boosts Mood and Mental Well-Being

One of the best ways to get your “vitamin N” (nature) in to improve mental well-being, says Pritchett, is to run outdoors on trails. And the research agrees!

According to a 2020 study, participants who logged up to 6.5 miles of running on trails self-reported higher wellness and health scores on the surveys. While there are limitations to this research, including the self-reported survey and limited diversity in the sample, it does complement the earlier research.

A study published in 2019 that showed both experienced and novice runners preferred specific characteristics in their running environments to gain the restorative capacity from their run, which included green and lively spaces.

Promotes Community

In a run funk? Grab your friends and lace-up together for the trails, or consider joining a running group to embrace the community aspect that running can provide.

Brooks shares that, “Trail running can bring some fun and joy back to a lot of runners, who spend their time so focused on paces when hitting the road.”

While she does note there are some limitations to trail running if you are working on speed work for a road race, there are also many benefits as we’ve seen above, and something many of us have missed over the past year: connection!

How to Reap the Benefits: Tips for Trail Running

If you are new to trail running (or running in general), Brooks offers tips to get your workout off on the right foot!

Invest in Trail Running Shoes

First, she reminds clients that trail shoes are necessary given they offer the additional traction needed when you hit the trail terrain. For those runners who are used to the road, embracing the slow down and remembering to pick up your feet is crucial.

Adjust Your Stride

“Picking up our feet sounds like an obvious thing”, says Brookes, “but distance runners sometimes have a little shuffle that helps them conserve energy. On the trails, dirt will grab that shuffle and slow down your pace, so there’s a need for greater awareness of your foot-strike.”

Fuel and Hydrate Strategically

For those seasoned trail runners participating in trail ultra-events that can last greater than four hours, Pritchett notes the extreme demand from a physiological perspective placed on the body including dehydration, neuromuscular fatigue, inflammation, exercise-induced muscle damage, and glycogen depletion.

To prepare your body properly for these events, Pritchett points out research has shown adequate carbohydrate intake and hydration during training and races can help delay fatigue and improve performance in these situations, meaning fueling pre, during, and post-trail runs can greatly impact your overall experience with the trail run.


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:
503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm

Unexpected Benefits of Movement and Exercise That We Love

Article featured on Thrive Global

Whether you opt for a sunrise yoga class or an impromptu dance party before dinner, making time for movement provides us with many rewards — some expected, and some surprising. Pausing to appreciate the unexpected ripple effects of movement can help motivate us on days we feel uninspired or lethargic.

Which of these benefits do you love?

It allows us to clear our minds

“I try to take a daily morning walk, either around my neighborhood or near my office as a recommendation from my therapist. In the six months that I’ve done this, I’ve found not only a shocking amount of clarity but motivation to tackle the rest of the day. Moving my body gives me the space to think about challenges differently.”

—Sentari Minor, strategist and social impact advocate, Phoenix, AZ

It gives us a burst of energy

“I’m surprised by how quickly my energy level increases whenever I move my body. Suddenly, tasks I don’t enjoy, like cleaning, get done.”

—Kristin Meekhof, author, therapist, life coach, Royal Oak, MI

It improves our creativity 

“One of the most surprising benefits of movement for me has been the ways that it increases my creativity. Without fail, anytime I move — whether it’s walking, dancing, or riding a bike — I am flooded with inspiration and ideas.”

—Becky M., coach, Ashburn, VA

It helps us silence negative thoughts 

“Moving my body helps me silence negative thoughts. Some estimates say we have up to 60,000 thoughts a day, and 80 percent of them are negative. We often fail to recognize that exercise is a great way to create space between your thoughts and bring balance into your life. I find that when I put on a good playlist, get my body moving, and raise my heartbeat, the worries of the past and fears of the future begin to fade as my consciousness focuses on the present moment. Movement of the body comes in many forms, and exercise does not have to live in the gym.”

—James Petrossi, president of PTNL, Austin, TX

It creates community

“I’ve grown to appreciate how being in motion invites motion. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve been managing our neighborhood community garden. When people driving by see me out there weeding, shoveling, and tending, they stop the car to come over and check it out. They walk by and ask to come inside the garden gate and walk around. This year, for the first time in about 15 years, all garden beds are rented.”

—Donna Peters, MBA faculty and executive coach, Atlanta, GA

It helps us stay resilient

“My personal obsession with fitness started six years ago, and I can’t rave enough about the benefits of moving my body when it comes to managing my anxiety. Movement has become a part of my coping mechanism and a part of my self-care ritual. To me, resilience is a daily practice and that is what fitness and movement does for me. It activates resilience in body, mind, and soul.”

—Karisa Karmali, certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, Ontario, Canada

It sets us up for our day ahead

“Movement has been a big part of my daily routine ever since I had a pretty spectacular burnout in the world of banking 10 years ago. Moving each morning, with a run along Hong Kong’s green hiking trails or stretching out my body with a flow yoga class, is a way to reconnect mind and body and center myself before entering the fray of another day in the corporate world. Even better, having adherence buddies for each activity that energize me means I’m motivated even on the days when it’s tempting to roll over and doze.”

Liz Bradford, chief of staff, Hong Kong

It helps us realize how capable we are

“I got hooked on walking years ago. It all started with listening to audiobooks. I kept wanting to hear the next chapter and soon found that I was walking three to four hours without giving it a second thought. I was over 40 years old before discovering that I had a Maasai-like ability to walk long distances. Today, I have a hard time not walking at least three miles or so every day. This regular practice had given me endurance and stamina I never had when I was in my 20s, which gives me the confidence that I will age in good health in mind, body, and spirit.”

— Maria Baltazzi, travel designer and mentor, Los Angeles, CA

It keeps us mindful

“I love the meditative quality of movement. For me, time on my yoga mat is time spent with my body, completely focused on how it feels, how it moves and finding smoother, more nourishing ways of moving it. When your mind is completely immersed in the sensations in your body, there’s little space for worries, anxieties, or even mundane thoughts to whirl around in your head. To know that I have this body to pour my attention into whenever I want to divert from or interrupt a flow of corrosive or unproductive thoughts is priceless. It can take a while for that focus to become natural. We bring our attention to the body on the yoga mat where it’s easier so that when we’re in a more difficult situation we can put our practice into action.”

—Felicity Pryke, yoga teacher, Lancashire, U.K.


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:
503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm

Everything You Need to Know about Fibromyalgia

From Medical News Today

Fibromyalgia is a common and chronic syndrome that causes bodily pain and mental distress.

Symptoms of fibromyalgia can be confused with those of arthritis, or joint inflammation. However, unlike arthritis, it has not been found to cause joint or muscle inflammation and damage. It is seen as a rheumatic condition, in other words, one that causes soft tissue pain or myofascial pain.

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), around 5 million adults aged 18 years or over in the United States experience fibromyalgia, and 80 to 90 percent of fibromyalgia patients are women.

Fast facts on fibromyalgia:

Here are some key points about fibromyalgia. More detail is in the main article.

  • Fibromyalgia causes widespread pain, fatigue, and other types of discomfort.
  • Symptoms resemble those of arthritis, but fibromyalgia affects the soft tissue, not the joints.
  • The cause is unknown, but risk factors include traumatic injury, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, and genetic factors.
  • There is no cure, but medications, exercise, acupuncture, and behavioral therapy can help relieve symptoms and improve sleep quality.

Symptoms

Common symptoms include:

  • widespread pain
  • jaw pain and stiffness
  • pain and tiredness in the face muscles and adjacent fibrous tissues
  • stiff joints and muscles in the morning
  • headaches
  • irregular sleep patterns
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • painful menstrual periods
  • tingling and numbness in the hands and feet
  • restless leg syndrome (RLS)
  • sensitivity to cold or heat
  • difficulties with memory and concentration, known as “fibro-fog”
  • fatigue

The following are also possible:

  • problems with vision
  • nausea
  • pelvic and urinary problems
  • weight gain
  • dizziness
  • cold or flu-like symptoms
  • skin problems
  • chest symptoms
  • depression and anxiety
  • breathing problems

Symptoms can appear at any time during a person’s life, but they are most commonly reported around the age of 45 years.

Treatment

Medical attention is needed because fibromyalgia can be difficult to manage. As it is a syndrome, each patient will experience a different set of symptoms, and an individual treatment plan will be necessary.

Treatment may include some or all of the following:

  • an active exercise program
  • acupuncture
  • psychotherapy
  • behavior modification therapy
  • chiropractic care
  • massage
  • physical therapy
  • low-dose anti-depressants, although these are not a first-line treatment

People with fibromyalgia need to work with their doctor to come up with a treatment plan that provides the best results.

Medications

Medications may be recommended to treat certain symptoms.

These may include over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers. However, the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) issued a recommendation against using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat fibromyalgia in their updated 2016 guidelines.

Antidepressants may help reduce pain. Anti-seizure drugs, such as gabapentin also known as Neurontin, and pregabalin, or Lyrica, may be prescribed.

However, a review has suggested that patients often stop using these drugs because they are not effective in relieving pain or because of their adverse effects.

Patients should tell the doctor about any other medications they are taking to avoid side-effects and interactions with other drugs.

Exercise

A combination of aerobic exercise and resistance training, or strength training, has been linked to a reduction in pain, tenderness, stiffness, and sleep disturbance, in some patients.

If exercise is helping with symptoms, it is important to maintain consistency in order to see progress. Working out with a partner or personal trainer may help to keep the exercise program active.

Acupuncture

Some patients have experienced improvements in their quality of life after starting acupuncture therapy for fibromyalgia. The number of sessions required will depend on the symptoms and their severity.

One study found that 1 in 5 people with fibromyalgia use acupuncture within 2 years of diagnosis. The researchers concluded that it may improve pain and stiffness. However, they call for more studies.

Behavior modification therapy

Behavior modification therapy is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that aims to reduce negative, stress- or pain-increasing behaviors and improve positive, mindful behaviors. It includes learning new coping skills and relaxation exercises.


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:
503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: 3 Steps to Early Detection

A bit of a departure from our typical post,  we feel it is important to share important health information from a variety of resources on relevant topics beyond Orthopedics and bone health. In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’d like to share a few tips regarding early detection. There’s a good chance you or someone you know will be affected by this disease in their lifetime and early detection is the key to better outcomes. Please share this information with the women in your life.

From the National Breast Cancer Foundation  Read more

Staying Active and in Shape During the Holidays

By  | Article Featured on Verywellfit

It’s hard enough to exercise the rest of the year, but add holidays to the mix and many of us find exercise becomes less of a priority as to-do lists grow longer and longer.

Read more