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Nov
15

Ask Dr. Salada: Can Exercise Help Get my Blood Pressure Down?

Q:  I just saw my doctor and my blood pressure was found to be “borderline high.” What does that mean and can exercise help get my blood pressure down?

A:  High blood pressure is very common, especially as we age. If left untreated, high blood pressure could lead to strokes and kidney disease and can contribute to cardiovascular disease, which can lead to heart attacks.

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure,  is defined as blood pressure that is consistently found to be higher than 140/90. Recent research has determined that the best range for blood pressure is actually 110-120/70-80. If your blood pressure is higher than the range mentioned above, you should meet with your doctor as soon as possible to discuss your options and to determine whether or not it is safe to exercise.

Lifestyle management is key to lowering blood pressure, such as achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, limiting sodium in your diet to less than 2000 mg in a day, limiting alcohol to less than 2 ounces per week and doing regular cardiovascular training. Studies have shown that individuals, who spent a total of 150 minutes exercising per week in equally divided increments, were 14% less likely to develop coronary heart disease. In fact, just 15 minutes a day of low intensity activity can decrease mortality and lengthen your life!

The best plan is shoot for a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic activity on most days of the week. Stay away from heavy weight training until your blood pressure is better controlled as it can actually aggravate hypertension by raising the resistance of blood flow through your muscles. Total Gym users with high blood pressure – stay at a lower incline level to continue to strengthen and stretch muscles at a lower intensity. If your blood pressure remains elevated beyond the ideal ranges after being consistent with lifestyle changes for 4-6 weeks, you should meet with your doctor to discuss what other options are available to you in order to maximize your health.

Exercise will temporarily raise your blood pressure, so exercising when your blood pressure is high and not controlled is not safe. Always talk to your doctor if you are not sure if exercise is safe for you.

So, until next time, stay healthy, KEEP MOVING and enjoy your Total Gym!

Elizabeth Salada, MD

Dr. Salada is board certified in Internal Medicine and has been in practice in San Diego since 1996. She attended medical school at Wake Forest University where she received high honors in Family Practice and Internal Medicine. Her final training was obtained from Pennsylvania State University where she completed her residency in Internal Medicine.

Visit Dr. Salada’s website for more information: http://elizabethsaladamd.com/.

Sep
22

Ask Dr. Salada – Exercise-Induced Asthma or the Real Thing?

Q:  Sometimes when I exercise I feel wheezy. How do I know If I have asthma?

A:  Exercise gets your heart rate up and causes you to breathe faster. This can lead to wheezing if you have sensitive airways, which can become dry and irritated with exercise. Those who think they have exercise-induced asthma, may notice that they feel short of breath or cough when they try to do cardiovascular or aerobic types of activity. If your symptoms seem to occur every time you exercise, you should see your doctor for simple asthma tests that can be done in a doctor’s office. Breathing tests can be done before and after exercise to see if your airways are “over reactive.” If the findings of these tests are consistent with bronchoconstriction, or the constriction of the airways in the lungs, then medications such as inhalers, which serve to dilate your airways, can be prescribed. These medications can help to open your airways and make breathing easier, especially during exercise. Your doctor can help you to determine if you need asthma medication(s) every day or just for exercise. Staying well hydrated also helps calm your airways, so always drink plenty of water during and after your exercise routine. Until next time, enjoy your workout and keep using your Total Gym!

Have a health question for Dr. Salada? Leave a Comment or email us at TotalGymBlog@totalgym.com.

Dr. Salada is board certified in Internal Medicine and has been in practice in San Diego since 1996. She attended medical school at Wake Forest University where she received high honors in Family Practice and Internal Medicine. Her final training was obtained from Pennsylvania State University where she completed her residency in Internal Medicine.

Visit Dr. Salada’s website for more information: http://elizabethsaladamd.com/.

Aug
26

Ask Dr. Salada – Is it a Cold or Allergies?

Q:  I have been so congested lately. How can I tell if I have a cold coming on or if it’s just allergies – and should I stop working out?

A:  That’s a very good question as sometimes it is hard to tell. Colds can often start with symptoms similar to allergies as both can cause a runny nose, watery eyes and even a sore throat and headache.

Often, however, a cold will leave you feeling more tired and run down and sometimes will give you a low grade fever. Over the counter antihistamines are helpful for both symptom relief and to help you determine if it is just allergies. I like the 24 hour preparations like Loratedine, rather than the shorter duration medications like Benadryl (diphenhydramine) because they are less sedating and last all day rather than just 4-6 hours.

If your symptoms are allergy related, you should feel better within a few days of starting the over the counter medications. If you have a cold, your symptoms may be more severe and will last longer.

Most colds run their course in 7-10 days and because they are almost always viral in origin, an antibiotic won’t really help much. As for working out, there is no need to curtail or lighten your workout for either allergies or the common cold, as long as you feel rested enough and drink plenty of water. If your condition is more serious such as those accompanied by a fever, you may need to shorten the intensity and duration of your workout.

If you aren’t sure how to classify your symptoms, then it’s a good idea to check with your doctor prior to working out or continuing a workout regimen. In the meantime, stay healthy, sleep well and keep working out on your Total Gym!

Until next time,
Dr. Salada

Dr. Salada is board certified in Internal Medicine and has been in practice in San Diego since 1996. She attended medical school at Wake Forest University where she received high honors in Family Practice and Internal Medicine. Her final training was obtained from Pennsylvania State University where she completed her residency in Internal Medicine.

Visit Dr. Salada’s website for more information: http://elizabethsaladamd.com/.

Jul
20

Ask Dr. Salada: How Can I Safely Maintain My Training in the Heat?

Q:  Now that summer is here, the heat seems to be affecting me. I’m tired all of the time and I can’t maintain my endurance for my long runs and hikes. I also don’t feel as strong when resistance training. What is going on??

Well, summer has certainly arrived!! I can understand why you have noticed a change in your strength and endurance. The reason for this change is that our bodies get used to the conditions that we train in and what routines we practice. If you are demanding more from your body because you have altered your routine or because the climate that you are training in has changed, you have to give your body time to adapt. The issue with the heat is that exercise naturally increases our body temperature. When we train in very hot or humid conditions, we can easily get overheated if we try to do too much too soon. You really should listen to your body and slow down or go shorter distances for a few weeks until your body adjusts. You will adapt more quickly if you are a daily exerciser, but if you typically work out 3-5 days a week, it may take as long as 2-4 weeks. It is also important to remember that dehydration can occur quickly in hot and humid conditions, so make sure to stay well hydrated with not only water, but also with beverages that contain potassium, calcium and magnesium. Once you feel more energized, feel free to push a little harder to get back on track!!! And, of course, don’t forget to get plenty of sleep. The heat can really zap your energy and poor sleep only makes it harder to train.

Until next time, keep exercising!!

Elizabeth Salada, MD

Dr. Salada is board certified in Internal Medicine and has been in practice in San Diego since 1996. She attended medical school at Wake Forest University where she received high honors in Family Practice and Internal Medicine. Her final training was obtained from Pennsylvania State University where she completed her residency in Internal Medicine.

Visit Dr. Salada’s website for more information: http://elizabethsaladamd.com/.

Jun
15

Ask Dr. Salada – Is it safe to exercise during pregnancy?

That’s a great question and one that is asked often. It really depends on which stage of pregnancy we are discussing. Many women find that in the early stages, one of the first physical “signs” of pregnancy is a lack of endurance. Your cardio routines may seem a little harder and the resistance exercises may seem a bit more difficult. That is because the first 6 weeks of pregnancy are a very “delicate” time developmentally for the baby, so your body is trying to protect itself from getting overheated or dehydrated. If you are healthy and have had no problems getting or staying pregnant, it’s important to keep your body temperature in a normal range. Light cardio should be OK as long as the climate is not too hot. If you have had problems with pregnancy in the past, ask your obstetrician before doing any exercise in this stage of pregnancy.

During the second trimester, you will feel a little more energetic. So if all is going well with your pregnancy, feel free to push yourself a little more. By the last trimester of pregnancy, most women find that they will need to modify their routines to accommodate their routines. As your womb grows, it will be harder to keep up your usual pace and cardiovascular performance and you may feel more easily winded due the rapid growth of your baby. Many women find swimming or lower impact activities as well as strength training to be more satisfying as the pregnancy winds down. Total Gym offers a safe environment for lower impact strength training. Click here to learn more about GRAVITY training for pregnant women and appropriate Total Gym exercises.

It’s important to be active during pregnancy as research has shown this makes for easier deliveries and healthier babies and moms. Always consult your doctor about the best exercise for your particular situation and phase of pregnancy. Until next time, keep moving!

Dr. Salada is board certified in Internal Medicine and has been in practice in San Diego since 1996. She attended medical school at Wake Forest University where she received high honors in Family Practice and Internal Medicine. Her final training was obtained from Pennsylvania State University where she completed her residency in Internal Medicine.

Visit Dr. Salada’s website for more information: http://elizabethsaladamd.com/.

May
18

Ask Dr. Salada – A Real Pain in the Foot

Q:  I’m a runner and recently started feeling pain in my heel when I run. It feels like I’m stepping on a rock with every step. What does this mean?

A:  Heel pain is a very common complaint for many populations, especially among avid exercisers, such as runners and participants in other high impact sports. Pain in the heel can be caused by issues such as heel spurs or another condition called Plantar Fasciitis. Pain due to these issues can be caused by improper “loading” on the arch of the foot. The fascia (connective tissue) gets overstretched and sometimes can even get pulled off of the bone, causing micro-tears which then become calcified and cause a spur. These conditions can be eased by applying ice to the arches two to three times immediately after exercising for ten minutes or so each, with a ten minute break in between sessions. Also, try strapping the arch with tape before exercising for extra support.

As always, if the symptoms don’t resolve in a week or so with these conservative treatments, consult your doctor. If the pain gets worse quickly, see your doctor immediately to identify other causes of pain. Your doctor may have you stay off the foot for a specific period of time. When you’re ready to get back on your feet, you may have to shorten your workout routine or change the terrain for a complete recovery. Take care of your feet; they are your most precious piece of exercise equipment!

Until next time, keep moving!!
Elizabeth Salada

Dr. Salada is board certified in Internal Medicine and has been in practice in San Diego since 1996. She attended medical school at Wake Forest University where she received high honors in Family Practice and Internal Medicine. Her final training was obtained from Pennsylvania State University where she completed her residency in Internal Medicine.

Visit Dr. Salada’s website for more information: http://elizabethsaladamd.com/.

Apr
20

Ask Dr. Salada – Should I take a break from exercise on vacation?

Q:  It’s time for Spring Break and I’m wondering if I should take a break from my exercise routine while I am on vacation?

A:  This is a great question and the simple answer is “Heck NO!”  The reason for this is that as hard as it is to “get into shape,” it also doesn’t take long to lose that edge. Just 48 hours of inactivity causes a drop in metabolism and muscle mass. If anything, I view vacations as a golden opportunity to work out MORE not LESS!!

Vacation time tends to be less pressured, which allows for longer, more focused workouts with more intensity and variety. Try to mix up your cardio routine by doing activities that you don’t normally do, such as biking, hiking, rowing, tennis or try new strength routines like Pilates or yoga. Our bodies crave variety in order to perform to their maximal capacity. Try running while up in the mountains, which over time can increase the oxygen carrying capacity of your red blood cells …. watch your endurance soar when you return to sea level!!

Vacations are for relaxing your mind and rejuvenating your soul … and taking your body to places it may have never been. There’s nothing like an endorphin rush at an altitude of 7,000 feet! As always, check with your doctor if you have any questions about your work out routine and always remember to stay well hydrated to enhance your performance.

Until next time, keep moving!

Elizabeth Salada, MD

Medical Expert, Total Gym Inside Blog

Have a medical question for Dr. Salada? Leave a comment below or email us at TotalGymBlog@totalgym.com.

Dr. Salada is board certified in Internal Medicine and has been in practice in San Diego since 1996. She attended medical school at Wake Forest University where she received high honors in Family Practice and Internal Medicine. Her final training was obtained from Pennsylvania State University where she completed her residency in Internal Medicine.

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