THERE IS A LOT OF PRESSURE to make resolutions and begin adhering to them on Jan. 1. At Suburban Family, we believe it’s never too late to start putting yourself first, and that includes your mental and physical well-being. Committing to a healthier lifestyle isn’t only about the number on the scale or the miles on the treadmill, it’s about what’s going on inside your body, from reducing risk factors for disease to managing stress. We reached out to a variety of professionals in the health and wellness fields to find out their advice for tackling some common goals in 2019. We hope their responses give you the motivation you need! Q&A
What types of workouts produce the best results?
“Strength training and controlled cardio workouts are becoming more mainstream for men and women. It's the best way to get results. Aerobics and cycle classes can raise the heart rate too high, leading to inefficient training and poor results.”
Sam Balducci, owner
Giant Fitness Centers
How important are annual checkups and blood work to maintaining good health?
“Annual checkups with your primary care physician are an opportunity for patients to stay on top of their health. Through a preventive health visit, we can screen for chronic conditions that are often not physically apparent like hypertension and diabetes. We check vita l signs to look for elevated blood pressure and weight concerns. A complete physical exam can reveal abnormal heart rhythms, lung conditions or skin lesions that may need further treatment. We order blood work that can screen for other treatable conditions such as high cholesterol, diabetes, thyroid and kidney diseases. Other screening tests like mammograms, pap smears and colon cancer screening tests a re all recommended and can be life saving if cancer is caught early.
“I tell my patients all the time that prevention is the name of t he game. It's better to know that you don't have any bad health conditions than ignore something that could have been treated years ago. Our job as primary physicians is to catch and treat diseases before they lead to worse outcomes and a good way is through yearly preventive visits.”
Jason Moraleda, MD, primary care physician
Lourdes Medical Associates
What steps should a person take to check on the health of their heart?
“The first step is for patients to be on the lookout for any symptoms of chest pain, shortness of breath or palpitations. If they have these they should seek out a cardiac consultation and cardiac stress testing which helps identify a possible heart attack. We are one of only three offices in New Jersey that has advanced technology that allows us to perform endothelial testing. Endothelium is the inner layer of our arteries which when damaged leads to cardiovascular disease. If it is abnormal we can treat it aggressively and stop heart disease in its tracks.
“Step two is to have routine blood work to check lipids and cholesterol and make sure they are at goal range and do aerobic exercises for 20 minutes a day/six days a week.
“Step three is eating a diet consisting of foods and supplements that lower inflammation—as an integrative cardiologist, my office specializes in reducing inflammation.
“Step four is knowing your risk factors, which include diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, sleep apnea, obesity, a family history of heart disease, and smoking. Men and women beyond the age of 50 should consider speaking to their doctor about getting a cardiac evaluation. If patients have risk fact ors their heart may be very unhealthy and thus should be checked.”
Dr. Vic Bahal
Advanced Cardiology of South Jersey
What are some of the body contouring treatments out there and how do they work?
“While most body contouring treatments are effective, each of them is a bit different in their approach. UltraShape uses ultrasound technology with high-frequency sound waves to eliminate fat. VelaShape III uses radiofrequency technology to target stubborn cellulite and reduce the appearance of dimpling on the skin. CoolSculpting freezes fat cells away. The fat cells targeted die a normal cell death through cryolypolosis. It's a painless procedure that is very effective.”
Ingrid Warmuth, MD
The Warmuth Institute of Dermatology
How can regular massages improve your overall mental and physical health?
“Although researchers don't know exactly why massage therapy has such marked benefits for depression, anxiety and other mental disorders, it's believed that it reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body, lowers blood pressure and heart rate and increases serotonin and oxytocin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in stabilizing your mood and promoting sleep, while oxytocin, dubbed the ‘love hormone,’ has anti-anxiety effects and promotes feelings of relaxation, trust and psychological stability. Experts also believe that massage produces feelings of comfort and connection as a result of caring physical contact.
“Additionally, stress reduction goes a long way toward improving your overall physical and mental health and well-being. Stress plays a role in many health conditions, including addiction, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, hypertension and heart disease.”
Nancy Kelly, owner
Massage Envy Cherry Hill
How can reflexology help relieve stress?
“Reflexology is the application of pressure to areas on the feet, hands and ears. These areas are connected to specific organs and body parts through energy channels in the body. Reflexology is generally relaxing and may be an effective way to alleviate stress. It is believed that pressure applied to these areas affects the organs and benefits a person’s health. Reflexologists believe that pressure on the reflex points helps to balance the nervous system and stimulates the release of endorphins that help reduce pain and stress, overall improving health. Reflexology sessions last between 30-60 minutes. Brisk hand movements and essenti al oils may be used to enhance the experience.”
How integral is proper nutrition for success in weight loss/fitness goals?
“Proper nutrition is a requirement to reach every weight loss/fitness goal. Providing the body with all of the nutri- ents it needs will increase metabolism, allowing more calories to be burned. The most common mistake we see is reducing caloric intake so much that the body goes into ‘starvation mode,’ slowing metabolism so that fat cannot be burned. It seems counter-intuitive to popular beliefs, but eating more high-quality foods increases the chances of reaching your goals.”
Anna Vetrano, owner
The MAX Challenge - Maple Shade/Mount Laurel
What role does dental hygiene play in a person's overall well-being?
“Our oral health and appearance affects us in many ways that we may not be completely aware of. The first thing that people notice is your smile. People who are not confident with their teeth have a tendency not to smile. In turn, this affects their daily interactions with other people, which can result in them being misunderstood. Many people may have a fear of the dentist, or may have a fear of how much they anticipate the cost of dental treatment will be. Regardless of what the issue is, it is always recommended to get a consult. Many times, it’s not as bad as you may think. There are plenty of options to address your dental issues without spending thousands of dollars. The most important step is to visit your dentist, get a cleaning and a consultation and express what may be bothering you. The solution may be simpler than you think! Whatever the issue is, your smile and confidence are definitely worth it.”
Nermeen Rifai, DMD
All Smiles Family Dental
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 10 (December 2018).
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