Be Active Your Way Blog
Brett D. Owens, MD: Brett is an orthopaedic surgeon in the U.S. Army currently stationed at the United States Military Academy where he cares for student-athletes. He is new to blogging, but is excited to participate representing the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.
David Geier, MD: Dr. Geier is an orthopaedic surgeon and the Director of MUSC Sports Medicine. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Wake Forest University and after completing medical school at the Medical University of South Carolina, he completed an orthopaedic surgery residency at the world-famous Campbell Clinic in Memphis, Tenn. He completed a sports medicine fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis, where he served as the team physician at Washington University in St. Louis and assisted in the orthopaedic care of the St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Rams. He returned to Charleston in 2005 and created the MUSC Sports Medicine program.
Dr. Geier is Board Certified in orthopaedic surgery. He is a member of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, an associate member of the Arthroscopy Association of North America, and a member of the American College of Sports Medicine. He serves on the Public Relations Committee for AOSSM. He is a principal reviewer for the American Journal of Sports Medicine and a regular contributor for Outpatient Surgery magazine. He is the Head Team Physician for the Charleston Battery and Head Tournament Physician for the Family Circle Cup. He has served as orthopaedic consultant for professional and elite sports teams, including the United States Women’s Soccer team when they played in Charleston. He also serves as the head team physician for many area high schools and is the head physician for many recreational sports teams and leagues.
Written by David Geier MD, AOSSM Public Relations Chair
For a number of reasons, physical education programs in U.S. schools seem to be in a state of decline. In the current economic climate, government funding for education programs has decreased, so physical education programs have often been cut. Also, with schools needing to demonstrate success academically, teachers and administrators frequently worry about any activity that pulls students out of the classroom.
But do physical education classes really hinder a student's academic performance? It has been suggested that physically fit children are not only healthier, but they perform better on standardized academic tests.
A novel approach
Mitchell Elementary School, an underprivileged school in Charleston, South Carolina wanted to be proactive and find a way to maintain academic performance without sacrificing physical activity.Their school nurse, Glennis Randazzo, applied for grants that would fund education and equipment through the PE4Life program. The school partnered with physicians at the Medical University of South Carolina to study the success of the program. Dr. Carly Scahill, a pediatrics resident at MUSC and one of the study's lead authors, was also involved in the program. Prior to implementation of the new program, students underwent 40 minutes of physical education class per week. It increased to 40 minutes, five days per week under the new program, with the goal of combining physical activity and intellectual stimulation.
Stressing both physical and mental exercise
The younger children performed developmentally appropriate activities during the program, like riding scooters while being asked to trace shapes with their movement. Older children performed more active and intellectually challenging activities like practicing multiplication while climbing a rock wall. For example, if a student's left foot was on a "two" and left hand was on a "four," then he would reach his hand to number eight.
Schools administer the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) test each fall. Prior to the new physical exercise program, only 55% of students achieved their spring test goals. After a year in the program, 68.5% of students met their goals.
Increased time for physical activity doesn't have to mean less time to learn; it's just learning in a new format. So what is next? Do we wait and hope that more schools try it? Dr. Scahill wants to expand the scope of the study, matching two schools based on demographics and academic performance and seeing if a school that utilizes the program would outscore the ones that did not. More longitudinal data would also be helpful to determine if these programs apply to students at all levels.
What are your thoughts on the program? Can PE help improve test scores?
Tags: PE4Life, program, school, physical activity, academic
Creative programming | Schools
Contributed by Dr. David Geier
May is National Physical Activity Month and what better way to celebrate being active than to walk your dog. He'll appreciate it just as much as you will. Obviously strenuous exercise, such as running and other forms of cardiovascular exercise, and sports are are excellent ways to achieve health and meet the activity standards established by the Department of Health and Human Services. But finding simple ways for children and adults to integrate activity into their normal activities might be the best way to get people moving.
A new study published in the March issue of the Journal of Physical Activity and Health suggests a potentially great idea for all Americans to become more active. The study, presented by Matthew J. Reeves et al., looks at whether owning a dog and walking the dog are associated with increased physical activity. They gathered data from the 2005 Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor Survey to try to determine if a relationship existed between owning a dog and physical activity.
The authors found that people who own a dog are more active overall and walk more. Dog owners who take their dogs for walks on average walk about one hour more per week than the one-third of dog owners who don't walk their dogs. Interestingly they also found that younger Americans and the elderly walked their dogs the most and that people with large dogs (weighing over 45 pounds) walked longer than owners of smaller dogs. Finally the study seems to suggest that the benefits of owning a dog, as it pertains to physical activity, may actually be more than just the actual walking, as dog owners seem to be more physically active than non-dog owners in general.
When I heard about this study, I was not terribly surprised. I always like to find easy ideas to stimulate physical activity. For instance, I think it is helpful to take the stairs instead of an elevator when possible. Also, parking at the end of the parking lot away from stores and businesses forces people to walk a little bit more with their normal activities. Owning a dog and walking it are more examples of easy changes to implement.
What this study does not address, but most dog owners will tell you, is that the benefits of having a dog are not just seen with physical activity. Most of my friends who have a dog point out the happiness that comes when their dogs greet them when they get home from work or school. They also love taking their dogs to the park and the beach. So to everyone out there who owns a dog - get outside and walk with your four-legged friend. It just might improve your health too.
What are some other ways to get more active with your four-legged friend?
Tags: dog, physical activity, walking, Physical Activity Month
Active Advice | Playing Outside
By Dr. David Geier, AOSSM
One of the most common reasons patients give for not exercising is an injury or pain. People often use knee or shoulder pain or some other limitation as an excuse for not playing sports or being physically active. And while certainly musculoskeletal injuries can affect participation, rarely should these injuries keep people on the sidelines permanently.
Joint pain is unfortunately a fairly common affliction among the United States population. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2006 approximately 30% of adults reported that they experienced some sort of joint pain in the previous 30 days. Musculoskeletal injuries are rarely completely incapacitating, however. While many weekend warriors cite old knee or shoulder injuries as reasons that they can't exercise now, with so many options available, even people with real injuries should be able to modify their routines and still get in a good workout.
For example, a female with early knee arthritis can still perform cardiovascular-enhancing exercise. She might not be able to run long distances six or seven days a week, but she might be able to run two days a week and swim or ride a bicycle the other days to decrease the repetitive impact on her knees. A male with rotator cuff impingement from overuse at work or in the yard might have to back off from tennis or baseball, which might aggravate his shoulder, but he could play soccer or another non-throwing sport. And for athletes who enjoy lifting weights, simply adjusting a few of the exercises might be enough to exercise in spite of a current injury.
For those who fear that they are making an injury worse, they should see a sports medicine physician. Most injuries do not need surgery, and often there are simple initial treatments, such as physical therapy, home exercises, taping, or anti-inflammatory medications. And while patients are often reluctant to go to the doctor for fear of being completely shut down from a sport or activity, sports medicine physicians usually try to encourage treatments and rehabilitation that get people back to sports and exercise as quickly as possible.
Finally, even if the activity is potentially detrimental to a joint, it might not always be that bad. Someone with near bone-on-bone knee arthritis is possibly making his knee worse running every day. Having said that, if he wants to keep running, the benefits of his overall health might outweigh the risks to his knee. Daily exercise can provide multiple medical benefits, including improved cardiovascular function, lower blood pressure, and weight loss, as well as improved sleep and mood. Even if he needs a knee replacement in the future, the medical upside to exercise is significant.
While aches and pains can be an obstacle to physical activity, they shouldn't be permanent barriers to all exercise. If you are worried about injuries or exercise modification discuss it with a doctor and know that being physically active is possible despite these pains.
What kind of activities can we promote to keep people moving no matter the aches and pains?
Tags: physical activity, injury, joint pain, sports medicine
This page last updated on: 11/04/2009
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