Start Fresh in the New Year

Carol A. Gooch, M.S., LPC, LCDC, LMFT As a mental health professional, I can tell you that some people have difficulty coping with holiday stress and depression, so as soon as the holidays are over, they start to reflect on what they can change for the next year. 2017 can be a great year for you, if you begin thinking about ways to improve your life. A new year is a fresh start and provides the psychological boost needed to set and meet your goals. Many people would benefit by making a few changes to improve their fitness level, diet, weight or general well-being. One or two small changes can make a difference in a person’s health. Health screenings can save lives. Early detection for diseases, such as colon, breast and cervical cancer can improve prognosis dramatically. Screenings to test for diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease should also all be considered. The type of screening needed is based on your age, gender and risk factors for certain conditions. Talk with your doctor to determine what is recommended and make this the year to get screened. Fiber rich foods, such as oatmeal, leafy green vegetables and beans help you feel full longer, decreases the risk of colon cancer and helps keep things moving through the digestive system. Increasing calcium in your diet can help prevent osteoporosis. Good sources of calcium include yogurt, milk, bok choy, broccoli and baked beans. Most people know that exercise can improve their health, but they may not know just how beneficial it can be. Exercise can help lower blood pressure...

Exercise Improves Mental Health

As a mental health therapist for over 20 years, I can assure you that exercise enhances the body’s ability to respond to stress, thus improving mental health by helping the brain cope better with stress, anxiety and depression.  Evidence suggests that physically active people have lower rates of anxiety and depression than sedentary people. The more sedentary you get, the less efficient you are in responding to stress. Exercise essentially burns away the chemicals like cortisol and norepinephrine that cause stress. At the same time, vigorous exercise releases endorphins into the system. Endorphins are morphine-like hormones that are responsible for the feeling of elation, or well being that distance runners get from running. Other chemicals like dopamine and serotonin are also released in the brain during exercise. Together, these give a feeling of safety and security that contributes to off-setting some of the “internal” causes of stress, such as uncertainty, pessimism and negative self-talk. To benefit from exercise, it needs to be regular. Exercise needs to be part of a daily routine. Instead of working during lunch, why not take the time to go for a brisk walk, a run or work out at a gym? Exercise will reduce stress and reducing stress can increase productivity. Since exercise reduces stress chemically, it can also have a meditative effect during sustained cardiovascular workouts. Biologically, exercise seems to give the body a chance to deal with stress. It forces the body’s physiological systems to communicate much more closely than usual. Running on the open road or treadmill can relax and clear the mind. Clearing the mind allows you to have a...

The Benefits of Exercise

Exercise is Beneficial Today, thoughts of aging gracefully have been replaced by efforts to age successfully. As we age and look forward to longer life expectancies than past generations, we strive to age with good health. We try to eat healthy, limit our alcohol intake, stay physically active, stay connected with our friends and family and seek medical treatment when necessary. These are the right steps toward healthy aging. With good health, we can enjoy life and pursue new dreams and endeavors as we age. Good health includes both physical and mental well-being. A healthy mind contributes to a healthy body. The mind, like the body, benefits from low blood pressure, low cholesterol, nourishing food, a healthy weight, and physical activity. Regular physical activity helps to: Maintain and improve memory Maintain and improve mental ability Prevent dementia (impaired intellectual functioning) including Alzheimer’s disease Make us happy and prevent and alleviate depression Improve energy levels How does exercise do all that? Physical activity—whether it’s walking, running, swimming, dancing (we have a lot of choices)—helps to: Decrease heart rate Decrease blood pressure Decrease blood cholesterol Strengthen the heart and increase the flow of oxygen to the brain Improve reaction time Improve mobility If you are thinking about starting an exercise program, talk first with your doctor. Start slowly, take proper precautions (for example, walk in well-lit areas in sturdy shoes), and have fun. Remember, you don’t have to be athletic to benefit from regular physical activity.       The type of exercising you should do depends on your fitness level, age, etc. Again, you should always consult with your doctor...

February Community Newsletter

We Aspire for a Better You Welcome to the introductory issue of Aspire’s Community Newsletter! We want to share our objectives, ask for your feedback about the topics featured, and keep you up to date on our company news. We pride ourselves on providing outstanding medical care to the residents and communities we serve and utilizing state-of-the-art technology alongside compassionate and friendly patient care. Our services range from imaging, physical therapy, sleep diagnostics, oncology, and behavioral health. Employee of the Month Avie Johnson- Avie has worked with Aspire Hospital since November 2013 and has been through many changes at Aspire Hospital. She is a dedicated Patient Access Representative and has worked in multiple departments over the last year, including physical therapy and is currently with Huntsville Imaging. Not only has she learned new systems quickly, she’s always willing to help new hires. Coworkers say that Avie’s kindness is natural and patients from other departments still like to drop in to say hello. We appreciate you Avie! Making a Difference In the Month of January Aspire Hospital serviced over 500 Patients! We look forward to helping even more in February! Behavioral Health– 59 Patients Conroe Imaging– 325 Patients Huntsville Imaging– 282 Patients Sleep Center—33 Patients Physical Therapy—37  New Patients Cancer Center and Imaging—97 Patients Dustin Bessire, Doctor of Physical Therapy at Aspire Center for Rehab in Huntsville, recently got the opportunity to work with and treat Lane Johnson, offensive tackle of the Philadelphia Eagles. We wish Lane a speedy recovery! Physician Spotlight Anisa F. Gopalani, MD has been prac- ticing pain medicine for ten years. Dr. Gopalani’s medical education began...

Physical Activity and Your Health

Physical Activity is Important  Most people know physical activity, such as regular exercise, is important for weight loss and optimal health. What some people do not realize is being physically inactive is considered a risk factor for several illnesses and medical conditions. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 2 million people worldwide die from conditions related to physical inactivity. People of all ages, from children to the elderly, can suffer negative consequences if they live a sedentary lifestyle and are physically inactive. Below are a few negative effects of physical inactivity. Hypertension, which is also known as high blood pressure, is one of the main risk factors for having serious medical conditions develop, such as a stroke or kidney disease. Blood pressure measures how forceful blood is pushed against the artery walls. Physical activity, such as regular exercise, helps make the heart stronger. As the heart becomes stronger, it can pump blood more efficiently throughout the body. When the heart does not have to work as hard, less force is put on the arteries and blood pressure is lower. The phrase “use it or lose it” really does apply when referring to the bones in the body. Without proper physical activity, overtime the bones can become weak. When this occurs, the condition is known as osteoporosis, which can cause the bones to fracture easily. The condition occurs most frequently in older adults. Physical activity helps strengthen the bones and prevent osteoporosis from developing. Physical inactivity can contribute to heart disease in a few ways. The efficiency of coronary blood flow is impaired in people who are physically...

The Benefits of Aquatic Therapy

Aquatic therapy can be beneficial for many conditions and circumstances.  It can improve heart and lung function, improve balance, help to re-train muscles after brain injuries, decrease pain and inflammation, and temporarily reduce symptoms of neurological conditions like Parkinson’s, among other things.  It can also be quite calming, and therefore improve one’s psychological state, which, as most know, is also tied to physical well-being. There are many different methods of aquatic therapy that can be tailored to what the individual needs of the patient are.  Some of the more common methods are Ai Chi, Bad Ragaz Ring Method, Halliwick Concept, Watsu, and the Burdenko Method. So what is it about water therapy that makes it useful for treating sports injuries, neurological conditions, post-operative rehabilitation, pain, edema, and more? Buoyancy.  The buoyancy of water can allow people to exercise with less fear and danger of falling than they would experience on land.  It also allows for exercise for those with injuries that make them unable to support their own weight, because the water itself is helping to support their body weight.  The water reduces the effects of gravity on the body, supports weak muscles, and increases flexibility and range of motion, which can be freeing for those with otherwise limited movement. Hydrostatic Pressure.  The force exerted by the water against the body reduces pain and edema, improves circulation, and reduces tactile sensory input (which is mostly what causes the calming effect).  This pressure also helps to tone the muscles involved in respiration, which improves lung function. Viscosity.  The viscosity of water provides resistance, which helps tone muscles, because the muscles...