Circulation Exercises to Keep you Warm

Exercises to keep you warm through the winter.

Winter is in full swing in The Ozarks! These frigid temperatures may cause significant circulation issues for many individuals. As we age, our body systems have to work increasingly hard to supply our body with all the nutrients and oxygen that it requires to perform the vital functions that we all need.

“Impaired circulation may cause significant issues with elderly individuals when you combine poor circulation with things like heart disease, diabetes or a lack of exercise. With the use of the above exercises you can help give your body the boost it needs to make it through this winter season.”

  • Dr. Brittany Wright, Physical Therapy

Here are three simple circulation exercises that have been shown to increase blood supply to assist with improved day-to-day health.

#1 – Supine Ankle Pumps – Begin lying on your back with your legs straight. Slowly pump your ankles by bending and straightening them. Try to keep the rest your legs relaxed while you move your ankles.

Supine Ankle Pump

# 2 – Supine Quad Set – Begin lying on your back with one knee bent and your other leg straight with your knee resting on a towel roll. Gently squeeze your thigh muscles, pushing the back of your knee down into the towel. Make sure to keep your back flat against the floor during the exercise.

Quad Set

#3 – Supine Glute Set – “Penny Pinchers” – Begin lying on your back with your hands resting comfortably. Tighten your buttock muscles, then release and repeat. Make sure not to arch your low back during the exercise or hold your breath as you tighten your muscles.

Glute Set

The above exercises have been recommended by the OCH physical therapy department as an easy and convenient way for adults to help pump blood through their body. This is not medical advice.


Coping with Fall Allergies

Just when your nose finally adjusted to the sights and smells of summer, fall allergy season hits full force. Sure, the crisp autumn evenings offer a welcome relief from the summer heat; but for those suffering from allergies, fall is one of the worst times to be outside. Ozarks Community Hospital of Gravette nurse practitioner Anita Marie Kane shares a few tips on how to keep the sniffles, itching and irritation at bay.

Sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, throat drainage…yes it is that time of year again! We are blessed to live in a region with beautiful foliage and dramatic seasonal changes. However, one of the drawbacks to this seasonal beauty is an abundance of budding, blooming, seeding, and blowing allergens.

The CDC reports over 17.6 million people were diagnosed with “hay fever” in the last year. According to Dr. Moses of Family Practice Notebook, hay fever affects 35 million people yearly, with 3 million missed work days.

What can you do to avoid those missed days? Talk to your provider about your options. Generally, try to avoid allergens you react to, use an air purifier in the home if indicated, avoid tobacco smoke, and use a mask if needed when mowing or working in dust-filled areas. Medications may offer some relief also. These include antihistamines (such as Allegra, Benadryl, Claritin and Zyrtec), intranasal corticosteroids (such as Flonase and Nasonex) and saline nasal spray. Other options in severe cases may include systemic steroids or even allergy testing with hyposensitization.

Just remember, the season will change (and there will be new allergens!). Stay healthy, drink plenty of water, exercise regularly and get adequate rest, a healthy you is your best defense.

Anita Marie Kane, APN is a long time resident of Gravette, AR, who started out as a nurse’s aide at the Gravette hospital shortly after moving to town. She obtained her MSN as a Family Nurse Practitioner from Pittsburg State University in Kansas. Kane specializes in Family Practice and Urgent Care.

Make a New Year’s Resolution to Reduce Stress in Your Life

It’s the same every January: we start strong with expectations of grandeur only to find ourselves reverting back to our old couch potato (or for some of us, overscheduled) lives. In the blink of an eye, we’ve already ditched our goals and opted for the easy retreat. So, where did we go wrong? OCH of Gravette psychologist Dr. Jason Glass offers us a new way to stay on top of our lofty resolutions with practical solutions to de-stress and enjoy success in our everyday lives.

The holidays can be an extremely stressful time.  Between the in-laws, multiple Christmas parties, and buying gifts people will never actually use, most people are relieved when holiday time is over.  But for some people, the stress continues to linger even after the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season is over.  Stress is a normal part of life—but severe stress or prolonged stress can build up to create more serious health problems.  You can choose to make this New Year different by being proactive in your fight against stress.  Here are a few key tips for tackling stress:

1. Exercise: If losing weight is your main New Year’s resolution, then exercising should be at the top of your list of priorities.  Exercising is perhaps the most effective weapon against stress and depression.  Exercising for 30 minutes can help detoxify the body from hormones and chemicals created by stress over the course of the day.  You do not have to join a gym or buy a shake weight; walking or bike riding can do the trick.

2. Find the Time to Unwind: Amidst the current economic climate, many Americans are working longer and harder just to get by.  Unfortunately, people find it difficult to take a few minutes out of their busy schedule to just relax and clear their minds.  Psychotherapists teach certain relaxation skills to help patients deal with anxiety and stress such as deep breathing and muscle relaxation exercises.  Many people use yoga, Pilates and meditation to cope with stress. Some people find listening to music to be relaxing.  Although meditation might sound “new agey” to some people, it can be as simple as finding a quiet room and focusing on a bible verse you find meaningful and uplifting. 

3. Awareness: Paying attention to what is causing your stress and how your body reacts to stress can be half the battle.  It might be traffic, loud noises or cold weather that gets you worked up.  When you feel anxiety coming on, you might feel your fists clench, heart race, or you may just get angry.  Being aware of what makes you stressed and how you react to stress can help you become proactive and intervene before you become overwhelmed. 

4. Stop Smoking/Watch your Caffeine Intake: It is sad, but many people think because cigarettes and caffeine aren’t illegal that they are not drugs.  Well, they are drugs, they are addictive, and they can take a serious toll on your health.  In a 2007 study by the British Medical Journal Lancet, it was found that of all common drugs nicotine was the second most addictive drug next to heroin.  Yes, heroin.  Many people smoke cigarettes to calm them down but nicotine is a stimulant and can actually increase heart rate, blood pressure and cause people to have the jitters.  That is just what happens after smoking one cigarette.  Years of smoking increases the risk of heart attacks, stroke, emphysema and a multitude of other problems.

Let’s not leave out caffeine.  Anything over 250 mg a day (40 to 60 mg per 12 oz soft drink) can cause anxiety, sleep problems, and irritability.  Plus, excessive caffeine use can lead to weight gain and even the development of diabetes. 

As you can see, there are substantial benefits that can be gained from quitting smoking and using caffeine in moderation.  If you are interested in quitting, a consultation with your physician might be an excellent way to get you on the right track.

5.  Time Management Skills:  Many people become overwhelmed because they take on too many things at once.  Perhaps you are a procrastinator or you are the kind of person that obsesses about getting things done now.  The best way to handle these problems is to prioritize your time from the most important to the least important—in other words, first thing is first.  To remember appointments and important events, you may use a day planner or keep a calendar to stay on top of tasks.

When to consult a physician or mental health professional:  If your stress significantly interferes with work, school, or family life or you develop certain physical symptoms (racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness) it is important to call your doctor to see if their may be more significant health problems other than just routine stress.

As with anything in life, dealing with stress takes patience.  Your stress may have built up for years and there is no easy way to magically get rid of it in one day.  Take one day at a time and may you have an excellent 2011. 

Jason Glass, PsyD is a psychologist affiliated with Ozarks Community Hospital of Gravette and the OCH of Gravette Clinic.  Dr. Glass is a provisionally licensed psychologist in the state of Arkansas and is currently under the supervision of OCH licensed psychologist Mark W. Glover, Ph.D. Some of the psychological services provided through OCH include: adult psychotherapy for anxiety and depression; anger management training; dementia evaluation and consultation; probation and parole evaluation; parental fitness evaluation; and pre-surgical psychological evaluation and consultation. 

OCH Kids Say…

In honor of OCH’s annual Christmas Party celebration, our video crew invited employees’ kids to come in and answer a few questions about their parents. Here’s what they said:

OCH of Gravette Kid Video:

Happy Holidays from your friends and family at Ozarks Community Hospital!