Tag Archives: health living

10 Great Types of Exercise for Asthmatics

When you’re an asthmatic, exercise can be a daunting notion that prompts images of wheezing, coughing and chest tightening, but it doesn’t have to be that way. While intense cardiovascular exercise can trigger dangerous asthma attacks, studies have proven that routine light-to-moderate exercise is actually quite beneficial for most asthmatics and can help increase lung capacity. Let’s look at some of the better types of exercise for asthmatics to try:

  1. Walking is perhaps tied with swimming as the best exercise choice for asthmatics. It gets you moving and gets that heart rate up without making your lungs head into spasm territory. One recent study found that those who walked multiple times weekly showed improved overall control of asthma symptoms than those who didn’t. Walking is also great because you can do it outdoors if conditions are okay, or take it indoors on a treadmill when winter air becomes too harsh on the lungs.
  2. Swimming is another ideal exercise type for asthmatics. It can be as mild or as vigorous as you choose, and the humid environment may help breathing and help to loosen mucus in asthmatics.
  3. Yoga can be doubly beneficial for asthmatics as it not only works out the body at a slow, lung-friendly pace, but the deep breathing techniques central to the practice are great for getting the stale air out of an asthmatic’s lungs and helping increase breath capacity. Namaste, indeed!
  4. Certain sports like volleyball and baseball are great choices as they aren’t too strenuous and combine periods of rest with periods of light to moderate activity. Basketball or football would not be good choices, however, because they require longer periods of high-intensity running and exertion.
  5. Weight training wouldn’t cause the lungs to work in overdrive the same as intense cardiovascular exercise would.
  6. Leisurely level-ground biking – Fast-paced or uneven terrain biking may be too hard on an exercise-induced asthmatic, however, light, level-ground biking could be just what the doctor ordered. It may provide enough resistance and require enough energy that it can help expand the lungs without inciting an attack.
  7. (Light) interval training – high intensity interval training (HIIT) is a very popular exercise trend as of late, for many good reasons. If you are severely asthmatic, you may want to leave off the “high intensity” part and just focus on any kind of exercise done in bursts between little rest breaks.
  8. Balance ball exercises – There are many balance ball exercise regimens out there that wouldn’t serve as an obstacle for an asthmatic, but would provide for them a well-balanced workout.
  9. Ballet – would probably be one of the least cardiovascular-based dance types for an asthmatic to more comfortably try. Ballet is an excellent workout, requiring the use of almost all your muscles and instilling great bodily discipline.
  10. Martial arts is another activity that allows for rest breaks between short bursts of activity, which can be very beneficial for asthmatics. It is also good for breath training and mental well-being.

We hope this post gave you some good exercise ideas for the asthmatics in your life! Thanks for visiting DocChat, if you have any medical questions remember our board certified physicians are standing by 24/7/365 to help!

Benefits of Activity Trackers

Activity trackers are riding a fitness trend wave now, seemingly for good reason. For many, a good quality tracker can be a fashionable, intelligent and accountable way to get into shape or keep fit. However, they may not be for everyone as they do have drawbacks (stay tuned for our post about the drawbacks next). Some people argue the technology isn’t precise enough yet for the best of the best when it comes to fitness management, but here are a few reasons we believe a fitness tracker may be the nudge you need to reach your fitness goals.

Fitness trackers can:

  • Provide a true reflection of your lifestyle – Personal fitness trackers (PFTs) help calibrate a baseline by tracking your normal activities before you even start working out or reaching goals. This will help give you a decent reflection of your lifestyle, which may be less active than you think. While it may be a wakeup call, this is a great feature because it allows no room for denial about your current activity level and plenty of room to up your game.
  • Promote personal accountability – One of the best features of PFTs is that they help hold you accountable for reaching your fitness goals. If you routinely decline your evening walk, you have a little device to answer to who is counting and calculating your every fitness move. This helps many people push themselves a little harder, feeling more accountable to do their best.
  • Help you set and reach goals at your own pace – Most PFTs on the market today have several fitness options and are highly customizable. Many have a default setting goal of 10,000 steps a day, but you can easily change that to better suit your lifestyle. If you were largely sedentary before purchasing your PFT, it would be wise to start small by adding increments of a couple hundred steps every day and work big gradually instead of going straight for the gold.
  • (Kind of) track your sleep – Another fascinating (but debatable) feature of many PFTs is the sleep monitor function. Using its 6-axis accelerometer technology PFTs can also loosely keep tabs on your sleep by tracking your movements. This will be in no way as precise as being monitored at a sleep lab, but may a fair enough indicator of optimal versus inadequate sleep so you can look further into the issue medically if need be.
  • Count calories – As well as an activity and sleep tracker, your device will be able to help you keep track of how many calories you’re burning. Again, the technology isn’t quite at its pinnacle yet, so calorie counts may not be very precise and could even vary from tracker to tracker, but it will give you a loose idea of how much you’re taking in and burning off.
  • Create a communal fitness environment – The corresponding apps usually give the option of participating in a community of others who are using the same fitness tracker as you and have similar goals. Many people find this communal environment encouraging and motivating factor in becoming or staying fit. Most popular weight loss programs offer meetings to give this sense of community, but you can participate from the comfort of your home.
  • Help you find of renew your love for healthy living– All in all, fitness trackers may not make you crazy fit, crazy fast, but they are certainly an option worth exploring if you are having trouble getting motivated on your own.

Thanks for visiting DocChat! If you have any questions about fitness, wellness or weight loss sign up to DocChat today to connect with one of our very knowledgeable board certified physicians! Stay tuned for some of the drawbacks of fitness trackers coming up next!


Give Your Diet A Makeover!

We are all guilty of sneaking too many candies or chips from time to time and going through the occaisonal no-veggie stint, but sometimes just a few little things need tweaking to make a nutritious impact. Here are some simple diet changes that can go a long way in helping you feel, live and look healthier:

  1. Up your protein: chicken and turkey are great meat choices for protein, if you are a vegetarian, try chickpeas!
  2. Add more of those leafy greens: spinach is actually amazing. It an excellent source of fiber, vitamins A, C and B6, folate, calcium, iron, and magnesium! It looks like Popeye was on to something! Lettuce and kale also throw big nutritious punches with very few calories.
  3. Eat more (of certain) dairy products: skim milk, cottage cheese and low fat, low sugar yogurt. Greek yogurt is a great choice, as it is full of protein and helps balance your gut flora. These foods are great sources of calcium and protein without the extra fat of some other dairy products.
  4. Help eggs recover their good name: Eggs got a bad rep in the 80’s for ‘raising cholesterol’, but it has since been discovered that eggs do not raise plaque-building LDL cholesterol. They are also great sources of helpful tryptophan protein. So start crackin’!
  5. Trade in your white bread for whole grains: Numerous studies have shown that whole grains are so much better for you than starchy white bread and crackers. If you have trouble with gluten, there are even gluten-free whole grain food options available. Brown rice flour is a good source or fibre as well.
  6. Aw, nuts! Nuts are nutritious sources of omega-3 fatty acids, protein and fibre. Measure out ¼ a cup of any kind of nuts you choose for a nice helping of good health.
  7. Don’t party too hardy: Read DocChat’s post about the dangers of binge drinking!
  8. Less salt is best salt: Adults should consume under 6 grams (one teaspoon) of salt a day.
  9. Good nutrition smells fishy: Fish are among some of the best foods you can eat. Many of them are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (good fats) and vitamin D.
  10. Add Antioxidants: Antioxidants remove harmful oxidizing agents that can cause cell damage in the body. Various fruits are good sources of antioxidants such most berries, black plums (over 4800 antioxidants per plum!) and oranges.
  11. Hydrate to feel great: This one is obvious, we’ve all heard the 6-8 glasses of water requirement ad nauseam, but we still let days go by without reaching for the water jug enough. Dehydration can cause serious health issues and unpleasant symptoms, so be sure to give your body what it needs the most and drink plenty of H2O!
  12. Less bad fats: While some fats such as the polyunsaturated variety are essential to good health and great for the heart, saturated fats (in many animal products) should be eaten in moderation as they can cause high cholesterol. It goes without saying that junk food is high in bad fat and should also be reduced to the occasional treat.
  13. Don’t skip out on meal time: It is important to eat at least three balanced meals a day, but some people have more success with 5-6 smaller meals. Either way, you shouldn’t skip meals as they provide necessary energy and nutrients the body needs to get through each day. Check out our blog post about why you especially shouldn’t skip breakfast.
  14. Variety is the spice you need: It is important not to focus on one or two favoured foods, even if they are healthy. A balanced diet is the key to healthful success, so make sure to spice things up. Try different meats and dairy products at the grocery store, and make new recipes.
  15. Fibre gives your food an easier journey: Fibre is essential to good digestion. People who are chronically constipated often aren’t consuming enough dietary fibre and may notice considerable benefits upon increasing it. Beans, dark green veggies and whole grains are all rich sources of fibre.We hope you have fun with these healthy diet tweaks, and thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope to see you again soon.