Health Tips for the New Year; Patience and Persistence will Payoff; Key Advice from the Wellness Team at D.I.S.C. Sports and Spine Center

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New Year’s resolutions are filled with thoughts of getting in shape and improving our health, yet without proper preparation and realistic goal setting, many of these worthy aspirations will fall by the wayside rather quickly. With a team approach, the wellness team of physicians from D.I.S.C. Sports and Spine Center offer key tips to ensure success for a new and improved you in the New Year.

As the old saying goes, 'patience is a virtue,' and that those time-honored words ring true when dealing with lifestyle changes. Additionally, many people stop exercising due to lack of progress or injuries, yet there are a variety of ways to ensure success.

A New Year, A New You….Patience and Persistence will Payoff!

New Year’s resolutions are filled with thoughts of getting in shape and improving our health, yet without proper preparation and realistic goal setting, many of these worthy aspirations will fall by the wayside rather quickly.

"There are a few reasons these plans fail, with the most common being impatience," said Dr. Joseph Horrigan director of the Wellness Program and Soft Tissue Center at D.I.S.C. Sports and Spine Center. "As the old saying goes, 'patience is a virtue,' and that those time-honored words ring true when dealing with lifestyle changes. Additionally, many people stop exercising due to lack of progress or injuries, yet there are a variety of ways to ensure success."

Check with Your Doctor First

How often have you heard the advice to make sure you see a doctor before you embark on an exercise program? Every advertisement for exercise programs or equipment offers this advice. One main reason for this advice is many people have mild, underlying heart problems. This is sometimes discovered when the strain of the new, and perhaps overambitious, exercise program. This is the worst time to discover a heart problem. So, if you have not exercised for a year or more, make an appointment with your internist or general practitioner and tell him/her that you are about to start an exercise program. This is an office visit that is well worthwhile. It’s analogous to looking under the hood of your car to make sure everything is in working order before a long driving trip.

Patience Leads to Real Results

Results take time. I wrote a sports medicine column installment fifteen years ago advising people to take three months to let their body acclimate to training again before trying to train very hard. This is very sound clinical advice. The problem again is impatience. People want results now, especially in today’s fast-paced, high tech world. Slowing getting back into exercise, or re-entry training as I call it, allows muscles, tendon, ligaments and joints to start moving and stretching again with a much lower risk of injury. If you jump into exercise too quickly, you can very easily strain a muscle, tendon or overstretch a ligament. Muscles tears can occur too. The injuries make training more frustrating and training often stops for six weeks or more. By this point the frustration levels become so high that most people quit the exercise plan.

Wellness at D.I.S.C. is a Team Approach

The doctors at D.I.S.C. are very interested in the wellness of our patients.Below are some key tips to help you prepare for success as you embark on a New Year's resolution of improved health.

Preparing Mentally for Your New Year's Resolutions
Michael Gervais, PhD
Director Pinnacle Performance Center at D.I.S.C.

Wellness is a way of life. It’s a way of thinking and doing that is aligned with your core values. The values that reveal who you are at your highest self. In today’s world, the discipline required to stay connected to the best version of you is certainly not easy. Creating a life of mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness requires having a clear vision, a well-grooved belief system that supports that vision, and a day-to-day discipline to adjust to the many distractions in today’s world of immediate access.

The field of high performance psychology offers insight into “tricks of the trade” as to how the best-of-the-best consistently reach their goals. Here are a few strategies that top performers use to optimize their life’s efforts:

1. Have a clear vision of who you want to be as a person and what that would look like. Example: I want to be appreciative of the challenges in life in a vibrant and healthy way.
2. Set your mind on small, realistic, and challenging goals that support your vision.
3. Keep your mind focused on what you do want, not what you don’t want. When athletes aim for excellence, they rarely “try not to miss.” A more powerful way to engage in sport and life is to aim for what you want.
4. Spend time recovering from the "busyness” of life. Your mind and body perform at the optimal level when given proper rest. When you are better recovered, you’re more likely to have the mental discipline to adjust to challenges.
5. Learn from, then let go-of past failures. Keep your focus on what you are in control of in the present moment. Then, choose excellent actions in the here-and-now. Top performers consistently hold on to what is good about them, and let go of those parts that they don’t like. That’s a sure-fire way to maintain and build confidence. It’s been said that confidence is the cornerstone for performance.
6. Have an awareness of what gets in the way of you following through to making your goals happen. Have a few pre-planned strategies that help you get back on track. Consistently ask yourself how you can step-up the quality of your performance efforts.
7. Smile more, laugh more, find moments of silence.

Exercising Start Low and Slow
Katrina Vlachos, M.D.
Board Certified Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Specializing in relieving pain and restoring function through exercise and conservative pain management protocols

Five Simple Steps to Exercise Success

1. Get Motivated! Whether its weight loss, injury prevention, or just feeling better about yourself. Wanting a better you is critical to initiating and exercise program - pain is a great motivator
2. Be consistent! Exercise everyday is the only way to achieve desired results.
3. Set realistic goals! Don’t set your expectations to high or you are setting yourself up for failure! For example, losing one pound per week is actually a healthy way to lose weight.
4. Start low & slow! Don’t rush into things. Let your body adjust to your new program and you are less likely to experience an injury.
5. Be patient! Results take place after months of dedication and discipline.

Exercise does not have to be a chore if you follow 5 simple steps

1. Doing 15-20 minutes per day can get the job done - focusing on specific areas and future injuries- its quality not quantity.
2. Do exercise at home - you don’t have to go into a gym everyday; go to the gym when you can and do a shortened program on busier days by focusing on specific stretches at home - doing exercise everyday is the key.
3. Do exercise that you like - if swimming is not your thing, your unlikely to continue: find exercises or stretches that you are willing to keep up.
4. Find the right time - do exercise at a consistent time when you are not as likely to have scheduling conflicts; early in the morning may be better than late at night when your are tired.
5. Exercise with a friend when possible as you are more likely t do things when someone else is depending on you.

Too Much, Too Fast, Too Soon...Exercise and Nutrition Take Patience for Results
G. Douglas Andersen, DC, CCN
Certified Clinical Nutritionist

The mistakes most people make with exercise resolution’s for the new year is basic — too much, too fast, too soon. They make a resolution that takes too much time, expect results too fast, and increase their workload too soon. This results in missed workouts, frustration and injury. 18 workouts in January becomes nine workouts in February, four workouts in March and no workouts for the rest of the year. Many believe if they can’t exercise 4-5 days a week, 2 days a week isn’t enough to benefit. But, twice a week is 100 workouts a year. Or, 69 more workouts than the 31 in our example of a failed resolution to exercise. Five tips to make a resolution (to improve fitness) become a habit are as follows:

1. Every step counts and every bite counts. More steps + fewer bites = less weight.
2. One ounce a day is 23 pounds a year. Anybody can lose one ounce a day.
3. The scale is your friend and should be used daily. It reminds you about your mission, rewards your successes & minimizes your failures (weighing daily prevents big surprise's that derail resolutions).
4. There are 21 meals a week. Make 18 of them healthy.
5. Pay attention, especially at restaurants or social gatherings where large amounts of high calorie foods are abundant.

About D.I.S.C Sports and Spine Center: Established in 2007, by Dr. Robert S. Bray, Jr., D.I.S.C. is redefining patient care with more than 20 board certified physicians providing a multidisciplinary approach to sports medicine, orthopedic and spine care. Conveniently housed under one roof for an unmatched quality and continuity of care, D.I.S.C. offers next generation diagnostics, wellness programs, conservative care, pain management, chiropractic care and soft tissue center along with a state-of-the-art surgical center that is proudly "Infection Free." Among the finest in the country, the surgery center specializes in minimally invasive spine procedures and advanced arthroscopic techniques. More information is available by calling 310.574.0400 or by visiting their website at:


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