Blood Pressure and Heart Rate: What’s A “Good” Number?
- Published on Wednesday, 19 November 2014 11:01
- Written by Kateri
So you’re going for a check-up at the doctor’s office and you have your vitals taken, blood work done, and a general health screen is performed. In the end your are provided with a bunch of numbers including your blood pressure, heart rate, body mass index, cholesterol, etc. That’s nice and all, but what do all these numbers mean? What is a good rating for all of these tests?
Let’s start with blood pressure (BP). This is a measure that is taken at almost every doctor’s visit. The top number is your systolic BP which measures the pressure in the arteries when your heart beats. The bottom number is your diastolic BP which measures the pressure in your arteries between beats when the heart is at rest. The American Heart Association categorizes blood pressure levels in the following way:
Note that this chart does not provide any measures for abnormally low blood pressures. Typically individuals with low blood pressure will experience certain side effects like dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, nausea, and various other symptoms. It is normal for your blood pressure to rise during activity due to the increased need for oxygen to get to your muscles and therefore the heart has to pump out more oxygenated blood than at rest. Generally, to have a normal response to exercise, your top number (systolic BP) should rise (possibly up to 180 mm Hg) but your bottom number (diastolic BP) shoulder show little change.
Heart rate (HR) is another important measure that also fluctuates with activity. The normal range for heart rate is between 60-80 beats per minute (bpm) for adults. Depending on your age and level of exercise intensity, your heart rate will rise normally with activity. Your maximum heart rate is typically calculated by subtracting your age from 220. The following chart displays various normal ranges for heart rate depending on age and exercise intensity level.
A resting heart rate of over 100 bpm is called tachycardia, where as a heart rate less than 60 bpm is considered bradycardia. Elite athletes are often bradycardic at rest due to their improved heart function from exercise; however, each of these conditions could be a serious cause for concern regarding the heart. Tachycardia may leave an individual at higher risk for a stroke or cardiac arrest. Bradycardia may mean that the body isn’t getting enough blood pumped out of the heart which may require a pacemaker to help the heart maintain a proper rate. If you are concerned about any abnormalities in your heart rate, contact your doctor.
How to Pick the Best Yoga Class for Your Goals
- Published on Wednesday, 05 November 2014 10:17
- Written by Kateri
Yoga is an activity which encompasses exercise, breathing, and meditation to reach desired goals. The actual practice of yoga dates back to before 3,000 BC and has been commonly associated with Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, despite the fact that its techniques existed prior to the establishment of these religions. There are various forms of yoga that focus on different goals for the body. Several yoga poses can be implemented during physical therapy sessions depending on the condition and needs of the patient. In addition to individual poses and stretches that you may experience at physical therapy, classes exist that can provide a more comprehensive exposure to yoga.
There are over 100 different classes of yoga at varying degrees of difficulty and areas of focus. Some of the more common types of yoga include: Hatha, Iyengar, Yin, Restorative, Kundalini, Ashtanga, Vinyasa/Power/Flow, Anusara, Bikram, and Jivamukti. If you are looking for a beginner course you may want to look into Hatha, Yin, Restorative, Iyengar, or Kundalini yoga classes. For those with yoga experience, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Bikram, Anusara, and Jivamukti may fit your style more.
Which style of yoga you choose to pursue depends on what your goals are for your yoga experience. Hatha yoga is a generic term which includes any form of yoga that teaches physical posture; therefore all of the forms of yoga listed in this blog are forms of Hatha yoga. Most Hatha yoga classes give a general introduction to the basic yoga postures and are therefore very good for beginners. Iyengar yoga scrutinizes over proper form and often uses props including blocks, straps, chairs, boards, etc. to reach the proper positions. This form of yoga is good for someone who is starting out and wishes to learn proper positioning before advancing to quicker paced forms of yoga. Yin yoga focuses more on the joints than the muscles. The poses are held for up to 20 minutes in order to focus on stretching the connective tissues in the body. Restorative yoga also holds poses for extended periods of time, but the focus is on restoration and stress relief versus stimulating connective tissue. This form of yoga can be helpful for the overall healing process of the body. Kundalini yoga focuses on the spiritual and philosophical components of yoga. It incorporates meditation, breathing, and chanting as well as some yoga postures.
If you have practiced yoga before and are looking for a more intense experience you may want to try Vinyasa. Vinyasa yoga is known for its fluid movements which is why it can also be referred to as flow or power flow yoga. This form of class is very active and can be challenging with the continuous transitions between poses. The order of the poses changes with every session. Ashtanga yoga is similar in intensity to Vinyasa in the flow of movements and coordination with breathing patterns, but Ashtanga uses a specific sequence of poses every time. Bikram yoga is good for more intense stretching because it is performed in a heated room. Individuals who have an aversion to heat, cannot medically tolerate heat, or are pregnant should not participate in this form of yoga. Be aware that the high heat levels can also put you at risk for overstretching your muscles and dehydration. Anusara yoga works to encompass both the mind and body by performing vinyasa style poses while focusing on the inner goodness in all. Jivamukti yoga works similarly to Anusara in that it encompasses both body and mind. It often encompasses music, chanting, and scripture readings with its vinyasa style movements.
In addition to the traditional forms of yoga, prenatal yoga also exists. This form of yoga is geared specifically to pregnant women. If you have never participated in yoga before, it is recommended that you not start until your second trimester due to possible light headedness and symptoms with various poses during the beginning of pregnancy.
As you can see there are a multitude of different yoga styles that you can explore. The key is educating yourself on the various types and choosing which class appeals to your goals. I hope this blog gave you a brief insight into the various forms of yoga and an idea of which styles you may want to attempt based on your experience level and desires. If you are still unsure about starting into a yoga class, talk to a physical therapist to see what you’re ready for and explore your best options.
What Can Physical Therapy Do For You?
- Published on Wednesday, 15 October 2014 12:11
- Written by Kateri Kane
Yet another Physical Therapy Month is upon us, otherwise known as October. This year for PT month, we thought we would give you a refresher on the benefits of physical therapy. In our first blog, we discussed what physical therapy is. In case you missed that one, you can check out that previous blog information here. Now, let’s review what PT can do for you.
Physical therapy can be used to treat a large variety of ailments and conditions from low back pain to traumatic brain injuries, strokes to ankle sprains, rotator cuff repairs to balance problems, and the list goes on. Each of these conditions is different and is treated differently, but the overarching goal is the same: improving function.
One of the biggest fundamental themes in physical therapy is improving mobility and motion. As obesity continues to be a huge issue for Americans, movement is a vital weapon for fighting this epidemic. The more we can move around even for everyday tasks, the healthier we can be. Physical therapy can help to improve an individual’s ability to move after surgery, an injury, or simply when movement becomes difficult after years of being sedentary. Physical therapists also help to prevent injury through strengthening, flexibility, balance, and coordination; thus maintaining your ability to stay mobile and active. Physical therapists are human movement experts and as such, are well equipped to help individuals improve sports or job task performance.
Physical therapy offers a conservative option to surgery or prescription drugs. While sometimes surgery is the only option for a patient, research suggests that physical therapy is often just as effective as, and cheaper than, going under the knife. Additionally, physical therapy can assist with decreasing pain resulting in less dependence on long term prescription drugs. If surgery is ultimately determined to be the best option for you, then physical therapy can help improve your results both before and after surgery.
One of the most important components of physical therapy is that we work WITH you! Your goals matter to us. We will collaborate with you in order to focus on your individual goals, challenges, and needs; and you will be an active participant in your recovery. At Advanced Physical Therapy and Fitness, we make sure that this is the case with each of our patients. Our slogan here is Expert Care with a Personal Touch, and we make sure to live up to that.