Wellness Wednesdays is a MVMag.net-exclusive feature that curates the best health & wellness content from around the Valley and the web.
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WELLNESS TIP OF THE WEEK
Support Your Knees with Exercise
by Dr. William O’Brien, Rheumatologist, Pentucket Medical Associates
Do you need or want to exercise with a bad knee? This is often a problem for many of my patients who suffer from joint complaints, regardless of the cause. No matter where you turn, exercise is a favorite topic of popular TV, news and magazines. And you might also feel like you can’t escape the urgings of your physicians to adopt “healthy” lifestyle modifications to lose weight, reduce your cardiovascular risk or protect your joints. All of these are good reasons to burn some calories, but sometimes exercising on a “bad knee” can be a major barrier.
If you have a bad knee or joints, it’s likely not just the bones and cartilage that are affected. Often patients with arthritis have strain in their muscles and tendons that support the joints. Exercise is a way to both strengthen the muscles around your knees – and this can both protect your joints and reduce your symptoms. When I review “safe” exercise with my patients, it’s really important to take each patient individually. However, some themes are pretty constant. Low-impact exercise exercises (the stationary bike, the elliptical, swimming) and resistance-based training (yoga, tai chi) can help to strengthen muscle that support your joint. And when I council patients on how much or little of these exercises to do, it’s really important that they understand that only they know best. If you feel pain while exercising, then pull it back. If you pain goes away – great, if it doesn’t – then don’t do that until you feel stronger.
HEALTH IN THE VALLEY
UML Forum Highlights How Seniors Can Live Well, Stay Healthy
The Healthy Aging and Living Well Forum will be held Friday, April 6 from 9:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Mark and Elisia Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center at UMass Lowell. The forum will feature research conducted by UML faculty on topics including nutrition for older populations, elder residential communities and best practices in home care for senior citizens. Michael Festa, director of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Massachusetts, will deliver the keynote address about the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act, new state legislation that requires hospitals to inform designated caretakers about the medical needs of elderly patients once they leave the hospital. The event is presented by the UMass Lowell Center for Gerontology Research and Partnerships.
WELLNESS AROUND THE WEB
Stressed Out by Meditation? You’re Not Alone … and You’re Not Doing Anything Wrong!
Nick Douglas of Lifehacker admits he’s not very good at meditation in a cool article on how to train yourself to stop beating yourself up for not being able to focus and clear your mind. He quotes a Redditor, Subduction, who makes a keen observation about meditation vexation: “saying ‘I’ve given up on meditation because my mind goes off on crazy tangents’ is like saying ‘I’ve given up on working out because my heart rate goes up and I start breathing hard.'” In other words, the very thing that’s frustrating is the thing you need to work past to make meditation work for you. You’re supposed to get distracted when you first try meditating — what would there be to work on if you weren’t?
LOCAL HEALTH HAPPENINGS
The Center for Gerontology Research and Partnerships at UMass Lowell invites you to attend the 4th Annual Healthy Aging – Living Well Forum featuring keynote speaker Michael E. Festa, director of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Massachusetts. He will discuss “The CARE Act: It’s the Law,” which was adopted by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in November 2017. Lowell, Mass. | UML.edu
Do you love taking pictures as you travel? Join Lowell National Historical Park rangers for Wellness on the Walkways: Family Photography Walk, a family-focused exploration of some fascinating downtown locations from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This walk is designed for kids and adults looking for for a fun event during school vacation week. Lowell, Mass. | NPS.gov
Gentry Thatcher, a board certified ENT from New England Ear, Nose, Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery, will be offering free head and neck cancer screenings at Holy Family Hospital in Methuen from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Ground Floor Outpatient Clinic. To schedule your free appointment, call Jill or Nancy at (978) 687-0151, ext. 2101. Methuen, Mass. | HolyFamily-Hospital.org
Soleil Salon and Spa will be doing a Service-A-Thon from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to raise money for clean water charities. Among the offerings are $20 facials, $15 massages and $12 manicures. Windham, N.H. | MVMag.net