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How to optimize your pickleball game

How to optimize your pickleball game

At Performance Optimal Health, we want to serve as a resource​ and share with you simple, tangible steps you can implement​ to empower you to live better and play more pickleball.

February 10, 2024 | Larry Piretra, DPT, CSCS

pickleball

Top exercises for pickleball athletes

  • Dynamic warm-ups
    • Butterfly skips
    • Walking quad
    • Hamstring/calf reach
    • Walking lunges
    • High knees
    • SL kicks (Frankensteins)
  • Resistance training
    • Pushups (chest, triceps)
    • Rowing (back strengthening)
    • Internal/external rotation w/bands or weights (shoulder stabilization)
    • Lunges and squats (glute and hamstring activation)
    • Planks/bridges - w/ or w/out bands (core stability)
    • Wrist curls/extension (strength and stability in wrist)

Recommended recovery strategies

  • Stretching post matches
    • Sets: 3-5 reps; duration: 30-60 sec
    • Muscle groups: hamstrings, calves (Gastrocnemius/Soleus), quadriceps, wrist flexors/extensors, latissimus dorsi
  • Modalities
    • Normatec compression therapy reduces inflammation, improves circulation, flushing of lactic acid, promotes lymphatic drainage
    • Sauna reduces of muscle soreness, improves heart health, stress modulation, improves sleep
    • Cryotherapy reduces pain (reduces delayed onset muscle soreness), promotes recovery, improves metabolic panel, endorphin rush

Staying hydrated

  • Risks of dehydration
    • Can have a negative impact on performance, leading to cramping, fatigue, and a decrease in overall performance
  • How to stay hydrated
    • Drink plenty of water pre, during and post-match
      • Pre: 17-20 oz (2-3 hours before)
      • Warm-up: 8 oz
      • During 7-10 oz (every 10-20 minutes)
      • After: 8 oz within 30 min of playing, 20 oz over the next 2 hours
    • Incorporate electrolyte-rich drinks, which replenish the body's mineral levels, ensuring optimal muscle function and hydration

Healthy Carbohydrates

  • Carbs like quinoa, sweet potatoes, or whole grain pasta, replenish glycogen stores and enhance muscle recovery further.

Protein

  • Protein plays a pivotal role in repairing damaged muscle tissues and promoting muscle growth.
  • Including a protein source in your post-game meal or snack can help kickstart the recovery process.

Fats

  • Fats such as avocados, nuts, and olive oil, provide essential fatty acids that support joint health and reduce inflammation.
  • Healthy fats improve performance and decrease injury risk.

Vegetables

  • These food groups replenish micronutrients and antioxidants that support overall health.

Larry Piretra

Larry Piretra

Larry Piretra, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, TPI-M2, is a physical therapist and strength and conditioning specialist who serves as the Naples Site Lead. He specializes in working with racquet sport athletes, including pickleball, tennis, padel and more. As a Titleist Medical and Fitness Professional, Larry also serves as the Golf Programming Lead for Performance.

Meet Larry

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Break up with New Year’s Resolutions

Break up with New Year's Resolutions

Meet Paul Steed: an avid runner, tennis player, and horseback rider, who is looking stronger than ever. After starting with Performance as an physical therapy client for a torn abductor, he now trains with Will Manzi. As he continues to improve his strength and endurance, Paul doesn't actually believe in New Year's Resolutions — instead, he seeks to be the best form of himself year round.

January 2, 2024 | Will Manzi, CEP

 


Want to get started on your goals for the year?

Schedule an Optimal Health Assessment! Our team of experts will put a coordinated and highly-personalized strategy in place so you can reach your goals... and exceed them.

Contact Us


Will Manzi

Will Manzi

William Manzi, CEP, is an exercise physiologist and personal trainer who specializes in the ability to take care of any individual, regardless of any limitations. Over the past ten years, he has trained a variety of different individuals for over ten years, including US Navy SEALs, heart attack patients, and more. Through this, Will has been able to build his expertise, and add an arsenal of exercises to his toolkit that can be progressed or digressed depending upon the individual.

Meet William

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Unleashing the power of wearable technology in healthcare

Unleashing the power of wearable technology in healthcare

Wearable technology aids in improving healthcare outcomes in various ways. What sets these apart from your standard blood pressure cuff monitors, pulse oximeter, or other devices you see in a doctor's office or other medical setting, is the fact that these are devices you can wear every day. Here's how to make the most of them.

December 7, 2023 | Robert Mahlman, PT, DPT, OCS

wearables

Healthcare is a rapidly evolving landscape in which wearable technology has emerged as a game changer by offering individuals, an unprecedented opportunity to take control of their well-being. Wearables provide continuous monitoring and personalized insights which aid in exercise performance, recovery, nutrition, and overall stress management.

Wearable technology aids in improving healthcare outcomes in various ways. What sets these apart from your standard blood pressure cuff monitors, pulse oximeter, or other devices you see in a doctor's office or other medical setting, is the fact that these are devices you can wear every day. From Apple Watches to Oura Rings, FitBits to Whoop Straps, there are plenty of options for everyone.

When it comes to exercise, we are all used to wearables that will track steps, calories burned, and even heart rate while exercising. But with the current wearable technology, your average heart rate and current heart rate, heart rate variability, respiratory rate, stress levels, and even an EKG can be provided to you pre, during and post workout. This information is important with exercise as it allows the individual to see how their body responds to a specific program during the activity, and after. You can personally determine how hard the workout is, not only by a subjective feel, but also by the metrics your wearable provides.

Something that has become more important in optimizing your health and exercise is how you recover. While there are various ways you can promote recovery, such as getting appropriate sleep, mindfulness and massage therapy, wearable technology provides insight on how well those recovery tactics work on your body specifically. For example, after a stressful day or difficult workout, you may notice certain metrics will be out of their usual range. Then, by using certain recovery techniques, you can see how long and how effectively they return to baseline. This is important as it can help with managing injury risk, and overall optimization of an exercise program.

The use of wearable technology allows the average person to gain insight on their bodies, response to activities or stress, and then make an educated decision with objective data on how to recover best from that stress and build a program around it. With wearable technology, you are able to monitor your overall health regularly and watch for trends. This is some thing that when used appropriately can help decrease risk of injury across all ages, improve overall quality of life and health, and decrease stress on the healthcare system by promoting more accountability from the individual.


Robert Mahlman

Robert Mahlman

Robert Mahlman, PT, DPT, OCS, is a board certified orthopedic clinical specialist and certified Schroth therapist who specializes in the treatment of various orthopedic injuries, along with scoliosis and concussion management.

Meet Rob

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Understanding metabolic health through key biomarkers

Understanding Metabolic Health Through Key Biomarkers

Metabolic health is all about having ideal levels of certain biomarkers, such as obesity, elevated triglycerides, HDL levels, insulin resistance, and blood pressure, among others. These markers are like checkpoints on the road to a healthy metabolism — here's what you need to know.

November 1, 2023 | Claire Petri, CPT

metabolic panel

In the fast-paced world we live in, it's easy to overlook the intricate processes that keep our bodies running smoothly. One such vital process is metabolism, responsible for converting the food and beverages we consume into the energy we need to function. But how do you know if your metabolism is healthy and operating efficiently? In this article, we'll delve into the world of metabolic health and the essential biomarkers you should be keeping an eye on.

Metabolism at a glance

The metabolism is the engine that drives our bodies, determining how efficiently we burn and utilize calories. It's a complex network of chemical reactions that allows us to harness the energy we get from our diet. But just like any engine, it can experience hiccups. That's where metabolic health comes into play.

Metabolic health and biomarkers

Metabolic health is all about having ideal levels of certain biomarkers. These markers are like checkpoints on the road to a healthy metabolism. They include:

  1. Obesity: This can be measured using waist circumference or Body Mass Index (BMI), with waist circumference often being a more accurate reflection of your health. This is because abdominal fat is strongly associated with increased health risks, particularly metabolic and cardiovascular issues.
  2. Elevated triglycerides: Triglycerides are fats found in the blood and are a significant component of body fat. Elevated levels can be a sign of metabolic issues, as they are linked to an increased risk of heart disease and can indicate an imbalance in the body's energy storage and utilization.
  3. HDL Levels (cholesterol): High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is often referred to as "good" cholesterol. Maintaining healthy HDL levels is crucial for metabolic health because it helps remove excess cholesterol from the bloodstream, reducing the risk of plaque buildup in arteries and promoting overall cardiovascular well-being.
  4. Insulin resistance: This condition can impede your body's ability to process and store sugar efficiently, potentially leading to various health problems, such as type II diabetes.
  5. Blood pressure: High blood pressure is another important indicator of metabolic health; it can reflect the body's ability to regulate blood flow and energy utilization, and it is often linked to metabolic syndrome and related conditions.

Assessing your metabolic health

You might be wondering how you can assess your metabolic health. The most comprehensive tests are typically done in a medical setting, where a Comprehensive Metabolic Blood Panel (CMP) can provide a detailed look at these biomarkers, as well as other critical information about your health, such as fluid balance, electrolyte levels, kidney function, and more.

But did you know that there are also at-home metabolism tests available? These can give you a basic idea of your metabolic health and are a convenient option if you'd like to monitor your progress regularly. These at-home metabolism tests include options like metabolic rate calculators, home blood sugar monitors, and wearable fitness trackers that provide insights into your daily activity and calorie expenditure.

Improving your metabolic health

Once you have the results of your metabolic tests, what can you do to enhance your metabolic health? Let's break it down by the key biomarkers:

  1. Obesity: Combat obesity by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Both proper nutrition and regular exercise and physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and boost the efficiency of your metabolism. In other words, your body will process and use calories more effectively.
  2. HDL & triglycerides: The power of exercise and nutrition shines here. Just 60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, combined with a diet rich in healthy fats like olive oil and nuts, can increase your HDL levels while reducing triglycerides.
  3. Insulin resistance: Exercise, once again, is your best ally in the fight against insulin resistance. Regular physical activity helps your body process and store sugar correctly, with muscles playing a crucial role in this process. By ensuring your muscles are actively taking in glucose, you can prevent the accumulation of excess sugar in your body, which can lead to conditions like diabetes, PCOS, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and stroke.
  4. Blood pressure: Stress management is a key player in maintaining healthy blood pressure. By finding effective ways to manage and reduce stress, you can significantly lower your blood pressure. Techniques like good sleep hygiene, regular massages, and meditation can be invaluable in improving your metabolic health and overall well-being.

In conclusion, keeping an eye on your metabolic health is essential for maintaining a healthy and vibrant life. By monitoring key biomarkers and making positive lifestyle choices, you can ensure that your metabolism is working optimally, keeping you energized and ready to face life's challenges. So, remember, it's not just what you eat, but how your body metabolizes it that truly counts!


Claire Petri

Claire Petri

Claire Petri, CPT, is a personal trainer based in Greenwich and Darien who specializes in strength training and functional fitness. She enjoys working with both athletes and general population clients, and has experience with Pilates techniques, weight loss and pain management, helping clients overcome gym anxieties and learning proper movement patterns.

Meet Claire

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The effects of body composition and insulin resistance on the heart

The effects of body composition and insulin resistance on the heart

There are ways to prevent and manage cardiovascular disease through the lens of body composition and insulin resistance. Here's what you need to know.

November 1, 2023 | Optimal Health Uncovered

heart health and insulin

Dr. Alon Gitig joined host and physical therapist Michael Beecher to provide evidence-based insights into preventing and managing cardiovascular disease through a unique perspective. They emphasize that maintaining optimal muscle mass is not only beneficial for strength and mobility but also plays a significant role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular issues. In fact, studies show that individuals with higher muscle mass have a 30% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Furthermore, they highlight the alarming fact that insulin resistance, which isi often overlooked, is a hidden contributor to the development of cardiovascular disease and dementia, making it a critical aspect of overall health to address. Recent statistics indicate that approximately 34% of adults in the United States have some level of insulin resistance, underscoring the importance of addressing this silent epidemic. Join us in gaining a deeper understanding of these connections and the factual basis for better cardiovascular well-being.

Dr. Alon Gitig, MD, is a cardiologist based in Yonkers, New York who has been practicing for over two decades. He is affiliated with Mount Sinai Hospital.

Listen here, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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What constitutes a healthy metabolism?

What constitutes a healthy metabolism?

While genetics play a role in determining metabolic rates, there are several ways to optimize your metabolism for better overall health.

November 1, 2023 | Ashley Jerry, MS

clock with food

The metabolism, often associated with weight management and energy levels, is the complex process of maintaining homeostasis by regulating energy balance, nutrient availability, and cellular functions necessary for survival and proper function. While genetics play a role in determining metabolic rates, there are several ways to optimize your metabolism for better overall health.

First, it is important to understand the signs of a healthy metabolism. Individuals with a well-functioning metabolism tend to maintain weight without excessive fluctuations. They have consistent energy levels throughout the day and experience minimal fatigue. Additionally, their digestion is efficient, leading to regular bowel movements and optimal nutrient absorption.

Physical Activity

One important factor in optimizing your metabolism is physical activity. Engaging in regular exercise not only helps burn calories, but also improves muscle mass. Since muscles require more energy than fat cells even at rest, having more lean muscle leads to an increased metabolic rate. Incorporating both cardiovascular exercises like running or swimming and strength training activities such as weightlifting can contribute to an active and healthy metabolism. Additionally, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts involving short bursts of intense activity followed by brief rest periods can boost your metabolic rate and increase calorie burn even after the session is over.

Nutrition & Hydration

Following a well-balanced diet also significantly impacts metabolic health. It is important to incorporate whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and high-quality fats. Avoiding excessive consumption of processed foods high in added sugars and low-quality fats is key, as they can negatively impact your health and metabolism.

On the other hand, consuming more protein-rich foods, which have a higher thermic effect compared to carbohydrates or fats, leads to a higher metabolic rate. Protein also helps build and maintain muscle mass. Aim for lean sources such as chicken breast, fish, Greek yogurt, and legumes. Additionally, incorporating adequate fiber from sources like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes can support a healthy metabolism. Fiber aids digestion and helps regulate blood sugar levels.

Another way to optimize your metabolism is through proper hydration. Drinking enough water helps maintain cellular function and supports various metabolic processes within the body. Dehydration can temporarily slow down your metabolism; therefore, it is important to focus on water and electrolyte intake.

Stress Management

Adequate sleep is often overlooked, but it plays a crucial role in metabolic health. Sleep deprivation can disrupt hormone production, leading to increased appetite and cravings for high-calorie foods. It also affects the body's ability to regulate blood sugar levels properly. Aim for seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night to promote optimal metabolic function.

Lastly, stress management is essential for maintaining a healthy metabolism. When we experience chronic stress, our bodies release cortisol, a hormone that can lead to weight gain and hinder metabolic processes. Engaging in relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or hobbies that bring joy can help reduce stress levels and support a well-functioning metabolism.

To summarize: A healthy metabolism exhibits stable weight maintenance, consistent energy levels, efficient digestion, and regular bowel movements. Optimizing your metabolism involves incorporating regular physical activity into your routine, consuming balanced meals with an emphasis on protein, staying hydrated, prioritizing adequate sleep, and managing stress effectively. By adopting these lifestyle changes, you can enhance your metabolic health and overall well-being.


Ashley Jerry

Ashley Jerry

Ashley Jerry, MS, is a nutritionist who specializes in a variety of fields, including food sensitivities, medical conditions, and sports nutrition. Her expertise includes gut health issues, weight loss, self-image and an overall understanding of nutrition, as well as treating a diverse range of medical conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood glucose levels, obesity, pregnancy, gastrointestinal function, anxiety, depression, and overall health.

Meet Ashley

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How menopause affects the metabolism

How menopause affects the metabolism

Among the many changes that occur during menopause, including hot flashes, night sweats, and changes in mood, a shift in metabolism also occurs which can lead to further issues as a direct result of the decrease in estrogen production. Here's what to expect.

November 1, 2023 | Ashley Moriarty, PT, DPT, OCS

woman looking out the window

Among the many changes that occur during menopause, including hot flashes, night sweats, and changes in mood, a shift in metabolism also occurs which can lead to further issues as a direct result of the decrease in estrogen production. Some of these changes include:

Slower basal metabolic rate

Basal metabolic rate is the rate at which your body burns calories at rest. If BMR slows down, which some studies suggest it does by 100 kcal/day, but energy intake (food consumption) does not decrease in a similar way, then you may be at risk of increased fat mass.

Changes in lipid profile

Menopause causes an imbalance of cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, (LDL), triglycerides, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) due to a sharp decrease in estrogen. This imbalance, termed dyslipidemia, is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Changes in fat distribution and insulin resistance

This is a shift in which weight is distributed throughout the body, causing more fat to accumulate in the abdomen. Abdominal fat can increase the risk of metabolic disorders, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and diabetes due to changes in insulin resistance. The accumulation of abdominal fat in women during menopause is associated with a decline in the production of the protein adiponectin. Adiponectin is important for the metabolism of glucose, as it makes the cells muscles and the liver more sensitive to the actions of insulin. Low adiponectin levels are associated with insulin resistance and thus higher levels of glucose.

Decreased muscle mass

Other hormonal changes the occur during menopause can lead to sarcopenia, or loss of muscle mass. This decrease in muscle mass can also contribute to a slower metabolism as muscle burns more calories than fat. As you already know, there is a higher risk of increasing fat mass in the postmenopausal stage, which accompanied by a decrease in muscle mass, can put you at increased risk of musculoskeletal injury.

Recommendations

In addition to consulting with a doctor who specializes in menopause and hormone replacement therapy, you can benefit from meeting with an optimal health provider who can assess and intervene with exercise, nutrition recommendations, and help create a comprehensive plan to minimize the effects of these changes.


Ashley Jerry

Ashley Moriarty

Ashley Moriarty, PT, DPT, OCS, is a board certified orthopedic clinical specialist who is certified in dry needling and pre- and post-natal fitness.

Meet Ashley

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Are men more susceptible to heart disease?

Are women more susceptible to heart disease?

There is a common misconception that men have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared to women. Recent studies have refuted this claim, stating that aging women have an increased incidence and severity of CVD compared to men.

October 6, 2023 | Chris Donato, PT, DPT

man clutching his chest

There is a common misconception that men have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared to women. Recent studies have refuted this claim, stating that aging women have an increased incidence and severity of CVD compared to men.

The American Heart Association (AHA) reported in 2019 that males ages 60-79 had a 77.2% incidence of CVD, while females in the same respective age range had 78.2% incidence of CVD. In adults over 80 years of age, AHA reported females also had an increased incidence of CVD (91.8%) compared to males (89.3%). AHA also stated that from 2014-2017, 77.8% of women and 70.8% of men were diagnosed with high blood pressure or hypertension (HTN). The incidence of HTN in adults over 75 years old was 85.6% in females and 80% in men.

In women with diabetes, the risk of heart failure and risk of mortality due to CVD is increased compared to diabetic men. It was reported that incidence of mortality due to diabetic cardiomyopathy is higher in women than men, as diabetes is believed to negatively impact the protective effect of estrogen against CVD in premenopausal women.

The decline in sex hormones is also shown to increase the risk for CVD with onset of increasing age in both genders. While both genders experience a decrease in sex hormones, the decline is more significant in women following the onset of menopause. Estrogen is correlated with a lower overall incidence of CVD in premenopausal women. This further supports the indication that the steep decline in estrogen following menopause leads to an increased risk for CVD in aging women by 2-4x. Menopause also leads to increased incidence of high LDL cholesterol, HTN, diabetes, and obesity, which further elevates the risk for CVD in aging females.

However, men also experience an increased risk for CVD following a decline in the production of sex hormones. For example, studies report an increased risk for CVD in aging adult men associated with hypogonadism. This decrease in testosterone has an independent association with increased risk for acute MI in males with type 2 diabetes, as well as an overall increased incidence of CVD in men. In aging men, low testosterone levels have been linked to a higher risk for stroke. At 40 years old, men with serum testosterone levels below the recommended threshold have a higher risk of mortality due to CVD.

Other risk factors that put women at an increased risk for CVD include the steeper increase in systolic blood pressure in aging women. In adults over 75 years of age, hypertension is 14% more prevalent in females, leading to an increased risk for left ventricular hypertrophy, heart failure, and stroke. Also, women with a history of hypertensive disease during pregnancy also have an increased incidence of CVD later in life.

As mentioned earlier, although the risk of CVD in females is slightly higher than in men, increasing age has been found to have a significant correlation with the increased incidence of CVD in both genders. Therefore, it is essential to promote physical activity and lead a healthy lifestyle in order to minimize the modifiable risk factors and comorbidities associated with cardiovascular disease.

References

  1. Rodgers JL, Jones J, Bolleddu SI, Vanthenapalli S, Rodgers LE, Shah K, Karia K, Panguluri SK. Cardiovascular Risks Associated with Gender and Aging. Journal of Cardiovascular Development and Disease. 2019; 6(2):19. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd6020019
  2. Maas AH, Appelman YE. Gender differences in coronary heart disease. Neth Heart J. 2010 Dec;18(12):598-602. doi: 10.1007/s12471-010-0841-y. PMID: 21301622; PMCID: PMC3018605.

Chris Donato

Chris Donato

Chris Donato, PT, DPT, is a physical therapist based in New Canaan who enjoys working with all populations. He specializes in working with athletes, especially overhead athletes, drawing from his time playing five years of club baseball at Sacred Heart University.

Meet Chris

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Marathon Mondays: Make it to the start healthy

Marathon Mondays: Get to the start healthy

In the final episode of our Marathon Monday mini-series, 5x Boston Marathon Division Winner Heather Pech joins the podcast to talk about her training process and how she keeps winning gold.

September 11, 2023 | Britt Gunsser, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS | Brendan Copley, CSCS, ATC

Get to the start healthy

Hosts physical therapist Britt Gunsser and personal trainer Brendan Copley, who are marathoners themselves, discussed what exactly makes Heather such a successful runner — from her nutrition to mentality, Heather breaks down everything that makes her a world record holder.

During the interview, Heather shares her running journey, highlighting the importance of paying attention to the finer details in training that can set athletes apart, as well as the crucial role of community and support in her running life and how she has cultivated a network over the years.

The hosts delve into Heather's approach to optimal health, touching on the four pillars of exercise, stress management, recovery, and nutrition. Heather shares insights into how she has evolved her recovery and rest strategies throughout her running career and provides valuable advice on balancing running with other life commitments. She also discusses the significance of cross-training to prevent burnout and shares her mental resilience strategies.

Heather wraps up the interview by recommending resources for aspiring runners, sharing her upcoming running goals, and reflecting on memorable races that have shaped her remarkable running career.

Listen here, or wherever you get your podcasts.


Britt Gunsser

Britt Gunsser

Britt Gunsser, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, is a board certified orthopedic clinical specialist, certified Schroth therapist and dry needling specialist. She has completed extensive work on running rehabilitation and is an RRCA Running Coach.

Meet Britt

Brendan Copley

Brendan Copley

Brendan Copley, CSCS, ATC, is a personal trainer who specializes in working with endurance athletes and post-rehab clients. Brendan is a marathoner and former cross-country runner and has worked as an athletic trainer for Quinnipiac University’s cross-country and track teams.

Meet Brendan

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Decoding stem cell treatments: sources, contrasts, and PRP in regenerative medicine

A stem cell is not a stem sell: understanding the different types of stem cell treatments, sources, and platelet-rich plasma

In recent years, stem cell treatments have emerged as a promising field in regenerative medicine, offering potential solutions for various health conditions. In this article, we will explore the contrasts between different stem cell treatments, their sources, and the role of PRP.

July 5, 2023 | Shane Foley, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS

Stem cells

In recent years, stem cell treatments have emerged as a promising field in regenerative medicine, offering potential solutions for various health conditions. However, with numerous types of stem cell therapies and different sources of stem cells available, it's crucial to understand the key differences and make informed decisions based on the best medical evidence. Additionally, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has gained popularity as a therapeutic approach. In this article, we will explore the contrasts between different stem cell treatments, their sources, and the role of PRP.

Embryonic stem cells (ESCs):

Embryonic stem cells are derived from human embryos. They possess remarkable pluripotency, meaning they can differentiate into any cell type in the human body. ESCs have immense potential for regenerative medicine, but their use is highly controversial due to ethical concerns surrounding the destruction of embryos. Currently, their clinical applications are limited.

Adult Stem Cells:

Adult stem cells are found in various tissues, such as bone marrow, adipose tissue, and blood. They are more specialized than ESCs and have a more limited differentiation capacity. However, they can still differentiate into multiple cell types, aiding in tissue repair and regeneration. Adult stem cell therapies have shown promising results in the treatment of conditions like orthopedic injuries, cardiovascular diseases, and autoimmune disorders.

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs):

iPSCs are adult cells that have been reprogrammed to revert to a pluripotent state, similar to ESCs. This breakthrough discovery has enabled the generation of patient-specific stem cells, avoiding the ethical concerns associated with ESCs. iPSCs have the potential to revolutionize personalized medicine, providing tailored treatments for individuals.

Cord blood stem cells:

Cord blood, obtained from the umbilical cord and placenta after childbirth, contains a rich source of stem cells. These stem cells are similar to adult stem cells and can differentiate into various cell types. Cord blood stem cells are commonly used in the treatment of blood disorders, immune deficiencies, and certain cancers. The collection of cord blood is non-invasive and poses no risk to the mother or baby.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP):

PRP is a therapy that involves using the patient's own blood, specifically the platelet-rich portion, to promote healing. Platelets contain growth factors that facilitate tissue regeneration and repair. PRP is commonly used in orthopedics, dermatology, and sports medicine to treat conditions such as osteoarthritis, tendon injuries, and skin rejuvenation. Although PRP has shown promising results, more research is needed to establish its efficacy and determine the ideal application protocols.

Understanding the different types of stem cell treatments and their sources is crucial for making informed decisions about potential therapies. While ESCs possess immense potential, their use is limited due to ethical concerns. Adult stem cells, iPSCs, and cord blood stem cells offer more practical alternatives with promising therapeutic applications. Additionally, PRP has gained popularity as a regenerative treatment option, harnessing the body's natural healing capabilities.

It is important to note that the field of stem cell research and regenerative medicine is still evolving. As more evidence and clinical trials emerge, the efficacy and safety of these treatments will become clearer. It is recommended to consult with healthcare professionals who specialize in regenerative medicine to explore the most appropriate options for your specific condition. Being educated on the sourcing and type of stem cell is vitally important.


Michael Beecher

Shane Foley

Shane Foley, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, is an orthopedic specialist who is certified in strength and conditioning, dry needling, and the Schroth Method. He has a deep passion for building relationships, helping people accomplish their goals and leading people to optimize their performance.

Meet Shane

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Exploring the promising role of stem cell treatments in orthopedic conditions

Exploring the promising role of stem cell treatments in orthopedic conditions: unveiling the latest evidence

In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of stem cell treatments and their potential for managing orthopedic conditions. As Dr. Peter Attia often emphasizes, staying informed about cutting-edge medical advances can help us make informed decisions regarding our health and well-being. So, let's embark on this enlightening journey, exploring the most recent evidence supporting the use of stem cells in orthopedic care.

July 5, 2023 | Michael Beecher, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS

Doctor injecting stem cells into a knee

Understanding stem cell therapy:

Stem cells are remarkable cells with the potential to develop into various specialized cell types in the body. Their unique regenerative properties have led researchers to explore their therapeutic applications in a wide range of medical fields, including orthopedics. Stem cell therapy involves using these cells to aid tissue repair, regeneration, and potentially even the reversal of certain degenerative conditions.

Orthopedic conditions, such as osteoarthritis, tendinitis, and ligament injuries, can significantly impact our quality of life. Traditional treatments often focus on managing symptoms, maintaining/improve quality of live or, in severe cases, surgical interventions. However, recent studies have shed light on the potential of stem cell treatments to revolutionize orthopedic care.  In a study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, researchers examined the effectiveness of stem cell therapy in knee osteoarthritis. The results demonstrated significant improvements in pain reduction and functional recovery among patients who received stem cell injections. These findings suggest that stem cells have the potential to enhance the body's natural healing processes and mitigate the underlying causes of orthopedic conditions.

Furthermore, research has shown promising results for using stem cells in the treatment of ligament injuries. A study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine explored the use of stem cells to repair torn anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL) in athletes. The findings revealed improved ligament healing and functional outcomes compared to conventional treatments, potentially reducing the need for extensive surgeries and lengthy rehabilitation periods.

Safety and ethical considerations:

While stem cell therapy shows tremendous potential, it is essential to address safety concerns and ethical considerations. Researchers and medical professionals diligently work to ensure the highest safety standards when conducting clinical trials and administering treatments. Regulatory bodies and scientific communities closely monitor these developments to strike a balance between innovation and patient well-being. Current sources of stem cells are more numerous than earlier options and pose less of an ethical concern. Current options primarily include an individual's own cells, cadaveric cells, and cord blood cells that can be taken from umbilical cords and placenta.

The future of stem cell therapy in orthopedics:

As the field of stem cell research continues to advance, the future of orthopedic care appears promising. Ongoing studies are exploring innovative techniques such as tissue engineering, combining stem cells with biomaterials to create functional replacement tissues.

Moreover, advancements in personalized medicine and genetic profiling enable scientists to tailor stem cell treatments to individual patients, optimizing outcomes and minimizing potential risks. This personalized approach holds immense potential for enhancing the efficacy of orthopedic interventions and improving long-term patient satisfaction.

Conclusion:

Stem cell treatments offer significant hope for individuals grappling with orthopedic conditions. As the latest evidence suggests, these therapies hold the potential to revolutionize the field of orthopedic care, providing effective alternatives and enhancements to traditional approaches. It is vital that these treatments are incorporated into standard physical therapy and wellness practice to enhance outcomes rather than replace these proven treatments all together. The root cause of tissue breakdown, typically muscle imbalance, malalignment and movement deficiency, need to be addressed in order for lasting results to be realized. It is crucial to stay informed and consult with trusted medical professionals before making any treatment decisions.

Remember, the field of regenerative medicine is constantly evolving, and our understanding of stem cell therapies will continue to expand. By keeping abreast of the latest research and advancements, we empower ourselves to make well-informed decisions regarding our health and well-being. So, let us embrace the fascinating world of stem cell treatments as we strive for optimal orthopedic health and a better tomorrow.


Michael Beecher

Michael Beecher

Michael Beecher, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, is a Titleist Performance Institute medical professional, a Hospital for Special Surgery credentialed advanced hip clinician and a certified dry needling specialist.

Meet Michael

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How to prepare for spine surgery

How to prepare for spine surgery

How to prepare for spine surgery

Back surgery can potentially be a very scary and stressful procedure, but there are a variety of ways to ensure you have the best recovery possible.

May 26, 2023 | Larry Piretra, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS

Doctor looking at a spine diorama

Back surgery can potentially be a very scary and stressful procedure, but there are a variety of ways to ensure you have the best recovery possible. Some common back surgeries within the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine include diskectomies, laminectomies, fusions, scoliotic surgery, and kyphoplasty. The steps leading up to your surgery and after are vital to successful long-term outcomes.

The actions you take prior to surgery can help set up success immediately post-operation. Simply speaking, the better shape your body is prior to surgery, the better shape your body will be after surgery. Through the prehab process, your physical therapist can help discuss what the process following surgery and what motions will be beneficial vs potentially harmful. It is extremely important to follow your physician’s instructions as certain surgeries have restriction with movement (e.g. no bending, lifting, or twisting for six weeks).

Your body will be undergoing some trauma through the surgical process; therefore, aiding in the recovery is imperative to positive surgical outcomes. Cryotherapy is a great treatment to help naturally aid in your body’s own healing process. Benefits from cryotherapy include reduction in pain from inflammation, reduced muscle tenderness, immune system boost, and renewed skin/blood cells. Infrared sauna may also be a potentially useful tool post-surgery to aid in healing through improved circulation, stress reduction/improved sleep, detoxification, improved immunity, and natural wound healing. Both cryotherapy and sauna are great options, but they should both be cleared by a medical professional prior to utilization.

Proper nutrition should be at the forefront of every healthy individual’s mind, especially when recovering from a spinal surgery. One’s activity levels may be temporarily limited after surgery which makes the nutritional component that much more important. You will likely need to increase protein intake following spinal surgery, as it is one of the keystones within your diet that builds and repairs your body. Foods with high protein amounts include fish, poultry, beans, eggs, lentils, and nuts. Appropriate hydration is also imperative to healing process after spinal surgery, as this helps nutrients disperse throughout your body and support healthy joints and musculature surround the spine.

Spinal surgery can take a toll on one’s mental health just as much as their physical health, but there are plenty of strategies to help overcome this obstacle. Education and not being afraid to ask questions are key to understand the full process from surgery through recovery. This includes speaking with your physician, physician assistants, physical therapist, and friends/family who may have undergone a similar procedure. The best thing you can do leading to spinal surgery is prepare and plan the first weeks following, understand the timeline of recovery, and practice relaxation techniques. Your outlook can have a major influence on your recovery, as those with lower levels of stress/pain catastrophizing can have better surgical outcomes.
Always ensure you have your support system when undergoing spinal surgery, which can include your friends/family, physical therapists, physician, or even a support group. With these tips, you will set yourself up for success and ensure you have the best possible outcomes.


Larry Piretra

Larry Piretra

Larry Piretra, PT, DPT, CSCS, TPI-M2, is a physical therapist and strength and conditioning specialist who serves as the Naples Site Lead. As a Titleist Medical and Fitness Professional, Larry also serves as the Golf Programming Lead for Performance.

Meet Larry

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Women & Our Bodies

Women & Our Bodies: Taking charge of menopause through an integrated wellness approach

Women & Our Bodies: Taking charge of menopause through an integrated wellness approach

This informal gathering of women was an opportunity to share stories & gain valuable insights about our ever-changing bodies with experts in women's integrative health, nutrition, fitness and pelvic floor.

Women & Our Bodies

There is no “cure” for menopause, but there are ways to counteract the effects.

“So many women think that they have to go through perimenopause and menopause alone,” but that could not be further from the truth,” Jessica Klecki told the crowd. Jessica Klecki, PT, DPT, is a pelvic physical therapist at Performance Optimal Health, and she was on a panel of women’s health specialists at Performance’s first event geared toward women in their middle years.

The intimate gathering, “Women & Our Bodies: Taking charge of menopause through an integrated wellness approach,” was hosted by the Greenwich Water Club and attended by over 80 women from Greenwich, CT, and the surrounding areas.

The Midlife Truth Project founder Julie Flakstad was joined by a panel full of women’s health experts, each representing a key area of health: Dr. Bronwyn Fitz, MD, who is board certified in ObGyn and Integrative Medicine, certified dietetic nutritionist Koren Bradshaw, women’s health fitness specialist and pelvic physical therapist Danielle Pasquale, PT, DPT, and Klecki.

“Now that you’re in your middle years, you’ve probably thought, ‘this is it! The hard part is over, my kids are older, and I can relax.’ And then menopause hits. It’s like we can’t catch a break!” Julie Flakstad exclaimed, drawing laughs from the crowd. “But that is why we are here to help you find the tools you need to take charge of this part of your life, and not let it control you,” she continued.

Over the course of the evening, the panel discussed how a team approach to healthcare can best support women going through the complications that come with age. Dr. Fitz started the talk off by stressing the importance of surrounding yourself with people that make you feel heard, something especially crucial when choosing your ObGyn.

“Your ObGyn should be there to guide you, not dismiss your concerns or pain,” Dr. Fitz explained. There are many tools that can be used to combat the effects of menopause, such as hormone replacement therapy or vitamin supplements, but the best answer is usually an integrated approach.

“And it’s not just about balancing hormones. We need to find balance in everything: hormones, nervous system, metabolism, relationships, and help people in all arenas of life, not just gynecology,” Dr. Fitz explained.

Women & Our Bodies

As they approach menopause, many women start to see changes in their metabolism, gaining weight even though they continue to exercise and maintain the same diet. This requires a change in diet, with a larger focus on protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates.

“Your most important goal during this time is to keep building muscle, support bone strength, support brain health, and keep inflammation low,” nutritionist Koren Bradshaw explained. “But nutrition is only one part of the equation. Any changes you make at this time need to be supplemented with enough exercise, sleep, and stress management.”

Fitness specialist Danielle Pasquale expanded on that, saying, “you need to shift your focus from weight gain, calories, and appearance to focus on your strength, mobility, and longevity.” Decreased estrogen levels lead to bone loss, making strength training critical to counteracting it.

Menopause also affects your pelvic floor, which also depends on estrogen to stay healthy. This can result in leakage, urinary incontinence, prolapse, or even pain during intercourse.

“Unfortunately, many of these pelvic health issues go untreated and undiagnosed because of one simple fact: It’s a little weird to talk about, but it shouldn’t be! Pelvic physical therapy can actually help people manage or treat these issues, and shouldn’t be ignored as an option to prevent pain or discomfort,” pelvic physical therapist Jessica Klecki emphasized.

“Aging can cause a lot of complicated emotions and various physical changes, but with a comprehensive team approach, you can take charge of your menopausal years and improve your quality of life,” Pasquale assured the crowd.

Learn more about our women's health offerings here.

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Get stronger & better: hormonal changes for women in their middle years & beyond

Get stronger & better: hormonal changes for women in their middle years & beyond

Get stronger & better: hormonal changes for women in their middle years & beyond

Many women move through perimenopause and menopause in the dark. While girls get “the talk” for puberty, women could use similar preparation at age 35 to navigate what’s to come.

Apr 28, 2023 | Carolyn Surgent, DPT

Get stronger & better: hormonal changes for women in their middle years & beyond

Get Stronger & Better: hormonal changes for women in their middle years & beyond

Many women move through perimenopause and menopause in the dark. While they will likely hear about hot flashes or possible changes in body composition or sleep, they might not have all the information they need to help prepare for and normalize this important transition. Given the limited education most healthcare providers receive on these topics, it’s no wonder women are underinformed. While girls get “the talk” for puberty, women could use similar preparation at age 35 to navigate what’s to come.

Perimenopause & Menopause Defined

First, remember that while perimenopause & menopause may unfold a little differently for everyone, it’s a normal biological process. Specifically, perimenopause refers to the years leading up to menopause, beginning as early as 35 with changes in menstrual cycle and hormones. Menopause is marked by a full year without a period, but women will experience the effects of tapering hormones for some time to follow. If average life expectancy for women in the United States hovers in the early 80s, you can expect to live 40% of your life in the post-menopausal stage.

Common Symptoms

While the list of symptoms associated with menopause can be overwhelming, there’s plenty to do to feel and perform your best. A partial list includes: hot flashes, changes in body composition or weight gain, vaginal dryness and/or pain, fatigue, joint and/or muscle pain, brain fog, mood changes, irritability or anxiety, sleep disruptions or sleeplessness, and heart palpitations.

What you can do

First and foremost, get educated and find professionals to help optimize your health & performance. In short: hit play, not pause!

  • Stay active – There’s a great deal of research supporting the benefits of staying active through the lifespan. Specifically, activity can help limit risk of cardiovascular disease, support stable blood glucose levels and protect against sarcopenia (muscle loss) and decreased oxygen consumption (VO2max) typically associated with normal aging.
  • Strength Train – Research shows that lean mass declines as fat mass increases in the five years leading up to menopause and five years post menopause. Women may notice the changes in their body composition and weight with alarm and double down on cardio or light resistance training out of concern for “bulking up.” On the contrary, strength training is the best plan for limiting these changes and holding on to muscle essential to feeling good, performing well and living better. Did you know that having more muscle mass is correlated with living longer? Moreover, strength training can provide stimulation for ligaments and other soft tissues that may be impacted by lower levels of estrogen.
  • Keep tabs on stability, mobility & core strengthening – While the need to stay strong through the middle years is incontrovertible, good stability, mobility and a strong core will provide the foundation for any strength training program and overall better function. A stable body can move quickly and accommodate the demands of a changing environment. Having good mobility can insure you can move in ways you want with less risk for injury or imbalance.
  • Improve/maintain pelvic floor function – Hormonal changes and shifting core strength can impact the tone and function of your pelvic floor musculature, increasing risk for incontinence and pain during sex. Discussion of symptoms with a trained provider along with assessment and appropriate treatment can improve function and quality of life.
  • Pay attention to sleep & recovery – Women who are already active may notice some lag in their performance or motivation to exercise consistently at the same intensity through perimenopause and menopause. Simply put, adjusting the types and frequency of key workouts through the week and allowing appropriate recovery becomes more important. Defending your sleep with use of good sleep habits and hygiene may mitigate the effects of hormones on getting quality rest.
  • Defend bone density – Did you know that, according to the National Institute of Health, nearly one in two women over the age of 50 will sustain a bone fracture? And did you know that despite participating in protective weight bearing and higher impact activities, women might still see a decline in bone density for the first five years after menopause? Strength training, weight bearing activities and even plyometrics (as appropriate) should be an important consideration in choosing activities to keep vital in your middle years and beyond.
  • Optimize nutrition & hydration – While many women may turn to calorie restriction or intermittent fasting in an attempt to control weight and body composition changes, these may not work. Ensuring appropriate energy availability to support daily activity, maintain thyroid function and protect overall metabolic health is essential. A licensed nutritionist can help guide the way.
    Review your blood panel with a healthcare provider – Your bloodwork can provide essential information about your health through perimenopause and menopause. Reviewing your lipid profile can provide a window into your cardiovascular health; blood glucose levels can indicate your metabolic health and inflammatory markers can indicate levels of systemic inflammation impacting how you feel and function.
  • Understand common interventions including hormone replacement therapy (HRT) – A great deal of research has been done debunking the findings of the Women’s Health Initiative study in the early 1990s, which overstated the risks of hormone replacement therapy in healthy women. Your healthcare provider can provide more information about the possible benefits of HRT.

Takeaway Message

Getting educated and finding the right support can help you function, perform and feel better in perimenopause, menopause and beyond. From trainers, physical therapists, pelvic floor specialists, performance coaches to nutritionists, the professionals at Performance can help.

Sources

Body composition and cardiometabolic health across the menopause transition (nih.gov)

Figure - PMC (nih.gov)

Changes in body composition and weight during the menopause transition - PubMed (nih.gov)

Muscle mass index as a predictor of longevity in older adults - PubMed (nih.gov

Next Level: Your Guide to Kicking Ass, Feeling Great & Crushing Goals Through Menopause & Beyond by Stacy Sims with Selene Yeager


Carolyn Surgent

Carolyn Surgent,

Carolyn Surgent, PT, DPT, FDN, is a physical therapist and certified dry needling specialist based in Greenwich. She is a mover by nature and loves to explore how the body works and moves.

Meet Carolyn

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Regenerative medicine at Performance

Regenerative medicine at Performance

Regenerative medicine at Performance

Apr 4, 2023| Jacob Ober, PT, DPT, ATC

Regenerative medicine at Performance

The field of regenerative medicine is ever-changing based on new scientific developments. At Performance Optimal Health, our regenerative medicine team is dedicated to being an extension of the expert care healthcare practitioners provide. Successful patient care is rooted in a team that is dedicated to collaboration to create and consistently update best-in-class physical therapy protocols based on the most advanced evidence and progressions in the field. The best treatment approach includes targeted exercise strategies for the specific area treated and addressing movement and muscle performance deficiencies at adjacent joints. In addition, utilizing advanced technologies such as blood flow-restricted therapy (BFR) also enhances treatment outcomes. Below, we dive into some of the key aspects of regenerative medicine, breaking it down as well as discussing a key modality and treatment outline for one of the most common degenerative diseases.

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What is your biological age?

What is your biological age?

What is your biological age?

How old are you? This is a question you have probably been asked countless times throughout your life. But what many of us don’t think about when we ask this question, is the difference between chronological age and biological age. Let’s dig into what those differences are, and how your lifestyle and habits play a role in shaping your biological age.

Feb 14, 2023 | Robert Mahlman, DPT

What is your biological age?

How old are you? This is a question you have probably been asked countless times throughout your life. But what many of us don’t think about when we ask this question, is the difference between chronological age and biological age. Let’s dig into what those differences are, and how your lifestyle and habits play a role in shaping your biological age.

First, we need to define chronological and biological age. Chronological age refers to the actual amount of time you have been alive, from the moment of birth until now. This is where we get our birthdays from, what we see on our IDs and how many of us think about our lifespan. No matter what we do, our chronological cannot be slowed or sped up. On the other hand, biological age is not based on how much time you have spent on earth, but it is more of an estimation of how much life you have left based on your physiology. Now, what is amazing, is that you can influence this age!

How is biological age calculated?

Biological age is determined in a few ways via genetic assessment. One of which is by the length of your telomeres. A telomere is a structure that acts as an end cap for a DNA molecule, similar to that of a cap on the end of your shoelace to prevent fraying. As we age, telomeres will wear out and shorten because of repeated cell division, stress, and inflammation. When a cell prepares for division, the DNA molecule that looks like the double helix, we all heard about in biology class, unties allowing the genes within to be copied. This does not duplicate the telomere, therefore some of it gets snipped off gradually decreasing its length, but normally their length is long enough that they can withstand this over a person’s lifespan. When the telomere is shortened and eventually disappears, the wear and tear begin to affect your actual DNA (aging the cell) which damages the cells resulting in increased risk for disease and mortality due to the degeneration.

Another way to look at your biological age is DNA methylation, which is a chemical reaction that occurs when a methyl group is added to DNA. This often modifies the function of the genes and affects the expression of that gene — this could involve developing wrinkles or losing bone density. The methylation process can provide insight into a person’s biological age, as research has shown that certain parts of the body age fast than others. If a region is rapidly higher in biological age than in chronological age, that can reveal possibilities of chronic illness — and even cancer risk — of that tissue.

What determines your biological age?

Now that we have discussed the differences between chronological and biological age, let’s dive into the factors that determine your biological age and how can you improve it. By looking at the four pillars of optimal health (exercise, recovery, nutrition, and stress management), you can make gradual changes to your overall biological age based on the proven research.

Exercise

Most people have been told by their doctors over the years to exercise more because that will make them healthier. But many of us do not realize that exercise can affect our biological age, improve longevity and overall quality of life. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate intensity aerobic activity or 75 mins of vigorous aerobic activity per week. Now think to yourself, are you consistently getting that each week? Research has shown that individuals who are sedentary have a higher predicted biological age than their chronological age. Conversely, those who more consistently and frequently engage in aerobic exercise have a biological age that is closer to their chronological age. In a study by Garatachea et al, they reviewed how exercise attenuates major hallmarks of aging and is linked to longer telomere length, in addition to decreased negative effects to DNA.

Nutrition

Diet also plays a major role in the aging process. Research has shown that changes in diet done over a consistent period — including lowering caloric intake, eating majority plant-based foods, limiting processed foods and focusing on the Mediterranean diet — aide in decreasing biological age. However, it is always recommended to discuss any significant changes to your diet your healthcare provider to ensure full understanding of dietary needs specific to you.

Recovery

Regarding recovery, sleep is one of the major areas to focus on. The CDC recommends adults ages 18–60 have seven or more hours of sleep each day. Sleep is essential for your body to function properly and for it to recover from the stresses (both mental and physical) of the day. Without adequate sleep it has been shown that there can be an increase in biological age and increased risk of co-morbidities, resulting in decreased longevity. With sleep it is important to understand that the minimum time required is when you are “asleep,” not just in bed. In some cases, one may need to be in bed for up to nine hours to achieve seven or more hours of sleep based on their sleep habits and overall quality. Following health habits such as disconnecting from screens at least 30 mins before bed, avoiding heavy meals two hours before bed, and keeping consistent bedtime and awake time are just a few methods of improving sleep.

Stress Management

Stress of course also plays a role on longevity and biological age as we would expect. Stress is something that we all go through, and we all work daily to manage. This stress can be both physical or mental and can come from various avenues of our lives. Stress has been shown to increase biological age when measured via DNA methylation during the time when is stressed. While it is true that the process returns to baseline once the stressor is removed, a key point is that if this stress is repetitive and consistent overtime which does not allow the body to reset and return to baseline. To help manage stress, meditation, and breathing techniques have been shown to decrease resting heart rate and aide the body in managing stress better over time. In addition, many have found benefits from meeting with mental health or performance coaches to aide in various strategies of managing stress.

Knowing where to start when optimizing your health and longevity is sometimes the most difficult part. Looking at it through the above four pillars and understanding how you stand in each of them will help guide you in the right direction. Some may need to address only one area, and some may need to address all. But they all work together, require balance and constant adjustment to live a healthy lifestyle.

Work Cited

Gao X, Huang N, Guo X, Huang T. Role of sleep quality in the acceleration of biological aging and its potential for preventive interaction on air pollution insults: Findings from the UK Biobank cohort. Aging Cell. 2022;21(5):e13610. doi:10.1111/acel.13610

Garatachea N, Pareja-Galeano H, Sanchis-Gomar F, Santos-Lozano A, Fiuza-Luces C, Morán M, Emanuele E, Joyner MJ, Lucia A. Exercise attenuates the major hallmarks of aging. Rejuvenation Res. 2015 Feb;18(1):57-89. doi: 10.1089/rej.2014.1623. PMID: 25431878; PMCID: PMC4340807.

Han KT, Kim DW, Kim SJ, Kim SJ. Biological age is associated with the active use of nutrition data. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018;15(11):2431. Published 2018 Nov 1. doi:10.3390/ijerph15112431

Ho E, Qualls C, Villareal DT. Effect of diet, exercise, or both on biological age and healthy aging in older adults with obesity: Secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial. J Nutr Health Aging. 2022;26(6):552-557. doi:10.1007/s12603-022-1812-x

Lehallier B, Shokhirev MN, Wyss-Coray T, Johnson AA. Data mining of human plasma proteins generates a multitude of highly predictive aging clocks that reflect different aspects of aging. Aging Cell. 2020;19(11):e13256. doi:10.1111/acel.13256

Poganik JR, Zhang B, Gaht GS, Kerepesi C, Yim SH, et al. Biological age is increased by stress and restored upon recovery. bioRxiv. doi:10.1101/2022.05.04.490686


Robert Mahlman

Robert Mahlman

Robert Mahlman, PT, DPT, OCS, is the Westport Site Lead and a board certified orthopedic clinical specialist and certified Schroth therapist who specializes in the treatment of various orthopedic injuries, along with scoliosis and concussion management.

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Understanding and preventing cardiovascular disease

Understanding and preventing cardiovascular disease

Understanding and preventing cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), also known as heart disease, is the leading cause of death worldwide, according to the Center for Disease Control. CVD includes conditions such as hypertension, stroke, peripheral artery disease, and more. Prevention is an important strategy to reduce death and suffering from CVD, and it relies on managing risk factors and starting preventive medications for those with elevated risk.

Feb 10, 2023 | Will Manzi, CEP

Understanding and preventing cardiovascular disease

As seen in Health & Wellness Magazine.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), also known as heart disease, is the leading cause of death worldwide, according to the Center for Disease Control. CVD includes conditions such as hypertension, stroke, peripheral artery disease, and more.

Prevention is an important strategy to reduce death and suffering from CVD, and it relies on managing risk factors and starting preventive medications for those with elevated risk.

At the top of the CDC’s list of primary risk factors for all chronic diseases are: smoking, poor nutrition, and sedentary lifestyle.

You may be more likely to develop cardiovascular disease if you have risk factors such as:

• High blood pressure (hypertension).
• High cholesterol (hyperlipidemia).
• Tobacco use (including vaping).
• Type 2 diabetes.
• Family history of heart disease.
• Lack of physical activity.
• Having excess weight or obesity.
• Diet high in sodium, sugar and fat.
• Overuse of alcohol.
• Misuse of prescription or recreational drugs.
• Preeclampsia or toxemia.
• Gestational diabetes.
• Chronic inflammatory or autoimmune conditions.
• Chronic kidney disease.

Living a healthier lifestyle can help prevent heart disease. This includes:

• Eliminating all tobacco use
• Eating a heart-healthy diet
• Following an appropriate exercise program
• Managing your weight
• Eliminating as much stress as possible

What are the signs and symptoms suggestive of cardiovascular, pulmonary, or metabolic disease?

• Pain, discomfort in the chest, neck, jaw, arms or other areas that may result from ischemia
• Shortness of breath at rest or with mild exertion
• Dizziness or syncope
• Orthopnea or paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea
• Ankle edema
• Palpitations or tachycardia
• Intermittent claudication
• Known heart murmur
• Unusual fatigue or shortness of breath with usual activity

FAQs ABOUT CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE

Q: Who is most at risk?

A: Individuals with two or more risk factors or individuals who are symptomatic are most at risk. Looking at preventative measures, those who are predisposed to CVD are those with a strong family history of CVD.

Q: How can one prevent heart disease?

A: Preventative measures include a heart healthy diet such as the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), which is my recommendation which is used nationally by cardiologists through the American Heart Association. A healthy diet, in combination with aerobic, continuous exercise which incorporates large muscle groups, will mitigate your risk factors for CVD. These exercises include dancing, swimming, cycling/spinning, rowing, and running.

Medication can be utilized, but consult with your doctor before taking any drug.

Q: What role do nutrition, stress, and exercise play in CVD?
For modifiable risk factors, some measures can be taken to help reduce a person’s risk of developing CVD:

DIET: DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, and it is designed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure (hypertension).

The DASH diet includes foods that are high in potassium, calcium and magnesium, but limits foods that are high in sodium, saturated fat and added sugars.

Studies have shown that the DASH diet can lower blood pressure in as little as two weeks, and it can lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol levels. Hypertension and high LDL cholesterol levels are two major risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

EXERCISE: While not everyone has the same ability to exercise, getting some form of exercise for those who are able has immense heart health benefits. If you have angina or have had a heart attack, you may benefit from cardiac rehabilitation, which is a structured program that incorporates exercise, counseling, and education. Ask your healthcare provider for more information or a referral, if possible.

Stress: Stress is another contributor to CVD, and managing it can improve quality of life. Affordable ways to relieve stress include meditation, breathing exercises, journaling, exercise, time in nature, and connection with others.

At Performance Optimal Health we use comprehensive research and the latest technology to incorporate the four pillars of optimal health (exercise, recovery, nutrition, stress management) into your care. Each pillar plays a significant role in your optimal health journey, and using tools and services from each of the pillars can greatly enhance and expedite your path to success.


William Manzi

Will Manzi

William Manzi, CEP, is an exercise physiologist who specializes in the ability to take care of any individual, regardless of any limitations. Having worked with cardiac patients for the past 5 years, Will has developed a speciality in cardiac training and rehabilitation, as well as reading EKGs.

Meet Will

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Preventative health is key to avoiding chronic disease

Preventative health is key to avoiding chronic disease

Preventative health is key to avoiding chronic disease

Jan 4, 2023 | Health & Wellness Magazine

Preventative health is key to avoiding chronic disease

As we head into a new year, focusing on preventative health will be your most important tool to stay healthy. While some aspects of our health are predetermined by our genetics, there is a significant amount that we have control over through our lifestyle and daily health decisions. There are also a variety of indicators you can use to determine how healthy you are, or what your risk of chronic disease may be. This month, let’s discuss four key indicators — resistance exercise, inflammatory markers, the importance of Vitamin D, and controlling your stress levels — that will help you start the new year off right.

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Optimal Health Assessment: Don’t just treat injuries, prevent them

Optimal Health Assessment: Don’t just treat injuries, prevent them

Optimal Health Assessment: Don’t just treat injuries, prevent them

Dec 6, 2022 | Health & Wellness Magazine

Optimal Health Assessment: Don’t just treat injuries, prevent them

As a society, we are accustomed to regular “check-ups” at the hair salons, dentist, local auto shop. Yet for some reason, it is common practice to only seek orthopedic care when injured. The concept of regular wellness visits to prevent injuries has consistently escaped the musculoskeletal realm and the common practice of most individuals. This concept is somewhat baffling, as it is not only antithetical to our normal “check-up” mentality in other realms, but it also is in direct contrast with the available research on orthopedic injuries. Rather than treating injuries and risking future ones, here's why you should just prevent them instead.

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Counteracting the effects of perimenopause and menopause

Counteracting the effects of perimenopause and menopause

Counteracting the effects of perimenopause and menopause

Nov 9, 2022 | Health & Wellness Magazine

Counteracting the effects of perimenopause and menopause

Women face many issues as they age in the perimenopausal and menopausal stages of life, such as increased risk of osteoporosis, metabolic diseases, cardiovascular issues, and more. These obstacles create a challenge for women trying to develop a healthy lifestyle or maintain it as they age. Aging can create a whole mix of emotions, from mentally and emotionally, from experiencing feelings of anxiousness and uncertainty to physically feeling due to the hormonal changes. The best way to optimize your health as you age is to work with a collaborative team of professionals that can help guide you through the process. As a Pelvic Health Physical Therapist, it’s my job not only to address acute issues, but to provide tools to help my clients stay healthy in all aspects of their life.

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The benefits of blood flow restriction therapy

The benefits of blood flow restriction therapy

The benefits of blood flow restriction therapy

Blood flow restriction (BFR) training is a modality that helps accelerate the rehab process, and to reduce risk of future injuries. BFR has been shown to have many local and systemic effects throughout the body, including positive effects on both muscles and bones.

Oct 17, 2022 | Michael Semancik, DPT, TPI-M2

The benefits of blood flow restriction therapy

What is Blood Flow Restriction Training?

Blood flow restriction (BFR) training is a modality that we use at Performance to help accelerate the rehab process, and to reduce risk of future injuries. BFR involves using a medical grade tourniquet, around the arm or the leg, and then performing exercises with the cuff temporarily occluding blood flow to the limb. With BFR, we can do exercises with as little as 20% of your 1 repetition max, while getting the same effects as doing a much higher weight or resistance. This is especially helpful in our patients who are recovering from surgery, allowing us to build strength while still allowing the surgical site to adequately heal. While this may sound intimidating, BFR is well studied in physical therapy research, and the devices we use ensure that it is performed safely.

How does it work?

BFR works by limiting arterial blood flow and stopping venous return to the limb while performing a specific exercise. This then forces the muscles to work in an anaerobic (oxygen deficient) environment, making low load exercises feel extremely difficult.

What are the effects of BFR?

BFR has been shown to have many local and systemic effects throughout the body. At the muscular level, there are improvements in muscle protein synthesis, muscle fiber recruitment, muscular hypertrophy, and muscular endurance. This not only applies to muscles below the level of the cuff, but also above AND on the opposite side of the cuff.

BFR also induces hormonal changes in the body which help with muscular adaptation. Multiple studies have shown an increase in free testosterone and serum growth hormone, both of which help to promote growth of muscle tissue in the body. BFR can also be an effective method for improving bone density in those who may not be able to tolerate higher intensity, weight-bearing exercise.

What conditions do we use BFR for??

BFR can be used for many conditions, most commonly we use it for:

  • Post-surgery (ACL reconstruction, meniscus repair, shoulder labral/SLAP repairs, achilles tendon repairs, etc.
  • BFR allows for effective strengthening exercise without placing too much mechanical stress on repaired tissue
  • Tendinitis (patellar tendinitis, golfer/tennis elbow, achilles tendinitis)
  • Similar to post op, if the tendon is actively inflamed or irritated, BFR can help to perform strengthening exercises without putting more stress on the inflamed tissue
  • Muscle Strains
  • Allows a patient to maintain strength of the affected muscle during the acute phase of a strain Fractures
  • While immobilized, can perform BFR exercises at other joints to maintain strength and promote the release of growth hormone in the body
  • Once you are no longer immobilized, BFR is an effective tool to rebuild strength that was lost
  • Training/Recovery
  • BFR is a great tool for any in-season athlete, or for weekend warriors needing an active recovery day
  • Allows you to maintain strength without putting undue stress on the muscles, joints, and tendons

Michael Semancik

Michael Semancik

Michael Semancik, DPT, TPI-M1, is a physical therapist and certified dry needling specialist who works with young athletes, specifically with rowers, hockey players and football players.

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How to keep your bones healthy throughout each stage of life

How to keep your bones healthy throughout each stage of life

How to keep your bones healthy throughout each stage of life

To bring awareness to Bone & Joint Health Week, we dive into our own body’s foundation and explore how it changes as we age, as well as how to protect it.

Oct 13, 2022 | Maddy Mazoue, PT, DPT, CSCS

How to keep your bones healthy throughout each stage of life

Unless a bone is broken, it is easy to forget about the fundamental structure supporting our entire body that we cannot see: the skeleton. Yet a skeleton and its bones are integral to our daily life, serving a variety of functions including protecting vital organs, serving as attachment points for muscles, storing minerals, producing bone marrow and more. To bring awareness to Bone & Joint Health Week, we will dive into our own body’s foundation and explore how it changes as we age, as well as how to protect it.

Bones are often thought of as static, unchanging structures, but in reality, bones are constantly changing and developing throughout one’s lifespan. Our 206 bones all have unique shapes and structures, though the general anatomy of bones is fairly consistent. There are two main types of bone, cortical and trabecular. Cortical bone is the hard outer layer that contains the highest calcium concentration, while the trabecular bone is found below the cortex and is made up of a honeycomb-type structure full of bone marrow and fat stores.1 As we age, the size, mineral content, density, and durability of our bones changes considerably.

0-10

Childhood and adolescence are incredibly important periods for bone growth and development. As children grow, their bones accumulate calcium deposits that lay the foundation for bone health long term. Therefore, it is vital for children to get an appropriate amount of calcium and vitamin D in order to promote bone growth as they age. According to the National Institute of Health, products such as milk, cheese, tofu, and yogurt are all excellent examples of foods with high calcium content. Protein is also a key factor, as it improves calcium absorption. In addition to ensuring children have proper nutrition, participation in high impact activities such as jumping, running, and playing sports is also vital to promote healthy bone development.

10-20

As children reach puberty, bone growth surges. Peak growth rates, aka growth spurts, tend to happen around age 11–12 for girls and age 13–14 for boys. Growth spurts start earlier for girls as the onset of menstruation brings a jump in estrogen, which promotes calcium absorption and an increased in bone mineral density.2 As puberty comes to an end, the growth plates close, signaling the completion of this phase of growth and development. This is not, however, the end of the journey for bone development.

120-40

In the years following adolescence, calcium deposition continues at a much higher rate than absorption. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons states that peak bone mineral density occurs between age 25–30 for most individuals. As we get older though, the rate of bone deposition decreases and rate of calcium absorption increases, which means we begin to lose bone density gradually over time. This breakdown rate begins to creep up with age, with a sharp increase for women around menopause. In order to decrease the amount of bone loss, it is crucial to maintain the health of your bones during your earlier years through physical activity such as weightlifting and proper nutrition, including a generous intake of calcium, vitamin D and protein.

45-60

Just as an increase of estrogen improved calcium absorption in adolescence, the drop in estrogen associated with menopause negatively impacts a woman’s calcium stores. As calcium stores deplete, bone mass diminishes, with the average woman losing around 10% of bone mineral density in the first five to six years of menopause.3 As this process progresses, the risk for osteopenia and osteoporosis significantly increases.

>65

Though the effect is not as drastic, men are also at risk for developing osteoporosis. On average, by the age of 65–70, men are losing bone mineral density at the same rate as their female counterparts. As the rate of bone density decreases, the risk of fracture tends to increase. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that women over 65 and men over 70 get a bone density test (DEXA scan) as a preventative measure to identify their risk of osteoporosis.

Though a certain amount of lost bone mineral density is normal, there are many modifiable behaviors than can delay or slow down this process that can be implemented at any age. Smoking, alcohol use, and excessive caffeine consumption have all been identified by the NIH as risk factors for increased loss of bone mineral density as one ages. Other important factors to consider are calcium intake and physical activity. As mentioned above, calcium and vitamin D recommendations change throughout the lifespan, but are particularly important during childhood and after age 50 for women and age 70 for men.

Exercise can also have a huge impact on bone health. For those between the ages of 20–50, studies have shown that individuals that participate in moderate to high intensity impact activities have a greater average bone mineral density than those who are less active or who participate in lower impact activities. Though aerobic activities such as biking, swimming, and running are great for maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system and have a number of health benefits, these activities may not put enough load on the skeletal system to promote increased bone deposition. Resistance training has been shown help build muscle, increase bone density, and decrease fall risk. The Mayo Clinic recommends weight-bearing resistance training for those with or at risk for osteoporosis to optimize bone health and decrease risks associated with having decreased bone mineral density. This should, however, be done with close supervision and modification by a medical or fitness professional to ensure exercises are safe and dosed appropriately.

Our bones go through many changes as we progress through our lives, but there are a myriad of ways that we can help promote and support bone health in every stage of life. Lifestyle choices, exercise, and nutrition all have an enormous impact on our skeletal system. Take the extra time to invest in your health and support your bones; your skeleton will thank you!


Maddy Mazoue

Maddy Mazoue

Maddy Mazoue, PT, DPT, CSCS, is a physical therapist and strength and conditioning specialist who specializes in developing athletes’ return to sport programs. She values collaboration and teamwork, and believes that patient care is always better when providers are open and willing to work with each other to best serve the patient.

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The dangers of chronic inflammation and what you can do about it

The dangers of chronic inflammation and what you can do about it

The dangers of chronic inflammation and what you can do about it

Sep 13, 2022 | Health & Wellness Magazine

The dangers of chronic inflammation and what you can do about it

While some levels of acute inflammation aid the body’s natural processes, prolonged, chronic inflammation causes a variety of health issues, including chronic disease and deterioration of body mechanics. It is incredibly important to manage things that can exacerbate inflammation such as a poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, elevated stress hormones, low quality sleep and more to prevent chronic inflammation from occurring.

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