House Calls

House Calls Started This Year

House calls are meant for patients who are temporarily or permanently home bound, or for other good reasons can't make it into the office.

To schedule a house call: Tel (203) 853-1919; email

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Don’t let fitness take a holiday

The holidays are over; there's no need to let fitness take a holiday now.

Fitness is an elusive concept. According to the President's Council on Physical Fitness, it is "the ability to carry out daily tasks with vigor and alertness, without undue fatigue, with ample energy to enjoy leisure-time pursuits and to meet unforeseen emergencies." Yet physical fitness means different things to different people. One fact is clear: if fitness is the goal, exercise is the way to get there.

There are four basic elements of physical fitness: cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility. Each can be measurably improved with regular exercise. But keep in mind that exercising to build physical fitness is not the same as working out to improve athletic performance. To be physically fit, you should develop all four elements, not just one or two.

While each element is a part of fitness, the most important one is cardiovascular endurance. Physiologically, cardiovascular endurance is the sustained ability of the heart, blood vessels, and blood to carry oxygen to the cells, the ability of the cells to process oxygen, and the ability of the blood, once again, to carry away waste products. Since every cell in the body requires oxygen to function, there is no more basic element of fitness than this, to see that the heart, lungs, and circulatory system do their job.
Cardiovascular endurance is built up through exercises that enhance the body's ability to deliver ever larger amounts of oxygen to working muscles. To achieve this, the exercise must include the large muscle groups (such as in the legs) and, most importantly, it must be sustained.

Muscular strength is the force a muscle produces in a single effort (a lift, a jump, a heave), as when you swing a mallet to ring a carnival bell. Muscular endurance is a measure of the ability to perform repeated muscular contractions in quick succession, as in doing twenty push-ups in a minute. Although muscular endurance requires strength, it is not a single all-out effort.

Muscular endurance and strength are interrelated, but are quite distinct. Endurance enables you to maintain a sustained effort, while strength will give extra force to your golf swing or tennis serve. Gains in strength come most quickly from exercising with the maximum amount of resistance, usually weights, that you can lift comfortably in a few repetitions, working at below your maximum level and gradually increasing the number of times you perform an exercise.

Flexibility refers to the ability of the joints to move through their full range of motion. It varies from person to person and from joint to joint. Good flexibility is thought to protect the muscles against pulls and tears, since short, tight muscles may be more likely to be overstretched. Some people find that stretching hamstring and lower-back muscles alleviates lower-back pain, and calf stretches help prevent leg cramps.
Developing strong, flexible muscles is important for everyone, not just for athletes and body builders. Well-conditioned muscles and joints help you perform better physically, assist you in maintaining good posture, and may help prevent injuries and chronic lower-back pain.

Most certified personal trainers are very good, but watch out for the overzealous ones, they may hurt you.

Need help? feel free to contact my office (contact information on the side bar).

Sunday, January 31, 2010

New Year's resolutions revisited

I hope you were able to stick to your health-related New Year's resolutions. I didn't make any, so I'm absolved.

The three most common and important health-related resolutions are: weight loss (or weight control), increasing physical activity/exercise, and smoking cessation. Have you done your share? Most Americans forget about their resolutions by the end of January. Don't let it happen to you.

Twitter / Dr. Staw