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Simple Tips to Stave of Arthritis Symptoms

Offer up these simple tips to aid arthritic clients reduce flare-ups, decrease symptoms, and experience more pain-free days!

There are many simple practices that may greatly decrease the risk and severity of flare-ups. To help reduce painful and swollen joints, improve mood, and increase quality of life, implementing a few of these simple techniques may make a world of difference.

1. Drink Water!  The body is comprised of about 60% water. Dehydration causes a decrease in function of all major organs, muscles, and even bones.

2. Get to Sleep!  Adults of all ages need 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Sleep is when your body repairs muscles, organs, and cells. In this resting state, chemicals will circulate in the blood that help to strengthen the immune system.

3. Set a Schedule!  Plan your days! Get into a routine of good habits. Setting alarms to get up, make phone calls, exercise, cleaning, and meals will provide a daily purpose.  Writing “to-do” lists on a paper calendar and crossing off items as they are accomplished provides a heightened sense of satisfaction and self-worth.

4. Eat Real Food!  The fewer ingredients, the better.  Read labels to avoid too much sugar, salt, and oil. I call these the “S.O.S.” These are foods that are known to cause inflammation and increase the risk for flare-ups.  For example, if you have the choice between an apple or apple pie, choose the apple with less ingredients. It also most likely contains less sugar or processed ingredients.

5. Exercise Daily!  Think of exercise as something you “work in” each day and not as a “work out.” Improving muscle strength, mobility, flexibility, and cardiovascular health reduces symptoms of autoimmune disease.

6. Hiring a virtual Arthritis Fitness Specialist once or twice a week to provide accountability and write safe and effective exercise programs is a great start!

7. Practice Mindfulness!  The simple act of taking a few deep and meaningful breaths throughout the day is a great way to reduce stress and decrease negative physiological responses. Incorporating some gentle stretches in the morning, after periods of inactivity, and before bed is also a great way to bring awareness to the body, ease tension, reduce anxiety, and lessen the symptoms associated with arthritis.

Join Christine for her webinar, Arthritis: Myths, Movements and Mobility


Christine M. Conti, M.Ed, BA is and international fitness educator and presenter. She currently sits on the MedFit Education Advisory Board and has been nominated to be the 2020 MedFit Network Professional of the Year. She is the author of the MedFit Classroom Arthritis Fitness Specialist Course and is the CEO and founder of ContiFit.com and Let’s FACE It Together™ Facial Fitness & Rehabilitation. Christine is also the co-host of Two Fit Crazies & A Microphone Podcast and the co-owner of TFC Podcast Production Co.

trainer-resistance-band-senior-woman-client

So, your doctor told you to start exercising! Now what?

Have you ever been given this very simple, yet incredibly complicated advice from your doctor? 

“You could really benefit from starting an exercise program.” 

If so, you are lucky to have a doctor who understands the power of exercise! In fact, exercise has been proven to help prevent diseases, reduce pain, decrease dependency on medications and improve overall quality of life. (1) The benefits are seemingly endless. However, are you someone who hasn’t the slightest clue as to what to do next? Where should you go? Who should you ask for help? Fear not, because you are not alone! Take a deep breath and follow these simple steps to begin a safe, effective and lasting exercise program today. 

Identify the Why! 

If a medical professional suggests you begin an exercise program, what is their reasoning behind it? While “obesity is linked to more than 60 chronic diseases”, your doctor may not be suggesting that you need to lose weight, but instead, suggesting that you need to address a specific weakness. (2) Do you have a medical condition where weight loss or improved cardiovascular health could add more quality years to your life or reduce your dependency on medications? Asking your doctor to fully explain these questions will help you understand how specific exercises can improve your physical and mental wellbeing. 

For example, if you have a heightened risk for falls, improving strength and balance is of utmost importance. However, if you are overly dependent on high blood pressure medications, your goal may be to improve cardiovascular health through aerobic activities. If you suffer from chronic pain or various forms of arthritis, the objective of your exercise routine will be more focused on enhancing mobility and flexibility, improving muscle imbalances and strength, as well as assisting with pain management through mindfulness techniques. Knowing your “why” is the first step towards clarifying your “how”. 

Invest in Yourself 

The most important things in life are NOT things. -Anthony D’Angelo 

It is rumored that Tom Brady, better known as the G.O.A.T. and the winningest quarterback in the NFL, spends over a million dollars a year on his health. Odell Beckham Jr., another famous NFL star, says that “I take care of my body each and every day. I put, probably, over $300,000 in my body in the offseason… It’s a lot to upkeep. I don’t ever want to decline.” (3) In all honesty, do you blame these athletes for spending so much money on their health when their health is their livelihood? 

When a medical professional suggests that you begin an exercise program, it is because they believe it will help your overall mental and physical well-being. While you may not be a professional athlete, you may be someone who wishes to remain active and independent for the remainder of your life. Therefore, it is paramount to invest in a certified fitness professional or medical fitness trainer to help create a program that meets your individual needs. 

Think about it like this, when your car needs to be fixed, do you try to fix it yourself or do you seek a certified specialist who will make an educated assessment, create a game plan and implement the necessary changes? I think it is safe to say that you will spend money on your car, but may scoff at the thought of hiring a trainer. What is more important? Things can be replaced, but people are irreplaceable. There are certified fitness professionals in your area you can find via a simple internet search or by posing a question on social media to your local chamber of commerce. With that being said, don’t be afraid to shop around and interview various trainers to make sure they are a good fit for you! 

Find a Match 

Find a job that you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life. -Mark Twain 

Mark Twain was onto something when he spoke about the importance of enjoying what you do! This same principle applies when you set out on an exercise journey. If swimming scares you or you have nightmares about running, then pick exercises that you enjoy. Do you love to dance? Try taking some dance classes! Do you enjoy riding your bike? Let that be a part of your new exercise routine. If you dread your exercise sessions, loathe your trainer or hate every minute of your workout, then it is not going to last. If it feels like work, it’s not going to work! Exercise should be an enjoyable, yet challenging, part of your day! 

In addition, be sure that you take the time to assess how you are feeling and clearly communicate this to your trainer. If you are feeling run down, overly sore, or under-the-weather, your body is trying to tell you something. All of these signs are extremely important when it comes to enjoying the endless benefits of making exercise a part of your life. Now, let’s take action and begin to take control of your health. 


Christine M. Conti, BA, M.Ed, is an international fitness educator and presenter. She currently serves as the Director of Membership for MedFit Network, sits on the MedFit Education Advisory Board and is a course author for MedFit Classroom. She is also CEO and founder of ContiFit.com and Let’s FACE It Together™ Facial Fitness & Rehabilitation and co-host of Two Fit Crazies & A Microphone Podcast

References

1 Roy-Britt. “How Diet and Exercise Can Prevent Disease. January 8th, 2020. www.elemental.medium.com How Diet and Exercise Can Prevent Disease | Elemental (medium.com)

2 Holland, Kimberly. “Obesity Facts in America.” Healthline. January 18th, 2022. www.healthline.com 

3 Zeegers, Madilyn. Tom Brady Inspired Odell Beckham Jr. to Invest in his Body. April 6th, 2020. Tom Brady Inspired Odell Beckham Jr. to Invest in His Body (sportscasting.com)

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The Evolution of Fit Pros: Fighting Chronic Disease

It’s time for the fitness industry to evolve! According to the Center for Disease Control, 6 in 10 adults suffer from at least one chronic disease while 1 in 4 adults suffer from multiple chronic diseases. In fact, chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease are the leading causes of death and disability and the leading drivers of the nation’s $3.8 trillion in annual health care costs.1 Let that sink in!

According to the Mayo Clinic, if you have a chronic condition, regular exercise will not only reduce the chance of developing disease, but also manage symptoms and improve overall health.

  • Aerobic exercise can help improve your heart health and endurance and aid in weight loss. High-intensity interval training is generally safe and effective for most people and can take less time. In high-intensity interval training, you alternate exercising at high levels of intensity and exercising at a less intense level for short periods of time. Even activities such as walking at higher intensities count.
  • Strength training can improve muscle strength and endurance, make it easier to do daily activities, slow disease-related declines in muscle strength, and provide stability to joints.
  • Flexibility exercises may help you to have optimal range of motion about your joints, so they can function best, and stability exercises may help reduce the risk of falls.2

As fitness professionals, it is time to acknowledge and address the fact that many of our clients fall into these categories. Therefore, it is up to us to learn how to embrace this growing demographic rather than shying away from those suffering. As the number of comorbidities is on the rise, the demand for highly qualified fitness professionals to work with this type of client safely and effectively is skyrocketing. For this is the future of fitness.

However, to truly evolve, the fitness industry must revisit the requirements for fitness professionals to work with clients who suffer with comorbidities.  For example, a personal trainer who completes a basic certification course will not have an in-depth understanding of how to work with a client recovering from a stroke, fighting breast cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis and more. This demographic is not concerned about the number on a scale, lowing their BMI, lifting heavier weights or the size of their clothing. Instead, they are looking for relief from chronic pain, seeking improved balance and flexibility and trying to maintain muscle mass needed to function independently.

The time is now for the fitness industry to come together and up-level their education. Learn the tools needed to help reduce chronic disease, decrease symptoms and improve the quality of our clients’ lives. While we don’t have the ability to add years to our clients’ lives, we do have the ability to add quality to their years with the proper exercise guidance. Go ahead and take the steps needed to create a world where people with chronic diseases have the resources needed to live a more healthy, happy and productive life, while meeting the challenges faced with a chronic disease diagnosis. The world needs you!

  1. Identify your niche(s).
  2. Visit MedFitClassroom.org
  3. Sign up for a MedFit Classroom specialist course, reviewed by the MedFit Education Foundation Medical Advisory Board.
  4. If you’re not yet a MedFit Network (MFN) member, take advantage of your FREE membership that comes with a course purchase.
  5. Complete the course.
  6. Add your new specialization to your MFN profile and post your specialist badge on your website and social media.
  7. Market your NEW specialization to your area/the world.
  8. Grow your business and increase clients within your niche.
  9. Never miss another opportunity to work with clients with chronic diseases!


Christine M. Conti, BA, M.Ed, is an international fitness educator and presenter. She currently serves as the Director of Membership for MedFit Network, sits on the MedFit Education Advisory Board and is a course author for MedFit Classroom. She is also CEO and founder of ContiFit.com and Let’s FACE It Together™ Facial Fitness & Rehabilitation and co-host of Two Fit Crazies & A Microphone Podcast

References

female-trainer-senior-client-exercise-ball

Flip the Script: How Fitness Professionals Can Overcome Challenging Clients

If you are a fitness or medical fitness professional, there is a good chance you have heard one or more of the following statements at least once in your career. In fact, there is also a good chance you have heard these statements on a daily basis. 

1. I am a little tired and my muscles are a little sore from our last session, so I am going to cancel today and rest. 

2. I don’t want to do “that exercise” because I have never done it before.

3. My doctor told me that I should not be squatting, bending, reaching, twisting, etc… 

Many of you reading this article can relate to at least one of the above and may have even let out a slight sigh of frustration when it comes to overcoming challenging clients. Overwhelming amounts of research show that exercise can help to improve your health and fitness without hurting your joints.(1) With your current treatment program, exercise can: 

  • Strengthen the muscles around your joints 
  • Help you maintain bone strength 
  • Give you more energy to get through the day 
  • Make it easier to get a good night’s sleep 
  • Help you control your weight 
  • Enhance your quality of life 
  • Improve your balance 

However, many of our clients still believe that exercise will aggravate their joint pain and stiffness, but that is not the case. Lack of exercise actually can make your joints even more painful and stiff.(2) If the muscles and surrounding tissue are strong, it helps to maintain support for your bones. Choosing not to exercise weakens those supporting muscles, creating more stress on your joints. 

While fitness and medical fitness professionals understand the importance of exercise, the way we translate this to our clients is key. Oftentimes, clients receive misinformation along with mixed messages from doctors, family members, friends, and of course, social media. However, after decades of both academic and professional research working with special demographics, I have discovered a powerful technique to increase clients’ willingness to improve their health through exercise. The answer lies not only in showing the client how each exercise emulates real-life situations, but also how it affects their independence.

For example, telling a client, “Today we will be working on how to safely and effectively execute a squat,” is a lot different than saying, “Today we will be practicing our sit to stand movements so that you have the lower body strength and flexibility to rise from your favorite chair without assistance.” 

Most importantly, it is important to reiterate to your client that their lack of strength, mobility, and balance leads to a more sedentary lifestyle that will decrease their ability to function independently as time progresses. Additionally, muscle atrophy, joint immobility and poor flexibility are key indicators that functional movements, or movements that are required to perform everyday tasks, will soon be a thing of the past.

If a client is unwilling to perform various exercises, here are some conversation starters:

  1. Did you know that this is not just an exercise, but one of the foundational movements to support strength, balance and flexibility in your everyday life?
  2. Do you know the definition of functional fitness?
  3. Do you know that this isn’t just an exercise, but will help you walk up and down the stairs, get up from a seat, carry your groceries, and pick up a grandchild?
  4. Are you ready to give up your independence? 

Christine M. Conti, BA, M.Ed, is an international fitness educator and presenter. She currently serves as the Director of Membership for MedFit Network, sits on the MedFit Education Advisory Board and is a course author for MedFit Classroom. She is also CEO and founder of ContiFit.com and Let’s FACE It Together™ Facial Fitness & Rehabilitation and co-host of Two Fit Crazies & A Microphone Podcast

Check out Christine’s online course with MedFit Classroom, Arthritis Fitness Specialist:

References

  1. CDC: Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2021, April 5). Benefits of Physical Activity. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved September 10, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm
  2. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Exercising With Arthritis: Improve Your Joint Pain and Stiffness. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved September 9, 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arthritis/in-depth/arthritis/art-20047971
eating-for-arthritis-SOS

Eating for Arthritis and S.O.S. — Sugar, Oil & Salt… Oh My! 

Is there such a thing as an anti-inflammatory diet? While there is no specific “diet” that people with arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis (RA) should follow, researchers have identified certain foods that can help control inflammation. Many of them are found in the so-called Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fish, vegetables, olive oil, whole grains, nuts and seeds, among other staples.

Young woman having knee pain

Rolling to Fight Arthritis!

By the year 2040, an estimated 78.4 million (25.9% of the projected total adult population) adults aged 18 years and older will have doctor-diagnosed arthritis” (Hootman JM, Helmick CG, Barbour KE, Theis KA, Boring MA)

The time is now! Let’s talk about how to prevent the onset and symptoms of various forms of arthritis through myofascial release!

What is myofascial release?  

It is a type of physical therapy often used to treat myofascial pain syndrome. Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic pain disorder caused by sensitivity and tightness in your myofascial tissues. These tissues surround and support the muscles throughout your body that are affected by arthritis.

What is fascia tissue? 

This holds the muscle together and keeps them in the correct place. The fascia separates the muscles so they can work independently of each other. The fascia provides a lubricated surface so that the muscles can move smoothly against each other. When fascia is constricted, it prevents blood flow and decreases circulation.

What parts of the body can I roll?

  • Head, Face & Neck
  • Shoulders, Chest Arms, Wrists & Hands
  • Upper & Lower Back, Hips, Glutes, Thighs, Knees, Ankles, Feet

What is the Benefit of Rollga Rolling My Face & Neck? 

Rolling for Youth Preservation: First, let’s discuss regaining a rejuvenated look for our skin. When looking at what causes skin aging, it is a slowing down of circulation of blood. As noted by the NIH, this consists of a slowing in the circulation of nutrient-rich blood and detoxifying lymph and increasingly sluggish skin-cell turnover; the skin becomes more “stagnant.”

Rolling the Face. When “rolling” the face, be sure to apply gentle to medium pressure. The two main points of tension are in the superficial fascia and the other is lymph. Lymph is a highly underrated circulatory system within the body that is responsible for detoxifying waste from the skin on a cellular level, in addition to its many, many other functions. When holding tension in the muscles and fascia, lymph cannot move freely and do its job of clearing out waste from the tissue. The result of poor lymph flow can present as dull skin, an accumulation of blackheads and milia, and/or stubborn hyperpigmentation, and more. Superficial fascia is the layer of connective tissue right under the skin on the face. It acts as the support and infrastructure for your skin and is responsible for giving it “lift and tone.” It can also carry a lot of tension and adhesions that restrict circulation of blood and lymph. If you’ve ever used a foam roller on tight legs, think of how much softer one leg feels after rolling when compared to the unrolled leg. Foam rolling is a form of self-administered myofascial release, and that is EXACTLY what we want to do for the face.

Rolling for Neck Tension. The neck is the superhighway of ALL circulation to and from the face. A tight neck acts like a traffic jam between the body to face and back again. This prevents detoxifying lymph from draining as well as it should, and working the neck alone can be major in bringing flow and vitality back to the complexion as well as reducing puffiness in the face. Many people experience a very high level of neck and jaw tension due to everyday stress. Remember that working hard also means you must self-care harder!

Rolling to Fight Arthritis: To reduce the onset of symptoms from various diseases such as arthritis that affect facial and neck muscles, various myofascial release techniques such as Rollga rolling stimulates muscles, improves blood flow and enhances circulation. Because the jaw is a joint that is commonly affected by arthritis, myofascial release eases tension, improves joint mobility and decreases pain while speaking or chewing.

Learn more about Rollga rolling for the face and neck by contacting info@ContiFit.com

Request a manual, attend a workshop, or take an online course to learn about myofascial release with Let’s FACE it Together™ Facial Exercise & Rehabilitation!

Check out the Arthritis Fitness Specialist Online Course from MedFit Classroom.


Reprinted with permission from Christine Conti. Originally printed on rollga.com.

Christine M. Conti, M.Ed, BA is and international fitness educator and presenter. She currently sits on the MedFit Education Advisory Board and has been nominated to be the 2020 MedFit Network Professional of the Year. She is currently writing the MedFit Network Arthritis Fitness Specialist Course and is the CEO and founder of ContiFit.com and Let’s FACE It Together™ Facial Fitness & Rehabilitation. Christine is also the co-host of Two Fit Crazies & A Microphone Podcast and the co-owner of TFC Podcast Production Co.

podcast mics

The Power of Podcasting: Create Your Own Platform & Leverage Your Brand

Podcasts are “where it’s at!” Did you know podcasting is now the most effective and cost-efficient marketing tool on the planet?  Podcasts provide wide-scale visibility to exponentially grow your business and increase brand awareness. In fact, the simple act of appearing on an established podcast as a featured guest can drastically improve your SEO and increase clients. Learning how to use this extremely affordable and far-reaching platform to your advantage may be the key to lasting success!

What do I need to know about podcasting? Here are some quick facts!

The Next Generation of Marketing

Forget spending money on print advertisements, billboards, or radio ads. Podcasting is “where it’s at!” Every business needs a podcast! It is effective, targeted, cost and time efficient, super fun marketing!

On-Demand, Passionate & Targeted Content

At any time, listeners can download, subscribe and like their favorite podcasts. Listeners may break up their shows into multiple sessions or listen all at once. Listeners can also search for podcasts based on their personal interests, hobbies, and more.

It’s FREE

Not only is it relatively cheap to produce your very own podcast, but it is FREE for listeners to download and enjoy your show. Provide value to listeners around the world while also promoting your business and brand without asking for payment or initial “buy-in.”

Accessibility

If you own a smartphone, a computer, a tablet, or have access to Wi-Fi, you can download and listen to FREE podcasts.

Opportunity for Intimate Connection

Podcasts allow you to tell “your story” in “your own words” and promote your business, brand, or values at a personal level. This is an opportunity to show empathy, authenticity, and share “your voice” with the world.  Remember, the most successful businesses and products start with a “story.”

Broad Reach

Unlike television, newspapers, radio stations, and print advertisements, podcasts are available around-the-world and not just specific to certain areas. This platform is a must for anyone who conducts business online.

Instant Authority & Credibility

As a fitness or medical professional, it is important to utilize a platform where you can offer valuable resources or information. Podcasts allow for you to be an instant authority in a specific field in addition to promoting your services on a large scale.

Statistics

Podcasts offer analytics that track the number of subscribers to your show as well as the number of downloads for each episode. The more downloads, the more people are learning about you, your mission, your values, and your business.

It’s FUN!

This is YOUR chance to create your own platform! Podcasting allows you to talk about the issues, stories, and topics that are most interesting to you! You can interview fascinating guests and use the podcast as an opportunity to cross-promote your businesses. Most of all, you make the rules and create the podcast format that works for you

Learn more about the power of podcasting and how to create your own platform!

Register now for Christine Conti & Brian Prendergast’s free webinar on this topic. This webinar will provide you with a basic overview of the steps needed to create your own podcast or utilize current podcasts to grow your reach, increase your client base and leverage your brand. Step into the new age of marketing through this cost-effective, time efficient platform!


Christine Conti and Brian Prendergast are co-hosts of Two Fit Crazies & A Microphone Podcast and owners of TFC Podcast Production Co. Christine is the founder of Conti Fitness and Wellness, LLC; Brian Prendergast is the founder and head coach of High Five Health and Fitness. 

 

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“Tell Me What You Don’t Like About Yourself”

A potential client nervously sits down before a very handsome LA plastic surgeon at the beginning of each episode of this extremely popular television show in the early 2000s. The surgeon asks the same question to each patient he meets.,“Tell me what you don’t like about yourself?” The potential client, slightly taken back by the magnitude and depth of this question, details what it is he or she wishes the doctor to change about them.

As a MedFit fitness professional and educator, this particular scenario really resonated with me. In fact, I have spent multiple decades trying to figure out the “WHY” behind the behaviors and mindsets adopted by my clients. What external or internal factors are positively or negatively affecting their ability to make healthy decisions, their ability to feel confident, or their ability to love themselves or others. This is exactly why we all must keep asking, why?

While designing fitness programs to support physical well-being is extremely important, are we providing enough positive reinforcement to encourage clients that “they are enough”? Are we building their confidence and self-worth? Are we empowering their mind and believing in them so hard until they start believing in themselves?

These are the questions we should be asking ourselves when we design fitness programs for the “whole person.”

The Why

Why do people feel the need to drastically change their appearance?

Where do these ideas come from and how will it have a positive effect on their future?

Why is outer appearance still considered more important than overall health when considering recent research to support longevity?

These are just a few questions to consider as a fitness or medical fitness professional as you begin to assess clients and “peel back the onion” to fully understand how you can best support their goals.

The How

If your client suffers from what I refer to as “negative self-talk,” those incessant self-deprecating statements act as a personal bully and obstacle to achieve true happiness — ask them why they feel this way?

Then, continue those “Why” questions until you find out the answers. This may take one whole session, or it may take months of shorter conversations. However, a medical fitness professional has the power to change lives, not only through physical fitness, but mental fitness. Mindset matters!

Consider

1. Is this negative thinking a result of a negative experience or is it being projected on them by others?

2. Ask questions and listen. Only when the fitness professional has developed a trusting, supportive, comfortable, and communicative relationship with their client can the fitness professional begin to understand their “why.”

3. “The way you make your muscles grow is through resistance training, where you work them until your muscle fibers are fatigued and break apart. With proper rest, recovery, and nutrition, those same muscle fibers grow back stronger than they were before. And you grow. The mind and your mindset work the same way.” –Dr. Bryan Price


Christine M. Conti, M.Ed, BA is and international fitness educator and presenter. She currently sits on the MedFit Education Advisory Board and has been nominated to be the 2020 MedFit Network Professional of the Year. She is currently writing the MedFit Network Arthritis Fitness Specialist Course and is the CEO and founder of ContiFit.com and Let’s FACE It Together™ Facial Fitness & Rehabilitation. Christine is also the co-host of Two Fit Crazies & A Microphone Podcast and the co-owner of TFC Podcast Production Co.