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Get fit, America! ecently the Department of Health and Human Services did something that it has never done before. Recognizing that America is in the midst of an obesity epidemic, the effects of which are felt across the nation and even impact our economy, it has launched the first-ever Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Health care costs are sky-rocketing, many diseases are on the rise, adult obesity rates have doubled since 1980,and childhood obesity rates have tripled in the same time period. Do we need the government to tell us physical activity is important? Probably not, but it is recognizing that the evidence is clear. It is important for Americans to be active for the health of each of us, and for the health of the nation. Our presidential candidates are facing a nation that wants answers about the state of our health care system.What is becoming clear is that any plan will have a better chance of success if we can become a healthier nation. John McCain, in fact, stated in the final presidential debate in response to a question about rising health care costs,“We need to have employers reward employees who join health clubs and practice wellness and fitness.� Congress is even looking at ways to promote exercise programs by reintroducing the PHIT Act in January of 2009 encouraging Americans to get active and helping to make fitness programs more affordable to everyone. If you would like to learn more about the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, the PHIT Act, or other topics related to health and fitness visit www.anytimeadel.com/links.htm where we have provided links to many important health and fitness topics and ways you can make your voice heard. AL

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By Mike Bergman, owner, Anytime Fitness, 817 Main St., 993-3333.

Fall, winter can cause an increase in pain ith the change in seasons and with colder weather approaching, many people begin to complain of increased pain in their joints and spine because of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative condition that is predominantly caused by wear and tear on the joints in the body which lead to the breakdown of joint surfaces. This leads to a decrease in cushioning between the joints. With this decrease in cushioning, stiffness, loss of motion, and pain can develop. Degeneration is a normal aging process. If we live long enough, we will all develop some degree of arthritis.There are an estimated 27 million Americans living with arthritis today. Not all people who have arthritis have pain, and it is a common misconception that if you are diagnosed with having arthritis that you are destined to have pain. Usually, unless the arthritis is severe, there are other physical reasons why people are having pain.These reasons can include inflammation, tight muscles, decreased strength and loss of mobility in the joint with arthritis and the surrounding joints. Physical therapists can help manage some of this pain by helping correct imbalances in the body, designing a home program of stretching and other exercises and using modalities as they are needed. Low-impact exercise and weight control are also beneficial in managing the symptoms.Your doctor may prescribe some medications to help relieve symptoms as well. AL

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By Mike Burggraaf, Adel Physical Therapy, 102 S. 7th St., 993-5599, www.adelphysicaltherapy.com. www.iowalivingmagazines.com/adel

NOVEMBER | 2008

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Adel Living Nov. 08