Joseph Alleva, MD, Division Head of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, walks the walk:
he encourages his patients to keep active and sets an example by staying active himself. Dr. Alleva trains in judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, competing annually in senior division (over 45) championship. By varying his work out and pushing himself physically,
Dr. Alleva prevents overuse injury, manages stress levels and maintains his fitness level.
Here, Dr. Alleva tells us what inspired him to get involved in the world of MMA and how he has overcome his own injuries to continue to compete in the sport he
As a doctor, you encourage your patients to stay fit. How do you keep yourself fit and healthy? I train in judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu , both of these disciplines are critical in MMA (mixed martial arts). In the gyms I
train in, there are MMA fighters both professional and amateur; therefore, when they want to hone their skills with regard to these disciplines they will train with us.
How long have you been involved in these sports? What first piqued
your interest in/passion for martial arts?I have been involved in this sport since my early teens. My older brother was a golden glove boxing champion. I was inspired by him and also was his training partner.
competed at the senior level world championship in Judo. What steps have you taken to continue competing at such a high level?I try to qualify for the senior championships in judo and or Brazilian jiu-jitsu annually, so I train in these disciplines
through the year and cross train—swim, weight train, bike, run—to avoid overuse injury, control my weight and remain conditioned. I train daily and there are days when I get in a second session of training.
Have you had to overcome
any injuries? How have you prevented further injury?Ironically, I contend with neck and lower back problems on and off. I can sympathize with my patients who have experienced pain that has prevented them from doing the things in their
lives that they enjoy.
Dr Hudgins (also part of our spine center) has managed my diagnostic tests, treatment and rehabilitation. With his supervision I have been able to maintain my competitive spirit.
What does competing mean to
you?Staying active has long been established as having many health benefits—cholesterol control, diabetes control, pain control, heart health, weight maintenance and more. But, beyond this it helps me manage my stress and by setting goals
and varying my activities it makes it a fun activity. That's the key to maintaining an active lifestyle. Exercise never feels like a burden.
The months of training have not been in vain because you’ve crossed the finish line. Now what? Carrie
Jaworksi, MD, Director of Primary Care Sports Medicine at NorthShore, offers her insight on what to expect after the race and how to recover adequately to ensure that you are ready to race again another day:
Immediately After the Race:
Once you cross that finish line there are a handful of things that you'll need to do to help your body recover. Eat something! It’s important to replenish the energy stores you depleted during the race. Initially, it’s best to start with a
sports drink and food that is easy to digest. If you can’t tolerate sports drinks, then take bananas, yogurt and pretzels to the finish line instead. Gradually work up to a high-carbohydrate post-race dinner to further assist you in replenishing
your energy stores.
Taking a cold bath and icing your muscles is recommended to help prevent muscle soreness but don’t do that immediately. It is more important to keep moving in that first 30 to 60 minutes. You'll be tired but try to resist
the urge to sit; instead, take a long walk back to your hotel or car. Your body will thank you for it later.
The Next Day: You ran for a long time and chances are you are you'll wake up sore the next day. To help ease your muscle
pain, plan ahead and schedule a massage for the days following the race. It will certainly help to alleviate your soreness and speed your recovery. Plan on being sore for a few days. Take it easy while you are recovering.
You may feel down after the race. Think about it: You’ve been training for this event, both physically and mentally for months, and now it’s over. The early recovery period will likely be the most difficult transition because you won’t be
running and will have more time to reflect on your experience. There are several ways you can combat this: 1) Plan to meet up with your running friends the Saturday after the race to discusses personal experiences with the race. 2) Combit to a new goal whether
it's another race or even just to keep up with a regular running routine once you recover. 3) Splurge on a treat for yourself, from a new pair of running shoes to that racing watch you’ve been eyeing. Whatever you do, enjoy your downtime and get
some much-needed rest.
Preparing for the Next Race: How long should you rest before training for the next race? While your break time depends on your own level of experience with distance running, it’s recommended
that you give your body at least one day off per mile before running your next distance race. This means the earliest you should race again after a marathon is almost a month. Everyone should plan on a reverse taper over the first three to four weeks post-marathon.
The first week post-marathon should be mainly rest for three days, with some gentle jogging and cross training to round out the end of the week. By the weekend, most of your muscle soreness should be gone, so a longer distance may be reasonable. Remember to
go slow and keep it to an hour at most.
After the first week post-marathon, you can begin to build more mileage based on your level of experience. Be sure to keep some cross-training days on your schedule to keep your body strong and injury-free.
Any persisting soreness or undue fatigue may be your body’s way of telling you it needs more time to recover. Be sure to listen to your body and adjust your training, or see your physician as needed.
How did you feel after the race? What
tips would offer to others?
We weren’t made to sit around all day; yet, research shows that the average American spends roughly 13 hours sitting each day. For some, their desk job might deserve part of the blame. Don’t let your job impact your health. Prolonged sitting can increase
your risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and more.
The experts at NorthShore University HealthSystem have put together an infographic that is full of simple, fun ways to get up and move throughout the day, even while at work. Stop sitting and get moving! Click on the image below to view our
full infographic and discover easy ways to get some extra exercise at work.
Get them when they’re young! Exercise is important for every single member of the family, even the small ones. Physically
active kids are more likely to grow up into physically active adults, which could ultimately reduce their risk for heart disease, obesity and many other health issues. In addition to the long-term and obvious physical benefits, children that are physically
active have better concentration at school, higher self esteem, improved ability to handle stress and greater social acceptance than those who are not active.
Help your kids make a lifetime commitment to health and fitness by making that commitment as a family. Show your kids the way it’s done and you could set them on a path for a healthier future.
Ideally, all children over the age of two should be physically active for at least one hour per day. For toddlers and preschoolers, much of that will be unstructured play, but it’s important, nonetheless. If a child or family is not currently active at
all and one hour per day seems intimidating or unrealistic, it’s perfectly fine to set smaller goals (i.e., 15-20 minutes per day) and build from there.
Leslie Deitch Noble, MD, Pediatrician at NorthShore, shares some ideas for family fitness that will get everyone moving and, most
importantly, having fun:
Hiking. A moderately difficult hike can burn approximately 400 calories per hour. If you don’t happen to be near a hike-friendly area, simply go for a brisk walk as a family. It’s a great safe way for the family to catch up, explore the
outdoors and get fit together.
Ice-Skating. Cold weather doesn’t mean the entire family should hibernate. There are many calorie-burning activities that embrace the season and feel more like fun than exercise, including ice-skating, which can burn over 400 calories per
hour. Make sure everyone stays safe by keeping ice-skating confined to skating rinks and not lakes or ponds.
Yoga. The family that does yoga together reduces stress levels together. There is a yoga type for every age and every fitness level. When introducing beginners and children to yoga, help prevent injury by using a certified yoga instructor.
Biking. When roads aren’t icy or snowy, break out the helmets and hit the road. Make sure everyone is up-to-date on safety and the rules of the road before heading out. Biking is a great way to explore as a family, and, it could potentially
awaken a lifetime passion for fitness for your kids.
Dancing. Nothing could be simpler or more fun than turning on some tunes and dancing as a family. If a fitness craze like Zumba can work magic for adults, a little dancing could do wonders for kids too. Dance games for the Wii, Xbox or other
gaming consoles are also a great way to get the family dancing at home during the cold months. Parents and kids, alike, love a little bit of friendly competition when everyone is laughing and grooving together.
How do you stay fit as a family?
Cooler temperatures are no excuse to let your health and wellness fall by the wayside. In fact, fall is the perfect time to take advantage of some of the highlights of the season, from incorporating seasonal fruits and vegetables into your diet to kicking
your fitness routine up a notch with fall-friendly activities.
NorthShore University HealthSystem has created an infographic filled with fall health tips and creative fall fitness suggestions. Click on the image to see our full
Fall into Wellness infographic.
Do Downward-Facing Dog, Plank, Warrior I and Child’s Pose sound familiar? While you’ve probably heard of at least one of these popular yoga poses, maybe you’ve even done a few of them yourself.
Yoga—originating in India—is a practice that has been around for centuries. Yoga is a vast body of knowledge which includes physical exercise done through the practice of yoga poses, breathing exercises to calm the nervous system, meditation practices to focus
the mind, dietary practices to detoxify the body, herbal oil massages to nourish the skin, philosophy for living a peaceful life and the Science of Ayurveda (The Indian Medical System which includes Ayurvedic Acupuncture, Ayurvedic Herbs and Ayurvedic Massage
Therapies). Yoga is an entire system of self-care and self-realization which was one of the first paradigms of Energy Medicine known to man.
Hatha Yoga is a type of exercise, that when done correctly, can be good for people of all ages and physical abilities. Polly Liontis, Yoga Instructor (Certified by the Himalayan Institute and a Licensed Massage Therapist/LMT), identifies some of the health
benefits of practicing yoga:
Have you ever practiced yoga? What are some of your favorite poses?
Getting and staying fit, isn’t always about losing weight. It’s also about increasing your cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, joint flexibility and energy levels – all while fitting it into your normal routine and lifestyle.
April Williams, Exercise Physiologist at NorthShore’s
Center for Weight Management has some tips to keep your exercise route on track:
What does your exercise schedule look like? What keeps you motivated to workout? Which types of exercise do you enjoy most?
Have fitness questions? Join April Williams on Tuesday, February 7 from 11a.m.-noon for an
online chat about how to stay fit in 2012. Submit your questions in advance and save the date.