How to Keep Fit While at Home by ABPS Diplomate Manny Konstantakos, MD

Manny Konstantakos, MDThe coronavirus pandemic has forced fitness enthusiasts and those with gym memberships to exercise and work out at home. Although the beneficial camaraderie and the extra enthusiasm that a gym can foster are temporarily unavailable, keeping fit at home is relatively straightforward and can prove to be beneficial in many ways.

But while improvisation can be a good thing (and may even spark creativity and enthusiasm while exercising) the risk of injury to muscles such as the rotator cuff of the shoulder and the meniscus of the knee cannot be overlooked, especially when training at home.

As an orthopedic surgeon and former football strength coach, I can’t stress enough the importance of adequately warming up the muscles and joints before any type of exercise. Wearing relatively warm but comfortable clothing before lifting weights is also important. If exercising indoors, wear a light jacket with sweat pants.

When training the chest and shoulders, it’s essential to stretch the muscles of the rotator cuff before, during, and after exercising. Also, keeping your elbows and hands in front of your body (as opposed to out to the sides) while doing any type of upper body pressing movement is of great value as this avoids unnecessary strain on the rotator cuff muscles.

Before training the lower extremities, warming up on a stationary bike can help loosen stiff joints, especially those of the knees, ankles, and hips. Also, consider starting your exercise session by simply walking on a treadmill at a slight incline. This will engage the gluteus muscles as well as the legs. It has been shown that low-impact workouts, such as cycling or weight lifting, can be a good alternative to running for those looking for intensity without the added force on the joints.

To help reduce the risk of common injuries, I recommend that you strengthen the gluteus muscles specifically through exercises such as squats, bridges with a band, and side-lying leg lifts. Strong gluteus muscles improve hip strength, which will take pressure off the knee joints, thus reducing the chance for arthritis or any sort of meniscal damage to the knees.

To help reduce any pre-existing knee intra-articular inflammation, such as that caused by arthritis, consider a strategy used by the ancient Hellenic Olympians that is still widely used today: wearing a knee sleeve, such as those infused with copper. This may reduce knee pain during exercise by decreasing inflammation.

All in all, it is important to work out hard, but smart. As the saying goes: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. In the meantime, stay active and stay tuned for the next fitness article coming up from the ABPS.

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Patient Care Is Our Priority

Medical organizations throughout North America understand that our rigorous certification standards prove that ABPS Diplomates are capable of delivering the best patient care possible.

When I think historically, advancement in medicine and patient safety and care has been driven by the diversity of people and scientific thought. That’s what I found at the ABPS and more. For over 60 years that is just who we are. I found a physician certifying body that provides a choice and voice to all physicians ensuring that patients are always placed first.

Jerry Allison, MD
Emergency Medicine
When I decided to pursue a full time role as a physician executive it was important to me to obtain additional professional training, education and work experience. Board certification through the ABPS in Administrative Medicine is validation of my efforts and a demonstration of dedication to professional development. We need more physicians to become full time health care executives, knowing there is a board certification option in Administrative Medicine encourages physicians to take the leap from full time clinical practice to healthcare organizational leadership.

Richard Paula, MD
Administrative Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has provided me with the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of internal medicine through board certification. As a hospitalist, board certification is an expected credential, and hospitals recognize the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) as one of the three standard credentialling bodies for Internal Medicine. Additionally, the ABPS has helped me develop leadership skills as a Board member and Committee Chairperson. ABPS has also helped me sharpen critical thinking skills as a test question developer and reviewer. The Allopathic (MD) and Osteopathic (DO) physicians in the ABPS are lifelong learners and frequently pursue multiple board certifications. I enjoy the camaraderie of my peers in ABPS.

Loren Jay Chassels, DO
Internal Medicine