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As the fitness industry continues to grow it is becoming ever more important to take care of your body with proper recovery. Not only sleep and nutrition is necessary but giving the appropriate attention to your muscles they deserve. There are a lot of products out there that are inexpensive and will give your muscles the benefit of deep tissue work. This process is called SMR or Self-Myofacial Release.
Foam rollers are perfect for “rolling out” your muscles includes the quads, hamstrings, triceps, and calves. These help your muscles by returning them and your soft tissue to their native form. Further, by regaining the normal state, range of motion is improved as well as overall performance.1 For best results it is recommended to use a high density foam roller like the Cando®.
General guidelines for using these rollers are2:
1) Make sure to hold each position for 1-2 minutes.
2) If pain is present go ahead an rest on the painful area for 30-45 seconds.
- This stimulates tendons to reduce muscle tension
3) If you continue to roll over the pain it could increase tightness
Below are suggested exercises 2:
IT Band: While on your side, raise yourself up as if in a side plank. Place the roller under the bottom leg, bend the top leg and bring it in front for support. Be sure the head is neutral- ears aligned with your shoulders. Begin rolling just below the hips and down the lateral thigh.
Hamstring: Place the roller under the hamstrings. You can cross your legs to increase leverage and roll from the knee towards to back hip. Keep your quads tight.
Quadriceps: Position yourself stomach down and roller under the quads. While maintaining proper control of your core, roll from the pelvic bone to the knee.
Another great tool is a lacrosse ball to really work the knots. What sets a ball apart from the roller is the ability to work lower back muscles like the Serratus and upper back like the Trapezius. Allegro
Medical carries the FitBALL Spiky Balls designed with sensory points to help encourage stimulation.
It should be noted that when doing SMR it will be painful especially if you had an intense workout. However, the benefits far outweigh the discomfort.
1Barnett, Jeff. “Science Says Foam Rolling Increases ROM and Does Not Decrease Strength.”Breaking Muscle. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2013. http://breakingmuscle.com/mobility-recovery/science-says-foam-rolling-increases-rom-and-does-not-decrease-strength
2Clark, Michael, MS, PT, PES, CSCS, and Alan Russell, ATC, NASM-PES, CSCS. “Self-Myofascial Release Techniques.” Perform Better! N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2013. http://www.performbetter.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/PBOnePieceView?storeId=10151
Aloe, or Aloe Vera, comes from the plant by the same name whose inner gel can be used as a topical to sooth minor burns, wounds, psoriasis, and help decrease pain from shingles. Because of its cooling effect, it is recommended to place the gel in the refrigerator first to chill it and then rub onto sunburned skin. Also, due to the high water content of 99%, it works as a great moisturizer to hydrate the skin.1
In addition to the external uses of the plant, internal uses include drinking Aloe juice made from the gel. The juice can contain over 200 active components which include fatty acids, vitamins, and amino acids among others. Aloe can also aid in digestion and help regulate the system.1
AllegroMedical.com has a wide variety of Aloe Vera products ranging from After Sunburn Relief to washcloths and gel capsules. One of the top selling items includes the ConvaTec Aloe Vesta 3 in 1 Cleansing Foam. The Aloe helps to enrich the foam and aid in cleansing to restore, moisturize, and condition the skin.
Another great item is the Aloe Vesta Bathing Cloths. These work best as a no-rinse bed bathing and will not leave the skin feeling sticky. The natural botanical oils are great moisturizers and restore the skin just like the cleansing foam. This product scores and a 4.5/5 and with 27 almost everyone would recommend it to a friend.
Although AllegroMedical.com doesn’t carry Aloe Vera juice, most health food stores do. Whether you are using Aloe internally or externally, the healthy benefits will leave a positive effect. Rely on Allegro Medical for your skin care and other health and wellness supply needs.
1“Top 12 Benefits of Aloe Vera.” Sacred Source Nutrition RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 July 2013. <http://sacredsourcenutrition.com/top-12-benefits-of-aloe-vera/>.
With summer in full swing, more people take advantage of the warm temperatures and increasing their physical activity. Whether running/walking, gardening, or even taking the family on a picnic, the last thing anyone needs are sore knees.
The source of pain can be related to arthritis, tendinitis, a sprain, or even bursitis to name a few reasons. Luckily, there are steps to take at home to decrease the discomfort. A few of these include1
- Avoid any weight bearing activities that could heighten the pain.
- Apply ice! Ice helps to reduce any swelling or inflammation by restricting blood vessels. This directly decreases the amount of fluid flowing into the injured tissues.
- Elevate- Keeping the knee propped up on the couch or a stool can help bring swelling down.
- Warm up- especially if your knee pain is sports related. It is also important to avoid downhills or running down stairs which increases the amount of weight/pressure applied to the knee.
- Make sure you are wearing appropriate shoes that are not only comfortable but provide enough support.
- Wear a knee band or another similar strap for support.
AllegroMedical.com carries a variety of icepacks and knee supports as well. A quality inexpensive pack is the Black Polyurethane ColPac. These cold packs range anywhere from 6.5”x11” in size all the way up to 12.5” x 18.5”.
After chilling for two hours, these packs will stay cold for up to 30 minutes. Always remember to place a barrier between your skin and the cold pack to prevent a burn.
If using ice or cold isn’t something you are too keen on, there are many soft goods available. One of the top selling knee bands is the Kneed-IT XM Magnetic Therapeutic Knee Band. With two strategically placed magnets, the support system works to gently absorb force at the knee. The magnets place subtle pressure along the medial (inner) and lateral (outer) soft tissues of the knee. One customer said “it is the most supportive knee brace I have ever worn” and would recommend it to a friend.
Be sure to check out all of Allegro Medical’s knee and cold therapy products. Remember, it is important to follow up with your primary care physician to evaluate the source of pain. They may also be able to prescribe an exercise or physical therapy program to further reduce the pain.
For more than 15 years, AllegroMedical.com has been the leading online distributor of home health and wellness products. Rely on Allegro Medical for all of your pain relief and other health and wellness supplies.
1“Knee Pain.” MedlinePlus. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 03 July 2013. <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003187.htm>.
Choosing the right skin care product to treat an infected area can be overwhelming. There are topicals, moisturizers, hydrators, and healers. What does it all mean?
Here is the breakdown to all the madness:
- A cream is approximately a 50/50 mixture of oil and water
- A lotion is lighter than a cream and has more water
- An ointment is about 80% oil and 20% water1
An ointment contains medicine and is highly viscous. This is what allows the product to act like a mucous membrane and prevent moisture loss to the skin. The more oil the ointment contains the greasier and sticker the substance will feel.
Use an ointment for areas of the skin that are going to take a longer time to heal because the skin can’t absorb an ointment as fast as it can a cream.2
AllegroMedical.com carries many ointments to help protect the skin and these are available in as small as a 2.5oz tube to one pound jar.
Aloe Vesta 3-n-1 Protective Ointment is among Allegro’s best sellers. Customers love it because it not only moisturizes and soothes the skin but also softens. Aloe Vest helps to improve skin texture and will leave the skin feeling clean. This is a 43% petrolatum based ointment and is non-sensitizing and fragrance free.
Secura Protective Ointment is also a great selection. This is a 98% petrolatum ointment and is great for sealing out wetness. Vitamins A, D & E condition the sensitive skin while clove oil helps mask any odor. This
product is recommended for its high quality, easy flip top tube and the overall lightweight feel of the product.
Remember to talk to your doctor or pharmacists before using a medicated ointment. Also be sure to check out Allegro’s customer reviews to learn what makes it great! AllegroMedical.com for your skin care needs.
1McDonald, Michel, M.D. “What’s The Difference Between An Ointment, A Cream And A Lotion?” ABC News. ABC News Network, 20 Feb. 2009. Web. 06 June 2013. <http://abcnews.go.com/Health/WellnessResource/story?id=6858390>.
2“Walgreens | Waiting Room.” Walgreens | Waiting Room. Walgreens, n.d. Web. 06 June 2013. <http://www.walgreens.com/topic/faq/questionandanswer.jsp?questionTierId=700008>.
Crutches are used to provide support to anyone with a leg injury or weakened balance. A walker can also help with these problems; however, a walker only provides balance and keeps some of the weight off the lower body. On the other hand, crutches keep all the weight off one leg entirely.
A simple search for crutches on AllegroMedical.com will bring up the universal aluminum crutches, quad canes and forearm crutches. All of these can aid in gait training and balance but in different amounts.
Universal aluminum crutches have a weight capacity ranging from 175-300lbs and are height adjustable in 1” increments. The hand grips can be moved up or down with the help of a bush button or a wing/nut adjustment. They include underarm pads for comfort and tips for traction. When fitting these crutches, first set the height. To do this, the user should be standing straight up, and the arm pad should rest against the rib cage or roughly one to two inches below the armpit. It is important that the pad never presses into the armpit. This could cause pain and pressure on nerves leading to numbness. After the height is set, move to the hand grips. Elbows should be in a slightly bent position when using the crutches. 1
For a cane or quad cane the handle or top of the cane should be even with your wrist when your arm is relaxed. While stabilizing yourself on a chair, relax the arm you will use the cane with. The crease/bend in the wrist should hit the top of the cane and this will allow your elbow to maintain a bend. Remember to use the cane on the opposite side of the body that needs support. This way, when walking, you will be able to stabilize yourself while bringing the injured leg forward. 2
Sizing forearm crutches are similar to sizing a cane. Again the crease of the wrist should be level with the top of the cane when the arm is in a relaxed position. Place the crutch so the open end of the cuff is facing the same direction as your body. The cuff should be one to two inches below your elbow and the thickest part should be around your forearm. Again, the crutch should be on the opposite side that needs support just like when using a cane. 3
The type and degree of injury which the user suffers affects which type of equipment piece they will use. Remember, crutches require more coordination, balance and support than a cane but both can be used to keep weight off of an injured leg. The above are general guidelines to use when fitting the user but be sure consult a doctor or therapist for specific instructions.
For more than 15 years, AllegroMedical.com has been the leading online distributor of home health and wellness products. Rely on Allegro Medical for all of balance, support, mobility, and other home health supplies.
1Schweizer, Kristin, MPT. “Deal With… Proper Crutch Use.” Caring Today Magazine, LLC. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2013. <http://www.caringtoday.com/deal-with/proper-crutch-use>.
2“How to Use Crutches, Canes, and Walkers -OrthoInfo – AAOS.” OrthoInfo. AAOS, n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2013. <http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00181>.
3“Tips & Advice Center: Crutches.” Justwalkers.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2013. <http://justwalkers.com/crutches-tips>.
Our feet take a pounding. Literally. The result of hitting the ground repeatedly, wearing shoes, and sweat is often dry, callused, and rough feet. Unlike the rest of the skin, our feet do not have oil glands, and therefore, rely on sweat to stay moisturized. Athletes tend to have cracked skin due to the amount of strain they put on their feet and how much they sweat1.
Cold weather can also play a part in dry or cracked feet because moisture is hard to replenish. In the winter months there is a limited amount of humidity in the air and people also have a tendency to take hot showers. The constant switch from hot to cold is hard on the skin resulting in water loss and leaves it dry2.
For those living with Diabetes, foot care is especially crucial. Diabetics are highly susceptible to dry skin because when glucose levels are high, the skin and tissues are depleted of vital moisture3.The result is extremely dry and cracked skin. Another cause is the poor circulation suffered by diabetics. Fortunately, many products exist to help treat skin conditions of the foot.
Although a nice pedicure is always a treat for your feed, over the long-term, such indulgence may be financially burdensome. Luckily, Allegromedical.com carries numerous foot care creams, including PediFix Deep-Healing Foot Cream, Diabet-X Callus Treatment, and Pedigenix.
PediFix Deep-Healing Foot Creamis designed for those with either Diabetes or sensitive skin. It contains Urea, Lanolin, Vitamins A, D and E to soft rough heels, corns and calluses. Available for more than 120 years, PediFix consulted doctors to help develop this innovative, non-greasy formula.
Diabet-X Callus Treatment is another great product available on Allegromedical.com. Another helpful aid for people with Diabetes, it can be used on not only the feet but on the fingers and elbows as well. The formula also contains antimicrobial ingredients to guard against infection and lasts up to two hours after application.
Pedigenix is unique because it is consists of a four-part system designed to treat and then prevent dry skin. It is formulated with nature extracts of cucumber and menthol to refresh the feet, visibly healing rough, dry skin in days. There are two daily products to wash and soften your feet and two treatment products to smooth and dry them. The cleaner and lotion are the preventative products, and the exfoliant and deodorizing powder provide a complete solution to treat the dry skin. Pedigenix is diabetic-friendly and is effective against hyperkeratosis tissue, calluses and bromhidrosis4.
The product you choose can play an important role in the health of your feet. A complete regiment can offer an effective treatment to target the issues4. Rely on AllegroMedical.com for all of your health and wellness needs from skin care to diabetes and more.
1Sugar, Jenny. “5 Ways to Show Your Running Feet Some Love.” FitSugar. POPSUGAR, 9 Mar. 2012. Web. 02 Apr. 2013. <http://www.fitsugar.com/Tips-Ease-Sore-Runners-Feet-Prevent-Injury-22125091>.
2CNN Help My Dry, Winter Skin. Perf. Susan Hendricks. CNN. Cable News Network, 13 Dec. 2011. Web. 02 Apr. 2013. <http://www.cnn.com/video/>.
3Franklin, Della. “Dry Skin: Diabetes and Your Skin.” Disabled World. N.p., 13 Aug. 2007. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. <http://www.disabled-world.com/artman/publish/dry-skin.shtml>.
4 “Pedigenix Foot Care System.” Pedigenix Foot Care System. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. <http://www.hygenic-news.com/Pedigenix/index.html>.
As we age, our doctors tell us to stay active and keep a healthy lifestyle. They take our blood pressure, recite a few numbers, and possibly talk about how to change the number. But what do those numbers mean?
Blood pressure is read as a fraction (i.e. 117/76) and is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). The top number is the Systolic and is the higher of the two. This measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats or contracts. The bottom number is the Diastolic and measures the pressure in the arteries between beats or when the heart muscles is resting and refilling with blood1.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), it is recommended to have your blood pressured screened every two years starting at age 20.1 If you are higher than the normal range of 120/80, talk with your doctor about more frequent screenings.
Below is the AHA’s blood pressure categories1
||Systolic (upper #)
||Diastolic (lower #)
||Less than 120
||Less than 80
|High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Stage 1
|High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Stage 2
||160 or Higher
||100 or higher
|Hypertensive Crisis (Emergency Care Needed)
||Higher than 180
||Higher than 110
Why is knowing your blood pressure so important?
Your BP tells you if your tissues are receiving regular supplies of blood that is rich in the oxygen it needs to function. High blood pressure (HBP) is also known as the “silent killer”. It has no symptoms. It not only damages your heart and arteries but other organs as well and can lead to serious heath problems2. Checking your blood pressure on a regular basis to ensure it falls in a healthy range protects your entire body. Further, it reduces your risk of blood vessel walls becoming overstretched or injured, lowers the risk of a heart attack, stroke or other form of heart failure3.
Measuring your blood pressure at home with your own personal monitor is easy! Allegromedical.com carries many brands and styles including the Omron Automatic Digital Blood Pressure Monitor 10 Series+ and Omron’s Automatic Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor. Other popular brands on AllegroMedical include HealthSmart, Mabis and Invacare. All include their own special features and cater to the user needs. For example, some offer a larger view screen, more memory for recording past blood pressures, and irregular heartbeat detection.
To check your blood pressure allow at least 15 minutes of rest prior to the test and do not eat, drink or smoke during this time 4
1) Make sure the cuff fits and the sensor of the bladder cuff is over the brachial artery
2) Be still and sit with your back straight, feet on the floor, your arm should be relaxed and supported on a flat surface
3) Take multiple readings
4) Measure at the same time daily
5) Accurately record all these readings and make sure to understand the readings
6) Consult your healthcare professional if you record several high readings.
If you are using a wrist monitor
1) Hold the arm out with the palm up
2) The digital panel should be on the inside of the wrist5
3) Be still and sit with your back straight, feet on the floor, your arm should be relaxed and supported on a flat surface. Make sure the wrist is at heart level
4) Take multiple readings
5) Measure at the same time daily
6) Accurately record all these readings and make sure to understand the readings
7) Consult your healthcare professional if you record several high readings.
Remember, knowing your blood pressure is a key step in maintaining a current healthy status or ensuring your readings trend in a normal range. Being physically active, eating a healthy diet low in cholesterol and not smoking all factor into heart health2. Make it a habit to take it weekly and if you fall into a higher risk category talk to your doctor about what lifestyle changes could be made. Rely on AllegroMedical.com to be your partner and value-added source for information and products to help you manage your health and optimize your healthy lifestyle.
1 American Heart Association. “Understanding Blood Pressure Readings.” Understanding Blood Pressure Readings. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2013
2 American Heart Association “Why Blood Pressure Matters.” Why Blood Pressure Matters. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2013.
3 American Heart Association “What Is High Blood Pressure?” What Is High Blood Pressure? N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2013.
4 American Heart Association “How to Monitor and Record Your Blood Pressure.” How to Monitor and Record Your Blood Pressure. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2013
5 Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 20 July 2012. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
Safe, inexpensive, portable. Those are just a few reasons why colored resistance bands are popular for exercise, fitness goals, and rehabilitation. You may have tried resistance bands yourself or have had them recommended to you by a physical therapist or personal trainer.
What are these bands and how do they work?
The bands are made from various thicknesses and strengths of high-quality latex and non-latex material. The resistance comes as you try to stretch and lengthen the band itself.
These bands can offer a safer way to stretch out the muscles and help reestablish a normal range of motion (ROM)1. The bands use positive resistance to shorten the muscle during a curl and negative resistance to lengthen the same muscle when fighting the resistance back to start.2 Resistance training also offers a less costly option to weight training as the bands are relatively inexpensive. The small, compact size makes them perfect for traveling too. Other health and fitness benefits of a band-based progressive resistance program include increasing bone strength, building muscles boosting stamina, and improving sleep efficiency3.
At AllegroMedical.com, our top selling brands include Thera-Band® Cando® and REP Band which all come in a variety of lengths and colors. Most are available in 6 yards and 50 yards strips which can be cut to the necessary length. Some brands even make a loop band. These loops are great for lower body adductor and abductor exercises.
But how do you choose from so many colors and thicknesses and determine which is the best for your needs?
One of the most popular brands is Thera-Band that offers the following colors and resistance levels:
||Shoulders and shins
||Biceps and triceps
||Legs, Chest & Back
||Legs, Chest & Back*
||Legs, Chest & Back*
*Great for working out with someone else
The Cando Band varies slightly as they carry a wider range:
Finally, if you come across a band that doesn’t follow one of these models, one of the easiest ways to figure out the resistance is the price. The thicker the band is; generally the higher the price will be.
Getting Started with Simple Resistance Band Exercises
To begin, select a color according to the charts above. You know you have the correct color when you perform two to three sets of 10 -15 repetitions using slow controlled motions while gaining mild fatigue on the last set. Once you can do all sets with no fatigue3, you are ready to move up to the next resistance – or color – level. Below are a few simple exercises to help you get started.
Resistance Band Squats4
- Start by stepping on the resistance band with both feet shoulder width apart.
- Hold the resistance band at shoulder level with both hands. Start into a full squat while holding the band at shoulder height.
- Return to the starting position and repeat.
Biceps Curls with Resistance Band5
- Stand with feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, and at a staggered stance.
- Step onto middle of tubing with back foot or both feet.
- Start position: Grasp ends with underhand grip (palms facing forward) with arms hanging down at sides. Elbows should be close to sides.
- Flex at the elbows and curl band up to approximately shoulder level. Keep elbows close to sides throughout movement
- Return to start position.
- Remember to keep back and head straight in a neutral position throughout movement. Shoulders should be stabilized by squeezing shoulder blades together slightly – only the elbow joint should be moving.
Triceps Extension with Resistance Band6
- Start by holding the tubing in one hand and placing that hand behind your back.
- Now grab the other end of the band with the arm that is over your head.
- Extend the top elbow until your arm is fully extended.
- Return to the starting position and repeat for the prescribed repetitions.
Using resistance bands is an affordable way to your fitness or rehabilitation goals.
1“Rogue Fitness Equipment.” Rogue Fitness. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2013.
2 “Thera-Band® Exercise Bands.” Thera-Band. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Mar. 2013.
3Resistance Training – Beginners.” Better Health Channel. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2013.
4-6 “Resistance Band Exercises.” Resistance Band Exercises. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2013.