Thursday, December 31, 2009

How to Travel Without Jet Lag

One serious downside of air travel is the jet lag that inevitably follows. Jet lag, scientifically known as desynchronosis, is the body’s physical response to alterations to circadian rhythms, which for humans is slightly longer than the day long (24 hour) cycle of our biochemical and physiological processes. When these rhythms get interrupted, it can leave us feeling tired, unable to concentrate, give us headaches and upset stomachs.

Jet lag occurs when we cross several time zones very rapidly and is worse as we travel from West to East, because we are losing time and therefore sleep. Scientists often say that it takes one day to recover for every time zone your cross.

To combat those nagging feelings of jet lag, try the following tips:

  1. Try to sleep on the plane, especially on long West to East flights.
  2. Set your watch to the local time of your destination as soon as you board the airplane.
  3. Avoid alcohol on flights, as it acts as a depressant and can dehydrate you, worsening the effects of jet lag. Instead, drink plenty of water.
  4. Get up and walk around during the flight. Keep your muscles loose and your blood flowing.
  5. Eat a diet high in carbs, as carbohydrate rich foods can also hydrate us.
  6. If you’re tired upon arrival, consider at taking a 15-20 minute power nap if you don’t have time to get a full night’s sleep.
  7. Upon arrival, physical activity can help get the body back into a regular sleeping pattern.
Jet lag is inconvenient for most and debilitating for some. Try some of these tips on your next flight to combat the feelings of jet lag. If you have any questions about jet lag or air travel, feel free to contact your family physician or Empire Health and Wellness Center at 518-690-4406 or visit our website at

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Winter Activities

Winter is finally here. And if you don't want to be cooped up indoors for the next few months, its time to get outside and enjoy all the activities you can only do when it snows.

I browsed a great website. Adirondack Sports and Fitness (, for more information on local outdoor activities.

Snowshoe racing - I've heard that if you can walk, you can snowshoe. The Dion Snowshoe Series hosts races every weekend (snow permitting) beginning on Dec. 27 and continuing through March. Snowshoeing takes a bit of endurance and is more about the journey than racing against the clock. If you're new to the sport, consider attending the Dion Demo Day at Albany Fleet Feet on December 20 from 12-2pm, followed by a run at the Crossing.

Cross Country Skiing - This area offers a great deal of cross country skiing centers for skiers of all abilities. For less than $20 per person, you get access to plenty of groomed trails, a lodge, lesson options, rental and food services. Also, check your local center for special programs like women's day, kids ski club, guided tours and festivals. Cross country skiing is thought to be on of the best aerobic exercises by exercise physiologists. It's also a low impact sport, so it's easy on knees and joints.

For more information about these and other great winter activities, contact Empire Health and Wellness Center at 518-690-4406 or visit our website at

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"Apps" Make Healthy Living Easier

Technology makes our lives so easy! (For the most part.) GPS's ensure we're never lost, laptops let us work from home or on vacation, cell phones keep us in touch with friends and family and so on. And now for those of you with Apple products like the iPhone of iTouch, staying healthy and getting into shape just got simpler.

With an iPhone or iTouch, you can download applications or programs that let you do everything from count calories to work out on the go.

For example, one program called "iFitness" is a comprehensive database of exercises. It delivers photos, vidoes, and detailed step-by-step instructions of over 230 exercises right to your handheld device. These exercises are sorted by body region or target muscles. Track your progress, create custom workout lists and even upload your own exercises with "iFitness."

One of my personal favorite apps is called "Lose it." This handy program lets you set healthy goals, like losing weight, then helps you track your daily food intake and exercise regimen so you can reach your goals successfully. Also, there is a searchable database where you can easily find the food you eat and detailed reports available online that let you track your progress.

So, if you have an iPhone or iTouch, look into these programs to make your healthy lifestyle just a little easier. And as always, for questions about healthy living, feel free to contact Empire Health and Wellness Center at 518-690-4406 or visit our website at

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Drink Up!

Water is essential for all known life on Earth, including the human body. 55-75% of your body is water! (People that are more fit have a higher percentage of fluid, as muscle holds more water than fat.)

Not only do we need water to survive, we also need water to function properly. Even a 2% loss of our bodily fluids can effect athletic performance, brain function and cause fatigue. Doctors and health professionals often advise people to consume eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to maintain the proper level of hydration. But why? Below, we have outlined the health benefits of drinking enough water.

- Helps metabolize stored fats which can lead to weight loss.
- Lubricates joints and can ease the pain associated with rheumatoid joint pain and arthritis.
- Helps prevent heart disease and strokes by preventing the clogging of arteries of the heart and brain.
- Lessens the severity of illnesses like the common cold or flu.
- Lessens the burden on kidneys and liver by flushing out harmful toxins in the body and also lessens the chance of kidney stones.
- Improves circulation and thereby the appearance of skin.

Water is universally important to keeping our bodies healthy and working properly. We have only touched on a few of the reasons why we should all drink more water. If you have any questions about the benefits of water, please feel free to contact Empire Health and Wellness Center at 518-690-4460 or visit our website at

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Make Your New Year's Resolutions Early!

Making New Year's resolutions can be a daunting task. There is a ton of pressure to make a positive change in one's life as the new calendar year begins.

The top resolutions made by Americans include losing weight, getting into shape, quitting smoking or drinking and reducing stress. Sound familiar? We've all been guilty of making one or more of these resolutions and not keeping them. According to a recent resolution study, only 52% of the participants felt confident in their ability to stick to their goal, and only 12% actually succeeded.

But below, we're outlining some easy tips to help all of us set New Year's resolutions and reach them successfully.

1. Don't overdo it! Setting too many goals at once, or setting a goal that's too lofty (ex: I'm going to run a marathon in 4 weeks) may actually hurt your chances of success. You should challenge yourself, just not sabotage yourself.
2. Be kind to yourself. Don't beat yourself up for getting off track a little, or eating that one brownie. Persistence is key, not negativity. Also, try rewarding yourself for reaching small victories.
3. Set your own time table. Try making your resolutions early, like around Thanksgiving. Making your own schedule will help you feel more in control of your resolutions.
4. Tell everyone about your goals. Letting your friends and family know about your resolutions will give you a large support system. They can keep you accountable, so accpet their help.

Use these helpful tips and setting your "Any Time of Year" resolutions can lead to a successful lifestyle change. If you have any question about living a healthy lifestyle, feel free to contact Empire Health and Wellness Center at 518-690-4406 or visit our website at

Friday, November 20, 2009

Attention Runners!

For all the runners out there, mark your calendars for a must-attend seminar!

Empire Health and Wellness Center's very own Brendan Sullivan, PT and Bill Milhizer, PT will be leading an informative talk entitled "Strength Training for Runners," on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010.

The seminar will be held from 6:00 - 7:30 pm at Fleet Feet Sports, located at 155 Wolf Road.

For more information about this great, educational session or to RSVP please feel free to call EHWC at 518-690-4406 or visit our newly updated website,

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Healthy Travel Tips

As Turkey Day and the holiday season fast approaches, many of us are gearing up to hit the road and the friendly skies to visit friends and family or get away on a vacation.

For a lot of people, traveling is already a stressful and uncomfortable necessity and the last thing they need is more anxiety or to get sick! So below, we have outlined several tips for travelers to stay healthy while driving, riding and flying to their destinations.

1. Stay hydrated. Drinking water keeps your system "flushed" and working smoothly and also gives you energy.
2. Eat right. Try bringing nutritious snacks for your trip like fruit, veggies, crackers or trail mix. Also, refrain from eating heavy meals as they can make you lethargic and uncomfortable.
3. Exercise! Travelers should get up and move around every hour or two. Try walking up and down the aisles of an airplane, or walk around the rest area when driving. Movement can decrease sluggishness, muscle stiffness and even digestive problems.
4. Prevent stressful situations.To ease the mental strain of holiday travel, remember to plan ahead as much as possible. Pack well in advance, leave for the airport earlier than usual, plan for unexpected delays or problems and make back-up plans in case of emergencies.

These are just a few ideas for easing the stress and discomfort of holiday travel. Feeling fatigued, sick or stressed out can ruin the excitement of that special trip for the whole family. If you have any questions about this blog or our healthy travel tips, please feel free to contact Empire Health and Wellness Center at 518-690-4406 or visit our website at

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Open House Success!

Empire Health and Wellness Center would like to thank every member, guest and friend for attending our annual Open House last Thursday and making it a success.

We greatly enjoyed the opportunity to meet with potential new members and also mingle and catch-up with current and past members. The food was great and our Wii Boxing Match between Brendan and Bill was even better! (Check out the video below!)

We would also like to say a great big thank you to our Empire Health and Wellness Center staff for making this event such a hit! We couldn't have organized this event without each of you - so thank you.

If you attended the EHWC Open House and would like to share your thoughts (good or bad) , let us know! Send us an email or any photos you might have taken, we'd love to hear from you.

Check out our video from the open house here!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

EHWC Open House Tomorrow!

Empire Health and Wellness Center wants to remind you that our annual Open House is tomorrow and everyone is invited!

The Open House will be held tomorrow, Nov. 5 from 5-8pm at our office, located at 8 Century Hill Dr. Suite 201, Latham.

Join us for refreshments, tours of our facilities, demonstrations of our fitness equipment and Nintendo Wii Fit (which is good for regular exercise and rehab) and a chance to mingle with our amazing staff. We also have great door prizes for several lucky attendees.

Everyone from old friends and new members to those interested in physical or massage therapy, living a healthy lifestyle or learning more about EHWC is welcome to join us tomorrow!

For more information, feel free to visit our new website, or give us a call at 690-4406. See you there!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Check out our new website!

We are so excited to announcing the launch of our new website!

At you can access our blog, Feel Fit for Life, read the latest news and information, and learn all about physical and massage therapy and Empire Health and Wellness Center.

From our site, you can also connect to us via Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn and Youtube.

Visit our site now and let us know what you think!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Easily and Naturally Combat Fatigue

We have all had those days of feeling completely wiped out, exhausted and tired. Your body doesn't want to work and your mind isn't as sharp as it usually is. Why is that and how can we combat those feelings naturally?

Fatigue can be triggered by a lack of sleep, sickness, stress and the weather and it can wreak havoc on your system and your life. But below, we have outlined several ways for you to fight the feelings of fatigue and get energized.
  • Get enough sleep. Simple enough of course, but getting the proper amount of sleep can be the most important part of your day. Sleep recharges your body and restores brain function much like recharging a battery. Some poeple can function on 6 hours of sleep, while others need 8-10. Understand your body and try to get the right amount of rest you need.
  • Eat right. The foods you eat and when you eat them can determine your energy level throughout the day. Because food is the fuel your body run on, it is important to eat "fuels" that last the longest, like complex carbohydrates (grains, cereal and starchy veggies). Simple sugars, found in candy and sweets, can spike and lower your blood sugar levels suddenly, leaving you feeling tired and sluggish.
  • Exercise! Of course exercise can help you control your waist line, but it can also combat fatigue. Vigorous activity wakes up the nervous system and speeds up your metabolic rate, leaving you more energized.
  • Get a massage. Massages are a great way to reduce your stress level, calm you senses and rejuvenate the body. By stimulating the body's blood circulation, massages revive tired muscles and minds.
These are just a few ways to combat the overwhelming feelings of fatigue associated with stress, lack of rest and a poor diet. Of course, chronic fatigue can be a sign of a more serious problem, so consult your physician or Empire Health and Wellness Center (518-690-4406) for more information.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Preparing for an Autumn Hike

Fall is always my favorite time of year. The leaves are turning colors, the air is crisp and the weather is still nice enough to enjoy some last minute outdoor activities before the first signs of winter arrive.

Hiking is a very popular activity all year round, and especially during the fall months. Because it is a physical activity and can be strenuous, depending on the terrain, it is important that you prepare for hiking as you would for any other exercise routine.

  • Stretch and warm-up before you begin. As always, both are important to preparing your muscles and preventing injuries during physical work.
  • Hydrate! Bring water with you during a hike and drink, drink, drink. Staying hydrated will keep your body cool and lubricate your joints.
  • Choose your hike carefully. Research various peak, terrains and trails until you find one that suits your ability level. Hiking a trail that is too steep or too strenuous for you can lead to injury.
  • Don't over pack. Only bring the essential on your hike and remember to wear both straps if you are carrying a back pack. Unevenly distributed weight, or a load that is too heavy can cause you to loose your balance or even lead to back pain and injury.
  • Wear the proper attire. Wearing shoes that are the correct size and that are designed for hiking can save your feet from aches, pains and blisters. Also, the weather in the fall can be unpredictable, so bring extra layers of clothing.
Hiking is a great way to enjoy the outdoors while being physically active, too. But remember to consult your physician or Empire Health and Wellness Center (518-690-4406) before you begin a new type of exercise regimen, even hiking.

Also, for more information, visit Adirondack Sports and Fitness!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Healthy, Happy Feet

Feet are often the most under appreciated part of the human body. While they offer us a strong, steady base to stand on, move us from point A to B, and act as shock absorbers for the rest of our body, they spend most of their time in the dark under wraps.

The average person can walk between 2 and 3 times around the earth in their lifetime. That means a lot of wear and tear on the 26 bones, 33 joints and 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments of just one foot. By taking care of your tootsies, you can minimize the risk of foot injury, pain and ailments that come with age and overuse. Below are a few ways to keep your feet healthy and happy.

  • Wear proper sized shoes. Make sure to purchase shoes that offer your toes enough wiggle room, provide proper arch and heel support and remember that you could be a different size in a different brand.
  • Exercise! Excess weight can put a great deal of stress on your feet. Exercise can keep your weight under control, while also stretching and strengthening the muscles of your feet.
  • Maintain good hygiene. Keeping feet washed, dry, clean and free from fungus can go a long way in keeping them healthy.
  • Don't ignore the pain. If you have pain in your feet, consult your physician or Empire Health and Wellness Center. Avoiding the problem can often make it worse.
Unhealthy feet can lead to an unhealthy body, so keep these tips in mind and take care of these under appreciated extremities. If you would like more information, or would like to arrange a consultation, please call Empire Health and Wellness Center at 518-690-4406.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Exercises to Relieve Tennis Elbow

Elbow tendonitis (epicondylitis) is a very pesky problem experienced by both amateur and professional athletes. While both types of players suffer from different kinds of stresses, medial and lateral, the problem is the same – pain and immobility.

Lateral stresses, most common in amateur tennis players, are caused by overuse of the extensor tendons of the forearm. Medial stresses are less common and occur with wrist flexor activities.

Below is a list of exercises that can be helpful in improving your flexibility, strength and endurance to prevent or help you recover from tennis elbow.

  • Wrist Extension - With palm facing downward and forearm supported on knee or table, place 1 pound weight in hand. Raise and lower wrist slowly 10 times, repeat 3 times.
  • Wrist Flexion – With palm facing upward and forearm supported on knee or table, place 1 pound weight in hand. Bend up and lower wrist slowly 10 times, repeat 3 times.
  • Finger Extension – Place a rubber band (or two for more resistance) around all five fingertips. Spread fingers 25 times, repeat 3 times.
  • Ball Squeeze - Place rubber ball or tennis ball in palm of hand. Squeeze 25 times, repeat 3 times. If painful, try a folded sponge or piece of foam.
  • Massage – This is a great way to stimulate blood flow reduce the creation of damaging scar tissue and can reduce inflammation.

Remember, elbow tendonitis isn’t only caused by playing tennis. Golf, racquet ball, baseball and any other activity that puts intense strain on the elbow can cause this malady. Also, tennis elbow can become a chronic condition and should be treated seriously. Consult your physician or schedule a consultation with Empire Health and Wellness Center (518-690-4406) if you experience this condition and before you begin these exercises or any treatment for tendon strains.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

National Physical Therapy Month!

Empire Health and Wellness Center is excited to say that October is National PT Month!

The human body is a complex network of muscles, joints, nerves, tissue and bones. When you or someone you love suffers an injury or is recovering from surgery, consider physical therapy as a road to recovery. Physical therapy can reduce your pain, increase your range of motion and flexibility often without the use of medication.

Empire HWC would like to thank all of our friends, patients and members for their support throughout the years. Your well being is our success. If you have a positive story of recovery that you would like to share with Empire HWC, please let us know! We are looking for patient and member testimonials and would appreciate your help.

For more information about how physical therapy can help you, give Empire Health and Wellness Center a call at (518) 690-4406.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Healing Touch

These days, getting a massage isn't just a way to unwind and relax after a stressful work week. With more research being done on the healthful benefits of massage, health care providers and patients alike are turning to massage to treat a wide variety of ailments.

We already know that massage relaxes our tired muscles, decreases our stress level and can even rejuvenate us, but below is a list of more surprising benefits of massage therapy:
  • Lessens migraine headache pain and sleep disturbances
  • Relieves severe premenstrual syndrome
  • Enhances immunity by stimulating lymph flow
  • Increases circulation by pumping oxygen and blood into tissue and vital organs
  • Decreases aches, stiffness and pain in arthritis sufferers
  • Increases pulmonary function and peak air flow in asthmatics
  • Reduces pain, itching and anxiety in burn victims

With all of these benefits and more, it's no surprise that a recent study found that a majority of primary and family care physicians would recommend and encourage their patients to seek massage as a part of their therapy treatment.

If you are interested in learning more about massage and how our physical therapists integrate massage therapy into our rehabilitation programs, let us know! Call Empire Health and Wellness Center (518) 690-4406 for more information.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Healthy Seminars For Women

When it comes to your health, information is key. Being informed is a great way to learn more about potential prevention, medication, treatment, etc. for yourself or someone you love. Below are two upcoming seminars that are a must-attend for women.

  • "Cancer: Reduce your risk by 70%" - hosted by the Albany Medical Center. This FREE seminar will offer 7 simple ways to reduce your cancer risk by70%. Seating is limited, so register at by Friday, Nov. 6.
Thursday, November 12, 5-7 pm
The Desmond
660 Albany Shaker Rd. Albany

  • A Celebration of Women Conference - hosted by St. Peter's Health Care Services. This conference is an opportunity for women of the Capital Region to learn, laugh and to seek a healtier, happier lifestyle. Registration is $45 per person, includes afternoon sessions, dinner and keynote presentation. Please visit to register, view more information and an agenda of events.
Tuesday, October 27
Albany Marriott
189 Wolf Rd. Albany

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Exercising After Injury

Many people wonder whether it is safe to return to or begin exercising after suffering an injury. While it can be a daunting task, exercise is generally a great way to improve your overall health and to heal your injured muscles or joints.

Exercise increases the flow of blood and oxygen through the body and the working muscles, promoting faster healing. Also, utilizing exercise for therapeutic purposes is the basis for many interventions used in physical therapy.

When you first become physically active after an injury, it is important to keep the following tips in mind:

  • Take it slow and pace yourself. Don't try to pick up where you left off physically before you were injured.
  • Warm up for 5 minutes prior to stretching to ensure you maximize your muscles ability to stretch and work.
  • Stretch, stretch, stretch before you being working out.
  • Avoid compensating for your injury. Your body naturally protects its weak areas, which can do harm to another body part - so be aware of how your body is moving.
  • Listen to your body and cease any activities that cause pain.
  • Cool down for 5 minutes at the end of any exercise to lower your heart rate and reduce lactic acid in your muscles.

And remember, every person and affliction is different. So if necessary schedule an appointment with your physician and consider a consultation with Empire Health & Wellness Center before you restart any exercise regimen.

Until next time,


Relaunching Our Blog!

We are so pleased to announce the relaunching of our blog, Feel Fit for Life! This blog will offer healthy news and information to help improve your fitness level and your function.

Check back often to watch videos and read helpful articles, studies and tips to use in your every-day life in route to becoming a better, healthier you!

And remember, your thoughts are important to us. If there is a subject you want to learn more about, let us know!

Until next time,

Empire Health and Wellness Center

Monday, March 9, 2009

Fun with the Stability Ball (see below for link to video demonstration)

Whether you call them a stability ball, Swiss ball, or exercise ball, there are several key benefits to exercising with a ball while at home or at the gym.

Stability Ball Benefits

The ball works core muscles in almost every exercise when it is used. It challenges your balance by working groups of muscles at one time and forces your body to balance itself. This is the key to functional training. By forcing your body to balance itself, your core will be prepared to support your body in whatever activity you do.

Several benefits of the ball include the following:

1. The ball can taken away on a trip, used at home, or at your gym.
2. Stability ball training is appropriate and fun for all ages and fitness levels.
3. An exercise ball is inexpensive and requires little if any maintenance.
4. The ball is has many therapeutic benefits key to preventing injuries.

Stability Ball Exercise Video & Considerations

You can view several exercises on in this video of several exercises including wall ball squats, wall ball push ups, and bridging on the ball. As always, consult your physician before starting or modifying an exercise program. For more information on stability exercises contact our office at (518) 690-4406.

Click arrow to start video.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The New Year is here...

Each January we tend to make resolutions. The problem is that we often don't make those resolutions our #1 priority and ultimately they don't get fulfilled. The treadmill of life keeps us busy with a host of obligations but, in the midst of all that, please don't put your own health and well-being at the bottom of your "to do" list.

We can help you get on the right path - through physical therapy, fitness training or a combination of the two. Our professional staff includes physical therapists and personal trainers who all are devoted to helping you achieve a healthier mind, body and spirit in 2009.

We are working on some videos which we'll post here that will demonstrate some of the ways we help our patients and gym members regain their full range of mobility and strength.

Please call us at 518-690-4406 or email me directly at
Be well,