Just Three Things – Exercise

Just Three Things – Exercise

by Abby Magness, ACSM, C-EP
Fitness Director for Mission Fitness

  • Cardio
    1. Adults should get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.
    2. This can be 30 to 60 minutes three times a week at moderate intensity or 20 to 60 minutes three times a week at vigorous-intensity.
  • Strength Training/Weight Lifting
    1. Adults should train each major muscle group two or three days each week using a variety of exercises and equipment.
    2. Very light or light intensity is best for older persons or previously sedentary adults starting exercise.
    3. Two to four sets of each exercise will help adults improve strength and power.
    4. For each exercise, eight to twelve repetitions improve strength and power, ten to fifteen repetitions improve strength in middle-age and older persons starting exercise, and fifteen to twenty repetitions improve muscular endurance.
  • Flexibility Training
    1. Adults should do flexibility exercises at least two or three days each week to improve range of motion.
    2. Each stretch should be held for ten to thirty seconds to the point of tightness or slight discomfort.
    3. Repeat each stretch two to four times, accumulating 60 seconds per stretch.
    4. Static, dynamic, ballistic and PNF stretches are all effective. (PNF Stretches are Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation stretches. This is “a method of stretching muscles to maximize their flexibility that is often performed with a partner or trainer and that involves a series of contractions and relaxations with enforced stretching during the relaxation phase. Definition source: Merriam-Webster)
    5. Flexibility exercise is most effective when the muscle is warm. Try light aerobic activity or a hot bath to warm the muscles before stretching.




Smoke in the air – What can be done?

Smoke in the air – What can be done?

by Timothy Marquez, BA, RRT – MCH Pulmonary Patient Educator, Cardiopulmonary

As most of us in West Texas woke up this morning, we found there to be a certain thickness in the air, plus an aroma … components from a nearby fire. Throughout the day, the haziness in the air, along with the strong winds, blew in this smoke from the blazing fires north of us. We hold those in the immediate area of the fire in our thoughts as they deal with damaged properties and loss of life in the region that is battling the wildfires.

The smoke that has filled the West Texas air is an irritant and a by-product of fire. It contains various components such as carbon monoxide, which is hazardous to your health. Smoke can cause issues to the body of any individual – even healthy individuals. However, smoke can cause more issues to those with respiratory conditions, such as Asthma and COPD. The Asthma and COPD populations already tend to have a hard time breathing and smoke as an irritant can cause Asthma Attacks and COPD flare ups.

What can be done?

Consult your primary care provider on whether or not you need to up your dose of Asthma/COPD medications. If you can stay indoors and away from the smoke outside, do so. If you must be outside for any reason, then wear a respiratory mask to help filter the air you breathe.

Children who have Asthma and are at schools should stay indoors because the smoke in the outside air can bring about Asthma attacks. As a precaution, parents should send inhalers with their children if the medication is not already with the school nurse.

What about allergies?

As mentioned above, smoke is an irritant to the body. It not only irritates the airways, but it can cause mild to severe allergy symptoms including itchy water eyes, itchy throat, cough and quite possibly an allergic reaction.

What can be done?

If you are not regularly taking allergy medicines, but know your triggers, you might need to take allergy medicine during this time. For example, if you take medicine for seasonal allergies, you can take that those allergy medications during this time. There are many over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medications from which to choose. Examples include Allegra, Claritin and Zyrtec. If you are concerned about whether or not you should take any allergy medication, please consult your primary care provider.


MCHS Cancer Recovery & Rehabilitation Program

MCHS Cancer Recovery & Rehabilitation Program

by Denise Minyard, MS,CCC-SLP
MCH Rehab Program Manager for Outpatient Therapy Services

If you or someone you love have been through cancer treatments and now have problems you didn’t have before your diagnosis, there is help available. Especially if these problems interfere with your ability to function or with your quality of life, you are a candidate for the MCH Cancer Recovery & Rehabilitation. Cancer rehabilitation can improve your quality of life – whether you are going through treatment now, finished recently or long ago.

The MCHS Cancer Recovery & Rehabilitation Program was formerly known as “The STAR Program”. It is designed to help cancer patients overcome the side effects of cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation. The program helps cancer patients/survivors in the following ways:

  • Empower and give back a sense of control
  • Reduce anxiety and common fears
  • Provide the knowledge/tools/exercises to help with physical impairments such as neuropathy, pain difficulty swallowing, weakness/fatigue, distress, lymphedema
  • Ability to return to independent living
  • Provide a better quality of life

The services available through the MCHS Cancer Recovery & Rehabilitation Program include:

Physical Therapy

  • Increase energy and endurance
  • Alleviate/manage pain
  • Increase strength/decrease weakness
  • Increase balance/decrease falls
  • Treat lymphedema
  • Treat sensory problems/neuropathy
  • Improve range of motion

Occupational Therapy

  • Improve shoulder range of motion
  • Alleviate/manage shoulder and upper arm pain
  • Improve ability to perform activities of daily living (dressing/bathing/driving, etc.)

Speech Therapy

  • Improve speech and swallowing
  • Improve cognitive skills (memory, problem solving for activities of daily living skills

Nutritional Counseling

  • Improve nutrition for overall health
  • Diet recommendations for changes in taste due to treatments

Mental Health Counseling

  • Reduce anxiety and depression
  • Restore a sense of control
  • Increase coping skills

Smoking Cessation

  • Improve overall health
  • Reduce probability of cancer reoccurrence

We believe that every cancer survivor, whether he/she is currently in treatment, in remission or living with cancer, should be given the chance to heal as much as possible and live life to its highest potential. For more information about the MCH Cancer Recovery & Rehabilitation program, call Denise Minyard, MS,CCC-SLP, at (432) 640-1230.

MEDICAL MATTERS: It’s blood pressure 102

MEDICAL MATTERS: It’s blood pressure 102

As seen in the Odessa American “Medical Matters”: http://www.oaoa.com/people/health/article_142b7e0e-eb15-11e6-8175-e70526b7ef79.html

by Dr. Fernando Boccalandro

In my first article I discussed the basics of blood pressure and the definition of normal blood pressures values according to current guidelines. In this second article I will address some practical tips and tricks, to maintain an adequate blood pressure control.

Blood pressure tends to fluctuate due to multiple factors that affect the blood pressure including stress, level of activity, salt intake, fluid intake, etc. For my patients the goal is to keep their average blood pressure within normal levels over time, rather than focus on one, or another individual blood pressure number specifically. Think about the average of the blood pressures as the number to go by.

What are my pearls of wisdom for our readers, after diagnosing and treating hundreds of patients with elevated blood pressure?

  1. Know your numbers:Make sure that you measure and know what your blood pressure is, at least once or twice a year if you do not have hypertension. It is useful to have an automated blood pressure machine at home, especially if you are prescribed blood pressure medications to assure is well controlled. Bring your blood pressure machine to your appointments; to make sure is well calibrated and you blood pressure measurements.
  1. Do your homework:Keeping a diet low in salt (less than 2 grams of sodium a day), a healthy weight, decrease levels of stress and regular moderate exercise (at least 150 minutes weekly), can contribute to lower your blood pressure and will make you feel better. Take your medications as prescribed and do not discontinue your blood pressure medications without discussing it first with your healthcare provider.
  1. Plan for the long term:Hypertension in the majority of patients is a chronic disease, like diabetes, high cholesterol, etc. So plan for a lifetime commitment to monitor and control your blood pressure, it is well worthwhile to prevent any adverse consequences of uncontrolled hypertension.
  1. Get the best team:Successful blood pressure management is teamwork. It is important to involve your family to help you succeed in this lifetime goal if you have elevated blood pressure. And it is very important to be in close contact with your health care professional, to coach and advise you regarding goals and optimization of your blood pressure levels over time.

Don’t let your guard down with high-blood pressure! And please contact your primary care doctor if you have questions or concerns about your heart health.


Creating a Plan

Creating a Plan

by John Douthitt

General Manager – Mission Fitness at the MCH Center for Health & Wellness 

How many times have you started a new workout program in January only to fall off the exercise wagon by the end of February? It happens to a lot of people when goals are unrealistic or plans aren’t well thought out and organized. Get focused this year and use these tips to create a workout plan that you can stick to through the tough first few weeks.

Create a Weekly Schedule: Long term goals are great, but it is also important to break these down into weekly expectations. Write down a weekly workout plan and schedule it on your calendar like any other appointment or meeting and keep it! When planning your workouts, remember that the Center for Disease Control recommends 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week. Split that into sessions that fit your schedule. You could choose five, thirty minute sessions, or maybe 15 minutes Monday through Thursday and an hour on Saturdays and Sundays.  The choice is yours just pick a plan that works for you. Add in two strength sessions per week and you will be meeting the exercise requirements for a healthy body.

Record Your Exercise: Tracking your workout sessions and progress will increase your motivation to stick to your new schedule. Log your workouts on any number of new apps for your Smartphone or just use good old pen and paper. Either option will hold you accountable and allow you to follow your progress.

Try a Group Exercise Class: Group classes are ideal because there is usually something for everyone and this is a great way to make you friends. The social aspect of working out helps people acclimate to a class, helps you meet new friends and can provide you with an accountability partner. Add a class once or twice a week to cross train and add variety to your program. Plus, on those days when you don’t feel like creating your own workout, you can just show up and follow the guidance of a group fitness instructor.

Increase Intensity Over Time: One of the biggest mistakes many people make in starting up a new exercise program is jumping back into exercise at the level and intensity you were able to maintain years ago. This is a common reason many people do not stick to their plan. Don’t jump on a stationary bike, for example, and go full tilt with a difficult preprogrammed workout, or decide to bench press the same amount of weight you did ten years ago. Doing more than you are ready for might make you throw in the towel. Hop on a treadmill, elliptical trainer or other equipment and work up to the intensity that is right for you. As your strength and endurance improves, you can increase your speed, intensity, duration and resistance and achieve those goals that always seemed unattainable.

Just Three Things

As we start this new year, we need to find a way to really live healthier lifestyles. Often times, New Year Resolutions are large in number and vast in scope. Let’s simplify that to “Just Three Things”.

Today’s MCHS Healthy & Well Blog is from Mia Gibson RD, LD, CDE, Dietitian at Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab at the Center for Health and Wellness. She recommends the following three things that will lead you to a more nutritionally complete way of life.

  1. Add one serving a day of fruits and vegetables – fresh, frozen or canned (no salt if possible).
  2. Reduce sugars- replace a sugar-sweetened product such as a beverage with water or unsweetened option such as iced tea.
  3. Try cooking one additional meal at home instead of eating out. Check out the Web site www.oldwayspt.org to purchase a four-week Mediterranean meal plan with new recipes. They have many free, wonderful recipes also on cooking vegetables and trying new foods.


Mia also recommends that you try this recipe from Kellogg’s for Original Bran Muffins. (Source: https://www.kelloggs.com/en_US/recipes/original-muffins-recipe.html)

Original Bran Muffins: These simple bran muffins have a wholesome, nutty, packed-with-bran taste. Thanks to All-Bran® cereal, these little gems have fiber plus essential vitamins and minerals. A healthy and delicious way to start your day.


  • 1 1/2 cups Kellogg’s® All-Bran® Bran Buds® cereal
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups Kellogg’s® All-Bran® Original cereal
  • 1/2 cup sugar


  1. Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. In large mixing bowl, combine KELLOGG’S ALL-BRAN cereal and milk. Let stand about 2 minutes or until cereal softens. Add egg and shortening. Beat well. Add flour mixture, stirring only until combined. Portion evenly into twelve 2 1/2-inch muffin-pan cups coated with cooking spray.
  3. Bake at 400° F about 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm.

Servings: 12

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes


Molasses: Decrease milk to 1/2 cup. Add 1/2 cup molasses to KELLOGG’S ALL-BRAN cereal with milk. Omit sugar. Follow directions above.

Toasted Cinnamon: Split cooled muffins in half crosswise. Spread cut surface liberally with butter. Sprinkle with mixture of 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tablespoon cinnamon. Place buttered sides up on broiler rack. Toast under broiler for 2 to 3 minutes or until bubbly and browned.

The Deadliest Days

The Deadliest Days

by Brenda Myers, RN, BSN
Divisional Director of the Center for Heart Disease at Medical Center Hospital


Each year around the holidays, the media contacts the local cardiac experts about “Holiday Heart Attacks.”  It’s easy to dismiss the story as, “well, it must be a slow news day,” and perhaps it is a slow news day … but the reality is that around the holidays, there is a spike in heart attacks and heart problems. In fact, Christmas Day, the day after Christmas and January 1 are identified as the deadliest days of the year for heart disease. There are fifty percent (50%) more heart attacks in the winter months than in the summer months. Cold weather is hard on your heart and arteries … and when those arteries constrict the chance of having a heart attack increases. Stress, disruption in our normal routines and overeating and overdrinking all pre-dispose us to coronary events – and we do all of those things during the holidays. Many people do not seek treatment right away because they attribute their symptoms to indigestion or don’t want to be a bother. In the cardiac world, we have a saying – “time is muscle”. The longer a patient waits to seek treatment, the worse the outcome.

In addition to heart attacks, otherwise normal patients can develop abnormal fast heart rhythms after indulging in too much alcohol. And more recent studies also name marijuana as a contributor to fast heart rhythms. All of this creates an environment where anyone can end up in the hospital …and nobody really wants to spend the holidays in the hospital.

A few key things to avoiding the hospital:

Keep your heart healthy all year, not just during the holidays. Exercise at least thirty (30) minutes three to five times a week—and don’t miss just because it’s the holidays.

Don’t forget your medications. If you travel during the holidays, make sure you have your medications before you head out.

Eat and drink in moderation. Focus on spending time with friends and family, not on food and drink. All of the holiday foods that we love are high in fats, sugar and salt.  It’s the perfect storm for a heart event. No one expects that you won’t have a piece of fudge, but there’s a big difference between a piece of fudge and a plate of fudge.

Don’t stress out. We overload our plates literally (with food) and figuratively (with activities) during the holiday season. Set a schedule and stick to it. Don’t spend more or do more than you can during the holiday season.


Consider getting your Heart Health Checkup. For only $75 you will receive the following screenings so you will know your numbers!

  • Calcium Score, a fast, non-invasive, CT screen of your heart
  • Blood Pressure
  • Weight
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cholesterol and Triglycerides

No physician’s order required for this test and no insurance will be filed.

Call 432-640-2255 to make your appointment today!

The Benefits of Exercise on Diabetes

The Benefits of Exercise on Diabetes

by John Douthitt

General Manager – Mission Fitness* at the MCH Center for Health & Wellness

Regular activity is a key component of managing diabetes. When you are active, your cells become more sensitive to insulin allowing them to work more efficiently. Your cells also remove glucose from the blood using a mechanism totally separate from insulin during exercise.

Besides lowering one’s blood glucose and thus improving their A1C score, regular physical activity can help your body manage many health conditions. Some of the benefits of regular physical activity are the following:

  • Lowers blood glucose levels.
  • Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Lowers one’s risk for heart disease and stroke.
  • Burns calories to assist in maintaining a healthy body weight.
  • Increase in energy throughout the day.
  • Improved sleep.
  • Stress reduction.
  • Improves circulation and cardiovascular output.
  • Strengthens muscle and bones.
  • Keeps your joints flexible.
  • Can improve balance thus reducing the likelihood of falls.
  • Improve one’s quality of life.

*Mission Fitness, the most advanced health and fitness complex in the Permian Basin, incorporates state-of-the-art facilities with the most cutting-edge training equipment available today. Whether you are training as part of a medical treatment plan, or just want to stay in the best physical condition you can, Mission Fitness is perfect for you. If you would like a tour of Mission Fitness, please visit the facility located on Hwy. 191 at Faudree Rd. (8050 E. Hwy 191) in Odessa, TX. For more information, call 432-640-6400.

Diabetes – Know your Numbers!

Diabetes – Know your Numbers!

by Ryan O. Baldomero DNP, MSHS, APRN, ACNS-BC, AACC

Director of Chronic Disease Management for MCHS Diabetes Center and Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Screening for diabetes has been made as easy and simple as a finger stick. With the many screenings that we have, checking your blood sugar results can be done in a matter of seconds.

But, are the numbers accurate?

Yes, of course! What we do not realize is that the result reflects your blood sugar at that particular second in time.

Do our Blood sugars fluctuate?

Yes, they do! What we don’t know is that our blood sugars are affected whether we check them before and after a meal. In adults, it would be safe to say to check your blood sugar two hours after a meal. However, this can also be affected by several factors as portions of the meal, fat and carbohydrate content. Because of these factors, part of the recommendation is also to know your blood sugar numbers after you have fasted for at least five to six hours.

It is important to know your numbers and have these with you as you visit your Primary Care Provider.

Knowledge is Power and Prevention is Wisdom!

Five for Five

“Five for Five—Five Exercises to complete in Five Minutes”

by Abby Magness, ACSM-HFS – Fitness Director at Mission Fitness

Nowadays we all feel so rushed for time! We have work to finish up, kids to take to practice and laundry that needs to be folded. How are you supposed to fit a workout in between all of that? Here are five exercises that are effective and can be done anywhere with no equipment! Try doing each of these exercises for one minute each before moving to the next exercise. Complete this circuit 3-4 times, depending on how you are feeling.

       1. Bodyweight Squats

Make sure you are driving all of your weight through your heels and keeping your knees behind your toes as you sit your glutes back towards your heels.


2. Push Ups

Keep your shoulders and hips in one line as you drop your chest to the floor. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees and press back up. Too hard on your toes? No problem! Drop to your knees and focus on keeping that solid alignment as you bend into your elbows.


       3. Plank with Alternating Shoulder Taps

Make sure to keep your hips level and your bellybutton pulled into your spine. Stacked joints are always stronger so make sure to keep your shoulders directly over your wrists.


       4. Walking Lunges

Bending both legs into a 90 degree angle, keep your weight driving into your front heel. Step together and repeat on the opposite side.


       5. Tricep Dips off of a bench or chair

Find a chair or bench and place your palms behind you with your fingers facing towards you (as shown below). Bend your elbows and then extend by contracting your triceps and pressing into a straight arm press. Repeat.