Winter Fitness Ideas to Boost Scar Healing

Winter Fitness Ideas to Boost Scar Healing

Exercise is a great way to reduce scarring. Exercise promotes circulation, which means more oxygen gets to the scar – a very important part of healing. (Incidentally, this is why smoking is linked to worse scarring; it lowers oxygen levels in the blood.) Another benefit of exercise is that it encourages you to drink more water, and adequate hydration, overall, optimizes every bodily function, including healing.

However, in the winter, it can be hard to convince yourself to get off the couch, especially when the couch is so warm and the outside is so cold. No worries – stay warm and toasty while you get moving with these winter fitness tips.

Weight Training
Weight training should always be a part of your fitness routine, as it offers many health and weight loss benefits. And winter is the perfect time to start or step up your strength-building program. You can use your own body weight, or you can use equipment such as dumbbells, barbells, Kettle bells, or cables.

Dust off that DVD you’ve been meaning to use or look online for exercise ideas and tips on how to do them safely and correctly for maximum results. Start with lower weights and progress gradually. If you want to get out of the house, or need a bit more formal instruction on getting started with weights, this is a great activity to take up at the gym as well.

Pilates
If you’ve never tried Pilates, winter is a great time to start. It is usually done indoors (although you certainly can take it outside when irresistible weather returns). Pilates focuses on strengthening and stretching the whole body, bringing scar-healing, oxygen-rich blood rushing to your muscles and skin and making you look and feel wonderful. Instructional Pilates videos can offer a wide range of guided workouts from beginner level through advanced.

Hot Yoga
When temperatures plummet, hot yoga can be just the thing to get you off the couch and heated up in no time. Hot yoga is a type of yoga performed in a very warm (105 degrees) and humid studio. Its formal name is Bikram yoga. Hot yoga is typically a 90-minute program consisting of 26 poses. The poses are challenging and will give all major muscle groups a great workout, and the heat ensures that you sweat plenty. This all serves to raise your heart rate and strengthen your muscles.

With hot yoga, if you have any health concerns at all, check with your doctor before beginning. Hot yoga is probably not a good option for anyone with heart disease or problems with dehydration, or who have had heatstroke or other heat-related illness before. It is also not for pregnant women. For others, however, hot yoga offers a great workout along with the refreshing and focusing benefits of yoga.

There are plenty of options for staying in shape while staying away from winter’s chill – but if you do want some fresh air, put on some layers and get outside anyway. Walking or running in the cold is very invigorating and refreshing for some people. Also try to find a workout buddy – a friend who will make the commitment with you to stay on top of your fitness goals all winter long.

Have a question about your scar? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to answer.

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What Affects Wound Healing?

What Affects Wound Healing?

Wound healing is a natural biological process in the human body. For a wound to heal completely, several different stages of healing must take place. Under ideal circumstances, this happens relatively quickly and without complications. There are, however, several factors that can affect how well a wound heals and the appearance of the scar that will form.

Oxygenation
Oxygen is critically important in all wound-healing processes. It helps prevent infection and promotes several different healing processes. When circulation is poor and the wound does not receive sufficient oxygen, healing is greatly impaired. Proper oxygen levels can be maintained by exercising regularly and not smoking. See your doctor for any wound that is not healing properly to discuss options for more intensive oxygen therapies or other measures that may help.

Infection
Your skin keeps many organisms from entering your body, but when the skin is injured, those organisms are granted access to the underlying tissues. Even a minor infection can cause a wound to take longer to heal and affect the final appearance of the scar; an invasive infection can produce prolonged inflammation which, in extreme cases, cause the wound to enter a chronic state and fail to heal. For these reasons, it is extremely important to follow your doctor’s instructions closely after surgery or otherwise keep a wound clean and free of infection.

Age
Age is a major factor in wound healing – specifically, advanced age is a risk factor for delayed healing. Older people commonly notice that their wounds take longer to heal, but delayed wound healing is not the same as impaired wound healing or complications with wound healing. Older individuals may have delayed collagen-producing responses and other wound healing processes may also be slower. Exercise is one factor that can improve an older adult’s wound healing; this may be due to anti-inflammatory responses in the wound. Being aware of potential problems and taking proactive steps like exercising, eating well, and keeping a wound clean can improve the odds of a wound healing quickly and normally.

Read: Do Scars Grow with Age?

Stress
It has long been known that psychological stress can have a physical impact. One way in which stress can impact a person physically is by causing a delay in wound healing. Sometimes stress can take the form of a negative emotional state such as anxiety or depression, which can also affect physiological processes like wound healing – or behavioral patterns that can affect wound healing. For example, if a person is depressed, they may be more likely to neglect proper wound care, or if a person is anxious they may be more likely to smoke. Stress can also affect things like sleep patterns and diet, factors that also play important roles in wound healing.

These are just a few of the factors that affect wound healing; others include nutrition, whether a person smokes, diabetes, and exposure to UV rays, among others. Being informed and following healthy guidelines for proper healing can give you the best possible outcome when it comes to the healing of your wound and any lasting scarring.

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Fall Fitness Workouts for Better Scar Healing

Fall Fitness Workouts for Better Scar Healing

When it comes to dealing with the healing of scar tissue, exercise can be an invaluable tool to help in the process. With fall just around the corner and kids back in school, it is a great time to take up an exercise routine that can be healthy for your body, as well as to help with healing scars.

Zumba

Zumba is a high impact workout that combines a variety of dance styles into an aerobic, hard-hitting workout. This is an activity that is often done indoors at a local health club and allows for people to get a workout in no matter what time of year.

With such a high intensity workout, your heart rate is going to increase, causing more oxygen to flow through the bloodstream. This provides the scar tissue with the elements it needs to repair itself while the increase in blood flow removes any debris and byproduct from the healing process away, keeping the scar site clean.

Outdoor Running

Fall is a beautiful time to be outdoors. With the weather changing, the temperatures are pleasant and the colors are breathtaking as the leaves begin to change. For people that enjoy being outdoors, running is a great exercise for healing scars. Much like Zumba, it is a high impact workout that will increase breathing rates as well as increase blood flow in the body.

Another reason that running is such a great exercise is because when people’s heart rates increase their bodies produce less Cortisol, or what is commonly known as the “stress hormone.” People with lower stress hormone levels have shown to have better healing rates than those that have higher Cortisol levels.

Yoga

Stretching and massage are two of the most helpful things you can do for your body to promote scar healing. Yoga is a practice that incorporates flexibility, breathing, meditation, and balance to help center the body and mind at the same time. It is a calming practice that also will help to heal scar tissue.

Any time the scar tissue can be moved, stretched, rubbed, and warmed, it breaks down the hard tissues that cause the scar to be rigid or raised. Yoga is a great option for many people, especially post-surgery, because it is not a high intensity workout and can easily be tailored to fit the limitations of any individual. By incorporating yoga into a regular fitness routine, you are allowing the skin fibers to stretch and become more pliable with each session. Over time, the scar will become less hard and noticeably less visible.

Exercise can be a great way to help improve the look of scars. Incorporating a regular workout routine is going to strengthen the immune system and promote hydration. When our bodies work hard, we require more water, as well. Having a stronger immune system will allow the body to heal properly and reduce the appearance of scars. Just remember that it is always recommended that you contact a doctor prior to beginning any exercise regimen.

What is your favorite Fall fitness workout?

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photo credit: Ian Sane via photopin cc