Combating Health in the Digital Age — Podcast Interview with Dr. Anthony Manzella

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Topic: Combating Health in the Digital Age

Below you will find an easy to read transcript of Dr. Anthony Manzella’s interview on the razorcast™ monthly podcast. You can either watch the video to listen to the podcast or simply read the easy to follow transcript below. Enjoy!

Podcast Interview:

RC: Hello everyone. This is Liz Harvey coming to you from our razorcast™ studios in New York City where we are dedicated to bringing you top quality advice from many of the leading expert professionals across the United States.

In today’s episode, we are speaking with Dr. Anthony Manzella. Dr. Manzella is the director of Physical Therapy at Ferraro Spine & Rehabilitation which is a multi-specialty wellness facility serving northern NJ and the NY metro area for the past 18 years.

Dr. Anthony Manzella is a graduate of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.  He developed his passion for health and wellness by training and conditioning some of the area’s most successful middle school, high school and college athletes at the Parisi Speed School. Dr. Manzella is a Performance Enhancement Specialist and he routinely works with athletes as well as patients going through rehabilitation.

Dr. Manzella is widely considered to be one of the top doctors of physical therapy in the country and he is also a contributing member of our national network of industry professionals.

Today we are going to talk about a very important topic: Combating Health in the Digital Age – Risks of Sitting and Inactivity That Makes Us Unhealthy.

Hi Dr. Manzella. How are you today?

Dr. Anthony Manzella: Hi Liz. How are you doing?

RC: I’m doing great. Thanks so much for being here!

Dr. Anthony Manzella: I appreciate the call.

Question 1: What risk factors do people face from inactivity – from sitting too long in front of electronic devices and not exercising?

RC: Thanks so much. Our first question: The digital age has brought information and entertainment right into our laps. People do not have to leave their house to do their job, go to college or be entertained – What risk factors do people face from inactivity – from sitting too long in front of electronic devices and not exercising?

Dr. Anthony Manzella: Well that’s a great question. You know our jobs in life have really changed over the last hundred years and convenience comes at a cost. You know our body’s really biologically designed to move –  all organs, organ systems, your cells… everything requires movement. So when we’re not moving and we’re inactive, things start to go wrong. So that puts us at risk for a variety of different things. One being cardiovascular system issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol. You’re also at risk for obesity. There’s also mental issues with depression and anxiety. We’re also at risk for certain types of cancer such as lung, uterine, colon, breast cancer. And really where I kind of fit into the mold (I see this everyday) is patients developing orthopedic injuries such as lower back, neck, shoulder, hip injuries – the primary ones we see in the office. And you know I probably see about eight out of ten patients that we see here you know in some way, shape or form has to do with inactivity. Whether it’s a job where they sit all day or they’re a truck driver or a student that’s sitting in a chair at a desk all day. You know we’re just very inactive these days so we really need to find ways that we can become more active and less sedentary.

Question 2: Besides general health risks, have you seen specific injuries in people from too much inactivity?

RC: Okay and besides general health risks, have you seen specific injuries in people from too much inactivity?

Dr. Anthony Manzella: Yes and the biggest one that we see in our practice is primarily spine related issues such as disc herniation or degeneration and really it has to do with compression. See when you sit still for a long period of time the weight of your upper body and spine and head and upper extremities kind of compressing down through your pelvis into a chair creates almost, it’s like squeezing a piece of fruit and squeezing all the water and juice out of the fruit. The discs between our spinal segments are like sponges so without movement there’s no water that kind of goes in and out of the area. So they begin to degenerate and sometimes if they’re squeezed too long they start to herniate –  meaning the inner part of the disc starts to protrude outward and to compress onto the nerves that go out to the extremities and can cause radiating pain either down the legs or down the arms.

Question 3: If someone is working all day at a desk, in front of a screen or computer, how can they eliminate some of the risks associated with inactivity?

RC: Okay and you mentioned the risks of working at a desk all day so how can people eliminate some of the risks associated with this type of inactivity – working in front of a computer or a screen all day.

Dr. Anthony Manzella: I’m glad that you asked that because many patients ask us this question and the real key to it is that we have to work, we need to pay the bills, we need to have a living and we need to study to learn. So it requires us to sit and be still for extended periods of time. But what we can do is just get up regularly. So if you’re sitting for ten-fifteen minutes – get up, walk around, stand up, stretch. Just try to change positions as frequently as you can. So sit back, recline on your bed. If you’re on your lap top – stand up, put the computer on a higher surface so you can stand and change position.

The other thing is when you’re forced to sit – so we have many patients that are say a secretary where you have to sit for an extended period of time and they can’t really get up and move around every fifteen minutes. What you can do is create a pumping action in and out of the different areas of your body that are kind of stagnant and compressed from sitting still. So you can do what’s called an isometric contraction and it’s basically like a squeeze – like you’re squeezing your muscles. So you can do that like a ten second squeeze such as squeezing your glutes or squeezing your tush for about ten seconds or so and just do that repeatedly to just create a little bit of muscle activation, a little pumping action because muscles kind of act like pumps throughout your body so they can pump fluid, pump blood flow and nutrients to the various cells and that will help kind of offset that kind of static stress that happens when we sit still.

The other thing you can do is simply stretch at your desk. If you’re sitting at your chair, you can kind of bend forward towards your toes, you can kind of reach one arm up and kind of lift to the side, you can rotate in your seat, you can bring one leg up and cross it and alternate that. So just doing simple things like that can make a tremendous difference. And I guess the one thing that people should maybe look into is investing in either a standing or they even have treadmill desks that you can set up a treadmill underneath a higher level desk so you can walk at a very slow and it has a calorie burning and weight loss effect too if you are forced to be at a computer/at a desk for an extended period of time.

Question 4: Do you have advice for parents of kids who love to sit and play video games? 

RC: Alright and do you have any advice for parents of kids who love to sit and play video games?

Dr. Anthony Manzella: You know I get this question a lot. You know I like to think back when I was a kid. When I was a kid my mom used to kick me out of the house and say “go play.” And if I came back too early, they would say “nope it’s not five o’clock yet.” So I mean I grew up in a lake community where I was out on the lake. I’d be boating. I’d be swimming. I’d be riding my bike everywhere and it just seems like these days kids are a lot more sedentary and they’re playing video games, they’re on iPads, they’re on computers and really kids just need to be more active.

So the first advice I give is just to be an example for your kids. You know my father was into martial arts. He was a very active guy so I kind of followed his lead just seeing him being active and working out on a daily basis. So if you’re an example, it will show. It may not reflect right away into your children but later on it will.

The other thing is just to get them outside like my parents did. Just set an environment for them to play outside and also to limit their time, limit their exposure to using the computer and their cell phone. Limit it to a certain period of time or a certain time a day. Especially if it’s a beautiful day out, get the kid outside and limit the computer time to later on in the day when it’s dark out and they need to be indoors.

The other thing is to schedule active play or participate in different community activities and sports. Those are perfect activities for them. And the other thing is to kind of get involved. Something that I’ve recently found out about is there are some different communities around the nation that are now providing kids with standing desks and that allows them to focus better in school, to get out that excess energy. I think it can be very powerful in terms of challenging obesity. And really something you can get involved with is that and you can find out more information there’s a website – it’s called standupkids.org. You could find out more information on that. And the other thing is if you’re not sure of where to start your child, you can always seek the advice of professionals. Seek out your local physical therapist. If you’re in the New Jersey/New York area seek out me. I’d be happy to kind of get you on the right path and get your child moving in the right direction.

RC: Okay. Well, I’ll have to check out standupkids.org for sure.

Question 5: if someone has a very sedentary lifestyle and wants to become more active, what do you suggest they do to get started?

RC: Lastly, if someone has a very sedentary lifestyle and wants to become more active what do you suggest they do to get started?

Dr. Anthony Manzella: You know, just get educated. There’s a ton of information out there on the internet. Some of which is good, some of which is bad. But finding a professional in your community that you can trust is probably the best thing that you can do. Physical therapists are usually some of the best people to discuss this with, to seek advice from. The therapist can screen either you or your child, determine your risk for injury. And it’s better to kind of jump on things before they become big issues. So if you have a little bit of an ache or pain, it’s better to take care of it early. You know, it’s unfortunate but we see so many injures that have been with someone for years and they haven’t taken care of it. So kind of getting a jump on things early on would be very good. So I think definitely seeking out a skilled exercise physiologist, physical therapist would be the best base to start. Get educated on what steps you can take to get more active and start feeling better.

RC: Well, thank you so much Dr. Manzella.

Dr. Anthony Manzella: Oh my pleasure.

RC: We know you are extremely busy, so we just want to thank you for your time and for our listeners across the country, if you are interested in speaking with Dr. Anthony Manzella, you can either go online at www.ferrarospine.com  or call (973) 478-2212 to schedule an appointment.

On behalf of our entire team at razorcast™, we want to thank you for listening and we look forward to bringing you more top quality content from our country’s leading industry professionals.

Click here to receive more information & to schedule your consultation.

 

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