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Benefits of Rest Days

Rest days are just as important as working out. Sometimes the mindset is to go hard every day in the gym to hit your goals, and your body isn’t getting the time to recover from all your hard work. There are many benefits to rest days when you’re toning up, losing weight or maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

We need to allow time for our bodies to rest between workouts. Not giving yourself rest days is doing more harm than it is good. Movement is good every day, but intense training shouldn’t be done every day.

Training your body without giving it the opportunity for rest can lead to many harmful side effects including: decreased performance, fatigue, poor sleeping patterns and more. Studies have shown that two active rest days, weekly is ideal for many people. Consult your trainer or physical therapist to see how many rest days would be best for your body.

One of the harmful side effects to over training is often times; injury. When your body is over worked without given the proper time to recover, you may risk the possibility or injuring yourself, resulting in staying away from gym for much longer than your rest days.

You could also become burnt out from constant training. This can become a prolonged cycle of rollercoaster weight loss from going too hard and stopping and likely doomed to be repeated. Your rest days will fit well within your schedule to keep you living a healthy lifestyle that can be done for the rest of your life.

Resting is just as important as working out as it is an equal part of building muscle, strength and endurance. Working out breaks down your body tissues and the rest days allow your muscles, nerves, bones and tissues time to repair. This cycle is how stronger muscles are made so taking away a part of that, will decrease your strength.

This regeneration process also requires food, water, sleep and the right nutrients like protein and vitamins to grow back stronger. Without the combination of all these things the body cannot function properly within your training process.

Giving your body all the proper foundation, it needs will keep you healthier for longer. Working out is a stepping stone for wellness and with that comes rest days. Keep this in mind the next time you find yourself in the gym for days in a row for an upcoming event, vacation or holiday and remember your hard work will pay off with the rest days.

Why You Should Take Vitamin C Daily

Think vitamin C is only good to take in the winter when you feel the sniffles coming? Think again. Vitamin C is one of the safest and most effective nutrients, some experts say. While you may think it’s only good to drink mixed in your water to avoid sickness, it also has other benefits and reasons why you should take vitamin C daily.

You may know that vitamin C fights off immune system deficiencies, but did you know it helps with prenatal health and eye disease? Experts are even saying the more they study vitamin C the more they are uncovering new benefits to it and are linking it to immunity of living longer.

Vitamin C is also great for muscle recovery. Adding this to your daily vitamins will help your muscles repair quicker after workouts in addition to all the other benefits vitamin C has. If you aren’t already taking vitamins daily, this is a great vitamin to start with. Consult your doctor to see what vitamins are best for your body and health.

Vitamin C has also been shown to improve skin health and wrinkles. Many beauty products have vitamin C in it, that is applied directly to the skin. Taking a daily pill will also be beneficial since good skin starts from within.

Other benefits of vitamin C include:

 

  • Strengthening the immune system after it has been depleted by stress, which affects most of our society. Vitamin C has also been shown to have positive effects for those who struggle with addiction as it is the first nutrient that is depleted from alcoholics, smokers and obese individuals.

 

  • Prevent or decrease the length of a cold. This may be the reason you are currently taking this vitamin, which is a great reason to keep it going. You can reduce your risk of cold and flu by adding a little vitamin C daily.

 

  • Post workout repair. The body breaks down the muscles during a workout and vitamin C can help in recovery. It is necessary for the growth, development and repair of all body tissues, including the formation of collagen.

 

  • Reduces skin aging. Vitamin C affects cells on the inside and out of the body. Studied have shown that those with higher vitamin C intake were associated to those with a lower likelihood of a wrinkled appearance on their skin as well as less dry and better skin-aging appearance.

 

Most people are not getting the essentials vitamins and nutrients from their diets alone and supplement with a daily vitamin regimen. Adding a vitamin C can positively affect many areas in your life from your immune to your skin. Vitamin C can be found in every grocery and health store to keep you healthy, happy and active all year long.

Apple Cider Vinegar

5 Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Does it seem like Apple Cider Vinegar is the solution to all your ailments every time you hop on the internet and Google ways to cure your ‘blank’ issue. Well, even though it seems like it’s all just a hype, apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries. Here are 5 reasons why you should add apple cider vinegar into your life for all its benefits.

Apple Cider Vinegar is apple cider that has been fermented that forms a health-promoting probiotic and enzyme beverage. Don’t let its name fool you though, it is much sourer than apple cider and apple juice and it only takes one or two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to take advantage of the health benefits it has. Everything from sunburns to gut health can be improved with a little ACV. So, run out now and add this powerful liquid to your medicine and kitchen cabinet.

 

  1. Regulates Blood Sugar Level

Apple cider vinegar’s most well-studied ability is to help maintain normal blood sugar level. It has been studied to significantly lower blood sugar level by 31 percent. To help keep your blood sugar levels stable, dilute one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in 8 ounces of water and drink in the morning or before meals.

  1. Improves Skin Health

Apple Cider Vinegar doesn’t just benefit your internal health, but has been shown to help treat acne and reduce scarring, improving your skin. Vinegar is known for its antibacterial properties which can be helpful for acne. You can use apple cider vinegar as a toner morning and night. It is packed with magnesium, potassium, acetic acid and others that will kill bacteria on the skin. You can soak a cotton ball with pure ACV smooth is over your skin. You can also make cleansers and face masks that use ACV. Sounds great for your next ‘self-care Saturday’!

  1. Aids in Weight Loss

Apple Cider Vinegar can help kill cravings and kick start weight loss. It can also help you feel full after meals and reduce your urge to overeat. ACV can also help you control your cravings so you can stop yourself from thinking about that doughnut even before you start. Consuming one or two tablespoons with water before your meals or adding it to your smoothies will be a great way to add this into your daily routine!

  1. Helps Ward off Seasonal Allergies

You can use apple cider vinegar as a natural remedy for allergies. The healthy bacteria found in ACV may promote immunity. The next time you start to feel the sniffles, add two tablespoons to a smoothie or drinking it with water. You can help keep the allergies off before they come on by drinking apple cider vinegar daily.

  1. Enhances Circulation

Some studies have found that applying ACV to varicose veins could help minimize them. Mixing apple cider vinegar with witch hazel and scrubbing in a circular motion can help alleviate symptoms.

 

Apple cider vinegar has many more uses than these and can be one of your go-to items for many natural remedies. Apple cider vinegar is a main ingredient to many online recipes from skin to gut health. Let us know how you use apple cider vinegar for your own health benefits!

Lower Back Pain

Stretches & Exercises for Back Pain

When back pain has been consistent for two to six weeks it may be time to seek physical therapy to help alleviate your pain. Some spine specialists say sooner may be necessary if the pain is severe or an event happened for the pain to occur. Physical therapy can help you decrease pain, provide a maintenance program, increase functions and educate you on how to prevent from further pain. Stretches and exercises can help reduce your back pain. Be sure to consult your physical therapist or doctor before trying any new moves.

You may feel like resting, but moving may be good for your back pain. Exercises can help strengthen your back muscles to ease your pain and prevent future pain. While some exercises are good for your back, there will be some to avoid. If pain lasts longer than 15 minutes while doing a move or worsens, stop exercising and call your doctor.

Try crunches rather than sit ups if you already have back pain. You may be performing this move incorrectly and put too much pressure on your spine and discs. Keeping your core strong will help with back pain in the future, as well.

A wall sit is a great exercise that will help support your back while strengthening other parts of your body. Your goal for exercising when you have back pain is to reduce any tension and gain strength.

It will be very helpful to stretch your hamstrings at least once daily when experiencing back pain. Tight hamstrings are a common contributor for lower back pain. All hamstring stretches don’t have to be done the same way. You can switch it up by standing, lying on your back or using a towel.

Stretching at the same time everyday can help you remember to do your stretches and get you on the path of a pain free back. Doing so can reduce tensions in your muscles supporting the spine, improve your range of motion and reduce the risk of future injuries. Stretching doesn’t have to only be for when you are pain- it is good to stretch daily to stay limber and prevent future ailments.

Do not force the body into difficult or painful positions. Try to reduce bouncing which can cause additional muscle strain in your back. Don’t forget to repeat your stretches as it may take a few repetitions to reach maximum elongation.

While these stretches and exercises may help decrease your back pain it is very important to seek professional help for any chronic pain you may be experiencing.

The Benefits of a Private Practice PT

In 2018 you can find a service for everything. You can hire people to train you, coach you in business, drive you home, and even come to your house and walk your dog while you’re at work. Some of these services even becoming big corporations, almost overnight. But, something else that this day and age as to offer is the booming local and small businesses. Supporting your community through their businesses and services and physically seeing the positive effect on those people you may personally know and knowing your money is well spent. We believe this to be true in the medical profession, as well. There are many benefits for keeping your physical therapy within a private practice and supporting a local business rather than huge corporations.

 

Being a patient of a smaller and local physical therapy office means your health and wellbeing are valued. These offices don’t have thousands of patients whose names they forget and try to get through the appointment as quickly as possible. You develop a personal bond between therapist and patient. You get the private experience of one on one therapy rather than 10 other patients waiting in the next room and being passed off. This is an experience that a smaller, private practice can provide and one that a huge corporate office cannot.

You can get to know your therapist on a personal level. Know about his kids and hear the excitement when he tells you about his son’s first goal at his soccer game over the weekend. You’re more than just a number or statistic. You’re a person who they value with your business and you trust them in coming to seek relief from ailments.

Therapists in private practices not only value the patients, but also their education. Because they have the flexibility of a smaller, more intimate office they can become certified in practices that become popular such as: dry needling, scrapping and more that will set them apart from the big giants with billboards and ad dollars. Bigger offices may be more focused on the number of patients they have coming in and out of the door rather than the health and wellbeing of each patient.

Small local businesses are the backbone of America and what makes living here so great. People are given the opportunity to be a part of something they are passionate about and run their own business. You may prefer to shop local for clothes and food, but keep it in mind while researching your next doctor or therapist who have a lot to offer in a smaller and more intimate space.

Best Sleeping Positions for your Neck and Back

One of the most common reasons people seek out a physical therapist is pain in their spine. There are ways we can reduce pain that we can control and one of those ways in the positions that we sleep. Below are the best sleeping positions for your neck and back to have a restful night and wake up with less pain and more energy.

 

Best Sleep Positions for your Lower Back

The best position to sleep in to decrease back pain is lying on your back or on your side. It is important to give your lower back proper support while sleeping and allow your spine to rest in its natural curve.

If sleeping on your side, place a pillow between your knees to decrease the amount of rotation. When lying on your back, placing a pillow under your knees allows gives support to the lower back and lessens the gap between the bed and your back. If there is still space between your lower back and the bed, use a smaller pillow.

For those of us that sleep on our stomachs, you can retrain yourself to sleep on your side by using pillows against your body to gradually shift to side or back sleeping. Stomach sleeping is not recommended because it puts too much stress on the lower back. Sleeping on your back is also beneficial for reducing wrinkles.

 

Best Sleep Positions for your Neck

Just like the sleeping positions for your lower back, side sleeping and sleeping on your back are the best ways to reduce neck pain. These positions help keep the spine in alignment. In either position you want a pillow that supports both the neck and the back. You want to make sure there is no space between your neck and the pillow.

Avoid using a pillow that is too high or too stiff that will leave your neck in a flexed position overnight and causing you to wake up with pain. Also avoid pillow that are too flat. A pillow should allow your nose to align with the center of your body when lying on your side. Similarly, to decrease pain in your back, stomach sleeping is not recommended for your neck.

 

Sleep plays a vital role in your overall health and wellbeing. You also don’t want to start each day in pain and want to get restful sleep overnight. The body needs sleep so doing so in the correct form will help reduce pain and give you more energy throughout the day.

Smart Phone

Is your smart phone causing you pain?

Is your smart phone causing you pain? Our bodies are meant to adapt to our surroundings and how we use them, but our bodies can’t adapt quickly enough with technology. The new iPad you just got will be old news in a few months, but our hands can’t catch up that fast. Overuse of your hands and thumbs from smart phone and tablets could be the reason you are having pains there.

From early on in age, smartphones, iPads, game controllers all demand high use of our hands and especially our thumbs. Many of us can’t help it, though. In this current time of instant communication, we can’t seem to put our phones down for a second. Whether you’re a baby staying quiet in the grocery store, a gossiping teenage girl, or professional typing out persuasive emails, our world revolves around our devices. You may even be reading this blog on your phone, right now!

Overuse of your thumb can lead to inflammation or tendentious. Overuse could open the door to a number of pains in your thumbs or hands such as, aching, throbbing and cramping. If you are experiencing any of these pains, you should schedule a visit with your physical therapist or give us a call to schedule a consultation, today!

At Contact Physical Therapy we have experienced hand therapists on our staff who can help you through these types of pains.

Some of the following tips or stretches should be done to help ease the pain of overuse or prevent any future issues.

  • Place your phone on a table, pillow or in your lap to use other fingers for typing or swiping. Holding your phone in one hand and having that thumb do all the work is the worst position for these conditions.
  • Take a break. Stop the motions that are aggravating the area. At this time a much needed and well deserved break is usually in order. Your phone doesn’t have the control here. People don’t need immediate response every second.
  • Opening your palm to the ceiling and using your opposite pointer finger to push down on your open-hand’s thumb for a stretch. Repeat on the other side.
  • Open and close your fingertips with a rubber band around them to strengthen these muscles.
  • Avoid doing the same motions for multiple activities. If you felt you have been on your phone a lot that day, try to avoid playing video games.
  • Switch hands so one hand isn’t constantly doing all the work. This will be a nice challenge for your brain as well.
  • Rest and ice is highly recommended.
  • See a physical therapist to asses any issues and give you professional treatment for your pain.

The bottom line is: try to give your hands a rest from time to time. If your job doesn’t require much email exchange on the weekends, try to detox yourself from your phone for a day or two. Try going on an unplugged vacation. The freedom from your phone might surprise you and your hands will be thankful too!

 

I heart Me

Practicing Self-Love

Valentine’s Day is a day where you can celebrate the loved ones in your life. Often times though we forget to celebrate someone special each year. This year don’t forget to practice self-love. Not sure where to begin when practicing self-love? Well, we have gathered up eight ways that you can celebrate yourself this Valentine’s Day and hopefully continue it throughout the rest of the year.

  1. Love your body. Treating your body with the kind of love and respect it deserves. This will help boost your self-love as well as your confidence, and energy. Feed it the proper nutrition, stay active and take care of the areas that are hurt or need extra attention. You shouldn’t ever be punishing yourself or your body. Loving your body will better help you stay on track and get you closer to your fitness and health goals.
  2. Create a ritual. Use this as sort of a meditation while recognizing all the greatness you have accomplished. Don’t forget about the little things. Be grateful for your feet for getting you places, and your hands for creating. Thank your mind for being focused and your heart for keeping you passionate, in all areas of live. This is a great way to unwind from your day and help clear your head.
  3. Stop comparing yourself. In today’s world of constant social media bosting, it’s easy to get lost in someone else’s life and compare it to the accomplishments of your own life. Be appreciative for what you have and where you are at in life. Comparing yourself is usually never beneficial and most likely destructive to your confidence.
  4. Do something you’re good at. Boosting your self-esteem usually goes hand in hand with boosting your self-love. Are you a good artisit? Find somewhere inspiring to draw. Is yoga your thing? Roll out your mat and practice your strongest poses. Reminding yourself of all your strengths will lift your mood and help in your quest for self-love.
  5. Go unplugged. Turn off your cell phone and email for at least an hour. The need to constantly check social media or your inbox for work can often bring you down. Try to unwind the old fashion way with no phone. Turn on some music, light a candle and just relax for a bit. Try doing this a couple times a week to bring you back to the things that are most important to you.
  6. Clean and organize. Cleaning out your closet or organizing your desk is very therapeutic. Clutter can often lead to stress. So, taking the time to decide what is truly valuable to you will help simplify your life, leaving you feeling much happier.
  7. Start a journal of things you are grateful for or quotes that inspire you. Take a few minutes each day to write down things you love about yourself rather than focusing on things you wish to change. You can refer back to these writings when you are having a particularly hard or rough day.
  8. Pamper yourself. Take some time with a self indulging activity. Does that mean taking a nap without feeling guilty? Is that a massage or a nail appointment? Whatever pampering means to you, take some time for it. Your future relaxed and happy selt will thank you.

 

So, this year while planning out your gift for the special loved ones in your life, don’t forget about yourself. Loving your self will help you love others.

Injured Runner

Avoiding Repeat Injuries

Avoiding repeat injuries may sound logical and obvious, but there are certain measures that should be taken to ensure that the same injury won’t take you down for a second time. Injuries take time to heal so avoiding that path again is something you’ll want to take into extreme consideration.

Make sure the injury is completely healed.  The first thing you want to know is that your injury is 100% healed before heading back into strenuous activity. The odds of re-injuring yourself is a lot higher when something is not fully healed. This could leave you with an even worse injury than you started with.

Don’t immediately jump back to full training.  Since the healing process takes time, don’t go back into training at the pace you were at when you were injured. The time spent healing, may require easing your way back into training to build back up to the level prior to the injury. Physical therapy can help you get back as quick and safe as possible.

Are you training correctly?  Injuries can happen when you aren’t using the proper form. A physical therapist can evaluate your movements and exercises to spot weaknesses in the body that are causing your form to be off. This can be helpful to those who have injured that same thing multiple times already.

Resting VS Rehab.  Rest is an important element to keep your body healthy and active especially when trying to heal an injury, but are you also doing the proper rehab? Physical therapists can help you through injuries and show you training techniques to get you back on your feet sooner. With physical therapy, you can train your muscles and become stronger in the weak, injured areas.

Give it time.  You won’t heal overnight. Know that it is going to take a great deal of time to get you back on your feet again. If you’re working with a physical therapist, ask if there are any stretches to help heal your injured area. There may be a lot of things you can do at home to help with the healing process. Ask your physical therapist to show you moves that you can practice alone. Don’t put too much pressure on rushing and focus on proper healing.

No one wants to find themselves reinjuring the same issue they just healed. Staying safe and precautious when returning from your injury is smart. Consult your doctor and physical therapist before returning to strenuous activity.

Woman Stretching

Tips for Muscle Soreness

It’s the New Year and everyone is on the “New Year New You” kick. A lot of people’s resolutions every new year is to hit the gym more and become healthier with the upcoming year. Is this one of your resolutions? Well, we are all for the excitement of starting out a new workout routine, but be sure to take care of your body to maintain this new routine. One thing we forget and tend to get lazy on is our stretching especially on those days we feel extra sore. So, follow along for some tips to help relieve muscle soreness so you can keep your workout game strong!

One of the best ways to prevent and relieve muscle soreness is to stretch. Stretching before and after your workout is ideal. Doing some stretches before your workout prepares your body for exercise and the vigorous routine you may put it through. Stretching after your workout helps your body cool down and stretch out the muscles you just worked on.

Warm ups are important too. Warming up your body before your workout should always come first. Especially right now, in the cold winter mornings, you don’t want to jump right into a workout, which could up your chances for a sore tomorrow, or even worse, injury. A walk with some incline, jumping jacks or jumping rope are some examples of ways to warm up your body prior to your workout.

Hydration is key. Staying hydrated is important before, during and after your workout. This will help muscle cramping, decrease inflammation and help prevent from dehydration from sweating during your workout. It is important to refuel on water, constantly! Water is most likely the most important sports drink there is. So, don’t leave your water bottle at home!

Indulge in some pineapple. Pineapple contain an enzyme, Bromelain, that has anti-inflammatory benefits that can be comparable to medications! So, before you reach into your medicine cabinet, chop up some fresh pineapple to see if that does the trick.

Give your muscles some love. If you have any areas that are extremely sore, giving yourself a massage can help relieve some tension and pain from soreness. When doing it yourself you can control the pressure and you will know how much is too much. A foam roller is a great option too and can be done after every workout to prevent the soreness, stretch and relax your muscles.

If one of your resolutions for 2018 is to live a healthier life, make sure you don’t forget about all the factors that go into keeping your body healthy. Stretching is essential for a consistent workout routine. You can better ensure that you’ll be able to hit the gym more and be in less pain!