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How to Boost Your Immune System

It’s that time of year. It seems like everyone around you is sniffing, sneezing, coughing and everything in between. It can make you feel like you’re walking around in a pool of germs. How can you avoid it? There are tips you can apply to your daily life to boost your immune system.

 

Your immune system is a complex function within your body composed of a lot of different things, so the idea of boosting your entire immune system as a whole isn’t scientifically correct, but you can take steps to improve your overall health and keep your system fighting germs.

 

Get enough sleep. Sleep is huge for your whole body to function correctly. It helps you manage stress, which could suppress your immune system with increased cortisol levels and keep your body fighting hard.

 

Avoid tobacco smoke. It undermines the basic immune functions and raises the risk of sicknesses in everyone, including children by secondhand smoke.

 

Drink less alcohol. Excessive drinking impairs the immune system. During the time that sickness is on a rise, it could be wise to ditch the wine and beer at dinner time to keep you healthy. You could try a Kombucha, not only are they healthy for your gut, it could give you a fix for craving an adult beverage.

 

Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. These will provide the nutrients your body needs to keep fighting illnesses. Avoid processed foods, fried foods and try eating at home more often.

 

Get some sunshine. A little time outside can increase your vitamin D levels. Lower vitamin D levels correlate with a greater risk of respiratory infection. Make sure you are properly protecting yourself from the sun, as well. If you have a risk of skin cancer, you could look into vitamin D supplements.

 

Add vitamins into your diet. Speaking of supplements, adding some beneficial vitamins can keep you going strong throughout cold and flu season. Vitamin C and Zinc are good vitamins to add to your daily routine.

 

Wash your hands. This may seem obvious, but it can be a very important reminder. When you’re out in public places, you never know who is sick and what germs are floating in the air. Anytime you come home, you should make it habit to go straight to the sink and wash your hands. Avoid touching your face and use antibacterial wipes at the stores before touching common areas, like shopping carts.

 

Drink water. Another simple, and maybe obvious reminder, but during the colder months people often forget about drinking enough water. You want to stay hydrated to keep your body functioning at full capacity to ward off any sicknesses.

 

Keep yourself healthy by applying these tips to boost your immune system and keep your sick days at a minimum!

Making Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

Every year it’s the same thing. The ball drops and you have every intention to breaking all your bad habits. Then before you know it, your back to your old ways without realizing how you slipped back there. You can change that this year by taking these steps to making your new year’s resolutions stick.

 

Some people find the new year as a fresh start, a new beginning. Maybe that’s not you and you find it to be daunting, but you really want to be successful. You can be! Try these steps to make 2019 your best year yet.

 

Start Small

Make resolutions you can keep. If you want to start exercising and this is new to you, start with 3 days a week. Start with a commitment you know you can keep and won’t become overwhelming by jumping from nothing to thinking you’re going to get to the gym every day. You will become burnt out and it will be easier to stop all together- something you’re trying to avoid.

 

Change Your Outlook

If “new year’s resolution” isn’t working for you, try thinking of them as goals, or visions. Set a goal for yourself and check in every few months to see that you are on track with accomplishing those goals or tackling smaller ones, leading up to the bigger goal in mind.

 

Change One Behavior at a Time

If you have multiple “bad habits” you’re trying to break, you may not be able to accomplish them all at once. Take it one step at a time. You don’t have to go into the new year thinking you must change your entire life, at once.

 

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

Miss a week at the gym? Don’t stress. Start new, without feeling guilty. Guilt will ruin your progress. Don’t spend too much time stressing on things you have stumbled over. Move on and keep moving forward.

 

Talk About It

Let your friends and family in on your goals or resolutions. They may be likely to share theirs and you can keep each other accountable with following through. You may even find they have a similar resolution and you can do them together!

 

Ask For Support

A friend or family may have accomplished a goal you have, in a previous time. Ask them how they got there! Don’t be shy when asking for help. Other people can have a step by step process to reach the end goal and this process could be beneficial to you.

 

Plan Ahead

Mark your calendars with workouts. Plan your computer and phone time during the week, so you can follow through with spending less time online on the weekends, or whatever your resolutions are. Think about how you will accomplish them and make a plan rather than saying you want to change something and winging it. This could make you much more successful in the new year.

 

This could be your year to shine. This could be the year you accomplish everything you set out to do. Just remember speed bumps are just that- small bumps, plans can lead towards success and take it one day at a time! Happy New Year, everyone!

Couple jogging

Fitness Lover Gift Guide

Have a fitness lover in your life? You know the type, someone who will stick with their New Years Resolutions? Well we have a gift guide for you. Give them something they are sure to love and keep them healthy in the new year!

 

Gifts for Runners

 

New running shoes- This requires a little sneakiness to find their shoe size if you don’t already know it, but there’s nothing better and more inspiring to hit the track than slipping on your new running shoes. And don’t think a gift card goes unnoticed. This gives them the freedom to pick out their favorite brand and maybe get something they wouldn’t have gotten themselves.

 

Wireless Headphones- Anyone would love this gift, but a runner will especially appreciate not getting tangled up in their headphone wires when they’re pushing themselves to go that extra mile.

 

Gifts for the Gym-Goer

 

A Duffel Bag- Make their trips to the gym easier. A nice, new and clean bag that they can use to hold their extra clothes, water bottle, protein bars, shoes, etc. is great for the loved one that hits the gym before or after work. They need something to tote all their stuff in everyday. Every time they pack it up they will think of you!

 

Leggings- Is your gym goer a girl? I bet she would love a new pair of leggings. They have everything from plain black to ones with crazy patterns. You can even find cheap options on Amazon. We’re talking $20 cheap! A new pair of leggings could mean more motivation to hit the gym with them, so pick out a new pair for yourself too!

 

Foam Rollers- Someone who loves to workout needs this in their life. Help them relieve their sore muscles with a foam roller. You can often times find this as discount store like TJ Maxx. This will help them prevent injuries and keep their bodies lose. It is also light, so they can throw it into that new duffle bag you got them!

 

Gifts for the Yogi in your Life

 

Yoga Mat- Do you know someone who never misses a yoga session? All that yoga could mean it’s time for a new mat. Get them a gift that will get plenty of use and keep them calm in the new year.

 

Grippy Socks- Looking for something to slide into a fitness lover’s stocking? Grippy socks could be just the thing. These will help keep their bare feet from slipping in yoga, barre and Pilates classes. Not to mention keep their toes warm in the cold winter months!

 

Finding the perfect gift can be challenging, but finding a gift that will keep them healthy and active in the new year is something you can feel good about giving. We hope you have a wonderful holiday season with your families! Stay warm, stay safe and stay healthy!

Holiday Stress

How to Deal with Holiday Stress

Do they holidays have you stressed? Between parties and finding the perfect gift, it can tend to become overwhelming and the real meaning behind the season gets lost in the hecticness. Don’t let this happen to you this year. Stay calm and happy throughout the season with these tips of how to deal with holiday stress.

 

Be realistic about gift giving. Have a big family and every year it seems to get bigger? Talk with them, maybe instead of finding the perfect gift for all your extended family suggest doing a secret Santa and only focus on one member. This will save you both time and money and you dedicate more time to one gift than searching for your cousin’s aunt’s sister who will be joining you this year.

 

Money have you stressed? Set a budget and stick to it. An easy way to do this is have a list of people you would like to get gifts for and start writing ideas down, then you can cross them off or refer back to your ideas when you are out shopping, instead of mindlessly piling things into your cart. Another tip is to set your budget and use cash. Have an envelope dedicated to present money. Seeing the money physically dwindle will help you make better gift decisions.

 

Get outside and exercise. Clear your mind and let it wander to things that aren’t holiday related and your growing to do list. Don’t forget about your health and happiness this season. If you start to feel stressed, take a walk, get some fresh, brisk air and relax.

 

Eat healthy and wholesome foods. The holidays are often back to back parties and celebrations which can be fun, but also bloating. Keep your healthy eating habits on track when you can. Bring snacks, like vegetables, when you’re out shopping so you don’t become starving and pull up to a drive thru window. Don’t forget your greens, they will give you energy and when you’re indulging in an extra cookie you won’t feel as guilty. Don’t forget to drink your water. When it becomes colder outside, sometimes we forget about water, but keeping up with water intake is important.

 

Learn to say no. This could mean saying no to another party or saying no to yourself when thinking you need to get someone another gift. Be mindful this holiday season with all your decisions and it will leave you happier come the new year.

 

Get plenty of sleep. Don’t let late night wrapping, baking and cleaning keep you up. Get to bed so you feel rested and have a clear mind come morning time. Plan out your days and evenings so you don’t get to the end of the month and have too much to do and start pulling all-nighters to get it done. Sleep is important for health and happiness. Plus, Santa only comes if you’re sleeping.

 

Happy Holidays, everyone! We hope you all have a wonderful time with your families over the season and with these tips, it can be a calm relaxing time with your loved ones.

woman stretching in bed after wake up.

Why it Pays to Stretch Before Getting out of Bed

Does that morning alarm clock go off and the instant dread set in? Changing your morning routine by adding some relaxing techniques instead of constant rush and chaos can get you a little more excited to start your day. Too many of us wake achy and tired. Start your morning routine with stretching and see why it pays to stretch before you get out of bed.

 

Start by setting up your morning, at night. Sitting all day at the office, then the dinner table and then off to bed to do it all over again can quickly lead to a sore and achy morning. While laying in bed at night, do a few stretches to help promote better sleep and leave you feeling less achy and tight in the morning.

 

Short on time in the morning? Aren’t we all… The investment of time doesn’t have to be outrageous to help you feel better throughout your day. Even a short, simple routine can set you up to feeling better throughout your day. Give yourself a few extra minutes for your morning stretches, that’s it! You can do it, all it takes is one less push of the snooze button.

 

Speaking of the snooze button, some light stretching before reaching the coffee pot will give your body extra energy and have you feeling less sleepy before placing your feet to the ground. So, maybe you will go for one less cup of coffee by adding a few morning stretches.

 

Here are a few stretches you can add to your morning routine to get your day off on the right foot.

 

  1. Single-leg knee hug. Start by lying flat on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on your mattress. Bring one knee to your chest, wrapping your arms around your leg in a hug. While breathing, slowly straighten the alternative knee, until your leg is flat against the bed. Repeat on the other side.
  2. Wake up your body. Many of us, with little time in the morning and in a constant rush, jump out of bed before our body has had time to fully wake up. While your still lying in bed- on your back- start by circling your ankles for a few deep breaths. Then flex and point your feet a few times. After your ankles feel slightly warmed up, it’s time for the wrists. Lift your arms straight up towards the ceiling and circle your wrists in both directions for a few breaths. Finally, bring your hands by your sides and slowly rock your head from side to side. These moves will help wake the body up before you even have to sit up!
  3. Spine stretch. Start with your right leg lying straight on the bed and bringing your left knee to your chest. Cross your left knee over your straight, right leg, towards the mattress. Straighten your left arm out to the side, away from your body. Slowly look away from your left hand and back to it, holding this stretch for a few breaths. Repeat on the other side.

 

Starting with one or all of these simple stretches can help you feel less tight and achy before your day even gets started. Allow yourself to slowly wake up with these stretches, giving your morning a calming start. Try it tomorrow and see if it helps your aches and pains!

Young woman exercising at park during sunset.

Six Tips for Staying Healthy in the Fall

There are many reasons to love fall. Especially when you love pumpkin spice everything, but our health tends to be put on the back burner once the temperature drops. Don’t let a little cold weather, holiday stress or hearty dishes knock you off course this fall. Here are six easy tips to keep you on track with your 2018 health goals.

 

  1. Fall Superfoods– Eating fruits and veggies in season will not only keep your grocery bill down, but also fill your body with nutrients and taste better than those out of season. In the fall apples, brussels sprouts, squash and pumpkins are all ripening. Search Pinterest for hearty and healthy fall recipes.
  2. Stay Hydrated- In the summer, grabbing for the water bottle when you’re always hot seems like a no-brainer, but in the fall this tip may be not on the top of your mind. Drinking enough water is crucial in keeping your body running at its best.
  3. Boost your immune system– When the weather turns slightly chilly, the nose sniffles come out and germs run wild, especially if you have small children in school. Make sure you are limiting your sugar, washing your hands frequently and taking your vitamins. Eating your fruits and veggies will also help keep you out of the doctors office as well as getting enough sleep.
  4. Your daily routine– Keep up with your daily routine and make it habitual. Schedule your workouts and follow through. As our schedules get busier in this time of year, you want to try to keep up with your workouts and make them a priority. When you’re used to regular exercise and healthy eating you will start to feel sluggish and tired when getting off track. This can be a little helpful push to get things back to your routine.
  5. Set goals and limits– Setting clear and concise benchmarks can be helpful to keep you on track. Try to avoid being excessively rigid, or too vague with your goals as that may deter you from accomplishing the task, but having an end in sight can keep you moving forward.
  6. Keep moving in the cold– Luckily for us living in Arizona, the weather during the day is delightful for most of the fall and winter. Try walking to lunch and eating outside to get your dose of sunshine and increase your step count. If it gets a little too cold for you outside, take a few laps around the office in the colder months. Keep your body warm, despite the weather. You could also make a DIY standing desk to avoid from sitting for too long.

 

The start of fall doesn’t have to mean the end of your health and fitness. With these few tips you can easily stay on track to close out your year. Health is all about a marathon, not a race. Take it one day at a time and you can always pick it back up if you fall off for a day or two. Enjoy the cool weather and happy Fall!

Male patient having consultation with doctor or psychiatrist who working on diagnostic examination on men's health disease or mental illness in medical clinic or hospital mental health service center

Is Hand Therapy Right for You?

At Contact Physical Therapy, we are happy to offer hand therapy to our patients. For those of you who didn’t know hand therapy was a thing you may be thinking… what are the reasons I would need to see a hand therapist? Well, we are here to break that down and tell you. If you have any questions wondering if hand therapy is right for you, feel free to give us a call, we would be happy to help!

 

Hand therapy is a type of rehabilitation performed by an occupational or physical therapist with patients that suffer from conditions affecting the hands and upper extremities. Patients who are candidates for hand therapy may have been in an accident or trauma leaving them with scars, burns, wounds, injured tendons, nerves, fractures, amputations of the fingers, hands, arms, etc. Other candidates may be ones who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow and other chronic problems such as arthritis or stokes.

 

A hand therapy specialist can provide:

  • Accurate assessments, immediate care and effective treatment to reduce treatment time
  • Faster recovery results in decreased medical costs
  • A continuum of care eliminating the needs for multiple medical providers
  • Functional outcomes ensuring a faster return to work and productive lifestyle
  • Most comprehensive care for their patients

 

Still wondering if you should see a hand therapist for your pain? Below are common reasons hand therapy would be good for you.

 

  1. You have injured your fingers playing sports. Many times these types of injuries will get taped up and forgotten until weeks later when the fingers become problematic. When this is caught early, a hand therapist can often treat these injuries with minimal visits. If this sounds familiar with the sports star in your life, it may be time to give a hand therapist a call!
  2. Wrist Fractures. This common injury can be more complicated than you think. Hand therapists can work one on one with you and your injury to determine the best exercises and treatment for your specific wrist fracture.
  3. Elbow Fractures. Elbow fractures can be stubborn to treat and regaining range of motion can be lengthy. Seeing a hand therapist can lessen your treatment time and get you on a quicker path to recovery or sent to a specialist to better help you.
  4. Carpal tunnel syndrome. This can be in your hand or arm and you are feeling a tingling, severe pain, muscle weakness or numbness by a pinched nerve.
  5. Arthritis. Intermitted sharp pains, swelling, stiffness or decreased range of motion in any part of your upper extremities caused by infections, normal wear and tear and some diseases.

 

All these are reasons you should see a hand therapists, plus many more. If you think hand therapy may be right for you or if you have any questions, give us a call. We would be happy to answer any questions and get you scheduled with a hand therapist!

Young woman in bed

Tips to Improve your Sleep Habits

Getting a good night’s sleep is just as important to your health and wellbeing as your diet and exercise can be. Poor sleep can negatively effect your brain function, mood, hormones, exercise, weight and more. Sleep quality has gone down over the past few decades with the rise of electronics, but sleep is one of the most important functions to keep you healthy. If you’re looking for ways to improve your sleep habits read on for tips to sleep better at night.

 

  1. Increase your bright light exposure during the day. This helps your body’s circadian rhythm and know when it is time to be awake and time for sleep. Studies have shown people with insomnia who increased their daytime light exposure found themselves sleeping better at night. If you find yourself constantly inside during the day, try taking breaks and spending some time outside. You can also try sitting by a window during your day. If none of these options are possible for you, try brightening your work environment with light blubs and lamps.
  2. Reduce blue light exposure in the evening. While exposure to light is good during the day, in the evening it has the reverse effect. Blue light is immitted from our smartphones, computers, electronic devices, etc. To reduce your exposure to blue light you can do a few things to better your nighttime routine.
    1. Wear glasses that block the blue lights.
    2. Install an app that will block blue lights on your phone.
    3. Use “nighttime mode” on phones, tablets, etc.
    4. Stop watching TV and turn off bright lights two hours before sleep.
  3. Try to sleep and wake at consistent times. Your body’s circadian rhythm is set on a loop. Staying consistent with your waking and sleeping times better helps your sleep quality in the long run. Studies have shown that staying up later on the weekends ruins your rhythm and you could be at risk for poor sleep.
  4. Don’t drink alcohol nightly. Drinking a couple drinks per night can negatively effect your hormones and sleep pattern. It also alters your nighttime melatonin production which plays a key role in your body’s ability to tell itself its ready to go to sleep.
  5. Reduce long or irregular naps. Short “cap naps” have been proven to be beneficial, but long, irregular naps in the day can effect your ability to sleep at night. Daytime sleeping can confuse your body’s internal clock, making it difficult later on. You may also find yourself more sleepy after a long nap during the day, which can ruin your productivity for the rest of the day and possibly worse sleep at night.

 

There are many ways to insure a better sleep at night, but using these tips could set you on the path for a more restful sleep tonight!

Baby at PT office

Physical Therapy for Babies and Kids

Physical therapy can be a great tool for health and wellness as adults, but did you know that babies and kids can benefit from physical therapy too? Physical therapy is a safe, natural and effective way to help and cure pain and injuries as well as correct misused muscles.

 

Infant physical therapy can be considered as one of the most effective forms of rehabilitative treatment for babies who need assistance with muscle control, balance, milestones, and more. Many physicians recommended physical therapy for infants who have developed disorders, regardless whether they developed from birth injuries and genetic abnormalities.

 

Each person, child and baby are different from one an other. Each individual treatment will vary according to disability, disorder or pain relief. Babies who are born prematurely often hold their shoulders close to their ears and a common goal for these babies is to help maintain proper posture with gentle massage and pushing the infant’s shoulders down. This treatment might be different to a baby who has a genetic abnormality. Common exercises will also very depending on the age of the baby and the disorder.

 

Your doctor or physician can recommend physical therapy If they feel your child may need it. Other way to know if your child may need physical therapy:

  • Fails to meet development milestones during the first year of life
  • Favors one side of the body and/or tilting the head to one side only
  • Has poor posture
  • Has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, torticollis, and other neuromuscular disorders
  • Has floppy and/or stiff muscle tone
  • Has excessive or limited joint mobility
  • Has difficulties with balance and coordination

 

Doctors often recommend physical therapy for kids and teens who have been injured or have movement problems from an illness, disease or disability.

 

After an injury, physical therapist work with the child to decrease pain and improve movement, just as they would for an adult patient. The treatment could include teaching the child exercises designed to help them regain strength and range of motion.

 

It is important than every child have the ability to perform their job of playing. Physical therapists are concerned with a child’s ability to participate in daily movement activities as well as sports. Treatment may be used for children who play sports and want to avoid injury on and off the field.

 

Contact Physical Therapy is here to answer your questions and see if physical therapy is the best option for your child or infant.

Types of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy has been practiced for ages. Documents show physical therapy being practiced in 460 BC by Hippocrates when he introduced the idea of manual manipulation for pain relief. It has since grown from more of a massage type practice then, to multiple different types you see in modern day physical therapy, today. Physical therapy has advanced and grown over the years to the many types you may or may not know about.

 

Geriatric Physical Therapy

As people age the need for routine physical therapy may grow with them. Getting older can be tough on the Skelton and muscles. When the body is younger, you may compensate for pains or things such as bad posture, but as you get older those problems become harder to ignore. Misuse of the body may also increase the need for physical therapy as you age. Your muscles become weaker and you may not be able to compensate for the way you were previous living. Physical therapy can help fix or reverse pain and damage. It is safe, effective and less stressful than surgeries or medication.

 

Orthopedic Physical Therapy

This type of physical therapy may be on you are familiar with. This type is designed to help you and your body recover after a surgery to strengthen your muscles that you injured. You may be surprised by the positive effects that physical therapy has on the body. Whether the injury is old, reoccurring or rebuilding strength after a surgery, therapy can target key muscle groups to get you back to your healthy self.

 

Neurological Physical Therapy

Problems with your neurological system such as: spinal cord injuries, stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, brain injuries or cerebral palsy all strike at the nervous system. The nervous system is how your brain controls your body. Most of these disorders are chronic which mean they are unlikely to be healed completely, but physical therapy can have a great positive impact on life with these disorders. Therapists can teach small therapeutic exercises which can make the effects on muscles and movement become more manageable.

 

Cardiovascular/Pulmonary Physical Therapy

Cardiopulmonary physical therapy has a main goal about building independence if you have a serious problem with your heart or circulation. These problems could include: heart attacks or pulmonary fibrosis and therapy can help you grow strength in target muscles to help improve your endurance.

 

Physical therapy includes all these and more. If you think physical therapy may be right for you call our office to talk about your pain and options.