Staying Healthy During Fall

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Staying Healthy During Fall

 

 

November is here. The air is becoming cooler and crisp. Apple cider always seems to sound good and there is pumpkin in everything you eat. But with the fall months come holidays and parties. The cooler temps may make you want to stay in your sweat pants and eat anything warm and cheesy so staying on track may be difficult. They say “summer bodies are made in the winter” so here are a few tips to staying healthy this fall and into the winter months!

 

Keep your daily plan similar. If this includes waking up and going on a morning walk and eating a protein smoothie, try not to veer too far off your daily path. The same routine will keep your health consistent and help keep you on track.

Don’t fast before big holiday meals. Often times we think that if we are going to be enjoying a big holiday meal of turkey, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole then we shouldn’t eat until then. Well, this way of thinking may cause you to binge eat and load up, in taking way more calories than if you just ate your normal meal size. Try to get a healthy breakfast and lunch in so at dinner you won’t be starving and won’t feel guilty about indulging a little if you stayed on track throughout the day.

Fall superfoods can become a diet staple. This will keep your grocery bill down and allow you to get more creative in the kitchen by throwing in pumpkin or Brussel sprouts into your meals. These fall foods will also feel more comforting and warm, just how you like it with the cooler temps.

Stay hydrated. When it is hot outside it is easier to remember to grab your water bottle. However, in the fall it is just as important to remember to be sipping water. Staying hydrated is crucial to keep your body at its best during these busy months and also to help aid in fighting any sickness.

Wash your hands. Staying healthy also means warding off any sicknesses. Make sure every time you come from somewhere, you wash your hands. Colder temperatures often mean colds and flus will be floating around. Don’t let those stop you. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to take your vitamins!

Don’t skip your veggies. When we think of all the holiday dinners we often think of the main course, but what about all the delicious appetizers before the meal? Fill your plate with veggies and salad before you load on those creamy mashed potatoes. That way you’re getting some nutrients and filling your belly up with veggies before the big meal.

 

Simple steps like these can help you stay on track through these next few months of holiday parties and sweet treats. Enjoying this time with your friends and family will make the season fly by, so staying healthy will ensure you won’t miss a moment of it!

Stretches for a Restful Sleep

Sleep is very important for your body and health. However, living in the fast-paced world where we are always on our phone and computers, sending emails, checking social media, reading restaurant reviews, etc. sleep may be hard to find.

There are many ways you can prepare yourself for a more restful sleep. There are the obvious ways like, lavender, sleepy tea, or a nighttime ritual. But did you know there are stretches that you can do to promote sleep? Another bonus is they can even be done in your bed. Give these following stretches a try before bringing your head to the pillow and see how you sleep!

 

Sitting Forward Fold

Sitting with your legs long in front of you, reach your arms up (keeping your shoulder away from your ears). If this feels too tight on your back and legs, slightly bend knees or sit on a pillow to take some pressure off those muscles. On an exhale, fold your body forward and reach for your toes. Hold this position and breathe, then roll back up to a tall seated position. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Lying Figure Four

Lie on your back and cross one ankle over the opposite knee. Make sure the knee stays turned out and hips stay on the bed, squared under your shoulders. If this is enough of a stretch, hold this position. If you can stretch more, gently grab under the hamstring of your uncrossed leg and hug into a tighter figure four position, bringing your knee closer to your body. Make sure your lower back and pelvis stay on the bed. Hold here, then switch sides and repeat if needed.

Cat Cow

This motion stretches the muscles of your spine and core. Begin on your hands and knees, in a table top position, with your arms straight under your shoulders. Slowly breathe out as you round through your back like a frightened cat, tightening your abdominal muscles and rounding your neck downward. Then slowly exhale as you arch your back and look up toward the ceiling. Continue to move slowly with your breath for 20 breaths.

Legs Up the Wall

Sit facing wall and lie onto your back. Moving as close to wall as possible. Lift your legs and rest the back of legs against the wall, perpendicular to the ground. Rest with your arms out to sides and your palms up to the ceiling. Hold there for 15 seconds. This move is especially good for anyone who is on their feet a lot. Elevating your legs allows the blood flow to travel back to your heart, reducing inflammation.

 

Many of those moves may seem like you’re just lying there, but you are on your way to a healthier you and a more restful sleep. Try them out and let us know your favorite moves for a better night’s sleep!

youth athlete safe

8 Tips To Help Keep Your Youth Athlete Safe

April is Youth Sports Safety Month! We highly encourage kids to participate in physical activity. Keeping your child active and strong can help set them up for a healthier future. We wanted to take some time this month to share a few tips for keeping your youth athletes safe.

  1. Be prepared:

    Before enrolling your child in a sport, make sure they receive a pre-participation physical.

  2. Meet the coach:

    Make sure that your child’s coach is appropriately experienced in supervising the sport, can provide proper direction in conditioning and injury prevention, and that they are prepared to perform first aid and CPR in case of emergency.

  3. Adequately train:

    Be sure that your child is in the right physical and psychological condition to play their chosen sport.

  4. Play by the rules:

    Be sure that your child is clear about the rules of the game. They are designed to keep athletes safe and organized.

  5. Wear protective equipment:

    Do not allow your child to play without the proper protective gear. Parents, do your research. Be sure that the equipment meets national standards, is in good condition and is properly fitted.

  6. Warm up, stretch and cool down:

    Be sure that your child is participating in low intensity cardiovascular activity to warm up their muscles, and that they properly stretch. Stretching can help minimize the chance of muscle strain or soft tissue injury. Cool down is necessary to loosen the muscles that may have tightened during exercise.

  7. Stay hydrated:

    Make sure your child is prepared with plenty of water during practice and games. It is also important that you help your child understand the importance of staying hydrated outside of practice and games. Click here for a few tips on ways to keep your kids hydrated.

  8. Don’t play if tired or in pain:

    Pay attention to how your child is feeling before practice or games. Be sure that they are properly rested, as fatigue can lead to injury or poor judgment. If they are experiencing pain, be safe and be sure to seek medical attention. If injured, make sure that they take enough time off – or they will run a greater risk for reinjury.

These are just a few of the things you can do to be proactive about your child’s safety. Being proactive is the best way to keep your child safe, and to avoid injury. If your little athlete is injured or in pain, do not hesitate to CONTACT US. Our experienced physical therapists can help them get back to feeling their best and participating in the activities that they love!

back pain

5 Ways You Can Soothe Lower Back Pain At Home

Lower back pain can be tricky to get rid of and may take a bit of trial and error to see what works best for you. There are a few things you can do on your own that can help soothe that pesky pain.

  1.     Strengthen your core –

    Your ab and back muscles help to support your lower spine. These muscles rarely get a good workout during a normal day, especially if you work in an office or spend most of your day sitting.  It is important to specifically target these muscles when working out. Even the simple act of sitting on an exercise ball for 30 minutes a day can help.

  1.     Stretch your hamstring –

    Tight hamstrings are an easily overlooked contributor to lower back pain. Try incorporating these hamstring exercises twice a day.

  1.     Soothe lower back pain with cold or hot –

    Applying an ice pack can help reduce inflammation and can slow down nerve impulses, which keeps the nerves from spasming and causing pain. Applying heat stimulates blood flow and brings healing nutrients to the affected area. It can also block the pain messages being sent to the brain.

  1.     Get some sleep –

    Pain can be a major culprit of insomnia and cause difficulty falling asleep, or staying asleep. Unfortunately, lack of sleep can actually make your back pain worse. Consider seeing a physical therapist to help you break this cycle.

  1.     Release endorphins in your body –

    This can be done through aerobic exercise, massage therapy or even meditation. Endorphins are a hormone made naturally in your body, and can be just as strong as pain medication. When endorphins are released in your body they help block pain signals to your brain. They can also help relieve anxiety, depression and stress; which can all contribute to lower back pain.

If your pain continues to persist or worsen, it would be a good idea to seek professional help. Let one of our experienced physical therapists help you get back to feeling your best, and living the life that you love. Contact us today!

sciatica an back pain during pregnancy

Find Relief From Sciatica Or Back Pain During Pregnancy

 

Pregnancy is an absolute miracle, but it can also cause additional stress on the body. It is important to be aware of the possible changes that occur during pregnancy and ways that you can help your body through the process. The typical changes that the body goes through include weight gain, a shift of one’s center of gravity and hormonal changes; adding back pain or sciatica to that list is not a welcome addition!

What is Sciatica?

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, individual nerve roots branch out from the spine and lower back and then combine to form the “sciatic nerve.” The term sciatica is used to describe symptoms of leg pain, and occur when the large sciatic nerve is irritated or compressed.

How do I know if I have Sciatica?

Expecting mothers can experience burning, tingling, numbness or weakness that originates in the lower back and travels through the buttock and down the large sciatic nerve in the back of each leg. Typically sciatica will occur in one leg, and can result in sharp pain that may make it difficult to stand up or walk. Most would assume that sitting down, or lying down, will provide relief from the pain – but in fact, the pain caused by sciatica can be worse when sitting down. Symptoms can be infrequent and irritating, or can even be constant and cause you to lose normal function of your body.

How do I find relief from back pain and sciatica?

Physical therapy can relieve the back and sciatic pain experienced during pregnancy in only a few sessions. Treatment typically includes two sessions a week for 2-3 weeks. Your physical therapist will also educate you on various stretches and exercises you can do at home to help alleviate pain and discomfort. With hands-on soft tissue work and various modalities, experienced physical therapists can help you enjoy this joyous time of your life, rather than suffer through it.

Are you experiencing back pain or sciatica during pregnancy? Contact us now. Our physical therapists are experienced in working with expecting mothers to relieve pain and get back to enjoying the miracle of pregnancy.

growing pains

The Truth About Growing Pains

Does your child really have “growing pains?”

The truth is, there is no proof that growing bones can cause pain in your child’s legs. However, there are too many children between the ages of 3 to 16 that complain of leg pain for it to be ignored.

Growing pains occur in around 25 percent to 40 percent of all children. It is most often seen between the ages of 3 to 5 and then again between 8 to 12 years of age, but children of any age can experience growing pains prior to a growth spurt.

The pain that your child can experience with growing pains will more than likely be in the front of their thighs, in their calves or behind their knees. The joints do not hurt. Leg pains are usually felt more at night or evening just about bedtime. The pain is not felt every day and the intensity varies from one child to the next. Some children have severe pain at night that does wake them from sleep, while others do not. Pains brought on from growing, like other illnesses, can affect each child differently as to the exact location of the pain and the intensity.

These leg pains are normally stronger after your child is physically active and your doctor may advise you to give him something for the pain such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Some other ways to help your child when growing pains occur include: massaging the area, having them stand up and stretch (try these kids’ yoga poses) or use a heating pad. Another home remedy is to use a moist towel warmed in the microwave.

 

If you notice that the joints are swollen or red then visit a doctor or physical therapist to help you figure out the problem! There are not physical signs of growing pains and growing pains do not have any type of distinguishing symptoms other than pain in the legs. Your child will not run a fever or hurt any place else besides the ones mentioned above. If you notice other symptoms such as fever, or red and swollen joints, then this could be something more serious.

If you’re worried that your child’s knee pain could be something worse than just growing pains, come see one of our experienced physical therapists.

pain

5 Simple Habits That May Lead To Pain Or Injury

Have you ever heard of “The Compound Effect”? The idea that simple habits repeated over time will eventually lead to a certain outcome. Take working out, for example. You might not see the results of your sweat session over night, but if repeated over time you will begin to see dramatic results. Sadly, the compound effect also applies to negative habits.

Here are a few simple habits you need to be aware of that may eventually lead to pain or injury:

  1.     Too much time spent on phones or tablets –

Texting or looking down at your mobile device for any length of time puts excessive strain on your neck. This habit is especially harmful for kids; too much phone or tablet time has shown to result in altered biomechanical and structural differences with the growth of the spine. Some immediate effects include hand and neck pain. It is important to be conscious of posture when using these devices, try raising your devices to eye level and limit the amount of time spent on them.

  1.     Improper sleeping habits –

We have all woken up at one time or another with some sort of pain in our neck, shoulder or back. If this continues to happen multiple nights in a row, it may be a good idea to try out some other sleeping positions or pillow options. There are many pillow options for comfort and support; it may take a bit of trial and error to find what works best for you. The general rule is that it is best to use a pillow that keeps your cervical spine in neutral alignment. It is worth taking the time to find what works best for you. Sleeping on your back is the best position to allow your entire spine to rest.

  1.     Habit of carrying a purse or backpack that is too heavy –

The most common mistake is consistently carrying a heavy purse or briefcase on one side of the body, it is easy to get in the habit of using your dominant arm but if you must carry a heavy bag make sure to at least alternate arms. The uneven load can cause your shoulders to become uneven and eventually strain your neck muscles. This is not a new bad habit; men and women have been struggling with this issue for quite some time. Here is some great info on the possible negative effects of this habit and ways to help fix it.

  1.     Wearing the wrong shoe size –

Wearing the wrong shoe size can lead to injury, but the problem is most people don’t realize they are wearing the wrong shoe size. While you might typically wear size 8, your running or hiking shoe should typically be ½ sized to a whole size bigger; same with dress shoes, the shoe shouldn’t fit too snug. Speciality running stores like Road Runner Sports and Sole Sports are great options for helping you make sure your athletic shoes are a good fit.

  1.     Improper vision prescription or over use of LED lights –

Poor vision caused by improper prescription or over use of LED lights is an easily overlooked habit that can lead to serious pain. This habit can cause the development of forward head posture due to squinting and leaning forward to view a computer screen or mobile device screen. Forward head posture not only leads to possible pain, but also has shown to be a reason for many injuries, new and chronic.

If you are currently experiencing any pain as a result of these bad habits, make an appointment with us today! Let us help you get back to feeling your best.

 

new years resolution

Actually Achieve Your New Year’s Resolution This Year!

It’s officially 2017, and we all know that means. Small talk has shifted from the weather to New Year’s Resolutions. If you are one of the many people who tells themselves they’re going to get fit, lose weight or exercise more, we’re here to help!

The reason why many resolutions aren’t fulfilled is because when we say “I’m going to get in shape,” that’s an abstract concept. What does that mean? Are you going to lose weight, do you want to be able to run a 5K without stopping? When we attach numbers to our goals, they become tangible, and more importantly, achievable.

To help you with your fitness related New Year’s Resolution, we are going to provide you with the knowledge you need to set realistic objectives, and a regimen to really obtain them.

How are we going to do this? With Body Composition Testing!

What Is Body Composition Testing?

Your Body Composition is the sum of your body fat, lean muscle, and total body water. Body Composition Testing can tell us what percentages of your body is fat, muscle, and water. It’s a much more accurate representation than the weight on the scale or your BMI. Scale weight does not define you, these numbers do.

To determine your Body Composition, electrodes will be attached to your hands and feet. They will send frequencies throughout your body, and will be able to determine your Body Composition. This is a non-invasive, pain-free test. The whole process takes just 6 minutes, and you’ll get your results immediately! And the best part, this test is only $49.

With this information, we can determine what is a safe amount of fat to lose, or how much muscle you should gain. You’ll have concrete numbers to base your New Year’s Resolution on. And we can even help you with diet and exercise recommendations to accomplish your goals based on the data collected.

Are you ready to finally achieve the New Year’s Resolution you set for yourself? We will be conducting these tests at our Mesa location on January 18th, 2017, and at the Scottsdale location on January 19th, 2017.

Spaces are limited so schedule your body composition testing today!