physiquality blog: how can I use wearable technology to improve my health?

I will admit that I’ve tried to use my Apple watch to track my movement. I’ve slowly increased my activity goal over the last few months, and I use the exercise tracker to remind me of how (in)frequently I work out. But I could probably do more by following some of the tips our experts gave us.

How can I use wearable technology to improve my health?

with advice from Activbody, AED Superstore and Polar

For better or worse, technology has become a part of our daily lives. We can receive calls and messages anywhere, at any time. We can count our steps and track our runs. We can even do guided meditation and receive daily affirmations. And now, “wearable tech” can monitor our health moment by moment.

Wearable tech is made up of devices designed to be worn on the body to help you to achieve fitness and wellness goals and track your health. Examples include fitness trackers, smartwatches and even virtual reality headsets. While smartphones have been able to collect data about our health for a while, it wasn’t always very consistent. AED Superstore, a preferred vendor for PTPN (Physiquality’s parent company), points out that wearable tech like Fitbits and Apple watches are an improvement over smartphones because they are in constant contact with our skin, the body’s largest organ.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: exercise during the 4th trimester, or how moms can start exercising after birth

I barely remember the bleary-eyed days after my son was born. It was almost a week between when my labor started and we brought the baby home from the hospital, and it took a solid two weeks after that to start feeling human again. Sleep deprivation is no joke.

But the one thing that was guaranteed to help me feel better was walking. I knew that it would help me improve my health, even after a C-section, and since we were in a walkable neighborhood, I could walk to Starbucks for coffee, or Trader Joe’s for a snack. It helped me to escape the house even for a few minutes to join the land of the living again.

There are days when I still struggle to exercise on a regular basis, but I am thankful that I was able to create a semi-regular fitness regimen in the first few months after our son was born. Yes, it helps to shed the baby weight, but the more important part is to create those exercise habits for a healthy lifestyle for the long term.

Exercise during the 4th trimester, or how moms can start exercising after birth

with advice from Ann Cowlin, MA, CSM, CCE

Being a new parent is tough. There are lots of sleepless nights, and a new baby in the house that can’t quite tell you what she needs — to eat, to sleep, to poop. Perchance all three.

While new moms often focus exclusively on their babies, it’s good to remember that moms are recuperating from birth and need to focus on their own health and wellness as well. Think of it as the oxygen mask rule on an airplane: You have to put on your own oxygen mask before putting one on your child. In other words, you have to be healthy yourself in order to be the best parent to your kids.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: how to prepare for sports tryouts

Athletes (and that includes those that try out for cheerleading and dance teams) often need to tryout or audition every year to stay on the team. For some kids, this can cause a great deal of stress or anxiety as they try to make sure they can continue to do a sport that they love.

I remember auditioning for drill team every spring. It was nauseating. (Granted, as a dancer, I grew accustomed to being judged for teams and roles throughout high school. Which may explain why I only weighed 105 pounds at graduation — dancers often cut their meals at the first sign of such evaluation.) Perhaps I would have been better prepared if I had taken some of this advice when preparing for those tryouts.

How to prepare for sports tryouts

with advice from Mark Salandra, CSCS, and Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy

While we’re closing in on peak summer vacation time, some athletes are already preparing for fall sports and team tryouts. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you hope to make the team.

  1. Train your body.

This may seem obvious, but it doesn’t mean that you need to only play the sport for which you’re trying out. Certified strength and conditioning coach Mark Salandra advises athletes to think about what skills might be tested during the tryout beyond sports-specific movements. “Strength training and agility training are great ways to prepare your body for any type of tryout,” says Mark, the founder of StrengthCondition.com (one of Physiquality’s partner programs).

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

5 tips for avoiding pain while working in the garden

I will be the first to admit that my place is not in the garden, at least if anyone wants the plants to survive longer than a few days. Between my allergies (to both plants and mosquitoes), my fair skin, and my propensity for heat stroke, I’m an indoors girl.

That said, I can respect the work it takes to create a lovely garden. No garden can grow well untended, and the best take hours of work every year — planting, weeding, watering, repeat. So if you’re starting to feel some aches and pains after tending your garden, try these tips to feel better so that you can truly relax in that beautiful landscape of yours.

5 tips for avoiding pain while working in the garden

One of the joys of retirement, I’ve been told, is tending a garden — digging deep into the soil to build a landscape in which we can relax and, both literally and figuratively, enjoy the fruits of our labors.

But sometimes those labors can lead to aches and pains in one’s neck, back, knees and more. Here are some tips on how to reduce your pain while working in the yard.

  1. Set realistic goals before you put on those gardening gloves.

One of the best ways to avoid wasted time, money and effort is to make a plan. Think about what exactly you want to do in your garden and make sure you plan for the time and effort to buy your plants and flowers as well. People often set aside the time for weeding and planting without thinking about how long it will take to select what you’ll be setting into the ground, or that you might be sore after loading and unloading everything at the store and at home.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: will I have arthritis after my knee injury?

As a person who has had five knee surgeries now, this is a very personal subject. One particular pre-op appointment comes to mind. I was living in Los Angeles, and I was preparing for a cartilage implant. After years and years of dance (many on tile floors), I’ve shredded my cartilage, and the doctors agreed this would help to repair the hole in my right knee’s cartilage.

So I go to see my GP for blood work the week before surgery. He looks at what is supposed to be done, looks up at me, and asks when I’m going to have my knee replaced. I dunno doc, can I get through this surgery (that’s supposed to delay a knee replacement) first?

In my own estimation, I was doomed from the beginning. I had arthritis in my right knee at 14. My left knee started sounding like Rice Krispies in my 30s. But I know that if I don’t remain active, I’ll simply put on more weight, and I’ll be more at risk for arthritis, as well as lots of other things. So it’s better to be as active as I can, with the hopes of postponing these other issues and surgeries as long as possible.

Will I have arthritis after my knee injury?

with advice from Mitch Kaye, PT

Unfortunately, if you have a traumatic injury to the knee like an ACL tear, a meniscus tear or even certain types of fractures, your chance of developing osteoarthritis increases significantly.

Osteoarthritis, which is the wearing away of cartilage, can occur normally with years of use, but it can also occur more readily after trauma around the knee. The Arthritis Foundation estimates that 700,000 knee injuries a year account for 12.5% of post-traumatic arthritis cases in the U.S., and they warn that younger athletes with ACL injuries are at risk of developing arthritis before they are 40 years old, often within 10 years of the original injury.

If you’re an athlete who has had one of these types of injuries, it’s not something you probably wanted to hear.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: can physical therapy help with pelvic pain?

Can physical therapy help with pelvic pain?

with advice from Jessica Hice, PT, DPT

Pelvic pain is a symptom that is easy to ignore. When considering talking to a doctor or physical therapist, women (and men) think about the awkward conversations, and the prospect of an invasive examination, and they often decide to postpone such uncomfortable situations.

But like any bodily pain, the longer it continues, the more likely that chronic pain is a sign that something is wrong and needs to be treated.

Pain that continues for six or more months would be considered chronic and worthy of discussion with a healthcare professional, according to the Section on Women’s Health, a subset of the American Physical Therapy Association that offers training for physical therapists who want to specialize in women’s health or pelvic pain. Pelvic pain can present in the lower abdomen, pelvic or perineum, the Section notes, and it could also feel like aching or burning.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: working toward a better body

In revamping this post (it was originally “work out like a model,” which isn’t easy to relate to physical therapy and general wellness), I may have been speaking for myself, as well as my family back in the Midwest, when I wrote about the weather. Friends in Kansas City have had 10 snow days at this point of the year. My sister-in-law in Chicago has had multiple days with highs hovering around 10 degrees.

Dallas may not have been as bad as either of those, but I have done my fair share of hibernating during our first winter here. And now I need to find a way to shed some of the weight gained in the last few months. Luckily, I found some advice on that very subject. Read on for more information…

Working toward a better body

Working toward a better body

As spring break approaches, many of us are starting to realize how much we have hibernated during this overly cold and snowy winter. Trapped inside our homes, we may have been eating more and working out less.

With the prospect of spring break trips and summer weather on the horizon, here are some ways to shed those winter pounds and to shape up your physique.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: why is physical therapy important after a joint replacement?

Joint replacement surgery has become fairly common in recent years. It has become easier to recuperate from, and the implanted replacements last a lot longer than they used to. In the 1980s, I was told a new knee would last 10-15 years; now, they can last up to 30 years.

The older patients who often get these surgeries may not have been through orthopedic procedures before, and I’ve come across some who shrug off the prescription of physical therapy as unnecessary. Unfortunately, without the strengthening and work done in PT, these patients could end up with the very same chronic pain that drove them to have the surgery in the first place.

To learn more about why PT is such an integral part of joint replacement procedures, read on…

Why is physical therapy important after a joint replacement?

with advice from Shelly Cloughley, PT, DPT, CSCS

Joint replacement surgeries like knee and hip replacements have been on the rise in the new millennium. With many Baby Boomers approaching their 70s, it’s a trend that most likely will continue.

But while patients might think long and hard about what the surgery will entail and the expertise of their surgeon, they don’t often consider the role of physical therapy in their recovery.

A patient’s decision to undergo a joint replacement is often a result of chronic arthritis or pain, as well as a loss of function and quality of life. Throughout the process of rehabilitation, patients are commonly frustrated about meeting their expectations of having the joint replacement. Patients aren’t usually prepared for the discomfort of the process of healing, and the challenges of restoring their full range of motion and building the necessary strength to return to a functional level that fits their lifestyles.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: four signs you should STOP working out

When a new year begins, it’s a natural time to start new habits, particularly ones related to your health. You may or may not have eaten or drank your way through the holidays, and the lack of social events in January is a good time to start eating better, drinking less (alcohol) and moving more.

However, at any fitness level, there are ways your body is telling you that your activity is too much and that you need to stop. Immediately. (I know this from personal experience — I’ve had to walk out of two different dance classes due to a sharp, stabbing pain that eventually led to joint repairs and orthopedic surgery.) These are not signs to “rub some dirt on it” and get back to exercising. They are your body’s way of telling you to sit down and possibly call your doctor or physical therapist to see what is causing the symptom.

Four signs you should STOP working out

with advice from Mitch Kaye, PT

January often brings resolutions of better health and exercising more. After a month (or 6 weeks) of indulging, hectic holiday plans, and falling off the wellness wagon, it makes sense to try to improve your health through exercise. But there are times when you should listen to your body and stop exercising.

Despite the mantra “no pain, no gain,” if your body hurts, it’s trying to tell you something. Here are four things to be aware of when working out.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: should I switch to a standing desk at work?

We pick our blog topics for Physiquality months in advance, so the irony was not lost on me when this topic came up the same week I had hip surgery. The thought of standing all day while working was, suffice it to say, not a pleasant one to have as I prepared to hobble around on crutches for the next couple of months.

That said, I was truly curious whether standing desks are helpful in maintaining one’s health. My husband’s office has integrated them into the new campus they have built, and when I visit him at work, it seems like they are in use quite a bit. But after speaking to a couple of physical therapists, I’m not convinced this is the best solution for most people. Read on to learn what I found out from our experts, as well as the studies they have reviewed that evaluate just how beneficial standing is as compared to sitting.

Should I switch to a standing desk at work?

with advice from Mike Stare, PT, DPT, CSCS, CNS and Mitch Kaye, PT

We’ve all seen the headlines that emphasize the dangers of sedentary behavior. Yes, Sitting Too Long Can Kill You, Even if You Exercise. Too Much Sitting Is As Bad for the Brain As It Is for the Body. Sitting Is the New Smoking: Ways a Sedentary Lifestyle Is Killing You.

These headlines may grab your attention and scare you, but they don’t convey the wide spectrum of studies you’ll find that may or may not show how sitting too much can lead directly to death. Mike Stare, a physical therapist and a co-owner of Orthopaedics Plus (a Physiquality network member in Massachusetts), has written about this for his clinic’s own website, and he points out that while the studies seem to contradict each other, there are a couple of conclusions to be made when you compare all of the results:

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!