physiquality blog: using exercise to manage stress

I can easily say that for us, the last six weeks of the year are the most stressful time, every year, hands down. Balancing the needs of two families, plus all of the holiday communications, plus wrapping and finding gifts for more than 30 people, plus all of the requisite cooking and traditions that need to be followed… It’s a lot.

I often forego certain classes because of other commitments, yet when I do finally attend yoga or go to a dance class, I feel so much better. (The challenge is what I do afterward — I went from yesterday’s yoga class to the grocery store, home to clean up, to 2 different malls for my son’s photo with Santa, then back home to cook dinner for guests.)

But we do what we can. Like most people, I try to remember not to overburden our schedule too much, and to take breaks to avoid burnout before Santa even makes it down the chimney.

Using exercise to manage stress

with advice from Diego Kim, PT, DPT

The holiday craziness is in full swing: Office parties and family gatherings. School performances and final exams. Impending travel and days away from work and your regular routine.

The end of the year can be overwhelming, and it’s not uncommon to be stressed out. While you might be tempted to grit your teeth and push through your crazy schedule, it’s healthier to acknowledge your stress and manage it in a healthy way, like through exercise.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: obesity: what are the risks, and how can physical therapy help?

with advice from Progressive Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation and AED Superstore

The word has been out for a while: Obesity is on the rise in America. A study published last year by JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association) showed that no matter which way you look at the data (all adults, men vs. women, specific age groups), more people are obese in all of these categories than there were 10 years ago.

What can contribute to obesity?

A variety of factors can lead to obesity, explains AED Superstore, a Preferred Vendor for PTPN (Physiquality’s parent company). Yes, it can be the result of eating more than you should and moving less than you should. But sometimes it’s a good idea to consider why you might be doing that.

To learn more, read the full entry at physiquality.com.

physiquality blog: is this your first time at physical therapy?

Having gone through this process several times, this was one of the easier posts to conceive (and one of the harder ones to make sure I was citing outside sources). I’ve been advised to do several of these things, like wearing shorts, talking about expectations, and writing down questions, even after your first appointment.

Any time you think of something to ask your PT, write it down. Once you’re in the thick of your appointment, it’s easy to forget to ask such things.

Is this your first time at physical therapy?

with advice from Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy and Mitch Kaye, PT

So you’ve been having knee pain for a while, and you’re considering physical therapy. What should you expect when you go for your first appointment?

In honor of National Physical Therapy Month, let’s take a look at some things to consider as you start therapy:

Before you even walk through the door, fill out as much of the paperwork as you can. Your doctor will forward on any tests or diagnoses made at her clinic, notes Bethany Urquidez, a physical therapist at Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy (a Physiquality network member in Arizona). However, your PT will have specific questions about how your body feels and moves, as well as needing the typical insurance paperwork. A lot of physical therapy clinics will have all the required paperwork posted to their website, making it easy to fill out before you arrive for your first appointment.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

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!