physiquality blog: how to lace your running shoes

I have mentioned before that I am not a runner. But I can appreciate how your shoes affect your sport. As a dancer, whenever I wear shoes, they have to be anchored to my feet securely, no matter what kind of shoes I’m wearing or what I’m doing. So this running post made more sense to me than most.

How to lace your running shoes

with advice from Orthopedic Rehabilitation Specialists

For most of us, when we purchase a new pair of sneakers, we keep the laces the way they are when we tried them on. We might have a preference on how they are laced, but it’s primarily aesthetic — do you want the lace at your toes to be outside the grommets or inside?

But when it comes to running shoes, lacing is one of many aspects that becomes strategic. There are particular ways to lace your shoes for arch support, wide feet, numb toes… The list is longer than most people’s daily runs.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: if you’re in pain, try physical therapy before relying on painkillers

So this is one of my fears. Having dealt with chronic knee problems for most of my life, I am reluctant to take painkillers, particularly opioids like Vicodin or Oxycodone, as I know they are addictive. Given the number of addicts in my family (even when they are more prone to alcohol than anything else), I’ve been a bit paranoid about taking anything that could lead me down that path.

This is why I have always been in the physical therapy first, or at least adjacent to, taking painkillers. PT is the long-term solution, trying to fix the cause of the pain, rather than the symptom. If you are dealing with chronic pain, it’s best to at least try physical therapy for relief. Your stomach, kidneys and liver will thank you later.

If you’re in pain, try physical therapy before relying on painkillers

with advice from Michael Weinper, PT, DPT, MPH

You are on your way home from working out at the gym or playing a game of softball. You press on the brake to slow down at a stoplight, and pain sears through your knee. It’s not the first time this has happened, so you decide to talk to your doctor. Do you ask for painkillers, or do you talk to your physician about seeing a physical therapist?

There’s no question that pain hurts, says Michael Weinper, a physical therapist and the owner of PTPN and Progressive Physical Therapy, a private physical therapy practice. It’s how you respond to the pain that will affect your health in the long run.

If you merely rely on painkillers to treat pain, particularly opioid painkillers, you could be setting yourself up for long-term problems like depression and addiction without ever treating the cause of the problem.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: walk more, be healthier

I will admit that since I became a mother, I have focused more on convenience and less on movement. Most shopping is done online (with the exception of the groceries). I work from home, so my commute is up a flight of stairs, and I have noticed (thank you, Apple watch) that I do not move enough during the day. At least in New York, I could walk everywhere. Moving to a more suburban environment means that the only place within walking distance was a BBQ truck, and that closed more than a year ago.

So what’s a mom to do? I’ve written about this for a long time — walk. Even just walking 30 minutes a day can improve your cardiovascular health and help you lose weight. The reality is that it’s still winter here, and as I look out my window I see wet streets and melting snow. But I’m promising myself that as soon as our weather is less brutal, I’ll be walking more every day.

Walk more, be healthier

with advice from Libbie Chen, PT, DPT and Polar

Technology has made a lot of things easier. If you need to buy something, order it online. If you need to get somewhere, just drive your car.

What this also means is that Americans are walking and moving less. This is one of many factors leading to the ever-increasing waistlines in our country. And even if you haven’t been gaining weight, moving less can contribute to heart disease and other health issues.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: 6 habits for a healthier heart

Full disclosure: I am a sorority girl. Not one that skulked around the edges, either — I was our philanthropy chair as a junior, and was in charge of retention as a senior. While I have drawn more close to my university alumni groups rather than Alpha Phi social groups in recent years, women’s leadership has always been a cause that is close to my heart. In my sorority’s case, that was literal, as Alpha Phi funds cardiac care research and has for some time embraced what became a national trend: National Wear Red Day, a way to support cardiac care research, particularly for women.

Of course some may ask why this movement focuses on women. It’s because cardiovascular disease in the U.S. kills approximately one woman every 80 seconds. EVERY 80 SECONDS. It also kills more women than all types of cancer combined.

The American Heart Association has some tips for having a healthier heart, which I wrote about this week and link to below. But this is my plea for you to wear red tomorrow and donate to cardiac care — for women’s health, and for everyone’s.

6 habits for a healthier heart

in honor of American Heart Month 2018

Most of us know that exercise improves your cardiac health — you get moving and your heart pumps more, which helps your heart remain strong. But what else can you do to improve your heart health?

A few years ago, the American Heart Association, or the AHA, created Life’s Simple 7: seven ways to improve your cardiac health. One of those seven is exercising more. Your PT can help you create an exercise regimen to help you get moving, in the best way for your particular body. Use our locator to find a Physiquality therapist in your neighborhood.

Here are the AHA’s six other ways to make your heart stronger and healthier.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: sarcopenia and loss of strength

I know this term more from working with physical therapists than I do by observing my own grandparents — my grandfather was lifting weights and riding his bike into his 70s, and my grandma swore by her morning walks into her 80s. But they are not only the exception, they demonstrate how exercise and activity can slow down the slippery slope of aging toward frailty discussed in this post.

Aging isn’t fun for anyone. My grandmother is 90 now and describes herself as “meaner than a junkyard dog.” She can’t hear very well, and she’s pretty much blind due to macular degeneration. But I believe she is able to take care of herself and live on her own due to the healthy life she has lived for decades, one of moderate drinking, healthy eating, and plenty of activity. If I’ve learned anything from her (aside from the value of a good looking shoe), it’s that I will be striving to do the same in order to have a better chance at being healthy when I’m her age.

Sarcopenia and loss of strength

with advice from Daniel Butler, CEP

Sarcopenia, the loss of skeletal muscle mass, is a part of what has been called “the slippery slope of aging.”

As people age, they often start to experience sarcopenia, as well as osteopenia and osteoporosis. Having weaker muscles and bones, plus the arthritis caused by years of wear and tear, can make movement more difficult and painful. The pain leads to less activity, which contributes to weaker bones and muscles, making it even more difficult to move. And so on.

Doctors and scientists are still not quite sure what causes sarcopenia, but they have linked a number of factors to its development, according to the Mayo Clinic: age-associated hormone changes, physical inactivity, inflammation, and diseases like cancer and diabetes. Because inactivity can lead to sarcopenia, doctors encourage older adults to exercise more to build muscle mass.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: five ways to beat fatigue and have more energy

The holidays can be hard. Even the New York Times has acknowledged that the increased activity in December, plus the quantity of time spent with family, can lead to fatigue. And while you may want to turn to alcohol and coffee to get you through this, studies have shown that both can actually make you feel more tired. Which will not help you when you’re stuck in a corner with Cousin Al.

So if you’re looking for ways to gain more energy for your upcoming holiday calendar, take a look at what I’ve put together at the pqBlog.

Five ways to beat fatigue and have more energy

Winter is coming. As December begins, so does the holiday whirl. Office parties. Family get-togethers. Late nights spent trying to put together toys that have instructions written in a foreign language.

It can be easy to get overwhelmed, and feeling tired will make it more difficult to get through the month. So here are five ways to beat some of that fatigue, giving you more energy to face whatever is on your calendar.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: fueling your workout

The balance of nutrition and exercise is always difficult as it depends on a variety of factors. Height. Weight. Gender. Fitness level. Length of activity. And so on.

But I do think there are some misperceptions about the ability to eat more food or less healthy food if one is working out regularly. (Kind of like the saying that “eating for two” while pregnant gives women carte blanche to eat whatever they want. Only if they want to live on a treadmill while breastfeeding after the baby comes.)

This is especially true if one’s goal is to lose weight — it is nearly impossible to lose weight through exercise alone. As someone who has been struggling to lose weight for several years now, this post speaks to me personally. Perhaps it is time to practice what I write.

Fueling your workout

with advice from Angela Mader
and AlterG

You’ve made a commitment to get healthy and lose weight.

Great!

You’ve trimmed unhealthy foods that have lots of sugar and trans fats from your diet and added in more fruits and vegetables, and you’re doing 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week, but you’re not seeing any weight loss.

Not so great.

Angela Mader, the creator of the fitbook™ (a Physiquality partner program), recommends taking a look at what you’re eating before workouts to make sure that you’re eating the best foods to energize you and maximize your results. As she explains it, “food is fuel. It might be time to take a look under the hood to make sure you’re properly fueling (and re-fueling) your body to optimize burning fat while gaining lean muscle.”

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: consider getting wet to get better.

While I’ve never had the opportunity to do aquatic therapy, it makes sense to me. Strengthening in the water, as compared to land, would help when you’re transitioning from non-weight-bearing status to using a leg again, for example. Or if your balance is poor. I’m always amazed with how our member clinics use innovative ways to help their patients get better.

What are the benefits of aquatic physical therapy?
Consider getting wet in order to get better.

with advice from Kelly Lenz, PT
and Blair J. Packard, PT, MS

When most people think of physical therapy, they probably think of treadmills and stationary bikes, hand weights and elastic bands — plus the medical tables on which patients can be treated. Without getting wet.

So why might aquatic physical therapy be just as beneficial, or even better?

“Aquatic therapy allows a gravity-reduced environment in which to exercise,” explains Kelly Lenz, a physical therapist and co-owner of Clinton Physical Therapy Center, a Physiquality network clinic in Tennessee. “This allows a variety of patients to move more freely without undue stress on their body.”

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: how to play hockey safely

The title of this month’s blog post may sound like an oxymoron, but it is possible to reduce injuries in hockey, the only sport where some players still fight to play without a helmet. Smart players and athletes know that it is better to think about your body for the long term, and making sure to wear appropriate gear and include the proper strengthening in one’s regimen are easy ways to reduce the chances of injury in a sport where, eventually, one hopes that players won’t trumpet a lack of teeth as something to brag about.

How to play hockey safely

with advice from Mark Salandra, CSCS

Hockey may not initially inspire thoughts of the world’s safest sport. With a reputation for brawls on the ice and toothless grins, parents may be understandably cautious about signing up their kids for the community hockey league.

However, with the proper precautions (and protective gear), the game can be played safely while those on the ice reduce their chance of injury.

Hockey is a unique sport, says Mark Salandra, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and the founder of StrengthCondition.com (a Physiquality partner program). “It incorporates speed, agility and strength in ways that no other sport tests the body,” he explains. As with any sport, injuries can be caused by a variety of factors, including the level of participation, player position, protective equipment, violent behavior, and personal susceptibility due to pre-existing injuries and style of play.

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!

physiquality blog: running away from injury

I might have mentioned before… I’m not a runner. Even when I’m being chased. It’s just not my thing — I’m too accident- and injury-prone to consider it.

But if you do run, there are many way to reduce your chance of injury. Our experts had several important points about what to do before, during and after you run to make sure you return to your house injury-free.

Running away from injury

with advice from Lori Francoeur, PT, MSPT, CSCS,
Jeff Rothstein, MS, CSCS, TSAC-F, CES, USAW and Polar

Running is a common way to stay fit — in theory, all you require is a good pair of running shoes. But running can also lead to a variety of injuries. Our experts talked to us about the most common running injuries and how to avoid them.

According to Jeff Rothstein, the Director of Sports Enhancement for the PT Center for Sports Medicine, a Physiquality clinic in Akron, Ohio, the most common running injuries are to the foot, knee and back. Jeff notes that having the right running shoes is essential for avoiding injury.

Lori Francoeur, a physical therapist at Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy Center in Arizona, agrees. She explains that runners should wear a “good supportive shoe that will provide adequate support and cushioning for your arch and heel.”

Read the full entry at physiquality.com!