Pelvic floor muscles

What to Expect at Your First Pelvic Floor PT Visit

Pelvic floor muscles

By: Rachel Larson, PT, DPT, CLT

What is Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy?

A pelvic floor physical therapist is just like any other physical therapist you may have worked with in the past! We are musculoskeletal, neurological, and movement specialists. However, we also have additional training specifically for pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor physical therapists address diagnoses such as pelvic pain, urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapses, diastasis recti (separation of abdominal muscles), low back pain due to pregnancy, and much, much more. We can even see you if you don’t have any issues and just want to proactively strengthen your pelvic floor!

Why Pelvic Floor PT?

While it’s more common than people think, it is not normal to pee your pants after having a baby or to have pain with intercourse! Pelvic floor physical therapy is a great, non-surgical solution to these problems. If you are experiencing urinary incontinence, then your therapist can help retrain your bladder and strengthen your pelvic floor. Or for pelvic pain, rather than strengthening the pelvic floor, we can also help train your pelvic floor to relax. Please know that there is help out there for you for any of these problems you may be experiencing!

What will my first appointment be like?

Based on your main concern regarding your pelvic floor, you can expect your pelvic floor physical therapist to:

  • Start by having a conversation about what your area of concern is, when it began, and how we can help you
  • Assess your posture, gait pattern, lower back and hip ranges of motion, as well as your strength
  • With your consent and only if they believe it is appropriate for your specific case, your therapist can perform an internal assessment of your pelvic floor musculature. The purpose of the internal assessment is to test the strength and range of motion of your pelvic floor muscles to get a better idea of your specific diagnosis. The setup of an internal assessment is similar to the setup of your yearly OBGYN visit. You, and a chaperone if you wish, will be brought into a private room. The room is sanitized including sheets on the table and has sheets to keep you covered during the exam. Your therapist also won’t need to use stirrups or speculums! They will put on a clean pair of gloves and use a water-based lubricant to perform a manual exam. Any additional tools will only be used in follow-up treatments and not in the initial internal evaluation.
  • Prescribe a personalized exercise program that is tailored to your main concern to help return you to your daily life
What do I do next?

To schedule an evaluation with a pelvic floor physical therapist, you can either give us a call directly or you can see your doctor to be referred. If you have any questions or want to learn more about pelvic floor physical therapy and what we can offer, please give us a call!

Pediatric Speech Therapist

Understanding Your Child: Speech Intelligibility

 What is Speech Intelligibility?

Communication is crucial for children in early developmental stages. However, when communication is interrupted, children can start to fall behind the developmental curve. Parents often worry about their child not being understood by others. Speech intelligibility is the clarity of one’s speech to others or how much of someone’s speech is understood. Higher degrees of speech intelligibility are easier to understand than lower degrees of intelligibility.

Is Your Child on Track?

Dr. Peter Flipsen Jr. is a renowned speech-language pathologist who has taught at schools all over the country. Dr. Flipsen devised an easy formula to show how speech clarity typically develops in children. Dr. Flipsen suggests dividing the age of the child by four. For example, if your child is 2, then you divide 2 by 4 and get .5 or 50%. This means that, on average, someone meeting a two-year-old for the first time should understand around 50% of what the child is saying. Typically, parents will be able to understand more of their own child’s speech since they are around their child more often and therefore are more familiar with their child’s speech patterns.

Dr. Flipsen's formula for determining a child's speech intelligibility development

Factors That Affect Speech Intelligibility 

Many factors impact how well a child is understood. The most notable of these factors is the production of speech sound errors. A speech sound error is when a child says a sound the wrong way. For example, a common error is replacing “th” with “f” and saying “fink” instead of “think”. The number, type, and consistency of speech sound errors can affect how easily someone can understand what a child is trying to say. It is important to remember that 100% clear speech/well-understood speech does not necessarily mean there are no speech sound errors since some sounds develop at later ages. A child producing speech sound errors can still be understood when the errors are consistent enough so that people know the child’s speech patterns.

Some other factors that can be affecting your child’s speech development are:

  • Apraxia – when the brain has trouble sending the correct messages to the muscles of the mouth on how to move
  • Dysarthria – the mouth muscles are weak and cannot make the correct sounds
  • Developmental disorders and genetic syndromes – these are often noticed when a child is severely delayed in producing speech sounds and language
  • Brain injuries – these can cause a child to stop any progress they’ve made or forget things they’ve already learned about speech and language
  • Hearing loss – children experiencing hearing loss often have trouble developing higher frequency sounds such as “f”, “s”, and “th”. You may also notice a sudden decline in their speech intelligibility or an increase in speech sound errors.

Speech Therapy Can Help!

If your child does not meet Dr. Flipsen’s averages, they may benefit from skilled speech therapy services. Speech therapists can help to determine the source of the problem and then identify and correct the errors with interventions.

Speech therapists have exercises and activities they can utilize to help your child develop their speech skills, such as:

  • Play-based tasks that focus on producing sounds correctly and work on the child’s volume and enunciation.
  • Directed tasks at certain sound productions including visual models, descriptions, and assisting the child’s movement with touch. For example, if a child struggles to produce the sound “f”, a skilled speech therapist can verbally and physically cue them. A verbal cue would be a therapist saying “watch me, I’m putting my teeth on my bottom lip”. A physical cue would be holding cereal or a lollipop on the child’s lower lip to increase their awareness of touching the bottom lip.
  • Moving from single sounds to syllables, short words, phrases, and then finally to conversation

If you’ve ever thought your child’s speech could use some help, then making an appointment with a speech-language pathologist could be a great option! A speech therapist can target your child’s speech sound errors unique patterns and slow their rate of speech as needed. Speech therapy can help to improve your child’s overall intelligibility and communication skills and open more doors for them as they grow!

Schedule an appointment at one of our 12 locations throughout the Greenville, Anderson, Spartanburg, Belton, Boiling Springs, Fort Mill, Powdersville, Seneca and Simpsonville, SC areas.

 

8 Sneaky Reasons Your Back Hurts

Did you know that about 80% of people will suffer from back pain? Sometimes, it’s obvious when you injure your back – whether you’re involved in an accident or simply feel something go wrong when lifting heavy objects. Back pain can sneak up on you through seemingly harmless motions. We’re diving into 8 sneaky reasons your back is hurting:

More Money, More Problems

Especially prevalent with men, storing a wallet in your back pocket is second nature. However, when seated, it causes your hips to be slightly angled and can throw your back’s position off—leading to pain.

Working (Too) Hard

Think of where your phone, printer, stapler, etc. sit on your desk at work. Is there something you grab for often that is ever so slightly out of reach? The repetitious leaning movement can misalign your back and move muscles improperly. Make sure your desk essentials are conveniently placed.

Country Roads

Often long drives are met with an inevitable groan. You spend most of the drive twisting and turning trying to get comfortable. The answer is in your seat position! Make sure your driver’s seat is angled so that it keeps your back upright and your hips at a 90-degree angle. Also, make sure to get out of your car every two or so hours to stretch and get your blood flowing.

Keeping You On Your Toes

While you may stretch your back in the morning or your hamstrings before a run, how often do you think about the flexibility in your big toe? Understandably, not very often. Experiencing decreased flexibility in your big toe and/or ankles can throw off your normal walking pattern. If your feet and ankles are stiff, then there may be too much movement or unbalanced movement in the lumbar spine.

Hips Don’t Lie

We know about Leg Day and Back Day at the gym, but what about Hip Day? A weakness of your hips can lead to straining low back muscles to compensate. Strengthen those hips by throwing a few sets of clam shells or leg lifts into your next leg day regimen.

Sleeping Soundly

While you’re tossing and turning at night, certain positions put the hips and/or low back in a bad position for hours at a time. The best positions for sleeping are on your back or side, making sure your pillows are properly set up to keep your neck neutral all night.

Fresh Kicks

Shoes with proper arch support, rigidity, and the proper size help keep a normal walking pattern that can take the pressure off of your low back. Next time you’re shopping, make sure to check out this post by The Fitness Tribe ranking some of the best shoes for avoiding back pain or go to your local running store to get properly sized!

Labor Pains

Mothers who deliver by C-section see increased side effects post-birth, as they are also recovering from major surgery. C-sections are performed by cutting through muscle groups that important in spinal stabilization. If that muscle is never retrained, the spine is often unstable which can move vertebrae and muscles out of place.

Back pain can be debilitating and make you feel that you’re on the sidelines of your own life. Hopefully, these tips and tricks help get you back on your feet. If you’d like more insight or help with your back pain, give one of our skilled physical therapists a call and get scheduled today!

Wallet in back pocket can lead to misalignment your back!

Ergonomics 101

Everyday Ergonomics

You might be asking yourself what exactly IS ergonomics? Luckily, the word is much less intimidating than it looks. Ergonomics is the science of safely and efficiently doing activities at work or at home. Although Occupational Therapists most often deal with work environments, the tasks and activities that you perform outside of the office are just as important. For instance, do you have problems doing gardening or yard work? What about shoulder, back, or neck pain after working on the computer or your iPad? Do you feel exhausted after trying to cook a meal? Our Occupational Therapists are trained in making ergonomic assessments and adjustments to reduce pain, maximize effectiveness, and help you get back to your daily activities.

Tackling Your Tasks  

Occupational Therapists combine their ergonomic-specific training with a foundation of the body’s anatomy and a passion for improving your performance. For example, many people lean too far forward while working on the computer or a craft, like sewing. Maintaining a straight, upright sitting posture is important for comfort, stamina, and your long-term health. We might suggest equipment like an ergonomic keyboard or a magnifying lamp to help make these tasks easier. Developing the small muscles in your hand, also known as intrinsic muscle strength, will help with your skills and comfort while performing small and detailed tasks.

From the Cubicle to the Kitchen

Our OTs will evaluate your individual case including complaints of pain or injury, difficulty performing certain tasks, and how you function in your environment. The evaluation will include every area that can affect task performance. For instance, many problems with hand pain and weakness can be traced to the shoulder or neck. Like a building with an unstable foundation, poor shoulder function can lead to problems further down the arm. The therapist will ask you to perform the activity that troubles you. If you can bring in tools you use frequently or any kind of examples, it will make our suggestions even better!

Examples of areas we can help with include:

  •         Gardening
  •         Woodshops
  •         Arts and crafts spaces
  •         Home
  •         Kitchen
  •         Garage
  •         Office space
  •         Assembly lines
  •         Retail counters

Basically, our Occupational Therapists can help with any task that you are having trouble completing. We can analyze and develop a custom treatment plan, including ergonomic suggestions that you can start using right away! Also, we will send you home with exercises tailored to your specific situation and needs. These home exercise programs, or HEPs, are key to your progress.

Our Occupational Therapists are skilled in recommending a variety of adjustments to how you work and play to reduce pain, maximize efficiency, and give you more time and energy to do what is important. If you’re interested in learning more or are ready to start your treatments, give us a call today to get set up with one of our skilled Occupational Therapists!

Wheelchair and Seating Evaluations: Who Would Benefit and What to Expect

Man in WheelchairWe’re halfway through National Occupational Therapy Month! We wanted to take today to highlight a lesser-known service provided here at Elite Integrated Therapy Centers – Wheelchair and Seating Evaluations. Our Occupational Therapists are able to help determine if a wheelchair or scooter is right for you!

So… Who Would Benefit From a Wheelchair and Seating Evaluation?

Anyone who already has or is in need of a scooter, power, or manual wheelchair is eligible for a Wheelchair and Seating Evaluation. If you would like to be more independent, our Occupational Therapists would love to help determine the best fit for you and your lifestyle. We work closely with your primary care physician throughout this process, although you do not need a referral to come see us! When you first schedule your appointment, we verify your insurance and let you know your benefits ahead of time – no surprises!

Insurance Requirements to Obtain a Wheelchair

Each insurance is different, but most power and manual chairs are covered by insurance after following copay and deductible policies. Currently, insurance companies only require that the therapist documents how the wheelchair is going to be used inside the home. First, insurance requires the patient to have a face-to-face appointment with their physician to document that a wheelchair or scooter is medically-necessary. Then, you can schedule your appointment with us so one of our Occupational Therapists can perform the evaluation. Next, we fax the results to your physician. Finally, your physician will have a face-to-face visit with you in the office and he or she will submit the necessary paperwork to order your chair and/or parts!

WHAT does the Wheelchair and Seating Evaluation Include?

Our Occupational Therapists complete an in-depth, one-hour evaluation to determine what type of mobility device, either a manual wheelchair, power wheelchair, or scooter, is most appropriate. We assess balance, posture, strength, and range of motion of upper and lower extremities. A local Assistive Technology Provider will also be present for the evaluation to assist with taking measurements and choosing the optimal chair, seat cushion, and backrest. The Assistive Technology Provider works for the company that provides the chair or various parts.

Scooter vs. Power Wheelchair vs. Manual Wheelchair

A scooter is a power device that you would normally see or use in a grocery store. They have 3 or 4 wheels, giving them a larger turning radius, and also making it harder to get in and out of rooms. Scooters are difficult to use inside the home. Scooters allow you to use both of your upper extremities rather than just one hand.

Similarly, a power wheelchair provides more seating options and is controlled by a joystick. The power wheelchair has a smaller turning radius which makes it able to turn tight corners, which makes it easier to use in the home.  For those with poor trunk control and difficulty with transfers and walking, a power chair would be a better option.

Lastly, a manual wheelchair allows you to propel yourself and can be fitted specifically to you. These lightweight chairs are great for individuals who have good upper body function and the necessary strength to propel themselves around the home.

Back and Seat Cushions on a Wheelchair

Once you determine which device is best for you, the final step is to address backrests and seat cushions. Backrests on chairs can provide you with better stability if you have poor trunk control.  Depending on the condition of your spine, you may require a specialty backrest.  There are also specialty seat cushions that provide pressure-relief for individuals who are at high risk for pressure sores. If you have poor trunk control, then seat cushions that provide support and stability are also an option. These cushions can be used in both manual and power wheelchairs.

Maybe you’re considering a wheelchair or scooter to help you be more independent and have more mobility. Maybe you already have a chair and need it to be adjusted/repaired. Either way, contact us today! We would love to talk with you and get you set up with an appointment. We are passionate about helping you live your life to the fullest!

 

OT and Custom Splints: Keeping It Straight!

April is National Occupational Therapy Month! To kick it off, we wanted to dive into one of the most adaptable aspects of occupational therapy-splinting! A splint is a device worn on an affected area and can be used to immobilize, mobilize, restrict, support, or protect a body part.

What is OT, you ask?

Occupational Therapy is a rehabilitation discipline focused on maximizing one’s independence performing meaningful tasks. That means that we can treat you for problems you have when performing daily activities, work duties, or even leisurely pursuits and make these tasks easier for you. Yeah, it’s a pretty big deal.

What can OTs treat?

In our clinics, we see many different types of complaints including, but not limited to pain and weakness in any joint or area of the arm and shoulder, fractures of any part of the arm, rotator cuff injuries, shoulder pain with scapular dysfunction, nerve injuries/palsies, and many more. OTs can even conduct driver assessments and wheelchair evaluations. We also go beyond physical treatment and can help enable people with cognitive impairments including cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, and the list goes on. For a full list of everything our OTs can treat, check out our diagnoses list!

How do OTs treat?

Our treatments usually involve a combination of exercise, activity practice, activity modification, and massage/manual therapy. Each session will be adjusted to meet your specific needs that day to ensure that you are getting the most out of every appointment. Also, you will have an individualized home exercise program to continue your progress when you are not in the clinic. And of course, our treatments are interactive and fun!

Splints

You have probably seen splints in stores such as CVS and Walgreens. However, they often don’t do the job quite right and that’s where custom splinting comes in! Our occupational therapists are trained to make a variety of finger, hand, wrist, and elbow splints that are customized for each condition and individual. The process is relatively simple and can be done during your first visit with a prescription. Most people find our custom splints more comfortable than those bought at a store. And even better, our custom splints are covered by most insurances!

Common diagnoses that our therapists make splints for include:

  •         Carpal tunnel syndrome
  •         Wrist sprain
  •         Wrist clicking
  •         Carpal instability
  •         Thumb arthritis
  •         Trigger finger
  •         Mallet finger
  •         Tennis elbow
  •         All types of fractures

We will fully assess your condition and needs to determine the best splint and adjust it for your unique needs!

The Splinting Process

The process of making a splint is surprisingly quick and easy! First, our therapists will perform a full assessment of your condition and what you need to do. Then, we will design a paper pattern for the splint sketching around your arm and try it on to ensure it meets your unique needs. Next, we will heat a special thermoplastic in warm water to make it soft. After cutting the material to match the pattern, we reheat it to a moldable, but comfortable, temperature. We will then apply the warm material to the affected area and ensure proper fit and position while the splint cools and firms (most people really enjoy how warm this feels!) Finally, we will fine-tune the splint to maximize comfort and add Velcro straps. Most splints only take 15-20 minutes to make!

 

OT making custom splint

Jon, OTR/L, making a custom splint in our clinic.

 

If you have any problems with a finger, hand, wrist, or elbow, then you should call in and ask to speak with one of our Occupational Therapists. We can discuss your specific condition, give immediate advice, and tell you if therapy, including a custom splint, is right for you. Often, we can see you in the clinic within 1-2 business days!

 

You Asked, We Answered!

Last month in our e-mail newsletter and on our social media platforms, we invited you to “Ask the Experts” and we’re excited to address your questions about physical therapy! Make sure to sign up for our monthly newsletter to stay up-to-date on all of the latest PT happenings, contests, and announcements here at Elite!

 

Q: What is Physical Therapy?

A: Physical Therapy is the treatment to improve mobility, relieve pain, restore physical function, and address disease or deformity.

 

Q: What can Physical Therapy treat?

A: The better question is… what can’t physical therapy treat? We can treat a wide variety of diagnoses. While PT is most commonly thought of for either back pain or sports injuries, some lesser known diagnoses can include headaches, vertigo, and TMJD/lockjaw. Click here for the full list of diagnoses we treat here at Elite!

 

Q: Do I need a referral from my doctor?

A: In most cases, no. In the state of South Carolina under “Direct Access” laws, you can be seen by a Physical Therapist for 30 days before a physician’s script is needed. But we like to get ahead by looping in your Primary Care Physician from the get-go. That way, if we need to see you past 30 days, we already have their consent to move forward!

 

Q: What if I’ve been referred to another facility?

A: As a patient, you have a choice in where you would like to attend therapy. If you want to come see us, let your physician know!

 

Q: How much does Physical Therapy cost?

A: This depends on your insurance coverage. While we accept all private and commercial insurances, we verify insurance benefits ahead of time to let you know what your financial responsibility is prior to your first appointment.

 

Q: Do I need to wait until the pain goes down to come in for treatment?

A: No! In fact, seeing a therapist in the midst of pain will help us better assess the situation and take action appropriately. Moreover, the sooner you are seen and treated, the faster and more effective your recovery will be.

FACT: Studies show that patients seen by a physical therapist within 2 weeks of onset of pain or injury have a 93% success rate.

 

Q: Can I continue working out while attending physical therapy?

A: This will all depend on what you’re being seen for and what you’re looking to do in your workout. Often, your physical therapist can make recommendations on exercises and cater your treatments to your individual goals. If maintaining an active lifestyle during physical therapy happens to be one, your physical therapist can assist you in coming up with a plan that won’t disrupt your PT progress!

 

Q: Should I get an MRI or X-ray first?

A: Your therapist can still evaluate you and see what’s going on. If they see a further underlying problem, your clinician can work with your doctor to determine if radiology would be appropriate.

 

Q: Does physical therapy hurt?

A: While the “No Pain, No Gain” mantra is often associated with physical activity, it’s not always the case with physical therapy. Depending on your diagnoses and advised treatment plan, you may deal with soreness or slight discomfort due to reactivating your muscles and joints. While this is to be expected, pain levels are monitored by your therapist throughout the course of treatment to ensure you’re not overworking your body. Keeping the lines of communication open between you and your therapist in regards to how your body is reacting will allow the therapist to better manage your treatment plan.

 

Were we able to answer your physical therapy questions? If not, shoot us a message and we’ll help you out!

In addition to Physical Therapy, we also offer Occupational Therapy, PT Home Visits, Massage Therapy, and Fitness & Wellness. Check out a full list of our services here.

Safe Squats: Proper Form and Common Mistakes

Buckling Knees

Proper squat form is one of the most popular topics with the popularity of weight lifting. One common mistake when squatting is knee valgus. Knee valgus is when your knees move inward towards midline during functional movements. This usually occurs when your hip adductors (the muscles on the inside of your thighs) overpower your hip abductors (the muscles on the outside of your thighs). Over time, not correcting this mistake could lead to injuries. To correct knee valgus, start with a resistance band above the knees to help give you a tactile cue of pressing out against the band as you are squatting. Your knees should align with the second to third toe during the movement pattern.  Having the band guide your knees outward will help you activate your abductors and lead to better knee alignment in your squats.

Brace Your Core

One of the most important components of a squat is making sure you have properly activated your core. By engaging the core, the spine is braced not allowing for flexion or extension during the movement. Your low back should not round or have an excessive arch. Your hips should flex during a squat without movement at the lumbar spine. Start with unloaded squats to master your pattern. Use a wand or broom stick pressed against your back to see how much your back moves during your squat. The goal is to maintain the same contact and distance with the broom stick throughout the full movement.

Watch Your Neck!

Be mindful of your head and neck position during your squats. Do not lead with the crown of your head! You should not be looking up and have excessive extension through your neck. This is a common mistake that often goes unnoticed. You want to have neutral neck position and keep your eyesight gazing about six to eight feet in front of you. Imagine a dowel running from ear to ear. Do a chin tuck about that axis and maintain that position without moving your head or neck throughout the squat.

Knees Over Toes

A common myth about squatting is “Don’t let your knees go past your toes!” This is a great cue for some people, but remember, everyone’s structure is different. Center mass of load, femur length, shin length, and foot length all play a roll in knee positioning during squatting. If you have long legs and small feet, it would be hard to find a squat position where your knees don’t go over your toes. Hip and knee flexion should happen at a 1:1 ratio during the squatting motion. In short, your knees and hips should both be moving equally and together. The thought is that if we ban our knees going over our toes, then we have reduced the torque on our knees. However, that torque is then translated to the hip joint. Fry, Smith, and Schilling reported in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research that when blocking the knees, we reduce torque by 22% at the knee joint, but increase torque at the hips by 1,070%. We have also changed the angle of the hip joint which increases the moment arm and puts more stress on the lumbar spine. Therefore, the stress you save your knees is multiplied and wreaks havoc on other parts of your body like your hips and back! In summary, sometimes the knees should not track over the toes, but sometimes they should. This cue is not a “one size fits all” cue. An individual’s structure and the type of movement performed dictate knee positioning. There is a place for both methods in training and rehabilitation.

Schedule an appointment at one of our 12 locations throughout the Greenville, Anderson, Spartanburg, Belton, Boiling Springs, Fort Mill, Powdersville, Seneca and Simpsonville, SC areas.

 

New Year, Best You

New Year, Best
You

It’s 2019! With the new year comes new motivation to set and crush your resolutions. One of the most popular resolutions year after year is to get in shape. But did you know almost 80% of people give up on their resolutions by the second week in February? Luckily, Elite’s Wellness Coordinators are here with tools to help keep you on track all throughout 2019!

Goal
Setting

The best way to make sure you don’t get lost in the frenzy
of the new year is to set realistic goals. Setting smaller goals along your way
will help you stay motivated and prevent you from getting burnt out. When
setting these goals remember to stay “SMART”!

Specific:
Your goal should be well-defined and easy to understand.

  • Instead of: “I will be healthy in the New Year”
  • Try: “I will lose weight in the New Year”

Here, you go from a vague and all-encompassing goal to one
that focuses on a specific aspect of being healthy.

Measurable:
Continuing with our example of losing weight, that is still not enough. We must be able to measure and track progress. To
make your goals measurable, try assigning numbers to make sure you can track
your progress!

  • Instead of: “I will be more active in the New
    Year”
  • Try: “I will jog 3 days a week for 30 minutes
    each”

Attainable:
You must have a realistic target goal in mind. It’s great to know how much
weight you want to lose overall, but keep in mind that healthy weight loss
usually means losing between 1-2 lbs. per week. So be careful here! It’s great
to be ambitious, but don’t get extreme. On the other hand, don’t make the goal
so easily attainable that you’re not challenging yourself!

  • Instead of: “I will lose 25 lbs. this month”
  • Try: “I will lose 5 lbs. this month”

Relevant:
Align your goals with where you are in life. Make sure you are setting goals
that are important to you. For example, don’t set a goal to cut out fast food
if you don’t eat it regularly. However, recognizing and eliminating an
unhealthy habit, such as drinking multiple caffeinated beverages in a day, is
more relevant to your daily life.

  • Instead of: “I will cut out fast food”
  • Try: “I will cut out Diet Coke”

Time-bound:
Set a deadline. Having a known end-point can help motivate you to get started.

  • Instead of: “I will lose 20 lbs.”
  • Try: “I will lose 20 lbs. by my birthday”

Now that we understand how to properly set goals, let’s talk
about how to successfully plan for exercise.

Planning for Exercise

In the fitness and wellness world, when talking about exercise
program we refer to FITTE.

Frequency:
If you are just starting out or refocusing, then it is important to determine
how often you plan to exercise. Buy a calendar solely for your workout schedule
and stick to it! Nothing is more satisfying then checking off a completed
workout.

Intensity:
Check your goals and decide how hard you need to work. If you are just starting
out, don’t overdo it. You’ll be able to build intensity over time. If you are
already on a regimen, then maybe it’s time to switch it up and challenge
yourself with a higher intensity.

Time:
How much time each day are you willing to dedicate to exercise? Again, for
beginners you should start slow and build tolerance. Knowing your limits and
respecting them will help prevent you from burning out and throwing in the
towel on your resolution.

Type:
Now it’s time to determine what types of exercise you would like to partake in.
There is no shortage of types to choose from: weightlifting, bodyweight
training, walking, swimming, running, dancing, etc.! Remember to vary your
exercises to avoid overuse injuries and keep yourself interested in your fitness
journey.

Enjoyable: Most
importantly, we come to enjoyable. Make sure to choose exercises that you like.
If you enjoy your workout, then you are more likely to stick to the new plan!

Now that you have these goal setting tools in your toolbox
you’re on your way to having a great new year and being the best version of
yourself! Don’t be afraid to ask for help – we’re here for you! You can always
stop by one of our offices and chat with one of our Wellness Coordinators about
how to further your goals.

Keeping YOU in Yuletide

Can you believe it? We are already in the thick of the holiday season! Right now, everyone is rushing around making sure everything is just perfect for the holidays. In these hectic times, we can lose sight of ourselves and put everyone and everything else first. If you find yourself stressed and busy this holiday season, here are five ways to sneak in some time for yourself and your body.

Start Your Day with Some Stretches

First, make moving a part of your morning routine. Start by contracting and relaxing your muscles from your toes to your head. Scrunch your toes for 5-10 seconds and then relax. Repeat that a couple of times and start working your way up, activating every body part. After that, you can hop out of bed and move through some stretches for each muscle group. If you’re feeling froggy, you can follow a yoga routine. There are some great examples for beginners on Youtube!

Park Farther Away

Next, instead of looking for the closest parking spots, look for one that’s farther away. If you do this on each trip to the store, those steps will definitely add up. Did you know that it is recommended that adults get in 10,000 steps every day? Studies report that only about half of Americans achieve that goal. Parking a few spots farther away will help put a dent on those numbers!

10 and 10

Throughout the day, take a few minutes and do 10 air squats and 10 push-ups. Your goal is five rounds of this a day. After doing 50 squats and 50 push-ups every day, you’ll start to feel changes in no time! Remember for squats, your hips and knees should move at the same time. Don’t stick your rear out too far and don’t come up on your toes allowing your knees to go way past your toes. For push-ups, if you can’t do a full push-up you can always modify to knee push-ups, elevated push-ups on a bench, or even push-ups on the wall.

Walk It Old School

Up next, when given the opportunity to use the elevator or take the stairs…take the stairs. Not only are the stairs typically quicker (no waiting in line or waiting on an elevator car to make it to your floor), but you also add more steps to your daily log. Climbing stairs also creates a physiological response to increase heart rate and speed up your breathing. That means more active time for you!

Stair Master

Speaking of stairs…during those times when you have a few extra minutes on your hands, take a few laps up and down the stairs. There are many advantages to walking flights of stairs. One major advantage is efficiency. While climbing stairs your body burns more calories per minute than jogging! Also, stairs are a free gym. Some people have stairs in their home, but if not, try visiting a local park or mall that’s open for mall-walking in the morning. Finally, making stairs a habit leads to a healthier lifestyle. Studies show a lower mortality rate among people who climb 55 flights of stairs per week. Just think – that’s just under eight flights of stairs a day!

Being more fit and active makes all that holiday shopping and prepping easier, less painful, and with less fatigue. Now you’ve got a plan of attack and more ways to stay active and healthy this holiday season! Now take action, take time for yourself, and take on the season with confidence! If you have pain from the extra standing and walking, you can always schedule a visit with one of our physical therapists. If you’re looking to increase your strength or stamina to make the walking and shopping easier, call us today and set up a FREE consultation with one of our Wellness Coordinators!