Pregnancy and Physical Therapy

pregnancy and physical therapy

Pregnancy and Physical Therapy

Did you know a physical therapist can effectively treat many diagnoses both during and after pregnancy? Few people are aware of this option, although the benefits are well worth it. A women’s health physical therapist can treat a large range of diagnoses, including but not limited to: back pain, pelvic pain, incontinence, carpal tunnel, headaches, painful intercourse and diastasis recti (separation of abdominal musculature). Often these symptoms are disregarded because of how commonly they occur with pregnancy. However, you do not have to suffer through these symptoms; we can help you overcome them for improved quality of life during pregnancy.

Why Would I Need Physical Therapy During Pregnancy?

During pregnancy, women experience many changes. As the baby grows, a mother’s ribs must expand, organs slide out of the way and the abdomen stretches. As the baby grows heavier, the pelvic floor also has more pressure being pushed down onto it. This extra pressure can cause pelvic floor symptoms, such as pelvic pain or incontinence. A women’s health physical therapist can work with you during pregnancy to reduce and/or prevent these symptoms altogether. 

Pregnant women may also experience back pain, carpal tunnel and headaches during pregnancy. Poor posture, stress, the additional baby weight and the change in your center of gravity can all contribute to these symptoms. However, these are all musculoskeletal issues that physical therapists are able to address with positioning considerations, manual therapy techniques and gentle therapeutic exercises for optimal posture and strength. Any of these conditions can be effectively treated at any point in your pregnancy. Your physical therapist will evaluate you and provide an individualized plan of care aligned with your trimester of pregnancy. 

Physical therapists can also provide tips and techniques for labor and delivery, while taking into consideration any musculoskeletal pain or impairments. Previous injuries or painful regions, especially in your back or hips, may become irritated or worsened from labor or delivery. To prevent this, you can set up a third trimester appointment with one of our women’s health physical therapists. During the third trimester visit, we will discuss your medical history, perform a thorough musculoskeletal evaluation and discuss potential laboring positions. We will also talk about the functions of the pelvic floor and how to prevent tearing during delivery. Then, following your third trimester visit, you can schedule a postpartum evaluation to ensure you are on track for a good recovery.

 

What About Postpartum Physical Therapy?

In the past few years, studies have shown that women do not feel they are adequately prepared for the postpartum experience, termed “the fourth trimester.” Typically, women are seen for many doctor visits before the baby is born but only one visit postpartum. In 2018, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists published guidelines for postpartum care, which included a referral to physical therapy for urinary or fecal incontinence. It also explained that postpartum care should be an ongoing process, rather than just one visit.

There are many diagnoses a women’s health physical therapist can treat following delivery. A few common examples are: low back pain, pelvic pain, urinary or fecal incontinence, pain with sexual intercourse and diastasis recti (separation of abdominal musculature). Therapeutic exercise and manual therapy techniques are used during treatment of these depending on your individual presentation and symptoms.

A women’s health physical therapist can even be useful for a postpartum checkup to provide you with the necessary knowledge to prevent future issues. This can be especially important if you want to return to working out or running. It is even more highly recommended if you experienced a tear or surgical cut during your delivery to make sure your body heals correctly without any complications. A women’s health physical therapist can help you gradually return to your normal daily activities and manage any pelvic floor symptoms that occur along the way.

Exercise is also an important aspect of the recovery process postpartum. We can create a program focusing on strengthening and stability to improve motor control and overall well-being. A women’s health physical therapist is trained to do this, while also considering any postpartum complications to ensure your safety. If there is a post-surgical scar, this is extremely important so the scar is not re-opened from too much rigorous activity. A therapist can suggest adjustments and specific exercises based on your functional capabilities and limitations.

 

When to Call Us?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms discussed above, women’s health or pelvic floor therapy may be a great option for you. This includes:

  • Pain during or following pregnancy, especially pelvic pain, hip pain or low back pain
  • Urinary or fecal incontinence (leakage) in general or during exercise
  • Diastasis recti
  • Pain with sexual intercourse
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Headaches
  • Back pain

During your first visit, we will take a subjective medical history and chat with you about your goals. We will also perform a musculoskeletal exam of your trunk & lower extremities and, when indicated, an internal pelvic floor examination. Follow-up visits will include therapeutic exercise and manual therapy dependent upon the findings of your evaluation.

To schedule an appointment with one of our women’s health physical therapists, you can either give us a call directly or you can ask to be referred by your physician. Please don’t hesitate to also reach out if you have any questions or if you would like to learn more about pelvic floor physical therapy & what we can offer. We would love to help!

To schedule an appointment with one of our women’s health physical therapists, give us a call at one of our 12 locations in Greenville, Anderson, Spartanburg, Belton, Boiling Springs, Fort Mill, Powdersville, Seneca and Simpsonville, SC or you can ask to be referred by your physician.

Thanksgiving feast

5 Tips for Enjoying the Thanksgiving Feast

Thanksgiving feastAlthough the holidays are meant to be about family, connecting with people you care about and gratitude, the season often becomes much more about something else: food. Surviving the holiday season is no easy task! The primary focus on food around Thanksgiving can be challenging for many. Whether you stress eat or struggle to continue eating healthy when delicious foods emerge this time of year, Thanksgiving is tough! However, don’t panic and take time to enjoy the holiday. To help you survive the season, our Wellness Coordinators put together 5 tips for enjoying the Thanksgiving feast.

Something you can keep in mind: what you do on and following Thanksgiving Day will determine how quickly you recover.

Here are our 5 tips for enjoying the Thanksgiving feast:

1. Stop Being So Hard on Yourself

  • So, you ate a day and a half’s worth of calories in one sitting…? Half of America did the same! Whether it’s been five minutes since your Thanksgiving meal or it’s the day after, it is most important to get your mind right. You will not “undo” all the progress you have made up to this point in one day. Acknowledge it, accept it, and then move on. There’s enough stress already attached to the holidays, so don’t add ‘worrying about what you’re eating’ to the list. Start making better decisions immediately and remain positive!

2. Go for a Walk / Get Moving

  • Over the years, numerous studies have been published showing the benefits of walking and exercise; this data continues to remain true. Researchers have found that a post-meal walk, as short as 15 minutes, can help aid digestion and improve overall stabilization of blood sugar levels. So, get up and get moving with a family member – before OR after – your Thanksgiving meal!

3. Get Back on Track

  • The key to getting back on track is to do so immediately. This could be meeting up the next day with your trainer, hitting the gym with a friend, or going for a walk outside. It’s important to get right back into YOUR routine; no excuses! Put those calories to use. Physical activity is your secret weapon.

4. EAT

  • That’s right, EAT! One of the worst things people can do following a Thanksgiving binge is to NOT eat the next day. Your body still needs calories for energy and to function that day. Try eating smaller meals throughout the next few days. Be very mindful of what you eat. Eat your meals when you’re hungry, and continue to drink plenty of fluids. As always, choose foods that are healthy and full of nutrients, such as: whole-grains, quality proteins, colorful fruits and leafy greens.

5. Plan Ahead

  • ‘Fail to plan, plan to fail,’ as the old saying goes. There are many strategies to keep you from overeating: using a smaller plate, drinking water before and after your meal, eating a salad first, eating slowly, etc. Most importantly, however you go about your Thanksgiving meal, make sure you enjoy the foods you look forward to every year, while avoiding other foods you might pick at just because they’re there.
    What about next day leftovers? Keep tempting items out of sight or get them out of the house altogether. Try making a few meals for the day and stick to those. Plan, plan, plan!

Overall, remember to enjoy the holiday season. One bad meal won’t break a healthy lifestyle, just like one healthy meal won’t fix it. So, go ahead; dive into that turkey and stuffing… And, don’t forget to enjoy some desserts, too!

Macronutrients: What, Why, and How?

Macronutrients are the latest craze in the fitness industry. Maybe you’ve been in the gym and have overheard a trainer talking to a client about ‘macros?’ You may have wondered: “What are those?” “Is this for me? “How do I get started?” Well, it’s much simpler than you might think. You’ll only need a food scale and some patience!

So, WHAT Actually Are Macronutrients?

It is widely known that people count calories to lose or gain weight. While that is a very valid tool in reaching health and wellness goals, tracking macronutrients can provide you with much more insight. Macronutrients, or macros for short, are everything we consume on a large scale when it comes to nutrition. This includes: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Understanding the macros your food consists of can help you pinpoint specific nutrients you may be consuming too much or too little. This can then aide you in setting and achieving your nutrition goals.

As a general rule of thumb:

  • Carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram
  • Protein provides 4 calories per gram
  • Fat provides 9 calories per gram

WHY is it Important to Track My Macronutrients?

Everyone is different, and therefore, has different nutritional needs. By calculating your macros, you can see firsthand if you are eating a balanced diet for YOU personally. Tracking your macros, instead of calories, can also help ensure that you continue to eat correctly while achieving your goal of losing, maintaining, or gaining weight.

For example, 100 calories of an avocado (fat) are different from 100 calories of a delicious Krispy Kreme doughnut (carbohydrates). While both have the same number of calories, the 100 calories in an avocado are primarily fat, while the doughnut is made up of mostly carbohydrates. The avocado may also fulfill your entire daily requirement of fat, but the doughnut most likely will not. The avocado provides a much more dynamic amount of vitamins, minerals, and quality calories that your body will use, too, compared to the doughnut. However, when you’re looking at only the calories, they are equal!

Real Life: Calculating Macronutrients

Grab your food scale, and let’s take a look at Quaker oatmeal for a real life example! If you ate one cup of oatmeal and wanted to calculate your macros for that meal, you would first need to determine how many servings you ate. If the serving size is a half-cup, measured dry (40g), you would simply multiply every number on that label by two. So for eating one cup of oatmeal, your macros would be: 54g carbs, 10g protein, and 6g fat for the meal. Now do this for EACH of your meals (or every time you eat) throughout the day. At the end of the day, add up all your macronutrients to visually see your total for the day.

Quaker Oats Macronutrients Calculation ExamplQuaker Oats Nutrition Facts Macronutrients Calculation Example

Macros into Calories

You could also easily take this a step further to determine your overall calories for the day. For reference, scroll back up to the calories per gram of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Multiply each macronutrient total by the number of calories in each unit. That’s it! You now have your total macronutrients for the day, as well as your total calories.

So, if all you ate in a day was oatmeal (side note — we’re not suggesting this!), your total macronutrients for the day, as we calculated above, would be: 54g carbs, 10g protein, and 6g fat. To turn those into calories, take each macronutrient, multiply it by the relevant amount of calories per gram, and add up your totals:

  • Carbohydrates: 54g x 4 cal = 216 calories
  • Protein: 10g x 4 cal = 40 calories
  • Fat: 6g x 9 cal = 54 calories
  • 216 + 40 + 54 = 310 Total Calories

It’s that simple! To help speed up determining your macros in the future, write your meals down on a piece of paper or keep a “food log” for quick reference. Now, next time you eat oatmeal you won’t have to add up your macros!

HOW Do I Determine My Macros?

Your optimal macronutrient intake depends on several different factors including: gender, age, current weight, activity level, lifestyle, diet plan and goals. The college recruit who is trying to add lean muscle, while dropping weight, will be eating according to a different nutritional plan than a retiree now focusing on longevity.

So, where do you start??  Just buy a food scale (Amazon, Target, Walmart) and START! Food scales are relatively inexpensive and are well worth the investment. Before immediately changing your normal routine, eat your regular meals for 1-2 weeks while tracking your numbers. At first, this may seem like a lot of work: writing down meals, calculating numbers, and tracking EVERYTHING. However, the benefits are absolutely superior! Tracking your macros reveals so much. Are you eating too many or too few carbs, protein, or fat? Are your numbers fairly consistent or all over the place? Do you find yourself eating too much in the evenings or eating extremely unhealthy on the weekends? With a little dedication, you’ll be reading labels, learning which foods are high or low in your specific macro areas, and seeing results in no time!

Finally, it is essential to establish some baseline numbers that align with your lifestyle and goals. A good starting point is: 50% carbohydrates, 20% protein, and 30% fat. Do some research online; there are several “macro” calculators that can assist with establishing baseline numbers. MyPlate and MyFitnessPal are also two very useful apps to help track your macros. MyFitnessPal offers a large database of food and lists out the calories, carbs, fats, and proteins to save you calculation time, as well. Search for the food, brand, or restaurant on this page.

Let’s Get Started!

Tracking your macronutrients is important, whether you are on a specific diet or just want to eat well for your overall health. It teaches you if you’re eating too much or too little for your body and how to properly read nutrition labels. Educating yourself on WHAT you are putting into your body is a huge part of maintaining overall wellness. Once you’ve established how much you should eat, counting your macros might be exactly what you need to see the results you want. If you have further questions about macros or exercising, please reach out to us to set up a FREE consultation with one of our Wellness Coordinators!

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.

Knees Over Toes… Myth or Truth?

knees over toes

The age old expression: Knees Over Toes

Have you ever been told not to let your your knees go over your toes? Whether it was in the gym or during other daily activities, most of us have heard the age old expression. We would like to take a more in-depth look into this saying and what it means on a functional level. Is it a myth… or does “knees over toes” have some truth to it?

Functionality: Can Your Knees Go Over Your Toes?

We have all heard the trainer in the gym or the sports coach tell someone not to let their knees go over their toes. While that may have once been a good cue, the phrase has been repeated so many times over the years it may now mean more than it was originally intended. The statement originated from a 1978 study at Duke University. The study provided us with some very important information at the time, but it only looked at one piece of the puzzle. A more recent, 2003 Memphis University study, took their research a little deeper and provided us with more up-to-date information on the topic.

So, can your knees go over your toes? As much as we would like definitive yes or no answer, the truth is: it depends. It depends on both your structure and the movement itself. Your structure plays the most important role in answering this question.

Structure

Everyone’s body is different. Something that may work for one person, may not be appropriate for another. Femur length, foot length, and torso length all determine the appropriate amount of forward translation demanded of the knee. Someone with longer femurs and shorter feet may naturally track over the toes. A shorter tibia/fibula length relative to femur length may naturally facilitate an anterior knee translation (see video from Stone Athletic Medicine). Torso length also plays a role in how the lower extremities flex through movement. Check out this picture shared by Zach Long, DPT SCS Cert.CMFA, for a visual representation. As the referenced study above by Fry, Smith, and Schilling reported in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, when blocking the knees, we reduce torque by 22% at the knee joint but increase torque at the hips by 1,070%, regardless of structure.

Movement

In a gym setting, different types of activities and movements may or may not result in your knees travelling over the toes. Different bar placement, or load placement, will facilitate different hip and knee joint angles. For instance, a low barbell back squat places the barbell lower on the back and pushes the hips back further. This will make the movement more hip dominant. However, if we place the load in front of the body, like in a barbell front squat, we create a more quadricep dominant movement. The knees will move more forward, out over the toes, and the chest will be more upright. Read this article from Squat University to delve deeper into the bio-mechanics of different squats.

Knees Over Toes: In Real Life

Let’s look at a few movements we do on a regular basis. These may not be considered ‘daily activities,’ but our bodies typically do these movements with no issue.

Ascending and Descending

Our bodies are designed to navigate various different types of terrain. One typical type of terrain we regularly navigate are hills. The world around us varies in height and distance. While walking up, and most certainly down hills, our knees naturally translate over our toes to support our body weight. Another great example of this are stairs. Depending upon stair height and stride distance, we may or may not track over our toes while ascending stairs; however, have you ever tried to go down stairs without your knee going over our toes? It’s nearly impossible unless you set your hips back drastically or pistol squat every step of the way. Go ahead; give it a try!

Bicycle

Another fun activity we often do is bicycle. This may not be a daily activity, but it is most certainly one many of us participate in on a regular basis. We do this at the gym, with our children, and sometimes as our primary means of transportation. It is important to make sure our seat height is set properly, but no matter the positioning, knees typically go over the toes while in the pushing phase of cycling. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of this because our bodies are made to move this way!

Resiliency

Resiliency is the name of the game. Our bodies are resilient and are not as fragile as we may sometimes be told. We are made to move about our space functionally, in multiple planes, with no issues. Sometimes our knees need to go over our toes, and sometimes they don’t. Take charge, and keep moving! Motion is lotion and makes for great longevity in life!

 

If you want to prevent injury, come visit one of our Wellness Coordinators for a professional opinion on your squat form. We would love to chat with you! Or, are you experiencing pain when squatting? Schedule an appointment with one of our Physical Therapists to resolve any issues before they become worse!

Living Life Up to Par: Physical Therapy to Prevent Pain and Injury

Feel ‘up to par’: Physical Therapy prevents pain and injury!

While physical therapy is commonly thought to address existing pain or the onset of an injury, it just may be the best kept secret to preventing pain or injury. We’re here to let this secret out, just in time for you to enjoy much-anticipated summertime activities!

Injury Prevention

 

Whether you’re an avid athlete or a weekend warrior, knowing the right way to go through the motions of your preferred activity can play a big role in injury prevention. Same concept as knowing proper lifting mechanics so as not to injury your back, a physical therapist who understands your activity of choice can assess injury risk factors and make corrections as necessary. For example…

  • Do you experience soreness in your back or shoulders after a round of golf?
  • Are your muscles tight after pulling weeds in your garden?
  • Does it take some time to recover following a run around the neighborhood?

Perhaps this is your body’s way of sending you a message. While you may experience muscle pain or soreness following activity after you’ve been dormant for a time period, you should not be experiencing it following activities that you perform on a regular basis. Reviewing your activity with a physical therapist will help them determine potential movement-related risk factors, which in turn can curb potential injury. Moreover, a physical therapist will make corrections to your movements which will help lessen risk factors later on down the road. This can include, but does not limit to…

 

Performance Improvement

 

Not only is physical therapy beneficial for injury prevention, but it’s also helpful for “healthy” individuals as well! Particularly targeted toward the athletic community looking to improve performance in a sport or activity, physical therapy can target strength, agility, flexibility, and coordination.

 

At Elite, you not only have access to excellent clinical care from our therapy staff, but our Fitness and Wellness program is also available for individual and group personal training.

 

Interested in how physical therapy can help you with your goals? Call any of our 9 locations to speak with a physical therapist—no strings attached! Should you be in need of physical therapy, we can accommodate you within 24-48 hours, no referral needed.

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!

 

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!