The tennis shoes collecting dust. The yoga mat curled in the back of your closet. The gym membership that hasn’t seen you in, well, months. Like you need any more proof that sticking to an exercise routine is tough. Hey, whoever said New Year’s resolutions can’t be made in any time of the year?
Never fear. We’ve got a list of tips to help you grow healthier, stronger and more active — and we’re willing to bet these suggestions will provide at least a little motivation to put those stretchy pants to good use. Contact RX Rehab Physical Therapy today!
Conquer the Pain
By now you’ve probably heard the stats. Chronic pain can put a major cramp in an exercise routine, and yet over half the country suffers from some sort of debilitating pain. So what’s a person to do when they want to be healthier, stronger and more active? Get themselves to a physical therapist — pronto. Physical therapy can help alleviate pain better than popping a pill or sitting on the couch, and the results are often permanent.
Physical therapy can help with all types of chronic musculoskeletal and neuropathic types of pain, from ongoing headaches to fibromyalgia. A physical therapist can manipulate your bones and joints to reduce discomfort. She can work with you to form an exercise and movement plan that lessens your pain and increases your mobility. A physical therapist can also help with laser therapy, massage or microcurrent stimulation — all in the name of getting you up moving and living life to the fullest.
All that mind over matter stuff really works. Research shows that a positive attitude can boost your immune system and increase your energy levels. Your body believes what you think, so try to focus on maintaining an attitude of gratitude and look for the positive even in the midst of turmoil. If you’re ever feeling stuck or unsure how to creep out of a negative disposition, repeat the following mantra: I have the power to create change. Because you do.
Don’t think for a minute we don’t love our hoagie rolls or dipped-in-milk cookies. Quite the contrary, we love to spoil ourselves with treats. Just try to balance those delicious yummies with a well-rounded, healthy diet. Here are some tips to get you going:
- Consider Uncle Sam’s recipe for health: lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products; some lean meats or meat substitutes, beans, eggs and nuts; and minimal saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugars.
- Avoid skipping meals. Eating consistently provides your mind and body with the fuel necessary to help you get and stay active. It also helps you avoid your blood sugar dropping, which can lead to irritability, nervousness and a whole host of other problems.
- Snack smart. It’s okay… Let’s rephrase that. It’s good to snack. Doing so keeps you at your best so that you can sustain your energy and stay positive. Choose peanuts over pretzels.
That’s right. We give you permission to be sneaky when it comes to exercise.
Physical therapy often prescribes small changes to a person’s routine in order to make the adjustments manageable. Some ways that even a physical therapist would approve of include:
- Park farther away from your destination and walk the extra distance;
- Walk up and down the field while your children are playing sports;
- Take the dog on walks with the whole family;
- Exit the bus one stop early and walk the rest of the way;
- Opt for the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator; and
- Rake leaves, shovel snow or otherwise maintain your yard.
Whether you’re 22 or 72, whether you’re suffering from chronic pain or simply need more motivation, living a life healthier, stronger and more active will improve your physical and mental health.
If you’d like help developing a plan or alleviating pain, contact our Highland, UT office to see how physical therapy can help you get living more fully.
Too many of us have an all-or-nothing attitude when it comes to staying fit. We’re too “slammed” at work for the gym, or our kids’ activities are keeping us in the car — and off the track — for long hours. Yet, there are a few basic elements you can add into your daily life that truly add up to a more active lifestyle.
1. Take the Longest — or Hardest — Distance Between Two Points
Speed is usually the name of the game in your busy life. But does the time saved parking close to the store really add value? Make a game of parking at the far end of the lot, so that you have to push a cart or carry a bag a greater distance. When you’re at work, take the stairs — unless you really are running late for that meeting!
2. Pay for Your Lunch — in Footsteps
Skip the cafeteria in favor of a healthy eatery down the street if you’re working. Or walk outside for 20 minutes before you return to your brown-bag lunch. If you’re retired or working from home, walk to the corner grocer’s to gather the goods for lunch. Living out in the country or the suburbs? Pretend that your daily walk is the “fee” you have to pay in order to get into your kitchen and make that sandwich.
3. Consider a Standing Desk
How do standing desks help? It’s amazing how much healthier simply standing in place is, compared to sitting. For one thing, you burn more calories. You’ll also hunch less, meaning that neck and shoulder pain is eliminated. Standing also boosts fitness in significant ways by keeping blood sugar more steady after a meal, and by encouraging more movement overall.
4. Fool Yourself Into Running Errands
Using a smaller glass for water — or mug for green tea — means that you have to return to the water cooler or kitchen more often to fulfill your daily hydration goals. Likewise, you can make going down the hall to borrow a stapler a separate trip from hiking upstairs to ask someone in HR about your vacation schedule. If our Fitbits have taught us anything, it’s that a hundred extra steps here and there really do add up over the course of the day!
5. Use Fitness Benefits as an Incentive to Do Chores
Organizational experts know that 20 or 30 minutes of chores a day adds up to a cleaner, more organized space. You can certainly get a lot of toys into baskets during that time — not to mention mopping a floor or weeding the herb garden. So if you remember that these dreaded tasks also burn calories and build up your core, it may help you feel more like tackling them.
6. Keep Equipment Handy
Stash a yoga mat or 5-pound weights under your bed. Hang resistance bands on a hook in the kitchen. That way, you’ll be far more likely to do a few reps while watching TV or waiting for the pasta to boil!
7. Don’t Put Off Physical Therapy
The most obvious way physical therapy helps is by addressing the aches and pains that keep you from pursuing your active lifestyle. In addition, many physical therapy sessions are a workout in themselves, which helps you meet your weekly cardio and/or endurance goals. A physical therapist is also a great resource for giving you tips on tweaking your daily habits. He or She can go over what a normal day looks like for you and offer advice on how to make it a more active one. If chronic pain is an issue, your PT can show you specific moves that streamline the physical challenges.
Contact our office today to see how physical therapy can help you live a pain-free and more active life.
Do you deal with chronic pain or inflammation in your daily life? It isn’t uncommon, but it is avoidable. While exercise is a crucial part of your physical therapy regimen, proper nutrition can also play an important role. The foods you eat work to fuel your body, and eating the right ones can help you recover much quicker from painful or uncomfortable conditions. Exercising regularly, reducing your stress intake, and keeping a strict nutritional diet all work together to help limit and alleviate your pain and inflammation. For more information on how nutrition can help you, contact RX Rehab Physical Therapy to schedule a consultation with one of our physical therapists.
Why we experience inflammation:
Your immune system can naturally respond to injury, ailment, or other harm through inflammation. If you have an infection, wound, tissue damage, or buildup of toxins in your body, the immune response is triggered to deal with it. Without inflammation, injuries wouldn’t be able to heal; however, if this process goes on for too long, chronic inflammation can occur. This can lead to serious health conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, or even some cancers. If you experience persistent pain, it is wise to contact a physical therapist as soon as possible, as it may mean that the inflammation has become chronic.
Traditionally, chronic inflammation has been treated through strict rest and medication. However, a lack of exercise can actually make inflammation worse, as it constricts joints and causes muscles to stiffen. Additionally, medications come with a whole slew of side effects, some of which can be dangerous and/or habit-forming. Luckily, pain and inflammation can be treated in much easier and healthier ways – such as diet.
Beat inflammation with a nutritional diet!
Nutritionists have had patients report great success in turning around their symptoms by adopting an anti-inflammatory diet. Inflammation is your body’s way of trying to heal, which can be accelerated through a nutritional diet that complements the removal of toxins.
The three basic components to an anti-inflammatory diet are:
- Lots of veggies!
Raw broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage are the best options when sustaining an anti-inflammatory diet. They can be cooked if you prefer, but raw vegetables are generally better for speeding up the inflammation process. You’ll want to eat up to nine servings per day, and you can substitute fruits for a couple of those servings to break it up, if it becomes too much. Otherwise, the timeless saying “eat your veggies,” is key.
- Take it easy on grains and dairy.
In order to strengthen your body’s immune response, you’ll want to avoid simple carbs and sugars. Unfortunately, that means no donuts, no pastries, and no white breads. Dairy products should also be extremely limited, so very little cheese or milk with anything. Whole grains, such as barley, oats, brown rice, and wheat are best.
- Avoid red meat altogether.
It is best to avoid red meat while participating in an anti-inflammatory diet. If this proves difficult, red meat is okay in small doses; however, it should be an extremely rare treat in your diet. The proteins in red meat require extra work from your kidneys to process, so it will slow down the healing process if you eat a lot of it. One small piece of steak, one time per week, should be your maximum limit. Luckily, chicken and fish are just fine for an anti-inflammatory diet. Enjoy them with all of those servings of vegetables!
More helpful tips:
If you stick to the diet listed above, you should see your pain and inflammation symptoms start to reduce very quickly. In addition to a nutritional diet, you can also help fight inflammation through:
- Weight loss: If you have some unwanted weight, getting down to your ideal body weight will help with your pain and inflammation.
- Stress management: If you’re feeling mentally stressed, your body can become physically stressed – causing more inflammation and a longer recovery rate. Taking time to relax can actually allow you to heal quicker!
- Daily exercise: Exercise will keep the muscles warm, which can alleviate pain or stiffness, and stop the inflammation from becoming worse.
Contact RX Rehab Physical Therapy today if you’d like to speak with a physical therapist about pain management or additional advice on how to reduce inflammation!