The Healthy Living Formula
Healthy living involves discipline and a strategic approach towards exercise and nutrition. It requires small, consistent changes every day to increase your metabolism and fuel your body with the right types of nutrients.
Here are some simple ideas to help you live a healthier life:
- Take frequent breaks when sitting for long periods of time. Avoid staying in one position in front of your computer or television. Change positions at frequent intervals so you're not sedentary all day.
- Get on your feet and move an hour or two a day to decrease cholesterol levels and reduce blood pressure. Moving around gets your blood flowing and your body working.
- When you're on the phone, try to walk around while you're talking.
- Park further away from your destination so that you will be required to walk a little bit more than usual.
- Get a good night's sleep (at least 7 hours). Your body relies on rest to rejuvenate and heal itself.
- Eat only when you truly feel hungry or consume small portions every 2-3 hours instead of 3 large meals.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Cut down on smoking and drinking.
- Relax with a regular routine of yoga and meditation.
Nutrition For Healthy Skin
Nutrition plays an important role in helping maintain and improve skin tone. Smooth and healthy skin is a sign of good health. The phrase "you are
what you eat” holds true as far as the health of your skin is concerned.
The following foods will facilitate healthy skin:
- Antioxidant-rich foods. Antioxidants play a key part in the prevention of diseases like heart disease and cancer. Some of the foods in this group include blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, plums and apples.
- Foods rich in Vitamin-E. Vitamin-E protects against cardiovascular diseases by defending against plaque formation in the arteries. Some of the foods that are rich in Vitamin-E include various members of the nut family, including peanuts, almonds and hazelnuts. Other types of food included are spinach, broccoli, kiwi, mango and tomatoes.
- Selenium-rich foods such as fish, brazil nuts, liver, and sunflower seeds help to keep the skin fresh and looking youthful.
- Foods rich in Beta Carotene. Some of the foods that are rich in beta carotene include hot peppers, kale, carrots, sweet potatoes and spinach.
Most of these foods can easily be found in your local grocery store. There are many ways to introduce them in your diet. Please remember that all foods should be eaten in moderation, and it's best to combine healthy foods with an exercise program for best results. A physical therapist will be able to help you with an exercise program that compliments a healthy nutrition program.
Stress Management With Exercise
Stress is a part of day-to-day life, but the manner in which you handle your stress is a key factor. Stress management is the best way to minimize strain on your cells and live a healthy life.
Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the increasing
demands of life. At some point, everyone experiences stress. If you areuncertain about how to handle stress, begin with a positive mindset. Surround yourself with family and qualified health professionals. A physical therapists, for example will provide support, expertise and design exercise programs (muscle relaxation techniques, for example) to help you deal with stress.
Learn to relax physically and mentally. A massage can help you release muscle tension, and it's best to ask your physical therapist if a massage is right for you. In many cases, this can help reduce stress, leaving you relaxed and rejuvenated. A massage is just one component of stress release, and it can be used in addition to full body strengthening and relaxation program.
Physical Therapists can quickly get you on the road to a healthy and stress-free lifestyle.
Make Time To Stretch at Work
An eight-hour work day, especially when associated with sitting in one position, can cause muscle tightness. The simple solution is to stretch your body at regular intervals whether you’re at the office, at home, or outdoors. Here are some tips to remember when stretching.
• Don’t rush. Start stretching slowly. Do not overstretch.
• Breathe normally. Never hold your breath.
• When stretching, hold the stretch for about 15 to 20 seconds and feel the tension in your muscles subside as they stretch.
• Repeat the same stretch 2 to 3 times to improve your muscle flexibility.
• Avoid sudden movements when stretching.
• Enjoy stretching. Use the time to relax.
• Maintain good posture while stretching.
• If you feel any discomfort, pain, tingling, numbness, or loss of strength, stop stretching and contact your physician or physical therapist immediately.
Stretching helps improve blood circulation, release tension, and boost energy. Don't forget to take a few minutes to stretch every day.
Benefits of Stretching
It's simple and easy to stretch your muscles. Regular stretching has several benefits including:
• Improved circulation. Stretching increases blood flow which brings nourishment to your muscles and gets rid of waste products. This helps reduce recovery time for muscle injuries.
• Decreased muscle tension, anxiety, stress, and fatigue.
• Increased flexibility and joint range of motion. You feel refreshed and relaxed after you stretch.
• Improved exercise performance. Stretching before exercise is a good way to increase the effectiveness of exercise.
A Simple Office Chair Stretch
Working in an office usually means sitting in one area for several hours. This ultimately leads to bad posture and low back pain due to tight hip flexors and shortened hamstrings. You can help prevent these aches and pains by performing the following simple stretches:
• Finger and Hand Stretches. Place your hands on your desk, and stretch your hands while spreading your fingers until you feel a stretch. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
• Wrist Stretches. Sit upright in your office chair. Lift one arm and stretch it out in front of you with your palm facing upward. Gently grab your fingers with your other hand. Slowly pull the hand of your extended arm down. Hold 10 seconds. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
• Shoulder Stretches. Lift your right arm and reach behind your head. Place your hand on your upper back making certain your arm is as close to your ear as possible. Use your left hand to gently hold your right elbow while pulling it towards the back of your head. Hold for 15 seconds.
• Spine Twist. While sitting upright in your chair, place your left arm behind your left hip. Hold onto your chair as you twist your upper body to the left. Place your right hand onto your chair to increase your stretch. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise five times with each side.
Maintaining flexibility is a key component to maintaining health.
Our New Year Resolution: A New You
As we begin 2012, people start making new year resolutions. In our case, our new year resolution is all about you and what we can do to make 2012 a healthy and pain-free year for you.
As the premier providers of physical therapy in our community, we value your trust in us. Our goal is not only to maintain but also to improve the high standard of care you've experienced with us.
As part of our resolution, we are going to teach you how to live a healthy, pain-free life. Please pay close attention to this newsletter because it will help you set the stage for optimum health and wellness in the next 12 months. Your success is ours, and we are committed to your health and well-being.
Here are a few tips to help you stay injury-free in the new year:
Consult a physical therapist to evaluate and, if necessary, improve your strength and flexibility.
Learn the right techniques to lift heavy objects, including heavy backpacks and handbags.
A physical fitness and injury assessment evaluation is the best thing you can do to keep yourself healthy and pain-free in 2012.
New Year Resolution Tips
Here are some ideas for new year resolutions. Please keep in mind that some of these suggestions may need to be modified depending on your individual needs.
When lifting objects, I will use the correct technique (as instructed by my physical therapist) so that I can protect my back.
As I perform my exercises, I will monitor my technique, breathing pattern, and range of motion during each repetition.
I will maintain an upright posture and practice postural awareness exercises at regular intervals throughout the day.
I will make it a habit to stretch at regular intervals while at work.
I will follow the home exercise program provided to me by my physical therapist.
Physical Therapy & The New You
This is the time of the year when most individuals get gym memberships and plan to start regular workouts. It's also the time of the year when the body is least prepared for unsupervised, sudden exercise which can cause injuries.
Your physical therapist will teach you how to perform an exercise with the correct technique, breathing pattern, and range of motion. We will always answer your questions and help you exercise in a safe, progressive manner.
Don’t hesitate to contact us to ask for help with finding a routine that will work for you.
Now it’s your turn to make some new year resolutions for a healthy and pain-free year ahead!
From all of us to you and your family: We wish you a happy new year and hope you have a safe, pain-free, and injury-free year ahead in 2012.
The holidays are a great time to celebrate with family and friends but they are also associated with an abundance of food and a decrease in physical activity. This can cause weight gain, which can cause aches and pains.
With these 10 simple tips, you'll be able to stay healthy (and possibly shed unwanted pounds) this holiday season:
1. Always try to plan your meals, including snaking or dining out, at least two to three days ahead
2. Be conscious about what you eat at all times
3. Always exercise at least two to three times a week
4. Limit your alcohol intake
5. Drink more water
6. Find healthy alternatives to traditional holiday foods
7. Find ways to make physical activity a part of your family holiday experience
8. Change your workouts to keep yourself motivated
9. Savor the flavor of holiday foods - opt for quality, not quantity
10. Learn to say "no" to certain foods and don't give in to the social pressures of eating
With a little bit of discipline and planning, this can be one of the healthiest holiday seasons you've ever had.
Holiday Food Consumption Guide 101
If you are trying to lose weight, the holidays can be a challenging time.
Here are some tips that will help you stay on track with your healthy eating lifestyle:
• Make sure your diet and exercise program is something you can stick with.
• Don't restrict foods. This is a time to indulge a little, but remember to do so in moderation.
• Remind yourself of your goals by placing a sticky note or picture of "where you want to be" on your refrigerator or mirror.
• When visiting family or friends, make sure to eat something healthy before you visit, so you don't overeat.
• Try to share your health and wellness goals with as many people as you can. You will be less likely to overeat.
• Sip water at regular intervals throughout the day. Carry a glass of water around with you at parties. This keeps your hands busy and stomach feeling full.
• Try to reach for the healthiest foods when you are hungry.
• Chew food slowly. It takes time for your brain to perceive 'fullness' in your stomach. Besides, chewing food slowly allows you to savor the taste of the food.
• Eating too quickly is a common cause of weight gain during the holidays since you consume more calories than the body needs.
How Physical Therapy Can Help This Holiday Season
Physical activity is extremely important at this time of the year, given the inevitable increase in calorie intake during the holidays.
Diet is just one part of the equation, which is why physical therapy is so important.
Physical therapy can play a valuable role in helping you stay healthy and pain free this holiday season.
It's a good idea to schedule an appointment with your physical therapist to learn a safe, effective exercise program to maintain optimum muscle strength and flexibility.
When you combine discipline in your diet with a personalized exercise program, the holidays can become a time of great rejuvenation.
Physical therapy can help relieve aches and pains with a combination of exercise and (possibly) massage. Massage can help relieve tight muscles and boost blood circulation.
Highly skilled, licensed physical therapists have been specially trained to help you enjoy the holiday season with a structured exercise and massage therapy program.
The Top 5 Reasons to Exercise
You know that exercise is important and has several health benefits. However, there are hidden benefits of exercise that you may not be aware of. Here are the top 5 reasons to exercise:
Reason #1: To Reduce Pain
Individualized, regular exercise (the kind prescribed by your physical therapist) is a great way to reduce pain. For example, strengthening your core can decrease persistent low back pain and protect against future injury. It's amazing how many people who seem resigned to a life of chronic pain start to find relief after starting an exercise program provided by one of our experienced physical therapists. If you are not sure where to begin, we will be happy to assist you in the creation of a safe, effective exercise plan.
Reason #2: To Increase Muscle Tissue
Increased strength allows you to complete your day to day tasks with ease. Imagine if simple things like walking, going up the stairs, picking up groceries, or playing with your children became easier and more enjoyable. What would that do for you?
A well-designed, progressive exercise plan helps tone your muscles.
Reason #3: To Drop Pounds of Fat
The best benefit of exercise is fat loss. It is no secret that a combination of exercise and a balanced meal plan is the best known way to lose fat. Here's what fat loss can do for you:
- Your clothes fit better
- People around you begin to compliment you on your new appearance
- When you look in the mirror, you look several years younger
- Your energy levels soar
- You feel great!
Reason #4: To Control Blood Sugar
Regular exercise helps stabilize blood sugar levels. If you or someone you know has type 2 diabetes (or is at risk for type 2 diabetes) exercise will help your body to better utilize sugar since exercise positively impacts insulin sensitivity. A combination of weight loss and improved blood glucose control has several health benefits. You should consult your doctor before you begin any exercise with the intention to control your blood sugar.
Reason #5: To Lower Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Levels
Exercise helps your heart in 2 ways:
- Weak heart muscles pump a relatively small amount of blood with each beat. Essentially, your heart is putting in a lot of effort with every beat. By exercising, you strengthen your heart muscles so they pump more blood with less effort; this decreases the pressure on your arteries.
- Exercise increases HDL (the "good" cholesterol) levels in some people. This decreases your risk for heart disease. Other heart disease risk factors such as weight, diabetes, and high blood pressure also improve with regular exercise. You may want to speak with your doctor about your salt intake as well.
Exercise Boosts Your Energy Levels
The quickest, easiest way to guarantee that you'll meet your health
goals is to work with one of our highly qualified therapists. You will be provided with an exercise plan that best suits your needs and preferences. You will receive personal attention and will be shown techniques and strategies that will help you return to doing things with greater ease.
Your Primary Motivation
Your primary motivation to exercise is unique to you. Perhaps your
goal is to be able to play with your kids again, decrease the risk of falls, be able to lift things without difficulty, sit through a movie with your family / friends without pain, or return to playing sports.
Identify your primary motivation, write it on a sticky note and place it on your refrigerator. Use pictures of family or any other image that creates a positive association with your health goals. Share your goals with family and friends, which makes you accountable to them. Being reminded constantly of your primary motivation will help you achieve your goals faster.
A physical therapist plays an important role in the recovery process following most injuries. With mother’s day round the corner, it’s important to remember that women in particular experience a higher risk from bone-related injuries after menopause. In this newsletter, we try to dispel some of the most commonly-held myths about post injury exercise regimes, so that the mothers (and everyone else) in your family are aware of the do’s and don’ts of post injury exercise.
Myth #1: After an injury, “Bed rest is the best”.
Fact: A short period of bed rest (1 to 2 days) can help prevent further injury during the acute phase, but longer rest intervals can be counterproductive. In fact, resting and inactivity can actually cause more pain since a lack of activity leads to reduced blood flow and even muscle weakness. This, in turn, creates more pain and triggers an unhealthy cycle of pain and inactivity that feed each other and aggravate the situation.
Always start with low intensity exercises (your physical therapist will point you in the right direction) and ease into an exercise regime that progressively strengthens your muscles and improves flexibility of your joints.
Myth #2: Going to the gym is the best way to regain your strength.
Fact: It’s common for people to reinjure themselves if they return to the gym or engage in ‘unsupervised exercise’ too soon after an injury. Trust the expertise of the physical therapist and complete an exercise protocol before progressing to independent, unsupervised exercise.
Myth #3: With any exercise, if there is no pain, there is no gain.
Fact: When you first start an exercise plan, you’ll be using your muscles in new ways that may cause soreness the next day, but anything more than a little discomfort isn’t healthy. Contrary to popular belief, exercise doesn’t have to hurt to be effective. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something’s wrong – if you want to avoid serious injury, listen to your body and back off at the first sign of pain.
Myth #4: Focusing on specific muscles (abs, arms, thighs) is the best way to recover after an injury.
Fact: The energy expenditure (amount of calories burnt) increases as you involve more muscle groups and increase the intensity of exercise. As healing continues, your physical therapist may recommend exercises like walking which involve several large muscle groups as opposed to single muscle group movements.
Aquatic Exercise Is Safe
Exercise done in water (swimming pools) is effective for injury recovery in all age groups.
The buoyant forces of water provide a calming, cushioning effect, which protects (and challenges) your muscles, joints and bones.
Water is several times denser than air and facilitates high energy expenditure with minimal risk of injury. Water exercise has several benefits and also provides a safe medium for strengthening your muscles post injury.
Exercise Techniques To Prevent Injuries
Your physical therapist can provide you with specific guidelines for injury free exercise, but here are a few tips:
- Dress appropriately. Replace worn-out shoes and wear the right clothing while exercising. This will reduce the rough impact on your joints and allow you to stay comfortable.
- Warm up and stretch. You should always start off with warm-up exercises, like walking on the spot for several minutes. Gentle stretching exercises after your warm up allow your muscles to get ‘primed’ for exercise
- Don’t forget to breathe! Deep, regular breathing can keep your heart rate steady and help maintain proper oxygen flow to your muscles. Never hold your breath while exercising. Your physical therapist will advice you when to breathe in and out while exercising.
- Technique and range of motion: Your physical therapist will teach you the correct technique, range of motion and speed to help you get the maximum benefit from each exercise.
- Cool down. At the end of your workout, decrease the intensity of your movements for at least 5 minutes, allowing your heart rate to return to normal.
Just a quick message to let you know what's new at Arundel Physical Therapy & Fitness -
We've made some changes and updates to our website. There is now a menu bar on the right with quick links to our newsletter, new patient information, a secure payment page, and other resources. Our new patient intake forms and newsletter archives are now available for download.
We finally have new neighbors in the building! For those of you who have been with us since the beginning, you'll notice that our community now includes many other medical specialtists from areas such as retina/eye care, sleep studies, and primary care.
We've also established social network sites on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Become a fan on Facebook and interact with our staff. Follow us on Twitter and gain access to our posts and retweets of other interesting topics. Check our YouTube site as we continue to add new content and post favorite links!
As always, we strive to improve the lives of our family of patients and fitness clients. Many of you are already taking advantage the website, the social media sites, and our newsletter. For those of you who have not, take the time to check them out. Please feel free to contact us with any questions regarding physical therapy, fitness, or your health.
A new year usually means optimistic predictions and setting new resolutions. This year might be a little different for many people with the economy in a slump and jobs being lost. Many of us are under a great deal of stress. We all know that stress is bad for us, but it can difficult to avoid. That's why we decided to start the year with a few tips to help reduce stress.
1. Get Organized
A lack of organization can create a great deal of stress. Most of us have many things that we are responsible for doing. These things can include work tasks, family commitments, or any other "things" that we must do. A great place to start is writing down anything that you can think of that you are responsible for doing. If your head is cluttered with all of those "things", it's very difficult to decide where to start. Once you've written everything down, you can set a plan.
In his book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, David Allen discusses how all of our to-do items can increase our stress level if they aren't managed well. He also presents a great system for getting things under control. For more information about the "Getting Things Done" or "GTD" concept, check out his website at www.davidco.com.
There are many other tools on the market to help you get organized. If you search Google or Yahoo for "GTD applications" for either Windows or Macs, you will find a number of links. Here are a couple of my favorite organization tools:
Things from Cultured Code - Mac only, but offers a free trial version
ThinkingRock from Thinking Rock - Mac or Windows offered free
Highrise, Basecamp, & Backpack from 37signals - offers free & paid versions of their web-based programs
2. Exercise Regularly
Exercise helps to increase blood flow, decrease stress, improve muscle function, and guard against injury. The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans gives more information about the types and amount of exercise that is recommended. The key is to find something that you enjoy and do regularly. You can find a link to the 2009 Guidelines on our homepage.
Getting enough sleep is more important than you might think. When your body is sleep deprived, your blood pressure and stress hormones increase. A good night's sleep gives you energy and makes you more alert. It can improve memory, keep your heart healthy, and help maintain proper body weight. Lack of sleep can cause a deficiency in serotonin which can lead to depression. While you sleep, your cells produce protein that forms building blocks for cells and helps repair damage.
4. Distract yourself
Focusing too much on stressful issues is exhausting and unhealthy. It's good to distract yourself from your daily stressors. Spend time with family, find a new hobby, or learn to play an instrument. It's important to realize that it's okay to put your "to-do" lists aside sometimes.
I first heard about Randy Pausch a few months ago when he was the subject of one of Diane Sawyer's specials. For those of you who don't know, he was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University who passed away last week from pancreatic cancer. Randy was born in Baltimore, MD and spent his childhood in Columbia, MD. He became famous because of the lecture he delivered at Carnegie Mellon's traditional "Last Lecture." During the presentation, he recounted many events in his personal and professional life that highlighted important messages that he wanted to convey. His style is a mix of comedy, honesty, humility, wisdom, and intelligence. He discusses the achieving childhood dreams, enabling the dreams of others, and how we might we might do both. Some of his key points include:
Decide if you are "Tigger" or "Eeyore"
Never lose the child-like wonder
Loyalty is a two-way street
Never give up
How to get people to help you
Don't complain, just work harder
Be good at something: it makes you valuable
Find the best in everybody; no matter how long you have to wait for them to show it
Be prepared: "luck" is where preparation meets opportunity
Two other ideas that Randy presents are the "brick wall" and the "head fake." Brick walls are those obstacles in life the slow us down from achieving our goals. In his view, they give us an opportunity to show how badly we want something. When you come across a brick wall, you have to decide if you are going through it or if you will let it stop you from achieving your goals.
The "head fake" is indirect learning that happens without our knowledge. Childhood sports are a great example of the head fake. Kids learn how to play the sport as expected, but the head fake is that they also learn about teamwork, leadership, motivation, and other important life skills.
Dr. Pausch has inspired millions of people worldwide. I've included the full video of his lecture below. I hope that you find it inspirational as well. If you would like to learn about Randy Pausch click here.
The meaning of our tagline, "Improve Your Life," might seem obvious since our primary service is physical therapy. One of our primary missions is to delivery physical rehabilitation services that help people recover from injuries and surgeries so they can have improved function and quality of life. Another primary mission of Arundel Physical Therapy & Fitness is to motivate our patients and clients to adopt active lifestyle habits. Physical activity has been shown not only to improve physical function, but also to improve brain function, to
reduce stress, and to
Most people are aware of the research studies and articles that support the link between physical activity and decreased risk for major medical problems. However,
exercise may also fight the effects of aging on the brain. Some studies suggest that physical activity may
improve brain function and cognitive performance
in younger people as well. Check out the links above for more information. A quick search on
will also give many links to articles about the benefits of exercise.