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Your Physical Therapist Can Help You Keep Your Resolution

Your Physical Therapist Can Help You Keep Your Resolution

Get More Active & Avoid Injuries. Talk to Your PTs How

As the year comes to an end, people begin to set goals and make resolutions. Losing weight & getting into “better shape” are all common. These all require increasing your amount of physical activity. More activity is great for your health, energy levels, sleep, and mood. However, ramping up your activity level too quickly after a holiday season of eating, drinking and being merry can lead to pain, injury and disappointment if your body isn’t ready for it.

Your physical therapist is an expert in human movement, and can help you safely reach your fitness goals. People think of PTs as the person to see after an injury, but a visit before you change your activity level could prevent injury in the first place. An evaluation by your PT will include assessment of your strength, range of motion, and functional movement patterns – think jumping, running, squatting, carrying. Some PTs even like to use a standardized assessment, such as the Functional Movement Screen .

Most common injuries from new fitness routines are caused by underlying weakness, range of motion deficits, or compensatory movement patterns. Your PT will find these during your assessment. They can then prescribe exercises or movements to address the issues found and get you safely moving into the new year!

The other common way people get injured working towards their resolution is with overtraining, or doing too much too soon. Physical therapists are also experts in exercise prescription and program design. Your PT can help you create a routine specific to your needs and goals that will progress appropriately and keep you out of trouble.

So stop only thinking of your PT after you’re injured. In this case, it’s true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Seeing your physical therapist before you start on your resolution can keep you on track, injury free, and help you reach your goals for the new year!

So, get in touch with your physical therapist today and start discussing about your fitness goals and how injuries can be prevented.

We are located in Sterling Heights and we would love to be a part of your fitness journey this coming new year. Call us at 248-432-1618 and schedule your discovery visit and ask for a Functional Movement Screen .

Sterling Heights Wellness: 6 Common Summer Activity Mistakes, with Solutions

Sterling Heights Wellness: 6 Common Summer Activity Mistakes, with Solutions

For many, summer is defined by a whirlwind of outdoor activity, a natural response to warmer, brighter and warmer days. 

But as we venture out into the sun for yard work, bike rides, morning jogs, long hikes and swimming at the beach, Sterling Heights physical therapist Ashesh Vyas warns people to avoid common summer exercise mistakes that can put them at risk of injury. 

“We all get excited when the weather allows us to get outside in the fresh air to do the things we love to do, but this excitement shouldn’t cause us to overlook precautions we should be taking to ensure we stay safe and free of injury,” said VyasOwner of Active Kare Physical Therapy in Sterling Heights. 

Some of these considerations take the heat into account, while others are simply good practices that often get overlooked during this time of year. Either way, Vyas offers solutions for overcoming the following mistakes people often make when engaging in outdoor activities (including exercise) during the summer months. 

Pushing Too Hard, Too Fast: The warmth and sunshine of summer may get your adrenaline going, but don’t take that as permission to overdo your workouts. Abide by the 10 percent rule, which dictates you should ramp up your duration and distances no more than 10 percent per week. And, be sure to give your body plenty of rest and recovery time to prevent potential injury. 

Not Warming Up Properly: Don’t assume the warm weather means your body’s already warm and ready to go. A thorough warm-up is essential before any exercise or activity, despite the temperature outside. It primes the nervous system for exercise so your body’s ready to work efficiently. A simple warm-up can include some brisk walking, light jogging, lunges, arm circles, etc. 

Dehydration: Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to start hydrating. Dehydration came come on quickly when the weather’s hot, so get used to carrying around a water bottle, and always drink water before, during and after all workouts, regardless of intensity. 

Wearing Improper Footwear: You may walk around in sandals or flip-flops most of the summer, but trade them for a quality, supportive pair of shoes prior to working out. This is a no-brainer when going for a run or competing in a sport, but don’t overlook the importance of proper footwear when going for a walk, working in the yard, etc.  

Forgetting Sunscreen: Using a high-SPF sunscreen is critical in the long-term prevention of certain types of skin cancers. In the short term, it protects against sunburn, which could hinder your ability to fully enjoy the outdoors by making movement painful. Also, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat and sunglasses with UV protection. 

Ignoring Pain & Injury: If you feel some discomfort, pain or a possible injury, stop what you’re doing. Summer’s typically a time when you want to pack as much activity as you can into a weekend, but don’t do this as the expense of a long-term injury or health issue that, if untreated, can put a damper on the rest of the season. 

“If you feel, say, discomfort in your lower back or a sudden or nagging ache in your muscles or joints, it’s best to stop and get that checked out by a physical therapist as soon as you can,” Vyas said. “A PT will assess the pain, determine its cause, and offer a strategy for getting you back to what you love doing in the summertime.”

Eating Right: A Simple Technique for Reducing Pain and Inflammation

Eating Right: A Simple Technique for Reducing Pain and Inflammation

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 Active Kare Physical Therapy in Sterling Heights, MI, 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 of 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 us today if you’d like to speak with a physical therapist about pain management or additional advice on how to reduce inflammation!

5 Quick Tricks to Stay Active!

5 Quick Tricks to Stay Active!

As humans, we are on a never-ending hamster wheel that demands we are as productive as possible, but it’s time that we all become a little more realistic about what is and isn’t possible through sheer willpower.

Try as you might, you can’t accomplish world peace (or even your to-do list) within a 24-hour period. Instead, you must employ tricks and tips to stay engaged, motivated, and active on your quest to do it all.

Here, we’ve given you five quick tricks — that is, easy strategies that you can quickly implement — to stay active and involved in that thing called life.

Tip #1: Embark on a Mission to Live Pain-Free

What’s the number one reason people give for not staying active? Pain.

 

According to the National Institutes of Health, most Americans experience chronic pain. An estimated 25.3 million adults reported pain every day for the preceding three months in a 2012 National Health Interview Survey. Nearly 40 million adults acknowledge suffering from severe pain, which is also a predictor of other health concerns.

 

Fortunately, there is an effective, easy way to abolish most of your pain: physical therapy. Hands-on therapy from one of our trained physical therapists or treatments such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation can help alleviate pain and restore muscle and joint function to help you lead a more active lifestyle.

Tip #2: Get Better Sleep

Though it may seem counterintuitive to say that you need more sleep when you’re trying to stay active, such a statement is accurate.

 

Sleep disturbances occur in one-third of the US population, and yet sleep is vital for the proper functioning of the body. Physical therapy can help you achieve better sleep and, therefore, achieve a higher degree of activity in your waking hours. Physical therapists are trained in areas critical to sleep, including pain modulation, cardiovascular health, tissue healing, and cognitive functioning. A physical therapist can also provide suggestions for how you can integrate sleep health with overall well being.

Tip #3: Use Interactive Tools

There are a variety of products on the market that will encourage, inspire, and track your physical activity. Research shows that utilizing such products may, indeed, have a favorable impact on your levels of activity. The key to success is to establish daily, weekly, or monthly goals that are easily tracked within the tool. Other strategies that are helpful include:

  • Use the tool every single day. Consistency makes something become a habit and habits are notoriously difficult to break.
  • Write down your goal. A common figure is 10,000 steps per day, yet it’s worthwhile to check with a medical professional to avoid overextending yourself.
  • Encourage your friends and family to use the tools as well. Many trackers have interactive features that allow you to measure your progress against someone else’s. This informal type of comparison can really serve as an effective motivator. Most of us also benefit from having a workout buddy.
  • Engage in activities that you enjoy. While tools come with limitations — namely what activities it measures — it is extremely helpful to choose a tracker based on the activities you enjoy. Such activities are easier to maintain over time.

Tip #4: Grab Rover

What they say is true: A dog may be man’s best friend. Or at least a good exercise companion.

The arrival of a new pet, particularly a dog, is an effective way to get owners moving. “Pets need activity, and actually can be your own accountability friend to get at least a short walk in daily. Even if the dog only forces you to get up and let it out without going for a walk, you will have burned more calories than if you sat in front of the television all day.” Your physical therapist may even suggest a dog as part of your treatment plan.

Tip #5: Get Cleaning

Cleaning your house employs a variety of muscle groups and keeps you active. Every step you take and every inch you vacuum helps you stay fit. For an added benefit, squeeze your glutes and abdominal muscles as you’re trailing from room to room.

 

Whether you’re on a quest to stay fit and healthy, or simply want to enjoy life more, ActiveKare Physical Therapy can help!

How Staying Active at Work Can Increase Productivity

How Staying Active at Work Can Increase Productivity

Picture yourself at work. Hunched over a keyboard, clicking away on a mouse, answering the phone, or having meetings, the most moving around you are likely to do is to and from the copy machine. It is no surprise that our sedentary jobs are causing fatigue and stiffness, both mentally and physically. Fortunately, having a desk job doesn’t exclude you from experiencing more physical activity at work. Give these activities a try and you are sure to find out you feel better physically and experience higher productivity.

Time for a Mental Shift

Somehow, somewhere along the way, Americans got it into their heads that working without breaks is the sign of productivity. Not true! Working without breaks not only causes physical and mental fatigue, studies have shown that people who allow themselves to take a break are more productive than their power-through counterparts.

Use the 1 in 20 Rule

Studies have shown that the mind can only work continuously on a singular task for 20 minutes at a time before productivity begins to slow. Fortunately, it does not take a lot to reset the brain’s ability to refocus. Standing up and moving around every twenty minutes, changing positions, or walking to another office is enough to give your brain the blood flow it needs to be ready for the tasks at hand.

Stay Hydrated

On average, water represents up to 60 percent of our body weight yet many of us walk around chronically dehydrated. In addition to digestive problems, fatigue, muscle aches, and joint pain, chronic dehydration can slow productivity. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Make sure you are consuming water throughout the day in order to keep your brain firing the way it should.

Stretch

Stretching your muscles is a great way to keep the blood flowing to your brain. You may find that your body has a natural need to stretch when it has been stagnant too long. This does not mean you need to roll out the yoga mat by your desk and do a pigeon pose. You can stretch your arms, legs, back and neck in just a few minutes without special equipment and enjoy greater productivity for hours afterward.

Don’t Forget to Breathe

We breathe thousands of times a day without even thinking about it, yet becoming aware of your breath is a great way to reduce stress, think more clearly and work better. Take deep breaths that fill your lungs and expel all of the air out. Then, enjoy a more productive work day. Our experts at ActiveKare Physical Therapy also offer unique treatment options such as, work hardening, to condition your body for daily tasks. Call us today to find out which program suits you the best.

 

Still hurting? Your Diet Could Be Why  

Still hurting? Your Diet Could Be Why  

What you put in your mouth can make your aches and pains worse. Like they say, “You are what you eat.” There are many foods that can cause inflammation and actually result in pain. Eating a healthier diet can help you feel better, without those nagging aches and pains.

Foods To Say “No” To

While it may be difficult to resist sodas, chocolate bars, pastries, and desserts, it’s smart to just say no. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, processed sugars release inflammatory messengers. The culprits are known as cytokines. To be on the safe side, avoid any ingredients that end in “ose.” That includes sucrose and fructose.

Saturated fats also trigger inflammation. Cheese and pizza are a mainstay of the American diet, and Americans should definitely reduce their intakes of these foods. Other culprits include full-fat dairy products, pasta, red meat and grain-based desserts.

Harvard School researchers sent out the alarm on trans fats in the 1990s. Trans fat triggers systemic inflammation. You’ll find plenty of trans fats in fast foods, snack foods, cookies, donuts and frozen breakfast products. Be sure to read the ingredient labels and avoid those listed with partially hydrogenated oils.

Skip the white flour products that have refined carbohydrates. That includes white rice and white potatoes. Processed carbs increase fats and fuel the production of advanced glycation, which causes inflammation.

While you may think mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) is only found in soy sauce and Asian food, it can be found in deli meats, fast foods, salad dressings and prepared soups. MSG is known as a chemical that triggers pathways for chronic inflammation.

Foods To Say “Yes” To

Think of a more natural diet like veggies and fresh fruits. And start drinking water. By just switching to water, you can reduce pain caused by inflammation. Greek yogurt is a good choice and so are foods with natural probiotics. Just by making better food choices can put you on the road to less pain and less need to rely on medications. Be a part of the solution instead of the problem by changing up your diet. Another plus to eating better is that you just may wind up losing a few of those stubborn pounds. So, the next time you feel a nagging ache, do some thinking about what you’re actually putting in your mouth. It just may be a food that you should say no to or give ActiveKare Physical Therapy a call to see how we can help assess your aches and pains!