6 Tips To Reduce Falls At Home

I have fallen down the steps twice - once when I was in physical therapy school and once after I was married but before we had kids.

 

The first time I fell was because I was in a hurry so I was running down the stairs between the floors in my graduate housing apartment complex. Racing down any stairs can be dangerous but try doing that while also looking through your mail to make sure you put stamps on the envelopes!

 

Not a good idea!

 

As I looked at the last envelope, I thought I was on the landing to the next set of stairs and I missed the last step. I fell crashing down with my backpack on top of me and my envelopes all scattered about. Despite the pain, I hobbled my way to my physical therapy class. The lesson for the day was gait abnormalites and I was now the lead candidate for everyone to observe my antalgic gait pattern! Not fun! My left ankle was swollen like a tennis ball and very painful. I did receive the nice benefit of electrical stimulation and ice...

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What A Baby And Usain Bolt Have In Common

If you have ever watched a baby learning to walk, you can see them struggle to learn how to coordinate their balance for hands and knees crawling to walking on two feet. They typically pull themselves up by grabbing on to furniture or people to steady themselves. The name “toddler” implies toddling around as they continue to get a feel for walking.

 

Contrast the image of a baby learning to walk with an Olympic runner like Usain Bolt from Jamaica. This elite athlete has advanced his balance to a level where he propelled himself forward at speed so fast in 2009 that he broke the 100 meter dash record in 9.58 seconds. 

 

The image of the baby learning to walk and Usain Bolt crossing the finish line may seem like extreme opposites but they have one thing in common: BALANCE.

 

Both the baby and the sprinter must develop balance to propel themselves forward. The baby is at the beginning stages of developing balance when they are first learning how to pull...

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How To Prevent Boredom In Your Workouts

A year ago I was bored with exercise. I had done the same exercise video series for 8 consecutive years and I was losing motivation. With COVID-19 and quarantine just in its infancy, the last thing I felt like continuing was the same video series again.

 

I tried walking on my treadmill. I tried walking outside. I tried lifting weights. I became really frustrated because not only was I bored, but my fitness had plateaued. I gained 12 pounds because I was eating the same amount of food even though I was not exercising as consistently or intensely as previously.

 

I was in a rut.

 

Have you ever been in a rut?

Have you ever felt like you should be doing more yet don’t really know what to do?

 

That was me. And, what made it worse was that I was super motivated in creating exercise plans for my patients. I had endless ideas for them and they were having fun plus getting the results they wanted with the exercise programs I was creating for them.

 

But,...

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Stepping Into Heart Health

Walking is one of the best forms of exercise because almost anyone can do it. It is easy to do, can be performed anywhere, and doesn’t cost a lot. 

 

Why is walking so beneficial?

  • It improves heart and lung health for overall cardiovascular fitness
  • It is a low-impact form of weight-bearing exercise that stimulates osteoblasts (bone building cells) to improve bone density
  • It helps build leg strength and endurance
  • It can help build arm strength if you pump your arms during quicker speeds
  • It contributes to a healthy body weight
  • It improves overall mood and can reduce signs and symptoms of depression

 

Walking can be a solitary activity or can be performed in a small or large group as a social activity or a friendly competition.

 

Walking can be slow as in a leisurely stroll or fast as in race walking events with USA Track & Field. Yes, race walking is an Olympic event!

 

Walking can be as simple as walking in the neighborhood.

 

Walking can be...

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How To Shovel Snow Without Back And Shoulder Pain!

As a Wisconsin resident, I have seen some serious snow this past week.  As a Doctor of Physical Therapy, I have also seen quite a few injuries related to some serious snow fall.  The most common injuries I see are back pain and shoulder pain from shoveling.

People will arrive in my office 1-2 months following a heavy snowstorm and say, "Do you remember that real big snowfall 1-2 months ago? Yeah, that's when I started hurting."

I created a video on Facebook on how to shovel snow without back and shoulder pain for this reason. 

I encourage you to watch the video and learn how your legs should do most of the work so that your back and shoulder don't have to.

Other tips for snow removal:

  1. Use a snow blower if you have one available
  2. Recruit help if you can - other family members or pay for snow removal service
  3. Take short breaks every 20 minutes if you will need to be shoveling for more than that
  4. Stay hydrated by drinking water every 20-30 minutes (yes, it is possible to...
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Wait and See Doesn't Work

Have you ever started a home project and reached a point where you realized you no longer could finish it on your own?

 

It’s the moment when you know that a ”how-to-video” isn’t enough and you need to hire a professional... or at the very least consult with an expert.

 

Perhaps you are at this point now and the project isn’t a home project but instead, it’s your health.

 

Many people wait weeks, months or even years to consult with a healthcare professional about their health because they choose the “wait and see if it goes away” approach. 

 

If your roof is leaking, the water coming into your home won’t go away until a roofer fixes your roof.

 

If the oven no longer heats your food, the problem doesn’t go away until the technician fixes it or you purchase a new oven.

 

You probably wouldn’t wait years to fix your roof and I doubt you would wait months to solve your oven problem...

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How Physical Health Influences Mental Health

Since 2020 has been the year of the health pandemic due to COVID-19, more and more people are very acutely aware of how the quality of their physical health influences their ability to protect themselves against illness. The healthier we are physically, the stronger our immune system tends to be and the more likely we are to recover from diseases like the common cold, influenza, and even the coronavirus.

 

It is a fact that COVID-19 has wreaked more havoc on those with compromised health or a longer list of comorbidities such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, pulmonary conditions, and cardiac conditions. It’s not to say that COVID-19 has not impacted those without underlying health conditions, it’s just that the statistics indicate it has been more detrimental to those with chronic health issues.

 

When the body is not physically functioning at its best, it doesn’t  feel as good. Joints feel stiff and achy. Muscles feel tight and sore. 

 ...

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How To Defy Aging By Flexing Your Muscles

A sedentary 45-year-old can be “older” than an active 72-year-old.

Being inactive and sedentary can age you!

I’ve seen a 66-year-old hike up a mountain.

I’ve read about an 85-year-old who became the oldest Kona Ironman finisher.

I’ve treated a 70-year-old golfer who could walk circles around a 25-year-old computer whiz.

What do they all have in common?

THEY KEEP MOVING!

Being sedentary can lead to weight gain, muscle tightness, poor posture, poor circulation, high blood pressure, and other not-so-great health issues.

One of the best ways to keep moving is by walking more.

Another great way to feel younger is to lift some weights.

I’m not talking about bench pressing 300 pounds or squatting with a 150-pound bar.

Sure, you can do that if you want to as long as you gradually work your way up to it but it’s not a necessity to getting stronger or getting more fit.

Using resistance bands or dumbbells less than 15 pounds or a combination of both...

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6 Tips To Improve Your Mood During The Holiday Season

Now that Thanksgiving is officially over, many of us have moved on quickly to prepare for the holiday season. Between now and January 7th, there are many reasons to celebrate for lots of people: Advent, St. Nicholas Day, St. Lucia Day, Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Epiphany - forgive me if I have forgotten any.

 

As some of us celebrate, many are also facing challenging times due to the loss of loved ones or challenging relationships. For those who are suffering with grief or anxiety during this time of the season, my heart goes out to you. December is Seasonal Depression Awareness Month and many people struggle this time of year because of colder temperatures, less sunlight, and less opportunity to get outside due to in-climate weather.

 

If you struggle during this season of festivities, I encourage you to try these tips to help boost your mood:

Talk with your physician about getting special...

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Being Thankful Is Good For Your Health

Being Thankful Is Good For Your Health

When was the last time you stopped and thought about all the good stuff happening in your life?

Sometimes when our world is filled with chaos, we forget to stop and be thankful for the little things.

 
As I reflect back on this year, I must admit it has been a year of “issues”!

We moved into our new 1925 cape cod house on January 30th - it was the coldest day of the year at -55 degrees Fahrenheit. My husband was diagnosed with pneumonia 2 days later.

When the snow thawed and the rain came, we discovered the seller’s version of “mild seepage” was our definition of huge water puddles all over the basement floor!

We had a flat tire on the way to my business conference in Nashville, TN in February and when we got to the “kid-friendly” hotel, we realized it was not kid-friendly. No pool and it charged $15.00 for a small pack of crackers. We quickly informed the kids that the snack tray in our hotel room...

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