As the weather gets warmer, consider how you can establish or improve healthy habits to help you look and feel great. Watch the video below for 3 tips from ACPT Physical Therapy Assistant Conor Maloney.
Losing weight is hard, but you can tweak your environment to make the best of your health goals. There are hundreds of little changes you can make to your life to skyrocket your gains and achieve your goals. While you need discipline, well-planned nutrition and regular workouts, it helps to have the following on your way to a slimmer and healthier you.
It is obvious you need a scale when trying to burn fat. This simple gadget can make or break your weight loss progress. A scale lets you know how far you have to go on your way to the ideal body weight while also allowing you measure the success of your weight loss program, helping you to correct the course when things are not working. Regular weigh-ins help you notice changes in your weight and also make you a conscious eater, increasing your ability to make informed food choices. Research from Cornell University shows that daily weigh-ins and tracking the results can increase the chances of losing weight and keeping it off.
A food journal allows you to be accountable to yourself. With regular entries into the journal, it becomes easier to pinpoint the sources of those extra calories. You might be on a strict diet but still take 5 cups of sweetened coffee or three additional muffins after your regular meals. The extra sugar amounts to something. A food journal can also track the effects of certain foods on your digestive system. If you are allergic or intolerant to some ingredients, a food journal can point you in the right direction. That way, you can eliminate the problematic foods that may contribute indirectly to your weight from your diet.
Meal Prep Containers
Being in control of your diet is an essential factor when losing weight. Meal prep can help you eat food that aligns with your weight loss goals when you want it. But for that, you need quality meal prep containers. Life can be too complicated for you to make meal plans one hour before office time. With weekend meal preps, on the other hand, you can have a week’s worth of nutrition-dense meals ready for heating and eating. Failure to plan your meals can sabotage your weight loss goals.
If you want to be in full control of your nutrition, you can’t afford to eat out all the time. Not only do your chances of eating low-quality food increase, but you also spend a large chunk of your income on food. You can cut eating expenses and improve the quality of your nutrition by cooking your meals and packing lunch. A fashionable lunch bag not only lets you carry as much homemade food as you like, but it helps you do so in style.
Join a Support Group
When you don’t get desired results, it’s easier to continue your weight loss program if you have a supportive community around you. There are many offline and online communities that provide encouragement and support for members. A community helps its members achieve their weight loss goals through an easy-to-follow program. At ACPT we’re a proponents of the OPTAVIA program that focuses on making lifelong transformations, one habit at a time. One of the four components of support that the OPTAVIA program provides is an OPTAVIA Coach. Our office’s OPTAVIA Coach, Dr. T, works with you to help you achieve your weight-loss goals. Furthermore, the OPTAVIA Community supports you alongside your Coach through many mediums, including live and recorded video conferences and calls, nutrition support, and client-focused groups. Regardless of your weight loss destination, having a community to share your journey with makes the whole process worthwhile and less lonely.
Do you remember the fitness goals you set in 2018? These resolutions probably went something like: “I am going to hit the gym 5 times per week;” “I will do hot yoga at 6 am before work;” I’m going to cut out all carbs.”
When reflecting on the past year, think about your progress. Did you achieve these goals as expected? If not, you’re not alone. In fact, according to Forbes, only 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s resolution,
When considering your resolutions for 2019, you can promote a healthier lifestyle without focusing solely on fitness or dieting. There are a lot of other wellness goals you can set that are achievable but make an impact on your overall health.
Below are some unique and manageable goals you can set for yourself in 2019 focused on wellness, not fitness.
1. Eat more fruits and vegetables.
Cutting out complete food groups can be a rather difficult feat. However, incorporating more fruits and vegetables in your daily diet is a simple yet effective way to promote disease prevention, longevity, and overall wellness. Try having at least one or two vegetables or fruits with every meal, perhaps even swapping out unhealthy choices to make room on your plate.
2. Drink enough water.
Drinking enough water helps to flush out toxins, increase your energy, boost your immunity, and improve your skin complexion. While the rule of thumb mandates 64 ounces of water per day, you may need more or less depending on your own personal situation, such as gender or if you are pregnant. Click here to discover how much water you should drink daily.
If you don’t like plain water, try infusing it with different fruit and herb combinations, such as lemon raspberry or mint lime. You can use a water bottle like this one from Amazon to make your infusion process simple.
Moreover, when you are considering your budget, going natural is best for you. It helps you save cost and at the same time promotes your overall wellbeing.
3. Find a workout buddy.
One of the reasons why people don’t stick to their fitness routine is because they do it alone. You can easily tire out and lose motivation when you go to the gym by yourself. This year, find a workout buddy to make your fitness routine fun and push yourself to achieve the fitness goals you set together. A workout buddy can also help you conquer the anxiety of going to the gym.
4. Practice meditation regularly.
Find a space in your home or office where you can meditate daily. Meditation doesn’t have to be you sitting cross-legged on the floor; instead, you can try journaling, praying, or studying. Meditation can help you recharge and stay motivated.
There are a variety of meditation resources, such as guided imagery, from iTunes. Headspace is one of the most popular guided meditation smartphone apps on the market.
5. Break down your goals into bite-sized pieces.
Be realistic and don’t try to do too much. Instead, break your goal down into sub-tasks and goals that are short-term and achievable. This will get you adapted and prevent the loss of motivation, while also ensuring you don’t hurt yourself.
6. Go natural for your bath and beauty products.
Some products that aren’t regulated can contain harmful chemicals. Consider swapping out your shampoo, conditioner, dish soap, and similar products with natural, organic versions.
7. Experiment with spices.
Some spices like turmeric, garlic, and cinnamon have a number of health benefits. For example, studies have shown that these spices contain antioxidants that help to lower inflammation. Experiment with different spices to create new flavors and promote a healthy lifestyle.
8. Eat more beans.
Beans provide protein and are high in fiber, which is good for your internal body processes and systems. Incorporate beans into your meals to enhance their health benefits. For example, add white beans to soups to make them creamier or add beans to your favorite pasta or “zoodles” dishes.
9. Keep healthy snacks close.
Sometimes you can get cravings for sweets or salty foods, especially is those items are typically in your diet. These cravings can tempt you to eat unhealthy foods, such as chips or candy. Keep healthy snacks close, like in your backpack, purse, and desk, to alleviate cravings with healthy ingredients.
10. Sip on hot water in the morning.
Start your morning with a cup of warm water, perhaps flavored with fresh lemon slices, to increase your energy level and rehydrate your body to promote proper functioning of your systems and organs.
This year, when setting your New Year’s Resolutions, don’t focus solely on fitness. Instead, consider overall wellness so that you can improve your overall health through manageable and achievable goals.
Golf season is upon us, and this challenging (and sometimes frustrating) sport can take a toll on your body. Repetitive movements, such as swinging and putting, require core strength and balance in conjunction with ample muscle movement.
Due to its physical requirements, it’s no surprise that Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Chiropractor Dr. Tom LaFountain found 80% of injuries suffered on the links are back injuries.
Other common injuries include shoulder and neck pain, ankle and feet stiffness, and hip discomfort.
Chiropractic care can improve your body’s performance and comfort level, thus helping you improve your score on the green. In fact, according to Dr. LaFountain, 72% of pro golfers receive regular chiropractic care. One of the most prominent adjustments golfers can receive is the removal of a vertebrae misalignment. Once these subluxations (misalignments) are removed from your lower back, you’ll have a greater range of motion in your swing thus increasing your range.
In addition to receiving regular chiropractic treatment, golfers can keep their bodies at optimal performance on the green by…
>> Drinking water
Water keeps your body functioning properly, and drinking the recommended amount of water daily will help prevent muscle fatigue and cramps while on the course.
>> Stretching before you play
Stretching your arms, back, and hips before beginning a round will increase your flexibility while decreasing the chance of injury.
>> Exercise your hips and supporting muscles
Strengthen the muscles that support your hips through kinetic exercises such as lunges, squats, leg curls, and push-ups.
It turns out our furry friends have more to offer us than companionship and unconditional love. Multiple studies show that dog owners are generally healthier and more likely to meet national fitness benchmarks than non-owners.
According to the American Heart Association, dog owners are 54 percent more likely to get the recommended level of physical activity each day.
In general, pet ownership has proven to lead to a number of great health benefits associated with happiness, reducing stress, and lowering blood pressure but dogs are special. Because they need exercise and often demand it from us, they have a persistent way of urging us onto a path toward more exercise and better health.
A 2013 study published in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health showed that dog owners take an average of 2,760 more steps per day compared with those who don’t have dogs. This amounts to 23 additional minutes of moderate exercise per day. Another more recent study published in 2017 by BMC Public Health backs these numbers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), adults should get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (i.e., brisk walking) each week. And of course, achieving such benchmarks help individuals improve and maintain long-term health – both physical and mental wellness.
Walking is one of the best physical activities nearly anyone can do. Taking a dog out for a walk often makes the activity more enjoyable and feel less like exercise – less like a chore.
Approximately 54.4 million U.S. households own at least one dog, based on stats from the Humane Society of the United States.
Pets require lots of love, care, and responsibility, and simply having one isn’t going to immediately put you on a path toward a healthier life. There are too many other factors to consider. However, if you love animals and could use some added motivation to get outdoors, dogs have a way of coaxing people in that direction.
If you’re a dog owner who has pain or a physical limitation holding you back from walking or playing with your furry friend, you should consider visiting us at ACPT. One of our great physical therapists can provide a full pain and/or movement assessment with an eye toward getting pet owners (and would-be pet owners) back on track to more active, pain-free living.
With child obesity still an epidemic in the U.S. and reams of research showing both the immediate and long-term benefits of youth exercise, it’s the duty of parents today to make movement and activity a part of kids’ lifestyles.
And the first step in teaching kids to be active is to be a good role model.
“Kids are more often than not going to imitate their parents when it comes to activity level,” says ACPT Physical Therapist Joe Trimarchi. “If you’re an active person who goes for walks, bike rides, spends time outdoors and plays with them regularly, your kids are going to learn that’s what life is all about – moving around and enjoying the world.”
And in a country where more than one in six kids between the ages of 2 and 19 are obese, and just one in three are physically active each day, making movement and exercise a daily part of life is a critical habit to help kids form at a young age. Why?
Active kids are more likely to become healthy adults.
Studies have shown that being healthy and active as a youth can lead to a reduced risk of developing a number of serious health conditions later in life – obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even cancer.
Strong evidence also exists tying activity with greater academic and social achievement in children. It also helps ward off anxiety and depression at a young age.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all children and adolescents ages 6 to 17 should participate in one hour of physical activity each day …at a minimum.
“That may seem like a lot to squeeze into an already full day of school, work and other commitments, but this is really a modest goal I’d actually like to see kids exceed,” Trimarchi says. “I read recently the average American kid might spend up to 7 hours a day in front of a screen. So, they definitely have time for play and exercise.”
To help your child develop a love of movement and physical activity, ACPT offers these tips:
► Play with Your Kids
Be a leader when it comes to activities with your kids by, first and foremost, making it fun! Starting at a young age, take them outdoors for a game of tag, building forts, playing catch, or to raking up a pile of leaves for jumping. Keep in mind that if you have fun being active, they’ll no doubt imitate the positive vibes.
► Go On Adventures
Simple walks and bike rides are fun, but turning them into adventures can give the activities some staying power. Turn the walk into a scavenger hunt, go geocaching instead of just hiking or cycling, or turn a swim in the lake into a rock-collecting and/or skipping competition.
► Provide Options & Choice
From toys and games to different parks, facilities and even clubs/leagues, when you give children variety, they’ll be more eager to actively participate in their activities of choice.
► Be the Support System
As a parent, be active in helping your child sort through options, connect with others with similar interests (i.e., friends and teammates), and offering the support they need to participate and be successful. Having mom and/or dad on the journey can go far in motivating a kid to stick with and enjoy new activities.
In an era of specialization in sports involving athletes of all ages, the professionals at ACPT join most medical experts in agreeing that young athletes generally remain mentally and physically healthier, achieve greater success, and learn to enjoy a lifetime of physical fitness when they opt to play multiple sports.
Trimarchi adds that, in contrast, allowing youths to specialize in a sport year-round can lead to burnout, a greater risk of experiencing overuse injuries, and less long-term success.
“Encouraging our kids to specialize in a single sport throughout the year isn’t putting them on the right path toward success without risking injury and burnout,” said Trimarchi. “While this path has worked out for some, these stories are very rare and overlook the fact that the risks of specialization far outweigh the rewards, especially when it comes to youth athletes.”
It’s been estimated that up to 60 million U.S. youths ages 6 to 18 years participate in some form of athletics. More than 5 million of these athletes experience an injury each year.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, at least 50 percent of athletic injuries are related to overuse, the types of injuries for which one-sport athletes are particularly prone.
“An overuse injury happens when a bone, muscle or tendon has been put through repetitive stress without being given a sufficient amount of time to heal or repair, leading to micro-traumatic damage,” said Trimarchi. “Think sore pitching arms or pain in a swimmer’s shoulder that doesn’t go away, possibly keeping the athlete from competing.”
The same repetitive motions year-round can, in other words, lead to such overuse injuries as strains, sprains, stress fractures, and even tears in muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Playing multiple sports, in contrast, allows young athletes to challenge their bodies in different ways, developing new sets of physical traits and skills and that offer more universal performance benefits.
To help young athletes reduce the risk of developing overuse injuries and overall burnout, ACPT offers the following advice to parents and coaches:
★ Encourage Diversity
Especially at an early age, encourage kids to try out and play different sports throughout the year. Some of the most successful athletes (up to 97 percent of the pros) believe being a multisport athlete was beneficial to their long-term success.
★ Seek Rest
Young athletes should take at least one to two days off from practice and/or structured sports participation each week. Some experts suggest limiting weekly practice to the age (in hours) of the athlete. Long-term, athletes should take 2 to 3 months off a particular sport each year to help refresh the body and the mind.
★ Specialize Later
Wait until at least high school age – better yet, around the ages of 16 or 17 – before considering specializing in any individual sport. At this point, the body is more prepared for such rigors.
★ Watch for Signs
If a young athlete complains of nonspecific problems with muscles and/or joints, physical fatigue, or grows concerned about poor performance, visit a health professional such as a physical therapist, who can fully evaluate the issue and offer treatment (if needed) for any potential injuries or deficiencies.