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.
Shoveling snow during winter is unavoidable, especially in Upstate New York, and can sometimes be a risk factor leading to hospital visits. However, you can perform this chore without hurting yourself.
Tips to Prevent Shoveling-Related Injuries
▶ Warm up before you head outside.
In the winter, your muscles are forced to do more work because cold weather constricts veins and arteries that supply blood and oxygen, and there is an additional strain on your heart to pump more blood to meet the demand from your muscles. Do some quick warm-up exercises before heading out to shovel snow to get your circulatory system working faster and prepared for the winter chill.
▶ Don’t lift too much snow at one time.
A full load of snow on your shovel is heavy. If you continually pick up large amounts of snow, you’re likely to strain your muscles. Only lift small portions of snow, ensuring the weight is less than your carrying capacity, to avoid exhaustion or strain.
▶ Use your knees.One common mistake people make is lifting snow without the support of their knees. Bend your knees while lifting snow to avoid putting too much pressure on your lower back and prevent injury. If possible, push the snow, rather than lift it, off your walkways with a shovel.
▶ Bundle up to prevent hypothermia.
Prevent your body temperature from falling dangerously low by wearing proper clothing, including insulated coats, waterproof gloves, and warm boots with a lot of traction. Take regular breaks to go inside, warm up, and complete a quick exercise to move your muscles.
▶ Invest in an ergonomic shovel.
Prevent back strain and other injuries by investing in your snow removing equipment. While snowblowers are ideal, they can be expensive. As a back-friendly alternative, invest in an ergonomic shovel, such as this one at Target.
Handling an Injury
Never ignore pains. If you notice anything abnormal while shoveling snow, stop immediately and get back indoors. If you experience ongoing to persistent pain, schedule an appointment with our ACPT staff so that we can evaluate your situation, increase the rate at which you heal, and provide additional tools to prevent injuries in the future.
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.
As millions marvel at the world’s top competitors performing athletic feats on cold, wet, and slippery surfaces during this month’s 2018 Winter Olympics, ACPT’s chiropractor, Dr. Traudt sees an ideal educational opportunity for local athletes and fitness-minded people.
While we watch Alpine skiers speed through difficult downhill courses and figure skaters bound balletically across the ice, Dr. Traudt sees performances that vividly highlight the importance of two oft-overlooked elements of good fitness and training routines: of balance and flexibility.
“When we work to prepare our bodies for a certain activity, or simply for the rigors of living an active lifestyle, we shouldn’t only be focusing on strength and cardio fitness,” said Dr. Traudt. “It’s a good start, but if your balance and flexibility are below par, performance will be limited and the body will be more susceptible to injury.”
Few things highlight this more than winter sports and activities, such as those featured during the Winter Olympics.
“Winter sports provide the ultimate challenge to balance and flexibility,” said Dr. Traudt. “Both balance and flexibility work together to keep these athletes upright while they adapt to new terrain, changes in position, etc. The importance of this is obvious on snow and ice, of course, but the same concept applies in everyday life.”
Whether your personal goals include competing better athletically, getting outdoors more for hiking, cycling or (yes) skiing, or simply feeling safer and more confident playing in the backyard with the kids, good balance and flexibility are key, he added.
Here are some simple recommendations to help improve balance and flexibility in your life:
Take an Exercise Class
Yoga, Pilates, step classes … they all strive to strengthen your core muscle groups, which are essential in achieving good balance. Plus, these classes often complement indoor cardio and resistance training – training that may do little to help with your balance.
Stretch Every Day
Take 10 to 15 minutes each day to stretch, either in the morning or just before bed. A stretch right before an activity will do little to help you out unless you’ve worked to establish a higher level of flexibility over the long term.
Perform Single-Leg Balance Exercises
Get your body accustomed to relying on one side at a time. Practice standing on one leg while tilting your body forward, back and sideways. Place your hand on a wall, countertop or piece of furniture if you need help balancing. Other single leg balance ideas include ball bounces, standing on a foam pad, and practicing with eyes closed … all in a safe setting, of course.
For a more individualized approach, chiropractors and physical therapists are specially trained to perform balance and flexibility assessments, which will pinpoint specific areas of strength and weakness. Such info, when combined with personal movement and fitness goals, can then be used to establish an individual fitness regimen that will specifically address any found weaknesses.