Top 10 Foods For Exercise Recovery

Man and Woman Sitting, Talking at the Gym

A little soreness with a workout is bearable. . . maybe even pleasant if it’s a reminder of how hard you worked the day before.  However, some aches and pains that are more intense or don’t seem to go away quickly enough. This can limit both your ability and motivation to train.

Many clients tell us they don’t take pain medication because of the side effects, they don’t have time for a massage, and the ice bath that the trainer recommended is just unbearable.  So, the question that follows is . . . how else can I help my body recover after I exercise so I feel my best and reach my goals?

The answer may be found in your refrigerator . . .  the foods you eat.

Not just post workout, but how you fuel your body on a regular basis. Your muscles and immune system must be ready to take the hit of training and bounce back with ease.

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10 Tips to Easily Maximize Exercise Recovery

What you do after the gym matters just as much as what you did during your workout. That’s because the post workout recovery period is a time when your body builds lean muscle mass and repairs any damage.

If you shortchange yourself, you could wind up decreasing performance, increasing injury risk, or even gaining body fat. And all these things are counterproductive to the reason you exercise in the first place.

The good news it, you can ensure your workouts deliver the results you want without causing any collateral damage. Add in a few of these suggestions after you exercise to encourage maximum recovery and restoration.

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How to Enjoy Exercise More This Year

Women at Gym on Exercise Bikes

Some of us love a tough workout, and others dread any activity that will keep them from heading directly to the couch after work. Unfortunately, new guidelines indicate most of us fall into the second category. Research shows that 80% of Americans fail to meet the government recommended minimum for weekly exercise.
Whether you are making a new years goal to get fit or are just continuing your long time fitness routine, I think it would be easier to get done consistently if we found a way to make it more enjoyable.
Good news . . . a new study out of Germany suggests that just 2 changes can make you enjoy exercise more. The participants with similar fitness levels were asked to ride a stationary bicycle for the same amount of time – a pretty boring exercise in my opinion. Those who considered themselves to be athletic and knew how they were benefiting from the activity said it was more enjoyable, and even required less effort.
The researchers concluded that personal expectations made the difference.
The secret is to believe in your athletic abilities and the benefits of exercising.
Think how much easier it would be for you to stick to a workout program if you really enjoyed doing it. Try these tips for building up confidence in your athletic abilities and knowledge of it’s benefits.

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How Managing Stress Can Ease Aches and Pains

Woman Rubbing Forehead

 

Most of us are so used to living in a state of stress, we often don’t realize the negative effects it is having on our body. In fact, small infrequent doses of stress are not bad.  It can help you accomplish tasks and avoid getting hurt.

Stress is the body’s reaction to a real or perceived harmful situation called “fight or flight”.  If you were a caveman, running from a bear, stress hormones would allow you to run faster and harder. When a stress hits, your body’s critical systems for survival rev up and less urgent needs are set aside.

Immediate physical symptoms of stress can include a headache, muscle tension, rapid heart rate, insomnia, dry mouth, clenched jaw, and nervousness. While stressed, your nervous system keeps the body on alert.

But, what happens when traffic jams, work deadlines, no WiFi, or a long line at the coffee shop gets our blood boiling on a daily basis? 

The Effects of Chronic Stress

With chronic stress, your body remains in a prolonged state of muscle tension and produces high levels of stress hormones.  This type of stress can cause or worsen many health problems including mental illness like depression or anxiety, heart disease, high blood pressure, digestive problems, and skin conditions like acne or eczema.

You might think of stress being a problem only for your mind or psychology. However, your brain and body work together and cannot be separated.

Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system and signals the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline and cortisol that slows digestion (because this isn’t really the top priority if you are running from a bear) but also increases inflammation in your body.  The hormones constrict blood vessels and reduce blood flow to soft tissues including muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves.

As you would imagine, this results in muscle spasm, slowed healing, and frequently pain symptoms. Please remember though that stress and emotional factors that lead to pain result in real physical symptoms and are not imagined or made up.

Stress and Pain are Linked

The bodies experience of stress and pain each have an impact on the other creating a vicious cycle. Pain is regulated by the nervous system so the brain is a key player in how we perceive pain.  To maintain balance in our body and help us function, the brain works hard to try to minimize pain signals.  When you are stressed, your brain is unable to filter the pain (or inhibit) signals so pain intensity will increase.

Whether your pain or stress came first doesn’t really matter, both negatively affect your quality of life.

A change as small as lack or disruption of sleep caused by pain and/or stress limits your body’s ability to heal and recover. For many people, learning how to avoid or cope with stress can lead to significant pain relief.

Where to Start?

Sometimes stress relief can be as easy as taking three long deep breaths.  To be most effective breathe in through your nose and let the air fill your belly.  Hold for a few seconds and then slowly blow out through your mouth.  In the moment, this can decrease the production of stress hormones and start to relax your muscles. 

Other times stress builds up to a point that we need help teaching the body to let go and relax again.  As physical therapists, we are experts at retraining the nervous and muscular systems.  Using hands on techniques we can help your muscles relax, release the knots and tension, and relieve the pain that is keeping you from the sleep you need and activities you love.  Click the link below learn more about us and request to speak with a doctor of physical therapy today for free. 

In the meantime, head over to Facebook where we invite you to our private group Peak Wellness Tribe.  You will find tips, tricks, conversation, and Live chats on these and other health topics.  You are welcome to post any questions you have on that page as well.  

How Can Protein Improve Your Health & Recovery?

What you eat matters to your general health, athletic performance, and physical therapy recovery plan. That’s why the first step in our wellness coaching program is to keep a food diary. In reviewing this information with numerous clients, protein is the most often goal missed on a daily basis.

Some people have used an internet search to identify their protein needs and are concerned about getting too much protein. The fact is, that unless you have kidney disease, seizures disorders, or specific types of cancer this will not be a problem.

Proteins make up about half of each of the cells in your muscles, organs, tendons, nerves, bone, and skin. They are building blocks of these structures and also contribute to the production of hormones.

If strong muscles and bones, healthy aging, stable mood, hormone balance, and maintaining a healthy body weight are important to you then protein must be a priority.

Wondering if you are getting enough protein or if you need to be a little more intentional?

Let’s discuss 6 circumstances where focusing more on protein could dramatically improve your health and quality of life.

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5 Postures You (and your kids) Must Avoid When Using Technology

Packing our “car bag” for the beach I load up on snacks, books, games, and SEVEN technological devices. You heard me right, we have iphones, ipad, ipods, laptops, and CD players.

We don’t have much space in our schedule for “screen time” most weeks and I like it that way. When it comes to hours in the car though, my sanity (and ability to work from the road or hotel room) depeneds on these devices.

As a physical therapist, do you know what I worry about most when it comes to my kids and screen time?

Posture!

The way they sit hunched over with their necks crooked, knees up to support the device, elbow bent, thumbs tapping, and generally a stiff awkward position.

It’s not just the kids! All of us use portable, wireless technology. In fact, the average American adults sends 40 e-mails from a device daily. Unfortunately, as we scroll and tap away we are often oblivious to the position that puts us in.

The result can be headaches, eye strain, neck pain, shoulder and upper back stiffness, and even low back problems. The good news is – when we know better, we can do better, so we have for you 5 Postures to Avoid when using technological devices.

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5 Exercises To Do At Work To Relieve Shoulder Pain

The average full-time worker spends 1,650 hours at work each year. So, what you do at work day in and day out plays a big role in the health and function of your body.

If you have an office job, or one where you spend the majority of your day sitting, think of all those hours you spend not moving and potentially developing poor posture. It’s no wonder we so often see office workers who develop neck, upper back, and shoulder pain.

Today, we are going to focus on the shoulders in particular because they are often forgotten at the office. We tend to think of shoulder pain occurring with trauma, strenuous lifting, or a sports injury. The truth is, something as inactive and repetitive as desk or computer work can wreck havoc on your shoulders.

We will go over 5 exercises you can do in the workplace (without causing much disruption to your day) that can help relieve your shoulder pain.

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3 Healthy Back to School Breakfast Ideas for Your Busiest Morning

The days are starting to get shorter make me want to stay in bed “just a few more minutes”.

The problem is, I’m not willing to rush out the door handing my kids a packaged snack and call it breakfast. I truly believe that the food we eat at the start of the day sets the tone in terms of energy and food choices for the rest of our day.

What if I told you there was a way to fit a delicious breakfast in each morning that requires little time and effort, no matter how rushed you feel? What if all you needed was a blender and microwave to cook up autumn favorite flavors . . . Apples, oats, pumpkin, and cinnamon.

It is possible! In fact, in just minutes if you prepare a bit the night before. And it’s why I want to share with you 3 simple, healthy, and tasty breakfast recipes made with only a handful of ingredients for your busiest mornings.

And I can bet that these no-fuss recipes will not only save you time and energy in the morning but will keep your family energized at work and school through the day.

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5 Essentials to Exercise and Hormones for Women Over 40

Over the past 100 years, research has been plentiful when it comes to exercise prescription and performance. Unfortunately, nearly all of that research was done on healthy, college-age men.

Age, gender, hormones, and general wellness play a huge role in whether your body responds positively or negatively to a certain exercise. The activities I performed in my 20’s no longer energize me and the training I did in my 30’s no longer works to shed stubborn body fat now that I am 40.

But don’t think that just because of your age, weight, or any health issues that your body, fitness, and metabolism are doomed. With proper nurturing, your female body can be quite healthy and powerful no matter your age.

Exercise is an essential part of this journey to “good health” and vitality. But, it’s important to consider a number of factors before starting a fitness program, or reevaluating one you have participate in for years.

Ask yourself the following questions to guide you in choosing the right dose and intensity of exercise for your body.

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