What Every Runner Needs to Know About Inflammation

woman running

Have you experienced inflammation as a runner?

It is a shared human experience, because if you have had a papercut you have seen inflammation first hand. It is a normal part of life and a normal part of endurance training and it’s not all bad.  It naturally occurs to help our body heal from a stressor – maybe a hard training session, a new training plan, or race day. So, here is what every runner needs to know about inflammation before their next race.

We want a certain amount of inflammation, but we don’t want too much or for it to hang around longer than it is making itself useful. An unruly inflammatory response can be a result of poor nutrition, inadequate recovery, ongoing injury, poor sleep, or genetic predisposition.

Why is too much inflammation bad for a runner?

In the short term it negatively impacts performance, compromises the immune system, increases aches and pains, causes hormone dysregulation, and can even result in weight gain.  Long term, chronic inflammation can lead to increased risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, dementia, skin conditions, and autoimmune disease.

What is unique about inflammation for the endurance athlete?

To perform your training and complete your race, you rely on oxygen use in skeletal muscle.  The oxidative nature of this training increases the production of free radicals and results in an inflammatory response to help protect your bodies tissues. This is a really good thing – temporarily.

In fact, you don’t want to load up on antioxidants or anti-inflammatories during or immediately following training. You want the inflammation to do its jobs so you don’t end up with an injury or tissue damage. But then, you want the inflammation to get out of there ASAP.

Anyone experienced upper respiratory symptoms post-race? It was thought to be an increased susceptibility to infection, but this is only about 5% of cases, 40% are actually caused by inflammation (the other 55% are asthma or allergies which can have connection to inflammation as well).

So we should probably take NSAIDS and knock out that inflammation right?   

NSAIDS like ibuprofen can decrease inflammation & pain, but cause gut damage, impair recovery, and harm performance. If you are a few weeks out from a race, using these medications could be one of the worse things you can do in order to get yourself to the starting line successfully or the finish line with a PR.

What should we do instead to overcome inflammation?

Take care of the main causes of prolonged inflammation. There will be tremendous health benefits long term, but also performance benefits as early as your next race.

1. Sleep

When you are in deep sleep, your body repairs, recovers, and removes excess inflammation.  The harder you train, you more rest you will need to recover.  If you are having trouble sleeping, reach out to our Integrative Health Coach for simple strategies.

2.Remove Inflammatory Foods

Foods can trigger our body to hold onto more inflammation.  The universal culprits are sugar and artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners.  The biggest culprits among runners are energy and hydration drinks.  Be sure yours is clear of the fake stuff.

3.Add Anti Inflammatory Foods

Incorporate real foods like berries, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and cruciferous vegetables to fight inflammation caused by your training.  An anti inflammatory supplement like vitamin C or turmeric should be taken at least 1 hour before or after training so you don’t disrupt the natural healing response.

4. Supplement for Nutritional Gaps

Probiotics, prebiotics, green tea, and omega 3 fish oil are all supplements that will support the inflammatory response and immune system when you are asking your body to work overtime.  Inquire at the link below to learn more our personalized supplementation programs to dial in exactly what your body needs more of.

5. Take Care of Injuries

Don’t let a nagging injury or flare up perpetuate inflammation in your body.  Our doctors of physical therapy can quickly help calm the discomfort and keep you on your training schedule.  In addition to our traditional hands on treatment techniques, we have modalities that help decrease localized inflammation and support lymphatic flush to keep it moving on out.

Expert Tip . . . Know your Genetics

Some of us have a genetic predisposition to increased levels of inflammation.  Knowing where you stand genetically lets you know how much you need to dial in each of these areas to prevent inflammation from limiting your performance.

In addition, not getting enough of what your body needs in terms of vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients results in increased stress hormones and decreased energy production making your body unable to fight inflammation. Nutrition genetic testing allows us to dial in exactly what your body needs to thrive, most effectively produce energy, and conquer your race day goals.

Have questions about your inflammatory response, maximizing recovery, or fitness and nutrition genetic test? Click HERE to visit our website or just send an email directly to amanda@peakpotentialpt.com


Healthier Together with Fall Family Fitness

10 ideas for fun fall family fitness

In these days of grab and go meals, hours spent sitting at desks, and full schedules of extracurricular activities, families need to work at being healthier together. This tends to hit especially hard in the back to school and fall season in our home.  But as parents, it is our responsibility to teach our kids the importance of taking care of our bodies and making fall family fitness a priority.

Exercising together as a family is proven in research to develop children who will grow up with this healthy practice deeply ingrained. In addition, when your family shares time together, regardless of the activity, it also secures and reinforces emotional bonds that yield endless health benefits.

Family fitness is always going to more effective if it is fun, so be creative and resourceful when it comes to the activities you plan.  The number one key though is planning.  We have to be intentional about making movement a non negotiable habit for our families.

Here are 10 ways you can have fun staying healthier together with fall family fitness.

1. Bike Riding

If your bicycles are gathering dust in the garage or shed, get them cleaned and tuned up. Then, plan a family bike ride twice each week. Mornings may be best for hot days, or after dinner may be a more convenient time for you.

2. Alternate Walking and Running

Sure, a family walk is a nice, leisurely activity. But what if you changed it up a bit and alternated walking 3 minutes with a 1 minute run. Most kids love a race and will happily run to the next light post if it’s a competition.

3. Yoga or Tai Chi

It’s nice to have some ideas for indoor fitness activities in case of a rainy day. You Tube provides an endless supply of yoga and tai chi options for a variety of skill levels. Start with short sessions to keep the interest of young kids.

4. Dance Party

One of the most enjoyable fitness activities to do with your kids is dancing. After all, who doesn’t love a party? Turn up the music and get moving in the kitchen or while cleaning up. Older kids may even be interested in trying some salsa lessons or a hip hop dance class together.

5. Rake Leaves

Grab your rakes and get active right in your own backyard. To make it feel like less of a chore, rake leaves into a maze to follow or piles to jump in before bagging them up.  Perhaps you even have a prize for the family member who rakes the tallest pile.

6. Join a Community Fun Run

Check city Facebook pages for an upcoming 5k run or 1 mile walk. Train together, set some goals, and join in the theme of the event – Halloween and Thanksgiving both provide fun opportunities to dress up.

7. Family Zoo Trip

An afternoon spent walking the The Memphis Zoo or attending Zoo Boo is a great way to do more moving and less sitting. Give your kids the map and to navigate to their favorite animals.  You can even throw in a few “I’ll race you to the giraffes” to get the heart rate up.

8. Visit a Local Hiking Trail

Detox from the electronics by enjoying the outdoors together. Hike a new trail and explore the new environment. Take it to the next level with a nature scavenger hunt with a list of leaves, plants, bugs, or wildlife you may spot on the way.

9. Outdoor Obstacle Course

Build a backyard fitness challenge with simple objects like hula hoops, cones, ladders, chalk, or rope. No equipment is required for crab walks or bear crawls that may be a bigger challenge for the adults.  Time each other to see who completes the course the fastest.

10. Play Ball

Whether it’s soccer, baseball, football, or dodgeball, outdoor games involving a ball require extra skill. Make the game a friendly competition, make up your own family rules, or invite neighbors to join in to make this a fun Sunday afternoon or after dinner tradition.

The goal is to demonstrate that fitness is fun, challenging and invigorating. We all know forcing our kids to exercise would result in resistance, so help them develop their own real excitement about staying active. The younger they are the better!

When you educate your children from a young age about fitness and the advantages of staying in shape, these lessons will endure for their whole lives. We know this can be challenging when discomfort in your body or fatigue keep you from participating in many of these activities yourself.  What better gift to give your family than to get help to feel your best so you can stay active with them.

Speak with a Doctor of Physical Therapy about your health and fitness goals today for free by clicking HERE. Our Functional Nutrition Specialist and Integrative Health Coach may be a good resource for you as well.  You can find more about those services at www.amandainspires.com.

Rejuvenate a Stressed or Slow Metabolism

Lady doing yoga to reset hormones and metabolism.

Are you feeling sluggish, tired, and frustrated with a slow metabolism? You’re not alone. Many people complain to me about a checked out metabolism, especially during periods of high stress or life changes. But, just because it is common doesn’t mean it has to be your norm. I have a holistic approach to heal your stressed out metabolism, so you can reclaim your energy and vitality. 

What if you could wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and energized, ready to take on the day? Your metabolism is humming along, efficiently converting food into fuel for your body and brain. You feel a renewed sense of balance and well-being. Maybe this sounds too good to be true, but it doesn’t have to be. 

If you’re experiencing a stressed metabolism, it’s crucial to address the root causes. These most commonly include stress, inadequate nutrition, lack of sleep, and hormonal imbalances. Let’s tackle each of these head on and find ways to rejuvenate your metabolism.

1. Stress

Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your metabolism and often leads to weight gain, fatigue, and mood swings.  Stress can come from external sources, life circumstances, and even illness or injury within the body. Incorporating stress reducing techniques like deep breathing, stretching, meditation, and prayer can help calm your nervous system and support a healthy level of stress hormones.

2. Nutrition

What you eat plays a vital role in healing your metabolism.  Choose whole, nutrient dense foods that nourish the body and provide the building blocks for metabolism supporting hormones. You can identify through Nutrition Genetic Testing what type of foods your body uses most efficiently. All of us benefit from avoiding processed foods, added sugars, and artificial additives that can disrupt the metabolism.

3. Sleep

Adequate sleep is often overlooked but is crucial for a healthy metabolism.  Lack of sleep can disrupt hormone production, increase cravings (usually for less nutritious foods), and hinders the body’s ability to run efficiently.  Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to support your metabolism and overall well being.

4. Hormones

Especially during perimenopause for women, hormonal imbalance can significantly impact your metabolism.  Consult with a women’s health professional to address hormone issues and explore natural remedies to find balance (the 3 tips above can get you started). Men are affected as well, and naturally boosting testosterone levels is a simple solution (the product Vitality is my top recommendation).

Are you ready to take a step to reclaim your energy and revitalize your metabolism? By taking a holistic approach to healing your stressed metabolism, you can regain control of your energy and overall well-being. You deserve to feel your best! As an Integrative Health Coach, I help people transform their movement, meals, mindset, AND metabolism and get on a path to a healthier, happier life.

So, why wait? Start implementing some of these changes today and learn more about how a coach could support you on your journey HERE.  Don’t wait to embrace the transformative power of a rejuvenated metabolism. 

Interested in speaking to a holistic health expert this week? Schedule a Free Wellness Strategy call HERE to see what else you should add to your metabolic health tool kit.

The Journey of Long COVID Recovery

Long COVID, also known as post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), is a complex and debilitating condition that affects individuals long after their initial recovery from COVID-19. Understanding and addressing the challenges of long COVID recovery have become crucial as the world navigates through this unprecedented time. The challenges faced by individuals experiencing Long COVID range from cognitive issues (like forgetfulness and brain fog), dizziness, dysautonomia, dysregulation of heart rate (POTS) or blood pressure (orthostatic hypotension), shortness of breath, gastrointestinal disorders, physical or mental activity intolerance, low-grade fever, muscle weakness or joint pain. The good news is that there are therapy treatments available to help support those experiencing this syndrome.

Long COVID manifests as a range of persistent symptoms, including extreme fatigue, brain fog, shortness of breath, muscle and joint pain, and mood disorders. These symptoms can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life, making it difficult to perform daily activities and return to pre-COVID levels of functioning. Moreover, the unpredictable nature of symptoms and their fluctuating intensity can make it hard to plan and maintain a consistent recovery path.

Recovering from long COVID requires a multi-faceted approach that addresses both the physical and mental aspects of the condition. Seeking medical guidance from professionals who specialize in long COVID is crucial for proper diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment. Specialists can help develop personalized recovery plans that may include physical therapy, cognitive rehabilitation, and psychological support.

Professional support systems play a vital role in long COVID recovery. The World Health Organization states that a patient-specific rehabilitation program, combined with nutritional optimization and lifestyle counseling will lead to a more rapid improvement in functional performance and long-term outcomes. Some of the techniques our team provides include: 

  • Physical Therapy Evaluation to identify the systems involved, the impairments that need to be addressed, and to design a personalized plan to meet the client’s needs. 
  • 12-week personalized treatment protocol (insurance coverage may vary).
  • Patient education and resources will be provided on avoiding exacerbating symptoms, breathing techniques, improving vagus nerve function, and creating immune resilience. 
  • Training with our certified exercise physiologist to rebuild exercise tolerance and strength.
  •  Athletic training to return to sports performance or fitness hobbies. 
  •  Modalities to improve peripheral vascular and nervous system function such as compression therapy, H-wave, and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.  
  • Nutrition and supplementation consultation, lifestyle modification, and functional nutrition coaching.  

While the challenges of long COVID recovery can be overwhelming, there is hope for improvement and restoration of health. Staying informed about the latest advancements can offer optimism and inspire individuals to explore different avenues of recovery. Partnering with our team can help patients to navigate and manage symptoms.

The journey of long COVID recovery is undoubtedly challenging, but with the right support, and self-care, individuals can find their way to a brighter future. If you are living with Long COVID connect with our team through our socials or give us a call at 901.316.5456 to see how we can support you in your recovery.

Understanding and Enhancing Elbow Function

The elbow joint is a complex structure that allows for essential movements like bending, twisting, and grasping. However, when the elbow is injured or impaired, it can significantly impact our ability to perform simple tasks or engage in physical activities. That’s where physical therapy comes in. Learn the importance of the elbow, common elbow conditions, and how physical therapy can help restore strength, mobility, and function to this remarkable joint. 

I recently saw a car vanity plate that read “LBODOC” (as in elbow doc). The driver — probably an orthopedic doctor or arthritis specialist — was clearly a fan of the elbow, an unassuming joint and a surprisingly central player in many daily tasks. I could relate: throughout my medical career, the elbow has been my favorite joint.

Here’s why we should give praise to elbows and do all we can to protect them.

What if we didn’t have elbows?

Let’s face it: the human experience would be quite different without elbows.

Imagine your arm without a joint that bends at the elbow. You’d be unable to easily feed yourself, put on makeup, shave your face, or brush your teeth. It’d be tough to get dressed or throw a ball without elbows. And, importantly, wiping yourself after using the bathroom would be nearly impossible.

Yet, when it comes to joints and joint disease, we hear little about elbows; hips and knees get most of the attention. So, let’s consider for a moment what the lowly elbow does and why it deserves more credit.

How do your elbows work?

Three bones come together at the elbow joint: the humerus, which is in the upper arm, and two long bones called the ulna and radius in the lower arm.

Your elbow has two main motions:

  • Flexing and straightening. Flexing your arm allows you to bring your hand toward your body (flexion), which you do when bringing food to your mouth or putting your hands on your hips. Straightening your arm (extension) allows such motions as putting your arm in a shirt sleeve or reaching your toes.
  • Turning up and down. You can also flip your palms from facing the ceiling (supination) to facing the floor (pronation). These motions are important for many common movements, such as turning a key or a doorknob.

Bumping your elbow: Why is it called the funny bone?

Probably for two reasons:

  • The humerus in the upper arm sounds just like the word humorous, meaning funny.
  • Bumping your elbow often puts pressure on the ulnar nerve, since it’s located between the bones of the joint. Pressure on this nerve can cause a funny tingling sensation that runs down your arm.

Elbow trouble: Four well-known problems — and a surprising fifth

Like so many overlooked and underappreciated things, most people think little about their elbows until something goes wrong. Here are some of the most common elbow problems:

  • Arthritis. Several types of arthritis can affect the elbow, including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and gout. Interestingly, the most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis, doesn’t usually affect the elbow unless there’s been prior damage to the joint.
  • Bursitis. The bursa is a saclike structure that surrounds the tip of the elbow. Bursitis develops when it becomes swollen or inflamed, due to infection, gout, or bleeding.
  • Tendonitis. Tendon inflammation (tendonitis) may develop on the inside part of the elbow (called “golfer’s elbow”) or the outside (called “tennis elbow”). Despite these names, you don’t have to play any particular sport to develop elbow tendonitis.
  • Trauma. Everyday activities and athletic pursuits put the elbow at risk. A bike accident, falling off a skateboard, or just tripping on a curb and falling onto your arm can cause significant elbow injuries. These include ligament damage, broken bones, or bursitis.

And the surprising fifth problem? Cell phone-induced nerve irritation: holding your elbow bent for a long time can lead to “cell phone elbow” due to pressure on the ulnar nerve. This can cause numbness and pain down the arm. The solution? Put the phone down — or at least go hands-free.

How can you protect your elbows?

Considering all our elbows do for us, we need to do our best to protect them. That means:

  • Wear elbow protectors when engaging in activities likely to injure the elbows (like skateboarding or roller blading).
  • Learn proper technique for activities that can stress the elbow like racquet sports, baseball, weight training, or repetitive motions in carpentry and other types of work. For example, a trainer or coach can help you improve your tennis stroke to avoid overstressing the elbow joint and its tendons or ligaments.
  • Use appropriate equipment. For example, avoid using a tennis racquet that’s too heavy for you.
  • Train well. Strengthening forearm muscles and stretching can help avoid golfer’s elbow.

The bottom line

As the junction between hand and shoulder, our elbows play a pivotal role in everyday function. It’s high time we recognized them for what they do for us. Even if the elbow isn’t your favorite joint — as it is for me — perhaps it should be in your top five. After all, think of all the things you couldn’t do without them.

If you’re experiencing elbow pain, limited mobility, or any discomfort that hinders your daily activities, it’s time to take action. Our experienced physical therapy team specializes in helping you regain optimal function and live pain-free. Call us today at 901.316.5456 to schedule an evaluation. Follow us on Instagram at @peakpotentialpt for more tips and information on physical therapy.

Reference: [https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/give-praise-to-the-elbow-a-bending-twisting-marvel-202305242938]

8 Steps to Prevent Overuse Injuries this Summer

prevent overuse injuries

Summertime is prime time to get your fitness routine in gear – either formally at the gym, around the local track, or recreationally at the golf course. We love to see it each year because exercise is one of the best things you can do for your body and mind. However, with that can come complications. We want to help you prevent summer overuse injuries.

There are two main types of fitness injuries we see as physical therapists. Their are traumatic injuries like a dislocated shoulder or broken bone.  The other is an injury that comes from damage that builds up over time.  A stiff back or sore elbow could be an overuse injury that comes from working too frequently or too intensely a particular area.  You may not see any visible signs, but your muscles and surrounding tissues still need to recover.

Try these tips that will help you stay active and prevent an overuse injury from creeping up this summer.

1. Schedule Rest Time

Your body grows stronger when you give it adequate time to heal between workouts or strenuous activities. Summer is peak season for many sports, so people often overtrain.  An overuse injury is often a forced break when you aren’t choosing to schedule adequate recovery time. If your training schedule leaves little time for rest, discuss additional strategies with a sports performance expert.

2. Vary Your Activities

Repetitive movements put more stress on your body because you keep using the same parts in the same way.  Try alternating exercises or work the body in a different way. For example, work your legs with box jumps for explosive power alternating with squats for muscle growth other days. Or alternate long runs with short sprints or strength training days.

3. Use Nutrition to Support Recovery

If you are fueling your body with the nutrients it needs to repair muscle, build new bone, and decrease inflammation you aren’t as likely to experience an injury.  Most of us need more protein and omega 3’s, but I can’t give you a specific prescription because you are unique. That is why we use Fitness & Nutrition DNA Testing to dial in exactly what your body needs to optimize your health and recover like a pro!

4. Refresh Your Equipment

Is your gear still the right size for you? Do your running shoes have holes? Are your flat feet asking for orthotics in your golf shoes? Has the grip on your racket seen better days? Be sure your equipment is in good working order, not worn down too much, offers proper support, and is the right size for your body.

5. Drink More Water

The heat of the summer can easily lead to dehydration.  What does this have to do with injury? Hydrated tissues (like muscles, tendons, and ligaments) are less likely to be injured.  So drink enough water and electrolytes to keep your tissues supple.

6. Build Up Gradually

Avoid pushing for too much too soon, especially in group settings. Respect where your body is starting out (were you a couch potato all winter and just now getting back to the gym?) and know you have time to get where you want to be.  Adding about 10% a week to your weight, distance, or speed works best for the average adult.

7. Avoid Popping Pain Medication

Pain medication can keep you from being able to listen to your body.  It masks symptoms that are trying to tell you that damage is occurring.  Of course, take medication when appropriate but don’t use it in order to keep exercising and cause further damage.

8. Listen to Your Body

Fun summer sports like pickleball or a game of pick up basketball can distract us from listening to our body.  If muscle tightness and soreness, or joint aches and stiffness, creep up during or after play consider that a signal that your body needs help.  Get your movement assessed by a professional before an injury occurs.  You won’t miss a beat on the court!

Sports and fitness activities should not leave you in pain and unable to walk for days.  The good news is that most overuse injuries can be prevented if you know the signs and take action promptly.

Do you feel like you already have an injury creeping up? Let’s not wait until your sidelined in a boot or sling.  Take action now to stay strong and fit with proper recovery. Talk to one of our orthopedic experts today to get a personalized prevention or recovery plan for your overuse injuries.  REQUEST A CALL by clicking HERE!

5 Hip Mobility Exercises for Stronger, Pain-Free Hips

Are you tired of experiencing hip tightness and lower back pain? Do you struggle to perform simple tasks like bending down to pick up something from the floor or getting in and out of your car? With these everyday moves, you can increase your hip mobility and bid farewell to the discomfort. These moves are easy to incorporate into your daily routine and require no special equipment. It’s possible, and we’re here to help you achieve it. But what if you’ve been struggling with limited hip mobility for a while now, and these everyday moves aren’t enough? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. Our team of experts has 1001 tools that can help enhance your mobility and reduce pain. We understand that every person’s body is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. That’s why we have a variety of tools that cater to different needs, preferences, and levels of mobility. Check these out — and if it is not enough, come and see us!

Having tight hips is a common complaint, especially among adults who find themselves in a seated position for extended periods of time—a posture that can cause the hip flexor muscles to become short and stiff. Adults—women, in particular—also tend to hold a “tremendous amount of stress in [their] hips,” says Stefanie Corgel, certified strength and conditioning coach and group fitness instructor in Los Angeles.

That’s why it’s important not only to stretch your hips, but to do active hip exercises to improve strength, flexibility, and mobility. What’s the difference between a hip stretch and a hip exercise, and between hip flexibility versus mobility? A simple distinction: think passive versus active. “Hip flexibility is defined as length through range of motion while mobility points to more targeted strength and control of the muscle as it completes a movement pattern,” Corgel explains.

Best Hip Mobility Exercises and Stretches

Mobility is just as important as flexibility, especially as you age. All of the activities you love doing—walking, cycling, dancing, or playing with your kids and pets—require joint mobility as a foundation. “Over time, if joints lack mobility, your performance and ability to improve is greatly inhibited,” Corgel says. The less you move, use, and strengthen certain body parts, the less likely they are to work optimally. This can also cause you to experience more aches and pains from everyday activities (even from just sitting!).

To keep your hips (and their surrounding muscles) strong and mobile, Corgel shares five hip exercises you can do anytime. Spend five to 10 minutes working through these hip-specific mobility exercises daily, and you’ll start to notice improved range of motion and hopefully less hip and lower back pain (which often stems from tight hips!) pretty quickly.


Simple Hip Exercises to Try Anywhere


1. Frog Squat

Hip Exercises: Frog Squat Exercise

Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width. Turn your feet out at a diagonal and make sure your knees align vertically with your ankles. Keeping weight in your heels, bend your knees and slowly lower your butt to the floor—as low as you can comfortably go. Hold this low squat position for about 30 seconds, using your elbows to press your knees gently outward. Release to a standing position and shake your legs out. Repeat five times.


2. Tabletop Hip Circles

Hip Exercises: Tabletop Hip and Glute Circles

Start on the floor on your hands and knees, stacking shoulders over wrists and hips over knees. Keeping your pelvis level with the floor, engage your right glute and lift your right knee out to the side (think: dog at a fire hydrant). Draw a circle in the air with your right knee five times, keeping your right knee bent. It’s OK if you can’t lift your knee up very high—it’s better to do circles lower to the floor than to try to lift your leg higher and have your back and pelvis tilt to the side. Switch the direction of the circles and repeat five more times. Then switch legs and repeat. Do this one to two times per each side.


3. Kneeling Lunge to Half Split Rocks

Hip Exercises: Kneeling Lunge to Half Split

Start by kneeling with both knees on the floor. First move into a kneeling lunge: Step your right foot forward until your right thigh is parallel to the floor (about one or two feet in front). Let your left leg extend behind you, place the top of your left foot on the floor, and reach your arms straight overhead (without scrunching up your shoulders). Then move into a half split: Slowly shift your weight back, sending your butt toward your left heel, as your right toes come up off the floor and your right leg is now straight (right heel should still be planted on the floor). At the same time, bend forward over your right leg and touch your hands to either side of your right foot. Move back and forth with control between these two positions five times before repeating the sequence with the other leg in front.


4. Hip 90/90

Hip Exercises: Hip 90/90 Stretch

Sit on the floor with feet on the floor in front of you, knees bent, and legs open slightly wider than your hips. Place your hands on the floor on either side of your hips for support, or hold your arms out in front of you for more of a challenge. Slowly let your knees drop to one side, creating 90 degree angles at your hips and knees.

Making sort of a wind-shield-wiper motion with your knees, rotate them back up to center then slowly let them knees drop to the opposite side. Rotate back and forth with control for about 30 seconds, rest, and repeat one or two more times.


5. Standing Leg Swings

Hip Exercises: Standing Leg Swings

Stand with your feet together next to a wall or doorway that you can hold with your hand for balance. From this position, swing your inside leg forward and backward with control, making sure not to swing so far forward or backward that you can’t keep a relatively neutral/straight back (no need to hurt yourself or impress the Rockettes). Repeat five times forward and backward.

Then stand facing the wall and repeat five more times, swinging the same leg from side to side. Switch sides and repeat the same sequence with the opposite leg.

 If you’re dealing with limited hip mobility or discomfort, it may be time for a professional consultation at Peak Potential PT. We offer personalized care to address your specific needs. Schedule your appointment today at 901.316.5456 or find us on our Facebook page here.

Reference: [https://www.realsimple.com/health/fitness-exercise/workouts/hip-exercises]

Simple Steps Toward Lifelong Brain Health

Brain Health

Just as our physical body changes over time, it’s natural to see changes in our brain as well. Fortunately, it’s also true that we can maintain our cognitive fitness in similar ways that we maintain physical fitness.  At any age, lifestyle choices play a major role in how well we think, feel, learn, react, and remember. Each day, we can take simple steps toward lifelong brain health.

Failing brain health is a public health epidemic. Research shows that 3 out of 5 Americans will develop a brain disease in their lifetime. If we add emotional well being and mental focus to the brain health equation, I’d say we are close to 100% of individuals that will at some point have concern about how efficiently their brain is working.

Right now you may have no concerns and this is where the problem starts – we take our brain for granted.  Now is the time to start implementing strategies to keep it in tip top shape.

Already have concerns? Then these tips can help you as well.  The goal is to achieve your best brain at the stage of life you are in. The result, to have more success in relationships and business, overcome obstacles and be resilient to tough life circumstances, and continue to complete your daily activities independently for as long as the rest of your body will keep up.

Try these suggestions for taking care of your brain starting today.


1. Exercise Regularly

Physical activity delivers more oxygen to your brain and helps form new neural connections. Exercise boosts happy hormones as well as helps to relieve physical and emotional effects of stress. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week.

2. Eat Healthy Fats

About 60% of the brain is made of fat.  That means fatty acids from foods like fish, nuts, olives, and avocado are needed for optimal functioning.  Specifically omega 3 fats have been shown to decrease cognitive decline, improve focus, and reduce rates of depression.

3. Sleep Well

We all know the feeling of brain fog when we don’t sleep well, but did you know your memory and learning capacity actually grow stronger while you sleep. Go to bed and wake up on a regular schedule and talk with a healthcare provider if you are having trouble getting quality sleep.

4. Address Chronic Conditions

Many physical health issues like obesity, diabetes, autoimmune disease, and high blood pressure can impact your brain.  Schedule regular screenings for these health markers and seek solutions to move back in the right direction when those numbers creep up.

5. Stay Connected

Block out time to spend with family and friends. Social ties help to slow the rate of memory decline and enhance mental and emotional health outcomes. Add some laughter to the situation and the brain boosting effects become even more powerful.

6. Express Creativity

Making art raises serotonin levels, while music enhances brain function. Experiment with different hobbies to find something you enjoy. The good news is that you don’t have to have artistic talent, you will see benefits regardless of your skill level.

7. Relax and Reflect

Relaxation reduces inflammation in the brain and helps it work more efficiently.  Forms of reflection could include prayer, mediation, a walk in nature, deep breathing, yoga, or listening to music.  Find what works best for you and savor the present moment.

8. Change Your Self Talk

Don’t speak to yourself in a way that you wouldn’t speak to a close friend.  Make your inner dialogue compassionate and encouraging. Don’t forget to give yourself credit for the small steps you take toward a better you.

This list might appear overwhelming, but addressing just one area can begin to reduce your risk of cognitive decline. And the investment is definitely worth it – keeping your brain healthy will help you to lead a longer and more rewarding life.

If chronic pain, injuries, or illness are keeping you from being able to any of the above, we have experts to help you overcome these obstacles.  Let’s work together to make summer 2023 YOUR TIME to TAKE BACK the health of your mind & body.  Click HERE to learn more about how we can help, or go directly to our Schedule to Book a Virtual Strategy Session. 


Get Back on Your Feet with These Ankle Exercises

Ankle weakness can be a major barrier to staying active and enjoying your favorite activities. Fortunately, with the right exercises and guidance from a physical therapist, you can overcome ankle weakness and get back on your feet.

We also have a free guide you can download for anyone that suffers from foot and ankle pain on a daily basis, or for those whose foot and ankle pain appeared suddenly and who want a fast-acting method to relieve their pain.


Do you worry about twisting an ankle and taking a spill? Are you noticing problems with foot pain, balance and mobility as you age? These issues could be a sign that you have weak ankles.

Weak ankles tend to sprain more easily. And a sprain can put you out of commission for weeks. In fact, thousands of people sprain an ankle every year simply by stepping off curbs, stumbling in high heels or rolling an ankle while running or playing sports.

As you move throughout your day, the joints in your ankles and surrounding muscles absorb a lot of force. And that can take a toll.

The good news: You can work to strengthen your ankle muscles and adjoining ligaments. This will help ward off injuries and improve your stability and mobility.

We talked to exercise physiologist Christopher Travers, MS, about how we can all — regardless of our age or fitness levels — protect ourselves against ankle problems.

Why your ankles deserve attention

According to Travers, if you make alterations at your base (your feet and ankles) you’ll affect the rest of your joints.

One of the greatest worries about a weak base is the effect it has on your knees and how much internal rotation it puts into your hip. If you’re deficient at the bottom, the joints and muscles in your knees and hips can weaken as well. This can cause your gait to change, ultimately making it more difficult for you to walk.

That, Travers explains, is why it’s important to dedicate time in your fitness routine to stretching and strengthening your ankles.

How to stretch your ankles before exercising

Whether you do it or not, you’re probably aware that it’s important to stretch before exercising. But did you know that stretching your ankles should be part of your routine?

Especially if you’re going to do a high-impact activity like running, stretching your ankles is vital. According to Travers, “You want to make sure that you’re not going from sitting straight into exercise. You want to make sure your ankles have had plenty of movement, and that there’s been plenty of blood flow through the joint muscles surrounding it as well.”

Not sure how one goes about stretching their ankles? Check out the four quick and easy daily exercises below!

1. Draw the alphabet

This one is as simple as A-B-C.

Begin by lying on your back or standing. If you’re standing, use a sturdy chair for support as needed.

Lift one leg and draw the alphabet with your toes as you flex your foot. Then repeat with the other leg. Do the whole alphabet twice — once for each leg — once a day.

2. Standing calf raises

It’s time to get on your tiptoes!

Stand on the edge of a step (if you have one) or an exercise step platform, using a banister or other support structure to keep your balance. Keep your feet hip-width apart.

Lift yourself up as high as you can onto your toes and then slowly lower your heels. Repeat the motion 10 times in a row. Do this exercise once a day.

3. Supine dorsiflexion

“Supine” is a fancy way of saying “lying on your back.” Lie down and, using your ankle, arch your foot so that it’s pointing toward the ceiling. Hold this backward stretch — also known as dorsiflexion — for 30 seconds. Do this stretch twice for each ankle (a total of two minutes) once a day. Keep hanging out on the floor, because our next stretch also requires you to lie down.

4. Supine plantarflexion

While lying down on your back, point your foot forward like you would if somebody told you to point your toes. Hold the pose — also known as plantarflexion — for 30 seconds. Relax and repeat. Do this stretch twice for each ankle (a total of two minutes) once a day.

Exercises to improve ankle stability

Improving ankle stability is all about balance. Just standing on one leg and practicing balance can build the coordination needed to prevent ankle injuries from happening — or at least decrease their severity. Standing on one leg while brushing your teeth, doing dishes or watching TV, for example, may have a positive impact.

The four exercises below will help you be steady on your feet. If you’re concerned about falling while doing these exercises, place a sturdy chair next to you that you can use to catch yourself if you get wobbly.

1. Single leg stance (SLS)

This one is as simple as it sounds. Just stand on one leg, with your stance leg slightly bent. Maintain your balance for 20 seconds. Do this three times for each leg — a total of two minutes, altogether — once a day.

2. Forward SLS

This exercise is a slight modification of the SLS. Stand on one leg with your knee slightly bent on the stance side. Maintaining your balance, hold your other leg out in front of you. Hold that pose for 20 seconds, and then return to standing. Do this three times for each leg — a total of two minutes, altogether — once a day.

3. Forward reach SLS

This is the third iteration of the SLS. Once again, stand on one leg with your knee slightly bent. Next, reach forward with your opposite arm as far as you can without losing your balance. Hold the position for 20 seconds. Repeat three times for each leg for a total of two minutes a day.

4. Tandem walk

Tandem walking closely resembles tightrope walking, without the associated danger. Because you’re in motion for this activity, a chair isn’t going to help you maintain your balance. Instead, walk alongside a wall, touching it as needed to steady yourself.

Stand with one foot directly in front of the other so the toes of one foot touch the heel of the other. Every time you take a step, make sure the heel of your front foot is touching the toes of your back foot. If you’re able, try walking backward. Whether going forward and backward or simply turning around, cross the room or hallway you’re exercising in three times.

A step in the right direction — what to wear

The right footwear can also help prevent an ankle injury or sprain.

  • If you’re on your feet most of the day for work, consider wearing shoes with cushioned soles.
  • If you’re a runner, it’s a good idea to get your feet properly assessed and fitted at a running store.

Work with your doctor

While most people can do these exercises safely, we recommend talking to your doctor before beginning any exercise program — especially if you’re carrying extra weight. Having obesity (BMI >25) can lead to weak ankles. That’s because the more weight you’re carrying, the more stress you’re placing on your hips, knees and ankles.

Weak ankles could also be a sign of other medical issues that require a doctor’s attention. For instance, if you have balance issues, it might not be because you have weak ankles — it could be a signal of a neurological disorder.

So, get checked out first. Once your doctor gives you the go-ahead, take time for these exercises every day. Incorporating them into your routine can help you maintain good balance, stability and posture for the long term.

Ready to say goodbye to ankle weakness and recover from your injury? Contact Peak Potential PT today at 901.316.5456 to schedule an evaluation and start on a customized exercise plan. Need more fitness motivation? Follow us on Instagram for daily healthy living tips: @peakpotentialpt.

Reference: [https://health.clevelandclinic.org/ankle-exercises-weak-ankles/]


Natural Relief for Arthritis Pain

Natural Relief for Arthritis Pain

For the millions of adults who struggle with arthritis, new and natural relief for arthritis pain is always welcome news.  While traditional treatments such as pain medication and injections tend to be temporary and long term use result in unwanted side effects, natural treatments remain safe and effective for long term use.

We could provide you story after story of people who are traveling Europe with arthritis in their knees and toting grandbabies through Disney World with hip arthritis because they have cracked this code of arthritis pain relief – naturally.

To be clear, osteoarthritis is a condition of degeneration or breaking down of cartilage. This means that none of the treatments we are going to discuss will be a “cure” for arthritis.  However, most of the patients we talk to see surgery as a last resort and avoid the side effects of medication when at all possible.  They are also generally very happy when a natural solution decreases their discomfort and improves their quality of life.

Here are treatments that require no prescription, are non invasive, and have been shown in research to provide relief for arthritis pain.

1. Increase Anti inflammatory Foods

Choosing meals that include fish, nuts, seeds, olive oil, leafy greens, and berries will help the body decrease inflammation in the joints and surrounding tissues.

2. Decrease Inflammatory Foods in the Diet

In the same way that we increase anti inflammatory foods, we want to decrease foods that cause more inflammation (and thus pain) in the body. This includes highly processed foods – especially those with added sugar and hydrogenated oils.

3. Drink Herbal Teas

The polyphenols in tea can reduce symptoms of arthritis and are a simple addition to your routine.  Smart choices include ginger, chamomile, and green tea. We know these top 3 nutrition strategies can be “easier said than done” so we have a Functional Nutrition Specialist on our team to support you in implementing an anti inflammatory diet.

4. Maintain a Healthy Body Weight

Carrying around extra body fat adds extra stress to your joints.  For example, losing 10 pounds can take up to 30 pounds of pressure off of the knee joints.  If this is a concern for you, reach out to our Integrative Health Coach for guidance.

5. Exercise Regularly

When it hurts to move, we tend to move less. Unfortunately, that makes our muscles weaker and our joints weaker.  Frequent movement or any form of exercise is shown to improve function and mobility in patient’s with osteoarthritis. Low impact activities like walking, biking, weight lifting, or Pilates for example do not cause more damage.

6. Incorporate More Relaxation

Stress is inflammatory, so any way that we can increase relaxation and decrease the stress hormones our body produces will be beneficial.  Research shows relaxation techniques like deep breathing, mindfulness practices, or even laughing with friends improve current symptoms and outlook for patients with both arthritis and other chronic pain conditions.

7. Add in Anti Inflammatory Supplements

The most exciting research that has emerged recently is the use of natural supplements in significantly decreasing arthritis pain and improving mobility in patients.  The two that stand out among the rest are turmeric and fish oil. In fact, research shows that these supplements when taken regularly were as effective as the anti inflammatory medication that patient’s were taking without the negative side effects.

The take away . . .

The overarching theme of all these natural remedies is decreasing inflammation in the body.  We must dial down the inflammatory factors that are weighing on our joints – processed food, stress, extra body weight. In addition, well within our control is dialing up choices that flight inflammation – healthy fats, quality supplements, adequate sleep, and strong social connections.

If you have tried everything you know to do for your arthritis concerns – or you just want to prevent mild aches and stiffness from getting worse – contact us for a Free Discovery Visit with one of our Doctor’s of Physical Therapy.  They can review what has and has not worked for you and help you take the next best step in living your most active life free of pain.

We don’t want you to survive with arthritis, we want to see you THRIVE!