5 Easy Ways to Have a Healthier Fall

Family having fall picnic

Despite what these sunny Mid South afternoons may tell you, it won’t be long before the temperatures become a lot cooler and the days even shorter.  We may want to stay in bed when it’s still dark, move less when the evenings are chilly, or just curl up with comfort food. That won’t make for a healthier fall season.  But, I’m here to give you 5 ways to feel fabulous through fall and into the winter months – even if you usually feel like hibernating.

It feels like it was just summer with it’s bright mornings, active afternoons, and plentiful veggies – which is why the sudden transition into fall and the cooler months can be a challenge. With the winter coats comes the onslaught of stuffy noses, achy joints, and humidifiers.  Our bodies often feel less than their best as they adapt to a winter routine.

It doesn’t have to be that way. While we can’t completely avoid catching a cold or fighting fall allergies, we can give our body, mood, energy, and immune system a helping hand.  There is so much to do and see in our Collierville and greater Memphis community this time of year, let’s make sure we feel our healthiest to enjoy it.

So here are 5 tips to keep your body moving and feeling your best this fall:

1. Boost Your Immune System

You need to boost your immune system to help prevent those colds and sniffles that come home when the weather changes.  Healthy habits such as frequent hand washing, staying hydrated, and getting extra fruits and vegetables in your diet will keep your family free from germs.  Green tea and prebiotics (together in my favorite drinks HERE) are both great immune boosters if you need some extra help.

2. Get Ready for the Time Change

The switch from waking naturally with the sun, to darker mornings that feel like night, can be a struggle. By going to bed earlier the week before the clocks change, we can make the transition smoother. Put the phone away an hour before bedtime and relax with some warm decaf tea. Natural supplements like the Sleep Strips I use can also support deeper sleep to make throwing the covers off easier in the morning.

3. Buy In-Season Produce

An abundance of tasty fall vegetables makes it easy to reap the benefits of a high fiber diet.  Cabbage, carrots, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, pumpkin, kale, and squash are some of my favorites. With fiber and antioxidants, they support digestion, mood, detoxification and fat loss goals. Add them to the crockpot with broth for an easy stew, or roast then in the oven with your choice of protein for a quick dinner.

4. Walk Outside

The moderate temperatures of autumn are welcome after a sweltering summer.  Let’s enjoy them before we need a hat and gloves.  Who doesn’t love the crisp air and crunchy leaves under their feet in fall?  Get out during lunchtime for sunshine and Vitamin D to boost your mood (we often need this as the days grow shorter) and your concentration will be improved for the rest of your day.

5. Find Ways to be Active Indoors

A lot of us will ‘hibernate’ as it starts to get colder. Especially for those who enjoy trail running or outdoor boot camp classes, indoor  exercise can seem boring. But, no matter the season it’s important to get in some daily movement to lower your stress, tone your muscles, keep your bones strong, and burn some calories. The best way to do this is to prioritize it on your schedule each day. 

AND a Bonus # 6 . . .

Try a 30 day Functional Nutrition Liver Detox.  What does that mean? Follow a systematic program that allows your body to push out stored toxins and clean up from the instead out.  The results is more energy, balanced hormones, better sleep, fat loss, decreased inflammation, and you set the stage to end the year in your healthiest body ever.

Reach out to learn more about this 30 day program or more personalized health coaching on our Peak Wellness ‘Amanda Inspires’ website (and yes you can navigate a detox through the holiday and still enjoy your favorite foods).

We all know it will be even harder to eat well, sleep well, and exercise as we approach the holiday season.  So plan now to keep all those good habits you created during the warmer months to follow you into fall and winter.

You may be thinking . . .” easy for you to say go for a walk and keep active”.

I know that if you have knee, hip, or back pain it may feel even worse as it gets colder making staying active more of a challenge. Are you worried to walk and keep active afraid your pain will get worse?

Our Doctors of Physical Therapy are experts and getting people moving pain free – no matter your age, stage of life, or what an MRI told you.  Request a call from a pain & movement specialist HERE.

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!

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!

 

The Secret to Comfortable Healthy Joints Even When It’s Cold

Woman running in the winter.

Earlier this month, the groundhog saw his shadow. This means we have a few more weeks of winter weather coming our way. While you may enjoy more time by the fireplace, we know many of you are concerned about your aches and pains.  Let’s learn how to have comfortable, healthy joints even in the cold weather.

Some experts believe that decreasing barometric pressure increases inflammation in the joints. This is still up for debate, but many adults find that arthritis symptoms and discomfort from old injuries tend to progress through the winter months. The good news is that no matter the cause, you can feel comfortable in your body and enjoy your favorite activities year-round.

Say goodbye to sore hands and stiff knees with these simple lifestyle changes. They will soothe your joints even when the temperature drops.

1. Dress in Layers.

Break out the thermal underwear, gloves, and scarves to keep you joints and muscles warm. This prevents stiffness and layering allows you to make adjustments if it gets warmer later in the day.

2. Exercise Indoors.

Most healthy adults can safely exercise outside in cold weather if they are dressed appropriately. However, if your joints give you more trouble when you are outside, consider visiting an indoor track or heated pool. Our trainer provides winter workouts right inside our Collierville, Tennessee clinic.

3. Limit Comfort Foods.

Cold weather dishes are often loaded with sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats that increase inflammation.  Discover new favorites like soups, stews, and chilis made with lean proteins and lots of winter vegetables.

4. Stay Active.

Some of the joint trouble that occurs during winter is due to inactivity. The less we move, the stiffer we get, the less we want to move.  Stay as active as possible with at home fitness, seasonal gym memberships, a community yoga class, or work with a trainer for personalized exercise.

5. Massage Muscles.

Studies show that massage can provide significant relief for arthritis symptoms.  That could mean treating yourself to a session with a licensed massage therapist, purchasing a massage gun, or using a foam roller at home.

6. Support Bone Health.

Don’t forget the importance of bone health when you have achy joints and muscles.  Your skeleton is holding that all together! Load up on bone building nutrients and participate in resistance training exercise to keep them strong.

7. Eat Anti Inflammatory Foods.

Salads may look less appetizing this time of year, but there is a wide variety of anti inflammatory foods that are in season. Consider eating more salmon, broccoli, leeks, and mushrooms.  Drizzle roasted vegetables with olive oil and sip on a cup of green tea.

8. Manage Stress.

Daily tension and hormones released in the body when stressed can make physical discomfort more severe. Address this problem by making sleep a priority and finding relaxation practices that work for you.

9. Supplement for Joint Health.

This may include omega 3 fats, vitamin D, glucosamine, or a quality collagen supplement. Work with an expert to be sure you are supplementing to meet the needs of your individual body and not taking products that could interact negatively with medications or prior medical conditions.

10. Work with a Professional.

If pain is limiting your ability to enjoy this season, an orthopedic physical therapist has the expertise and tools to assess and treat your concerns. Even if you have seen a physical therapist or chiropractor in the past, it’s worth a second opinion at an Integrative Clinic. Your whole body will be taken into account and not just the achy joint.

In summary, by reducing inflammation and preventing winter weight gain you can prevent joint aches and pains during cold weather. If you need more help managing your arthritis symptoms, talk with one of our experts today.

At Peak Potential Physiotherapy & Wellness we help clients work on all of these areas of health – it’s called Lifestyle Medicine. If a practitioner in the past has only looked at your knee when considering your joint or arthritis pain, it’s time to revisit physiotherapy as an option for you. We currently offer in person Free Discovery Visits at our Collierville location (East Memphis sessions coming soon) and telehealth services are also an option.

If you are looking for an expert in the areas of personalized nutrition or supplementation, we are happy to offer our Integrative Health Coaching Services as well.  We can guide you to bone building foods, teach you how to make anti inflammatory choices, and help you evaluate the carbohydrate or healthy fat ratios to optimize your health.

If you are interested in a Free Discovery Session with a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Functional Nutrition Specialist, or Certified Exercise Physiologist call us today at 901-316-5456 or email admin@peakpotentialpt.com.

 

14 Ways to Be Kind to Your Body this Valentines Day

Woman Hugging Heart Balloon

When you think about your body, do you spend more time focusing on the negative or the positive?

It is easy to complain about the inches we would like to lose, or limitations that came with an injury, or how our body moves slower than it did a few years ago.

Or maybe you are focused on other areas of your life and don’t even notice your physical condition until you get the flu or throw your back out.

With so many responsibilities at home and work, it’s easy to overlook our body’s most basic needs. Despite the distractions, let’s not forget to be grateful for the amazing things our body does for us each day.

Valentines Day seems like the perfect time to show your body some love.

It’s important to take care of your body if you want to be able to rely on it – to be sure its keeps showing up for your for decades to come.

Continue reading

8 Hobbies to Support Your Physical Health & Wellbeing

Woman Gardening

Many of us in midlife find ourselves without a hobby outside of our career, relationships, and parenting. Who has time for scrapbooking or bowling?
The truth is, the right hobby can contribute to our physical health and fitness, mental stability, and general wellbeing. They can contribute to more energy, better sleep, optimized metabolism, more patience, decreased stress, and even decreased risk of depression or heart disease. With those kind of benefits, it may be worth our time to find a heathy hobby.
If you feel like your body or mind could use a boost, one of these hobbies might be the answer!

Continue reading

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.