New Advances to Naturally Alleviate Arthritis Pain

senior couple walking on beach

As physical therapists, we have seen firsthand the impact that arthritis can have on peoples lives. The pain, stiffness, and limited mobility can be debilitating, making even the simplest tasks feel like monumental challenges. But here’s the empowering truth: you don’t have to let arthritis dictate your life. Research has discovered a link between osteoarthritis and metabolic disease, allowing us new advances to naturally alleviate arthritis pain. There’s never been a better time to take control of your arthritis.

Recent studies have revealed a strong association between metabolic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and dyslipidemia, and the development and progression of osteoarthritis. It explains a perplexing phenomenon we have seen many times in over 20 years in this field. Imaging, such as x-rays and MRIs, often are do not show a consistent correlation between joint damage and pain symptoms.

This means that someone with “bone on bone” may not have as much pain and someone with less damage.  In addition, someone very young may have significant damage present while an active older adult may have joints that look half their age.  So after all these years, we know that it’s not just wear and tear that causes arthritis.  This is good news – because by addressing these underlying metabolic factors, we can not only relieve arthritis pain but also improve mobility and quality of life.

So, how as physical therapists can we use this new information help you on this journey? Let’s explore some non-invasive techniques that can make a world of difference:

  1. Exercise Therapy

    By engaging in regular physical activity, you can strengthen the muscles surrounding your joints, improve flexibility, and reduce pain. In addition, you can significantly improve insulin sensitivity and in turn metabolic health from even short bouts of exercise. From low-impact activities like swimming and cycling to targeted exercises prescribed by your physical therapist, there’s an exercise regimen that’s right for you.

  2. Weight Management

    We have known for a long time that if you’re carrying excess weight, shedding those extra pounds can significantly alleviate the stress on your joints and reduce symptoms. We now know that an increase in body fat also increases inflammation that causes further joint damage. Our Functional Nutritionist can work with you to develop a personalized fat loss plan that includes dietary changes, exercise, and lifestyle modifications.

  3. Manual Therapy

    Hands-on techniques such as joint mobilization and soft tissue mobilization can help improve joint function, reduce pain, and increase range of motion. Your physical therapist will use their expertise to gently manipulate your joints and tissues, providing relief where you need it most. This is the most effective place to start when pain is limiting mobility and the ability to exercise.

  4. Nutrient-Rich Foods

    Choosing nutrient-dense foods can be a powerful ally in your battle against arthritis. Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods such as fatty fish, colorful fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds into your diet improves metabolic health and slows the progress of arthritis. Strategic supplementation with targeted nutrients can provide added support. Our functional nutritionist, can guide you in selecting supplements that align with your specific health goals.

  5. Gut Health Optimization

    Did you know that the health of your gut microbiome plays a crucial role in inflammation, metabolic disease, and joint health? By nourishing your gut with probiotic-rich foods, fiber, and fermented foods, you can cultivate a thriving microbial community that supports overall health and reduces arthritis symptoms. Got tummy trouble? That needs to be addressed in order optimize joint health as well.  

  6. Lifestyle Modifications

    Simple changes to your daily routine can make a big difference in managing arthritis symptoms. From ergonomic adjustments at work to incorporating mindfulness practices into your daily life, our healthcare providers can help you identify lifestyle modifications that support your arthritis management goals.

By embracing these non-invasive techniques, you can take proactive steps to relieve arthritis pain, improve mobility, and enhance your overall quality of life. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. Our team at Peak Potential are here to support you every step of the way, empowering you to reclaim control and thrive in spite of arthritis.

Are you ready to take the first step towards reclaiming control of your arthritis journey?

We can empower you to overcome arthritis pain, improve mobility, and embrace an active life of wellness. Inquire about availability and cost of physical therapy HERE (we accept most health insurance including Medicare).

Interested in improving metabolic health and get to the root cause of your gut, arthritis, or inflammation issues? Let’s work together to prioritize your health and transform your future. Schedule a free discovery call with our Functional Nutritionist and Health Coach HERE to embark on a personalized path to relief and vitality.

We are excited about these new advancements that will empower your journey to naturally alleviate arthritis pain!

Ending the Painful Cycle of Poor Posture

woman stretching at desk

Feeling the strain?

You’re not alone if you’ve ever caught yourself slouching at your desk or feeling stiff after a long day. Unhealthy postures aren’t just uncomfortable – they can lead to chronic pain and decreased mobility. Our latest blog post, “Ending the Painful Cycle of Poor Posture,” dives deep into how simple changes and professional guidance can make a world of difference. Ready to stand taller and feel better? Read on!

The concern about poor posture goes much deeper than vanity.  Of course, none of us want to walk around hunched over, feeling older than our true age, or shrinking in height as the years go by.  Poor posture can cause physical pain because it is taxing on the muscles and joints.  Over time, this causes deterioration in the spine resulting in headaches, neck, shoulder, and back pain.

Posture and pain end up being a viscous cycle.  Poor posture causes pain which causes worst posture and subsequently worse pain. But what if you could break free from this cycle? Together, we can end the painful cycle of poor posture.

Poor posture can be caused by a multitude of factors including:
  • increased stress
  • history of injury
  • increased body fat or low muscle mass
  • unsupportive or improper footwear
  • poor core function or coordination
  • muscle weakness or tightness
  • compensation for pain

An unhealthy posture caused by any of these factors affects more than just your look of poise and confidence. A health body position and alignment ensures the entire body functions properly. This not only includes your muscles, bones, and joints, but also your internal orangs – it is all connected after all.

Additional effects posture has on the body include:

  • balance and equilibrium
  • digestion and absorption of nutrients
  • breathing and the respiratory system
  • energy and self image
What actually is a healthy posture?

In sitting:

  • head straight
  • knees lower than hips
  • shoulders back and relaxed
  • feet flat on the floor

In standing:

  • shoulders back with chest perpendicular to the floor
  • chin parallel to the ground
  • keep a slight bend in your knees
  • keep feet about shoulder width apart

When either sitting or standing, be aware of and avoid unbalanced postures such as crossing legs while sitting, leaning to one side, hunching the shoulders forward, or tilting the head. In fact, the best way to maintain a relaxed yet supported posture is to change positions frequently.

Now that you’ve learned about the impact of poor posture and what healthy posture look like, what’s next? Taking action. Schedule an evaluation with a doctor of physical therapy to get personalized insights and solutions tailored to your body’s needs. Let’s work together to create a plan that not only relieves your pain but also strengthens your future. Make your health & future happiness a priority—book your assessment HERE today!

Inquire about cost and appointment availability from our website or call 901-316-5456 for our Collierville Clinic or 901-665-0550 for our Memphis clinic.

 

Pain Free Fitness: How to Exercise Without Getting So Sore

woman foam rolling for muscle soreness

You walk out of the gym with pride after completing a new or challenging workout, but find yourself barely able to walk the next day.  It is not uncommon to feel strong today and then struggle with pain and stiffness a day or two later.  However, it is possible to experience pain free fitness and we are here to teach you how to exercise without getting so sore.

First, let’s define what you are experiencing. These symptoms are called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). The cause if frequently debated but our best research shows the discomfort comes from microtears in the muscle resulting in inflammation.  This response by the body can cause decreased range of motion, muscle aches, joint stiffness, puffiness, and even pain (especially trying to go down stairs after leg day).

Knowing why this happens allows us to better prevent and treat the problem.  There are simple steps you can take before, during, and after your workout to achieve pain free fitness.

What to Do Before Your Workout
  • Drink Water. Staying hydrated before, during, and after your workout will decrease cramps and your risk for injury.
  • Eat Protein.  Amino acids from protein are the building blocks of muscle.  By consuming foods high in protein you are giving your body what it needs to rebuild.
  • Warm Up. Before your workout, perform some dynamic stretching to prevent those microtears from turning into greater damage.  Cold tissues are more vulnerable to injury.
What to Do During Your Workout
  • Correct Form. Consult with a personal trainer, work with a physical therapist, or watch trusted trainers online to be sure your form is accurate for each exercise.
  • Pace Yourself. Overexertion leads to the greatest discomfort.  The only way to improve your fitness is to challenge yourself, but be sure to add to your workout gradually.
  • Static Stretching. End your workout with slow static stretches that expand your range of motion while your muscles are warm. It’s ideal to add some deep breathing.
What to Do After Your Workout
  • Keep Moving. You might sit at a desk or be tempted to hit the couch the rest of the day, but this will just make DOMS symptoms worse.  Take short walk breaks and consider use of a Thera gun or foam roller to decrease muscle tension and improve circulation.
  • Replenish Electrolytes. Your body requires electrolytes, not just water, to keep tissues well hydrated and prevent cramping.  Be sure your formula doesn’t include artificial ingredients and sugar that will add to inflammation (here is our favorite Rehydrate).
  • Sleep Well.  Stick to a consistent bedtime routine and aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night.  This is the time your body does it’s best repair work and sleep deprivation can actually make your muscles weaker.
What the Pros Do
  • Contrast Showers. The pros will alternate between an ice bath and sauna, but similarly you can do contract showers alternating between moderately hot and cold water.
  • Supplement Wisely.  There are resources your body needs to heal and recover optimally and with less discomfort. This may include antioxidant support, omega 3 fish oil to decrease inflammation, or my favorite creatine monohydrate for muscle rebuilding and resilience.
  • Increase Oxygen. Every cell of your body needs oxygen to heal.  By delivering more to the area you can speed up the healing process and decrease pain.  Professional athletes often utilize Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to reach peak performance (learn more about HBOT).
Try a few of these strategies and let us know how they work for you.

As always, it is important to distinguish between muscle soreness and injury that may require medical attention.  If pain is sudden or severe while exercising, or if your symptoms last more than 3 days give your Doctor of Physical Therapy a call to have the problem evaluated (it’s easy to request a phone consult).

We are here to help you build muscle and stay fit without experiencing muscle pain. Listen to your body, respect it’s limits when necessary, and never hesitate to ask for help in order to lead an long and active life.

If you need a more personalized approach to recovery, or don’t know where to start on your fitness journey, Fitness & Nutrition Genetic Testing with our Integrative Health Coach is the ideal roadmap.

8 Expert Tips for Exercise Post COVID

expert tips for exercising post COVID

There is still so much that we don’t know about the impact of the coronavirus. One thing is certain, from the research and our first hand experience, millions of adults have had to change the way they exercise post COVID.

If you currently have COVID-19, the general recommendation is to wait two weeks before exercising.  This period of rest will allow your body to fight the infection and reduce your risk of complications such as myocarditis (inflammation in the heart).

What do you do after two weeks have passed? I hate to say it, but it depends.  Many people can resume their usual activities with no problem.  Others require more time and additional precautions.  And we see many people still struggling months later.

Lingering symptoms, including coughing, fatigue, an irregular heart rate, shortness of breath, aches, or pains can indicate long COVID (or long haulers) syndrome. If this is you, it’s time to discuss with your healthcare provider what the most safe and effective strategy is for you.  As doctors of physical therapy, we are qualified to make these recommendations and guide you on this journey.

In general, the best place to start is with walking.  It’s low impact and you are completely in control in how hard you push or how often you rest.  It will begin to strengthen your muscles, including your heart. However, just a walk around the block can be a struggle for many so let’s get more specific about the safest way to get back to moving.

Tips to resume exercise post COVID:
  1. Access Your Risk. The effects of COVID-19 vary widely, but are likely at low risk of exercise complications if you’re under 50 with no chronic conditions and had a mild case. Otherwise, check in with your healthcare provider to access if further testing is necessary.
  2. Start out small. Once you’re able to resume your daily activities, start with a walk on a flat surface. Give yourself a break and allow your body to rest if you feel fatigued or short of breath.  If you have difficulty making progress from this point, a post COVID rehab program is the next best step.
  3. Check your posture. Working on postural strength and efficient movement allows you to maximize energy and protect yourself from injuries. During walking or exercise, keep your head up and firm through your core muscles. Keep yourself in a position that allows you to breathe easily.
  4. Practice Breathing. Use your lungs and reduce stress with pursed lip and diaphragmatic breathing exercises. This increases oxygen transport to your muscles for increased endurance and decreased soreness. Consider hyperbaric oxygen therapy if fatigue or endurance is problematic for you.
  5. Spend time outdoors. Time outside allows you to get moving, increase vitamin D, and enhances mental health. Do not underestimate the power of mental health in the process of recovery and performance. Pick a scenic route where you can enjoy fresh air, and green spaces.
  6. Pace Yourself. Allow yourself to ease back into physical activity. Divide your workout into brief sessions of just 10 minutes. Try riding a bike or a rowing machine if weight bearing activities cause too much fatigue.  Yoga and Pilates can be ideal movement practices if endurance is low.
  7. Set goals. Increase your speed or distance a little each week working toward a larger goal. When you’re ready, climb up hills, or pump your arms more. If you hit a plateau in your progress and are unable to return to your prior level of fitness it’s time to get some expert guidance.
  8. Seek out support. Listen to your body, so you can avoid pushing yourself too hard. Most people will be able to slowly progress back into their fitness routine, but some will find long COVID symptoms continue to limit them for months or even years.

When it comes to exercise post COVID, and goals to regain your fitness, it is not a matter of working harder but working smarter.  Nutritional strategies, breathing techniques, postural training, supplementation, compression therapy, and oxygen treatments can set you up for success.  That may sound like a lot of effort, but the results will be worth it.

We have a team of experts here to support you when you feel stuck.  Even when the doctor doesn’t have a clear answer to why you still don’t feel well so long after recovery from your initial COVID illness, you can maximize your changes of a full recovery. A well researched and personalized rehab plan will protect your long term health and the lifestyle you love.

Visit the Long COVID Rehab page on our website or schedule a phone consult for more information.

If you have had a setback from an illness or injury, consider Integrative Health Coaching as your next best step.  Learn more HERE.

8 Rules for Exercising with Back Pain

Woman getting help with back pain

There was a time – not so long ago – that doctors recommended bed rest for patients with low back pain. We now know that may be the worst thing you can do for your back in the long run. If you follow current research you know it’s important to continue exercising with back pain.

Numerous studies have found that activities such as yoga, walking, or strength training can reduce back pain and disability dramatically. On the other hand, if it hurts to move, you could be afraid to even bend over to lace up your gym shoes.

Clients often tell us they feel trapped. They know that becoming stronger and more flexible will eventually provide relief, but it’s difficult to begin the healing process. Additionally, there is fear that they will cause further injury or another flare up when exercising with back pain.

The good news – you can learn how to shape up without aggravating your aching back. Yes, this is even true if you an MRI has shown a “bulging disc” or a doctor has diagnosed you with “degenerative disc disease”. You may be surprised at all the safe activities you can choose from and the modifications you can make to achieve your goals without pain.

As experts on back mobility and injury recovery we have 8 rules you need to following when exercising with back pain.

  1. Strengthen Your Core

    When you’re ready to work out, it’s essential to firm up your abdominals and other muscles in your torso that support your low back and stabilize your entire body. You’ll enhance your posture and lessen the strain on your back muscles and spine.

  2. Target Your Back

    When you are at a point that your back is less severe, you can begin exercises that will strengthen your back. Training for flexibility and strength will speed up your recovery and prevent a back injury from reoccurring.

  3. Stretch Your Hips

    Tightness in your hips often contributes to low back pain and can be a sign of pinched nerves. To open up that area and relieve the pressure, try gentle low lunges or rock back and forth while sitting on a foam roller. You can do this as part of your warm up routine.

  4. Improve Circulation

    Blocked arteries or poor blood flow can cause discomfort in your lower back. To improve circulation to your healing back muscles, add cardiovascular training to your strengthening routine. A short brisk walk or 20 minutes on the elliptical machine will increase blood flow to prime your body for the strengthening exercises that will follow.

  5. Go Low Impact

    Perhaps your exercise routine has always been a high impact aerobics class or running on the treadmill. In this case, you may want to consider going low impact for awhile to allow your body to fully heal before returning to these activities. Low impact exercise includes walking, Pilates, strength training, and cycling. You don’t have to pound the pavement to see results from exercise.

  6. Stay Hydrated

    A dehydrated body is much more prone to injury. Fluids help cushion our joints and allow our muscles to move with ease. Stay hydrated, not only during a workout but through the day to prevent pain.

  7. Talk with Your Physical Therapist

    Back pain comes in many different forms, from a pulled muscle to a sprained ligament to sciatica. A physical therapist that specializes in low back pain can help you identify the root cause of your back pain and advise you on whether you on the right amount of rest and the appropriate exercise.

  8. Change Your Mindset

Changing your mindset makes any recovery process easier, especially if you’ve been sedentary up until now. We can’t think of exercise as an all or nothing thing. Distinguish between moderate exertion and overdoing it. It’s best to get moving (your body isn’t a fragile as it might feel) as long as you feel no acute strain.

If you feel stuck in the rut of back pain, please know that you can lead an active life without increasing your back pain. How can we be so sure exercising with back pain is a good idea? We see it EVERY SINGLE DAY in our clinic.

In fact, strong muscles and good posture will lessen your symptoms and reduce future flare-ups. With regular exercise, you’ll be able to manage your condition and resume doing the things you love.

The good news is that you don’t have to go it alone. A back pain specialist can help you naturally reduce your pain to allow you to move more. We then help you stretch and strengthen the right muscles to keep you going strong for years to come.

The first step to working out without back pain is reaching out to one of our back experts. We can help you decide if you are ready to jump in on your own or if you would benefit from some expert guidance to reach your goals without further injury. Click HERE to schedule a Free Call with a Doctor of Physical Therapy.

Expert Tips to Recover From Over Exercising

woman lifting weights

I know you may be zealous to start this year with a new or upgraded fitness routine.  First, let me give you a virtual high five. I’ll also share some expert tips to recover from over exercising, because it’s likely to happen if you continue toward your goals.

Over two decades ago when I started my career in health and fitness I would have told you exercise is always good for you. Then I saw the other side.  I saw the injury, the overuse, the burn out when clients took a good thing too far. Pushing yourself beyond your limits can cause fatigue and injuries and even suppress your immune system.

The good news is, you can continue to exercise, stay fit, and reach new goals for your body at any age or stage of life.  However, it requires being intentional about two things – techniques  to prevent overtraining and strategies to help you recover.  If you are feeling sore during or after your workouts, the steps I outline below are critical to staying in the fitness game long term and reaching goals you may have never thought possible.

First, we must prevent overtraining.
  1. Maintain Consistency. Gradual conditioning is the best way to prevent injury.  Consistency allows your body to be prepared for the activity you are performing and helps you avoid weekend warrior syndrome.  

  2. Vary Your Routine. Varying the activities you perform also allows your body to adapt to new stressors and let other parts of your body have a little rest. It’s the best way to maintain consistency with exercised while not over training. 

  3. Stretch Daily. Take time for dynamic stretches before a workout to warm up your body.  Static stretches are best at the end of a workout to regain muscle length, increase range of motion, and support recovery. 

  4. Clarify Your Priorities. Make exercise a priority in you agenda each week, but don’t let it take over.  Maintain balance with spiritual, relational, and mental health supporting activities for overall wellbeing.  Do not sacrifice health in any one area for another. 
Then we must optimize our bodies ability to recover.
  1. Allow your body to rest. There are lots of tricks that provide temporary relief for sore muscles, but rest is the best medicine of all. Your body uses the time in between workouts to heal and become stronger. Deep sleep is the time your body makes the most progress toward recovery.
  2. Learn about delayed onset muscle soreness. Feeling sore for a day or two is normal as your muscles adapt. Our genetics play a role in how long it takes for our body to make these adaptations. By knowing how much time and what resources your body needs to fight soreness, you can make the most of your exercise efforts. Learn more about Fitness DNA testing HERE.

  3. Stay hydrated. Water and electrolytes speed up the recovery process. The fluids flush waste products out of your muscles and make it easier for your blood to circulate. Sodium, potassium, and magnesium supply your body with the resources it needs make repairs.

  4. Get a massage. Massaging sore muscles provides quick relief and may even make them stronger. Some studies show that massage reduces inflammation and helps cells take up more oxygen. This may be in the form of massage therapy, foam rolling, or use of a Thera gun device.

An active lifestyle keeps you looking and feeling better. Most experts agree that just 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least 3 days a week is the best place to start. If you have any questions about how much exercise is safe for you, request a call from a Doctor of Physical Therapy to discuss developing a safe regimen that will keep you fit and free from injury.

REQUEST A CALL

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

 

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.

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.