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Comeback Players: Alea Ward



We love to post Comeback Players! Comeback Players are our student athletes (from school or other places) that have worked hard to graduate from physical therapy following an injury and return to their sport. We wish them all the best in their upcoming seasons!

This post is dedicated to…

Alea Ward from Georgia Elite Gymnastics (with Jim Mike Hinzman, PT, Cert. MDT)




Published on May 23, 2019 7:37 am
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A Physical Therapists Recommendation to Walk?



Most people know that physical therapists often recommend exercise as part of their treatment. What most people don’t realize is how simple that exercise can be. Instead of complicated workouts, heavy weight lifting, or running for miles, physical therapists often surprise people when they recommend walking.

While it seems like an easy exercise, walking still has powerful health benefits. Walking 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week has been shown to improve cardiovascular endurance, and reduce blood pressure and weight. Lots of people are using activity trackers and apps to track steps during their daily activities, and this too has been shown to have benefits. These include reducing disability and pain associated with conditions like knee osteoarthritis. While many people aim for 10,000 steps per day, research shows that as little as 6,000 steps a day can reduce pain and disability while boosting cardiovascular health.

If you’re thinking about starting a regular walking program or just increasing the amount of walking you do throughout the day, it’s important that you do it the right way. The general recommendation for building any physical activity is to take whatever amount of the activity you do in a week and increase it by 5% or less per week. A good general starting place would be 3,000 steps per day, and an example program following the 5% rule might look like this:  

Week 1: 3000 steps (1.5 miles)Week 8: 4500 steps (2.25 miles)
Week 2: 3150 stepsWeek 9: 4800 steps
Week 3: 3300 stepsWeek 10: 5000 steps (2.5 miles)
Week 4: 3500 steps (1.75 miles)Week 11: 5250 steps
Week 5: 3750 stepsWeek 12: 5500 steps (2.75 miles)
Week 6: 4000 steps (2 miles)Week 13: 5800 steps
Week 7: 4200 stepsWeek 14: 6000 steps (3 miles)

If you’re not sure if you’re ready to walk the recommended 6,000 steps a day, you can always visit a physical therapist for a review of your medical history and baseline testing to find out what a safe level for you to start at would be. A PT can also help you design a program to safely meet your goals.

One last thing to consider is footwear. Although walking is less stressful than running, it’s still important to take care of your feet. Shoes designed for running work well to cushion and support your feet when walking too. If you need help picking the right pair, a PT can help and so can the staff at a good specialty running store.


Published on April 23, 2019 9:58 am
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How Much Physical Activity Do Older Adults Need?



Most people know that physical activity is important. In fact, not getting enough has been linked to illnesses like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, high blood pressure and lung disease. So the important question is not if you need to be doing some form of physical activity to protect against diseases like these, but how much is enough?

The US Department of Health and Human Services answered that question for us in 2008 with their recommendations for physical activity. To improve or maintain health, adults over 65 need to do 2 types of physical activity: aerobic exercise and strengthening.

Aerobic Exercise

To meet the recommendations for aerobic exercise you should try to be active daily, and perform your aerobic activity for at least 10 minutes at a time. Each week you should aim for

  • 150 minutes of moderate intensity activityOR
  • 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity.

The general rule is that 1 minute of vigorous activity is equal to 2 minutes of moderate intensity activity, so a combination of moderate and vigorous activity can also be used to satisfy the recommended 150 minutes each week.

Some examples of moderate intensity aerobic activity would be:

  • Walking
  • Water aerobics
  • Riding a bike on a level surface
  • Doubles tennis

Vigorous intensity activities include:

  • Running or jogging
  • Riding a bike fast, or on hills
  • Singles tennis
  • Hiking uphill

Strengthening

Muscle strength is important for all daily movement, and in older adults it can help to maintain strong bones, as well as reduce the risk of falling. The recommendation for strengthening is to work each major muscle group twice a week.

Examples of strengthening activities include:

  • Carrying heavy loads
  • Lifting weights
  • Exercises using your own body weight like push ups, sit ups, or squats

For each exercise you should try to perform:

  • At least one set
  • 8 to 12 repetitions in each set

Your resistance should be heavy enough that the last repetition is hard to complete.

These guidelines are general recommendations and do not take into account previous injuries, medical conditions, or limitations that individuals may have. Your physical therapist is an expert in exercise and physical activity who can help design a program to maintain or improve your health while considering your past medical history, limitations, and goals. Your PT can teach you safe exercise technique, and help you safely progress your program as you get fitter to continue making improvements in your overall health.


Published on April 16, 2019 9:15 pm
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Life is a Movement Journey, Here’s How PT Can Help



Now that spring has arrived, temperatures are starting to rise in many parts of the country. And that means the transition from heating our homes to cooling our homes is right around the corner. No matter what method you use to cool your home during the warm spring and summer months (central air conditioning, window units, or fans and dehumidifiers), each spring you cross your fingers that your approach still works. If not, you might be calling an expert for a tune-up, or in extreme circumstances, you might need a complete overhaul.

Just like an AC system that has probably been dormant for many months of the year, a body that hasn’t been physically engaged on a regular basis may have trouble getting started again. And yet, this time of year, the warm temps draw many people to city and suburban streets, tracks and trails, ready to take that first run of the season. A good percentage of these spring runners haven’t kept up their strides throughout the winter. It should come as no surprise that a 4-mile run for a previously inactive person is going to stir up a few aches and pains.

Especially as we age, our ability to move undergoes changes. But whether we’re talking about a college student or a retiree, returning to an activity without proper planning is a recipe for disaster. That’s where physical therapy comes in. Physical therapists are trained to treat injuries and ease pain, but they can also help their patients prevent injuries and safely prepare to participate in new activities.

Think of physical therapists as “movement consultants” who can ensure that your body is physically ready to tackle a new challenge—or resume a favorite leisure activity. Here’s another example to illustrate what we’re talking about: Let’s say that you play in an adult soccer league and you’re preparing to play in your first game of the season in a few weeks. You probably hung up your cleats when the last season ended months ago, but expect to pick up just where you left off. But it’s simply too much to ask for your 2019 debut on the field to be on the same level as the last game of the previous season, when you likely had reached peak performance.

This is a good time for your PT to step in and help you shake off the rust. The rehab professional can customize an exercise plan to help you slowly return to sport and avoid an injury that could sideline you for the whole season. Or like cleaning the filters before firing up your air conditioner for the first time this year, the rehab expert can help to ensure that your body is prepared to return to its former activity level following a hiatus.


Published on April 8, 2019 5:02 am
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Exercise and Your Mood



Exercise has great benefits for your physical health – it can strengthen your muscles, improve your cardiovascular system, and reduce your risk of diseases like stroke and diabetes. But, did you know that exercise can have benefits for your mental health too?

Why exercise lifts your mood

Exercise causes your brain to release chemicals including endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals all work together to make you feel good. In addition to the chemical changes in your brain, exercising can lead to a feeling of accomplishment and relaxation of your muscles, also helping you feel good. 

Exercise and depression

Exercise on it’s own is not a cure for depression, but research has show it can be as effective as medication for mild to moderate depression. In fact, the most commonly prescribed antidepressants are SSRI drugs, which work by increasing the amount of serotonin in your system. As mentioned above, exercise also increases the amount of serotonin in your system, so the effect on depression shouldn’t be a surprise. 

Make time for yourself

Many people believe they are “too busy” for exercise. Being “too busy” for something really just means that you’re prioritizing something else above it. By placing exercise high on your priority list, you’re prioritizing yourself. This is a great way to help boost your mood and your confidence, because you’re taking a portion of your day for yourself.

Choose physical activity you enjoy

While any physical activity will help release endorphins and serotonin, choosing something you enjoy can help boost your mood even further. In addition, by using physical activity that’s fun for you, you’ll be more likely to be consistent. Consistently exercising is important for getting the most benefit out of it. 


Published on March 26, 2019 9:17 am
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