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A Great Way to Keep Your Child Healthy

Did you know that kids will most of the time imitate their parents when it comes to activity level? If you’re an active person who goes for walks, bike rides, spends time outdoors and plays with them regularly, your kids are going to learn that’s what life is all about – moving around and enjoying the world.”

And in a country where more than one in six kids between the ages of 2 and 19 are obese, and just one in three are physically active each day, making movement and exercise a daily part of life is a critical habit to help kids form at a young age. Why?

Active kids are more likely to become healthy adults. Being healthy and active as a youth can lead to a reduced risk of developing a number of serious health conditions later in life – obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even cancer.

Strong evidence also exists tying activity with greater academic and social achievement in children. It also helps ward off anxiety and depression at a young age.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all children and adolescents ages 6 to 17 should participate in one hour of physical activity each day … at a minimum.

That may seem like a lot to squeeze into an already full day of school, work and other commitments, but this is really a modest goal especially since the average American kid might spend up to 7 hours a day in front of a screen. So, they definitely have time for play and exercise.

So, what are eways you can help?

Play with Your Kids: Be a leader when it comes to activities with your kids by, first and foremost, making it fun! Starting at a young age, take them outdoors for a game of tag, building forts, playing catch, or to raking up a ile of leaves for jumping. Keep in mind that if you have fun being active, they’ll no doubt imitate the positive vibes.

Go On Adventures: Simple walks and bike rides are fun, but turning them into adventures can give the activities some staying power. Turn the walk into a scavenger hunt, go geocaching instead of just hiking or cycling, or turn a swim in the lake into a rock-collecting and/or skipping competition.

Provide Options & Choice: From toys and games to different parks, facilities and even clubs/leagues, when you give children variety, they’ll be more eager to actively participate in their activities of choice.

Be the Support System: As a parent, be active in helping your child sort through options, connect with others with similar interests (i.e., friends and teammates), and offering the support they need to participate and be successful. Having mom and/or dad on the journey can go far in motivating a kid to stick with and enjoy new activities.

Dr. Jones is a physical therapist, speaker, author and co-owner of Kinetic Physical Therapy & Wellness and Kinetic Pediatric Therapy who specializes and holds several credentials in orthopedics and manual therapy. He is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association, National Strength and Conditioning Association, and the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Therapists.

6 Dos and Don’ts for Fitness Apps in The New Year

Did you know that more than 325,000 health apps were available to consumers in 2017 (Research2Guidance). Wow! These include popular apps like Strava, Lose It!, Couch to 5K, FitStar Personal Trainer, etc. – apps available to help people achieve goals related to weight loss, healthy eating, and improved fitness. As more people continue to turn to health apps on their smartphones to help achieve goals related to exercise and weight loss, it’s important to use such tools with an element of wisdom.

The emergence of health and fitness apps is definitely a positive development in the health care world because they can be successful in engaging people and empowering them to take on a greater personal role in their health care journeys.  That said, even the best fitness apps can’t address everything that’s important when it comes to safely and effectively achieving personal goals.

The missing ingredient…

Fitness apps don’t know you – your medical history, your current strengths and weaknesses … how to get you to your goals in a way that’s safe and which takes into consideration the limits and abilities of your body and current fitness levels.  Many of these apps are great for helping people track their fitness goals, holding them accountable through reminders and tips, and often providing an online support system as well. But the app’s user is the key to the entire equation.”

With this in mind, here are a few things to keep in mind for effectively using health apps:

DO use apps to track your goals. Whether it’s tracking distance, calories consumed/burned, workout times, etc., this is one of the most effective uses of health apps. And tracking progress only helps in the achievement of goals.

DON’T use apps to set your goals. Running a 5K, for instance, may seem like a great goal. But based on current fitness levels, injury history, movement limitations, etc., perhaps it’d be better and safer to start more slowly (perhaps first running a mile) or trying a different exercise (i.e., cycling, hiking or swimming).

DO use apps for motivation. Being we’re attached to our smartphones throughout the day, apps serve as great motivational tools when trying to stick to a workout regimen. Apps can even connect the user with others for added encouragement.

DON’T let apps push you too far. Listen to your body over your app. If something’s not feeling right, it’s OK to skip today’s Couch to 5K workout. Through pain or discomfort, your body may be telling you to rest, or perhaps get checked out by a physical therapist or physician.

DO use apps to help you explore new activities. Apps can certainly make you feel empowered, serving as motivation to try new things – new yoga poses, new core exercises, new activities like running or cycling, etc. But…

DON’T forget to seek professional medical advice before starting something really new. As with any new physical activity, it’s important to get assessed by a medical professional, such as a physical therapist, to ensure your body’s equipped to handle the rigors of said activity.  Be safe and injury-free when pursuing your goals.

Dr. Jones is a physical therapist, speaker, author and co-owner of Kinetic Physical Therapy & Wellness and Kinetic Pediatric Therapy who specializes and holds several credentials in orthopedics and manual therapy. He is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association, National Strength and Conditioning Association, and the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Therapists.

The Annual Checkup That You Are Missing

We all know that visiting your physician for an annual physical is critical in maintaining long-term health, just as dental exams twice each year helps ensure oral health throughout a lifetime. But what about annual checkups with a physical therapist?

Annual physical therapy checkups provide the third critical (and often overlooked) piece in long-term health and preventative care.

The primary focus of a physical therapist is the musculoskeletal system – the bones, joints, muscles and connective tissues that make it possible for you to not just move, but experience life independently and on your terms. As a physical therapist, our job is to ensure this system is in optimal shape so few limitations stand in the way of a person’s quality of life.

This includes identifying weaknesses, limitations, defects and other factors affecting one’s musculoskeletal system – issues that could lead to discomfort, pain or injury. Based on the results of a physical therapy “check-up” examination, a physical therapist is able to provide clients with individualized treatments and/or programs meant to help prevent future, movement-limiting issues.

This indeed helps keep people moving and helps ensure a high quality of life for those who wish to stay active. However, staying ahead of possible musculoskeletal issues is related to much broader issues related to overall health. Movement is medicine, and being able to stay physically active – staying away from pain, injury and other barriers that can keep people from moving – plays a huge role in disease prevention, the management of chronic conditions and, overall, taking greater control of your health.

During a preventative check-up, a physical therapist will evaluate such things as:

  • Movement/injury history
  • Balance
  • Aerobic capacity
  • Functional strength
  • Flexibility
  • Quality of movement (for any activities you do regularly)
  • Pain

In addition, a physical therapist will work with each person to address any personal limitations, weaknesses, pain or other impairments that may be holding them back from reaching their lifestyle and movement goals.

We recommend that, just as with their personal physicians, people should see a physical therapist for a check-up once each year.

Other times to consider a physical therapy checkup are:

  • Whenever you experience pain, discomfort or strain when doing an activity you enjoy
  • Whenever you are considering a new fitness or training program, or starting a new sport
  • After you’ve completed post-surgery rehab, and you are trying to resume normal or a new activity
  • After any surgery or condition that has led to bed rest.

Although physical therapists can help you recover from an injury, to get the best benefit, consider a checkup before one occurs.

Dr. Jones is a physical therapist, speaker, author and co-owner of Kinetic Physical Therapy & Wellness and Kinetic Pediatric Therapy who specializes and holds several credentials in orthopedics and manual therapy. He is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association, National Strength and Conditioning Association, and the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Therapists.

4 Tips to Combat The Effects of Sitting All Day

It’s been said that too much of anything can be bad for you. This theory holds true with sitting – or, pretty much any prolonged sedentary behavior, for that matter.

In an age when more people find themselves sitting for hours at a time at home, in transit and at work, researchers are finding sobering parallels between inactivity and an increased risk of health complications and chronic diseases. Yet studies have shown that the average American spends more than half of his or her waking hours in a sitting position, mostly while at work.

“We’re at an incredible time in our country when a growing number of people are beginning to accept the fact the movement is medicine, and yet they still find themselves sitting throughout most of the day.  Without making concerted efforts to overcome all this sitting, this can unfortunately lead to issues like obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

One Mayo Clinic cardiologist, Martha Grogan, M.D., has even compared the effects of excessive sitting with that of smoking. So how does one combat such inactivity, especially if work or career requires a lot of time in a chair?

It’s all about moving, engaging your muscles and waking up your body, even if it’s just a little at a time. This helps to keep your body alert, burning calories and increasing your energy levels.

To accomplish this within a work environment try some of these strategies

  1. Sweat Your Commute: Instead of driving or taking the bus/train to work, get up early and walk. Or, ride your bike. If you have to drive, park at the far end of the lot, then take the stairs whenever possible.

 

  1. Take a Stand: Take advantage of any opportunity you have to stand. If you can’t get your boss to buy you an adjustable-height desk, then stand when you’re on the phone or eating your lunch. And, trade internal instant messaging for a quick walk to a coworker’s desk.

 

  1. Break for Fitness: When you take breaks, don’t just sit in the lounge with a coffee, snack and your smartphone. Take a quick walk around the building or block, or do some stretching.

 

  1. Have a (Fitness) Ball: Trade your chair for a fitness/stability ball. Sitting on one of these all day will improve your balance and remind you to activate your core muscles while you accomplish your daily tasks.

Sitting throughout the day can cause weaknesses in your muscles and joints which can lead to poor posture and unhealthy imbalances in your body. Over time, this can cause discomfort, pain, injury or other complications. If this is a concern a Physical Therapist can assess a person’s individual situation, identify weaknesses and imbalances in the body, and put her or him on track toward preventing future complications.

Dr. Jones is a physical therapist, speaker, author and co-owner of Kinetic Physical Therapy & Wellness and Kinetic Pediatric Therapy who specializes and holds several credentials in orthopedics and manual therapy. He is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association, National Strength and Conditioning Association, and the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Therapists.

How to Recover Quicker from Concussions

With high school sports starting up soon, and NFL training camp in full swing, concussions are certain to ramp up within the mainstream consciousness. And while talk will often point to conventional wisdom which states that “time and rest” are the best and only options for recovery from concussion, studies now suggest managed exercise and movement can hasten recovery.
It wasn’t that long ago when concussion sufferers were told not to move – to rest, with no exercise, until symptoms improved. Today, while rest remains important, it’s become increasingly important to get moving with a careful, managed exercise program as this can benefit recovery.
In 2010, researchers at the University of Buffalo were the first to show that that specialized exercise regimens can relieve prolonged concussion symptoms.
The study focused on both athletes and non-athletes and was published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine. Researchers based their findings on the hypothesis that the regulatory system responsible for maintaining cerebral blood flow, which may be dysfunctional in people with a concussion, can be restored to normal by controlled, graded, symptom-free exercise.
Nearly 3.8 million people suffer from concussions each year in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many the result of athletic injuries and motor vehicle accidents. From 5 to 10 percent of these people may experience concussion symptoms that last beyond six weeks.
As health care professionals, physical therapists are in an ideal position to provide one-on-one care for concussion sufferers, from evaluation through treatment. Concussions are serious medical conditions that can hold you back for days … even weeks. A physical therapist can guide a patient through the healing process, making recovery more proactive and possibly even quicker.
Individualized care is key. In fact, according to the American Association of Physical Therapy (APTA), a physical therapist will first provide concussed patients with thorough neurological, orthopedic and cardiovascular evaluations prior to developing an individualized treatment plan that addresses an individual’s needs and goals.
Then, following some rest and recovery, a physical therapist can determine when it’s best to begin treating the problems related to the concussion (e.g., dizziness, balance and headaches) while also starting a light, guided exercise program for the restoration of strength and endurance, putting the patient on track toward full recovery.
A physical therapist will be with you every step of the way as you gradually return to normal life and activities, whether they include work, hobbies or competitive sports. This is a guided process that’s different for each person who has suffered a concussion, one that requires a medical professional such as a PT to manage and monitor increases in activity levels for the long-term safety of the patient.

Dr. Jones is a physical therapist, speaker, author and co-owner of Kinetic Physical Therapy & Wellness and Kinetic Pediatric Therapy who specializes and holds several credentials in orthopedics and manual therapy. He is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association, National Strength and Conditioning Association, and the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Therapists.

Tennis Elbow Without Playing Tennis?

While tennis elbow and its sister ailment, golfer’s elbow, sound like the unfortunate results of overly active country club memberships, these repetitive use conditions affect more than just those who regularly hit the links or swing a racquet. In fact, tennis plays a factor in fewer than 5 percent of all tennis elbow diagnoses.

But despite the causes of these common soft-tissue injuries to the forearm and elbow, both conditions and the debilitating pain that come with them can be effectively treated and prevented.

The name ‘tennis elbow’ can definitely be a misleading one as it can affect anyone who frequently grips and twists their arms while swinging, carrying, or using a tool. This includes carpenters swinging hammers and turning screwdrivers, and landscapers or gardeners picking up rock, brick or pavers. It can even affect people who spend their days using a computer.

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is an overuse condition in the forearm muscles that leads to pain in the outside of the elbow. A condition that affects 1 to 3 percent of the population, tennis elbow is similar to golfer’s elbow (called medial epicondylitis by clinicians), which in contrast results in pain on the inside of the elbow.

The pain can happen at once or develop over time, and it can get worse when you grip, turn or twist things with your hand – say turning a door knob or opening a jar. While they’re not considered serious conditions, both tennis and golfer’s elbow can lead to long-term pain and possible tissue degeneration without proper rest and treatment.

The first key in treating the pain and inflammation that comes with tennis and golfer’s elbow starts with rest, ice and compression. Once the inflammation begins to subside, treatments can include exercises designed to restore flexibility and mobility while strengthening areas around the joint – all with an eye toward future injury prevention.

Such exercises – all performed in a seated position with the forearm parallel to the floor – may include:

Supination with a Dumbbell: Keeping your forearm steady and your palm up, grip the end of a light dumbbell (or heavy tool, like a hammer). Using only your wrist, steadily turn the dumbbell downward toward the floor, then rotate it to point back up toward the ceiling. Repeat, holding your elbow steadily in place. This strengthens the supinator muscle, the large muscle in your forearm which attaches to your elbow.

Wrist Extension: Using the same dumbbell, grab its center with your palm pointed down. Keeping your elbow steady, bend your wrist toward the floor, then lift back up so the back of your hand is even with your forearm. Repeat. This works the wrist extensors, the small muscles connected to the elbow that allow you to bend your wrist.

Write Flexion: Following your wrist extensions – again, holding the same light dumbbell – turn your forearm so it’s pointed up. Holding your elbow and forearm steady, curl your wrist upward, then slowly drop back to your starting position. Repeat. This exercise works your wrist flexors, the muscles opposite of your wrist extensors.

Such exercises and others can help you prevent elbow pain common with tennis elbow. However, if you experience any pain in or around your elbow that may limit your ability to work, play or perform common daily functions, contact your physical therapist first for a thorough evaluation and to discuss treatment options.

Dr. Jones is a physical therapist, speaker, author and co-owner of Kinetic Physical Therapy & Wellness and Kinetic Pediatric Therapy who specializes and holds several credentials in orthopedics and manual therapy. He is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association, National Strength and Conditioning Association, and the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Therapists.

What Every Person With Cancer Needs

As National Cancer Survivors Day approaches on Sunday, June 4 this is the ideal opportunity to point out the ways research has shown that MOVEMENT and EXERCISE can improve the health and quality of life of those who suffer from and have survived cancer.

According to American Cancer Society, multiple studies have shown that regular physical therapy and exercise can have profound effects on those battling cancer, both physically and mentally – even to the extent of improving survival rates and lowering the risk of cancer recurrence.

Physical therapy and exercise can no doubt play critical roles in improving a person’s quality of life both during and after cancer diagnosis and treatment. Along with helping patients with cancer maintain strength, reduce fatigue, minimize pain, and maximize function and mobility, physical therapists play a critical role in identifying possible complications during and after cancer treatments.

Working closely with a patient’s primary physician and/or oncologist, a physical therapist works to establish an exercise regimen that takes into account the type of cancer, it’s treatment (i.e., chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, etc.), and limitations that go along with such factors. The goal of such therapy is to maintain strength and stamina throughout treatments, reduce nausea, and maintain a level of safety and independence in patients’ everyday lives.

Exercise also improves self-esteem and reduces anxiety and depression in cancer patients.

Beyond the physical benefits, physical therapy is a great way for people to feel in control of restoring their bodies during and after cancer treatment through exercise and good health practices.

Following successful cancer treatments, the importance of physical therapy and exercise doesn’t diminish. In fact, J, it remains an important aspect of life after cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, at least 20 studies have suggested that physically active cancer survivors – specifically, survivors of breast, colorectal, prostate and ovarian cancers – have a lower risk of cancer recurrence and improved survival rates. This is when compared to those cancer survivors who remain inactive.

Beating cancer doesn’t end when you go into remission. Making physical activity a regular part of your life, including both cardiovascular and strength exercise, remains an essential part of both recovery and prevention. No matter who you are, regular physical activity is always a solid option for overall health and happiness.

Both during and following cancer treatments, our physical therapists can work with cancer survivors (and their physicians) to establish exercise programs that maintain long-term strength, cardio fitness, and overall functionality.

Dr. Jones is a physical therapist, speaker, author and co-owner of Kinetic Physical Therapy & Wellness and Kinetic Pediatric Therapy who specializes and holds several credentials in orthopedics and manual therapy. He is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association, National Strength and Conditioning Association, and the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Therapists.

7 Myths About Physical Therapy

People everywhere are experiencing the transformative effect physical therapy can have on their daily lives. In fact, as experts in the way the body moves, physical therapists help people of all ages and abilities reduce pain, improve or restore mobility, and stay active and fit throughout life. But there are some common misconceptions that often discourage people from visiting a physical therapist.

Read More

Dr. Jones is a physical therapist, speaker, author and co-owner of Kinetic Physical Therapy & Wellness and Kinetic Pediatric Therapy who specializes and holds several credentials in orthopedics and manual therapy. He is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association, National Strength and Conditioning Association, and the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Therapists.

The Right Way to Squat

Several times I have seen athletes, bodybuilders, military personnel, and even the weekend warriors for injuries related to one of the most popular exercises in the gym… The Squat!!!

With so many variations on how different people do the squat, one must ask, “What is the correct way to do it?Read More

Dr. Jones is a physical therapist, speaker, author and co-owner of Kinetic Physical Therapy & Wellness and Kinetic Pediatric Therapy who specializes and holds several credentials in orthopedics and manual therapy. He is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association, National Strength and Conditioning Association, and the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Therapists.