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Top 7 Tips on How to Get Healthier, Stronger and More Active

When you get right down to it, health doesn’t have anything to do with looking like a supermodel; it’s really about having a body whose every system is in good working order. The great news is that you have more control over everything happening in your body — from your circulation to your breathing and stress levels — than you might have imagined. Check out these steps you can take every day toward building a stronger, healthier and more active you.

1. Limit Your Sitting

Your body wasn’t made to sit — it was made to move! Taking short breaks from your desk or computer every 30 minutes can do a lot to reduce back and shoulder pain. Walk around, do a few squats, drink some water, or do a few simple stretches. The periodic movement and shifts in position reduce pressure on your spine, increase the flow of blood and lymphatic fluid, and will leave you feeling more energized all day long.

2. Get Out and Move

A healthy exercise program doesn’t have to be fancy, expensive or intimidating. Many studies have demonstrated the benefits of simple, free workouts like walking. The mere act of moving your body every day greatly reduces the risk of chronic health problems like heart disease, stroke and diabetes, and the regular movement helps keep the rest of your body functioning in tip-top form.

3. Eat Real Food

Food is fuel for your body — so what you eat dictates your energy levels and sense of well-being for the day. Focusing on minimally processed food and lots of brightly colored fruits and vegetables is a sure way to put a little extra zip in your step. When you’re eating the right fuel, you’ll feel like you can do anything.

4. Drink More Water

You wouldn’t run an engine without oil in it, would you? Water fills that function and many more in your body. It’s water that helps distribute nutrients, regulates body temperature, aids in digestion, stops hunger, and keeps your muscles and nerves operating in tip-top shape. Having trouble drinking enough? Put a sprig of mint or a twist of citrus — lemon, lime or orange — in your water bottle to make it more interesting.

5. Breathe!

Deep breathing oxygenates your blood, which can leave you feeling more energized. It also helps get your lymphatic system moving, and it busts stress in just a few seconds. Here’s a quick, easy way to gauge your breathing: Lie on your bed or the floor with one hand on your upper abdomen. Can you feel your abdomen gently rising as you inhale? If not, slow down and focus on your breath; it might help to imagine that you’re filling yourself with air all the way down to your toes.

6. Get Enough Sleep

Everybody’s a little different, but most of us need at least seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. It’s best to get into a routine so that your body can settle into a regular cycle of sleeping and waking. This helps regulate your endocrine system, which in turn controls the hormones that govern everything from hunger to weight loss.

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Out Professional Help

Have you noticed aches and pains lingering in your body, despite your healthy routine? Your body might be telling you that it’s time to consult a professional. Don’t accept that those aches and pains are a natural fact of life: A good physical therapist can give you the tools to keep those minor problems from turning into something major, and maybe even stem the pain completely.

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Step by Step on How to Put the Spring Back in Your Step

You can’t avoid it; age comes with a bunch of new challenges, random pains and as well as aches. Joints and fingers are likely to turn sore after some mundane chores, and physical undertakings that have once given joy can lead to discomfort. Becoming deterred from engaging in activities that cause these signs can be easy, but luckily there are some ways available to aid putting the spring back in your step.

Re-evaluation of posture
Jobs requiring long hours spent at a desk before a computer are now very common. As a result, it is common to see a high rate of injuries as a result of poor posture. Sore muscles are one of the many side effects of sitting incorrectly. Using the wrong posture leads to additional muscles being called upon to help stabilize the spine. For this reason, there is an increased workload on the muscles resulting in pain and possibly injury.

Do you sit at a desk daily? Do you lead a sedentary lifestyle? Then you need to be conscious of your posture. You should concentrate on sitting straight for longer hours if at first, you discover doing so is not an easy task. As you continue doing this, the muscles around your spinal column will become stronger and you will discover that maintaining correct posture becomes easier, and as well hinder incorrect curvature of the spine.

Drink plenty of fluids
Carrying out the activities of the day can make you become dehydrated. For a lot of people, coffee is a necessity to any workday. But what they do not know or fail to understand is that coffee is diuretic. As you consume the beverage during the day, your body gets stimulated to start expanding fluids through urination process. This is likely to result in dehydration if adequate water is not consumed. As in case when the body loses fluid, painful cramps are likely to set within the muscles, this will lead to making you weak and feel sluggish.

If it’s compulsory you take coffee, ensure you also consume water. In fact, try to drink a lot of water – big or several cups. What if you start cramping up? Drink a beverage that is filled with electrolytes because it will battle the effects of the dehydration. When it comes to having sufficient fluids, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Get some sleep
Sleep is like a productivity killer for those who maximize each minute of the day. However, sleep plays a vital role in helping your body regain energy from the rigors or activities of the day. Lack of sleep is likely to result in lethargic feelings, problems focusing and feelings of malaise. Ensure you sleep as much as possible by avoiding beverages like coffee in the evening or seeing movies before going to bed. Your body will definitely appreciate it.

Is nothing happening after these steps have been thoroughly followed? Give us a call at 908-353-3500 for a consultation. You will start to feel like your old self almost immediately!

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6 Easy Steps to More Energy and Less Pain

At times, do you feel you are low on energy, feel tired, sore, ache or perhaps sluggish? They are likely the symptoms of sitting for long hours in your car, at your desk every day, or at home viewing movies beginning to wear down your body. The unnatural behavior of sitting in a place for long hours is likely to trigger some serious health issues because the body is meant to move. Sitting in a place for long periods can slow your digestive and lymphatic systems, circulatory, refuse to give your lungs and heart the required movement to be their healthiest, and as well add to the severe lower back pain, neck pain, headaches, hip pain and shoulder pain that a lot of working Americans face.

Is there good news? Yes, there is! If you are suffering or feeling some of the listed above effects in your body, you can begin to change them right away. The following six steps will help you feel more energetic, hurt less as well as help you move more daily.

Get into the mindset
Do you love the drastic or dramatic changes you see on TV but you do not have the time? Never give up! Little changes can make a big difference in your long-term well-being, if you start thinking about what you can do instead of concentrating on why you cannot do it, you will get to discover that you are capable of doing much more than you ever thought possible. Concentrate on little successes you can enjoy now – such as getting up and moving around during every commercial break of that favorite TV show you watch – and at the same time work towards building bigger plans or goals.

Set a timer
You should consider getting up and moving around for at least every 25-30 minutes. Just in case it escapes your mind, this is where a timer or alarm comes in. You can set the alarm on your phone to remind you when it’s time, the beep from the alarm is a reminder that it’s time to get up and move around for as long as you can.

Drink more water
The truth is water is essential for all organs and the system of your body – the bad news is most of us do not get enough of it. Always try to keep a cup of water close to you while at home or water bottle while you are out of the house. This will keep you perfectly hydrated and more energized in no time.

Take time to stretch
Being flexible does not necessarily have to be about you being able to stick your feet behind your back or perhaps touch your toes; it’s more of maintaining natural and as well healthy movement patterns. Stretching your hips, legs, neck and spine for nothing less than 10 minutes daily will help your body recover from the unnatural position of sitting at a desk. You can actually break it into many stretching bouts daily just in case that is too much.

Check Your Ergonomics
Check if your workstation is set for a healthy body alignment. It does not matter whether you are at an office or home – if you do not have your desk properly set up, it will end up sapping your energy which will contribute to postural imbalances that will likely need the help of a professional in the future. Target neutral posture: observe the level of the eye with the chin parallel to the ground, knees, elbows and hips bent at 90 degrees, and at the same time feet flat on the floor.

Get out and walk
If there is only thing you want to do to boost your energy, let it be a gentle walk. Your energy will be boosted by the movement and as well help in breaking the unnatural movement, posture patterns likely to form when you spend long hours sitting at a working table or a desk.

Are you in pain right now? Get to us, give us a call at 908-353-0500 or contact us here. Our team of professional physical therapists will help you identify the problem and put together a strategy to help you get moving and pain-free once more.

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What You Need to Know About Shoulder Pain

Though most of us take our shoulders for granted, they’re important parts of our bodies. From typing at our computer and driving to putting away groceries and going to bed at night, our shoulders are used for many daily tasks. However, they’re complex organic structures that can be subject to damage and pain. If a shoulder does begin to hurt, it can be difficult to think about anything else.

If you’re experiencing persistent pain in one of your shoulders, there are a number of potential causes, including bursitis, tendonitis, osteoarthritis, and a whole slew of dysfunctional diseases. But perhaps the most common reason people seek treatment for their shoulder is for rotator cuff tears, a problem that afflicts nearly 2 million Americans each year.

Your shoulder is composed of three bones linked together in a ball-andsocket joint, with everything supported by a collection of four muscles called the rotator cuff. The whole setup is remarkably complex, working perfectly — until it doesn’t. If any of the rotator cuff tendons become torn or frayed, the rotator cuff can no longer attach completely to the bones, leading to all kinds of dysfunction and severe, debilitating pain.

These tears usually occur from falling down on your outstretched arm, lifting something too heavy, or a gradual deterioration of the muscles. Symptoms almost always include severe pain, even when resting or sleeping, that spikes when lifting or lowering the arm. Some serious cases may cause general muscle weakness and an inability to lift the arm at all.

Luckily, if you have a rotator cuff injury, you don’t have to tolerate chronic pain. While some intense cases will require surgery to correct, it’s important to consult a physical therapist before going under the knife. Contact the experts at New Jersey Institute of Balance today and take the first step toward eliminating shoulder pain for good

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Heart Attack Symptoms in Women

When people think of heart attack symptoms, they often think of stabbing chest pain. However, that’s not always how symptoms manifest, particularly in women. The following are serious symptoms that can indicate a looming heart attack. If any of these symptoms are present, consider seeking medical attention.

Chest Discomfort
The most common symptom is chest discomfort, including pain, tightness, squeezing, or pressure. In women, chest discomfort is more likely to feel like pressure or tightness.

Radiating Pain
Pain isn’t necessarily restricted to the center of the chest. It may be felt at the sides or even in the upper abdomen or back. It can also radiate into your shoulders, jaw, neck, or arms. Remember, anything above the waist could be related to the heart.

Shortness of Breath
Sometimes your body will present symptoms well before an attack. For instance, you may experience shortness of breath during normal activities. If you notice this symptom, your doctor may run blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose tests and administer an EKG.

Feeling Faint, Lightheaded, or Dizzy
Feeling like you’re going to faint or actually fainting are both warning signs of a heart attack or other cardiac issue. This is especially worrying if it happens while exercising.

Sudden Sweating
Sudden sweating can easily be confused with night sweats or hot flashes. However, sweating that indicates a heart attack is particularly extreme, doesn’t go away, or can make it difficult to sleep.

Nausea or Vomiting
Often, women who experience nausea or vomiting think they have food poisoning, gastrointestinal issues, or a bug. However, these are common heart attack symptoms and should be taken very seriously.

Unusual Fatigue
New, unexplained fatigue may be a warning sign of a heart attack. However, fatigue can also be a symptom of many other issues, including anemia, depression, thyroid conditions, and even cancer. So even if it’s not a heart attack, it’s still important check in with your doctor.

Research suggests that women often don’t recognize heart attack symptoms simply because they don’t know what they are experiencing. The best thing a woman can do is make herself aware of heart attack symptoms and get checked out immediately if there is a concern.

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The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Pushing Past Loss

There are moments that shape us and upend our understanding of the world. Often, those experiences challenge us to grow in important, though painful, ways. Occasionally, I’ll see this with one of my patients as they push through the pain of a debilitating injury and work to return to their normal life. No matter the circumstances, we often emerge from these seemingly impossible situations as stronger, more empathetic people. We become more appreciative of our loved ones and are more invested in our everyday lives.

My first experience with true adversity came with the passing of my grandfather, which occurred in 1994, just as I was entering my freshman year as an undergraduate. It was my first real brush with death, and the loss of someone so important to me left me reeling. Following his passing, I went through one of the darkest periods of my life, and I was forced to make some tough decisions. In the end, the experience shaped me in meaningful ways, and I ultimately matured as a person.

When I was growing up, my family lived in the same apartment building as my grandparents, and we spent a lot of time with them. Every Thursday, they’d cook spaghetti with homemade marinara sauce for my brothers, my parents, and me, while Sundays were reserved for macaroni. They were like a second set of parents to me, always welcoming us with open arms. To say my grandfather was a character would be an understatement. He never received any formal education, and as a result, he couldn’t read or write. Instead, he had a shrewd street intelligence and drive that allowed him to hustle and grind his way through any situation. He was a gambler who would often hang out in local social clubs. When he met anyone new, he’d expertly work an angle on them and figure them out with just a glance or two. To me, though, he was just an incredible guy, always cracking hilarious jokes. Despite his mischievous side, he would definitely be the first person to give you the shirt off his back.

When he passed away, I was in my first semester at St. Peter’s College. I had never lost any family or anyone close to me, and his loss hit me harder than I could have imagined. Though up until that point I’d been a great student, my GPA began to plummet, and I started missing days of class, slipping into a kind of post-grief depression. As I considered the incredible man who was no longer a part of my life, I was forced to reckon with the way I saw the world, relying on my faith as a Catholic. Though I’d felt like a grown-up as I headed to college, I now felt like a little boy thrust into an adult situation. In the end, I decided that no matter what I was going through, I needed to process it and move forward. I transferred to Richard Stockton College, and that was the first significant adult decision I made. I wanted to do right by the memory of my grandfather, so I relied on the street smarts and perceptive vision that he’d taught me to propel my life and career forward.

Even now, long after my grandparents have passed, that experience sticks in my mind. My grandfather was an amazing person, and his passing taught me there are ways to push through adversity to transform your life for the better.

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What Exactly is Runner’s Knee?

The human leg is a delicate and incredible instrument, developed and slowly perfected over millions of years of evolution. But complication comes with a price: a heightened risk of injury. Our knees, especially, can succumb to any number of issues. Chief among them is patellofemoral pain syndrome, also known as runner’s knee.

Normally, as you bend your knee, the patella, or kneecap, glides along the femoral groove, a track in our femur cushioned by cartilage. The muscles and ligaments of the leg work to keep the patella sliding normally along this groove. However, if something is amiss and the patella doesn’t ride normally through the track, it will begin to slide to the side. This forces the patella to rub and grind against the edges of the femur. As the problem worsens, it can irritate the joint, which results in kneecap pain and deterioration of the patellar surface.

According to PhysioWorks, approximately 25 percent of the American population experiences aching kneecaps at one time in their lives, but it’s even higher in athletes. Often, pain will begin after a period of overuse, like after ramping up training or performing high-intensity training. This is usually the result of a muscle imbalance and tightness in the quadriceps, hamstrings, and hip muscles. However, it can also arise from internal anatomical factors, such as naturally poor patellar tracking, improper foot posture, or weak hip control.

Patellofemoral pain is localized in and behind the kneecap, but it can cause swelling and pain that may spread throughout the structure. This pain is usually the worst after climbing hills or stairs, squatting, running, hopping, or sitting for long periods of time.

Patellofemoral pain is complicated and extremely common, and it can easily lead to more serious conditions such as patellar tendinitis or arthritis. Luckily, it’s usually treatable with careful exercise and physical therapy. Treatment often involves the initial mitigation of pain symptoms, followed by exercises that restore range of motion, a battery of stretches, and a muscle-strengthening regimen designed to even out any imbalances. After a few months of treatment, most patients are able to return to playing sports and living pain-free

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The Tangled History of President’s Day

On the third Monday in February, the entire nation celebrates President’s Day … sort of. While the holiday is known colloquially as President’s Day, its official federal name is still Washington’s Birthday. If that wasn’t confusing enough, different states officially know it as “President’s Day,” “Lincoln/Washington/President’s Day,” “Washington-Lincoln Day,” “George Washington Day,” and more. Let’s untangle how all these variant names came about and delve into the fascinating history of the holiday.

Washington was born on February 22, 1731. Given his incredible contribution to the founding of the United States, it’s understandable that a national holiday would be established to commemorate his legacy. The holiday was first established in 1879 for employees in Washington, D.C. Six years later, it was expanded to include all federal offices nationwide. And for the next century or so, nothing changed.

However, in 1971, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. This bill officially moved holidays that were once celebrated on specific dates, like Memorial Day and Columbus Day, to a particular Monday in a given month. This allowed for three-day weekends and, hopefully, encouraged retail sales with an extra day of shopping. But this, unintentionally, moved Washington’s birthday celebration to a day between his actual birthday and the birthday of another venerated president, Abraham Lincoln.

By the late 20th century, Lincoln’s reputation and legacy were as titanic as Washington’s. Because Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809,  any states found it appropriate to make the day a commemoration of two great presidents rather than just one. By the 1980s, “President’s Day” was the more widely acknowledged name, if not the official designation.

Why it hasn’t received a uniform federal name is anyone’s guess, but at least when you say “President’s Day,” everyone knows what you’re talking about. No matter what you call it, the day is a chance to celebrate some of the people who’ve made lasting contributions to our nation’s history. If you look at any presidential ranking, Washington and Lincoln are probably No. 1 and No. 2. It’s fitting, then, that we celebrate their birthdays in tandem.

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The Perfect Evening

How I Proposed to Lisa, My Incredible Valentine

With twins on the way in May, my wife, Lisa, and I have our hands full with the endless list of preparations that have to be made. It’s been a lot of fun and more than a little stressful getting everything ready for the two newest arrivals to our little family. But while we’ve been busy, with Valentine’s Day earlier this week, I always take a moment to take stock of everything she and I have built together. She’s the most beautiful, incredible woman I’ve ever met. I’m constantly amazed that she decided to spend her life by my side.

When Lisa and I started dating, it didn’t take me long to realize that she was absolutely the woman I wanted to marry. But though we lived together for a few years before I proposed, it just never seemed like the right time. As with anything in our relationship, I wanted to make sure it was perfect and that we were in the ideal stage to take this enormous step together. Luckily, she was patient, never pressuring, or demanding for a single second. We went at our own pace.

When I finally decided it was the perfect moment to pop the question, I embarked on one of the most extensive research missions I’ve ever done in my life, learning more about diamonds than I ever wanted to know. Once I had the ring in hand, I booked a weekend getaway for the two of us on the coast of Newport Rhode Island and called in reservations to the most amazing restaurant I could find in the area — again, after a ridiculous amount of research. As anybody who knows me will tell you, I’m the kind of guy who wants a special moment to go off perfectly, so the entire preparation for the night of the proposal was wildly stressful for me.

But when we arrived at the restaurant, The Spiced Pear at the Chanler Hotel, and saw our table overlooking the sea, my worries began to subside. The view was too incredible in the low glow of the ambient lighting to create anything but the ideal evening. After enjoying one of the most delicious meals we’d ever had, there was a lull in our enthusiastic conversation.

“You know, Michael,” Lisa said, smiling lightly. “This is just the perfect evening.”

“Well,” I said, slyly. “I might be able to make it a little bit more perfect.” I pulled the ring from my pocket, and got down on one knee.

The rest, as they say, is history. Now, I share a wonderful family — two kids with two more on the way — with the most phenomenal woman I could ever imagine. Today I can say that not only is she levelheaded, deeply intelligent, and strikingly beautiful, but she is the single greatest mother on the planet. Valentine’s Day wouldn’t mean anything without her constant warmth and love in my life.

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Are you ready?

Be Prepared for the Worst

 

First, I’d like to send positive thoughts and prayers to everyone impacted by Hurricane Harvey. We have all seen the devastation major storms can cause as witnessed with Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy to name just two examples.

A natural disaster may strike at any time. A tornado or earthquake can devastate entire cities in a matter of minutes. While these scary events are not pleasant to think about, it’s important to acknowledge the possibility of a disaster so we can better prepare. This week, we’re looking into what you need to know in order to prepare for a natural disaster.

How To Prepare

What do you need to do in case there’s a flood? How will your family survive if a hurricane strikes? Are you ready in the event of a wildfire? Disasters come in many forms, and the safety of yourself and your family may one day rely on how well you were able to plan today. Get ready before a disaster strikes with these comprehensive disaster preparedness steps.

10 Things You’re Not Doing To Prepare For Natural Disasters

Preparing for every disaster can be very overwhelming, and it can be easy to overlook important steps in the planning process. Does your family know where to meet if you get separated? Will your pets be allowed to stay at the nearest disaster shelter? Do you have enough emergency cash in case the power goes out? Take a moment and go through this checklist to make sure you’re completely prepared.

Steps To Save Yourself When Natural Disaster Hits

It’s one thing to have food stores and first-aid kits ready to go before a disaster, but it’s quite another to actually experience a disaster. In the heat of the moment, the last thing you’ll be thinking about is whether or not you have enough rechargeable batteries. Brush up on your survival strategies with this advice for getting out of any disaster in one piece.

Just For Fun: 9 Ways To Survive A Disaster Movie

Hollywood loves a good disaster movie. Films like “Dante’s Peak” or “2012” fill the box office every year, as directors think of new and exciting ways to destroy the world. While these scenarios are often unrealistic, when the credits roll, you can help but ask, “Would I be able to survive that?” This list offers great tips so you can survive even the worst Hollywood disaster movie.

 

To being prepared,

Dr. Michael Russo

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