Friday, August 18, 2017

Staying Hydrated



Now that we are in the dead of summer heat, it is even more important that we stay hydrated. While we are all continuing our exercise routines, watching our kids or friends with their outdoor sports, or just enjoying the summertime sunshine it is sometimes easy to forget to keep drinking.  Drinking water helps keep us hydrated when we loose water from sweating, or just daily breathing, helps keeps us energized, balances electrolytes, and helps with weight control! With more fluid intake needed in the summer months, it can sometimes get boring to always reach for the regular water; here are some alternatives for hydrating in a tasteful and more exciting way without all the added sugar.



o   Try using the summertime sunshine to brew sun tea! Fill a clear container with water and place any combination of teabags you like (about 8 tea bags per 1 gallon of water).  Let sit in the sun for several hours until the water turns color, pour over ice and add citrus rings for added flavor and some natural sweetness: orange, lemon or lime slices would taste great!



o   Try adding fresh seasonal fruit, vegetables and herbs to add natural flavor to your water!

o   Watermelon Cubes with Mint leaves

o   Pineapple Cubes

o   Cucumber and Ginger slices

o   Citrus rings: orange, lemon and lime

o   Apple Slices with Cinnamon Stick

o   Strawberries and Lime Slices



You can also use frozen fruit that will help to chill down your drink and act as a flavorful ice cube or make your own infused ice cubes! 

o   Add blended fruit, vegetables and herbs to ice cube trays and freeze. When you run out of the house needing water, add a few cubes, (one, or any combination!) to your water for an infused water experience. As the ice cubes melt it will slowly infuse flavor into your water. (You could also add these to your sun brewed tea!).

o   For each combinations below blend with 1 ¼ cup water and freeze until solid

o   Juice of 1 lemon (add zest for extra flavor), 1 inch piece of ginger

o   Juice of 2 limes (add zest for extra flavor), 8-10 seeded cherries

o   1 cup Watermelon cubes, ¼ cup mint

o   1 cup strawberries, ¼ cup basil

o   ½ cucumber, ¼ cup mint leaves

o   1 cup cantaloupe, 1 cup honeydew melon

o   1 apple with sprinkle of cinnamon



For any of the combinations, change the proportions based on your taste preference-make them weaker or stronger! Experiment until you find your favorite combination!

- Casey Harms, RD,LDN

To schedule a Nutritional Counseling appointment with Casey Harms, contact your nearest TheraCORE, Inc. clinic.

Burr Ridge (630)590-5409 - Lockport (815)838-5070 - Westmont (630)908-7430

Friday, July 28, 2017

Back To School - the unconventional student




Congratulations! If you are reading this blog it means you have already overcome a huge obstacle on your path to furthering your education; deciding to go back to school.  Let me first start out by defining the “unconventional student.” This is typically an adult student.  As an adult, there are a variety of different responsibilities other than school that will have to have time and energy devoted to them; such as, children, maintaining a home, marriage, and work. Starting or going back to college can be both physically and emotionally draining. It can be terrifying to change careers, intimidating to enter a classroom after many years. How could I forget about student loan debt! Don’t panic! I have been an unconventional adult student for four years and will graduate this August from Lewis University with a Bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training. From there, I am preparing to further my education in Physical Therapy School.  With this blog I will hopefully relieve your fears and give you some tips and tricks to accomplish your goal of higher education. 


First, I want you to ask yourself “Why am I going back to school?” You could be working toward an increase in salary, pursuing a dream or goal that was put on the back burner, or simply making a shift in careers. This question is important because if you are not 100% motivated to take this step, it will be much harder to tolerate the stress. As for me, I enlisted in the army right out of high school and spent seven years working as an infantryman in a special operations unit.  Unfortunately, I was injured on a deployment and ended up medically retiring.  This injury led me to my passion of helping others in the field of Athletic Training and Physical Therapy, as I relied heavily on physical therapy to be able to walk again. I can honestly say that I would not have been able to finish my undergraduate training if I did not truly enjoy what I was studying.  I also have a wife, a child, three dogs and a new home.  I work part time and the majority of my schooling requires unpaid clinical rotations and an internship.  As you can imagine, sometimes I feel as though I am stretched pretty thin.  Luckily, I have learned to prioritize.  Obviously, coursework is a priority, but it cannot consume your whole life.  You have to make time for your kids and significant other.  One thing I have found to be helpful is a good schedule and a routine.  A few tips for this are to register and enroll early.  Adjust your work schedule to your class schedule and block in study and homework time. I tried to leave a one-hour break between classes to finish homework.  I usually leave either all of Saturday or all of Sunday dedicated to family time and do not do any coursework during that time.  Sometimes, a break is necessary to regain motivation. Wake up at the same time, leave your house at the same time, and go to bed at the same time.  In addition to keeping a good schedule and routine, keeping physically active and following a nutritious diet is essential.  I played hockey for three years of my college career, and being active 5 times a week helped keep my energy up and gave me a release from stress.  I recommend doing what you enjoy, walking, jogging, yoga, interval, HIIT, cycling swimming or sport participation.  Being active 30-minutes a day for four to five days a week can help keep your head in the game.  Many people get bogged down by diet.  Don’t count calories or macronutrients. I found you will not have time.  Develop a diet of “clean eating” with a balance between proteins, carbohydrates and fats.  Meal prepping will be vital to staying on track.  My wife makes my lunch, so I get some assistance in this area.  Diet is important because poor food choices or not eating enough will lower your energy and may affect your ability to be successful. Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water will further assist a healthy diet.  For me, coffee was necessary and so drinking plenty of water to offset the dehydrating effects of caffeine was helpful.

           
No matter how motivated and organized you are, sometimes the stress of life wins and its okay.  I have had many instances where I could not sleep, could not focus on coursework and was neglecting my family because I was not able to handle being pulled in multiple directions.  I was still accomplishing things but I was just going through the motions. One thing that really helped me is a technique called “mindfulness.” This technique teaches you to focus on breathing to put yourself in the moment. It teaches you to recognize when your mind wanders and to get your focus back on the present. I have found this to be very beneficial, although, it did take some time and effort to really recognize the positive effects.  With that being said, I believe that having a strong support system is the most beneficial thing you could have. Having my wife, family, great coworkers and friends to seek advice from or just vent to is a great way to alleviate any stress or doubt.  Sometimes you need to be vulnerable and ask others for help. Think about who you have on your team and make sure they know how much you appreciate their help.

           
Remember to love what you are doing, develop a scheduled routine, stay active and eat well, utilize various techniques to combat stress and take advantage of your support systems.  Everyone has their own methods and techniques, so do what works best for you.  I have just tried to give you some pointers that have benefitted me on my path.  Below I have provided several links to help you on your way.  You will do great things!



-Brad Hojek

Aide at TheraCORE Physical Therapy


















Friday, July 14, 2017

Can kids be physically active during screen time?




As my boys reach their teen years, it seems to be a constant battle keeping them off their phones and video games.  With all the extra hours at home this summer, getting them off the couch isn’t as easy as it used to be!

It is recommended that kids get at least 60 minutes of vigorous play each day to stay healthy.  Regular exercise in nature is proven to improve children’s physical and mental health.  Outdoor activity helps kids maintain a healthy weight, boosts immunity and bone loss, lowers stress and improves self-esteem.  It is also recommended that screen time be limited to less than 2 hours a day.  That’s TV, video game, computer, phone and iPad total time less than 2 hours/day!  I don’t know about you, but I find that to be nearly impossible. 

So, what about creating ways to be physically active with screen time?  Pokémon Go had the right idea and got my kids up and walking around, but they outgrew that game. Here are some other ideas I have used with my boys…

·         When watching morning cartoons or an afternoon movie on a rainy day, see how many push-ups you can do or how long you can hold a plank at the commercial breaks.  Make it a contest between you and your kids!
·         Allow them to create a private (only those you share the video with can see it) You Tube channel where they can create and post videos of themselves doing something active.  My boys will make a highlight video of themselves doing tricks on our trampoline, or dunking on the basketball hoop, or doing skateboarding tricks and set them to music.  They turn out pretty impressive!
·         Play a game on your phone together.  We like Heads Up where you hold the phone on your forehead and try to get your partner to say the words that pop up on the screen.  Even though it’s a talking game, we are always up jumping around acting out the word!
·         We still have a blast playing Wii sports together. Whether it be baseball, tennis or golf, the competitions get pretty intense.  And, they get a good laugh out of how bad I am. Just Dance or Outdoor Challenge are other fun active video games.


Of course, the goal is always getting outside with my kids hiking, biking, kayaking or just a good old game of one-on-one in the driveway.  Sometimes you have to pick your battles, and if getting them active with screen time is the best I can do some days, I’ll take it!

Amy Goebbert, PT, DPT
Co-owner & Physical Therapist - TheraCORE, Inc.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Outdoor Adventures


It’s Summer! Round of applause!!!

You complained all winter about the dreary weather and now that hibernation season is over, why are you still Netflix binging on the couch?! The sun is out and the weather is as good as it will be all year, so why not give the great outdoors some love?

As you’ve likely heard, exercise has loads of evidence on positive health benefits. Let’s spend a little time elaborating on a couple of my favorites: hiking and kayaking.

Hiking



While you won’t find a large mountain to climb in IL, you will find several local and not so local parks and canyons to explore.



To name a few:

  • Starved Rock
  • Matthiessen State Park
  •       Shawnee National Forest
  • Giant City State Park
  •       Fern Cliff State Park
  • Rock Cut State Park

Health Benefits of Hiking
  • Fight off heart disease. Those who do not exercise are twice as likely to have coronary heart disease.
  • Lower your blood pressure. Physical activity lowers BP 4-10 points. Regaining a normal body weight can lower it 5-20 points.
  • Manage and prevent diabetes. Exercise can reduce the amount of insulin needed and can potentially reverse the course of the disease for those with Type II.
  • Improve your cholesterol levels.
  • Lose and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Decrease your risk of colon cancer.
  • Fight stress. Walking releases adrenaline thus helping to decrease tension and anxiety.
  • Increase bone density and slow the rate of calcium loss responsible for osteoporosis.
  • Manage osteoarthritis. Motion is lotion! Walking is a low impact activity good for assisting with maintaining strong, healthy bones and muscles.

Kayaking




Pick a lake. Burn calories. Rest. Enjoy scenery. Repeat. All while getting tanned and toned. Who can argue with that?

Health benefits of Kayaking
  • Take in extra Vitamin D necessary for healthy bones.
  • Improved breathing efficiency and cardiovascular endurance.
  • Decreased fat and increased lean muscle mass. Think strong arms, legs, back and core.
  • De-stress. Being by water is shown to assist with relaxation and with the endorphins from exercise, it is a win-win!



Take home: regular exercise has been proven to have a positive effect on lengthening and improving the quality of our lives. You want to be around to complain about next winter right? So, what are you waiting for? Get outside!

Katie Green, PT, DPT

Friday, June 16, 2017

 
What is Men’s Health Week?

Men’s Health Week is an annual event that runs the week prior to, and up to Father’s Day and is meant to raise awareness of preventable diseases and encourage early detection/treatment of disease in males.

Heart disease, stroke, suicide/depression, lung cancer, and prostate cancer are all conditions that effect men at a very high rate. While all of these conditions are important to prevent and manage, there is one organ that is uniquely male, causes multiple health concerns, and is easy to treat when regular detection takes place. That organ is the prostate.

Even uttering the word prostate is relatively taboo and evokes discomfort and fear within many males. This social stigma needs to change and it starts through spreading awareness and understanding about why regular examination is so important.

The prostate can become inflamed or infected, enlarged through abnormal growth, or develop cancer. These conditions can effect urination and sexual function, which drastically changes quality of life. The good news is that with early detection treatment options are relatively simple and effective!

  

The American Cancer Society has released suggestions for men regarding prostate examination and ways to potentially prevent prostate conditions.

·         Annual physicals with your physician, Prostate Specific Antigen blood tests (PSA) and a digital rectal exam (DRE) are simple ways to screen for prostate issues.

·         Screenings should start at 50 years old for someone at average risk, 45 years old for someone at high risk, and 40 years old for individuals at even higher risk based on health factors and family history.

·         Eat at least 2 ½ cups of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables each day.

·         Be physically active.

·         Stay at a healthy weight.

·         Possibly take a daily Aspirin and limit excessive calcium intake.

Always consult your physician regarding health conditions and medicine or supplement changes. Safety always trumps an uncomfortable conversation or awkward exam. The health of each male is important not only to the individual, but their wives, husbands, children, parents, and friends. So if any questions ever arise do not be scared to ask!

Be well and celebrate Men’s Health Week by spreading awareness, understanding, and compassion to the men in your lives!

Kyle Kibler, PT, DPT
TheraCORE, Inc.





Friday, May 26, 2017

May Is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

 

It’s May! The weather is improving, school is almost out, and it is becoming appealing to be outside again. It is also National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. This makes May a great time to revisit fitness and activity goals. Our New Year’s resolutions are long behind us. Some of us remain committed to our fitness goals, while others have fallen off. Either way, now is a great time to commit to increased activity in the improving weather. Why shoulder fitness be a priority? Physical activity is important for everyone, no matter what the age.
For children and adolescents – Physical activity can improve muscular fitness, bone health, and heart health. For children, this can be as easy as riding bikes, swimming at the local pool, or impromptu games of tag, kickball, baseball or basketball. Getting children off of their electronic devices and outside in the fresh air is imperative not only to their fitness goals, but their social skills as well. 

Adults – Physical activity can lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. Playing with your children at the playground, family bike rides, or walks can help to improve physical fitness, as well as strengthening family bonds.

Older adults – Physical activity can lower the risk of falls and improve cognitive functioning (like learning and judgment skills). After dinner walks, or trips to a forest preserve or arboretum, as well as visits to the local pools, are excellent ways improve fitness without it feeling like work. Exercise also helps to improve moods and sleep.

There are plenty of ways to incorporate exercise into your day without it feeling like a chore, so get out there with your families and friends and get active!!



Cathy Malooly, PT, MPT
TheraCORE, Inc.
Burr Ridge, IL

Friday, May 12, 2017

Mother’s Day, The Perfect Time to Take Care of Yourself!






            Becoming a parent is a big responsibility and a huge life changer. Gone are the days of just trying to keep yourself healthy, now you are responsible for a small human who is completely dependent on you. Obviously, the child is going to take up much of your attention and time, with feedings, bathing, bonding… but, for your child to be healthy and happy, you need to be healthy and happy!

            This Mother’s Day is a great opportunity to take a minute to make sure that you are taking the time to keep yourself strong and healthy, so that you are at your optimal to take care of your little. And Dad, if you are the one reading this blog, help your wife plan some time for herself. I am going to talk about some important things that should be added into your daily routine or lifestyle to help Mom be the strongest, physically, and mentally, that she can be.

            First off, when is the last time you went to see a doctor for YOURSELF? Not a pediatrician. Take time to schedule eye doctor, dentist, dermatologist if necessary, and, most importantly, a yearly check up with your primary care physician. Having kids is difficult and time consuming. Babies and toddlers require constant attention, while grade school through high school requires rides to practice and other extracurricular activities – not to mention homework and all those challenging teenage hormones! All of this can leave you exhausted and run down, weakening the immune system. Yearly checkups are a good way to prevent disease and stay healthy in the long run, leaving you healthy to be able to possibly enjoy grandkids someday.

            Next, make yourself an appointment to get pampered. Whether your hair needs a cut and color, or you just need a relaxing massage, allow yourself those 2 hours. It is well deserved! Some time to yourself can help reduce the stress hormones and improve overall relaxation. I personally know some moms that feel guilty taking this time to themselves. This is the way I look at it, you have to dress for success, humans work harder and are more efficient when they feel their best. Whether you are a working mom, or a stay at home mom, you deserve some relaxation and to feel better about yourself.

            If getting pampered is not your thing, take some time for one of your interests or to try something new. Go to a wine tasting with girlfriends, or sign up for one of those trendy paint or craft classes. The point is to have a few hours to yourself without a child hanging on you or yelling for your help.


            This next one is very important and should be incorporated into your regular routine. Schedule regular physical activity. Yes, exercise. Just 30 minutes a day has been shown to improve physical health and overall mood. This can be as simple or as crazy as you would like. No excuses! Dropping your child off at preschool for 3 hours? The laundry will still be there when you get home. Take that time to go to the park district and walk, or take a yoga class to help clear your mind. Not only will you get the health benefits of exercise, but you will be setting a good example for your children. Keeping your body strong will help prevent injury, allowing you to fully engage and play with your children.

            Another important topic; Diet. No, I am not saying that all moms should be on a diet, but the food you consume should be healthy. It is very easy to rely on fast food when you are constantly running from work to school pickups and practices. I realize many families do not get home until well after dinner time. My family, growing up, was exactly that way. Eating healthy, home cooked meals is still possible. Use Sunday mornings or afternoons to meal prep and cook a little extra for each meal. This will cut out prep time during the week, and with extra food, can provide lunch or leftovers for dinner the following day. Healthy meals do not have to consume all of your time to cook, and they do not have to be boring. A great appliance for busy families is a crockpot. Set it and forget it. With today’s internet, easy healthy recipes are at our finger tips, literally, on our smart phones! Meal prepping can also be a fun family activity. My son loves to help in the kitchen. Eating healthy as a family will show your kids that it is fun and yummy, helping them make good food choices in the future.


           
               Mother’s Day is about just that, MOTHERS! And if you are one of them, take the opportunity to take care of yourself.


Happy Mother’s Day, ladies!! 💜



Heather Finnegan, PT, DPT

TheraCORE, Inc.

Lockport, IL