Friday, April 28, 2017

Consider a NEW Practice - National "Every Kid Healthy" week



Two years ago I began practicing yoga and absolutely love everything about it. If you are my friends or family, I have probably already asked you to come join me for a class. If you have been a patient of mine, I most likely have incorporated some sort of yoga-esque exercise into your rehabilitation. Why? Because these movements, breathing techniques, and forms of meditation work!
My 9 year old daughter, Emma, is exactly like me….running from sun up to sun down. Typical first born - wanting to do everything right and make everyone proud. And I think….oh no! I KNOW that I made her this way! While I admire her goal setting and her determination, I also want to teach her that life is a practice…..not a perfect!
Let’s face it, our kids today are constantly running from one thing to the next. Their days are filled with rushing off to school, after school activities, sports, clubs, homework and late bedtimes. All of which are repeated day after day. Not to mention the pressures that come with academic performance, success in sports and don’t get me started about the inner workings of adolescent friendships!!
Stress kicks in the sympathetic nervous system which leads to an elevation in heart rate and blood pressure. Over time, this constant increase in stress can lead to decreased immune support, low self-esteem, depression and isolation.  Research shows that incorporating a stress related program into a student’s daily routine helps academic performance, self-esteem, concentration and helps emotional balance. This further leads to improving a child’s confidence, goal setting, and overall classroom behavior.
Cue yoga…..
Yoga is a holistic approach to stress management. It gives an individual the opportunity to pause amidst all the chaos of life. To take a deep breath. To BE in the moment. The word Yoga in Sanskrit means “to yoke,” to bring together in mind, body and spirit. Yoga emphasizes the importance of breath, along with physical postures and relaxation methods to strive toward balance and allows the body to reconnect with the mind.
I have taken Emma to yoga with me multiple times. Not only do I love having this special time with my daughter. I love how she tells me she feels after she practices. Don’t get me wrong, part of the reason she loves it is for all the arm balances and crazy poses that only a 9 year old gymnast could hold, but she also tells me how calm she feels after. How relaxed and happy she feels walking out of the studio.
Yoga has benefits for children of every age:
·         Young children (6 and under): Development of body awareness and gross motor movement
·         Children 7-9 years of age: Challenges in strength, agility and endurance
·         Adolescence (10-12 years of age): A place to thrive as their bodies are changing and a safe environment to practice in, as they seek acceptance from peers
·         Teenage years: ”Practice allows for self-study and self-care as well as development of vital intrapersonal and interpersonal skills, such as improved communication skills, which are critically needed at this developmental stage”.
So this month, step out of your comfort zone and take your son or daughter to a yoga class. What a great way to celebrate being healthy with your kids. No judgement. No expectations. Just BE. 
Jen Bazan, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist, and co-owner
TheraCORE, Inc.

Children are always welcome at the yoga classes offered at our Lockport clinic. Classes are every Wednesday evening from 7:30 to 8:30 PM. Namaste!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Spring into outdoor fitness!


Winter is finally releasing its grip on us, the temperature is rising and the days are getting longer. Most of us are tired of being cooped up indoors and have been waiting to go outside and finally start enjoying the nicer weather. The nicer weather means we can take our workouts and exercise programs outside. No longer are we trapped using the treadmill or pedaling on a stationary bike that is heading nowhere!  Being able to go outside opens up our exercise routine to a whole realm of possibilities and creativity.
Why Outdoors?
Because it’s better for our mental health! Studies have shown that exercising outside helps reduce stress levels and depression while improving your mood and level of self-esteem.  We have been spending all winter stuck inside without the benefit of sunlight to give us our Vitamin D. Lack of Vitamin D has been associated with depression and season affective disorder. So get outside and get your medicine!
Because it’s more fun than being inside! The monotony of running/biking in place and staring at the same old thing gets tired. When you are outside, you can feel the distance you are running or walking. There is no better distraction than getting outside to enjoy the fresh air, trees, and people that you may meet. Bring a friend or family member to keep you company. Your workout will seem to fly by.
It is a much more effective workout! If you are a jogger, running over varying terrains, changes in elevation, as well as wind resistance can really up effort level of a 3 mile run. The same reasons go if you are a cyclist as well. Studies show that people tend to work harder when performing an outdoor workout. Get creative! There are all sorts of online sources for exercise ideas and programs to make your outdoor workout fun and effective.
So there are three great reasons to get out there and see what nature has to offer in the way of getting back to a fitter and healthier you.  Now go explore!
Local places to check out!!!
Swallow Cliff Woods: http://fpdcc.com/swallow-cliff/

Ryan Schaul, MPT, CIMT

Friday, March 24, 2017

National Cheer Safety Month


Did you know that March is National Cheer Safety Month?
Let’s face it…if you have daughters’, chances are they love to dance, flip or cheer. Does your son have amazing upper body strength, being able to flip, catch, and balance someone with their hands? Cheerleading used to have a bad rap for high incidences of injuries, however, in January 2016 research showed that cheerleading has the 5th lowest injury rate of 22 high school sports. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ journal PEDIATRICS, Dustin Currie, et al., state that using the last five years of data compiled by the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study (NHSSRIS), injury rates in cheerleading rank 18th out of 22 sports, with an overall injury rate of .71 injuries per 1,000 athlete-exposures.
Do our kids still need to be careful? Absolutely! Common cheer injuries can include: ankle sprains, knee injuries, wrist injuries, low back pain and head injuries (concussions). But these can all be prevented! Do your research!!
Look into the equipment your cheer facility uses. There should be plenty of mats and foam pits to be used when learning new skills.
Research your coaches. Are they experienced? Make sure they are well aware of the current rules and regulations of the sport. There are guidelines, which include restrictions on basket tosses, pyramid heights, and twisting/flipping stunts. Your coaches should be well aware of the restrictions for each age group to maintain overall child safety.
Is your son / daughter healthy? Your child should be healthy both during season and off-season. Make sure a comprehensive well, rounded flexibility and strength program are being implemented year round to avoid overuse injuries. Not sure of where to start? Reach out to our clinic to discuss details further with a licensed physical therapist.
So what happens if your child does get hurt? Or if he or she is complaining of achy pain? That is the perfect time to schedule a complimentary injury screen with one of our physical therapists. We can take your child through a sport specific movement evaluation to determine what movement patterns and functional impairments are present and give the appropriate exercises/stretches to help get them back on track. We will be in constant communication with your coach to help tailor practices to avoid further injury.
Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions regarding injury prevention and/or rehabilitation!
Give me a T-H-E-R-A-C-O-R-E!
Jen Bazan, PT, DPT

Friday, March 10, 2017

National Nutrition Month - Healthy School Lunches



In honor of National Nutrition Month, registered dietitian, Casey Harms, is offering up advice to parents on packing a healthy lunch for your kids - that they will actually want to eat!!

Getting kids to eat nutrition dense food can be quite the feat, especially when the same old sandwich gets boring after just the first week of school. Here are a few tips on how to make healthy lunches enticing and provide all the vitamins and nutrients needed to fuel your kids mind and body.

1.      Listen to your kids’ suggestions; let them pick the fruit or vegetable in their lunch box. If they feel like they have a say in what goes in their lunch they are more likely to eat it!

2.      Take your child shopping with you. There are so many exotic fruits and vegetables in the produce isle, let your child get excited about trying new produce! Let them pick the type of whole-wheat cracker or granola bar that goes in their lunch.

3.       Aim to get at least 3 different food groups (protein, grain, fruit, vegetable, dairy) in your child’s lunch.

4.      Make sure there is high quality protein that will help to keep your child focused and feeling full throughout the day.

5.      Choose low sugar beverages that encourage hydration. Choose something like sugar free crystal light varieties, skim milk, low fat chocolate milk, or dilute 100% fruit juice with sparkling water.

Here are some examples of everyday lunches that go beyond the typical PB&J

o   Nitrate free turkey and cheese on whole wheat crackers.  Celery and Red apple with a side of peanut butter for dipping.

o    Greek yogurt with crunchy topping and side of strawberries. Peanut butter and banana wrapped in whole wheat tortilla.

o   Quesadillas with guacamole and unsalted tortilla chips. Side of crunchy red bell peppers and purple grapes. Sugar free chocolate pudding.

o   Make your own pizza: buy wheat pita bread and cut into small individual sized circles, add a container of pizza sauce and shredded cheese with turkey sausage.  Baby carrots and ranch dressing for dipping.

o   Brown rice with crunchy edamame and shredded chicken mixed with low sodium soy sauce. Sliced pears and chocolate covered raisins for dessert.

YUM!

Casey Harms, RD
TheraCORE, Inc.
nutrition@theracorept.com



Friday, February 24, 2017

CPR Certification




Life is crazy! The days are long and the years are short. We are constantly on the go and never really stop to relax. But it can all change in a minute. You never know what is going to happen in the future. That’s why I think we should all be prepared for emergencies. One of the easiest ways to be prepared for an emergency is to be CPR certified.
CPR…what the heck is that?

In case you don’t know what CPR certification is, (but seriously, have you been living under a rock? But seriously—have you?) it is cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It’s a lifesaving technique people use in emergency situations. The most common emergency is when the heart stops beating and you go into cardiac arrest. There are many causes of cardiac arrest including: heart attack, drug use, an irregular heart rhythm and traumatic injury.
Without the heart beating, blood will stop circulating in the body and breathing will stop too. Without oxygen to the body, cells begin to die. CPR will help to keep oxygenated blood flowing through the body to keep vital organs alive until paramedics or other advanced personal can arrive. Amazing!

Why you should be CPR trained?
1.       Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the US according to the CDC
2.       No negatives!

I’ve never heard anyone say “I should of never got my CPR training”. It’s like an ace in your pocket if you ever see a medical emergency.  I have never personally had to use it (thank GOD!) but I know how to and feel confident in case an emergency should arise. Most cardiac arrest happens at home so having everyone in the home certified increases the chances of survival. Early CPR is key!
It’s easy and anyone can do it

A lot of people probably decide it’s not for them because there are too many steps to do and what if they forget something or maybe even the fact they don’t want to get involved in case they do something wrong. There are different levels of CPR training for different people.
BLS is Basic Life Support and its designed for healthcare providers both pre and in-hospital: think nurses, physical therapists, athletic trainers, dentists, lifeguards etc.

Heart saver is for the general public: think daycare workers, educators, construction workers, office staff, coaches, grandparents, babysitters etc.
If you still are not convinced to get certified I urge you to at least know about the signs of a heart attack and hands only CPR. Hands only CPR has 2 steps:
1.       Call 9-1-1
2.       Push hard and fast in the center of the chest

There is no mouth to mouth breathing involved. Hands only CPR take one minute (yes—I’m serious!) to learn and you can watch the hand-only CPR video here: Hands-Only CPR
Get certified!
Call your local Red Cross or go to the American Heart Associate website to learn more about CPR or register for a course in your area: www.cpr.heart.org

TheraCORE is offering CPR classes this spring so follow-us on social media to get upcoming dates and times of classes.
Now go on and start saving lives!

Rachael Patera, ATC
Office Manager, TheraCORE - Burr Ridge





Friday, February 10, 2017

Youth Baseball - Pitcher Health


How to Keep Your Pitcher’s Arm Healthy

Are you coaching a youth baseball team and want to make sure you keep your pitcher’s arm healthy?  If you are thinking about it then you are already moving in the right direction.  Since I was a pitcher through college, I thought I knew how to properly take care of an arm, but a lot has changed in 20 years.  Luckily, I know some great Physical Therapists at TheraCORE who have helped me understand how to really take care of a young pitcher’s arm.  It really comes down to just three things.



Warm-up, Workload, Rest



Warm-up - When I played baseball, I always threw a baseball to warm up my arm.  I will talk about total throws next under Workload, but if you don’t want to waste a high percentage of your pitcher’s total throws just to get warmed up, then consider using a dynamic warm-up to get your arm and whole body ready to play.  You can also have your pitchers do band exercises to warm up their arms prior to throwing.



Workload – For a while now, most youth leagues have used pitch counts to limit the workload on a young pitcher’s arm.  I have come to learn limiting the total number of throws a player makes in a game or a practice should be used along with pitch counts in order to maintain a healthy arm.  Youth pitchers should limit their total throws to 125 in a day.  If a 10 year old has a max pitch count of 75, think about how quickly he will get to 125 total throws if you include pre-game warm-up throws, pre-game warm-up pitches, in-between inning warm-up pitches and in-game pitches.  You should also take into consideration the number of throws that will be made if he is playing another position during the same day that he pitches.



Rest – If you are coaching a travel baseball team in the Midwest, then the majority of the games your team plays are in weekend tournaments.  It can be a lot of fun to play 4 to 6 games in 2 days, but it can definitely make it tough for a coach to follow the recommended rest guidelines for a pitcher.  Per the guidelines, if a 7 to 14 year old pitcher throws more than 35 pitches on Saturday, then they should not throw any pitches on Sunday.  Winning a youth baseball tournament should never come before the long term health of a young pitcher’s arm.  Remember, proper rest includes taking at least two months off each year from throwing.  Have your kids play a different sport during this time.  It helps to protect their arm and makes them an overall better athlete.



Recommended pitch count/rest - http://m.mlb.com/pitchsmart/pitching-guidelines/


Brad Goebbert, CFO
TheraCORE, Inc.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Sticking to your Resolutions





                  Making resolutions is an easy process. Most people can identify things that they would like to change within their daily lives to improve the way they feel or the way they function to enhance their personal quality of life. Resolutions can really be anything that is trying to promote positive change ranging from eating healthy, working out more, losing weight, reducing stress, maintaining a clean house, garage, or basement, quitting smoking or reducing the amount you drink, and the list goes on and on. Regardless of what your resolution may be, there is one common denominator: sticking to a resolution is difficult. Below are a few quick considerations to take into account when setting your goal.

Know the “Why”

                Dig deep and figure out why you really want this change. Is it for yourself? Your family? Your friends? There needs to be some intrinsic factor that drives this desire to change and in order you’re your resolution to be meaningful you need to understand your driving force. Once you know this, educate yourself about the subject you are changing to help set realistic and manageable goals.

Accountability

                Make your resolution a priority à put it into your schedule! When something is written down it is much less likely to get forgotten or passed over. To skip this task you would have to acknowledge that you are skipping it as you read over it, which is more difficult. Wanting to change is not enough; you have to act on this desire.

                Utilize an accountability partner or group. Tell people what you are doing. This is also a strategy that makes it more difficult for you to back out of a commitment. Let your friends be friends and help you with this difficult endeavor.

Goal Setting

                Make your resolutions concrete or measureable. Without a way to measure your progress there is no way to ensure that you are heading in the right direction.

                Keep a log or track your progress along the way. A visual reminder is a good way to remind you what you have done and what you need to keep doing to get to where you want to go.

                Have long term goals (resolutions), but also create short term goals that are stepping stones to the bigger milestones.

                Have a deadline. Having an end in sight helps to make your resolution seem realistic. Without an endpoint any goal will seem daunting and unattainable. Make sure you know what you are heading towards!

Wager Something

                Making a bet is another way to hold yourself accountable and competition can help fuel consistency. A bet does not have to be money. You can come up with a funny consequence, a material prize, or just put pride on the line with a friend. Find out what motivates you and put it on the line!

Reward Yourself Along the Way

                When you do hit milestones or goals reward yourself! This is a way to make things fun and keep you interested and motivated along the way. These rewards do not have to be huge or detrimental to your goals. Maybe get that pair of workout shorts you have been wanting or see a movie with friends. Just have fun!



Whatever your resolution may be and the “why” behind your motivation for change, myself and the TheraCORE team truly wish you the best in your endeavors.

Good luck and stick to it!



Kyle Kibler, PT, DPT, CSCS