Thursday, December 5, 2013

Winter is here!

It’s getting to be that time of year again…

     As the weather gets colder and my husband works later I am beginning to think about how I will have to start shoveling snow in the very near future. This may be a good thing since my workouts have been getting less and less with work, the girls, and well; it seems like just about everything.

      I was reading this study in the Journal of the American Medical Association about the demands of shoveling heavy snow on the cardiovascular system. They observed 10 healthy men (average age of 32) who completed 10 minutes of manual shoveling. Heart rates were then compared to these same men after performing a max arm cycling test and a max treadmill test. At the 10 minute mark of manual shoveling, the average heart rate of the participants was at approximately 97% of their max heart rates!

     Another source I read stated that on average a person who weighs 200 pounds can burn over 400 calories when shoveling heavy snow for 30 minutes!
Now that I know exactly how taxing it is on the cardiovascular system, I just wanted to post a few tips to help all of us perform this activity safely.

1    1.    It’s important to warm up before shoveling snow. This may sound silly, but this can’t be looked at as a chore, it needs to be looked at as high intensity exercise. Walk around a little bit to loosen up the muscles and get the blood flowing. Do a few planks, wall push-ups and some stretches for your legs so your body is ready for the high demand you are going to place on it. Then stretch out afterward before you run in for your hot chocolate!

2     2.    Lift correctly!! Bending incorrectly, twisting, or carrying heavy loads of snow can lead to back and hamstring injuries. Make sure to always use your legs when lifting snow and tighten your lower abdominal muscles. Keep the shovel as close to your body as possible and when you go to throw the snow away, use your quads and butt muscles to extend your legs instead of your back. Don’t twist!!

3     3.    Don’t try to lift heavier loads of snow than you can handle. Instead, take lighter loads, practice using your stomach and leg muscles to enhance your workout. It may add 15 minutes to your snow shoveling time, but it will prevent future low back injuries in the long run.

     So I am trying hard to stop being annoyed at the falling snow, but instead look at all the fitness benefits it can offer me. Remember, snow shoveling is a high – intensity workout that can raise heart rate and blood pressure higher than treadmill running, so be safe. I may even find my Christmas spirit and help out my neighbor….then I can afford to eat a few more Christmas cookies!

    Remember, both TheraCORE locations offer complimentary injury screenings, don't hesitate to call and make an appointment.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Physical Therapist Does Physical Therapy

Well, I can honestly say that I have a whole new outlook on physical therapy.  I’ve had my share of sports injuries in the past, but recovering from double hip surgery has been as eye opening experience!  Not only did I have to physically slow down and let me body recover, but mentally I had to realize that I could not do everything I used to.   Being a compliant patient is not as easy as I thought!

I had these surgeries to relieve hip pain and lack of motion that had been bothering me for at least 10 years.  As many of you know, I played basketball most of my life and the combination of having a narrow, deep hip socket as well as the repetitive motion of defensive slides led to chronic impingement at my hip.  This caused bony lesions at the joint and basically destroyed my labrum, which is the padding in the hip socket.  The first surgery I had by Dr. Domb was an arthroscopic debridement of the lesions and labrum, and in the second surgery (a week later) my hamstring tendon was used to reconstruct my labrum.

I then spent (almostJ) 6 weeks on crutches with only 20 lbs of weight on my left leg.  I’ve been biking 1-2 hours/ day and attending PT 3x/week.  While our philosophy at TheraCORE is to try not to “share” patients and keep them with their one therapist each visit, I have had the opportunity of working with each one of our PT’s.  I had prehab with Cara at our Westmont facility where she kicked my butt strengthening my core and decreasing tightness in my hip muscles!  I can honestly say I thought I was in shape, but if I did not do those workouts before surgery, my recovery would not have been this quick and painless.   Since surgery, I have worked with Jen, Heather and Ryan at our Lockport facility.  I have truly enjoyed experiencing their various treatment methods and the creativity they have shown in my rehab as patience is not my strong suit!

I am now able to walk without crutches, drive, climb stairs and started back treating patients this week.  It will still be some time before I can run, jump or play basketball.  But, I’m starting to realize that I may not actually be a runner and maybe my basketball days are over.  I think I’ll start practicing what I preach and take up biking, swimming and pilates! 
- Amy Goebbert, PT, DPT

Monday, September 2, 2013

Is Yoga Right for Me?

Yoga Reduces Stiffness and Improves Mobility
Have you been thinking of doing yoga but are reluctant because you’re not sure if it’s right for you?  Intimidated by the pictures of skinny, flexible women on magazine covers, or walking out of the hot yoga class at the gym?  I hear ya!

Much of yoga in recent years has been marketed as a fitness routine for folks who are already fit and flexible.  While those classes certainly exist, I assure you that yoga is so much more than that.  If you look around at gyms, yoga studios, physical therapy offices, senior centers, community centers, beaches, schools, etc., you will find yoga classes geared towards seniors, kids, pregnant women, heavy folks, guys, athletes, moms, folks with cranky backs, stiff knees, and the list goes on and on.  Yoga is truly for ANYONE who is able to move, breathe and focus their attention.  Yoga is a practice of self-care, and there are classes that range from gentle to challenging.  The trick is finding a style, teacher and level of intensity that is right for you.  It’s out there.  It just takes a little shopping.

Remember that yoga isn't just about getting in shape.  It’s about learning to take care and give yourself what you need both on and off the yoga mat to give yourself the best chance at a healthy and happy life.  Yoga asks us to start to pay attention to the body and how it feels.  Often, because of past habits or life’s obligations, we set aside our own well being.  This neglect can often become habitual.  Yoga gives us an opportunity to carve out some time for ourselves, to break those unhealthy habits and set ourselves on a path to wellness.

If you are considering taking a class but are just not sure, don’t be shy about asking questions.  Ask how many years of experience the teacher has.  Ask where and when they received their teaching certifications.  Ask if the teacher has experience teaching someone with your condition.  If you find yourself in a class that is beyond your ability, it’s okay.  Don’t treat the teacher’s instruction like it’s an order.  Give yourself permission to back off the postures that feel unsafe.  Ask the teacher to help you find a variation that feels more comfortable.

The yoga class that meets on Wednesday nights at TheraCORE is gentle, with challenges appropriate for students’ varied abilities. Feel free to email me at  I’d be happy to answer any questions you have about yoga in general or the class at ThereaCORE in particular.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

8 Hydrating Foods to Eat While Training in Hot Weather

Two gallons. That's about how much water a hard-pedaling cyclist should guzzle on a hot day, according to the Institute of Medicine. The good news: You don't have to mainline H2O to fill up. Top off your tank with foods that are high in water, says Tara Gidus, RD, an Orlando-based sports dietitian. Reach for these waterlogged foods to take a bite out of your thirst.


Blueberries: These gems contain up to 92 percent water and are rich in anthocyanins, which give them their deep hues and reduce post-workout inflammation and joint pain.


Melon: Made up of 90 percent water, melon is an ideal recovery snack. It replaces glycogen stores quickly, says David Grotto, RDN, author of The Best Things You Can Eat.


Soup: It contains sodium, the most important electrolyte to replace. Choose brothy varieties or one with vegetables, which offer nutrients to round out the electrolyte mix.


Grains: As they cook, grains such as quinoa, rice, and oatmeal soak up water, which your body absorbs during digestion. Oatmeal's soluble fiber also sucks up cholesterol.


Sweet Peppers: At 92 percent water, these are among the most hydrating of all vegetables. They're also packed with vitamins C (one red bell pepper has 253 percent of your daily value) and A.


Lettuce: Iceberg leads the pack at 96 percent water, but other varieties, such as romaine, are more nutritious and nearly as aqueous.


Cucumber: A cuke is as water-rich as lettuce, and its peel contains silica, which promotes elasticity in joints, skin and fingernails.


Celery: At 95 percent water, it's low in calories and high in fiber, both of which can aid in calorie management.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Pain in the Backpack

My daughter has been complaining about her back bothering her intermittently throughout the school year. It seems to become worse as she gets more school work. I tell her she needs to use both straps to carry her backpack, especially when it is heavy. She won’t because it is, “not cool”. Is this going to do long term harm to her body?
~Just Another Concerned Parent

Just Another Concerned Parent,
Unfortunately most kids only use one strap and it is always the same side, which is why they begin to complain about back pain as the school year progresses. By habitually carrying your backpack over the same shoulder, the body has to compensate for the uneven weight resulting in muscle imbalances, strains, spasms and low back pain. The natural curve of the middle and low back is altered, which affects the alignment of the rib cage causing posture to be changed. This can also lead to problems with the neck and shoulder. She may benefit from physical therapy in order to work on postural re-education and core stabilization. This will improve not only her standing posture, but her sitting posture as well which will help her prevent injury as she gets older. You are absolutely correct in telling your daughter to use both straps of her back pack.  This will not only promote proper posture and decrease short term back pain, but it will prevent back issues in the future.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Exercising With Allergies

Exercising with Allergies
If you have allergies like I do, then you know that living with them is not any fun. Exercising when my allergies are acting up…even less fun.
With that being said, I didn't want to stop exercising, so I had to do a little research and spent a little time adjusting my workouts to make it through the tough allergy season.

I became an expert on tracking the high pollen days and limited my outdoor exercise on bad days. Working out indoors can be just as fun. If you are doing so in your own home, use an air purifier to help remove as many pollen spores as possible. If working out inside isn't an option for you, train later in the day on those peak pollen days. Pollen counts typically spike between 5 and 9 am. A side note for people with grass allergies: people are less likely to mow their lawns in the early morning or late evening, so go out for your run then!

You can also use prescription or over-the-counter allergy medications before you exercise. Before you do this, check with your doctor. Some people get relief with a medicine such as Claritin, this helps me on my bad congestion days.

If you are feeling really bad, do not exercise. Your immune system is more likely to react severely to allergens when you’re tired, sick or overly stressed. It is better to take a rest day when you feel bad than to strain yourself.

If you exercise outdoors, change your clothes and shower as soon as possible to remove allergens from your skin and hair.

Your body produces extra adrenalin while exercising which temporarily lowers your body’s allergic response, so get out there and work out…just don’t’ forget to check your pollen counts first!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

New Westmont Location

Announcing the opening of TheraCORE's second physical therapy clinic located at:
350 East Ogden Avenue
Suite 200
Westmont, IL 60559
630-908-7430 (4 photos)