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:

Ryan Schaul, MPT, CIMT