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TEACHING WORDS OF HOPE
My heartfelt prayers go out to the families that have lost someone to this virus, and to those that have suffered and will suffer physically, emotionally, and financially. Just as a muscle grows stronger when force is applied to it, so will our resolve grow stronger from the pressures this virus has
it happens in their student and push the kids to reinforce this message over and over until it is solid in the child’s mind. The hope should be that this lessons sticks with them into adulthood. And if it is continuously reinforced, then it might just last your entire life.
put on us. I was going to cancel this article because of the happenings in the world today, but I decided to run it because I think it says what we need to hear. It may not be the biggest holiday on the calendar, but I couldn’t let National Teacher’s Day pass us by without comment. Educators play such a vital role in shaping our children’s lives, and sadly it’s often a thankless job. The recent health crisis put many teachers to the test as they had to adapt to the challenges of remote coursework. But while these new, virtual classrooms may be wildly different from what we experienced growing up, I believe the core of what defines a good teacher has remained the same: the power to show kids their own potential. What I mean by this is that the best teachers understand their job isn’t to get students to a particular destination but rather to give them the encouragement they need to make the journey themselves. The overarching lesson, no matter the subject, should be “you can do it.” Once a student internalizes this fact, they are set up for long term success — not just in the class but also in life. When a student works at something and begins to see improvement, a light bulb goes on. This is a glimmer of hope, proof that their studies and practice are making a difference. It’s an affirmation of what their teacher has been telling them the whole time: “I can.” These are the two most important words a child can learn. Good teachers feel this when
I was lucky enough to have some great teachers and coaches through my school years — but the one teacher who made the biggest difference was my mother. She would often tell me, “You can do anything you set your mind to.” I’m not sure at what point this mantra got locked into my mind, but it’s become a defining part of my outlook on life. Now I do my best to pass on this lesson to my patients and other people in my life. “I can” are the two most powerful words in physical therapy. They’re fuel for when the going gets tough. These words of hope keep a patient moving toward a healthier life with better balance, more strength, and pain free movement. I know it can be tough to see the light at the end of the tunnel sometimes, especially when full rehabilitation feels far away. But don’t focus on that end goal. Draw your attention to the progress you are making in the present, and you’ll see you can reach your goals. Set a small goal you really want to achieve, and then go and work at it until it comes true. Don’t stop until you reach it. Then you’ll be ready to say “I can” for the next goal, and then the next, and so on.
I know you can do it. Don’t give up. Stay the course and you will be stronger on the other side.
–Dr. Robert Morea 718.747.2019 ▪ THEPTDOCTOR.COM ▪ 1
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P R AC T I C E P A I N R E L I E F THE BENEFITS OF MEDITATION
Meditation has different meanings for different people. Traditionally, the act of focusing one’s mind has been used in religious and
modern technology has given researchers the means to accurately measure the effectiveness of this age-old tradition. The Department of Health and Human Services has cited
spiritual practices around the globe. More recently, it’s become a popular method of relaxation. Now, new research shows that this ancient practice may have yet another benefit: pain management. In 2008, the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey found that over 100 million adults in the U.S. suffer from chronic pain due to conditions like arthritis and debilitating injuries. Because of this, care providers have become focused on finding ways to help patients manage these persistent aches. The sensation of pain is caused by a complex interaction of biological and cognitive factors, leading scientists to study how mental exercises like meditation can aid in pain relief.
MRI brain scans as proof that meditation can lead to moderate pain reduction. These scans revealed that the same areas of the brain stimulated by painkillers are activated when the mind is in a meditative state. This supports the accounts of those who have reported better functionality after meditative sessions.
With the ongoing tragedy of the opioid crisis, there is a dire need for pain management
strategies that are noninvasive and not habit-forming, such as physical therapy.
Meditation is easily accessible and can be used in conjunction with other pain relief strategies. Whether you sign up for guided meditation sessions, download one of the many mindfulness apps on the market today, or simply make time to sit and clear your mind for 30 minutes, it’s easy to add meditation to your normal routine.
Anecdotal evidence regarding meditation’s ability to reduce pain has existed for as long as the practice itself. However,
MEET CYCLING LEGEND LAEL WILCOX
Picture the distance between Oregon and Virginia on a U.S. map. Now, picture crossing that distance on a bicycle. Odds are you either can’t imagine it or you conjured up a monthslong slog, but in 2016, ultra-endurance cyclist Lael Wilcox crossed that distance in just 18 days and 10 minutes — the second-fastest time in the history of the Trans Am Bike Race. As hard as it is to believe, the 4,200 mile stretch from Astoria, Oregon, to Yorktown, Virginia, is actually a racecourse. Every June, roughly 50–100 cyclists undertake the journey, pedaling through a total of 10 states. It’s an insane obstacle course of cars, mountains, and weather events that riders go through alone, without required checkpoints or designated rest periods. When Wilcox won the Trans Am in 2016, she became the first woman and the first American ever to do so. According to NPR, the victory came down to a combination of endurance and luck. In the final days of the race, she was in second place behind Steffan Streich when exhaustion sent him pedaling out of Bumpass, Virginia, in the wrong direction. When the two met on the road at 3 a.m., a panicked Streich turned around and sprinted neck and neck with Wilcox toward the finish. After a few miles, she pulled ahead and won. In response to those who said a woman could never win the Trans Am, Wilcox told NPR, “If you beat ‘em, you beat ‘em. That’s what happens. And then everybody has to change the way they think.” THE WOMAN WHO RACED 4,200 MILES IN 18 DAYS AND WON
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Wilcox, even more than her 2016 win, is that she didn’t start cycling until she was 20 years old, when her boyfriend at the time gave her a bike. Since then, she’s competed all over the world, logging a total of 100,000 miles in 35 countries. When she’s isn’t racing, Wilcox encourages teenage girls to try cycling with scholarships and group events. In November 2019, she even starred in “I Just Want to Ride,” a 38-minute film following her quest to win the 2019 Tour Divide Race. To learn more about the film and what makes Wilcox tick, visit LaelWilcox.com.
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UNLOCK YOUR SPICE POTENTIAL!
Indian food is a dream cuisine for many plant-based, vegetarian, and vegan eaters, but it can seem very intimidating to cook at home. That’s only because you may not be familiar with the cooking techniques used to make it. How do you make the most of your spices? How do you combine vegetables (and/or meat) with the spices? Here are two techniques to get your favorite Indian dishes The Techniques Behind Making Excellent Indian Food Add whole spices (cumin, cloves, cardamom, peppercorns, curry leaves, dried pepper, etc.) to oil and fry until fragrant. That’s it! The spices infuse the oil with flavor, and the roasting further develops the spice. You can temper spices at the beginning of a recipe, like a curry, before adding other ingredients, or you can stir it into a dish right at the end, like dal or stew. Every Indian household has a different version of tarka dal, which is essentially prepared lentils with a tempered oil and spice mixture stirred into it. This technique jazzes up any Indian dish, and getting creative with spice combinations is half the fun! BHUNAO (SAUTÉING AND ROASTING) In order to understand how to bhunao, you need to be familiar with masala, an Indian spice mixture that has been ground into a powder or paste. Most commonly, masalas are a combination of onion, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, and spices. However, masala ingredients can vary according to region and personal preference, but you can find some version of it on the spice aisle of most grocery stores. tasting as authentic as those served at a restaurant. BAGHAR/TARKA (TEMPERING) To bhunao, start by heating oil. Then you add your masala and cook over medium-high heat. As the water in the masala evaporates, it’ll stick to the pan; use splashes of water, yogurt, or stock to loosen it and prevent burning. Do not let your masala burn! Your masala has been “bhunaoed” once it’s thick and shiny and you can see the oil has separated. Finally, add meat and vegetables and cook down to your liking. This is the most important technique for recreating Indian curries, such as tikka masala and korma. Now that you know a few Indian cooking techniques, be creative in the kitchen! When you’re not following a recipe, you can have fun and explore different flavor combinations while still knowing exactly what to do.
Recipe of the Month:
Inspired by The Kitchn
Your entree is only as good as the seasonings and sauces that accompany it. We guarantee you’ll be looking for excuses to pair this vegan avocado mayonnaise with all your meals!
2 ripe avocados
1 tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tsp chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1. In a food processor, blend avocados, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and salt for 1 minute. 2. Scrape the mixture down the sides of the bowl. 3. Turn the processor on again and slowly pour in olive oil. 4. Blend for 1 minute or until smooth.
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INSIDE Words of Hope
Meditation and Pain Relief Meet the Woman Who Biked 4,200 Miles in 18 Days Avocado Mayonnaise The Secrets of Indian Food Should You Skip Your Workout if You’re Sick?
Getting sick is terrible, especially if you’re trying to stick to a consistent workout routine. You may think sickness means more rest days — but in fact, depending on your symptoms, continuing to exercise could be a good thing. While it may seem like common sense to avoid exerting yourself too much when you’re feeling under the weather, the effects of exercising while you’re sick are a bit more nuanced than you think. If you’re sick and trying to decide if you should try to get a workout in, assess where you feel your symptoms. Are they only above the neck? Or are they above and below the neck? Symptoms of a head cold, such as a runny nose, a mildly sore throat, and some congestion, shouldn’t keep you from exercising. At the very worst, you might just have to cut back the intensity of your workout. If you usually go for a run, try decreasing the time of your run or going for a walk instead. There’s actually evidence that exercise can help alleviate symptoms located above the neck when you’re sick. For instance, walking and jogging can help clear up congested nasal passages. Many runners will attest to the fact that their workout actually helps them feel better when they’re sick. There’s also evidence that yoga can boost your immune SHOULD YOU SKIP YOUR WORKOUT IF YOU DON’T FEEL WELL? WH Y S OME E X E RC I S E I S B E N E F I C I A L WH E N YOU ’ R E S I CK
system and ease aches related to sinus issues. Saying “om” might even help too, as one study found humming could actually aid in opening clogged sinuses. If you have a fever or any type of stomach problem, however, you should skip your workout altogether. And if your workouts seem to exacerbate your sickness, take a break until the sickness subsides. That said, it’s nice to know that it takes more than a little case of the sniffles to throw off your workout routine!
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