Physical Therapy Doctor - June 2020

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June 2020

ON THE

MOVE

OFFERING A HELPING HAND

Hopefully by the time this newsletter finds its way to your mailbox, things are starting to get back to normal. I’m picturing people out walking in the streets again, some businesses opening up a bit, and maybe even whole conversations going by without the words “coronavirus” or “social distancing” being used. That really would be the dream! We’re not quite there yet, though, so for now, I thought I’d give you a look at what these last few crazy months have been like for me and mine. First, I want to say I’ve been really lucky through this pandemic. So far, my family has stayed healthy and safe, and even my kids aren’t going too stir-crazy, which is miraculous for two teenage boys. I’m not going to lie, it’s not so easy having a 14- and 16-year-old home all day, every day for weeks on end. But overall, I think Michael and Matthew have adapted really well to the whole thing. My biggest complaint is that they’ve been working out so much that they’ve bumped me out of my own home gym! Maybe I should be more upset about the thievery, but as a physical therapist, I can’t help but be proud, too. Exercise is a great outlet, and it’s good to see them getting stronger. Plus, I still manage to sneak in an hourlong workout every evening. That ritual, my work at the clinic, and my 15-minute Wim Hof breathing routine each morning have been keeping me both busy and sane through this. If you haven’t tried one of Wim’s breathing exercises yourself, I’d really encourage you to try it out. It’s a great way to boost your energy and your immune system because it floods your body with a lot of oxygen. When I can pry the boys away from the gym, it’s usually a Saturday. We’ll take a long bike ride down the Boulevard, grab a frozen yogurt from Red Mango (with proper precautions, of course), and chat away the afternoon. Then, we’ll head home and chow down on some of the amazing food my wife, Maria, has been cooking. With the boys both still growing and working out constantly, there has been a big demand for food in our house lately. That has kept Maria busy, even though she misses her job at our local middle school. When she complains to me that the boys are always hungry, I just give her this helpful piece of encouragement: “Just wait until they’re 18 or 19!” Usually, I get an eye roll or a death glare in response.

Of course, through all of this, my second home has been my clinic where I’ve been working around the clock. For a while, I was wearing all the hats — treating patients, working the front desk, and manning the phones — but I’ve been able to bring back a few of my staff members now; I couldn’t be happier. We’re taking precautions to make our facility as safe as possible. We’ve moved half of our tables out to make sure the ones we do have are 6 feet apart, we’re taking everyone’s temperatures when they come in, we’re washing our hands and wearing masks, and we’re regularly wiping down the whole clinic with our hospital-grade germicidal cleaner.

Everything we’re doing at the clinic is aimed at making things easier for

people because we know times are tough. We’re open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to ensure no one who needs us goes untreated during this pandemic. As our way of pitching in to help the community, we’re also donating funds to Feeding America to provide meals for people who are food insecure. If you’d like to contribute, just let me know when you call in or stop by. Every dollar provides 10 meals, so even a single buck goes a long way!

Wishing you safety and good health,

–Dr. Robert Morea

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F E E L I NG R E N EWE D A T AN Y AGE 2 WAYS TO REVIVE YOUR LIFE THIS SUMMER

PAY ATTENTION TO MENTAL HEALTH.

If the mercurial spring weather has prevented you from getting out as much as you would have liked these past few months, you might be feeling a bit of cabin fever about now. Luckily, you can still introduce positive changes to your life that help you feel healthier and younger. Here are two ways to awaken your body and mind. ADOPT A NEW ACTIVITY. As you get older, it’s not uncommon to drift further from the lifestyle you had in your 20s and 30s. Things have settled down, and you know a bit more about who you are, what you enjoy, and what you’re capable of. With this better understanding, you can make choices more aligned with your true interests and personality. Think about getting involved with a new activity you may have always wanted to try but never had the chance, like yoga or even a video game. Trying out new things keeps your brain active. You may even discover a new favorite activity along the way!

Although more years provide more experience and knowledge, sometimes they also come with heavy baggage. The loss of a loved one, trauma, and other struggles can impact your life in later years. This is why it’s good to practice mindfulness.

Take some time to focus on the present. Go for a walk and listen to the world

around you, feel the fresh air against your skin, fill your lungs, and take in everything you can see. Meditation is also a good way to spend a few minutes to focus on your body in the moment and the things in life that make you happy. Practices like these can help you feel lighter, both physically and emotionally.

Growing older doesn’t mean you can’t feel renewed and positive. This isn’t just an impossible idea — it’s a reality.

KEEP YOUR BRAIN YOUNG

As we age, our bodies change, including our mental functions. Cognitive decline is one of the biggest fears of aging, but it’s not inevitable. Though we’re still learning new things about how our brains work, there’s a lot of scientific research that shows how to keep your brain young. If you want to keep your mind sharp throughout your lifetime, then follow this advice from Harvard Medical School. 1. GET A GOOD WORKOUT. Exercising regularly helps all the muscles and organs in your body, even your brain! A good workout can lower your blood pressure and improve your cholesterol levels, which help your brain and your heart. Harvard Health Publishing, a website of Harvard Medical School, also notes that “animals who exercise regularly increase the number of tiny blood vessels that bring oxygen-rich blood to the region of the brain that is responsible for thought.” 2. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR MENTAL HEALTH. Poor mental health can lead to impaired cognitive function. Chronic anxiety, depression, and exhaustion tend to cause low scores on cognitive function tests. But test scores aren’t necessarily a sign of future cognitive decline, and Harvard Health Publishing urges readers to maintain good mental health and get restful sleep, as they are “certainly important goals” for improving cognitive function and overall well-being. 3 TIPS FOR GOOD BRAIN HEALTH FROM HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL

3. STAY CONNECTED. It’s not enough to focus on yourself. In order to maintain your long-term cognitive health, you should also focus on your connections with other people. According to Harvard Health Publishing, “Strong social ties have been associated with a lower risk of dementia, as well as lower blood pressure and longer life expectancy.” Make new friends, stay in touch with family members, and maintain positive relationships in your life. They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is certainly true when it comes to your brain health. Do what you can today to protect your mental functions tomorrow.

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SUDOKU

DO YOUR HOMEWORK!

Why Your At-Home Physical Therapy Exercises Matter for Healing

Solution

Seeking rehabilitation through physical therapy can be one of the wisest choices you make for your health, well-being, and life. But committing to a physical therapy routine is much more than just showing up for your appointments.

Your at-home workout, or home exercise program, is just as important.

Working out may seem counterproductive to healing, but your home exercise program is designed specifically for your ailments. Your physical therapist will tailor an exercise routine for you and teach you the moves while offering specific advice and providing tools to guide you through each movement. If you can commit to doing your home exercise program on a regular basis, then you may just reap the benefit of healing faster. Think about it this way: Physical therapy heals through movement, yet you typically do not see your physical therapist for this healing movement every single day. While rest is vital to the healing process, continuing to keep your joints limber, moving, and functioning at their best is also key! So, by sticking to your home exercise program, you are effectively supplementing the extensive care your therapist provides for you at each appointment. Additionally, doing your at-home routine while you are in physical therapy prepares you for life after this therapy ends. As much as we love seeing you at your appointments, you’re bound to return to the real world and not see us quite as often. That is the goal, after all! But in order to continue a healthy lifestyle, you have to continue moving your joints and body in a healthy way. Your at-home exercises are a great first step, and your therapist can offer progressions to continue challenging you when those moves become second nature to you and your body. Like many things in life, physical therapy comes with a need for dedication, but any physical therapist’s goal is to make this process as easy for you as possible. If you’re struggling to commit to your at-home exercises or if you need additional instruction, talk to your therapy team. We can help you gain the confidence you need to crush those at-home exercises and get you back to the activities you love.

Recipe of the Month:

Inspired by RabbitAndWolves.com

VEGAN BLT SALAD

INGREDIENTS

• • • • • • • •

1/2 tbsp liquid smoke 1 tbsp maple syrup

• • • • • •

1/2 cup water 2 tsp agave

5 tbsp soy sauce (or tamari), divided

2 tsp nutritional yeast Salt and pepper, to taste

1 cup coconut flakes 15 oz extra-firm tofu

Lettuce of choice

1/2 cup cherry or sun-dried tomatoes

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

2–3 cloves garlic

Croutons (optional)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat oven to 350 F. 2. To make the “bacon” bits: In a large bowl, combine liquid smoke, maple syrup, and 1 tbsp of soy sauce (or tamari) and completely coat coconut flakes with the mixture. 3. On a prepared baking sheet, spread out the coated coconut flakes in a single layer. 4. Bake for 10–15 minutes or until the flakes are crispy. Let cool. 5. To make the dressing: In a blender, add tofu, coconut oil, garlic, 4 tbsp soy sauce (or tamari), apple cider vinegar, water, agave, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth. 6. In a large bowl, toss the lettuce, tomatoes, croutons, “bacon” bits, and dressing. 7. Serve chilled.

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718.747.2019

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INSIDE Offering a Helping Hand

How to Feel Renewed at Any Age Harvard’s Tips to Keep Your Brain Young Vegan BLT Salad Why a Home Exercise Program Is Vital to Healing Battle Your Friends and Get Healthier With These 3 Platforms

Through smartphone apps like Words With Friends and 8 Ball Pool, you can compete against your loved ones from virtually anywhere, and creators in the fitness world have taken notice. Now, a number of virtual fitness programs offer the same level of friendly competition along with the satisfaction of completing your fitness goals. Below are three platforms to get you started! VIRTUAL RUN EVENTS With all the excitement of a footrace and no crowd to deal with, Virtual Run Events brings 1-mile, 5K, 10K, half-marathon, and full marathon races to you. Racers choose a distance to run around their neighborhood, on the treadmill, or at the park, and their friends and family compete in the very same races wherever they happen to be. As a bonus, proceeds from a number of these events also support nonprofit organizations. Visit VirtualRunEvents.com to sign up for a race and lace up your shoes wherever you are. DIETBET, STEPBET, AND RUNBET Looking for a little extra motivation to meet your health and fitness goals? Try involving money and a little friendly competition. DietBet, StepBet, GAME ON! 3 P L A T F ORMS F OR COMP E T I NG ON L I N E AND CR U S H I NG YOU R F I T N E S S GOA L S

and RunBet ask each user to place monetary bets on their ability to achieve various wellness goals. You can also challenge your friends and family to place bets and stay motivated together. All the money is placed into a pot, and when you complete your goal, you get your money back. Some users say they’ve even made a profit! Search for DietBet, StepBet, and RunBet in your app store and get started. FITOCRACY Calling all gamers! This is the fitness platform just for you. Invented by gamers, Fitocracy tracks fitness achievements and rewards users as if they were playing a video game. With quests, badges, and multiplayer gaming options, you’ll be motivated to work hard for your goals. Connect with new online friends or invite your loved ones to join you on Fitocracy. It doesn’t get much better than dueling friends or family in a classic one- on-one wellness competition! Learn more at Fitocracy.com.

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