THE SPOOKY SEASON ONE OF THE BEST TIMES OF THE YEAR
October has arrived, and with it comes one of my favorite holidays, Halloween. It’s no secret that fall in Sacramento is nothing short of perfect, and the season truly hits its peak in the month of October. The weather starts to get cooler, the leaves begin to change colors, and rain seems to avoid the city. All of these changes make fall enjoyable, but Halloween is the reigning champion of autumnal fun. While there are plenty of haunted houses to visit and scary movies to watch, Halloween is also a great time for family bonding. My wife and I always try to wear costumes that complement each other, and our kids usually get a kick out of it. Some of our costumes in the past have been popular with the adult crowd, too! It’s still a secret what we’re planning to wear this year, but I’m sure everyone will enjoy it. As our kids have gotten older, the tradition of trick-or-treating has started to fade. Trick-or-treating didn’t happen last year, but I’m hoping this year will be different. We have a great tradition where my brother-in-law puts a speaker in the back of one of our carts and plays festive music while the kids go door-to-door getting candy. There’s also a house we would always go to where they project playoff baseball in the front yard. Hopefully, I’ll get to see the Giants make another run this year. Nonetheless, this experience is one everyone enjoys. Above all else, we try to keep everything light so the kids get the maximum enjoyment during a holiday essentially designed for them. The neighborhood isn’t the only place I enjoy the excitement of Halloween. We also have some great activities planned for the office. Due to the pandemic last year, we weren’t able to do much for Halloween.
To make the event more exciting, we are hosting a costume contest for our staff. Patients will vote for their favorite costume in the office. It’s usually a pretty intense competition since everyone wants to be crowned champion and win the prize. We have one team member who has created a bit of a winning streak, but I know plenty of people planning to dethrone him. We will also be decorating the office this year. You can expect it to look a little bit spookier in Campus Commons during October as we work to get into the spirit of the season. It will be light and fun for everyone, so there’s no need to worry about it being too scary to visit. As you prepare to pass out candy, carve your pumpkin, or pick your costume, remember to have fun! Everyday life can be stressful, and Halloween is a time to let loose and enjoy the festivities. If you’re planning to drive somewhere on Halloween night, watch out for children.
While many costumes are made with reflective materials, others can be difficult to see at night. Halloween can be the most enjoyable holiday
of the year for everyone as long as you participate responsibly.
This year we want to go all out. Historically, our staff has dressed up every year in celebration, and we plan to continue that tradition this year.
The Root of the Maca Root Craze Why Are People Trying This Popular Supplement? The popularity of maca root has exploded in recent years, but many people in the U.S. are still unfamiliar with the supplement and its potential benefits. Whether you’ve heard of maca root before in passing or this is your first time, here’s what you need to know. WHAT IS MACA?
Maca root is considered safe and should not have noticeable side effects with moderate use. However, it has been shown to affect hormone levels, so it’s best to avoid maca if you have thyroid issues or are undergoing any type of hormone treatment. As with any new supplement, pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult their doctors before using. HOW DO YOU USE IT? The optimal dose for medicinal use has not been established, but most studies have tested doses ranging from 1.5–5 grams per day. If you want to incorporate maca into your diet, it’s easy to do through smoothies, oatmeals, and baked goods. You can try some today by picking up powdered maca root at health food stores, online retailers, and some supermarkets.
Maca is grown in the Andes Mountains in Peru and is sometimes referred to as Peruvian ginseng. Maca has an earthy or even nutty flavor and is a common ingredient in Peruvian cuisine. It’s a cruciferous vegetable — like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower — with an edible root but is most commonly dried and consumed in powder form. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS AND RISKS? Preliminary research shows a host of potential benefits. For starters, the plant is highly nutritious, providing high levels of vitamin C, copper, iron, and potassium. There are signs that maca can improve energy levels, mood, learning, and memory. Some reports state that maca can reduce menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and night sweats, as well as reduce blood pressure. There’s even evidence that maca root can block harmful UV rays when applied directly to the skin.
THE EFFECTS OF SMARTPHONES ON OUR FINGERS AND HANDS PREVENTING ‘TEXT CLAW’
Smartphones have quickly become an integral part of our lives. They’ve given us the ability to stay in touch with nearly anyone at any time, play games to reduce boredom, and keep up to date with local and national news. According to eMarketer, the average U.S. adult spends three hours and 43 minutes per day on their mobile devices. That much screen time can damage your eyes, but it can also cause issues with your fingers, hands, and wrists. Many people have complained of finger, hand, and elbow pain stemming from their use of a smartphone. These conditions are now being referred to as “text claw” or “cell phone elbow.” A survey commissioned by O2 showed that in the last five years, 43% of smartphone users have experienced thumb pain, cell phone elbow, or text claw. Text claw is a non-medical term that describes finger cramping and aching muscles that come from gaming, scrolling, and texting on smartphones. Cell phone elbow is a similar sensation but occurs after the elbow is bent for an extended period of time. These terms are also known medically as cubital tunnel syndrome and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Luckily, a couple stretches can help reduce discomfort and improve flexibility.
• The prayer position stretch helps loosen up your wrists and forearms. Put your fingers and palms together with your fingers pointed upward and your elbows pointed outward like you’re praying. Hold this position for 30 seconds or more. • The reverse prayer position stretch will have you remain in the same position as the prayer position, but you will press the backs of your hands together with your fingers facing down instead. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds or more as well. You use your fingers and hands for almost every activity, so it’s essential to take care of them. By performing these stretches before extended cell phone or video game use, you can help prevent more serious conditions.
If you, a family member, or a friend is suffering from finger, hand, or elbow pain, Campus Commons Physical Therapy can help relieve it.
Add Swimming to Your Exercise Routine
IT HELPS YOUR MIND AND BODY
Is there anything better than going for a swim after an exhausting day in the sun? Besides the refreshment, spending time in the water can help you stay fit or work through an injury. You don’t even need to work up a sweat in the pool to feel the benefits of getting in the water. Water presses in on injured areas, which means it can reduce swelling and improve motion. The buoyancy of water reduces impact and stress when exercising, which supports injured muscles and joints during recovery. Water resistance can help you move easier, reduce pain, and even help build muscle strength. The benefits don’t stop there. Swimming is an excellent way to reduce chronic pain. No matter if you prefer freestyle, butterfly, or backstroke, swimming works your back muscles in a consistent fashion. This prevents adding any extra wear and tear to an already sensitive set of muscles.
Swimming is also beneficial outside the obvious uses during physical therapy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that swimming can help improve your mood, decrease anxiety in people with fibromyalgia, and enhance the health of pregnant mothers and their unborn children. Swimming releases endorphins, the natural feel-good hormones that help you experience a greater sense of happiness and well-being. In a 2012 survey conducted by Speedo, 74% of respondents said that swimming helps remove stress and tension. More than a majority of respondents also reported that being in the water helped improve their self-worth, and they felt mentally refreshed afterward. Possibly the biggest challenge with swimming is finding a pool suitable for your needs. While many community centers and gyms have pools designed for swimming laps, others only have community pools
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends swimming or walking in the water to help ease the pain and stress for injuries relating to ligaments, muscles, or tendons.
meant for everyone to simply enjoy the water. Regardless of what type of pool is near you, just getting in the water can benefit your mind and body.
TAKE A BREAK
Slow Cooker Squash, Kale, and Sausage Soup
Inspired by WellPlated.com
This healthy, savory soup is the perfect lunch for a cool fall day.
1 tbsp vegetable oil
• • • • • •
Salt and pepper, to taste 4 cups chicken broth 1 tsp smoked paprika 1 tsp Italian seasoning 3 cups kale, chopped 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 Italian chicken sausages, sliced to bite-size pieces
• • •
6 cloves garlic
1 onion, chopped
6–7 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
DIRECTIONS 1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add sausage and cook 4–5 minutes, stirring often, then remove from the pot and set aside. 2. Add garlic and onion to the pot. Sauté 4–5 minutes. Add squash, salt, and pepper. Sauté 8 minutes. 3. In a slow cooker, combine sautéed vegetables, sausage, chicken broth, and seasonings. Cook on low heat for 3 hours and 30 minutes. 4. Open the pot and add the kale. Cook another 20 minutes, then add the red wine vinegar and stir to combine. Cook 10 more minutes, then serve and enjoy!
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Fun Times During the Spooky Season
Is Maca Root Good for Your Health?
Smartphones and ‘Text Claw’
Why You Should Add Swimming to Your Exercise Routine
Slow Cooker Squash, Kale, and Sausage Soup
Tips for Protecting Your Brain in a Fall
Taking a fall is one of the most common causes of a deadly traumatic brain injury (TBI). This is a pretty scary statistic, considering 1 in 10 adults fall at least once a year, and we all live in a world filled with tripping hazards! Not every fall is deadly, but about 1 in 5 can cause a serious injury. Fortunately, you can do a few things to protect your brain if you feel yourself starting to tumble. The insurance company Lawley recommends these: Try These Tricks to Protect Your Brain!
Tucking your chin and lowering your head
Turning your head to the side if you’re falling face first
• Protecting your head with your arms while keeping your arms and legs bent to spread out the impact (Don’t fall on only your arms or hands — you could break them!) • Trying to land on your side • Relaxing your body • Rolling after impact In addition to TBIs, many falls also cause hip fractures. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports over 800,000 patients are hospitalized because of fall injuries — almost always for TBIs or hip fractures — every single year. To prevent those, try to make sure your floors at home are clutter-free and be careful on ice during winter.
Of course, these techniques are a last resort. Ideally, you should prevent falls long before you feel yourself teetering: Strengthen the muscles that help you balance on your feet, like your core, lower back, and legs with simple home exercises. You can visit NHS.uk/Live-Well/Exercise/Balance- Exercises for an easy visual guide or turn to a physical therapist for help. If you’re young and athletic, you may not need a PT, but physical therapy can be a great option for older adults already experiencing balance problems or people recovering from an illness or injury. In these cases, it’s best to work with a professional to ensure you don’t hurt yourself in your quest for better balance! They’ll create a customized treatment plan for you, which will protect you from overdoing it.
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