ON ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE KID DAY AND EVERY OTHER DAY, TOO CELEBRATING MY INCREDIBLE KIDS
Parenthood is full of uncertainty, life lessons, and blessings. I’ve been a parent for over 17 years now, and throughout that time, in many different ways, I’ve always just strived to provide the best possible childhood I can for my kids. It’s rarely easy, and it doesn’t always work the way you hope it will, so I’m grateful that my kids continue to grow and develop into incredible young people. Since March 18 is Absolutely Incredible Kid Day, I figured why not talk about my kids and some of the lessons I’ve learned from being a parent? I have three kids — all teenagers. A lot of people respond to that fact with something along the lines of “oof, good luck,” but when it comes to my particular three teenagers, raising them hasn’t been that difficult or frustrating at all. My kids aren’t perfect, that’s for sure, but the mistakes they make seem far from some of the horrors of raising teenagers that have been described to me. My oldest daughter, Emily, is 17 years old. She’s a super talented cross- country and track runner. She’s incredibly independent and self-reliant, kind of like me, but she also has the fun, outgoing personality of her mother. So, I think she got the best of both of us. Kaylee, my second-oldest daughter, is 15 years old. She’s incredibly driven and knows what she wants out of life. She wants to open her own skin care business when she grows up. I don’t know that I was that clear on what I wanted to do when I was 15! When it comes to sports, she does a little bit of everything, running cross-country and playing soccer and softball. “PARENTHOOD IS FULL OF UNCERTAINTY, LIFE LESSONS, AND BLESSINGS. I’VE BEEN A PARENT FOR OVER 17 YEARS NOW, AND THROUGHOUT THAT TIME, IN MANY DIFFERENT WAYS, I’VE ALWAYS JUST STRIVED TO PROVIDE THE BEST POSSIBLE CHILDHOOD I CAN FOR MY KIDS”
My son, Ryan, just recently turned 13 years old. When he was born, it brought a little bit of balance to the house just by his being a boy. I wasn’t so outnumbered by all the women in the house. He’s grown into quite the goofball, and he’s not shy about much. Another athlete in the family as he plays baseball, football and basketball. Like his dad, he isn’t one to waste words. If you ask him how his day was, he’ll say, “Fine,” and that’s that, not much detail generally.
I’ve always considered it a sign that we’re doing something right when it’s not just my wife and I who have a high opinion of our kids. We’re always hearing great things about them from their coaches, teachers, and other parents. Even though my kids have wildly different personalities, they’re all great students. I have no doubt their diligence will take them to great places as they get older. At this point in time, my wife and I are more like guides to them than anything. We treat them as young adults, providing structure and guidelines while showing them enough to have that independence. Nevertheless, with our oldest moving on to college shortly, we want to take as many opportunities as we can to spend time with them. We’re always most comfortable when all our kids are with us, even if it’s just to watch a movie together on our big living room couch. Ultimately family is our No. 1 priority in life, but we are grateful to own and operate our own physical therapy clinic. While stressful and time consuming at times, it has also given us the flexibility to be there for all our kids’ sports and other activities. We’ve not only been able to raise three incredible kids but also be present for much of their growth — and that’s a huge blessing.
LAUGH MORE, AGE LESS WHY LAUGHTER IS GOOD FOR YOU
As we age, we’re told to wear sunscreen, eat more vegetables, take vitamins, and even walk more — all in hope that our internal clocks will slow down and we will age better. But something as simple as laughter could actually be one of the easiest ways to slow the ticking clock of aging. Scientists have long known that laughter can be therapeutic and help us live longer. It has been shown to reduce wear and tear on our bodies and improve our relationships. A Norwegian study found that those who prioritized humor were more likely to live past 70 than those who didn’t laugh often. At a biological level, laughter can reduce tension in your muscles and activate a powerful stress-relief response from your brain by releasing dopamine. Just one chuckle may even improve your breathing and heart function! In fact, laughing can work wonders for the heart. One study showed that laughter therapy helped reduce the blood pressure and cholesterol levels of its participants. Their
blood circulation improved, too. Studies have also found that regular laughter can help strengthen your immune system, and it has long-term benefits for those with respiratory conditions. In addition to your body, laughter is also good for your social life. (And we don’t mean that people will want to spend time with you if you have all the good jokes!) Throughout history, laughter has been an evolutionary sign of understanding. When there are language barriers, laughing together can create camaraderie and a tighter bond between people of different cultures. The dopamine release that comes with laughter aids in stress relief and creates powerful memories that can improve your mood and strengthen friendships. Of course, laughter has its downfalls, too. Laughing at someone else’s expense is detrimental to their health and can harm your relationships. So, stick to light jokes and actively seek shows, cartoons, or people who make you laugh. You’ll feel good, and your body will be pretty happy, too.
MAKING YOUR OWN LUCK
IN PHYSICAL THERAPY
During the month of St. Patrick’s Day, “the luck of the Irish,” or just luck in general, is probably on a lot of people’s minds. When it comes to physical therapy, however, no amount of luck is going to help you recover
many questions as it will take to clarify how certain stretches and exercises will help you recover. Asking questions will help you better understand your recovery and,
therefore, make you more willing to do what it takes to recover, even when it’s uncomfortable.
from your injuries. If you want to heal, you have to make your own luck. That’s not a bad thing, though — it means the power to recover is in your hands! Here’s what it looks like to make your own luck throughout your recovery. KNOW WHY YOU’RE IN PHYSICAL THERAPY. You might want a full range of motion in your shoulders, the pain in your lower back to be gone, or to be able to walk again. Whatever the case, you should have a clear goal in mind. This might seem like a no-brainer, but physical therapy isn’t always easy or comfortable. Keeping the reason why you came to physical therapy at the forefront of your mind will help you power through the difficult days to your goal.
CREATE DAILY EXERCISE HABITS. Habits aren’t formed overnight, but they’re worth creating when it comes to your recovery. If you really want to prioritize and expedite your recovery, doing your daily prescribed exercises on a — you guessed it — daily basis is an absolute must. SHOW UP. The adage, “80% of success is just showing up,” absolutely rings true with physical therapy. That doesn’t mean just
showing up for your appointments, though. It means being present for them mentally. You can’t just expect the PT to do all the work for you. But if you show up willing to put in the effort, you’re well on your way toward recovery.
ALWAYS ASK QUESTIONS. Physical therapists are experts on the musculoskeletal system. If you have questions about your recovery, they’ll have answers — you should ask as
If you’re ready to make your own luck when it comes to your recovery, call the PTs at Campus Commons PT at 916-927-1333 to schedule an appointment.
HOW RUNNERS CAN DECREASE THE LIKELIHOOD OF INJURY WHAT IS PROPER RUNNING FORM?
For anyone who knows how to walk, running probably seems intuitive. However, if you’re looking to run regularly for exercise, it’s best to practice proper running form, even if it doesn’t feel intuitive. Poor running form can lead to frequent and sometimes serious injuries, so if you’re planning to run regularly, it’s best to know how to do it right. AVOID OVERSTRIDING When you run, if your foot lands ahead of your knee, you’re overstriding. When your foot lands in front of your knee, the jarring impact that your stride will have on your muscles, bones, and joints can lead to tendinitis and stress fractures if unchanged. RUN FROM YOUR HIPS Initiating your run from the center of your body, rather than your feet helps you maintain good running posture and protects you from overstriding. Then, drive your stride forward with your knees rather than your feet. DON’T FORGET YOUR GLUTES To engage your glutes while you run, tap your butt for just a second or two every now and again while on your run. This will remind the muscles to
contract. When you’re running, you want to make sure you’re maximizing the use of every muscle group.
RUN WITH GOOD POSTURE Run with your upper torso straight and your head directly over your shoulders. When you run hunched over, it causes you to overstride, straining your back and knees. Strengthening your core and upper body can help you maintain proper posture while you run. SWING YOUR ARMS PROPERLY Always swing your arms straight forward and back with your elbows close to your torso and at 90-degree angles. Keep your arms and hands relaxed. Don’t let your arms swing across your torso — that can lead your torso to become unstable, compromising your core stability. For any questions about chronic pain associated with running, or to schedule an appointment with our office, call Campus Commons PT at 916-927-1333.
TAKE A BREAK
Asparagus & Smoked Mozzarella Pizzettes
Inspired by EatingWell.com
1 lb prepared whole-wheat pizza dough, divided into 6 equal portions 12 oz asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup shredded smoked mozzarella cheese
• • • •
1/3 cup scallions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp walnuts, toasted and chopped 1 sprig of fresh mint leaves, torn
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
Zest of 1 orange
1. Preheat oven to 500 F and ensure there are two racks in your oven. 2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, stretch each piece of dough into a 7-by-3-inch oval and arrange evenly on the pan. 3. On a second baking sheet, toss asparagus with oil and 1/4 tsp salt. 4. Place dough on top rack and asparagus on bottom and bake for 3 minutes. 5. Remove both trays from the oven, sprinkle cheese over the dough, then top with asparagus and scallions. 6. Return pizzettes to oven and bake until the crusts’ edges are golden, about 8–10 minutes. 7. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with walnuts, mint, and orange zest before serving.
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Celebrating My Incredible Kids
The Easiest Anti-Aging Tactic? Laughter
Making Your Own Luck in PT
What Is Proper Running Form?
Asparagus & Smoked Mozzarella Pizzettes
Get Your Seasonal Allergies Before They Get You!
a l A Before They Get You!
Spring brings with it many wonderful things, like longer days, picturesque scenery, and spring break, but right alongside those good things is something most people suffer from: allergies. While beautiful, the blooming trees and flowers make you want to stay away from the great outdoors for fear of nonstop sneezing or puffy, watery eyes. If you suffer from allergies caused by pollen, grass, or other spring plants, take these steps to breathe a little easier. When outside, avoid walking through areas with weeds, shrubbery, or lots of trees as much as possible. Grass and weeds are notably problematic. The slightest breeze can send particles flying through the air in the blink of an eye. When you walk through grassy areas, pollen will get on you, your clothes, and your hair. It’s best to stick to trails, sidewalks, and other paved areas.
If you do find yourself inundated with pollen or other allergens, your next best bet is to establish an at-home decontamination protocol. Take your shoes off at the door and make sure your clothes don’t come
in contact with soft surfaces such as carpet, upholstery, or bedding. Take care to wash your “pollinated” clothes as soon as possible and wash your sheets and pillowcases weekly. Next, head for the shower. The sooner you can wash away the allergens, the better. Finally, don’t forget to replace the air filter in your home’s air system in the spring. Consider using an air filter designed to capture allergens. If your allergies are particularly troublesome, invest in a dedicated air
filtration system or unit. While you can opt for portable, stand-alone air purifiers, there are larger systems that can be incorporated into your heating and air system that keep your entire home’s air free from most, if not all, common allergens.
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