Spine & Rehab Specialists - February 2023

Take a look at our February newsletter!


6358 EDGEMERE BLVD. EL PASO, TEXAS 79925 915-562-8525

11855 PHYSICIANS DR. EL PASO, TEXAS 79936 915-855-6466

We’re Sponsoring a 5K Race on Feb. 12! IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO SPREAD THE WORD

Thirty years ago, I met Mike Coulter as we both helped organize the Transmountain Run — a brutal 12-mile race right here in El Paso. Runners sprinted uphill for 6 miles, then jogged downhill for another 6. Both ways were equally challenging. Still, hundreds of people signed up to raise funds for the American Heart Association. It was a fantastic event, and I was proud to be part of it. Little did I know that I’d eventually get back into the race business. I enjoyed serving on the Transmountain Run’s organizing committee with Mike, and we stayed in touch afterward. These days, Mike splits his time between managing the Up and Running store and working as race director for the El Paso Marathon. Last year, we connected about a fantastic opportunity: Mike invited Spine & Rehab Specialists to sponsor the El Paso Marathon’s associated 5K! The 5K is coming up on Sunday, Feb. 12, along with the rest of the marathon, and I’m proud to announce it’s officially called the Spine & Rehab Specialists 5K Run/Walk this year. My team and I can’t wait to host the event and support 2023’s amazing causes: the Boys and Girls Club of El Paso, the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank, and the Lee & Beulah Moor Children's Home. As a physical therapist, I’m obviously very pro-physical fitness, but I must admit the charitable part of the 5K was an equally big driver of our sponsorship. As Bonnie mentioned in our December newsletter, our team is passionate about giving back to the community, and we do it in various ways. Around the holidays, we gift coats and blankets to the Queen of Peace Convent and donate to the El Paso Baptist Clinic in the name of the doctors we work with. In the past, we’ve also given to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of El Paso and the Lee & Beulah Moor Children's Home, so I’m looking forward to supporting their cause again. The Spine & Rehab Specialists 5K Run/Walk will be an event for the books. My team will be on-site at the El Paso County Coliseum the day before (Saturday, Feb. 11) during packet pick-up to offer pre-event stretching and Hypervolt sessions

for racers. On race day (Sunday, Feb. 12), we’ll be on hand to help runners and walkers recover from the 3.1-mile trek. I also plan to run the race myself! You can join me by signing up for the Spine & Rehab Specialists team at ElPasoMarathon.com. You can also create your own team, sign up individually, or simply donate to the great causes at that same website. Everyone is welcome to join the race. You don’t need to be an experienced runner to attend; in fact, if you’re still recovering from an injury or surgery, I’d highly recommend walking instead of running. Physical activity is essential, but you don’t want to overdo it! No one at the race will judge you. My goal is simply to finish in a decent time — I have no aspirations of winning because that’s not the point of the race for me. I’ll be there to enjoy time with my community and support three great causes while I do it. There’s nothing better than that. Visit ElPasoMarathon.com and spread the word to your friends and family about the race before Friday, Feb. 10. You can register until Saturday, Feb. 11. My team and I would love to see you there!

–Harry Koster

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How to Foster and Develop Intellectual Wellness Intellectual wellness differs from other types of well-being. You need to work hard and challenge yourself to stay intellectually healthy. If you’re looking to improve or nurture your intellectual wellness, here are three ways to do it. 1. Learn a new skill. One of the main components of intellectual wellness is working to acquire more knowledge. This doesn’t need to be physics or engineering but can be something as simple as cooking a new healthy recipe, learning to draw, or attempting a DIY home repair project. The important part is that mastering something new provides an information- based approach to the world around you. 2. Remove subjectivity. We view every situation with a pre-formed opinion or bias. The truth is our brains are wired this way to streamline thinking, but to be intellectually healthy, we must work hard to push past it. Remove subjectivity by learning a different way to perform a task or challenge yourself to understand (or simply read) the ideas of others. Be objective, even when you disagree with them. 3. Improve your critical thinking. Next time you’re engrossed in conversation, try being thoroughly engaged and think about what is being said. Ask questions to yourself and others, and hash out what you agree with and things you don’t. Work to keep your brain active in everything you do by finding a connection to everything around you.

YOUR INTELLECTUAL WELLNESS MATTERS! Challenge Yourself to Expand Your Mind

These days, as taking care of our health becomes more important than ever, we hear a lot about our physical wellness and how to improve it using nutritious foods and exercise.

But what about our intellectual wellness?

What is intellectual wellness? The University of New Hampshire defines intellectual wellness as “being open to new ideas, thinking critically, and finding ways to be creative.” Essentially, this means thinking about the world around you with an open mind and putting energy into what you’re thinking, not just allowing your brain to run idly.

Signs of healthy intellectual wellness include:

• Ability to see an issue from all sides • Purposeful exposure to ideas, beliefs, and people who differ from yourself

• Awareness of your core values • Capacity to learn new things

Balance: It’s More Than Just an Act

More studies reveal that balance is a great indicator of life span or disease. In fact, a recent study released by the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that people who could not balance on one foot for at least 10 seconds were nearly twice as likely to die within the next 10 years. But as we age, balance can become more challenging, and losing your balance can lead to falls or other serious accidents. Luckily, these mishaps are preventable with some help from balance training. Balance training just means taking a few minutes each day to perform simple exercises that help improve your balance, and according to the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, doing so can reduce the risk of falling by up to 40%!

Here are a few simple exercises you can do at home to improve your balance. For safety, we recommend completing these exercises near a sturdy surface you can use for support if you need it. Standing March While standing, slowly march in place for 20–30 seconds. How fast or slow you complete this exercise is up to you, but once you feel it becoming easier, you can pick up your marching pace or move to a different floor texture, like carpet, grass, or hardwood, for a challenge. The idea here is that marching forces you to temporarily stand on one foot, even for a few seconds.

the chair without using your arms to help push you up. If this is too difficult, feel free to add a pillow or foam pad to the seat to reduce the distance between sitting and standing. Once you’re standing, slowly lower yourself back into the chair. Try not to fall back into it (which allows gravity to control the fall); instead, ease yourself into the seat. Repeat as many times as you can. Heel-to-Toe Walk Standing straight, place one foot directly in front of the other so the heel of your leading foot is touching the toes of the one behind it. Hold this position for 30 seconds before moving the back foot to the front of the previously leading foot, with its heel touching the other foot’s toes. Repeat as many times as you can.

Sit to Stand In a chair, sit with your feet

planted firmly on the floor in front of you. Then, rise from

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Inside all of us is a bustling community of bacteria, parasites, fungi, and viruses. But don't worry! These microbiota work hard to keep our bodies balanced and healthy. They are so crucial to our health that they’ve been labeled a supporting organ because of what they do to keep our systems running smoothly. And what we eat can have a significant impact on the well- being of our microbiota. So, here are foods we can eat to help these tiny residents keep our health in check as well as foods to avoid so we don't sabotage the benefits they provide. Foods That Help Our Microbiome The key to helping our little microbiota is by creating a lower pH level in our colons. To do this, we need to consume foods high in healthy fiber. The microbiota in our bodies break down these fibers using enzymes and, as a result, ferment the fiber inside our gut. This fermentation releases short-chain fatty acids, or SCFAs, essential to lowering our pH. SCFAs make our colons more acidic and, by doing so, stop the growth of harmful bacteria that cannot survive in a low- pH environment. Foods that support increased SCFAs are indigestible carbohydrates and fibers. Our stomachs don’t break these down, so they arrive whole to our intestines, ready for our tiny microbiota to eat. These carbohydrates and fibers are called prebiotics, and while we can take many drugstore prebiotics as supplements, it’s always better to feed our little friends from natural food sources.

The following foods contain the highest amounts of natural prebiotics:

• Garlic • Onions • Leeks • Asparagus • Bananas

• Seaweed • Wheat • Oats • Barley

To get the most out of these prebiotic-packed foods, eat them as close to raw as possible!

Foods That Hurt Our Microbiome Just like foods can help give our microbiome a major power-up, many foods can harm it. Even worse, some foods encourage harmful gut bacteria to thrive and make us sick. Here are the top foods to stay away from:

• Artificial sweeteners (like stevia, aspartame, and sucralose)

• Fried foods • Red meat • Soft drinks

These foods help grow harmful bacteria and actively disrupt the environment of our microbiota, so it’s best not to include these so our little helpers stay healthy!


Feta Chicken Burgers Inspired by TasteOfHome.com


• 1/4 cup finely chopped cucumber • 1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise • 1/2 cup chopped roasted sweet red pepper • 1 tsp garlic powder

• 1/2 tsp Greek seasoning • 1/4 tsp black pepper

• 1 1/2 lbs lean ground chicken • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese • 6 whole wheat hamburger buns, split and toasted


1. Preheat broiler. Mix chopped cucumber and mayonnaise and set aside. 2. For the burgers, mix the red pepper, garlic powder, Greek seasoning, and black pepper. Add chicken and cheese; mix lightly but thoroughly (the mixture will be sticky). Shape into 6 patties about 1/2-inch thick. 3. Broil burgers, remembering to cook both sides thoroughly. Serve on buns with cucumber sauce. If desired, top with lettuce and tomato. Enjoy!

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915-562-8525 | www.SpineRehab.net 6358 Edgemere Blvd. El Paso, Texas 79925

1. Join Us for the Spine & Rehab Specialists 5K 2. Intellectual Wellness: What It Is and How to Improve Yours 3 Exercises to Improve Your Balance INSIDE THIS ISSUE

3. Prebiotics to the Rescue! Feta Chicken Burgers

4. Improve Your Workouts With the Mind-Muscle Connection


Turn off distractions. Remember the music or podcast we mentioned earlier? Turn it off! This also includes silencing your phone or turning off any nearby TVs. It may take some time to get used to working out in silence, but with nowhere else to wander, the brain has an easier time focusing on those muscle movements. Visualize the muscles you are using. Every time you move, whether using a stationary bike, taking a walk, or lifting weights in a gym, picture the muscles you’re using in your head. Imagine the muscle fibers stretching and contracting with each movement. Use cues to remind you of your working muscles. Sometimes, our minds drift off during a workout, and that’s normal. But if you

Many assume working out is the muscle's job, pushing weights around as we enjoy a song or listen to a podcast. While this may be a fun way to pass the time, you're not doing your fitness any favors with your mind elsewhere. When you work out, you should use a "mind-muscle connection," or purposely think about the movement and contractions of your muscles as you use them. This is better because when your brain consciously focuses on your muscles and their contractions, it employs more muscle fibers to complete the task. You build strength in a more complete, well-rounded way. If you're not using a mind-muscle connection yet, don't worry! Here’s how you can start next time you’re ready to sweat.

find your head in the clouds more often than you’re thinking about your exercise, it might be time to use a few cues. A cue simply reminds you of what you’re physically doing. One way to incorporate a cue is to talk to yourself with each repetition. For example, if you’re performing a bench press, you can say “up” when you push the bar away and “down” when you lower it toward you. Utilize time under tension. The slower you perform your exercise, the more opportunity your brain has to talk to those muscles you’re using. Try holding each repetition for three seconds before moving on to the next, and as you hold, visualize those muscles for the entire three seconds.

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