Physical Therapy Services of Tennessee - March 2020

MARCH 2020

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EastTennessee Physical Therapy News

FROM THE DESK OF

DANNY D. SMITH

So, here we are in the midst of winter. Fortunately, we have had a number of days when the temperature is tolerable and we can get out and enjoy to outdoors. I just spoke with a PT friend of mine who recently had a total knee replacement, and prior to that

he was an avid bicyclist. He informedme that today he returned to his bicycle without difficulty. That is great news when someone can return to regular activities after a total knee replacement. How about exercise when you cannot get out? Walking is the easiest, simplest, and least expensive form of exercise. I know a group of individuals who walk on a daily basis at the local mall. The mall opens early before the stores and welcomes the people to walk. The distance is marked so you can monitor your progress. If you decide to exercise at home, the kitchen counter is your best friend. You can walk while balancing yourself with one hand on the counter forward, backward, and side to side. This will strengthen your legs and trunk as well as improve your balance. Look around the house for things like throw rugs and extension cords that may be a fall hazard. It is very important — if you go out of the house alone— to be sure to take a cell phone or cordless phone to call for help if needed.

These days, the term mindfulness is more likely to conjure thoughts of smartphone apps than rooms wafting with nag-champa. Business guru Tim Ferris and journalist Dan Rather profess an almost cult-like devotion to the practice, and multinationals like Goldman Sachs, Google, and Bank of America all offer mindfulness training to their employees. Recently, another large organization has jumped on the bandwagon: the United States military. So, what’s all the fuss about? For years, mindfulness devotees professed that cultivating it as a practice could alleviate the symptoms of everything from high blood pressure to anxiety. Historically though, critics were dismissive, claiming studies on mindfulness weren’t rigorous enough because they didn’t include a placebo. Unlike participants in traditional studies, where half the group believes they are being treated but are only taking the equivalent of a sugar pill, participants in meditation studies usually know whether or not they are meditating. One researcher changed that in 2016. Neuroscientist Dr. Amishi Jha conducted a study where students at the University of Miami were split into two groups and then put through a series of cognitive tests. One group received mindfulness training and practiced it for a combined one hour a week, over a period of nine weeks. The other group of students received instruction about escaping worries and fake stress relief strategies. W hy the M ilitary J ust G ot M ore M indful T he B enefits of M indfulness

–Danny

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Large organizations have the resources to carefully vet the training and benefits they provide to their employees, and on the topic of mindfulness, Google, Bank of America, and the U.S. military all agree: Mindfulness works. If you’re looking for improved cognition and focus, you need to look no further than your own breath, an instructional app on your smartphone, and one hour of practice a week.

Evidence already supports that stressful environments reduce cognitive function and memory, and during the course of the study, all the students experienced an increase in external stressors — midterms and finals. When Jha retested the students at the end of the study, she found that the control group of students, when retested, did significantly worse on the tests later in the term. Stress had eroded their cognitive function. The group of students who received mindfulness training, however, became more accurate and focused. Jha’s findings suggest that not only is meditation a way to improve performance, but it is also a way to inoculate yourself against the effects of stressful situations. Dr. Jha continued to study the effects of mindfulness, and in 2019 she published a second study that examined its effects on a different group: soldiers in a special operations unit. This time, Dr. Jha found that not only were soldiers trained in mindfulness better able to discern important information in a chaotic environment, but they also saw gains in their working memory. Thanks in part to Dr. Jha’s research, mindfulness is edging its way into the United States military. Army infantry soldiers in Hawaii began using mindfulness this winter, for example, to improve their shooting skills and reduce the risk of civilian harm. The idea is that by strengthening working memory through mindfulness, soldiers will be less likely to make impulsive decisions.

Wellness and Whiskers

3 WAYS TO WORK OUT WITH YOUR PET

Creating a healthy lifestyle is often easier with support, but if you’re struggling to find someone to join you on your path to wellness, then look to your furry friends instead. Read on for some ways to get active with your pet, and learn more about their wellness and health at PetMD.com. RACKING UP THE MILES A simple way to get moving with your pet is to go for a walk. If you’re looking for a bigger challenge, then try running, biking, or hiking with your pet. Anything beyond a walk may require extra obedience training or equipment — like a specialty tool that prevents your pet from colliding with your bike — but after a few loops around the trail, your pet will be begging to go again. And how can you say no to that face? Plus, this idea isn’t just for dogs. You can find leashes and harnesses for cats, lizards, ferrets, and other pets that love to get fresh air.

KEEPING IT TRADITIONAL If you want a good full-body workout while entertaining your pet, then consider including them in traditional exercises. Entertain your pup with a game of fetch and drop down for a burpee every time it runs away. Balance your bird on your shoulder while you squat and lunge. Mentally and physically stimulate your cat by dragging a string around your body during Russian twists. With a little creativity and a few of your pet’s favorite things, both of you can work up a sweat.

GOING FOR A SWIM If you have a dog that appears to be more fish than canine,

swimming might be the workout for you! Swimming is a joint-friendly cardiovascular exercise that works your entire body. If you’re not one for a dip in the pool, then kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding are great for your arms and core. Meanwhile, your pet can enjoy a relaxing ride or an exciting game of fetch. Just be sure to secure your pet with a life jacket before you and your four-legged friend splash away!

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Meditation has different meanings for different people. Traditionally, the act of focusing one’s mind has been used in religious and 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. Anecdotal evidence regarding meditation’s ability to reduce pain has existed for as long as the practice itself. However, 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 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.

THE BENEFITS OF MEDITATION Practice Pain Relief

Take a Break!

EASY IRISH SODA BREAD Inspired by AllRecipes.com

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

4 cups all- purpose flour

1. Heat oven to 375 F, and lightly grease a large baking sheet. 2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and margarine. 3. Stir in 1 cup buttermilk and egg, and mix until dough comes together. 4. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface. Form dough into a round before placing it on baking sheet. 5. In a small bowl, combine melted butter and remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk. 6. Brush the raw loaf with this mixture and cut an “X” into the top. 7. Bake loaf for 45–50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean after being inserted into center of loaf. You may need to continue brushing the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.

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4 tbsp white sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tbsp baking powder

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1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cupmargarine

1 1/4 cups buttermilk, divided

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1 egg

1/4 cup butter, melted

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Inside This Issue From the Desk of Dr. Smith PAGE 1 Improve Your Focus Through Mindfulness PAGE 1 Get Fit With Fido PAGE 2 Meditation and Pain Relief PAGE 3 Take a Break PAGE 3 Easy Irish Soda Bread PAGE 3 Ditch the Energy Drinks PAGE 4 As spring kicks off, many people will be tempted to grab a Monster, Red Bull, or Rockstar to get through the day. Energy drinks may give you a quick boost, but the high levels of caffeine and sugar can lead to migraines and increased anxiety. If over-consumed, these drinks can even lead to Type 2 diabetes. To avoid these health hazards, try out a few of these natural energy boosters instead. ASHWAGANDHA Ashwagandha is an evergreen shrub found mostly in India. As part of the Ayurveda system, an alternative medicine practice from India, it’s also known as “Indian ginseng.”The Alternative Medicine Review published a study indicating ashwagandha increases the body’s resilience to physical and mental stress by lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol by 28%. Ashwagandha can also help you through long workouts and the 9-to-5 grind because it may also improve

NATURAL SUPPLEMENTS TO INCREASE YOUR ENERGY Need a Boost?

brain function, including memory. You can get ashwagandha in pill form at most convenience stores around the world. CREATINE Many people don’t realize creatine is a natural energy booster because they get it mostly in processed, high-sugar energy drinks. However, in doses less than 5 grams, creatine provides impressive benefits during high-intensity activities, short-duration exercises, and sports, including football, shot put, and weightlifting. This compound is found in red meat, pork, poultry, and fish, and when consumed, it releases phosphates that give your body a quick burst of energy. Ingesting more than 5 grams, though, will leave you feeling bloated with a lot of stomach discomfort. Creatine powder can be found at most wellness stores. BEETROOT POWDER Beetroot powder is made from the roots of the beet plant and is rich in nitrate. Nitrate

relaxes blood vessels, creating increased blood flow and oxygen delivery. This enables your body to produce energy more efficiently and maintain energy levels, making beetroot powder a great aid for endurance sports like running, soccer, and biking. In the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, a study reported that athletes could work out for 25% longer when they used beetroot powder. Fatigue didn’t set in until much later in their workout, which improved their training and performance. This spring, say goodbye to energy drinks and get the boost you need with one of these natural energy supplements.

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