Spring has arrived! March Madness is over and now a memory. It’s time to get up, get out, and get moving! It’s time to shake off the winter couch-potato habits and get outdoors.
To move, to engage in physical/recreational activity, should be our resurrected New Year’s Resolution. When 2017 started, we had the best intentions to start an exercise program, to eat healthier, or to make other healthy changes. Many of us started, but after a short time, life got in the way and we lost our focus on the resolutions or just stopped altogether. We either couldn’t see how to fit more activity in or we just used better excuses to not follow through on our commitment to ourselves and a healthier year.
The good news is, we have another chance to recommit to ourselves, to stop making excuses, and to focus on getting healthier by doing something very simple: getting up, getting out, and moving!
This concept is not new, but it is one that I am seeing take hold in the community around us. Many elementary schools have started programs for kids after school. One example is “Girls On The Run.” This program is for girls in grades 3-5 with a focus on the importance of positive values and the need to get up, get out, and move. This is a foundation for them for the future. Other such programs are occurring throughout the community. If kids can get this message, why can’t adults?
Toledo offers so many wonderful opportunities to get up, get out, and get moving, such as all the Metroparks, paths, trails, and neighborhoods, which are all great places to start walking. That is the key—start walking: 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, once a week, twice a week, daily…. If you haven’t done much over the winter, start with a comfortable amount of time and pace. Remember, this is a continuous time of walking. Activities like shopping and cutting grass are great, but set time to walk in addition to those other activities.
Make the commitment to take the time this spring to start a new habit of being a healthier you by getting up, getting out, and getting moving.
May is National Arthritis Month!
According to the Arthritis Foundation, more than 43 million Americans—one in six people, or 15% of the population—have some kind of arthritis. Arthritis is a general term used to describe more than 100 chronic diseases of the joints, bones, and muscles, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, and even osteoporosis. There is no cure for most types of arthritis; however, awareness and education are keys to continuing the fight. National Arthritis Month was established to recognize the millions of families, caregivers, and individuals affected by this disease.
Physical and occupational therapy can assist in the management of all types of arthritis. However, since osteoarthritis is the most common form, we will focus on a few ways that therapy can help these individuals.
Since arthritis causes loss of movement and stiffness, individuals tend not to exercise or move due to the pain, but actually moving and staying active keeps the joints lubricated. Also, strengthening the muscles surrounding the affected joint can decrease pain and improve function.
Modalities such as ultrasound, heat, ice, electrical stimulation, and infrared can help with pain control. Additionally, exercising in a warm-water pool or on a bike can improve motion without as much weight bearing through the joints. It is beneficial to consult your physician or a physical therapist prior to beginning an exercise program. A physical therapist can design a program specifically for you to meet your individual goals and needs while understanding any medical conditions or complications you may have.
Physical and occupational therapy can also benefit individuals with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or fibromyalgia. RA most commonly affects the small joints of the body in a symmetrical fashion (affecting both sides of the body). Most times the hands and wrists are affected, which can be painful and make normal daily tasks such as writing and opening doors or jars difficult. Occupational therapy can provide custom splinting, education on home modification, and pain-relieving modalities. Fibromyalgia patients can benefit from aquatic therapy, gentle exercise, and stretching as well.
It is the goal of Heartland Rehabilitation Services to assist you in focusing on your health and wellness for life. If you have any questions about Heartland Rehabilitation Services or how physical and occupational therapy can benefit you, please feel free to contact Jim Berger at 419-787-6741, or visit us at www.heartlandrehab.com. Heartland Rehabilitation Services has five outpatient physical therapy clinics in the greater Toledo area.❦