By Allyson Long, ATC, DPT
As a college student, the value of time management becomes extremely important when trying to juggle combinations of class and lab work, internships or part-time jobs, and managing a social life in between. When is there time to exercise and stay healthy? Luckily there is some good news for many collegiate students. Getting even a little bit of light physical activity during the week can help boost your mood and energy levels to inspire increased memory retention and better study time.
Is it better to exercise before you learn something new? What about during? Should the exercise be vigorous or gentle? Research published in The New York Times has determined that light-intensity exercise helps to prepare the brain for the consumption and retention of new information. In 2006 The Journal of Neuroscience highlighted a study with mice as subjects. The study’s findings suggested that exercise can help overcome memory declines associated with aging.
So let’s get down to it! Thirty minutes of light cardiovascular exercise 4-5 days a week, prior to sitting down with your books, combined with some total-body exercises targeting major muscle groups, can help improve your memory and concentration while studying. This will help you navigate even the most strenuous times during the semester.
- Get into a pushup position on the floor.
- Bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms directly beneath your shoulders.
- Brace your core by contracting your abs and keep your body in a straight line.
- Hold this position while breathing deeply.
- Lie on your left side with your knees straight.
- Prop your upper body up on your left elbow and forearm.
- Brace your core by contracting your abs and raise your hips until your body forms a straight line.
- Hold this position while breathing deeply.
- Turn around and repeat on the right side.
- Lie flat on your back with your hands by your side and your knees bent. Place feet around shoulder-width apart.
- Pushing mainly with your heels, lift your hips off the floor while keeping your back straight.
- Breathe out as you push up and hold at the top for a second.
- Slowly go back to the starting position as you breathe in.
- Repeat ten times.
- Stand in front of a chair with your feet hip-width apart.
- Slowly lower yourself toward the chair without actually sitting down. Keep your knees over your ankles and your weight in your heels.
- Straighten your body upright and repeat.
Shoulder Blade Squeezes
- Bend your arms and raise them to your sides at hip height.
- Keep your shoulders down and squeeze your shoulder blades together behind you.
- Hold this position for 2-3 counts.
- Slowly release this position and repeat.
For more information on stress management and exercise, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Joshua Hibbard
Autumn can be a dangerous season, with its wet slippery leaves, and the winter months can pose a danger with black ice. Both of these weather-related scenarios make many people scared of falling.
The good news? Falls are preventable! Working with a skilled physical therapist is a great way to assess and reduce your risk for falls. Physical therapists are experts trained in identifying and treating risk factors such as weakness, poor balance, and difficulty walking. By designing a customized exercise program as well as providing hands-on treatment, a physical therapist is equipped with all of the tools to prevent potentially disabling falls.
Most falls occur due to a combination of risk factors, but can be reduced with a level of awareness and some extra planning. Some prevention actions you can take during the colder months include:
- Wear anti-slip footwear and proper clothing to keep warm. Shoes with plastic soles or other slippery-soled shoes are quite hazardous when dealing with already slippery surfaces.
- Keep the walkway from your driveway to your door or garage free of debris.
- Melt down icy pathways by covering with salt or something gritty and non-slippery.
- Keep the floors inside your house clean, especially around where people walk into your house. Use floor mats for your shoes or rugs to dry your feet off.
For a complete list of risk factors for falls in general, visit Falls Prevention and Physical Therapy: What You Need to Know.
As part of an effort to reduce the occurrence of falls within our community, Sports PT is proud to offer a Falls Prevention Assessment. For more information, call your nearest Sports PT location or contact us at email@example.com
By: Teresa Hall, PT, DPT, OCS
Did you know that 40% of concussions come from falls? Our own Teresa Hall and Becky Korosi recently presented statistics on concussions and head injuries to the Rural Metro Group in Tonawanda. The numbers related to the risk for falls, which was a profession-wide initiative in September.
What are signs of a concussion?
- Appears dazed or stunned
- Confused about assignment or position
- Forgets an instruction
- Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
- Moves clumsily
- Answers questions slowly
- Loses consciousness (even briefly)
- Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes
- Can’t recall events prior to hit or fall
- Can’t recall events after hit or fall
Concussion and Falls Statistics
- 40% of concussions are a result of falls
- 55% of traumatic brain injuries among children 0 to 14 years were caused by falls
- 81% of traumatic brain injuries in adults ages 65 and older are caused by falls
Risks can be intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic risks can be related to your own strength, balance, fear of falling, or perhaps dizziness. Extrinsic risks could be identified as a rug positioning in your home, medication interaction, slippery surfaces, or uneven ground.
You can prevent or drastically reduce falls by getting screened for an individual falls risk assessment. Since falling is often associated with serious head injuries, it is worth the 20 minutes to see what risk factors are in your life.
Physical Therapists are experts in assessing concussion symptoms, as well as performing falls risk assessments. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a concussion evaluation or falls risk screening.
By: Alanna Pokorski, PT
Fall is here and so is the chance for a garden and yard cleanup! Soon, the leaves will be blowing off the trees and before we know it, we’ll be spending the entire day raking or cleaning the yard. This can cause excessive strain on the body, especially if good form isn’t used consistently throughout the day.
The good news is that your yard can get cleaned up without causing injury or pain to your body.
- Warm up before you begin. Take a 10-minute walk to get your blood flowing and to loosen your muscles.
- Take frequent breaks, and if you feel fatigue or strain, slow down or stop. Don’t overdo it.
- Use a wheelbarrow to move tools or heavy bags of leaves.
- Don’t kneel on both knees. Keep one foot on the ground to give your back more stability. If you have to kneel, use kneepads or a pillow to absorb some of the pressure.
- Change positions and take frequent breaks to avoid stiffness or cramping.
- Practice proper body mechanics. Bend at your knees when you grab something or pull up a weed. While bending your knees, also contract your abdominal muscles to avoid straining your back.
Physical therapists are experts in posturing and lifting techniques. Before you start a project around your house, consider contacting your Sports PT expert to help you prevent injury. If it’s already too late, and you have pain from a household activity, contact us at email@example.com to see how we can help get you back in action!
By: Hannah Steiner, SPT
If you experience vertigo, dizziness, or have had falls or balance problems, vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) may be able to help. Vestibular refers to the inner ear and its effect on a person’s overall sense of balance. VRT is designed to enhance postural and gaze stability, reduce vertigo, and most importantly, improve a patient’s quality of daily living. VRT consists of three types of treatments with different goals: habituation, adaptation, and substitution.
Vestibular habituation uses positions that induce vertigo to decrease a patient’s symptoms. Habituation exercises have been shown to improve balance in 4-6 weeks. Exercises may include changing positions or head movements while emphasizing the speed of the movement.
Vestibular adaptation focuses on improving the remaining vestibular function with gaze stability and postural stability exercises. Gaze stability exercises include focusing your gaze on a target during head movements, head and target movements, and with incorporating busy visual fields. It is recommended that gaze stability exercises be done 4-5 times a day for a total of 20-40 minutes a day. Postural stability exercises include balancing with eyes open, eyes closed, on different surfaces, and with differing bases of support. Additional adaptation exercises can include walking while turning, walking in a spiral path, and walking on different surfaces.
Vestibular substitution uses visual and other cues to substitute for lost vestibular functioning. Exercises include improving smooth pursuit and imaginary pursuit eye movements, improving visual dependency by balancing with conflicting visual stimuli, and improving overall balance on different surfaces.
Physical therapy can help you to improve your vestibular and balance problems and enhance your quality of life. For more information on VRT, please visit www.sptny.com or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Cabrera Kang, C.M., & Tulsa, R.J. (2013). Vestibular rehabilitation: Rationale and indications. Seminars in Neurology, 33(3): 276-285.
- Han, B.I., Song, H.S., & Kim, J.S. (2011). Vestibular rehabilitation therapy: Review of indications, mechanisms, and key exercises. Journal of Clinical Neurology, 7:184-196.