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What is posture?

Posture is a term coined to describe the way you sit or stand. Throughout the day, we are continually going from sitting to standing and at the end of the day we may find that our bodies ache and are in pain. Our posture, the way we stand and sit throughout the day can contribute to our discomfort.

Having poor posture can contribute to many things:

– Back and neck pain
– Poor balance
– Difficulty breathing

Poor posture comes from the weakness in your core and in the spine. There are muscles that help you stay upright throughout the day. When these muscles are weak, they lose the ability to hold you up and therefore you may slouch. These muscled become weak when one lives sedentary lifestyles and neglect exercising these muscles.

What to do?

– BE AWARE! IT is important to check your posture throughout the day and re-adjust if needed. Stand up and stretch after sitting after a long period of time. The more mindful you are of your posture, the more you can correct it.

– EXERCISE! The core muscles need to be strengthened in order to keep you upright. Find time to go to the gym or work with a physiotherapist to help you target the muscles that need to be strengthened.

– Evaluate your work area. Our posture can tend to go bad when we are at our work stations. Jobs that require you to be sitting for an extended period of time can be a risk to your posture. Check your area and find ways in which you can change it to better facilitate good posture.

For example, a standing desk or a higher chair can help you with your workspace.

It is important that we are mindful of our bodies throughout the day. A poor posture can be the reason behind the discomfort you may be feeling. The more aware we are about our posture, the more we are capable of fixing it when needed!

Have you ever experienced low back pain?

At some point in your life, you will experience some sort of lower back pain. Back pain can hinder you from completing simple everyday tasks like taking a shower or picking up something off of the floor. Low back pain can be nonspecific which means that it is not attributed or caused by a certain disease or injury. If you are experiencing lower back pain, it is recommended to take actions such as exercise and constant movements.

Here are some quick tips to help you relieve some lower back pain:

-Move! It may seem counterproductive when you are battling pain, but it is recommended to keep moving! Walking is a great exercise to help relieve some of the back pain you may have.

-Take a break from lift any heavy objects. Your back plays a big role when carrying objects, it takes quite a bit of load. It is important not to put your back at risk when you are feeling pain.

-Take any medication prescribed/non-prescribed that can help with some pain relief.

-Utilize heat therapy to help relax some of the muscles.

-Using an ice pack can help if there is any swelling. Ensure that here is a towel between the ice pack and your skin

If your pain persists and you are finding it more difficult to manage in and around your home. Please see your family doctor or consult with a physiotherapist!

When should you use the RICE method?

When should you use the RICE method?

If you have had an injury such as a sprain or a strain you may be familiar with the RICE method. Swelling and pain are the most common symptoms that come with injuries like ankle or knee sprains.

The RICE method stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

Rest – Take time to rest and protect the area that is injured. Do not take part in any activity that could further damage the area.

Ice – Ice is used to reduce any swelling that has occurred. An ice or cold pack should suffice. It is recommended to apply the ice pack 3 or 4 times a day for 10 to 20 minute intervals.

Compression – Wrapping the affected area with a bandage can also assist with the swelling. Be cautious not to wrap it too tight or it could cause more swelling in the affected area.

Elevation – It is recommended to elevate the injured area on pillows or a bolster to help relieve swelling. It will also be helpful to use ice as you elevate the injured area.

Use these tips next time you injure yourself! This will help wit the swelling and make recovery faster!

What to do before surgery?

Are you or someone you love about to have knee replacement surgery? It can be a scary thought about replacing your knee but proper education and preparation can help you or a love one recover in less time and with less pain.

What to do before surgery?

Exercising before your surgery is recommended. Exercising helps with keeping your muscles strong, controlling your pain, reduce your body weight and helps build your knowledge of how to exercise after your surgery.

What to do expect after your surgery?

Recovery can take up to 12 weeks. We will highlight some exercises and things you can do within these 12 weeks to help your recovery go smoothly.

1-3 WEEKS AFTER SURGERY:

In these first weeks, it is important that you keep your knee pain and swelling under control. Use a combination of ice and heat to help with the swelling and pain.

Some goals that you may have within these first week are being able to bend your knee at least 90 degrees and being able to straighten your knee.

Exercises that can be done:

– Seated kneed bends (this can be done with assistance, using your good leg)
– Seated knee straightening

3-12 WEEKS AFTER SURGERY

After 3 weeks, your knee should feel better and you may be able to adjust your exercise goals and make your exercises harder. You might be given new routines and workouts from your physiotherapist to improve knee strength and balance.

Some goals:

– Fully straighten your knee
– Walk up and go down stairs normally
– Be able to ride stationary bike

Exercises that can be done:

– Standing knee bend
– Calf stretches
– Mini knee bends on kitchen sink (mini squats)
– Heel toe ups

These are just basic guidelines and some education on what to do before and after your knee replacement. It is important as the recovery process can go smoother if you are well educated about what to do! As you recover, continue to exercise and maintain a good level of activity to increase the life of your joint replacement.

You may notice that your muscles may be stiff and require stretching! Once again, ask your physiotherapist if there are any stretches that can be done to help relieve this stiffness and regain your flexibility.

Everyone is different! Always double check with your physiotherapist regarding what exercises you can or cannot do. Safety is the number one rule when recovering! Happy recovery!

3 Tips to Creating a Healthy Diet

As we age, having a well balanced diet is important to staying healthy. It can be overwhelming to many individuals because creating new habits in eating can be a tedious task. On top of that, certain factors can limit creating new eating habits such as, cognitive impairments, financial limits, current diagnosis’ etc. Moreover, as we age, the nutritional needs change and we have to adapt to what our bodies need and don’t need.

These are some benefits that eating healthy can promote:

– Maintaining healthy weight
– Increase in energy levels
– Improve cognition
– Reduce risk of developing heart chronic health conditions
– Getting all the vitamins and nutrients needed

Here are some starting tips to creating a healthy diet:

1) Choose nutrient rich foods:

– Fruits and vegetables
– Beans
– Nuts and seeds
– Whole grains
– Low fat or nonfat dairy
– Lean protein (Can be either chicken turkey, ground beef, fish tofu or other.)

2) Stay away from convenient and fast foods!

Even at a young age, convenient and fast foods were never the healthiest choice. However, they are called fast foods for a reason! It eliminates the tedious task of cooking and cleaning up. However, these foods may not always have the best nutritional value for our bodies especially as we age.

Here are some alternatives:

-Frozen vegetables
-Pre-cooked meats (turkey, chicken)
-Low sodium canned foods
-Pre made salads
-Oatmeal and Cereals

3) Eating alone as a senior can be a mundane task and many times discouraging. Find time to eat with friends or family to make eating more enjoyable as an activity!

Eating healthy can be a huge task to any individual, especially to those who are aging! It is important that individuals receive the right education in order to implement these strategies.

What to do after your hip replacement?

What to do after your hip replacement?

Now that you have had your hip replacement what are some of the things you can do to ease your rehabilitation process? In order to stay safe and avoid any further injuries or setbacks, education on how to live post surgery is key. Here are a few tips on what to do after having a hip replacement.

1) Be aware of hip precautions! It is important to be aware of the movements that are restricted to ensure proper rehabilitation and recovery of your new hip. These movements include, bending past 90 degrees, twisting at your waist, and crossing your legs. These precautions can last up to 6-8 weeks so it is important to practice doing activities of daily living such as dressing while keeping these precautions.

2) Exercises! Despite having hip precautions, you can still do exercises! There are many exercises on the bed that you can do to help promote blood circulation and prevent clots!

-Calf squeezes
-Ankle Pumps
-Glute Squeezes
-Standing
-Walking

3) It is important to have the right equipment to help facilitate your recovery! It will be helpful to own long handed reachers, sock aids, a cane or a walker to help you with your daily movements. It is important to consult with your physiotherapist and/or your occupational therapist to get these equipments and be taught how to use them correctly.

Moreover, ensure that your living space at home is set up to help aid you in your recovery. High chairs to help you keep your precautions, bed rails and shower rails to help promote safety. It is important that your living space becomes a safe area that will not put you in risk of getting injured or having a fall during your recovery period.

Getting a hip replacement may sound like a dawning task. However, proper education on precautions, exercises and equipment will help you go through this period after your surgery.

3 Great Ideas to Exercise Your Brain

As we age, our brain will begin to grow old as well and my begin to slow down and present various symptoms. You may notice that your memory may have been affected as learning new concepts and processing new information becomes difficult. Learning names and remembering numbers or appointments become difficult as well.

How does this happen?

Our brain actually goes through physical changes when we age. For example, our brain mass changes and in fact shrinks when we get older. The amount of neurotransmitters also decreases as we get older. All these physical changes affects our brain greatly.Despite the fact that this change is evident, there are many things that we can do to help ourselves as we live with an aging brain.

One activity that can really benefit are playing games! Yes, you read that right. This is the perfect time to spend countless of hours playing games. Brain games that is!

Brain games are games that have one objective; to challenge your mind! Brain games forces you to utilize cognitive skills such as planning, memory, problem solving and strategy making. The brain is a muscle and in order to be more effective it needs to be trained and exercised!

Some great ideas for brain games:

1. Card games – You can use cards to help with your memory as you are challenged to remember various shapes, colours and numbers. There are many variations of games to help you exercise your brain.

2. Board games – The best thing about board games is that you can play with multiple people! Games like chess and checkers are good games that help you strategize and even problem solve. Plus, the feeling of winning always goes a long way!

3. Apps – There are thousands of apps on your phone or on your tablets that can be used to help exercise your brain. Technology now allows us to access these games and puzzles that can help train our brains.

Brain games are a fun and engaging way to become healthier! Who knew those two things would be in the same sentence? Use these games to your advantage as you or someone you love begin to age and feel the effects of it! Most importantly, have fun!

5 Tips to Improve Sleep As We Age

As we age, our sleep patterns behaviours and quality change as well. As an older adult, you may find difficulty in staying asleep or waking up at inconvenient times. Having good sleep hygiene can reap a multitude of benefits. This benefits include improving memory function, concentration, and help recover from the rigorous activities that your body has endured.

On the other hand, bad sleep hygiene increases the risk of falls as you become more tired and careless, a noticeable decrease in attention and memory, and overall fatigue throughout the day.

1) Create a Schedule!

We are products  of habit and routine. When we establish routines and schedules, our body begins to adapt and we find ourselves adjusting naturally. When we create a schedule for sleeping, we can keep up and regulate our circadian clock which is essential in having good sleep hygiene.

2) Have a proper sleeping environment

As you get older, you may experience a higher sensitivity to sound so it is important to create an environment that can help facilitate good sleep. For example, keeping the TV down or turning off will help. Having some ear plugs can help if your partner or someone else in the room is snoring loudly.

Light can be a distraction and can disrupt sleep. Ensure that no distracting light enters the room or use a eye mask to help block out unwanted light.

Temperature can play a big role in having a healthy sleeping environment. Cooler temperatures will help facilitate good sleep.

3) Avoid Caffeine!

I don’t mean to scare you. Caffeine is okay. However, having caffeine during inconvenient times, especially at night can have bad effects on your sleeping habits.

4) Exercise

A good sleep is one of many great benefits of daily exercise. Exercise can help reduce stress and tire the body for sleep. Just make sure you do not exercise too close to bed time! Your body may be wide awake!

5) Reduce daytime naps

Naps may seem very tempting especially after a good meal or a workout. However, long naps during the day will disrupt your sleeping pattern and will keep you up at night. Try to avoid naps longer than 45 minutes.

Tips to reduce joint pain when living with Arthritis

Tips to reduce joint pain when living with Arthritis:

Arthritis has the potential to negatively affect one’s quality of life. The pain and discomfort in one’s joints can make simple and every day tasks difficult. For example, putting on a shirt or cooking a meal can take twice as long and can be very painful. Here are 5 tis on how to reduce joint and muscle pain when living with Arthritis.

1) Monitor Energy Levels

Your energy levels will be affected when living with Arthritis. It is important to plan out your day and prioritize the activities that need to be done. For example, complete all the strenuous and difficult tasks during the beginning of the day when you have the most energy and do simple tasks as the day ends. It is important to monitor your energy to reduce risks of injury or fatigue to your joints and muscles.

2) Utilize Hot & Cold therapy   

Joint pain can be relieved with hot and cold therapy. Taking a long warm bath can help soothe any stiffness in your joints. Cold therapy (ice packs, cold gels) can help with swelling and inflammation. It is important to be aware of these treatments to help tackle and pain you may encounter.

3) Use large joints/Body mechanics

It is important to take stress off the smaller joints by using your larger joints and utilizing proper body mechanics. Keep large items close to your body and use your legs to lift items. Slide heavy items along counters if possible to make it easier on your joints.

4) Use adaptive equipment

Equipment with large handles that limit the use of the finer joints will help. Tubing that can be installed to handles will also have a benefit when doing work in the kitchen. If a physiotherapist or occupational therapist recommends any special equipment, continue to use it safely.

5) Get help!

There will be situations where you may be fatigued, in pain, or just unable to complete a task. It is not advised to do a difficult task on your own when you start feeling these symptoms. The risk of injury increases. If possible, get a friend or a family member to help you out and assist with some of the larger tasks!

Benefits of Exercise in the Elderly population

There is no doubt that exercises possesses many benefits. It is important that we incorporate it into our daily routine. As we age, the benefits of daily exercise becomes more evident as it helps improve not only our physical health but our mental health as well. Here are 5 benefits we get from daily exercises as we get older.

  1. Living longer
    Last month, we covered the importance of fall prevention and how daily exercise can help! Daily exercise strengthens the muscles needed for walking and staying balanced! 

  2. Prevent falls
    A sedentary lifestyle is one of the leading causes of death and disability. The best way to counter that is to exercise daily whether it is a light walk or an extreme workout, it will go a long way!

  3. Become involved socially
    You are not alone in this journey! There are other individuals like you who are implementing exercise in their daily routines! There are many programs and gyms that offer engaging classes where you can be socially engaged and meet new people!

  4. Improve Mental Health
    Once again, a sedentary lifestyle has many negative impacts. By exercising daily, you benefit and reduce the risk of dementia and other mental health related conditions.

  5. Increased independence and confidence
    Daily exercise translates into improved functional performance which can benefit your independence! Moreover, an increase in independence can lead to a boost in confidence and better mental health and image of oneself.