Ah, the new year; it’s a chance to start over, a new beginning, a fresh start.
Well, maybe in the theoretical sense. But really, the first of January is just like any other day of the year. So, contrary to the whole idea of setting “New Year’s Resolutions,” when it comes to setting and working towards new goals, it doesn’t really make any sense to wait for a turn in the calendar to get started.
In fact, this holds true especially when it comes to your health and fitness.
“Your health and your body and the care you put into it should be valued highly,” says Stephanie Lauren, a certified personal trainer, nutritional health and wellness coach and the founder of Plyoga Fitness.
She points out that your health and fitness shouldn’t be determined by the season or time of year. Rather, you should place a focus on taking care of yourself year round.
“You get one body to live in your whole life,” she adss.
Bottom line: why put something as important as your health and wellness on the backburner when you can start making improvements right now?
Obviously that’s a rhetorical question, but a few experts that I talked to did share some great reasons that explain why you absolutely shouldn’t wait.
Vivian Eisenstadt MAPT, CPT, MSP, CEO is a personal trainer and Chief Physical Therapist at Vivie Therapy in Los Angeles; Mike Dewaris a certified national strength and conditioning coach, personal trainer and the Co-Founder of J2FIT Human Performance; Stephanie Dreyer is the founder of VeegMama, a lifestyle blog sharing new approaches to healthy living through food, wellness and personal fulfillment; and Maurice Buchanan is a personal trainer and the owner of UGO1 Fitness.
Continue reading to find out their expert advice.
You’ll approach the holidays with a different attitude.
Eisenstadt says that if you continue to focus on health and fitness starting now and through the holiday season, you may be less likely to overeat and overindulge. She suggests setting goals that will help to keep you motivated right now so that your mindset will shift from worrying about whether you’re eating too much to keeping track of the good things, like exercising and eating healthily, that you are doing.
You’ll have less work to do later.
“One of the main reasons people start their New Year’s ‘resolution’ to lose weight is because they overindulge during the holidays,” says Eisenstadt. “If you start now, you won’t have more weight to take off after the holidays, but instead you’ll be in a great place to continue a great habit you started in November.”
Decode your current sleep position and decide what is the best and worst for your health to get a good night’s rest. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Getting a good night’s sleep is pivotal for our health, body, mind, and our mood, especially since we spend one-third of our lives asleep. While it is recommended every adult get seven to eight hours of sleep per night, according to the National Sleep Foundation, for many of us this is easier said than done. Sleep difficulty can be caused by a number of things, ranging from eating or drinking the wrong things before bed to our sleep position.
“Eighty percent of the population will have back problems at some point in [their] lives oftentimes caused or aggravated by the way they sleep,” Dr. Hooman Melamed, an orthopedic spine surgeon at the DISC Sports & Spine Center in Los Angeles, Calif., featured on The Doctors,Dr. Oz, and The Steve Harvey Show, told Medical Daily in an email. This suggests our p.m. pose could be the cause of our back and neck pain, stomach troubles, and even premature aging. To discover the best sleep positions for our body and the ones we may want to avoid, Medical Dailyhas put together a list so you can optimize your hours of sleep and stay healthy.
Best Position: On Your Back
Sleeping on our back makes it easier for our head, neck, and spine to align and keep it in a neutral position. No extra pressure or curves are being added to the back. “You are in the best position as your spine stays in natural alignment all night long,” Melamed said.
Dr. Michael Breus, known as “The Sleep Doctor,” is a clinical psychologist and both a diplomat of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, who also sides with Melamed’s recommendation of lying on your back during sleep. In Dr. Mehmet Oz’s sleep clinic last Thursday, Oz and sleep specialists answered questions and provided sleep tips for Twitter users using #DrOzSleepClinic, and via phone toll-free at 844-223-006. I asked the most common question most people have in mind: What#sleep position is best for our body in order to get a good night’s sleep?”
This position is good for your back, too. It prevents facial wrinkles and skin breakouts. “Sleeping on your back also combats acid reflux,” said Dr. Decontee Jimmeh, a neurologist in Norwood Clinic in Birmingham, Ala. to Medical Daily in an email. Lying on your back means the head is elevated, and the stomach is able to sit below the esophagus, making it less likely for digested substances to come back up. It’s important to note sleeping in this position can result in snoring. In addition, placing your arms up adds pressure on the nerves of the shoulders, which leads to pain.
Second Best: On Your Side
Sleeping on your side is beneficial for patients who have obstructive sleep apnea, prone to general snoring, neck and back pain, and for those pregnant. Fletcher said “[S]leeping on one’s side is helpful by mechanically opening up a crowded oropharynx. It also elongates the spine, which helps back pain.”
Being a side-sleeper, however, can also cause unwanted skin aging, since placing one side of your face on the pillow can cause you to get wrinkles, and even leads to saggy breasts.
On The Right Side And On The Left Side
The side in which you sleep on can also play a role in your health. Sleeping on the ride side can worsen heartburn. However, sleeping on the left side can put a strain on internal organs like the liver, lungs, and stomach, but also while reducing acid reflux. Pregnant women are advised to sleep on their left side for optimal blood flow.
Vivian Eisenstadt, physical therapist in Los Angeles, Calif., told Medical Daily in an email, “if you’re going to sleep on your side, pillow prop using the following: an ergonomic pillow thick enough so your head doesn’t tilt down, a small pillow under your waist so your stomach doesn’t curve down, and a 3rd pillow between your legs.”
The Worst: On Your Stomach
Sleeping on your stomach is never advised because it doesn’t support the natural curve of your spine, leading to overarching. This places pressure on joints and muscles that can lead to pain, numbness, and tingling. “[I]t forces your neck to be in a rotated, closed pack, tight position, which also compromises your breathing and circulation,” Eisenstadt said.
Stomach-sleeping could be beneficial for those who snore as it helps keep the upper airways more open. However, this having the head to one side for a long period of time could soon lead to aching. This position should also be avoided for those who suffer from neck or back pain.
Second Worst: On Your Side With Knees Drawn Up To Chest (Fetal)
The fetal position may be comforting at the moment, but this can lead to neck and back pain, wrinkles, and saggy breasts. Sleeping in the fetal position can cause a strain on your back and joints, especially when your knees and chin are tucked into your chest. Melamed suggests we avoid sleeping on our side, like the fetal position, because the shoulder and neck should be aligned when sleeping. “You should choose a softer mattress to avoid press points but not one so soft that it doesn’t properly support your neck,” he said.
Sleep positions and the type of mattress you have play a major role in providing support along the contours of your body as you lie in bed. Placing pressure to any given parts of the body can disrupt sleep. A good night’s sleep requires a good sleeping environment, a good mattress, and plenty of rest.
For those who work with their hands, carpal tunnel syndrome can be downright debilitating. Here, expert advice and treatment options to ease the pain.
According to the American College of Rheumatology, carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is relatively common, affecting 4 to 10 millions Americans. The good news? It’s usually treatable. In this month’s Nail Clinic, we’ll delve into the causes and symptoms of this condition as well as ways to combat the pain it causes.
WHAT IS CTS? According to Kevin Cronin, president and owner of ARC Physical Therapy in Chicago, CTS is a medical condition that occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the palm of the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. The median nerve controls sensations to the palm side of the thumb and fingers (excluding the pinkie finger), as well as impulses to some small muscles in the hand that allow the fingers and thumb to move. “The carpal tunnel-a narrow, rigid passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand-houses the median nerve and tendons,” says Cronin. “In the case of CTS, thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel and causes the median nerve to be compressed.”
This compression can cause symptoms that include tingling and numbness and/or pain in one or more fingers, or in the entire hand, says Vivian Eisenstadt, CEO and physical therapist at Vivie Therapy in Los Angeles, who notes that repetitive activities, like those done by a nail tech, can aggravate symptoms. “CTS can occur when individuals use their hands too much for too long, such as by working on nails, because you hold your fingers and hands in certain positions for hours on end, “she says. CTS isn’t always work related, though, says Barbara Bergin, an orthopedic surgeon in Austin, Texas. “Many of us are predisposed to carpal tunnel syndrome, either genetically or because we live a long time and do a lot of movements, both heavy and repetitive, with our hands, ” she says, adding that the majority of her CTS patients do not perform particularly heavy or repetitive work, but rather routine and low-level amounts of lifting, manipulating and typing.
COPING WITH CTS
If you are experiencing pain, tingling or numbness, the first step to recover is to see a physical therapist or doctor. The symptoms of CTS can mimic other conditions, such as repetitive strain injury, so proper diagnosis can rule out any additional problems. While surgery is available to help extreme cases of CTS, for less severe symptoms, Eisenstadt recommends physical therapy, which relaxes and stretches the carpal tunnel area. The following tips can also counteract tingling and numbness in the hands:
Take regular breaks throughout the day, making sure to stretch your forearms, hands and wrists. Cronin recommends a wrist flexor stretch every two or three hours, holding the position for six seconds on each wrist.
Stretch your neck and your shoulders. Many times, numbness and tingling in the hand originates from the shoulder or neck as a result of sitting in a poor position for too long.
Place an ice cube where your fourth finger meets the palm, flex and rub the area with the ice for 5 to 10 minutes. This increases blood flow and releases pressure on the palm.
Have a massage therapist perform deep-tissue strokes on your forearms and hands.
Put your hands in warm water for five minutes, then very cold water for five minutes, switching back and forth for 20 to 30 minutes. This improves circulation in your hands.
Bergen also recommends wearing gloves, which will help loosen your grip on implements and other items. additionally, wearing a wrist brace, during the day or at night, will prevent hyperflexion, or flexing the wrist beyond its normal limits, “Sometimes, simply doing these small things will keep you from having symptoms during your workday,” he says. If do-it-yourself tactics don’t alleviate your symptoms, additional treatments may help. Cronin recommends fascia strain and counterstrain, a gentle procedure that focuses on relieving tightness in the fascia, or connective tissue. “Tightness in the fascia and/or the muscles can spasm higher up in the arm, and even to the neck, causing tension in the nerves of the forearm and wrist, which contributes to CTS,” he explains.
During fascial strain and counterstrain, the medical professional identifies tender points in the hand, arm or neck which are associated with tight facial structure. Then, using her hands, the practitioner will manually shorten the tight fascia and hold that position for 30 seconds. This action eliminates the tender points and tightness thus releasing tension in the tissue. ” When the adverse tension on the nerve is removed, the irritation of the nerve lessens, and so do the symptoms,” says Cronin, who notes that most patients begin to feel relief almost immediately. Proper treatment for CTS, in addition to taking the necessary steps to reduce your discomfort throughout the day, will help you continue to be a successful and productive nail tech for years to come.
Carpal Tunnel Facts*
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the most expensive of all work-related injuries. Over a lifetime, a carpal tunnel patient loses about $30,000 in medical bills and time absent from work.
Studies have shown that vitamin B 6 supplements may relieve CTS symptoms.
CTS typically occurs in adults, and women are three times more likely to develop it than men.
CTS usually affects the dominant hand first, and the pain is typically severe.
*Source: American Chiropractic Association (acatoday.org)
Now that laws have been passed allowing direct access to physical therapists without a doctor’s prescription, skip the long doctor appointments, the drugs, epidurals and surgeries with no relief and get your mind set on PREHABilitation. It’sa proactive way to train the most often injured areas of your body.Expand your mind on physical therapy techniques that can benefit you before you hurt. Whatever you do for a living, your body is your instrument. Let a physical therapist align your body into balance, teaching you how to move your body in a way that’s like a workout, reinforcing good habits and preserving your body from future injury. When your neck and lower back first start to ache, a physical therapist can get you out of pain and make sure you only come back once a month to tune-up your instrument. Physical therapists will put the bones back into place and give you exercises and stretches so those bones stay where they’re put. A physical therapist will also look at how you hold and handle your stress.
[Editors note:When you think about physical therapy, what comes to mind is an injury or a car accident that already happened, after which physical therapy was prescribed by your doctor. Well, these days that’s so pass, as friend of Frontiers VivianEisenstadt explains in the piece below.]
Now that laws have been passed allowing direct access to physical therapists without a doctor’s prescription, skip the long doctor appointments, the drugs, epidurals and surgeries with no relief and get your mind set on PREHABilitation. It’sa proactive way to train the most often injured areas of your body.Expand your mind on physical therapy techniques that can benefit you before you hurt.
Whatever you do for a living, your body is your instrument. Let a physical therapist align your body into balance, teaching you how to move your body in a way that’s like a workout, reinforcing good habits and preserving your body from future injury. When your neck and lower back first start to ache, a physical therapist can get you out of pain and make sure you only come back once a month to tune-up your instrument. Physical therapists will put the bones back into place and give you exercises and stretches so those bones stay where they’re put. A physical therapist will also look at how you hold and handle your stress.
Want to not get hurt at the gym? Let a physical therapist teach you how to mindfully turn on your abs and shut them offwith every exercise. Get help finding the muscles your trainer is yelling at you to use when you have no idea where the hell they are.
Want to improve your body mechanics and shave seconds off your mile? Let a physical therapist analyze your run to maximize efficient movement.
To combat neck pain, back pain or slumping in your chair, physical therapists use targeted massage therapy, pilates, stretching and strengthening as well as alternative modalities like whole body vibration therapy, infrared light therapy and standard ultrasound to have you operating at your peak.
Cold weather causes muscles to lose more heat and contract, causing tightness throughout the body. Joints get tighter, muscles can lose their range of motion and nerves can more easily be pinched, according to Los Angeles-based orthopedic physical therapist Vivian Eisenstadt.
Thanks to the effects of colder temps, muscles are forced to work much harder to complete the same tasks they complete easily in milder weather. This causes more damage to the muscle tissue and can result in increased soreness. To counteract the damage, be sure to warm up for a little longer than usual.
“It is normal to feel muscle soreness for a few days after exercise, especially if it is a different type of activity or at a more intense level than your body is used to,” says Amy McDowell, a physical therapist and Pilates instructor from ARC Physical Therapy in Chicago.
“If you feel more sore in the winter after the same level of exercise than you do the rest of the year, it could be that your body needs a longer warm-up period.”
Try beginning your workout with light cardio exercises, like brisk walking. This will raise your core temperature and ensure that oxygen and blood are flowing throughout your body.
A basic rule of thumb is that you should warm up for 10 minutes when the temperature is between 35 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit. For each 10-degree temperature drop below 35, extend your warm-up by five minutes.
Brandon Mentore, a health coach based in Philadelphia, recommends a combination of exercises and stretches for an effective warm-up.
Some bodyweight exercises — like push-ups, dips, squats, lunges and bicycle crunches — are ideal for getting your blood flowing after your warm-up walk, Mentore says. Then, after those exercises, stretch only the tightest muscle groups in your body; for most people, these groups include the hamstrings, quadriceps, chest and shoulders.
Follow your warm-up with a cool-down that takes about the same amount of time. However, in addition to stretching the body’s tightest muscle groups, also focus on other areas like the back, arms and calves. “This will prevent muscle soreness and enhance your overall performance during the winter,” Mentore says.
Instead of giving up on winter exercise, modify the way you work out to feel and look your best throughout the winter months. Bonus? The healthy habits you pick up can be incorporated into your warm-weather workouts.
Do you suffer from everyday aches and pains? There are some easy ways you can prevent the most common types of pain.
We were joined by postural specialist Vivian Eisenstadt. Vivian is the founder of Prevent The Pain Therapy, Inc., a physical therapy and wellness center offering personalized programs that address all aspects of pain.
She came in today to show Maria and Tony how to prevent the some of the most common types of pain that result from everyday habits many of us have developed.
The 5 most common complaints:
Neck & upper shoulder pain with associated headaches and tingling in the arms
Meet Vivian, your Career Guide in this video! She’ll show you what it’s like to be a Physical Therapist. If you love exercise and helping people eliminate stress and pain, this could be the career for you!
The human body isn’t designed to sit all day but our jobs often require it. Now new research suggests doing so not only causes weight gain and joint damage but diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. HUFFPOST Live looks into how to help yourself be healthy.