Newsletters

Week 7 Balance exercises

Exercises to increase balance and decrease motion sickness

All of the motion sickness exercises should make you slightly dizzy or nauseous. While this does not sound fun, remember the saying, no pain no gain. Unless you push your brain past its comfort point, no rehabilitation can be gained. Most people will feel the effects for 5-10 minutes after finishing the exercises. If you continue to feel dizzy or nauseous after an hour, decrease the amount or speed of the exercises for next time. Remember, start slowly and don’t overtax your system. This is a marathon, not a sprint. You can begin by trying out all of the new exercises on the first night or by choosing to only do one or two new ones a night and spreading them out throughout the week. Continue adding on to the previous weeks’ exercises and switching them up every night so that your body doesn’t adapt to one move only!

When attempting these exercises, always make sure to be holding on to something stable or to be near something stable that you could easily grab if you begin to lose balance. If you start feeling overly nauseous or dizzy, take one hand and press down on the top of your head for a few seconds or make a pair of binoculars with your hands and look through them at the ground.

Week 7:  Big Finale!

Motion Sickness:    This week we are going to work on saccades. Saccades are quick movements of the eye. For example, think about cats. If you watch them, you will see that the minute something moves, their eyes go right to it. To practice this, place two targets in front of you about an arm’s length away. For one minute, look back and forth between them as quickly as possible. The second part of this exercise requires you to rotate your head as well.

Balance: This last exercise requires a piece of paper and either a hallway or a fairly open room. Now, try to walk around while looking only at the paper. This takes the visual part of balance out and really works on improving your body awareness or proprioception system. By practicing this exercise, you should have more confidence walking around a supermarket while reading a shopping list and also more confidence walking around without constantly having to watch where you place each foot!

Good Luck!

 

Week 6 Balance Exercises

Exercises to increase balance and decrease motion sickness

All of the motion sickness exercises should make you slightly dizzy or nauseous. While this does not sound fun, remember the saying, no pain no gain. Unless you push your brain past its comfort point, no rehabilitation can be gained. Most people will feel the effects for 5-10 minutes after finishing the exercises. If you continue to feel dizzy or nauseous after an hour, decrease the amount or speed of the exercises for next time. Remember, start slowly and don’t overtax your system. This is a marathon, not a sprint. You can begin by trying out all of the new exercises on the first night or by choosing to only do one or two new ones a night and spreading them out throughout the week. Continue adding on to the previous weeks’ exercises and switching them up every night so that your body doesn’t adapt to one move only!

When attempting these exercises, always make sure to be holding on to something stable or to be near something stable that you could easily grab if you begin to lose balance. If you start feeling overly nauseous or dizzy, take one hand and press down on the top of your head for a few seconds or make a pair of binoculars with your hands and look through them at the ground.

Week 6: Almost there!

Motion Sickness:    You can either be standing or sitting for this exercise. Begin making circles with your head. Place your chin to your chest, then left ear on left shoulder, right ear on right shoulder, and finally back to chin on chest. Don’t extend your head backwards. Do this slowly with your eyes open for about a minute. Reverse and go the opposite way.

You can do this exercise with your eyes open first, and then with your eyes closed. You can also continue to increase the speed at which you perform the head circles to increase the intensity. 

Balance:    This exercise may seem basic but can prove to be quite a challenge for some people. Using tape, mark spots on the carpet in a circle about a step width apart. Now walk in a circle trying to step only on the spots you marked. Then switch and go the other way. If this seems too easy, go around your house and collect your cushions and pillows, try to get at least 8. Set them up in a circle spaced about a foot or two apart. Now walk in a circle only on the pillows. Switch and go the other way. You can also place the pillows in a line or a zigzag pattern and follow that!

Good luck!

January Newsletter: Vitamin D

Why is vitamin D important for your health?

It’s the beginning of January, and the days are still short and wintry! The vitamin D stores that we spent all summer building up are nearing empty.

How is vitamin D made?

Our bodies make vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight. After just 20 minutes in sunlight, with the arms and legs almost completely exposed, we produce about 10,000 IUs (international units) of vitamin D! Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, meaning that some can be stored by the body. However, most people are still deficient in it due to the inadequate amount of sunshine we get during the cold weather seasons.  Plus, if you spent your summer inside an office building, lathered up in sunscreen, or just in the cloudy Chicago area, your body is barely getting enough vitamin D to function normally, much less having any left over to store.

What does vitamin D do?

Some people might think missing a little vitamin D isn’t a problem, but we need vitamin D to help absorb calcium and increase bone strength, support the immune system, and to prevent cancer. Every cell in our body has vitamin D receptors, and without it, most activities performed by the body are in some way affected. Vitamin D also helps to prevent the winter blues!

Is all vitamin D the same?

There are two forms of vitamin D that you will normally see on foods and supplements. D2 (ergocalciferol) is made by plants and D3 (cholecalciferol) is made by humans when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Traditionally, ergocalciferol has been the form used in many fortified foods and supplements due to a higher availability and longer lasting shelf life. Cholecalciferol, however, is much more potent and longer lasting in the body. When choosing a supplement, make sure it says D3 or cholecalciferol!

Getting Vitamin D naturally:

Daily sunlight exposure is the best way to get vitamin D. Our bodies are naturally able to create vitamin D. 20 minutes outside with full arm exposure and some leg exposure is very helpful in reaching our daily requirements. However, in cold weather, this can be hard to do. Taking a daily vitamin D supplementation is necessary for most people to reach their recommended amount.

How much should you take?

It is possible to overdose on vitamin D, but no adverse effects have been seen before 10,000 IUs. The general consensus is that you should be taking 30 IUs of vitamin D for every pound of body weight. A 150 pound adult would need to be taking at least 4,500 IUs a day. Getting at least 2,000 IUs a day as well as some sunshine should also be enough. If you think you’re daily sunlight levels are too low, or you’re unsure which brand of vitamin D you should be taking, just ask Dr. Brian! He believes that vitamin D is one of the most important supplements a person can be on and recommends a liquid Bio-D-Mulsion Forte, which he uses himself and is one of the few things he sells right here in the office!

January Newsletter: New Year’s Resolution Tips

New Year’s Resolutions You Can Keep!

With the new year beginning, many people have already started making their resolutions. Many of these resolutions are such an extreme change from their normal life that they’re almost impossible to consistently keep. These are a few hints to help make more  reasonable resolutions and how to make sure you follow through on those resolutions!

  1. Start small – Only make resolutions that you can keep. If you haven’t been working out lately and you want to start moving more, don’t make a resolution of going to the gym 7 days a week. Instead, commit to two or three days a week when you know you can make the time. Or, if you want to eat healthier, don’t  plan on an extreme diet that takes away all of the foods you love and also takes more time to make. As an alternative, choose one thing to improve in your diet. Try eating at least 2 servings of vegetables a day, or instead of desert, find a healthier replacement.
  2. Get support – Sticking to a New Year’s resolution is a lot easier when you have someone else doing it with you or there’s another person to hold you accountable. Find a friend or family member that is striving for a similar goal as you and help each other out!
  3. Focus on one resolution at a time – Remember, these resolutions are for a whole year, so you have that year to slowly integrate them into your life. If you have a long list, try focusing on one resolution a month. Once a resolution becomes more of a habit, it won’t be so hard to follow, and your brain will be better able to concentrate on the next resolution.
  4. Make your goals extremely specific – Setting goals such as “get in shape” or “eat healthier” aren’t very good goals. They leave a wide room for interpretation and you don’t have a set point that you can strive for. Instead, set goals like “lose 10 pounds” or “drink only one pop a week”. These goals are attainable and you can be proud of yourself for reaching it!

Week 5 Balance Exercises

Exercises to increase balance and decrease motion sickness

All of the motion sickness exercises should make you slightly dizzy or nauseous. While this does not sound fun, remember the saying, no pain no gain. Unless you push your brain past its comfort point, no rehabilitation can be gained. Most people will feel the effects for 5-10 minutes after finishing the exercises. If you continue to feel dizzy or nauseous after an hour, decrease the amount or speed of the exercises for next time. Remember, start slowly and don’t overtax your system. This is a marathon, not a sprint. You can begin by trying out all of the new exercises on the first night or by choosing to only do one or two new ones a night and spreading them out throughout the week. Continue adding on to the previous weeks’ exercises and switching them up every night so that your body doesn’t adapt to one move only!

When attempting these exercises, always make sure to be holding on to something stable or to be near something stable that you could easily grab if you begin to lose balance. If you start feeling overly nauseous or dizzy, take one hand and press down on the top of your head for a few seconds or make a pair of binoculars with your hands and look through them at the ground.

Week 5:

Motion Sickness:    Begin by looking at a target somewhere in front of you. Close your eyes and continue to imagine that you’re looking at the target and stay focused on that target. Now rotate your head to one side or up and down while still pretending to keep your eyes on the target. When you open your eyes, they should still be focused on the same spot. How accurate were you? Repeat this exercise for about 2 minutes, varying the direction of your head and the speed at which you rotate it.

Balance:    Stand in the middle of the floor and put various small objects around you in a circle (cans, socks, pens, pencils, etc. Try to have at least 10.) Stand on one leg and try to touch each of the objects with the other foot. You can lean over and bend your supporting leg if need be, just try not to let the raised foot touch the ground. Once you have done that with one foot, switch and use the other.  After completing one set, pick up the objects and move them around and try again.

Good luck!

Week 4 Balance Exercises

Exercises to increase balance and decrease motion sickness

All of the motion sickness exercises should make you slightly dizzy or nauseous. While this does not sound fun, remember the saying, no pain no gain. Unless you push your brain past its comfort point, no rehabilitation can be gained. Most people will feel the effects for 5-10 minutes after finishing the exercises. If you continue to feel dizzy or nauseous after an hour, decrease the amount or speed of the exercises for next time. Remember, start slowly and don’t overtax your system. This is a marathon, not a sprint. You can begin by trying out all of the new exercises on the first night or by choosing to only do one or two new ones a night and spreading them out throughout the week. Continue adding on to the previous weeks’ exercises and switching them up every night so that your body doesn’t adapt to one move only!

When attempting these exercises, always make sure to be holding on to something stable or to be near something stable that you could easily grab if you begin to lose balance. If you start feeling overly nauseous or dizzy, take one hand and press down on the top of your head for a few seconds or make a pair of binoculars with your hands and look through them at the ground.

Week 4:

Motion sickness: Alright, time to step things up a notch this week with wall rolls! Stand with your back against a long wall with nothing else on it. Take your right shoulder off the wall and turn to the left until facing the wall. Next, take your left shoulder off the wall and turn to the left until your back is again up against the wall. Repeat until you get to the end of the wall or try to at least get 8 full rolls in. Reverse the process to get back to the starting point. You can perform this exercise with eyes open and then eyes closed.

Balance: Begin by standing with feet together and arms holding onto a chair either in front of you or to the side. Next, you are going to bend over at the waist while beginning to lift one leg up behind you. The goal is to keep your body as straight as possible and to get into a T shape. One leg is on the ground with your upper body and the other leg is in a straight line. Try to hold this pose for 20 seconds. When you begin to feel more comfortable with this pose, try attempting it without holding on to the chair. Once you have mastered that part of the exercise, try closing your eyes or moving your arms around while still holding the pose!

Good luck!

Week 3 Balance Exercises

Exercises to increase balance and decrease motion sickness

All of the motion sickness exercises should make you slightly dizzy or nauseous. While this does not sound fun, remember the saying, no pain no gain. Unless you push your brain past its comfort point, no rehabilitation can be gained. Most people will feel the effects for 5-10 minutes after finishing the exercises. If you continue to feel dizzy or nauseous after an hour, decrease the amount or speed of the exercises for next time. Remember, start slowly and don’t overtax your system. This is a marathon, not a sprint. You can begin by trying out all of the new exercises on the first night or by choosing to only do one or two new ones a night and spreading them out throughout the week. Continue adding on to the previous weeks’ exercises and switching them up every night so that your body doesn’t adapt to one move only!

When attempting these exercises, always make sure to be holding on to something stable or to be near something stable that you could easily grab if you begin to lose balance. If you start feeling overly nauseous or dizzy, take one hand and press down on the top of your head for a few seconds or make a pair of binoculars with your hands and look through them at the ground.

Week 3:    

Motion Sickness:   (More detailed explanation below)

  1. Hold a business card an arm’s length away and turn your head from side to side and up and down while focusing your eyes on the card.
  2. Continue to hold the business card an arm’s length away, but this time when turning your head from side to side and up and down, bring the card side to side and up and down as well.

Start with a business card or some other small object that you can focus on when holding it an arm’s length away. Focus on the target while turning your head from side to side for at least one minute. Repeat the exercise while moving the head up and down.

Now, when turning your head from side to side move the business card side to side as well in the same direction as head movement, and then up and down. Finally, repeat this exercise while moving the business card to the opposite of side of where you are looking, but make sure to stay focused on the business card at all times.

Balance:

This week we are going to work on ankle sways. Stand with feet shoulder width apart and arms at side looking straight ahead. Slowly shift your weight forward to your toes and then backwards to your heels for one minute. All movement should come from the ankles, there should be no bending at the hips. Next, shift your weight from side to side.

Start this exercise with eyes open and then try eyes closed. To train different parts of your brain, you can try practicing this exercise on a foam pad or cushion as well.

Good luck!

 

Week 2 Balance Exercises

Exercises to increase balance and decrease motion sickness:

All of the motion sickness exercises should make you slightly dizzy or nauseous. While this does not sound fun, remember the saying, no pain no gain. Unless you push your brain past its comfort point, no rehabilitation can be gained. Most people will feel the effects for 5-10 minutes after finishing the exercises. If you continue to feel dizzy or nauseous after an hour, decrease the amount or speed of the exercises for next time. Remember, start slowly and don’t overtax your system. This is a marathon, not a sprint. You can begin by trying out all of the new exercises on the first night or by choosing to only do one or two new ones a night and spreading them out throughout the week. Continue adding on to the previous weeks’ exercises and switching them up every night so that your body doesn’t adapt to one move only!

When attempting these exercises, always make sure to be holding on to something stable or to be near something stable that you could easily grab if you begin to lose balance. If you start feeling overly nauseous or dizzy, take one hand and press down on the top of your head for a few seconds or make a pair of binoculars with your hands and look through them at the ground.

Week 2: Doing great!

Motion Sickness:   (More detailed explanation below.)

  1. Sit on a chair placing a fist on each knee. Bend down until your head touches the right fist, or as far as it can go, and then come back up. Next, switch to the left fist. Continue alternating for up to one minute, but don’t push yourself too far.

This exercise is called Face to Knee, and it’s just like it sounds! Sit in a chair with feet about shoulder width apart and place each hand, in a fist, on each knee. Bend down until your forehead touches your right fist and sit back up. Do the same to the left. Continue to alternate for one minute. If you are feeling light-headed or dizzy, rest a moment or stop the exercise here. If you are still feeling okay, go on to the next pattern. Bend down until your forehead touches your right fist, then touch your forehead to your left fist before coming up. Do the same starting left and then going right. Continue to alternate for one minute. After practicing a few days, see if you can begin to speed up the movement.

Balance:    (More detailed explanation below.)

  1. Walking close to a wall for support if needed, walk along it heel to toe.
  2. Again walking close to a wall for support, go up and down along the wall doing the grapevine.

Today we will practice some walking exercises. Start in a wide open area that allows you to take at least 12 steps in a direction. If you are worried about falling, try to do these exercises along a wall. First try walking heel to toe. Place your right foot down and then place your left heel right up against the front of your right foot. Walk in a line for at least 12 steps and then turn around and come back. Next is the crossover or the grapevine. This will require you to face sideways. Start by putting your right foot out and then cross your left foot in front of your right foot. Then move your right foot out again and cross your left foot behind you right foot. After you have done this at least 12 steps, come back starting with your left foot this time.

When you feel that you have mastered these walking exercises, try setting up a line and seeing if you can stay on it, and finally you can try and close your eyes while doing the exercises.


Good luck!

December Newsletter- Nutrition for the holidays

Nutrition for the Holidays

As we approach the holiday season, one of the things that everyone always looks forward to is the food. There are huge family dinners, a vast array of desserts, and sometimes even more candy than Halloween. How can you stay healthy and on track during this holiday season when there are so many scrumptious foods to choose from? Luckily for you, we’re divulging a few secrets that will help you curb your cravings and be on your way to a healthy holiday!

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December Newsletter- Winter Slips and Falls

Winter Slips and Falls

With winter just over the horizon, we’re quickly approaching the time of year when falls and slips are imminent. The older we get, it seems like the less balance and coordination we have, and blaming old age is an easy way to not do anything about it. However, it’s important to remember that as a child, you were playing balance beam on anything that even resembled a beam, jumping around, and constantly moving your body. As we enter into adulthood, a lot of the things we did as children are seen as taboo. In the work office, you don’t look around and see people trying to balance on chairs or jumping from tile to tile as if the floor was made of lava. These activities were key to training the systems responsible for balance and motion sickness. If we don’t incorporate this training into daily life, then we are going to have to set aside a few minutes a day to exercise our balance systems.

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