Five Tips for Lifting

Whether the new year means lifting weights to get in shape or lifting boxes as you clean out some clutter, it’s important to keep these five things in mind so that you can stay strong and healthy.

Keep a wide base of support

Stand with your feet separated and lined up just past you shoulder width, creating a wide base of support. This increases your balance and stability and allows you to use your leg muscles more than your back muscles. 

Squat down bending at the hips and knees rather than the back.

Bending forward from the back puts too much load on the fibers that hold your discs in place. Too much bending and lifting or lifting too heavy of weight, with poor form, can cause disc slippage or herniation. 

Don’t arch or lean back with your upper back.

Just like bending forward and lifting is bad, bending backward is as well. Bending backward puts added pressure on the bones and discs in your back and can also pinch your nerves. Keep a straight spinal posture by contracting your abdominals by pulling belly button in towards your spine to flatten your low back. Your abdominal muscles are your body’s built in corset that provides stability for the spine. If you engage those muscles while lifting and keep a straight posture, you will minimize unnecessary stress on your bones and ligaments. 

Hold the load as close to your body as possible, at the level of your belly button.

Keeping the item close you your body lowers the amount of forward weight and makes it easier to lift against gravity. It also sets you up for having better spinal posture. This will decrease the chance of suffering an injury. 

Use your feet to change direction, taking small steps. Do not twist at your back.

The most common injury happens when someone is bending forward and twisting their back while lifting something from a low level. Twisting is the motion that causes the most damage to the discs in our spine. Instead take small steps and turn your body as one. This will save your back in the long run. 

If you or a loved one is in need of Physical Therapy, give us a call today at 586-323-2957 to set up your FREE 30 minute screening.

Make the Most of Your At-Home Christmas

This holiday season is going to look a little different for most of us however; there are still some ways to have some fun this holiday season from the comfort and safety of your own home! 

Stay up to Date with Santa’s Reindeer

Check out what Santa’s reindeer are up to as they prepare for the big night with Reindeer Cam

Candy Cane Hunt around the House

Another fun idea is a candy cane hunt! Add an extra special touch by getting extended family on Zoom or Facetime to read clues to the kiddos so you can still spend some time with family if they can’t be physically present. 

Watch All Your Favorite Movies

Create your very own movie night and watch as many Christmas movies as your holly jolly  heart can handle. 

Camp Out under the Christmas Tree

End your night of holiday fun by camping out under your Christmas tree and add in a cup of cocoa (or two). 

We hope you and your family are still able to find the magic and spirit of Christmas this holiday season. From all of us at CWJR, we wish you a Merry Christmas!

Sensory/Tactile and Play with Snow

It is that time of year where the weather is colder and snow is falling. With that in mind, it may be hard for your child to tolerate touching the snow or playing outside with all the winter gear on. Here are some ideas on things to do to help increase your child’s engagement and tolerance with outdoor winter activities.

Snow Tolerance

  • Start with tolerance of touching with gloves on for a period of time and progress to without gloves with supervision to not freeze hands. 
  • Make a sensory bin with fake or real snow toys/small items placed inside for fine motor
    • Fake snow can be found at the dollar store
  • Perform fun activities! 
    • Build a snowman
    • Have a snowball fight 
    • Make snow angels
  • Important to remember:
    • Never progress to next level of tolerance until previous level is achieved without avoidance.
    • Consult w ith your Occupational Therapist with any questions or concerns. 

Winter Gear Tolerance

  • Begin with tolerance of items being in room for period of time
  • Progress to timed trials of winter gear on-progressing to more time only when achieved 3 consecutive trials
    • Make it fun! Engage with winter related bins or fun games outside with the snow
  • If presenting with decreased tolerance with wearing gloves or hats, try consulting with your Occupational Therapist on performing hand mapping, face mapping and tactile protocol for increased awareness

We hope you stay safe and have fun out there in the snow! It is a great way to explore and progress with creativity and play!

If you or a loved one is in need of Occupational Therapy, call us todat at 586-323-2957 to set up your FREE 30 minute screening.

When the Weather Gets Cold, Don’t Forget to Warm Up!

Colder weather means some changes to how we exercise. Of course it’s harder to motivate yourself to get outside for a run or bike ride when the temperature drops, and the shorter days compress our schedules, but there are changes in your body that affect your ability to exercise too. For many people with arthritis or other joint problems, cold weather brings more complaints of pain. To stay warm, our bodies narrow blood vessels to reduce blood flow to the skin, and more superficial muscles. That means that there is an increased risk of muscle strains in the cold. There is also an increased strain on the heart because of the narrowed blood vessels. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be active outdoors in the cold, it just means you may have to make a few changes to your routine. Here are a few to consider:

Warm up right

A good warm up is always important, but because of the tendency for joints to be stiffer, and blood flow to muscles to be reduced in the cold, it’s even more important that you do it right this time of year. To start, do something to get your heart rate up a bit, maybe a brisk walk or light jog. Follow that up with a dynamic warm up rather than static stretches. This could include walking or jogging while pulling your knees up high to your chest. Maybe some high kicks in front of you with straight knees to get your hamstrings loosened. A walking lunge with an upper body twist can get your whole body moving. Cater your warm up to what you have planned in your workout. If you’re not sure how it should look, ask your physical therapist!

Dress right

Dressing in layers allows you to adjust your insulation to your activity level. After you warm up, you might want to take off a layer to avoid getting too hot during your main activity. You’ll have it there later to put back on when your activity level drops and you start getting too cold.

Don’t forget about the sun either – just because it’s cold doesn’t mean the UV rays are gone. Sunscreen and sunglasses aren’t just for the summer. A lip balm with SPF can protect you not only from the sun but from the wind too.

Stay hydrated

Drink water before, during, and after your workout. The temperature may be down, but you’ll still sweat and you’ll still lose water vapor in your breath. The drier air in winter lets your sweat evaporate more quickly, so it’s easy to underestimate how much fluid you’ve lost.

Cool down

When you’re done, don’t rush to get inside and crawl under a blanket. Cool down properly. Keep moving with a walk or another form of active recovery to let your heart rate come down. After exercise is the right place for static stretching. You can also head inside for some foam rolling or self-massage.

The days being shorter and the temperatures being lower don’t mean you’re stuck inside for all of your exercise. If you follow these tips, you can safely keep moving outside.

If you or a loved on is in need of Physical Therapy, please reach out to us at 586-323-2957 to set up a FREE 30 minute screening.

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