Wellfie Wednesday Tip #128: Early Winter Bringing SAD News

Welcome Back! Happy Wellfie Wednesday! This week’s post is a repost of a tip shared at the start of this year by Diana (@DianaKlatt). With the recent passing of Winter Storm Diego (which left a fair share of snow across the country, even in the Carolina), we felt it was time to get a jump start on Winter, since it has apparently already arrived, bringing SAD news.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?
     SAD is a subset of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and is triggered based on seasonal changes, most frequently during the onset of winter. The most common symptoms are lethargy, oversleeping, depression, extreme changes in eating habits (loss of appetite or overeating), loss of interests, thoughts of helplessness, and suicide.

     Now, the first symptom, lethargy, is quite common and expected during the winter season and is not necessarily a strong sign of having this issue. However, in the United States of America along, roughly 20% of people have some level of SAD, so lethargy shouldn’t be ignored. But when should you really get concerned? When lethargy is combined with depression and you are eating less and feel like you aren’t really doing much/feeling helpless and useless. These are all symptoms associated with depression, which should be appropriately addressed. If you are feeling like this please seek professional help! There is no shame in getting the help you need!

↓ Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s get into the why and how of this happening ↓

     As I previously discussed, during winter there is less sunlight hitting the earth and temperatures drop. Shorter days have shorter photoperiods, or rather, less hours of daylight. A decrease in sunlight is linked with changing the levels of serotonin and melatonin in your body. These are the neurotransmitters responsible for mood, energy, sleep, and most importantly your circadian rhythm. Serotonin is responsible for regulating your mood and decreases exposure to sunlight results in decreased serotonin production, which ultimately leads to decreased moods (i.e. depression). Low levels of serotonin has the highest correlation with SAD presentation. Melatonin is known for being the neurotransmitter related to sleep but that’s not all it does, melatonin is also responsible for regulating your circadian rhythm (which is linked to your ability to sleep… so thinking of sleeping isn’t wrong, per se). Decreased sun exposure causes an increase in melatonin because this neurotransmitter is produced primarily when it is dark (hence all studies tell you to not look at light, such as technological devices, before going to sleep). Increased levels of melatonin during the daytime leads to making you feel sleepy but also totally throws off your internal clock (circadian rhythm) causing you to feel “off” with the actual time it is – this leads to an overall feeling of not feeling like you’re functioning and the right pace, the right time, with the right energy. All of these miscommunications in your body can lead to feelings of helplessness and loss of interest because you’re just tired but also confused as to why your body feels tired when you haven’t done much (this is why!! more sunlight!!).

     The majority of studies have shown that increasing your exposure to sunlight helps with treating SAD. You don’t have to stare into the light but you can get one of those little UV desk lamps and just leave it on while you do your make-up in the morning (hello picture perfect), while reading a book, prepping your meals, watching a tv show, scrolling through instagram, reading my website, creeping on your ex on facebook, or whatever it is you do to pass the time! Try to get outside and soak up some of the natural sunlight, even though it may be blocked by clouds its there, Mr. Sun is there to beam his rays down on you!

Also, try hard to keep up your physical activity routines during the winter, I know it’s hard to get outside with nippy weather but you will be glad you did (no one ever regrets a workout). Check out last week’s post on the #IMovedToday December Challenge for some motivation! But most of all, talk to someone about it! Talk to your friends, your family, find a therapist – it’s important to take care of yourself!

Thanks for all of the support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members in your post (@TheFuelPhysio@Eric_in_AmERICa@FreestylePhysio@DianaKlatt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

- WW Crew



References:

Psychiatry (Edgmont). Seasonal Affective Disorder: An Overview and Update. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3004726/)

Innovations Clinic Neuroscience. Sunshine, Serotonin, and Skin: A Partial Explanation for Seasonal Patterns in Psychopathology. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3779905/)

The Mayo Clinic. Seasonal Affective Disorder. (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651)

Pscyhology Today. Seasonal Affective Disorder. (https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder)

Mental Health America. Seasonal Depressions. (http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/sad)

Healthline. What Are the Benefits of Sunlight? (https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/benefits-sunlight)

The Guardian. How do I… Deal With Seasonal Affective Disorder? (https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/oct/23/how-do-i-deal-with-seasonal-affective-disorder)

Wellfie Wednesday Tip #127: #IMovedToday December Challenge

Happy Wellfie Wednesday! Welcome back! This week’s post comes to you by a guest promoter of health, Mark Milligan (@markmilligandpt). Mark is a practicing physical therapist in Austin, TX, specializing in orthopaedics and pain science. Mark is also the founder of Anywhere Healthcare (@Anywhere_Health) - “A telehealth platform solving the problem of healthcare access by allowing any provider of any discipline remote access to their patients.”

December is upon us! With December and the holiday season, the Season of Excess begins!! This is a challenging time in almost every way. The temperatures are cold, the days are short, the end-of-year work piles up, and we all have the desire and need to spend more time with our families and colleagues, eating of course!! All this happens just before we all make the annual effort to change our lives for the better... 

Reflecting on my holiday behaviors over many years and realizing my own struggle with the "I'm on top of the world and I am going to get in the best shape of my life" moments mixed with the "Meh, what's one more cookie, I can start my diet tomorrow" moments, I realized that I always had these discussions in my own head and never with other people... So, I decided to reach out for help with accountability and motivation. Social Media seemed like the obvious place to go so I just put it out there and created the #IMovedToday hashtag to not only help me post about my daily movements but also have people support me and be able to support others!! People were responding and a small group were supporting and tweeting!

Timing is everything and the universe works perfectly, I had received a message from Cheryl Capone Keller (@KellerCaponePhD) who was having a similar thought about helping each other support and celebrate movement during the season, when movement is often forgotten about! 

The #IMovedToday December Challenge was born!!!

So we would like to invite and welcome all of you to the Challenge to help you and others choose movement!

The rules for the #IMovedToday December Challenge are incredibly easy!

Join us and look for #IMovedToday to continue into 2019!!!

Thanks for all of the support, be sure to post your successes and pictures this week and tag with #WellfieWednesday & #IMovedToday, along with the WW crew members (@TheFuelPhysio@Eric_in_AmERICa@FreestylePhysio@DianaKlatt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

- WW Crew

Wellfie Wednesday Tip #126: The Art of Running

Happy Wellfie Wednesday! Welcome back! This week’s post is brought to you by Aaron (@FreestylePhysio). 

I wanted to write a short and sweet post this week about something I’ve been enjoying lately, RUNNING. I’ve ran recreationally for a long time but have never really had a strong desire to do it competitively. However, since working for Pro-Activity and hanging around with the BaseCamp crew, I’ve become more intrigued by the sport. It’s a sport that seems to be very heavily involved with science. Most of the people I know who race competitively diligently track their mileage and other training variables. At the highest level of the sport, sport scientists have been trying to determine who is most likely to break the sub 2-hour marathon and are eager to help these gifted athletes redefine what is possible. I think all that nerdy stuff is truly fascinating. But personally, I’m much more drawn to what I perceive to be the art of running. 

The reason I love running is because I can let my mind wander as my body does the work. I’ve found that some of my most creative moments occur when I’m running. I’m able to think differently about problems and goals. The rhythmic nature of running seems to help my mind drift off into a dream state where internal judgements and rules are minimized.  It sounds spiritual and I guess it is. It’s definitely therapeutic. It feels more like art than science. 

Now I’m not opposed to science and data. I love both, and recently just bought a Garmin watch that tracks stress, sleep, and workloads from my training sessions. But, as I get more into the sport and science of running, I hope I never lose the feeling that draws me towards it the most. In my opinion, that’s the art of running. 

Wow, quite the heady post about running haha. Hope you enjoyed it! I’m curious, what’s your favorite form of movement and why do you love it? 

Thanks for all of the support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members in your post (@TheFuelPhysio@Eric_in_AmERICa@FreestylePhysio@DianaKlatt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

Wellfie Wednesday Tip #124: Updated Physical Activity Guidelines

Happy Wellfie Wednesday! Welcome back! This week is brought to you by Patrick (@TheFuelPhysio) and it includes NEW updates to The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. This is the first update in 10 years! And a bit of a spoiler, not much as changed. But greater emphasis in key areas has been added.

The foundation of the recommendations still suggest a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and muscle-strengthening activities two or more days a week. However, they now also speak to specific populations, such as preschool-aged kids, older adults, and adults with disabilities.

Here are a few of those specific key guidelines:

“Preschool-aged children (3 through 5 years) should be physically active throughout the day to enhance growth and development. Adult caregivers of preschool-aged children should encourage active play that includes a variety of activity types.”

“Children and adolescents aged 6 through 17 years should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily.”

For adults, “additional health benefits are gained by doing physical activity beyond the equivalent of 300 minutes (5 hours) of moderate-intensity physical activity a week.”

“As part of their weekly physical activity, older adults should do multicomponent physical activity that includes balance training as well as aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.”

“When adults with chronic conditions or disabilities are not able to meet the above key guidelines, they should engage in regular physical activity according to their abilities and should avoid inactivity.”

In addition, the guidelines highlight the many known health benefits of being physically active. And with an influx of new research, those newly discovered benefits are also mentioned. Such as “improved bone health and weight status for children aged 3 through 5 years,” “brain health benefits, including improved cognitive function, reduced anxiety and depression risk, and improved sleep and quality of life,” and “for people with various chronic medical conditions, reduced risk of all-cause and disease-specific mortality, improved function, and improved quality of life.”

Be sure to check out The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans in its entirety, is it contains a lot of great information and a greater call to action for healthcare providers and community leaders.

The real take home message is that we need to Move More, Move Often, and that ALL Movement Counts! And as the WW crew believes, it is the small victories that matter!

Thanks for all of the support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members in your post (@TheFuelPhysio@Eric_in_AmERICa@FreestylePhysio@DianaKlatt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

-WW Crew

Wellfie Wednesday Tip #118: Replacing Sedentary Time

Happy Wellfie Wednesday! Welcome back! This week we want to chat about the benefits of Replacing Sedentary Time. Sedentary time being the time you spend in sitting, such as watching television or playing video games. And it’s not so much that sitting is bad, it’s spending too much time sitting and being physical inactive. Of course after a long day of work or even after planned physical activity or sport, sitting and resting is perfectly fine. 

Now unfortunately, most recent data points to an increasing number of physically inactive adults, with just over half (51.7%) of American adults meeting the current Physical Activity Guidelines for aerobic activity. Placing a large percentage of Americans at greater risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and many more mortality causing diagnoses. 

Though fortunately, a recently published meta-analysis (indicating a higher quality of evidence) has shown that replacing your sedentary time with low-intensity physical activity or with moderate to vigorous physical activity may be beneficial. Greater benefit being found for those choosing to do moderate to vigorous physical activity, a level of intensity that holding a conversation is difficulty. But benefit was still had by those simply choosing to reallocate 30 minutes of their day with a low-intensity activity.

Try to find your most sedentary time of the day and replace it with some physical activity, even if it is just standing or walking for a bit. Thanks for all of the support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members in your post (@TheFuelPhysio@Eric_in_AmERICa@FreestylePhysio@DianaKlatt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

-WW Crew

Wellfie Wednesday Tip #108: Challenge: Try Burpees

Happy Wellfie Wednesday! Welcome back!

     This week is short and sweet, as is only consists of a challenge to our readers. Though a quick back story may be helpful. Three of us here on the WW Crew are actually on a team called the "Wellfie Crew," participating in this year's Summer of MOVE (check out the link to learn more), where teams compete for their chosen charities, though it is truly backed with a message of increasing human movement for risk reduction of chronic diseases. Nonetheless, we're entering our final week of the "regular season" and our team as been striving to complete many of the challenges within the game, one of which is 100 BURPEES with a partner. 

     Now that you have a quick idea of where today's challenge came from, what is a burpee? A burpee is essential a full body strengthening exercise, with a rather large aerobic component (depending on how many you do). Check out the video below for the basic instructions and check out this video if you have any concerns to irritating the shoulders or lower back. You can also of course reduce intensity by removing the push up or the jump. 

     Please be careful and ensure proper technique if you're performing this exercise for the first time, as it can be quite challenging for some. Today we challenge you to try at least ONE and strive to complete TEN!

     Thanks for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members in your post (@TheFuelPhysio@Eric_in_AmERICa@AaronPerezPT@DianaKlatt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

-WW Crew

 

Wellfie Wednesday Tip #105: Our Patriotic Duty

Happy #WellfieWednesday! And Happy Fourth of July!! This week’s post is brought to you by Aaron (@AaronPerezPT). Enjoy! 

     Happy Fourth of July! On this day we often celebrate our Patriotism with brats, burgers, beers, and things that go BOOM! Today, I encourage us all to embrace another form of patriotism, Physical Activity. That’s right, #Activity4America, or if you’re a millennial you might prefer #Movement4Murica. It may seem strange to think of exercise in this way. But truth be told, being physically active and living a healthy lifestyle is incredibly patriotic. Our previous U.S. Surgeon General agrees. In a 2014 interview, Rear Admiral Dr. Boris Lushniak proclaimed, 

“I think we’re on the cusp of actually taking health and wellness seriously. I think for the longest time it’s been on the back burner. The time is right, right now. We have to treat health as a natural resource. We have to put it up on the same level as the economy. When the economy goes sour, all of a sudden there’s reaction. There’s the sense of somebody has to do something if the economy is bad. Guess what, folks? The economy doesn’t do anything without a healthy workforce. It doesn’t do anything without healthy people.”

Health as a patriotic duty.jpg

     Indeed, the health of any nation is only as great as the health of its people.  Health is our greatest natural resourceProtect it. Nurture it. If for no other reason, it is our patriotic duty to do so. Wishing us all a happy and healthy 4th of July! 

     Thank you for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members in your post (@TheFuelPhysio@Eric_in_AmERICa@AaronPerezPT@DianaKlatt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

-WW Crew

Wellfie Wednesday Tip #103: Bike Sharing & Helmet Safety

Happy Wellfie Wednesday! Welcome back! This week is brought to you by Diana (@DianaKlatt). 

     Bicycle sharing has taken the world by storm.  They’re everywhere, quite literally every major city across the US and even abroad. Though if you look at the news of how people dock the bicycles in Australia…you may reconsider pushing for one in your hometown (from a population stand-point). Make sure to watch the satirical Facebook video within that link. But are they really increasing health? Well, yes and no.

     Yes, the implementation of bicycle sharing has made it so more people are using this method of transportation and is making a positive impact on their physical fitness as well as environmental health.  The benefits have improved public health immensely. However, there is something that is missing in most rental/sharing systems – H E L M E T S. Very few in fact provide helmets during a rental. 

helmet.jpg

     Studies indicate that the prevalence of use of helmets in bike sharing users is low, which isn’t surprising when you look around and see that none of these bike share systems offer helmets.  But why? Well first of all it would be quite gross to share helmets with so many people… but that shouldn't stop YOU, as a consumer, to bring your own helmet!  The cost of sustaining a head injury (ie TBI) costs twice as much amongst those that do not wear a helmet versus those that do wear helmets.

     It’s completely up to you as to whether or not you wear a helmet (or your local law), but think about how easy it is to fall or collide with another person when you’re zig-zagging around a city.  A helmet could be the difference between some minor scratches and a major injury. 

     Be safe out there! And Thanks again for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members in your post (@TheFuelPhysio@Eric_in_AmERICa@AaronPerezPT@DianaKlatt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

- WW Crew

 

 

Resources:

 

 

Costa CK, Dagher JH, Lamoureux J, de Guise E, Feyz M. (2015). Societal cost of traumatic brain injury: A comparison of cost-of-injuries related to biking with and without helmet use. Brain Injury. 29(7-8):843-7. doi: 10.3109/02699052.2015.1004758.

Zanotto M, Winters ML. (2017). Helmet Use Among Personal Bicycle Riders and Bike Share Users in Vancouver, BC. American Journal of Preventative Medicine. 53(4):465-472. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2017.04.013

Fischer, CM. (2012). Prevalence of Bicycle Helmet Use by Users of Public Bikeshare Programs. Annals of Emergency medicine. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2012.03.018.

Graves JM. (2014). Public Bicycle Share Programs and Head Injuries. American Journal of Public Health. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302012
 

Wellfie Wednesday Tip #102: Gear Up for #SummerOfMOVE

     Happy Wellfie Wednesday! Welcome back! This week serves as more of a public service announcement. There is a movement happening... for more... MOVEMENT! #SummerOfMOVE, an initiative that resides along #FreeTheYoke and APHPT.org. Instead of trying to recreate information, I'll share with you details from the "The Flying Oxen."

2018 #SummerOfMOVE Highlights are as follows

TEAMS

Once again, the 2018 #SummerOfMOVE will work to crown a team champion using a points based system. And it all starts with registration STEP 1 HERE

PRIZES

Once again, the 2018 #SummerOfMOVE will award a portion of the proceeds to the winning teams’ charity of choice. It’s bigger than any one of us….it always has been.

BUILD A HABIT

Once again, the 2018 #SummerOfMOVE will include an RPE based load calculation across a variety of activities to award points for effort and consistency. Teams with habitual movers will succeed.

SOCIAL

Once again, the 2018 #SummerOfMOVE will rely on a strong social game to generate broad awareness of the power of MOVE to prevent and reverse disease as well as facilitate total well-being….. HOWEVER, with the new wrinkles added, the winning formula will change significantly.

BUILD CAPACITY

NEW IN 2018, the #SummerOfMOVE will emphasize the benefits of building movement competence AND confidence and will award SUBSTANTIAL points for those who climb the challenge ladder.

GROW YOUR INFLUENCE

NEW IN 2018, the #SummerOfMOVE will emphasize outreach and inclusion. How you MOVE is more than just a health thing…..it’s an expression of who you are…..it’s time to celebrate that!

Look for more details soon…..but for now….build your team. **Content above originally posted at FreeTheYoke

There you have it folks! Make sure you register and jump on board. Great things are to come! And as an FYI, the #WellfieCrew has a team!

Thanks again for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members in your post (@TheFuelPhysio@Eric_in_AmERICa@AaronPerezPT@DianaKlatt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

- WW Crew

Wellfie Wednesday Tip #71: Lets Pick Up the Pace!

     Happy Wellfie Wednesday! Welcome back! This week is brought to you by the Wellfie Crew's newest crew member, Alyssa Kuhn, SPT (@kuhnalyssa_spt), whose a 3rd year doctor of physical therapy student at The Ohio State University. She has a strong interest in the prevention and wellness aspect of PT, especially in the geriatric population. She loves continuing to find ways to help people get up and stay moving! As well as an avid crossfitter and a lover of all things Michigan State. Go green!

It’s time to pick up the pace with step counting!

     How many times have you heard people trying to reach 10,000 steps each day? Hopefully quite a bit because this is awesome! Keeping people moving is one of the easiest ways to stay healthy and combat chronic disease. But is this actually helping us meet our health goals? What if there was another way to approach this theory? Some are questioning whether intensity and duration of intensity when walking can lead to greater health benefits than simply the number of steps taken or the distance you’ve walked.

     Glancing at the current Physical Activity and Public Health guidelines from the American College of Sports (ACSM) and American Heart Association (AHA), it is recommended that American adults aged 18-65 years should continue to accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity 5 days per week (instead of "most days of the week") OR engage in 20-minutes of vigorous activity 3 days per week. These have been around for a while now and guidelines for older adults are almost identical.

     Interestingly though, in 2007, the ACSM and American Heart Association (AHA) released clarifications to the recommendations further stating… 

Activity must be at least 10 minutes in duration to count towards daily goals (30 minutes) and that a combination of vigorous and moderate-intensity physical activity is acceptable

     Want to know a SUPER SIMPLE way to make sure you are hitting these 10-minute bouts? Public Health England has you covered. They have created a FREE app titled Active 10 through their health promotion campaign, “One You”, that is available on most Android and iPhone models to specifically track how much time you spent in “brisk” walking. They define brisk walking as a pace in which you are beginning to become slightly out of breath, a likely average speed ~3 miles per hour. They have coined these bouts “Active 10s” when you have reached 10 consecutive minutes of brisk walking tracked using the motion sensors on your phone. Many people find it much easier to stay accountable when they know their results are being tracked. I propose that even physical therapists or other health professionals can use this as a way to easily track their patient’s activity levels.

walkign.jpg
step counter.jpg

     Don’t have a smart phone? You can easily use a watch to time yourself walking at a slightly quicker pace!

How can more walking easily fit into daily life?

  • Taking breaks at work to walk at lunch, outside, or around the office
  • Parking in the furthest spot in the parking lot
  • Walking with pets
  • Walking with children to the bus stop or to the park
  • Walking to class on a university campus
  • ….there are so many ways!

ITS TIME TO GET MOVING (BRISKLY)!

Don’t get me wrong, getting people to move is the ultimate priority and this is just a way to take it a step further.

I am by no way endorsed or have any involvement with this campaign or with Public Health England, I just think this app is awesome 😊 - Alyssa 

     So pick up the pace the week! Thanks again for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members in your post (@TheFuelPhysio@Eric_in_AmERICa@AaronPerezPT@DianaKlatt@kuhnalyssa_spt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

- WW Crew

 

References:

Haskell WL, Pate RR, et al. Physical Activity and Public Health: Updated recommendations for adults from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007;38(8):1423-34.

To find out more information about Active 10: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/active10/home#G4VTwkQcEL6y1wWI.97

 

Wellness Wednesday Tip #50: Benefits of Traveling & Keeping Your Routine

     Welcome back and Happy Wellfie Wednesday! This week is brought to you by Diana and inspired by her recent travels.

     I have just returned from a trip to Italy and wanted to discuss the effects of traveling and your physical health. Many people are under the impression that when you travel you won’t be able to keep up with your fitness routine or that you will ignore your nutritional goals, but that’s completely untrue. During my trip, I found that I was far more aware of what I was eating, more active, and overall felt more invigorated and energized.

Physical activity. I’m not sure about all of you, but when I am home I walk a decent amount. I try to walk places if I can versus driving, which is pretty easy for me given that I live in New York City. While I was traveling I found that I was walking an average of 15 km (9 miles) a day! This was the best way for me to get around and see everything as well as preventing me from mistakenly getting on a bus or metro in the wrong direction and getting more lost. Traveling makes you more active of a person because you aren’t sitting at your desk working or studying! You are out and about, trying to explore as much as possible. And as a #WellfieCrew member, I obviously also brought theraband with me to keep myself active. They take up very little space and can be manipulated in so many ways for exercise. Backpacking also acts as an indirect method of exercise as you are carrying around all of your things while traveling between cities! In American standards, I am an early riser. In European standards, I am considered mad! I told a few of my hosts that I wake up at 6am to run almost daily and they were all completely shocked! This turned out to be a great time to go out as cities were silent and you could run on a path to see monuments and landmarks to avoid the masses and crowds during the daytime (for example, the Trevi fountain in Rome).

Nutrition. What’s the first thing you think about when you hear “Italy?” Pizza. Pasta. Cheese. Wine. Not things you typically associate with a healthy diet. Italy is notorious for eating an abundance of grains, dairy, and meats. You would think that I would have gained weight and felt unhealthy after having pizza daily, but it was the opposite! I found that everything tastes lighter and fresher, which I at first thought was just the fact that I was in a new country but in actuality, the quality of the food is better in the European Union. The EU has higher regulations and restrictions on their treatment and production of food products and thus the quality of the food on your plate is greater (in comparison to the United States). This is certainly felt in eating as you feel lighter and less weighed down by a nearly identical meals of pizza and antipasta (appetizer) in the EU versus the USA. (13 Ways the EU Beats the U.S. on Food Safety) On top of the quality of ingredients, I found that it was easier to keep track of what I was eating while traveling because it was harder for me to succumb and purchase my guilty pleasure foods (ie. Haribo fizzy cola gummies…) because of my weak grasp of the Italian language.

Expand Your Perspective. “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” (Bill Bryson) Travel gives you a chance to interact with new people and new environments, which ultimately gives you a greater perspective of things. You are exposed to other people and hear about the way that others live in their hometowns or you see how people live if you happen to go to smaller cities and villages. It gives you a perspective you would have otherwise never known, especially as someone from a dominant country (ie. the United States of America).

Mental Wellness and Stress Reduction*. We lead busy lives, constantly occupied, and always trying to increase our multitasking abilities. Travel is a great way to escape the stresses and commitments of everyday life, offering novelty and change in the form of new people, sights and experiences. Traveling has many advantages, with stress relief topping the list. With a short list of activities each day, freed up from the complexities of ongoing projects and relationships, the mind can reset, as does the body, with stress relief the main outcome. Humans thrive on novelty, and travel offers the complete package with new faces, sounds and sights. (Dr. Margaret J. King, https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2017/02/24/how-travel-can-benefit-our-mental-health/)

     Overall, traveling and vacation tends to be misinterpreted as purely for relaxation and doing nothing but it’s quite the contrary! You can relax and stay active, recharge and explore, and open your mind to new things, all from the simple act of traveling! “Investment in travel is an investment in yourself.” (Matthew Karsten)

*Longer article to come. I met many people in my travels that I have reached out to in order to collaborate to write about the effects of travel on the mind, body, and soul. Check back in a few weeks at klattalyst.com/thetraveleffect

     Thanks again for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members (@PBernerSPT@Eric_in_AmERICa@AaronPerezPT@fitnerdaimee@DianaKlatt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

- WW Crew

Wellness Wednesday Tip #26: MOVE 2 Work! (or school, or the store, or anywhere!)

     Welcome back folks! Happy #WellfieWednesday! This week we have a guest promoter of health, Dr. Chris Hinze, PT, DPT, with a special message!

     We all know the recommendation, right? As adults, we need to be accumulating at least 150 minutes/week of moderate intensity physical activity (420 minutes/week if we’re kids). But we’re busy people. 150 minutes a week to exercise? A’int nobody got time for that! But what if those opportunities to exercise, those opportunities to MOVE, are just hiding there in plain sight?

Photo courtesy of Gary howe

Photo courtesy of Gary howe

     We all have places to go, whether it is going to work, school, the grocery store, the coffee shop, you name it. As Americans, we typically deploy our sedentary supporting machines (AKA the personal motor vehicle) to help us make these trips. But, what if instead we engaged in a disease fighting, mood boosting, environment enhancing mode of transportation - one that involves actually MOVING the human body? What if we incorporated this daily dose of physical activity into the trips we already make everyday?

     On this #WellfieWednesday, I encourage you to leave the keys on the counter. Instead, let’s lace up our sneakers, pump up our bike tires or dig out our transit passes and MOVE.

-       Dr. Chris Hinze, PT, DPT

     As always, thanks again for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures again this week and tag Chris (‪@ChrisHinzePT‪ ), Eric (@Eric_in_AmERICa) or Patrick (@PBernerSPT) and keep the wave of healthy change going! And you have any interest in sharing your opinion of healthy living and would like to be a guest promoter of health, please let us know!

Wellness Wednesday Tip #25: Sit Less!!

Happy #WellfieWednesday friends!

     This week’s tip is to sit less! That’s it, just sit less. It’s that easy, and it’s that hard. Over the past week I’ve been digging into Deskbound, the latest book from Dr. Kelly Starrett, discussing how excessive sitting is affecting our bodies in more ways than we might realize. Beyond the easily recognizable effects of a sedentary lifestyle such as stiffness or pain throughout the low back, neck, shoulders, or hips, excessive sitting can also affect cognitive function, lung function, and has even been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and type II diabetes. Recent research has also shown that general exercise 30-60 minutes per day is not enough to reverse these negative effects! We must take coordinated and specific action to undo the effects sitting has on our body.

     So how do we break out of this habit when our culture is designed for us to sit everywhere we go? Starrett outlines 4 guidelines for reducing sitting and adding movement into your everyday activities:

  1. Reduce optional sitting in your life - try stretching on the floor while watching TV or switching to a variable height desk at work to allow standing
  2. For every 30 minutes spent sitting, spend at least 2 minutes moving - a quick walk around the office, standing up to stretch, bodyweight squats, etc
  3. Prioritize position and mechanics whenever possible -  Sitting up with proper mechanics instead of slumping back in your office chair makes a world of difference! See the pictures below for a guide to sitting posture and different sitting options
  4. Perform 10-15 minutes of daily maintenance on your body - improving the endurance of postural muscles to reduce poor positioning throughout the day and stretching out major muscles affected by sitting like your hip flexors, glutes, chest, and upper traps.

     So give it a shot and let us know how it goes! Thanks again for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures again this week and tag Patrick (@PBernerSPT) or myself (@Eric_in_AmERICa) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

-Dr. Eric Uveges, PT, DPT

- Dr. Patrick Berner, PT, DPT

 

Image source:  Deskbound

Image source: Deskbound

Wellness Wednesday Tip #24: Know Your Risk Factors for Heart Disease

Welcome back folks! Happy Wellfie Wednesday!

     As we near the end of 2016 and you begin to think about those New Year's resolutions, I wanted to get you thinking about your overall lifestyle and where improvements could be made as we enter 2017. In an unorthodox way of doing so, I'll ask you to think about your risk of heart disease. As the current #1 leading cause of death in the United States, it is something you should be considering. 

     Take a look at this infograph below by the American Heart Association. Notice the larger list of modifiable risk factors, those are factors that can be addressed with choosing healthier behaviors, most notable is a healthier eating pattern and increased physical activity. Think about those as you plan to start your new year!

     If you need ideas for healthier habits, check out #WellfieWednesday on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and see how others choose healthier behaviors. And as always, thanks again for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures again this week and tag Eric (@Eric_in_AmERICa) or myself (@PBernerSPT) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

-       Dr. Patrick Berner, PT, DPT

-       Dr. Eric Uveges, PT, DPT

Wellness Wednesday Tip #22: Park Farther Away!

     Welcome back folks! Happy Wellfie Wednesday! We hope your holiday season is off to a great start. As you start hitting the store more often for those Christmas gifts, we want you to try this easy tip, Park Farther Away!

     We’ve all been there, especially when grandma is taking a ride to the mall, we circle the parking lot looking for that perfect spot. Not only wasting time but missing out on an excellent opportunity for more physical activity. If you need to, drop off those passengers or convince them to join in on some extra walking. You’ll eliminate the headache of searching for a spot and the occasional fender bender that may occur. If you’re feeling incredibly ambitious, take that parking spot in the upper level of the garage and take the stairs!

     Park Farther Today! And as always, thanks again for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures again this week and tag Eric (@Eric_in_AmERICa) or myself (@PBernerSPT) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

-       Dr. Patrick Berner, PT, DPT

-       Dr. Eric Uveges, PT, DPT

Wellness Wednesday Tip #6: Take the Stairs

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

     This week’s tip involves adding some additional physical activity to your day. I want to first give credit to the University of Salford for sparking the idea. Check out the photos of their elevators and stairs, an awesome way to remind people to move more. I wouldn’t be opposed to having messages like this posted on every elevator. 

     I know sometimes we feel our day is too busy or cut short, and we find it difficult to find time for exercise. Stairs are an excellent way to give your physical activity level a little boost. In many instances I’ve found the stairs to be faster than the elevator, eliminating that factor of time you may have. The research behind increasing your physical activity and the benefits of exercise is scientifically strong. This post could be pages long if I gave you all the benefits of moving more throughout your day, so instead I’ll I just share with you the CDC’s benefits of physical activity

  • Controls your weight
  • Reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and some cancers
  • Strengthens your bones and muscles
  • Improves your mental health and mood
  • Improves your ability to do daily activities and prevent falls
  • Increases your chances of living longer

     But let’s say you work on the 32nd floor, there’s no need to climb all those stairs if you’re not in a healthy position to do so, start out small and gradually add. Don’t think of the stairs as just a part of the fire escape route, think of them as a way to easily add some exercise to your day. So take the stairs, even if it’s just one flight of them, you’ll be glad you did!

Thanks for reading! Continue to spread the word for #WellfieWednesday and share your healthy lifestyle accomplishments. 

- Dr. Patrick Berner, PT, DPT
- Dr. Eric Uveges, PT, DPT