Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City recommends staying active and keeping off the pounds on Thanksgiving and through the holidays

It won’t be long now until temptation is presented to us in the form of turkey, stuffing, sweet potato pie and just about anything else imaginable that can fit on the table. That’s right, Thanksgiving is almost here, and that means the first of many celebrations filled with food and spirits that are characteristic of the holiday season.

We know the drill and expect it every year, but try as we might, for many of us this means falling victim to the many opportunities to let our taste buds run the show.

If this sounds at all familiar to you, you can take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. The holiday season is a dangerous time for weight control, as gatherings and feasts of all kinds take precedent over healthy eating and exercise. It all starts with Thanksgiving and the cornucopia of tasty and often calorie-filled treats presented to us. In fact, a typical Turkey Day dinner contains a whopping 4,500 calories, which is more than double most people’s daily calorie needs.

Thanksgiving may only be one day, but it’s also a chance to start a trend for the next few weeks of the holidays. Why not get the season started on the right foot by using self-control, practicing healthy eating habits and exercising regularly during this time and keeping it up into the New Year?

Better yet, try to focus on losing weight during this time while everyone else is gaining it. You’ll thank yourself for it down the line and will be ahead of the game when everyone else starts making New Year’s resolutions. Below are some tips to help you conquer the holiday temptation season and actually lose some weight:

  • Begin a new exercise program now or increase the intensity/frequency if you already have one going; find a workout buddy to help you stay motivated during what’s sure to be a difficult time
  • Exercise will lower your blood glucose levels; this can lead to dizziness, nausea and increased appetite, which can cause you to overeat during your next meal; to prevent this, eat a well-balanced meal at least an hour before and/or a snack within an hour afterwards high in carbs or protein
  • Before big meals like Thanksgiving, eat a small breakfast high in protein and fiber so you’re not too hungry when you get to the table
  • Appetizers can be especially dangerous, so try to make safe snacking choices before the big meal; raw fruits and veggies and pretzels are smart
  • Survey the table or buffet before filling your plate, and go with small portions of healthy foods only available during the holidays; avoid seconds
  • Regulate your alcohol intake, which can also add to calorie intake quickly
  • Go for a brisk walk with family or friends after any big feasts

Regardless of how much willpower you have, there’s no denying that the next few weeks will be tough. But if you create a plan to exercise regularly and approach the big feasts carefully, you’re giving yourself a great chance of getting through the holidays without the extra pounds. For more information on weight control during the holidays or to schedule an appointment for any exercise guidance, contact Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City at 212-317-8303.

Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City warns you to be careful about footwear selection as the weather warms to avoid pain from overpronation

Warmer weather generally means less clothing and a noticeable shift in footwear selection.  Boots and other restrictive shoes necessary for the winter are quickly being replaced with sandals and sneakers as people embrace being outside with the approach of summer.

Comfortable as they may be, incorrect or prolonged use of sandals and other unsupportive footwear can lead to painful problems with foot stability and may exacerbate a tendency called overpronation.

Pronation is a normal part of running and walking that helps the foot absorb shock and adapt to uneven surfaces.  If the foot rolls too far inward, however, that’s called overpronating, which can cause problems throughout the rest of the body since the foot isn’t properly absorbing shock and passes it on to other regions.

Nearly 80% of the population overpronates to some degree, and people with flat feet, low arches or overly flexible arches are more likely to do so.  Overpronation can degrade performance and lead to a host of problems like shin splints, tendinitis, stress fractures and knee pain.

Most sandals aren’t designed for extensive walking since they lack sufficient arch support, heel cushioning and shock absorption.  Wearing the wrong sandals for extended periods of time can thus make overpronation worse by providing less support and increasing pain in the foot and elsewhere.

But by being smart about footwear selection, you can increase foot stability and control overpronation.  Keep these points in mind to help treat your feet properly:

  • For runners that overpronate, make sure your shoes are suited to your tendencies and get fitted at a running store if you are uncertain
  • Any time you’re walking for long distances, wear appropriate footwear and don’t use sandals unless they are made for walking
  • These types of sandals should be designed to control for pronation with an adequate support system and straps that can be adjusted to your foot
  • Flimsy, old or worn-out sandals should be avoided entirely if possible
  • Try spending a lot of time walking barefoot, which will help coordinate a muscular response in the foot that will help better control pronation
  • Stand on one leg and do squats, heel raises, balance and reach exercises

Physical Therapists at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City are glad to provide you with exercises and additional advice on how to control overpronation with smart footwear selections.  Call 212-317-8303 for more information or to schedule an appointment, and click the following links for visual examples of overpronation and supination, or underpronation.

As March Madness comes to a close, Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy reminds you that ankle sprains common in basketball can be prevented

For college basketball fans, March has been a whirlwind of a month.  As one of the more exciting and unpredictable NCAA tournaments in recent memory, after a number of upsets, barnburners and buzzer-beaters, the field of 68 has now been whittled down to the highly coveted Final Four.

The action picks back up again this Saturday in North Texas as Kentucky, Wisconsin, Florida and UConn battle it out to bring home a championship to their respective universities, and if the tournament up to this point is any indication, we’re in for a thrilling final weekend of basketball.

Unfortunately, in the midst of all the intense entertainment, injury risk is always present and can easily sideline a player or end a team’s run in an instant.  In honor of the conclusion of the tournament, we at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy would like to educate our patients on common basketball injuries, and most importantly, explain how they can be prevented at all levels of play.

While overuse injuries that occur from repeated stress like patellar (knee) or Achilles (heel region) tendinitis are fairly prevalent in basketball and can occur over time, traumatic injuries, especially ankle sprains, are one of the most common injuries for all basketball players.  Ankle sprains occur primarily due to the constant cutting and pivoting involved in basketball, so much so that the term “break one’s ankles” has become a popular way of describing a quick move past a defender.

Despite the fact that ankle sprains are so common, they can be prevented.  One of the best ways to prevent these injuries is by improving ankle stability through single leg stance/balance exercises.  Here’s an example anyone can perform:

  • Stand behind a chair and hold the back of it with both hands
  • Slowly lift one leg off the ground, then try to maintain balance standing on one leg for five seconds
  • Return the leg to the starting position, and complete this four more times
  • Repeat the same set of motions with the other leg
  • As balance improves, try integrating the following: holding the chair with only one hand, stand near but don’t use the chair for assistance, or raise your leg one inch higher than normal

Performing this single leg stance exercise on a regular basis will improve balance and lead to better ankle stability, which will reduce the chances of ankle sprains and other injuries.  If you play basketball and are concerned with your injury risk, Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City can offer a single leg balance test to predict your risk and also create a prevention program if your risk is high. Call 212-317-8303 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Trying to lose weight or get in shape for the New Year? Don’t fail like the rest and make it really happen this time around

With the New Year comes a new batch of resolutions, and 2014 will start off just like every other year before it: masses of people with ambitious goals and aggressive attitudes jumping out of the starting blocks, firmly committed to keeping up the pace for the remainder of the year.  Whether or not this approach continues on for the next 12 months, however, is not so easy, and for about 90% of Americans, it’s the latter.

Yes, sadly, only about 8-12% of people in the U.S. actually stay true to their New Year’s resolutions for the entire year, with most failing due to lofty goals, excuses, lack of motivation or some other combination of factors.

Unsurprisingly, about one-third of all people make weight loss the primary goal of their resolution, with another 15% aiming to start a new exercise program in the New Year.  Seeing as so many of us commit to losing weight and even more of us don’t succeed at doing so, we at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy would like to tell you that keeping on top of your resolutions is absolutely feasible, and encourage you to follow the seven tips below if you’re truly interested in bucking the trend:

—  1) Carefully select realistic and specific goals before setting out on your quest; it also helps to write them down and chart your progress

—  2) For any new training program, start slowly and gradually ease your way into it rather than going full speed ahead from the start

—  3) Having a few moderate- to high-intensity workouts every week is one key ingredient to losing weight and should not be overlooked

—  4) A good fitness program should consist of exercises that work out the whole body: cardio exercises are great for the heart and lungs, while weight-bearing exercises enhance the health of bones, muscles and joints

—  5) Pick exercise(s) you find to be most enjoyable that increase the demand for oxygen for a true cardiovascular workout

—  6) No fitness program is complete without a proper diet, so be sure to eat healthy and make adjustments when needed; educate yourself with books/magazines or see a trainer/nutritionist for more information

—  7) Injury prevention: in the midst of your new workout regimen, be sure to take precautions to prevent injuries such as warming up and stretching before working out, staying hydrated, eating two hours before exercising, wearing proper gear and getting sufficient rest afterwards and at night

If you do happen to injure yourself while working out, don’t push through the pain, which can be dangerous, but don’t abandon your fitness plan either.  Instead, adjust it accordingly to accommodate your injury and stay active.

For persistent pain, assistance with a fitness program or any other musculoskeletal concerns, visit us at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City, and we can help tend to your questions, whatever they may be.