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October 23, 2020 FitnessHealth & Wellness0

Brrrr! The temperatures have recently dropped, and Baby, it’s cold outside! And you know what that means… The holiday season is on the horizon! You know what they say about gift shopping. The early bird catches the worm! (Or in this case, the better prices.) Folks, it is time to start making your list and checking it twice. After the recent lockdown, the general consensus is that mayyyyybe it is time to hit the gym a little harder, the kitchen a little lighter, and bounce back from the quarantine-fifteen (or twenty…okay, or thirty.) Not to worry! We’ve got you! Read on for our top health-related gifts and gifts for fitness.

1. Bluetooth Headphones

Let’s face it, having to navigate a workout is hard enough on its own. Add in the complication of wires strewn about your body when you are trying to move and all chaos breaks loose! Thankfully the technology gods have risen to the occasion and brought us Bluetooth headphones! Check out one of the best gifts for fitness lovers, this wireless, noise-canceling Jabra Elite 85h headset. One of its greatest features is the nano-coating, water resistant technology to wick away sweat and water. The material on your head will feel like cloth (instead of plastic) for ultimate comfort.

On top of that, these bad boys feature an automatic ear detection sensor, so when you remove the headphones your music will pause automatically. They are also capable of pairing with two devices at the same time, so you can listen to music without worrying about missing call or message notifications during a lunch hour workout. The battery life totally rocks! With just fifteen minutes of charging, you can yield a whopping five hours of playback time! Not bad!

2. LCG Gift Card

Give the gift of long-term health this holiday season! If your loved one lives in or frequents the Boston area, they are going to love a contribution to their health and wellness efforts in the form of an LCG gift card! Think of it as a choose-your-own-adventure, where the outcome is a combination of healing, longevity, and recovery. Your gift recipient can apply the card balance to Physical Therapy or Yoga Physical Therapy, or any of our alternative wellness & recovery services. These include Assisted Stretch, Strength & Conditioning, Golf Assessment & Mobility, Percussion Massage Therapy, NormaTec Compression Therapy, Photobiomodulation Therapy, and Dry Needling.

Related:
The Benefits of NormaTec Therapy

3. Personal Blender

The fitness-lover in your life will love having their own, single-serving blender. We like this Oster BLSTPB-WBL My Blend. Millennials have replaced “forty ounces of freedom” with 20 ounces of convenience. Health and fitness have never been more trendy with the 25 to 40-year-old crowd. Nothing beats a tool that allows you to prep breakfast for the next day and leave it in the fridge. The next morning, you can just blend and go. The blender is capable of crushing ice (with its whopping 250 blending watts of power.) The bottle itself is dishwasher safe, since it is stainless steel (BPA? No, thank you!) The bottle also comes with a shaker ball so if you are in a serious rush and only wish to mix protein powders or supplements, you can take and shake on the go, making it one of the best health gifts for busy people. For an added bonus, enjoy some delicious smoothie recipes, included in the manual.

4. Body Wipes

If you are looking for the perfect stocking stuffer, look no further! Millennials are busy people who often wear many, many hats. This means that they are very good at cramming a lot in to one day and are often on the go! Sometimes only an hour is allotted for an office lunch break, but a die-hard fitness lover will not let that get in the way of a dedicated work out regiment. With only an hour to break a sweat, that doesn’t leave a whole lot of time to hit the showers before returning to the office grind. Enter Goodwipes!

As the packaging touts, these are a “shower in a wipe!” Each one is jumbo-sized (9.5” x 11.5”) and individually wrapped so they won’t dry out in the package. They are 100% biodegradable, hypoallergenic, and biodegradable. The individual wrapper is awesome because you don’t have to carry around a whole pack in your gym bag or purse (unlike their predecessor, baby wipes. Plus, these won’t leave you smelling like you just had your diaper changed.) Each pack comes with ten wipes so you can divide them into in-case-of-emergency places (i.e. glove box, gym bag, purse, office desk, etc.) Not only are they great for the gym and quick workouts, but they can also be a saving grace for camping, between flights, or music festivals (if those ever happen again….Thanks, Corona!)

5. Veggie Spiralizer

If you haven’t heard, the low carb, gluten-free, and Paleo lifestyles are trending hard right now! In the name of weight loss, better skin and gut health, and more energy, lots of people are swapping out traditional dishes for their low carb counterparts. For example, “zoodles” (zucchini noodles) have become a popular substitute for spaghetti. So much so, that they can be found already prepped in the produce aisle or frozen section of most grocery stores these days.

The thing about buying the pre-made version is that zucchini and other veggies lose their structural integrity and texture very fast when stripped of their protective skin. Not to mention that prepped food is almost always more expensive than making it yourself. To combat the case of the soggy zoodles, we recommend gifting your health-nut this Brieftons 5-Blade Spiralizer. This puppy can handle more than zucchini (try sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and even beets!) The whole, “eat the rainbow” adage is decades old. What better way than to recreate traditional pasta dishes with all sorts of mineral-rich vegetables? This particular spiralizer comes with attachments to cut five different varieties of “pasta.” (It includes a flat blade as well as a blade for angel hair, spaghetti, fettuccine, and pappardelle.) Plus, it comes with a LIFETIME replacement guarantee. Yes, you read that correctly!

 


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September 18, 2020 Fitness

Halloween is next month, and you have spent all of September perfecting every detail of your costume. You will scare the world, dressed as Linda Blair in the acclaimed horror movie, The Exorcist. Before you can truly claim your fame as best dressed at the costume party, you better be able to walk down an entire flight of stairs in a backbend. Right? Weird flex, but okay. (See what we did there?) We will explain the difference between active and passive flexibility, why they are important, and give you some of our favorite flexibility exercises. Read on to learn our tips to improve flexibility.

To learn how to become more flexible, you must first start at the beginning. If you don’t go about flexibility exercises properly, you have a great propensity to get injured. So, on to lesson numero uno: What is flexibility? While you may automatically picture a gymnast or contortionist doing some crazy splits, mid-air, or pulling one leg six inches behind their head, that is not the definition.

Ordinary people, of all body types, have at least some level of flexibility. The definition of flexibility is the range of motion that is available to a joint. That being said, even a total couch potato could make a claim to flexibility fame if they can spread their toes wide apart from one another, or if they are double-jointed and can lift their pinky further back than ninety degrees. (Freaky, right??) Even if a range of motion is not initiated by an individual (for example, if someone moves your pinky back for you), it still counts as a range of motion to that joint.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty about how you can limber up your backbend, steal the show, AND win first prize for best dressed (and, of course, freak all of your friends out at the party), we need to make sure you fully understand the difference between active and passive flexibility. The reason why these are important is because the greater the difference between a joint’s active and passive flexibility, the greater the likelihood of that joint getting injured while traveling between the full range of motion.

PASSIVE FLEXIBILITY 

Passive flexibility is when the muscles that move your joints are held in place by an external force. This is typically another body part (such as your hand). For example, rest one hand flat on a table. Let it be completely limp. Using the other hand, pull your index finger back toward your forearm. (Don’t pull too hard. This is just a demonstration. There is no need for any pain.) Your index finger has moved away from the table passively. Other than the help from your opposite hand, your finger would be completely limp. This is an example of passive flexibility.

ACTIVE FLEXIBILITY

Active flexibility is when the muscles that move your joints are responsible for the joint moving, without the help of anything external. So, now place the same hand flat on the table. Without using the other hand at all, lift your index finger off of the table as far as you can. This is an example of active flexibility. The greater the difference between where your index finger was with help, and where it was without help, the greater the chance that your finger will be injured when in motion. This concept can be applied to any joint in your body. This is why it is essential to practice improving your active range of flexibility (AKA mobility). The more you can decrease the gap between active and passive flexibility, the safer you will be when engaging in any physical activity (or even just walking, sitting, and standing).

TIPS TO IMPROVE FLEXIBILITY

1. Be consistent.

While there are millions of different stretches to improve flexibility, the most important thing you can do is commit to being consistent. Like most body/mind feats, the journey to mobility is not one that can happen overnight. It takes a near-daily practice of strengthening and conditioning your muscles. Even thirty minutes per day can yield excellent results.

2. Warm up the right way.

Gone are the days of holding a stretch pose for minutes on end (AKA static stretching) to start your workout, activity, or training session. The right way (and we say, “right,” because it is most effective and the safest way) to warm up is by way of dynamic movement. Before you even think about dropping into a pose that may strain (or tear) your muscle, first get your blood pumping. A great first step to anything physical is to do at least 10-15 minutes of cardio. Jumping jacks, jumping in place, burpees, or even dancing really hard are great ways to raise your heart rate. This will increase blood flow to your major muscle groups, not only helping to prevent injury but ensuring that you will get more out of stretching.

If you are interested in Assisted Stretch service, click here.

3. Incorporate a short bit of static stretching. 

Once you are warm from the dynamic cardio workout, it is safe to go ahead and begin stretching. You may passively hold poses in positions that are available to you. Yoga straps and blocks are great tools to use when your limbs and extremities are out of reach. When practicing static stretches, it is of the utmost importance to maintain proper alignment. You will get more out of a stretch if you are aligned than you will by pushing yourself beyond what is available to you while your form is out of whack.

If you are interested in Yoga Physical Therapy, click here.

4. Focus more on dynamic stretching. 

Rather than sitting in one position, try instead to move slowly (back and forth) from one position to another, exercising your full range of motion. For example, begin in half pike position with one leg outstretched in front of you and your weight on the opposite knee, shift your weight forward, and bend the front knee into a lunge. Slowly move back and forth between these two positions. (Tip: If your front knee is passing your front foot in the lunge position, make the space between your legs greater to protect your knee joint.) Experiment with the active versus passive flexibility exercise from earlier. Seated on the floor, with your legs in as much of a straddle as is available to you, try lifting one leg off the ground with your hand or a yoga strap. Now put the strap down and try lifting the same leg with only the muscles in that leg. The more you can strengthen the muscles needed for active flexibility, the better your flexibility will be overall.


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