Introduction to Foam Rolling – What is it and Why is it important?

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We at NPT HealthWorks help active individuals live a balanced, healthy, and mobile life in order to function at a high level with improved ease, less medication, and fewer doctor visits and surgeries. In order to do that, we take pride in educating individuals in our world to know how to implement self care in their lives. One of my personal favorite self-care items is the foam roller and I want to share with you why.

Foam rollers are cheap and effective self myofascial release tools that are designed in many shapes, sizes, textures, and levels of firmness. Basically a one time fee to provide yourself unlimited deep tissue massages. Generally the larger foam rollers can be more effective for the lower body and the smaller foam rollers (or lacrosse balls) can be better used for the upper body. There is little to no evidence suggesting a more smooth foam roller is more beneficial than one with ridges or a more firm one is better than one with less density. It really comes down to personal preference and what you can tolerate to perform the task. The intention of the foam roller is to break down muscle “knots” or trigger points that ultimately reduces soft tissue density in an injured muscle while increasing range of motion. It’s able to accomplish that by increasing blood flow, reducing edema, eliminating lactate and delivering oxygen to the targeted muscle.

General Instructions:

  • Frequency: 2-3x/week (give 24-48 hours in between sessions)
  • Intensity: Low to Moderate (it should feel tender/sore but not painful!)
  • Time: 5-10 minutes per targeted muscle group

Here are two quick videos of my favorite areas to foam roll that most individuals can benefit from. If you have any questions or comments regarding foam rolling, comment below or email me at drnate@newportript.com.

Videos:

Upper Body: Rotator Cuff

Lower Body: Quadriceps/ITB

Osteoporosis and Strength Training

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* Before beginning any new exercise routine, consult a fitness professional!

Osteoporosis is characterized by a decrease in bone mineral density, causing an increased risk for bone fracture.  1 in every 4 women and 1 out of every 6-7 men are at risk for developing osteoporosis at some point in their lives.  Research has shown that an exercise program designed by a professional can assist with slowing down the process of bone density loss and can even help people slightly increase density. 

Each individual is different of course, but general guidelines are to strength train 2-3x weekly, 1-3 sets of 8-12 reps, and about 1 exercise per major muscle group. Daily balance exercise is recommended as well, up to 15 minutes daily. Balance exercise will generally not help with bone density, but it will decrease risk for falls and therefore risk for fractures.  Recommendations for impact exercise are as follows: for those with osteopenia or osteoporosis, without fractures, 50 impacts per session (light jog, hop, jump) are recommended.  For people with fractures, balance issues or lower extremity injury, brisk walking is better than regular walking, and regular walking is better than no exercise at all.  

Other forms of exercise such as swimming and cycling are great for cardiovascular health but do not produce much of an impact on bone growth. Regular exercise throughout the life span can help to offset the natural loss of bone mineral as well improve quality of life.

C’mon in and see your friendly local physio for a custom program!

Dr. Kim

Proper attire will keep you running all winter!

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Hi Everybody!

Thanks for checking out my second blog where I am joined by Cori and Maddie for a discussion on the winter apparel that we prefer to help us get up, get out, and have fun!

 

 

As you can see from the video, it’s never too cold to workout outside, you are just inappropriately dressed! It’s easy to use the cold and dark as an excuse, believe me I have a tough time getting my butt out of bed, but winter can be an awesome time to get outside and enjoy fresh crisp air! 

Like Cori talks about, layers are key. Wicking material is better than cotton, and helps ensure your muscles stay warm throughout the workout. We’ve all had that cold chill feeling, so plan to get right to the shower or have a change of clothes after a winter workout. 

As Maddie brings up, safety is paramount all the time but especially in the darkness of winter. Reflective gear, headlamps, and blinking lighted vests may not be fashionable, but they will keep you safe. In the header photo you can clearly see Cori and Madison, but to an oncoming vehicle I’m blending into the darkness. Always remember- Safety is Sexy! 

As you can see, there is no weather cold enough or dark enough to stop us from enjoying mother nature and our local community. Whether you are joining the local running groups, November Project, or enjoying a solo adventure grab your layers and lights and HAVE SOME FUN OUT THERE! 

– Dr. Liz

3 Best Stretches for Hockey Players

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Have you ever tried to maximize the amount of time you have available to stretch by figuring out the most beneficial stretches? Have you felt like even finding time to stretch was daunting and challenging enough? Most people would say yes. I know I’ve had that thought time and time again. What I’m hoping you’ll get out of this blog is that stretching can be easy and prioritizing even 5-10 minutes after exercising can make a big difference.

Here are my 3 favorite stretches for hockey players!

  1. Kneeling Hip Flexor

Static Stretch – 30 second holds (repeat on both sides)

  1. Glute Stretch

Static Stretch – 30 second holds (repeat on both sides)

  1. Sidelying Thoracic Rotation

Dynamic Stretch – 15 repetitions (repeat both sides)

Next time you’re playing hockey, I encourage you to give these 3 stretches after and see how you feel. Hockey utilizes your glute muscles to generate power through lower body rotation and need to be prioritized to stretch following an exercise. Tight hip flexors are one of the primary reasons individuals today begin getting low back pain. By stretching them after activity, you’ll increase hip flexor extensibility and promote a more posterior pelvic tilt posture to minimize strain on the lumbar spine. Lastly, thoracic rotation is a necessity for shooting and skating while on the ice. Increased thoracic (mid-back) rotation can decrease common compensations that occur at different muscle groups and allow you to ultimately increase power and control in your game. Promoting good recovery will help limit muscle soreness and have you ready to get back on the ice faster. Not to mention the increased muscle extensibility will make day to day activities easier, not just hockey!

– Dr. Nate

Powered by Community

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Hi everyone! Dr. Liz here- thanks for tuning in to my very first blog. True story- I’ve never written a blog so the fact that you’re still reading right now is pretty cool. I’m the newest PT on the NPT HealthWorks team, and joined in sept of 2018. Over the course of my blogs, you’ll not only get to know me better but also hear about some of my passions including running, community engagement, and being active! Hope you enjoy 🙂

How did I get here…an indoor athlete thriving in Newport’s outdoor athletic community?

My entire life I was an indoor athlete. I relished the AC of the cool basketball gym, and enjoyed the beauty of a toasty ballet room. Now, I’m that crazy person out there in fleece lined tights, flashing safety vests, neck warmers and alllll the layers. How did I get here? It didn’t happen overnight, but in the past 15 months living in this beautiful place, my wife and I have switched gears from college basketball to distance running and we have this wonderful community to blame. 

We are fortunate to have met our closest friends through running, between the store run at Run Newport on Tuesdays to the well-known Run & Chug group on Thursdays and November Project on Wednesday mornings at the beach. The texts go out, and the social pressure pulls us to our sense of community and friendship and the shared love of one sport… running.

Maybe it fills the void that we lost after we graduated from competitive college sports? For me, it has become a passion and something I look forward to every single day. It is free, it allows for exploring new places, and it brings you into a network of people with like-minded goals. We have borderline elite runners, recreational runners, and new runners  who are brought together to push themselves in whatever way that means to them. The paces and times may be different between us, but running has taught us all that we can do HARD things and that we are capable of more than we think, especially when we are out there exploring together.

Are you looking to try something new? Find a community and go for it!

– Dr. Liz

5 Tips for Keeping Your Voice Healthy

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What is Vocal Hygiene? 


Vocal Hygiene
refers to daily behaviors and good habits that help to maintain the health of your vocal folds. These include eliminating inappropriate vocal habits and situations that place unnecessary wear and tear on the voice and common sense behaviors which contribute to efficient voice production and overall vocal health.

The following is a list of some tips for keeping your voice healthy:

    1. Stay hydrated! Hydration is essential for the best functioning of the vocal tract. Be sure to drink plenty of healthy fluids throughout the day, though room temperature water is the best. Adequate hydration will lubricate and protect your vocal fold tissues.
    2. Try to minimize intake of alcohol and caffeine, which have a dehydrating effect.
    3. Medicine can be dehydrating. Be aware that many medications- particularly cold medicines- can also dehydrate you, so be sure to compensate for this if you need to take them.
    4. Avoid irritants, such as cigarette and cigar smoke.
    5. Get enough rest!  Fatigue and stress can impact the voice in many ways, including lower intensity (loudness) and pitch, poor posture and shallow or clavicular breathing.

By, Abby Sayer Vellucci, MS, CCC-SLP

How to prepare for a hockey game

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Growing up, I always have found it difficult to properly prepare for hockey games and practices. Do I stretch? If so, when do I stretch? Is exercise before more harmful? Did I eat too much? Maybe that last one was just me. But trying to figure out the proper way to prepare and recover from a sport seemed daunting. As my strategies altered through trial and error, I personally found ways that worked for me. With the help from literature, I critiqued my preparation and identified the most helpful ways to prepare for a hockey game.

dr nate hockey

Stretching: Dynamic Warm Up

A dynamic warm up is a series of movements or activities that are low or moderate in intensity that get the blood moving. Increased circulation will only help you prepare. This means skating laps around the rink (i.e. forwards and backwards), stick handling with the puck, cross-overs, and shooting on net are great ways to begin. Static stretching has been linked to potentially decreasing muscle performance so holding stretches for 30 seconds may not be that beneficial after all (BUT very important afterwards!). When successfully completing a dynamic warm up, you have increased muscle pliability and enhanced blood circulation via your cardiovascular system without the cost of decreasing performance.

Diet: Eat light and stay hydrated

Diet has such an important factor into performing better during sporting events. It’s essential to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day and eating at least an hour before game time. As much as eating a large sandwich in the car on the way to the game seems like a time savvy decision, it can lead to increased inflammation, decreased muscle performance, and feeling like the meal could come up at any shift! We don’t need that to happen. Diet plays a far bigger role into how we feel than most of us like to admit and will ultimately affect our exercise.

– Dr. Nate

Holiday Happiness or Holiday Blues?

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The holiday season is often a time of joy and happiness.  We spend time with those we love, attend events which promote the spirit of the season, and give thanks for the things in our lives which truly matter.  It can also be a time of increased sadness or anxiety.  We often miss those who are no longer with us more around this time of year and can get caught up in the “giving season”, even when we are burnt out.  

During this holiday season, I encourage you to be more aware of your thoughts and feelings and how you manage them.  I encourage you to engage in regular self-care and make decisions on what’s best for you and your mental health.  Attend events and spend time with those who make you happy!  Don’t be afraid to say no to events and/or people which bring you down or stress you out.  If you can’t totally avoid certain negative situations or people, then go into those events/situations with an exit plan and limit your time.  

Finding a balance in life can certainly be challenging, especially during the holiday season.  We are often pulled in many different directions which in turn can test us, both physically and mentally.   I encourage you to go for that walk, spend time with that person you’ve been meaning to call, take a break from work, etc.  You won’t regret it!  If your struggling with an issue, situation, or relationship I encourage you to seek out professional help.  Engaging in mental health treatment can also be a proactive endeavor vs a reactive one.  Just like you go to the gym to improve your physical health, you can engage in counseling services to improve your overall mental health at any point, not just when “things are bad.”  So, put yourself first this holiday season, as it will allow you to be more present for others.  It’s not being selfish, it’s self-care!  Find your balance.

One sure fire way to feel better and positive this holiday season is to give of yourself to others.  Volunteer, give to those less fortunate, or donate to a local charity.  I guarantee you won’t regret the time or money you spend on helping others!  I also guarantee engaging in such helping activities will have a positive impact on your mental well-being. 

Wishing you the best during this holiday season!

Dave 

mental health

“I started my professional career in the education field and transferred into social work in 2011.   I have always been drawn to “helping professions” which allow me to assist others.  My current full-time job is with the Department of Veteran Affairs where I help homeless Veteran’s on Cape Cod obtain and maintain housing.  My career path has led me to NPT HealthWorks where I hope to counsel individuals and/or couples who are looking to make a positive change in their mental health status.” 

 

The Journey to Ironman

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I recently completed my first full Ironman at Mont-Tremblant this past August. It was a 3 year journey, starting with a self-discovery trip to northern Italy where I first read Finding Ultra by Rich Roll while drinking red wine and crushing prosciutto and cheese. At the time, I was feeling a bit lost, overweight, and mentally & emotionally exhausted. Inspired by Rich Roll, upon returning to the states, I went mostly plant-based and started training a month later for my 1st triathlon. I couldn’t swim, disliked running, and had a road bike that was over 10 years old. No matter, I set the lofty goal of one day completing in an Ironman and now I’ve met that goal! 

I’ve enjoyed the journey, the growth emotionally, mentally, and physically. I’ve really enjoyed the relationships and sharing the experience with friends, family, coworkers, clients, and training partners. I hope most of all that I’ve inspired others along the way and shown that it’s never too late to set goals and continue to grow no matter how old we are or how low/lost we feel. Along the way you’ll find your best self. 

So far in 2019, I have also competed in the San Francisco Marathon, Patriot 70.3 triathlon,  Portland 10 miler, Newport 10 Miler, Newport Olympic Triathlon, and ran the NYC Marathon for charity this November. 3 years ago I couldn’t imagine doing any of these events. I think we all should set lofty goals in life and enjoy the process of working toward them. Along the way your life will change for the better whether or not you achieve your ultimate goal. You’ll be inspired while inspiring others around you.

Though we’re all on our personal health and wellness journey, it’s important to surround yourself with people who support you. At NPT HealthWorks, it’s what we’re passionate about. No matter how big or small, please use us as a reference for any questions, thoughts, comments you may have. 

– Dr. Dan

The Path to Health & Wellness

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The first half of my life I didn’t take very good care of myself. I abused, neglected and disrespected my body and mind. By the time I’d reached my early 30’s, I’d endured a series of bad relationships, had low self esteem and struggled with anxiety and depression, which plagued me since childhood. I was self medicating with drugs and drinking a bottle of wine a night. I lacked any ambition or purposeful feelings. I was numbly floating through life, wanting so much more, but not really sure what to do about it. 

My personal turning point was in 2013, at an Ashram in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies. Having reached my breaking point, I knew that what I currently was doing, was not making me a better person, and if I continued down that path, I would no-doubt kill myself, or harm someone else. I closed my eyes, and prayed for a sign to help me get out of my funk and unhealthy routines.  My heart spoke and that day I enrolled in a yoga teacher training program. I had nothing else to lose.

During my 21 day training, through mindful meditation, yoga, healthful eating and the support of my wonderful teachers and fellow students, I began chipping away at the walls I had created around my heart and my life. I sat with my fears and anxieties, my insecurities and flaws, and learned to love and nurture myself, and to forgive and let go what was not contributing to a healthy lifestyle (mentally and physically). While there, we were provided only with “real food” – delicious and nutritious meals that were easy to digest and filled with the nutrients and vitamins our bodies crave. My mood lifted and my mind cleared. I left lighter and less anxious. More importantly, I wasn’t sluggish and irritable or depressed and numb.

At the completion of my training, it was like I was seeing the world through new eyes. Of all the lessons that journey taught me, the most powerful is that happiness is a verb. With every mindful thought, every nutritious bite, and through every positive action we take, we can secure that state of being for life.

Committing to this new way of life has brought me clarity and energy. Inspired by my experience at Shoshoni Yoga Retreat, I ramped up my fitness goals and became a certified Spinning instructor. Inspired by the way wholesome and nutritious foods made me feel mentally and physically, I became a chef for professional sailing teams; feeding athletes while strengthening my craft by incorporating cuisine from all over the world. I dove head first into all things health and wellness, ultimately enrolling in the Institute of Integrated Nutrition. Once I started to see and feel the amazing positive changes happening to me and around me, becoming a certified Health Coach came naturally. I want to share and bestow these healthy concepts and help those who struggle realize that a better way is within their reach. I want to help you empower you, all the ways to heal yourself, mind and body, and leave behind the fatigue and stress that tries to hold us down. I have been there and understand how stressful and overwhelming it can be and how bad habits feel impossible to break. But if I can do it, you can too, and I am here to show you the way.