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

We’re Moving To Slow Down: Moving Mediation

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Slowing down, more-so slowing my mind down, can be a challenge for me. So what about formal meditation? To sit still, to listen to my breath, & to get through the thoughts that occupy my brain – NOT an easy task. I’m a born-and-raised New Englander, which means my go-to pace is more brisk. Here in the North East, we move. So, when it comes to rested meditation, you could say – I’ve never been able to welcome it fully. I procrastinate, put it off, or completely avoid it – for I want to escape the frustration of “not doing it right”, or over-thinking my way through it. The solution, however, is not avoidance (in most cases), but seeking a way that suites my personality, and pace. A client once chatted with me about using the daily “walkitate” process. I thought, could this “moving meditation” help me slow my roll, and infuse my life with more mindfulness? I wanted to find out.

How does it work? Well, just as in a sitting meditation, where your attention might be on your breath or repeating a mantra – In a moving meditation, you place your attention on the sensation of your body. The air against your skin, your foot touching the ground with each step, the sound your movement creates, the feeling and textures underneath you. You get the drift.

When you first start out, it’s recommended that you walk a little slower than usual, so you can really feel your feet with every step. In moving meditation, the idea is NOT that you’re going to have absolutely no thoughts – What you’re actually doing is cultivating your ability to recognize that you don’t have to buy into everything that comes up. Part of the experience is recognizing that your mind will stray, so when it does, you bring it very gently with precision back to the feeling of your body in  real space & time. Step, by step, by step….

The secret to experience this kind of embodied presence is truly noticing your physical sensations. Good, bad, indifferent. Body awareness is powerful. Pain, ease, comfort – What are you feeling, and where do you hold it in your body? Where do you need to let go of physical tension? Moving meditation will help you clue into physical sensation. That may be, your hip flexors and thigh bones initiating the movement of each leg. But in slower moments times, it could mean tasting the first sip of coffee in the morning – the warmness, the steam on your cheeks, the smell of the beans, the sound of the grind.

What we can take away from this idea of moving-meditation is that you don’t need to “carve out” time in your schedule, but bring more YOU to the tasks you perform, more awareness & mindfulness to our everyday actions.

Maddie Bassinder, LMT

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.

Hotel Room Workout

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Run through these simple exercises 10 repetitions each, as many times through as you can comfortably up to 10x.

1. Squat with overhead lift – 10X
2. Push-up – 10X
3. Jumping jacks – 30-60 sec
4. Lateral lunge – 10X
5. Plank – 60 seconds 
6. High knees – 60 sec
7. Bridges – 10X
8. Chair dips – 10X
9. Mountain climbers  – 60 sec
10. Bicycles – 10X

Watch the video below for full demonstration and modifications.

-Dr. Kim

Staying Healthy While Traveling – Tips from Dr. Kim

Hi everyone,

Since this is my first blog post, I’ll introduce myself – I’ve been a physical therapist for about 5-6 years now and have spent a good amount of time doing travel physical therapy. In between contract work, I’d always take time off to travel the country and the world. Traveling is one of the things I’m passionate about (food and dogs are also on the list of things I love), so it’s  only appropriate that my first blog should be about travel. Here are a couple of helpful tips to keep yourself healthy while you’re on the go:

Pace yourself! Walk as much as you can comfortably! It’s the best way to see things and will keep you moving.

Hydration is key: 

Avoid caffeine and alcohol as much as you can. Obviously at some point you might need a coffee, and those little bottles of wine on the plane are very tempting, but you’ll feel better if you don’t. The process of flying itself is dehydrating. Bring your own water on the plane! You can use a refillable bottle, or buy one after security. The small amount of water that you’ll be served on the plane usually is not enough.

 

Nutrition: 

Avoid plane food by bringing your own healthy snacks and meals. Favorite healthy airport options in a pinch to bring on the plane- fruit cup, bars, sandwiches, and salads. Starbucks has a variety of options you can grab quickly (although decidedly not the most delicious). Best option is to pack what you know you like if possible! I always like to bring my favorite bar, an apple or banana and some nuts/trail mix. While on the go, stick to clean food as much as you can. Of course you have to try the local food and obviously not everything is going to be healthy, but shoot for a balance.

 

Sleep: 

Sleep is one of the most difficult aspects to control while traveling. On those overnight flights, try to get as comfortable as you can, bring a pillow of choice, a large scarf or sweater (because those plane blankets, ew!) and again, stay hydrated. It’s annoying when you’re trying to rest and you get those leg cramps and twitches. I like to take a magnesium supplement like Natural Calm to help me relax and reduce muscle cramping. This is something I like to do personally, if you’re interested in trying it you should check with your regular physician first. Then once at your destination, budget your time to include a good night’s sleep! If you need to bring ear plugs and an eye mask, do it!

Try to keep moving: 

3 exercises for your circulation while sitting on the plane: ankle pumps, marches, butt squeezes. Do each of these 10-20x every 30 minutes or so to keep that blood flowing. Stay tuned for more exercises & my full Hotel Room Workout! 

Happy & healthy travels,

– Dr. Kim 

To learn more on Dr. Kim, be sure to visit Meet Our Team!