The Path to Health & Wellness

, , ,

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

,

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!

Surviving The Winter Slog

,

 

Winter in New England is without a doubt breathtakingly beautiful. Frosted windows, plenty of snow, one incredible sunrise after another. However with less daylight, and limited time to perform our favorite activities, these long months can also bring challenges in terms of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Whether you enjoy hiking Hanging Rock, running Cliff Walk, or walking your favorite beach, warmer months offer plenty of sunshine and time outside. Without enough movement during the Winter, our bodies can experience an increase in stress, and our immune systems can become suppressed. Without enough fresh air and exercise we become more susceptible to symptoms associated with the common cold and the flu. Overnight our joints can feel stiffer and in the morning we can feel achy and tight. And yes, without enough physical exercise our emotional well-being can certainly be affected. With these things in mind, hitting the snooze button and sleeping for a few more hours may seem like the best option to combat the colder months ahead of us.  But let’s keep the winter wind on our backs, and find some balance. Here are some ways to battle seasonal stress, and beat the stagnation that can sometimes come along with the Winter months.

Maintain a Schedule

Being proactive with your time is important in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Allowing a little extra room in the morning for 10 minutes of meditation or a simple stretching routine may be beneficial. Jocco Willink, author, podcaster and retired United States Navy SEAL says, “The temptation to take the easy road is always there. It is as easy as staying in bed in the morning and sleeping in. But discipline is paramount to ultimate success and victory for any leader and any team.” Try to stay clear from the snooze button so that you can keep consistency in your schedule. It is important to rest when you can, and maybe take some time to sit quietly everyday. A study was recently published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience explaining how just 10 minutes of mindfulness meditation daily can improve a person’s cognitive function. Figure out your requirements in order to live your best life-how much time do you need to feel fully awake in the morning? What daily activities can you perform consistently? Avoid taking on too much, set boundaries in terms of time and energy expelled on a day to day basis, stay involved but not so much you leave little to not time for yourself.

Eat Right  

Eating right all year round is essential. Specifically during the Winter it is important to eat a well-balanced diet to get all the essential vitamins and minerals your body is craving. Maybe start your morning with a bowl of Oats, which is a great option if you’re slacking on the fiber front. Add a tablespoon of peanut or almond butter to get some added protein. Try implementing turmeric and ginger into your diet to get all of their anti-inflammatory benefits. Remember, all year round, to drink alcohol and caffeine in moderation. Limit refined sugar and opt for something sweeter and more satisfying for the body, such as a handful of berries after dinner or a warm cup of cacao with hemp milk, cinnamon and turmeric. Both berries and cacao taste amazing and each are loaded with antioxidants, which can help to increase our body’s own immunity.

Remember Your Passion

It is so important to fight cabin fever with activities you love doing. Although hibernating when the temperature drops sounds rewarding, it is so important to keep spirits high by staying proactive with the things that make you smile. Maddie Bassinder, Licensed Massage Therapist and Aquidneck Island native, enjoys spending most of her time outdoors photographing sweet New England. Be sure to check out Maddie’s blog Winter Inspiration.

Blog by Sarah Shoen

Photo credit: Feature Image & Deer photographs are by Madeline Bassinder

Winter Inspiration

,

It’s been a single hobby that wakes me up and forces me outside. A discovery that makes winter a bit more tolerable, dare I even say, beautiful. Even in this brutal cold.  

For some, they wake to workout. For others, self-care rituals like a warm tub, a hot cup of coffee, or to get their fill on the current world news. For me, I wake for nature, the sunrise and to capture the first moments of the morning light.

I take my time bundling up and with camera in hand, I head out to one of my favorite ‘Island’ spots, including; Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, Brenton Point, Castle Hill Lighthouse, Paradise Valley Park, or one of the many other little gems this special Island has to offer.  

 

For me, photography has always been a moving meditation. There’s no other option but to focus on what’s right in front of you. It’s embracing the frosted ground, the sea smoke, icicles, and white winter snow. To see those things not as a burden, or road block to getting outside – But adding dimension, depth and beauty to the world around us.  

Before finding photography, I would have told you it was really hard trudging through the cold winter months in New England. I’d let a full season go by with feelings of cabin fever, while dreaming about warmer places to live. Now, I find myself waiting for winter, its harshness and wicked edge so I can photograph the beauty that it has to offer.  

Photography has opened up hours in my busy day. Where I was once hiding from the cold, bundled in bed, burrowed away, you can now find me outside trying to catch the light while snapping the right angle. Adding this time allows me the opportunity to slow-down, focus on the present moment, have time for reflection, creativity and so much more. On days where I am able to practice these self-love rituals, I have found I am a more attentive health-care provider. I am able to give more to others, to be a better active listener and happier individual. With this newer outlook, I would encourage anyone to get outside their box, their comfort zone and home during these long-winter months. To feel the sunshine and see the world for its beauty. But more than anything, I encourage everyone to find something, anything, that fosters physical, emotional and mental self-care.

– Maddie

Note – Be sure to follow Maddie on Instagram (@madeline_bassinder) to see more of her beautiful photography.

Meet Dr. Nate

,

Well here it is, welcome to my first blog. Throughout all my schooling, I never once imagined that I would be sharing my ideas, personal goals, and hobbies through a blog. I mean, come on, I must know a few things after seven years of schooling! All the late nights fueled by coffee and snacks have lead me to my dream profession as a physical therapist with the urge to share ideas with all of you. But first, you should know a little bit about me.

physical therapy active living

I was born in Massachusetts, but Portsmouth, Rhode Island has been home to me as far as I can remember. I’m pretty sure as soon as I could walk, my father laced skates on my feet to head out on the ice where the cones were taller than I was (not kidding). On that day I fell in love with hockey and I continue to glide around the ice today, still after losing my front teeth (kidding). In fact, I managed to avoid injuries throughout most of my athletic career. My friends and family were not as fortunate, and it sparked my interest in pursuing a career that can assist people to get back to their favorite activities or emotional driving factors as soon as possible.

As an Aquidneck Island native, I fell in love with the area and returned after receiving a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Kinesiology at URI and Doctorate of Physical Therapy at MCPHS University. I’m a sports fanatic, outdoors admirer, and wellness enthusiast. If I’m not in the NPT HealthWorks office or at the gym, you’ll find me out on a sail boat or at the local golf course with friends and family.

Golf Physical Active

What I’m hoping you will get out of this blog is to have a better understanding of how to get the most out of what you love by identifying a healthy balance between training and recovery, promoting correct body mechanics, and utilizing your time in the gym efficiently. In addition, I’ll dive into my favorite passions including ways to become a better golfer and hockey player while avoiding common injuries. Like I always say, the best form of treatment is prevention.

Stay tuned for more info from me,
Dr. Nate Cole PT, DPT!

Beginning of the Journey of a PT

This past week we said goodbye to soon to be “Dr. Riley” who completed his 12 weeks clinical here at NPT HealthWorks. Before his departure, we asked Riley to share how he got started on his journey to becoming a Physical Therapist.

In high school, I remember having no idea what I wanted to do with my life while my mom was constantly on my back to push me in some direction before college. On a whim, I decided to take anatomy my senior year. It was the first subject that I truly found a genuine interest in and that catered to my skills as a visual learner. With this information, my mom recommended looking into Physical Therapy as she had experience with the profession in her career working with children with developmental delays. 

I was accepted at the University of Rhode Island for Kinesiology with the hopes of continuing to graduate school after. To get experience in the field I volunteered at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island in Pawtucket the summer after my freshman year. On my first day we worked with a gentleman who was recovering from a severe stroke. He was visibly frustrated with not being able to walk, fish, and speak normally like he had been doing for over 70 years. The therapist needed a second set of hands to help put the man in a harness to unweight his legs. With the help of the machine, and what strength the man still had in his legs, he stood for the first time in months! We brought a mirror in front of him to see himself standing which brought a huge smile to his face! 

Riley, showing a client how it’s done while Dr. Nate gives advice.

Seeing this man with the biggest smile was when I knew I had chosen the right career. I have always played and loved sports and thought I would try to work with professional athletes. However, my interaction with this man changed my path through school. I realized I got my greatest joy by helping regular people return to doing the things they loved: spending time with friends and family, returning to weekend softball, being able to work, to support their family, go out with friends, amongst any number of activities. I will graduate with my Doctorate of Physical Therapy this May and could not be more excited to have a career where I can have a profound impact on people’s lives not only in the short term, but educate them about strategies and techniques they can perform on their own to continue to live their life to the fullest.

While Riley will be missed here at NPT HealthWorks, we are excited to cheer him onto the next leg of his journey…and know that wherever he lands, clients will be lucky to have him as their PT!

Welcome to the NPT HealthWorks Blog!

Hi everyone,

1st of all, thanks for checking out our new blog!

My name is Dr. Dan (Insta: @drdanhatch) and I’m the founder of NPT HealthWorks. Just under 5 years ago, with the help of then sports massage intern Maddie (Insta: @madeline_bassinder), we launched then Newport Physical Therapy and have grown it into a thriving and all-encompassing value-based health and wellness business with 8 amazing team members. Our team is passionate about what we do and about our community; and we have a fun and contagious company culture.

The team and I will be discussing all things health and wellness with the sole intention of helping you make informed and better decisions for yourself and your loved ones.

We’ll share stories, opinions, thoughts, and the latest data along the way. As you know, there is SOOOOO much information out there in regards to health and wellness that it can be a bit confusing and difficult to sort out what to believe, what to potentially implement in your life, and what to flat out disregard and ignore. That’s where we come in.

The journey of health & wellness should be fun, rewarding, encouraging, and fulfilling.

I’m sure you’re asking, why should I listen to this guy and his team?!?! Yes, we have fancy titles, years of experience and worked successfully with individuals and teams of all levels. Yes, we have worked with everyone from the coach potato to the professional athletes. Yes, we have established and grown the 1stvalue-based health and wellness practice in RI (yes, all our clients choose to pay out of pocket for our services because we are simply that good), Yes, we have been a part of thousands of success stories, blah blah blah. In many people’s eyes this may help validate what we say moving forward, but truth is that there are a lot of people with fancy titles, years of experience, claiming to be the go-to source, best in the biz, etc. Many of these businesses:

  1. Truly do care, but what they are telling people is out of date, not based in the current clinical or research based evidence, and therefore simply are ineffective and/or inefficient.
  2. Are financially driven and not truly concerned about what is best for you.
  3. (And worst case) Both!!!!

My promise to you is that we’ll always deliver evidenced based, fun, exciting, easy to understand, and unbiased information that will provide a lot of value to you and your loved ones’ lives 😀. Along the way, we’ll share more about our backgrounds, education, experience, etc.

Let’s start today by acknowledging the 5 key areas of health and wellness: cardiovascular training, strength/endurance training, recovery work (“work” because it takes conscious effort), nutrition, and mental/emotional wellbeing. All 5 areas are equally important and we’ll dive into many topics within each of these categories (and more).

Health and wellness is a journey, not some specific destination though you may have goals along the way. It’s a journey that doesn’t have to be filled with complications, confusion, indecisiveness, insecurity, and self-doubt.

This blog is for you if you’re looking to live a healthier life, want to know the truth about what works and what doesn’t work, want to take less medication, avoid the doctor’s office, avoid unnecessary surgeries, and live a balanced, happy, and more mobile life. Thanks again for checking us out and remember to always LIVE LIFE WELL!!!

Dan, PT, DPT