Physiotherapy Clinic in Ville-Saint-Laurent

Staying Healthy While Working From Home

Many people are suddenly facing the need to work from home for the first time, but doing so can be stressful. It’s vitally important to stay healthy during this difficult period, so proper self-care and exercise should be top of your priority list. Here are some easy ways to stay well (and sane!) while stuck at home:

 

Stay Active

 

It may sound counter-intuitive – after all, you’re rooted in one place all day – but there are some simple ways to make sure you still get your steps in:

  • Use your usual commute time to exercise. It doesn’t need to be an intensive cardio workout (although that’s great if you have the ability); some gentle yoga, a walk, strength training with home weights, tai chi – just find a way to use the extra time to warm up your joints and muscles and mentally prepare yourself for the day (or unwind at the end of it).
  • Take regular breaks away from your desk. Between your laptop, your phone, usual household chores and demands of family, it may be tempting to stay sat at your desk while having lunch or a quick coffee. But don’t. Use the opportunity to take an actual break: stand, or walk about the house (or yard, or neighbourhood). The fresh air and change of scenery is of psychological benefit, and the movement has physical benefits.
  • Remember to stretch. Take regular, short breaks every hour to stretch your back, your legs and your neck. Sitting at a desk all day (whether in-office or at home) can cause stiffness and back issues, so ensure you’re regularly changing position and not hunching over.

 

Invest In Proper Equipment

 

A few smart decisions when setting yourself up for remote work can make the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy work environment. Here’s some simple rules to follow:

  • Choose a good chair. You may not have the luxury of the expensive, ergonomic chair you had at work, so look round your home for the best chair for all-day use. It should have a supportive back and align you well in front of your desk. Avoid anything that encourages slouching.
  • If you’re comfortable doing so, ditch the chair completely and set up a standing desk. Research shows that this can reduce your long-term mortality risk and it allows more movement throughout the day.
  • Designate a separate “working” space away from other activities in the house. This prevents distractions but also means you can maintain the optimal set-up for your needs. It also means you can walk away from work at the end of the day, and maintain good boundaries between work and home.
  • Consider investing in an exercise stability ball. It’s great to simply sit on, as it helps with core strength and balance, and provides some relief from your regular chair.

 

Mental Health Is Important Too

 

  • It may be hard to avoid feeling trapped or isolated while working from home, so remember to take mental health breaks as well. This is best done by setting a schedule that clearly separates working time from relaxing time, and sticking to it.
  • Put away your phone! Checking the news or social media constantly will harm both work productivity and your ability to relax. Turn your phone off (or turn off notifications) whenever you are actively doing something else – even if that something else is relaxing.
  • Snacking can be tempting while working from home – after all, you stocked the cupboards – but it can quickly lead to unhealthy eating habits. Plan your meals and any snacks at the start of the day. Get them out of the fridge or set them aside somewhere if you have to; just be sure to ring-fence what you’re planning to eat, and don’t deviate when you get the munchies.

 

Working from home takes some adjustment, so don’t beat yourself up if you struggle initially. Good habits take time to build, but once set can ensure your home and work life both flourish!

 

 

Why Consult a Physio After Childbirth?

Everyone knows that having a child could be painful, but most assume that once labour is over, the hard work is done. Unfortunately, a significant number of new mothers experience pelvic issues after childbirth. Luckily, seeing a physiotherapist can alleviate complications, and prevent future injuries.

 

What are the risks?

 

Vaginal birth can impair pelvic health, and postpartum pelvic dysfunctions are common. 35% of new mothers experience urinary incontinence, and 20% suffer from severe pelvic floor muscle injury. This is after normal vaginal birth, when all of the body – but especially the abdomen and pelvis – goes through a lot of physical change and stress. Muscles stretch and weaken throughout pregnancy, and can tear or suffer nerve damage during labour. Complications are not limited to vaginal birth though; mothers delivering via caesarian can also suffer from pelvic floor issues, although it is less likely.

 

You are more at risk from postpartum pelvic floor issues if you:

  • Have twins or triplets
  • Have had children before
  • Are an older mother
  • Suffer from obesity
  • Have had pelvic surgery in the past
  • Suffer from constipation or a chronic cough

 

Although pelvic floor issues are common, they are not normal side effects of childbirth, and so symptoms should be investigated and treated. Without proper care, pelvic floor issues can escalate.

 

What are the symptoms?

 

Postpartum pelvic floor issues can manifest in several ways, including:

  • Urinary or bowel incontinence, including small leaks (for example, when sneezing or coughing)
  • Increased urinary frequency or urgency
  • Pain during sex
  • Pelvic pain in general, which can exhibit in the lower belly, tailbone, or in the lower back
  • Pelvic organ prolapse

 

If you experience any of these symptoms later than six weeks after childbirth, or have any other unusual pain or discomfort, consult your doctor.

 

How can a physio help?

 

The simplest and easiest way to treat pelvic floor dysfunction is with the help of a qualified physiotherapist, who can assess the root cause of the problem, and lead you through exercises that help resolve symptoms by strengthening muscles and restoring function. The initial assessment may include an internal exam, which is the best method for determining the condition of the pelvic floor. It may also include some bowel and bladder screening to identify any associated concerns.

 

Pelvic floor exercises are the best way to strengthen and retrain pelvic floor muscles; these can include kegel exercises, as well as some others focussed on core strength and bladder training. A physiotherapist can also educate you on how to safely return to normal exercise.

 

In very severe cases, pelvic surgery may be recommended to repair damaged muscles or to rectify organ prolapse.

 

Physiotherapy isn’t just helpful after childbirth; it can also assist with posture, back pain, breathing techniques and protecting the pelvic floor during pregnancy, which in turn reduces the risk of pelvic floor dysfunction postpartum.

 

Choose the Right Shoes for your Child

Choosing the right shoes for your child isn’t just a matter of fashion; correct footwear is part of a healthy lifestyle, and can make a huge difference in a kid’s posture, safety and comfort. Let’s take a look at the hows and whys of picking out the best shoes for your little ones.

 

Why Do Shoes Matter?

The choices you make for your child now will extend into their adulthood; while 98% of us are born with healthy feet, only 40% of us will still have them by the time we reach 18. Clearly, finding the right footwear can make a big difference.

 

The advantages of proper footwear – both in form and fit – include:

  • Improving posture
  • Protecting joints
  • Supporting and cushioning feet during activity
  • Aiding comfort
  • Preventing avoidable slips, falls and injuries
  • Protecting soles of the feet from hazards

 

Of course there are many options when shopping for kids shoes, but whilst many of them are adorable, not all are practical or safe.

 

How do I Pick the Right Shoes?

 

Picking the right shoes need not be a challenge. There are some simple guidelines to follow to ensure you make the right decision:

1. If the Shoe Fits

Children’s feet grow, a lot – up to 12 sizes in their first three years of development. But almost half of kids are wearing the incorrect shoe size. This can cause some serious problems while the feet are still growing, so it’s vital to always measure your child’s feet before buying any new shoes.

 

As they can change so rapidly, frequent size checks are recommended by physiotherapist at the following rate:

  • Every two months for children under two years old
  • Every four months for kids aged three to four
  • Every six months for kids over the age of five

 

And no matter what the measurement is, always have your kids try shoes before buying them; their feet should not be squashed across their width, and their toes should be able to move freely. If your little ones are mobile, get them to walk around in the shoes to test their comfort level and identify any areas of tightness or discomfort.

2. Different Shoes for Different Stages of Development

Shoes for infants differ greatly from shoes for kindergartners, so bear in mind your child’s stage of development. Infants don’t need much support as they won’t be walking.. Toddlers are mid-development, but on their feet all day, so they need room to grow and some cushioning. Older children have less fragile feet but are using them in more varied ways, and generally for higher impact activities, so shoes with a mix of flexibility and support are better.

3. Consider the Activity

For older kids, as with adults, it’s important to remember what activity the shoes will be worn for. Running shoes are built differently than walking shoes. If your child plays a specific sport, consider buying shoes that are designed for that sport, as they will offer more protection and support in the specific ways required of that activity. If you’re simply searching for good all-purpose shoes, check the soles for thickness and grip, the flexibility of the material, and above all else the fit.

4. Material Considerations

Children’s feet sweat more than twice as much as an adult’s, so look for shoes made of light, breathable, natural materials, so your their feet don’t overheat. This can prevent blisters as well as unpleasant odours. Canvas is a great option, as it is also washable, while still being durable. Avoid plastics and synthetic materials.

5. Fasteners

The shoes you’re considering may come with laces, velcro, or something else entirely. Generally it’s recommended to avoid slip-ons and backless shoes for kids, as they don’t offer adequate support. Choosing between fasteners is a matter of ability for your child; wherever possible choose a shoe that they can get on and off themselves.

 

The better prepared you are before you head out in search of children’s shoes, the easier your shopping trip will be. Always remember, if they’re not comfortable in the store, they won’t be worn at home!

 

Benefits & Risks of Alpine Skiing

Alpine skiing is one of Canada’s most popular winter sports, with about 2.6 million people taking part annually. It has the double benefit of being both incredibly exhilarating and excellent exercise. It does come with risks though, so if you’re a regular skier, or considering taking up the sport, here’s what you need to know:

Benefits of Alpine Skiing

1. A mix of exercise types

Skiing is a great way to get some exercise, in particular because it combines both endurance and resistance training. This means that, compared to other sports, it packs more punch for the time spent; and it doesn’t even feel like work!

2. Boosts healthy heart

Research by cardiologists shows that alpine skiing is equivalent to cycling or rowing in terms of its benefits to heart health. A leisurely descent on a smooth run may not have quite the same impact as a heart-thumping hop through deep powder, but in either case you are helping your body to improve insulin resistance and glucose metabolism, lower blood pressure and lipids, and improve body composition.

3. Strengthens bones and joints

Skiing means bearing your weight on your legs, and using your knees to turn and move. This strengthens the larger muscles in the lower part of the body and the bones and joints in your legs, knees and hips. This can decrease the risk of osteoporosis and knee damage in the future.

4. Improves balance and coordination

Skiing is all about balance, and learning how to remain upright by using your core strength is a great way to retain your sense of balance as you advance in years – which can help you avoid falls. You also get to practice coordination and flexibility as you ski, which allows you to avoid strains and sprains more effectively too.

5. Boosts mood and improves sleep

Spending the day outside in the sunshine, breathing in the crisp air and experiencing the thrill of alpine skiing is sure to put a smile on your face. And the natural fatigue that comes after such exercise improves sleep duration and quality. Research shows that engaging in alpine skiing is also a great indicator of a generally active, healthy lifestyle.

Risks of Alpine Skiing

There is obviously a risk of injury when engaging in any type of skiing (or indeed any sport), but the risks can be significantly ameliorated by:

 

  1. Proper use of equipment
  2. Staying within your ability levels
  3. Consideration of the conditions

 

Changing weather, uncertain snow or ice conditions, busy slopes, or the presence of obstacles all make injury more likely and potentially more severe. It’s advisable, if you are a new skier, to take things slowly, remember to warm up beforehand and to stretch afterwards, and if possible seek the help of an instructor to ensure your form is designed to protect your body. Falling need not be injurious, as long as you know how to do it safely!

4 tips to fight seasonal depression

Autumn is truly in full effect with the end of daylight savings time reminding us of the dark winter months ahead. But the start of the cold weather is also synonymous with seasonal depression for a large number of people. Indeed, many persons suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and envision the next 4 months as a true nightmare. Generally triggered by poor nutrition, a sedentary lifestyle, as well as a lack of light, this disorder can affect anybody.

SAD is not a myth and should be taken seriously, as it affects many people across the country, not just in Quebec. It is a mood disorder fueled by chronic fatigue that is in itself  a symptom of an imbalance in your health. Thankfully, there are natural remedies that can help alleviate the symptoms of this affliction.

 

The symptoms

Seasonal depression is very similar to clinical depression. Indeed, its symptoms are virtually the same but what differentiates the two, is that in order to have a clear diagnosis of seasonal depression, these symptoms must be felt for at least two consecutive winters. Normally, thes effects of seasonal depression start at the beginning of October and disappear completely around the month of April.

In terms of symptoms more specifically, those affected will tend to isolate themselves, have a significant decrease in energy and will experience a lot of anxiety and irritability. Furthermore, those affected will tend to gain weight and suffer from hypersomnia (excessive tiredness).  In general, people with seasonal depression will also have a depressive mood throughout the day, which in extreme cases, can lead to suicidal thoughts.

 

Tips to reduce the effects of seasonal depression

1. Change your diet

With the cold weather on its way, our lifestyle will change, and this affects our diet in many cases. In the summer, all the markets are accessible: a great amount of fresh fruits and vegetables in season are offered to us, so it is easier to include them in our diet. However, when the cold weather arrives, we tend to become more sedentary and thus quietly neglect our nutrition by prioritizing refined and processed products. By adopting a healthier diet during this difficult time, you help your body to respond better to this lack of light.

Here are some key nutrients to adopt in order to help you regain your spirits:

  • Omega 3s: These contribute to the increase in production of serotonin. Omega 3 is responsible for mood management and is associated with a general state of happiness. You can find omega-3 in oily fish, linseed and chia seeds, walnuts, etc.
  • B Vitamins: several studies suggest that people with vitamin B2, B6, B9 and B12 deficiencies often have symptoms of depression. This vitamin is found in many foods such as: green vegetables, lentils, seeds, brewer’s yeast, wheat germs, oranges, etc. Do some research on recipes to help include them more often in your diet.
  • Avoid refined and processed products during this time of the year. Of course, it is impossible to eliminate them completely but it is important to watch your consumption. It may tempt you to consume more refined and packaged foods during winter time since these often represent quick and uncomplicated meals, but remember that they will not better your symptoms. Make a habit of meal prepping that will serve as pre-prepared meals for the week.

2. Get moving!

There is no point in trying to stick to an elaborate Olympian training plan, but adding simple physical activity to your routine will reduce your sedentary level. Physical activity allows the production of endorphins and neurotransmitters associated with feelings of well-being and pleasure. For example, if you normally take the bus to the metro, why not go for a walk and enjoy the fresh air instead? In addition, if your physical activities are done outside, you will enjoy the sun’s vitamin D and this is excellent for your mood!

 

Keep in mind that seasonal depression is largely caused by lack of light during this time of year. Try to make the most of the sun as much as you can. Make sure to dress warmly and enjoy the beautiful winter of Quebec; you will feel much better after.

 

3. Surround yourself with loved ones

As we all know, emotional and social bonds are essential to happiness. With the winter season coming, many tend to lock themselves indoors and avoid social contact. Keep in mind that it is important for you, and especially during this time of the year, to continue to be social as this allows you to relieve pressure and stress.

 

4. Adopt a fixed sleep schedule

Figure out the right amount of hours of sleep that are necessary for you, and try to respect it. One trick could be to establish a sleep routine that you repeat every night so that your body gets used to it, which will help reduce your sleep problems. When a person suffers from seasonal depression, taking naps may seem like an option to get through their day. But by getting your body to sleep for a long part of the day, it can actually exacerbate your seasonal depression by making you feel groggy and will not improve your symptoms.

 

We hope this article has given you some tips for getting through this difficult season. Know that it can also be beneficial to use our services if you think you suffer from seasonal depression. Do not hesitate to contact us for more information on the subject!

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