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!

 

 

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!

Fall in the elderly: causes and prevention

The population of Quebec, like the vast majority of Western countries, is aging. The evolution of our society allows older people today to have a more active lifestyle than before. To this effect, we place a high value on autonomy and home care. Nevertheless, a simple fall can turn an independent life into a dependent one. In Quebec, there are 14,000 hospitalizations following a fall of adults aged 65 and over each year. 20% of people in this age bracket who have suffered a hip fracture as a result of a fall, die within one year. 

 

Causes

It is known that between 30% and 50% of falls are related to environmental factors. Researchers have identified a number of hazards, at home and in public places, that contribute to falls. Tripping objects, poor lighting, slippery or uneven surfaces or stairs are common risk factors. 

 

The weakening of the body due to age can be accentuated by poor life habits. A sedentary lifestyle, a diet low in protein and calcium, as well as alcohol, all have consequences for the health of our bones. These habits make older populations even more vulnerable and increase the probability that a fall will occur and the resulting consequences will be serious (fracture). 

 

Biological and medical risk factors are also important. The aging of a person is accompanied by changes in the body (decreased muscle mass, increased fat and weakened bones). To these effects can be added a slowing down of reflexes, a decrease in eyesight, in mobility and in balance. Getting around then becomes more demanding and difficult. 

 

Prevention 

Physical activity is still the best way to reduce the risk of falling. Active people are in better shape and are more alert mentally. All the reasons are good to move: social activities, sports, clubs of all kinds. 20 minutes of daily exercise or at least three times a week, can greatly help with physical maintenance. In fact, the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults (65  Years & Older) is an excellent source of information with suggestions for staying active and healthy. 

  

Strength and balance contribute to stability. It is therefore important to strengthen the legs to reduce the risk of falling, due to loss of balance. There are also many activities that help improve balance. Walking is a good example. When performed with walking sticks, this activity becomes much more stable, while increasing physical activity. Swimming is also a very good choice, as is cycling and golf. 

 

It is also possible to reduce the use of medications by taking on a healthier lifestyle. Good nutrition, lots of omega-3s, good sleep habits and exercise are the ingredients for maintaining good health. It is recommended that you have your prescription medications validated every year to make sure that you have the correct dose. This will help to try to reduce the amount of medication necessary. 

 

If you feel less and less stable when you are standing, do not hesitate to contact us to evaluate your strength, stability and balance. Our team of therapists will provide you with advice on exercise, nutrition and prevention. Do not let a fall put you down! 

 

Main tips for preventing falls 

  • In your home, reduce clutter and avoid loose carpets;
  • Make sure you have easy access to the bath or shower; 
  • Wear non-slip shoes and slippers with good support;
  • Have your vision and hearing checked every year;
  • Have your prescription medications validated regularly.

 

 

 

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!

your physiotherapist's advice for moving day

Your physiotherapist’s advice for moving day

For most of us, the constant bending and lifting on moving day is guaranteed to bring aches and pains. To prevent injuries, it is crucial to warm up, take your time and repeat a healthful pattern of movements. Keep reading for your physiotherapist’s advice for moving day.

Warming up

Moving house is a very demanding activity on your body. Every year, a patient surge is seen at physiotherapy clinics around Moving Day. What most people omit from doing is warming up properly before undertaking their moving tasks. Take the time to warm up your muscles before and stretch after doing any physical activity. This will greatly reduce the risk of injury.

Lifting boxes

First off, it is helpful to pack as many small boxes as you can, and distribute the weight evenly. It is much easier to carry 10 boxes of 10 pounds, instead of 5 boxes of 20 pounds. Therefore, plan a larger number of boxes to make the task easier. For heavy appliances, use belts, hooks and straps for moving, or even a cart or hand truck if you can.

In order to adequately lift boxes, it is important to place your feet shoulder-width apart. With your head and feet pointing in the direction of the object, make sure to keep your back straight. In addition, assessing the actual weight of the box is a good preventive step for injuries.

While you’re lifting, use your leg and arm muscles. Go slow and use your abdominal muscles to support your body.  Inhale deeply while going down and exhale once you are up. Make sure you are balanced and hold the box closest to your body. Pivot with your feet and not with your back. Do not turn your upper body while carrying the object: the combination of twisting and bending is harmful to your back.

To place the box down, fold your knees first, then bring yourself down to the ground. Always try to keep the object as close to you as possible.

If you must grab an object at a high reach, remember to use a stepladder and do not try to extend your arms further than they can go. Your hands should never be above your shoulders when lifting heavy objects.

Tips & tricks

Staircases are a place where one can easily get hurt, especially when lugging a load of things. Ensure you are always at least 2 people when carrying heavy or long objects. When bringing these bigger objects down the stairs, make sure the person at the end is stronger and capable of bearing the weight. The person on top ensures the steadiness of the load.

In conclusion, employing a series of good movements and using your arms and legs rather than your back first, will shield your neuromusculoskeletal structure from potential injuries during your next move. Make sure to also stay hydrated and take breaks when needed. At the first sign of pain, do not hesitate to use ice on your inflamed joints (ankle, elbow, knees, etc.) and heat on any muscular stiffness. To enjoy summer at its best, please protect yourself! Your body will thank you.

 

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Physio Proactive, 2018.

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