FIGHT the HOLIDAY FLAB!

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Snow has fallen. Sales are starting. THE HOLIDAYS ARE COMING! Parties, cake, dinners, candies, brunches, fancy cocktails…sweet and treats and indulgence galore. Tack on high levels of stress amidst the merry-making and SO many appointments you couldn’t possible get to the gym, and it’s no wonder most New Year’s resolutions have to do with losing weight.

We at OPTSC want you to be healthy, but we also want you to indulge a little and have some fun! The holidays only come once a year! So here are some tips and tricks to make sure you fit into your killer party dress and eat your cake too.

Pack a lunch: packing a healthy lunch means you’re getting good food into you, and it’ll keep you from gnawing the corners off of the office gingerbread house. Studies also show that once you’ve eaten a healthy meal, you’re more likely to think twice about jamming something unhealthy in your face. Now is the time when unhealthy snacks are lurking everywhere.

Eat the things you LOVE: going to parties and eating ALL THE TREATS is part of the holiday fun, but you don’t really need allllll of them. Take a second to survey the options, and pick the top few that seem the most delicious to you. This helps keep you from going overboard, and saves you the hassle of strategically hiding the rest of that stale sausage roll in your napkin.

Park at the end of the row: Holiday parking lots can be a mess, so park as far away from the entrances as you can to kill two birds with one stone. Bird 1: you avoid the snarl of cars and easily get a parking spot. Bird 2: you get a tiiiiny bit of extra movement in walking further to get to/from the store. You’re likely to eat a wee bit more than you’re used to doing, so sneaking in some extra steps can help with a wee number of the calories.

DON’T CANCEL ON THE GYM( *cough*PHYSIO*cough*): Everyone is busy as all out this time of year, but hectic, stressful times are when you need to work out/move THE MOST. In addition to helping with fitness and weight maintenance, those sweet, sweet exercise/seeing Peter endorphins help you deal with all the stress.

Need a little help just to get things moving? Want to talk to a dietitian to get your eating on track no matter the season? We can help. Set up an appointment by calling our Orleans, Barrhaven or Westboro office.

How to do your BEST at ANY sport!

If you want to be at the top of your game, there are millions of things you could do. Visualize success, get more sleep, do yoga, use inversion tables, cold thermogenesis, drink BCAA’s, eat ketogenic, do physiotherapy every day…the list is endless. I mean, you could spend the rest of forever researching how to obtain optimal performance, and you’d likely never have time to implement ALL THE THINGS. Lucky for you, there’s one thing, that’ll make sure you’re in top performing mode: hydration.

Yes, yes, you know that water is important, we’re made of it, blah, blah, blah. Oh, but do you really know why, as an athlete it’s important? Like REALLY important? Well, maybe it’s because your VO2 max can decrease up to 11% when you are dehydrated. Less water in you = less blood to circulate oxygen =  less oxygen for muscles = less performance. Dehydrated muscle cells can’t properly metabolize the bits they need to repair themselves. Water is part of the lubrication system that keeps your joints/tissues/nerves/etc. sliding around each other properly, which means dehydration leads to a limited range of motion when tissues get gummed up together. Improper electrolyte balance from dehydration slows down the chemical reactions that keep your body moving, stealing away precious, precious energy. Any of those things sound good to you? No, didn’t think so.

Staying properly hydrated is one of THE easiest ways to make sure your body is running at it’s best. Here’s how:

  • Drink 2-3 liters per day. For serious.
  • Don’t just drink water. Drink pure water when you eat. Add a pinch of salt or some electrolyte powder if you’re drinking sans food. For serious.

You might think ‘electrolytes’ are just a catch phrase to sell sugary sports drinks, but they are essential to keeping you hydrated properly. There’s a balance your body needs to maintain (see electrochemical processes above) and dehydration isn’t the only thing to throw it off. Exhibit B: hypo-hydration, where you slam TONS of water but your body doesn’t absorb it. Ever up your water intake,  have to pee like crazy, but still feel thirsty? You’re not crazy, just not properly hydrating. Add a pinch of salt to your water bottle each time you fill it, and you’re good to go. Or go ahead and grab some non-sugary electrolytes like Nuun tablets – they taste delicious, and research says more flavour means you’re more likely to drink up!

Need some performance help beyond hydration? We can help. Set up an appointment with any of our physiotherapists by calling our Orleans, Barrhaven or Westboro office.

Physio for CrossFit? How about CrossFit as Physio.

CrossFit? It’s kind of a big deal. There are over a dozen CrossFit boxes in the NCR (lingo alert: a CrossFit gym is referred to as a “box”). Our most popular post ever was on physiotherapy for CrossFit. Everybody is doing it! You might want to be doing it…but it’s super intimidating for people who aren’t familiar with gym workouts or are trying to get back into working out after an injury.

That’s a muscle-up. Intimidating much?!

Okay, so you’re not as fit as that girl. What does all this have to do with physiotherapy? Well, many of our physiotherapists also do CrossFit, because it’s comprised of strength and conditioning training that focuses on form and function. Important things to people who help you with injuries and want to prevent you from getting injured. So thanks to a pilot program that’s started at the Orleans Clinic, we’re now offering classes as part of our physiotherapy services.

Dubbed “CrossFit light” by one of the program’s first participants, we’re offering small total conditioning workout classes on Monday and Wednesday nights under the direction of Alex Howard, a certified CrossFit coach and CrossFit Games competitor from Physics CrossFit. They aren’t CrossFit classes, but they will help get you set up for tackling CrossFit at your local box!

Wanna train with that dude in the red shorts? Talk to your physio.

Wanna train with that dude in the red shorts? Talk to your physio.

It’s not suitable for all cases, but this program has been set up primarily to help bridge the gap between your physiotherapy treatments in the clinic and getting you active out in the real world. Alex’s job is to teach you how to do weight-bearing movements the right way to prevent re-injury. Each class consists of a warm-up, a couple of lifts, and a conditioning workout that’ll kick your butt. Keeping the classes small means you’re getting the attention and corrections that sometimes aren’t possible in a full-sized class. You’re also getting focused direction from someone who is working directly with your physiotherapist, meaning he knows exactly where your injuries stand.

Want to see if our total conditioning workout classes could be part of your physio regime? You can set up an appointment to discuss it with your physiotherapist by calling our Orleans, Barrhaven or Westboro office. The program is currently only being offered in Orleans, so if you do get the okay, you’ll have to call the Orleans office to book in for a class.

Have you got questions about the classes? Leave them in the comments below!

FCAMPT physiotherapists in Ottawa? Add Andrew & Peter to the list!

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School may be out for summer, but that doesn’t stop our team from working hard! We are so very proud to present Mr. Andrew Dings & Mr. Peter Wade as the newest members of our team to become Fellows of the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapy (FCAMPT). Congratulations Andrew & Peter!

FCAMPT is the highest orthopaedic designation possible for a physiotherapist (ie. it’s kind of a big deal)! Physiotherapists with the FCAMPT designation are all about the highest level of quality, patient-centred care combining clinical experience with evidence-based practice. Exactly what you’d expect from Ottawa Physiotherapy and Sport Clinics. The designation requires extensive post-graduate education in the area of orthopaedics, including internationally-recognized qualifications in hands-on manual and manipulative therapy.

Orthopaedics doesn’t refer to shoe inserts, but muscle, nerve and joint problems. This means a CAMPT physiotherapist is going to do more than just look at your sore back and treat the area between L4-L5. You can expect an assessment that could measure many things: function, strength testing, analysis of your walking patterns, posture, balance, and joint movement to get a full picture of your condition. It’s about the WHOLE picture, not just localized treatment.

When it comes to treating your issue, a CAMPT physiotherapist will use a combination of common physiotherapy techniques like acupuncture, tailored exercises and ultrasound in addition to manual and manipulative therapy. That might sound a little bit daunting, but it’s nothing of the sort. Manual and manipulative therapy refers to how your physiotherapist uses their hands to diagnose places where your movement is being restricted, and the gentle, hands-on techniques they use to treat you.

So if you’re looking for an FCAMPT certified physiotherapist in Ottawa we’re only a phone call away! You can schedule an appointment anytime by calling our Orleans, Barrhaven or Westboro office.

Keep cool when it’s HOT! How to Exercise in Hot Weather

Ottawa Physiotherapy and Sport Clinics

It’s HOT. The siren song of the ice cream truck is calling, and the air conditioner is whispering sweet nothings in your ear. But you’ve got a competition to win! You’ve got a race to train for! You’ve been cooped up inside all day and need to get your nature on! So how do you handle the hot weather, especially when you need to be in beast mode? Pre-cooling friends, pre-cooling.

Exercising in the heat saps your energy way faster than normal, as your body tries to deal with the hotness. It’s response is to up your sweat game and to shunt blood from your core towards your skin. These are great ways to ditch some internal body heat, but they ramp up your heart and decrease the blooood (said in a dracula voice, obviously) going to your muscles, which is why your workouts feel so much tougher come hot days.

Here’s where pre-cooling comes in: it helps you lower your core body temperature before you start exercising. That means you can go harder for longer, before your body hits it’s hot high-point and starts working extra hard/slowing you down. While studies have shown heat zaps an athelete’s performance, studies have also shown that pre-cooling can boost performance when it’s hot and humid out.

How to go about it? Cold showers and frozen underwear are options, but not the most practical. Who wants to run after having a shower?! Instead, try these tricks 10-20 minutes before your workout:

  • wear a cooling vest
  • drape a frozen towel around your neck
  • eat a freezie or a cup of frozen sports drink (the sugar makes the mixture colder than if it were just ice)

If you’ve got your own tricks to stay cool, leave them in the comments! And if something other than the heat is keeping you immobile, you can schedule an appointment with our physiotherapists or nutritionist by calling the Orleans, Barrhaven or Westboro office of Ottawa Physiotherapy and Sports Clinics.

Be a Productive Powerhouse: Avoid the Afternoon Slump!

You get into the office feeling refreshed having slept well last night. You crush all the e-mails in your inbox, fire off your variance report a day early and even manage to calm down a cantankerous customer. Then 2:30pm hits and you’re dragging yourself to the coffee pot, wondering if you’ll even be able to make it back to your desk. The dreaded afternoon slump! Don’t worry friend, you can avoid this common fate. Here are some tips to help you out:

DRINK WATER: No, water doesn’t have caffeine in it, but that doesn’t mean it won’t help pick you up. Staying well hydrated can keep that sleepy feeling at bay. Water also quenches the hunger pangs, or thirst warnings in disguise, that can send you towards the afternoon-perk-me-up cookies. If water is too boring, try jazzing it up with lemon slices or fresh mint or frozen berries.

MOVE: Not a big surprise, coming from us. So do it! Working out at lunch is a great way to keep in shape and get you revved up for the afternoon, but not everyone is into a mid-day sweat session. Try getting out for a relaxing walk on your lunch break to re-energize for the afternoon! Still too much effort? Even just standing up during phone calls, stretching a bit throughout the day or taking a five-minute walk around the office when you feel the yawns coming on can help keep you awake, alive, alert and enthusiastic.

EAT ALL THE THINGS: Not in the way you’re thinking. Don’t: stuff your face with everything in sight. Do: eat a balanced meal with carbohydrates, protein and good fats. Choose complex carbs like sweet potato, a lean protein source like chicken or fish, and a healthy fat like olive oil or avocado. Stuffing an extra large poutine in your face (all simple carbs and bad fats) might be the reason you face-plant at your desk mid-afternoon.

Can’t use these suggestions because moving causes you pain or you need a little help choosing the right foods for lunch? No worries, that’s what we’re here for. You can schedule an appointment with our physiotherapists or nutritionist by calling the Orleans, Barrhaven or Westboro office of Ottawa Physiotherapy and Sports Clinics.

Bike to Work! Top Tips for Wannabe Bike Commuters

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Exercise. Save money. Fresh air. Avoid traffic. Enjoy nature. Whether you do it for you, the environment or your wallet, there are far more pros than cons for bike commuting. To those just starting out, the task can be daunting but we’ve got some pro tips to take you from frustrated on the freeway to blissful on the bike path!

PLOT YOUR PATH: Use the google maps cycling option or Ride the City to pick a route, and try a test ride on the weekend BEFORE you plan to commute. It gives you chance to judge how long it’ll really take you, figure out any necessary detours, and won’t make you late for your morning meeting.

BE NICE TO YOUR BACK: You can easily get by using a backpack, but the one thing that’ll take your commute from comfortable to cushy are panniers or a basket! They don’t have to be a huge investment, can be mounted on almost any bike, and are well worth it. You’ll get less sweaty, feel more comfortable and easily be able to pack more things, making after work errands a breeze.

STAY FRESH: A shower at work is a luxury, not a pedal-pushing necessity. If being a sweat monster at work doesn’t appeal to you, ride slowly the last few minutes of your trek to cool down. Get out of your sweaty clothes ASAP, wipe down with a clean washcloth and swipe on some deodorant before putting on your fresh clothes. No one will be the wiser.

DOUBLE UP: Keep a set of toiletries and a full “emergency” outfit at work, including underthings, so you don’t risk looking undone if you forget something crucial at home.

LONG HAIR DON’T CARE: Yes, you need to wear a helmet, even if you don’t have a shower at work but need to look good. Shake some dry shampoo in your hair beforehand to catch sweat, and pile your hair on top of your head, under your helmet. It’ll help with volume and avoid helmet head.

LOOK SHARP: Getting your clothes to work wrinkle-free can be a cinch with a little planning. Roll wrinkle-ables up gently in a dry cleaning bag before laying in your pannier or basket. An alternative is to drop off your outfits at work beforehand – one trip on the weekend is better than 5 drives during the week!

LAYER UP: Weather is unpredictable, and it’ll take a little while before you find your bike-outfit-groove. Dress in layers, and keep some rain gear in your pannier, so you’re always ready for what Mother Nature’s planning.

FLASHING LIGHTS: You can never have too many lights on your bike! Make sure you’re well illuminated so other vehicles, including other cyclists on the bike paths, can see you to help avoid getting hit.

DRIVE YOUR BIKE: By “driving” your bike and treating it like a vehicle, you’re more predictable to motorists which = less chance of being hit. Stay off sidewalks, stop at lights and use hand signals to communicate where you’re going.

Feel free to post your own pro-tips in the comments below, then get out and get biking!