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511 Gordon Avenue
Thomasville, GA, 31792
USA

(229) 228-9019

THRIVE Physical Therapy and Fitness: Private Treatment Rooms, Manual Therapy, Women's Health, Chronic Pain, Spine Pain, Fitness Training, Weight Loss, Diabetes, Headaches, Sports Injury, Dance Recovery, Scar Release, Scoliosis, Balance Training, Vertigo, and more.

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Traveling in Comfort

Dawn Muller

 

Summer is the time when we all pile into the car and hit the open road to travel over the river, through the woods, to Grandmother’s and the beach, and to camp.  While we look forward to vacation, many of us dread the hours spent confined to the small space allotted to us in the car or the airplane.  Basically long hours on the road can be a pain in the behind… or the back, or the neck.

Routinely throughout the summer, I have patients asking for ways to make their car ride less torturous.  It seems that the seat that was comfortable on mile marker one has become a concrete slab and the area meant for our bottom is a size too small.  However, if you know the right tricks, you can arrive at your destination feeling good enough to carry the luggage for the whole gang. 

You see, our bodies were made to move.  When we don’t, they start to squawk.  At first it is just a whisper, but if you don’t pay attention, that sciatic nerve or a joint in your spine is going to shout at the top of its lungs.  It talks in the form of pain.   But wait, pain is not the enemy.  Your body is trying to protect you.  If you continue to sit in that same spot, you may actually damage a vital body part.  So don’t shoot the messenger.  Do something about it. 

When you sit for more than 20-40 minutes, your muscles relax leaving the ligaments, joints, and discs in the spine to carry the load.  Did you know that sitting actually produces more pressure on the spine that walking or standing?  The ligament, joint, or disc will start to ache as it carries the extra load.  However, if you remind those muscles to give a little support, you will notice much less discomfort.  There are some simple, safe exercises that I recommend you do about every 45 minutes in the car.  They are called isometrics.   If you have back pain, you may need to do them more often.  If you are driving, be sure to do these in areas where there is no traffic or at a stop light. If you are the passenger, you can do them anytime you like.  Each exercise is done with good posture.  Maintaining normal posture will also reduce your body stress.  The exercises are held for 5-10 seconds and you will perform 10 repetitions. 

They are:

  1. Squeeze your shoulder blades toward the spine, making sure not to shrug the shoulders. 
  2. Press your shoulders into the back of your seat, keeping your head in line with your spine
  3. Pull in the abdomen, bringing the belly button toward the spine and pulling the abdomen up under the ribs.
  4. Squeeze your buttocks together to the point that it lifts you up slightly

One that is not an isometric, but that can safely be done while driving is to pull in the tummy and rock the pelvis forward and back slightly, which will round and arch your lower back.  This is a small movement, so that it does not affect your leg position.

If you are the passenger, you may also want to try these:

  1. Press your elbows into the seat behind you.
  2. Press your elbows into your sides.
  3. Press your thighs into the seat, as if you were straightening your hips.
  4. Press your feet into the floor and tighten the front of your thighs.
  5. Place your fist between your knees and squeeze your knees to the middle.

These exercises will also improve your blood flow, making you less prone to swelling in your feet and legs and reducing your risk of a blood clot (particularly on a plane). 

Give it a try and see if you don’t notice how much better you feel.  So travel in style….or at least in comfort.  

 

Dr. Dawn Muller, PT, DPT, MTC, Cert DN is the owner of Thrive Physical Therapy and Fitness, LLC.  She has been practicing 30 years.  To make an appointment, call 229-228-9019.

 

Top 5 Reason to Choose Thrive for Personal Training

Dawn Muller

1.  Physical therapists are the musculoskeletal and movement EXPERTS

2.  Access to injury prevention education

3.  The American College of Sports Medicine predicted 2014 fitness trend of the year…BODYWEIGHT TRAINING…just what Thrive prescribes

4.  Collaboration between physical therapist and personal trainer in order to provide high level and individualized training

Call 229-228-9019 to schedule a consultation. 

5.  Our healthcare background and experience allows exercise around old injuries and other health problems

 

Are you technically fit?

Dawn Muller

Are you lacking motivation to get fit?  Shorts a little tight?  Bathing suit weather a concern?  While nothing beats personal accountability face to face with your health care professional, technology can boost your workout and your consistency.  It can even make it more fun.  For those of you with a competitive side, it will spur you to tie up those gym shoes so you don’t lag behind your buds.  The best news is that technology can help you reach your weight loss or fitness goals whether you are tech savvy or tech challenged. 

The developers of fitness apps, bands, and bits have made this generation of tech toys easier to use, as well as being packed with new options for the tech guru.  Many of the new tech applications, called apps for short, are easy to download from your App Store icon on your Apple product or from Google Play for Android phones.  If you want to track your steps per day, there’s an app for that.  If you want to monitor your heart rate during exercise or activity, you can do that with a fitness band.  You can track the hours and the quality of your sleep with several fitness bands.  Some progressive health professionals already use these tools in combination with their more traditional therapies.

 Many of you may be familiar with how to track the pace and distance of your walk or run on our smart phone.  But did you know that many of these applications can tie into your Facebook, a subgroup of friends, or even strangers to create the energy and buzz to ensure you meet your goals. 

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”, pined management expert Peter Drucker.  While this statement holds true for business, it also works just as well for health and wellness success. You can use technology to quantify and measure all sorts of data.  Whether you want to increase your fiber to 25 grams per day, lose six pounds in six weeks or increase your jogging pace to under nine minutes, there are oodles of apps to track your progress.  Many of these apps are free.  For just about any health goal you have, you can find an app that costs you nada.  If you want a few more bells and whistles, it is usually less than $5 to upgrade to the full version for things like verbal coaching or to track other options. 

If you are willing to spend more, you may opt for the fitness chips, wrists bands or monitors that are the stuff of sci-fi movies 20 years ago.  They run $50 to $175, which is not cheap.  However, when you consider that many of these apps provide information that was previously only available from medical software and equipment costing thousands of dollars just a few years ago, they seem a veritable bargain. 

Let’s start with the Jawbone UP24.  This lifestyle tracker is one of the easiest to use.  When you wear the thin wrist strap it records your steps, your sleep, and if you log in your food, it also tells you your calories and nutritional information.  It is in an easy to read format.  The layout also gives you motivational tips based on your progress and trends.  The Jawbone costs $149.99. 

The Pulse O2 by Withings is super cool.  It not only recognizes how many steps you take per day but also recognizes that all steps are not created equal.  It takes into consideration the elevation and computes the calories you will burn based on your age, weight, and gender.  One of the best things the Pulse O2 does it make the info available on your wrist and not just on your phone.   It keeps track of your sleep, calories, and nutrition, but wow, it also measures your heart rate and blood oxygen level.  This is great for the gym rat but it is also helpful for those with cardiac and respiratory issues.  So, don’t think that these lifestyle tools are only for the young and buff.  The Pulse O2 is the priciest at $165. 

The disc tracker, Shine, was obviously designed by a girlie girl.  The fairer sex figures if you are going to wear something all the time, it might as well look good.  Shine is about the size of a quarter and fits into a wrist band, necklace or even your sock.  Wonder of wonders, it even tells time.   To see the day’s results, just sync your disc to your phone. Shine will advise you how to adjust your actions to meet your goals.  For example, if you want to lose 10 pounds before your high school reunion in 2 months, it tells you what course of action you must take to get there.  You also earn points and the tracker lights up as you get closer to your goal.  The Shine disc is $119, but the optional accessories add another $20 to $80 to the bottom line. 

Push, is a tracker designed to maximize the results of the weight lifter.  The Push armband keeps track of more metrics than your trainer, such as, reps, force, power, balance, velocity, etc.  It will even tell you if you stop before you have reached your peak.  This virtual coach is yours for $149. 

The most affordable of the fitness gadgets is the Fitbug Orb.  At just under $50, it tracks not only your steps but which ones are aerobic, which means you are actually burning fat.  It also tracks walking speed, sleep, and pairs with an online digital coaching service. 

The most well known and one of the pioneers of the lifestyle tracking tools is the Fitbit.  It tracks all of the usual suspects; steps, calories, and sleep but also has teamed up with the American Heart Association and designer Tory Burch to add info and punch to the device.  You can see your progress in real time on your phone or your computer.  The Fitbit is priced at $99. 

The point of all of these tools is to make fitness a lifestyle and to encourage you to get out there and get active.  So….. what are you waiting for?