How to Build Healthy Eating Habits

The pandemic has been rough on us all — with our routines changing significantly, gyms closing, and quarantine affecting how we live our daily lives, it’s a no-brainer that fitness and health have taken a backseat during this chaotic time. Whether you’re spending your days working from home or staying at home to homeschool the kids, we understand how difficult it can be to establish some normalcy.

One of the biggest struggles individuals around the world have been facing is eliminating our bad habits and ensuring that we are staying as healthy as can be, during a time where health is so incredibly fragile. We’ve noticed that some members of our Old Bull family who spent months at home with little to no contact with the outside world really feel like they’ve lost worth of progress and are struggling to get back on track. If this sounds like you, don’t worry! Give yourself some grace, this year was tough…

We’ve got a few tips for you to get you out of your quarantine funk. We’ll be breaking down the best realistic ways to overcome unhealthy habits.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Have you ever heard the phrase “teamwork makes the dream work”? When it comes to your health, working together with like-minded friends/family is one of the greatest ways to reclaim your health. It can be extremely hard to make lifestyle changes when everyone around you has super unhealthy habits, that’s why we suggest spending time with people who have similar goals so that you have someone to rely on, someone to ask for advice, and an overall support system now that you’re embarking on the journey to better health.

Add “Chef” To Your Resume
This pandemic has changed everyone’s relationship with food, whether you realize it or not. Once our food shopping patterns started to change due to closures and stay-at-home orders, our eating habits changed as well. Allow us to be the first to promise you that eating healthier, even during a pandemic, is not impossible!

Now is the time to find your inner chef and try new recipes, expand your palate, and maybe even swear off food delivery for good. One of the best ways to reverse unhealthy eating habits is to simply make small lifestyle changes and before you know it, those small changes equal huge results. It’s okay to start small!

One habit you can start to slowly change is how often you order in. Eventually, when you’re cooking more meals on your own and relying less on food delivery, your relationship with food and your overall health will be in a totally different place.

When you make small, gradual changes as opposed to trying out an intense, restricting diet — you’ll not only be a lot happier in the long-run, but your results will also be much more sustainable.

Say Goodbye to Stress Eating
If you’re not pleased with the number on your scale right now and you’ve realized you’ve gained a few pounds since the pandemic began, odds are most of that was stress-induced. For many, eating has become a tool for stress management. You might feel like this is out of your control, but believe us, it’s not!

When you’re stuck at home and find yourself stress eating, one of the best ways to end this bad habit is to get in tune with your body and teach yourself how to eat intuitively. Snacking when we’re feeling stressed or bored is normal, however, you want to make sure you’re not over-indulging. Check-in on yourself occasionally to ensure that you’re not overeating.

Keep in mind that stress eating looks different for everyone. It doesn’t need to mean you’re stuffing your face with cake. In fact, many people have also taken up stress drinking during the pandemic and have chosen to unwind with alcohol, rather than food. This is all fine in moderation, but over-doing it is what can negatively affect your health – so work on being mindful of your eating patterns!

Stay Hydrated
You’re probably not drinking enough water… there we said it! Proper hydration can boost energy, attention, and mood. You might be so distracted with the kids, working from home, and coping with the stresses of the pandemic that you’re forgetting to drink enough water every day, so here’s a great way to guarantee you’ll never be dehydrated: set reminders!

There’s no shame in setting an alarm on your phone or writing a note on your to-do list. Hydration is important and although it shouldn’t be seen as an errand, sometimes you need to frame it that way so that you won’t forget to drink throughout the day and that’s perfectly fine!

Coffee and sugary drinks might be your go-to, but we’re all about ensuring you don’t dehydrate so let’s start by making small changes. Start by substituting one of your drinks per day with water. Eventually, your body won’t crave the sugary stuff and you’ll just be craving water. Try that method for a week and you’ll notice how you’ll feel less sluggish throughout the day now that you’ve upped your water intake.

The bottom line is, in a time where there are so many reasons to slip into unhealthy habits and gaining weight has almost become the norm, know that you don’t have to relinquish control over your health. Do your best to cook nourishing meals at home, enjoy small treats without going overboard, and stay in tune with your body by constantly acknowledging your craving throughout the day.

The Benefits of Therapeutic Dry Needling

You might be familiar with acupuncture, but have you heard of dry needling? Poking needles into your body might not sound like it’s your cup of tea, but don’t knock it until you try it. Dry needling, a treatment that involves inserting thin needles into tight muscles and/or trigger points, does wonders! 

First and foremost, acupuncture and dry needling are not the same. Dry needling is a technique that involves placing very thin needles into the muscle at the trigger point which is typically an area where the muscle tends to be stiff and/or tender.

Preliminary research supports that dry needling provides a number of benefits including reducing muscle tension, managing pain, alleviating headaches and anxiety, and providing relief for injuries.

While dry needling may sound intimidating, it is safe and effective. If your physical therapist has suggested you try dry needling or you’re interested in understanding the many benefits, here are a few reasons you should try dry needling for pain relief. 

Improve Overall Physical Function

Did you know dry needling can enhance your mobility and help you enjoy improved range of motion?

Active trigger points are typically very tender and can cause pain on a daily basis. Dry needling addresses your body’s trigger points which ultimately leads to increased blood flow and oxygen circulation to the area. What this means is that dry needling essentially removes any blocks that your trigger points may cause in your muscle. 

 

Pain Relief 

Pain is tricky. We can all pop an Advil and it’ll take the edge off and provide some temporary relief, but when it comes to your body, don’t settle for a band-aid — work on finding a real solution! 

If you’re looking for a wonderful way to ensure pain reduction, look no further. Tension relief and reduced pain levels can typically be noticed after one session. The beauty of dry needling is that it’s customized to your body to treat either acute or chronic pain!

Dry needling commonly treats conditions such as:

    • Muscle and joint pain
    • Sciatic and lower back issues
    • Neck pain
    • Headaches
    • Athletic injuries

 

Relax Your Tight Muscles 

Dry needling is truly the best way to recharge your muscles. Besides reduced pain and achieving a better range of motion, dry needling promotes muscle relaxation. The needles target and treat almost instantly to ensure your body is relaxed and you can return back to doing the things you love to do! 

Are you interested in talking to a physical therapist trained in dry needling to see if you are a candidate? Relieve your painful symptoms and start to feel like yourself again by booking a dry needling appointment today!

 

The Importance of Pelvic Floor Exercise 

 

Think pelvic problems are reserved only for women? Think again! 

Do you suffer from incontinence or find it difficult to control your bladder? Or maybe you’re a brand new mom and you’ve noticed that intercourse has been painful since childbirth. Whatever the case may be, if you’ve experienced pelvic floor weakness then it’s time to begin working on strengthening those muscles!

The adverse effects of weakened pelvic floor muscles include pelvic pain, painful sex, and loss of bladder control. Let’s get to the nitty gritty.

 

What Are Pelvic Floor Disorders?

You may be asking “What causes these problems to occur in the first place?” or “How do I prevent my muscles from weakening?” There are a number of ways this can happen including obesity, pregnancy, and even repeated heavy lifting. Both men and women alike can weaken or damage their pelvic floor.

Pelvic floor muscles stretch like a trampoline but the good news is that they can be controlled and trained just like any other muscle.

We know that seeking out help for these types of issues can be an uncomfortable task and that’s why our amazing physical therapists possess the expertise and training to help you deal with this personal issue in a productive way. The key to undoing the damage is learning how to relax your pelvic muscles but also strengthen them so that the negative symptoms disappear. 

 

How Can A Physical Therapist Help?

Our therapists create a customized plan that is tailored to your body. Pelvic floor physical therapy is a treatment approach that is geared to improve the strength and function of your pelvic floor.

If our physical therapists determine that you are a good candidate for pelvic floor physical therapy, then they will proceed in evaluating your body in order to put together the best care plan. This plan of treatment could potentially include:

  • Strengthening exercises
  • Relaxation exercises
  • Breathing techniques

 

Why Is This Important?

Working your pelvic floor is important because it’s just like any other muscle in your body — if you don’t move it, you lose it! Training these muscles to do their job well is crucial to ensuring that you never experience pelvic floor dysfunction.

Strengthening your pelvic floor can be done in small steps and doesn’t need to be intimidating. In fact, a lot of these small exercises can be done either at a gym or in the comfort of your own home.

Be sure to meet with a trained physical therapist so that you’re following a specific exercise plan that is tailored to your body’s individual needs. If you’re experiencing pelvic dysfunction or just want to learn new ways to target your pelvic floor muscles, chat with one of our knowledgeable physical therapists today.