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Keeping the Willpower for Your New Year’s Resolution

Janel Davis-Heitzmann PT CSCS

Are you keeping up with your New Year’s resolution to exercise regularly? A vast majority of people have given up already and I’ve personally noticed a drop in the crowds in the gym. Nearly 80% of adults in the US do not get the minimum moderate-to-vigorous exercise recommendation of 150 minutes per week. How can you avoid being in this statistic?

Starting and maintaining an exercise program is difficult because it requires a behavioral change but incorporating Multi-Process Action Control Framework (M-PAC) may help. It includes ongoing self-reflection, self-regulation tools (conscious actions) and reflexive tools (habits) to make a sustained behavior change. Try these three strategies:

  • Figure out “why:” Focus on a non-weight related benefit for exercise which helps to maintain a more positive attitude toward exercise with a more realistic expectation of outcomes.
  • Modify your mindset: Set smaller, more moderate short-term goals that are specific, measurable, realistic and actionable. Monitor your progress so you can look back and build on your success. A journal, calendar or fitness app may help.
  • Build better habits: Make participation more automatic and effortless rather than relying on will-power. Set a consistent workout schedule so other plans can be made to avoid interference with this time. Set your workout clothes or a water bottle as a visual cue. Plan ahead by packing your gym bag so you can avoid easy excuses.

Build the right foundation and your exercise resolution will be more sustainable. And most importantly, don’t give up. Your health is worth it!

Source: CNN health. Exercise resolutions. 3/1/2019

20 Minute Power Up

Janel Davis-Heitzmann PT CSCS

Research recommends seven hours or more of sleep each night but there are many reasons why we may not meet the mark. Travel and work schedules, poor sleep habits and having young children can all take a chunk out of our sleep time. The journal ​Sleep ​published research showing that up to six years after the birth of a child, many mothers and fathers don’t sleep as much as they did before their child was born. This is definitely the case in my family!

Can you catch up on that lost sleep? Maybe, but it depends on how much you have lost. Our bodies are good at adjusting to one night of poor sleep. However, chronic sleep loss has been shown to increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Experts recommend a 20 minute nap which can make up for “one hour of lost sleep,” according to Jim Horne from Loughborough University. Just don’t take a nap after 3 pm or it may interfere with your nighttime sleep. A new technique in power napping includes a cup of coffee and may be ideal for parents or working professionals. According to Professor Horne, lie down to sleep right after drinking coffee. It takes about 20 minutes for the coffee to kick in and has been shown to be a very effective pick-me-up.


Exercises to Strengthen the Muscles of Your Rotator Cuff

The exercises described will help strengthen the muscles of your shoulder (especially the rotator cuff) and should not cause you pain. If the exercises cause pain or discomfort, use a smaller weight and/or stop exercising.

Look at the pictures with each exercise so you can follow the right position. Warm up your arms before adding weights:Stretch your arms and shoulders and do pendulum exercises (bend from the waist, arms hanging down; keeping arm and shoulder muscles relaxed, move arms slowly back and forth from side to side).

Use a light weight with the goal being 20-30 repetitions per exercise before fatigue occurs. Perform each exercise slowly: lift your arm to a slow count of three and lower you arm to a slow count of six. Increase the weight a little each week (but never so much that the weight causes pain); start with 1-2 pounds the first week, move up to 2-3 pounds the second week, and so on.

If you do all exercises three to five times a week, your rotator cuff muscles will become stronger and you may regain normal strength in your shoulders. Each time you finish doing all the exercises, put an ice pack on your shoulder for 20 minutes. It’s best to use a barrier between the ice and your skin, such as a pillowcase or lightweight towel.

This is a general overview on the topic and may not apply to everyone. To find out if this applies to you and get more information on the subject, talk to your family doctor or rehabilitation specialist at Tri-Rehab, Inc. 

Daily Movement Boosts Brain Health

Written by: Janel Davis-Heitzmann PT, CSCS

A new study published in a January edition of Neurology had startling results regarding reducing the risk of dementia. The researchers were able to take a unique look into the impact of exercise on aging and the brain as all participants agreed to donate their brains for research after their death. The 454 adults were over the age of 70 when the study began and were given thinking and memory tests every year for 20 years. They wore accelerometers (similar to a Fitbit) which measured their physical activity and calculated an average daily score.
The findings showed that higher levels of daily movement were linked to better thinking and memory skills based on the yearly cognitive tests. When the brain tissue was analyzed, the findings were confirmed, even for individuals with at least three signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Aron Buckman, the lead researcher, says the new findings suggest that physical activity may be protective for the brain, even in the presence of Alzheimer’s.
While intense activity and exercise are beneficial, even light activity can make a difference. Dr. Buckman says, “as long as you have some activity and you are moving, whether you’re chopping onions, sweeping the floor, or running” you can reduce your risk of cognitive decline.

New Food Adjectives to Make Your Mouth Water

Written by: Janel Davis-Heitzmann PT, CSCS
There are several good reasons to choose plant based food more often. Besides the health benefit of less saturated fats, there is also the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. That’s because red meat production requires a huge amount of water, land, and other resources. But, how are food companies trying to drive this trend?
World Resources Institute suggests the positive adjectives could help people eat more sustainably. “The language for meat, beef in particular, sounds so much more delicious,” says Daniel Vennard. “Labels like “meat-free” and “vegetarian” tend to be turnoffs to consumers.” This makes consumers feel like they’re missing out.
New testing in the UK and US with Panera Bread showed that simply changing the name or the description of the product improved sales. Vegetarian Black Bean Soup rebranded to Cuban Black Bean Soup resulted in 19% higher sales without a change in the recipe. Researchers feel this points to how much of an impact language can have on ordering behavior.
Take a cue from the marketing professionals and try the description switch in your own recipes. Perhaps adding “Tuscan”, “grilled, or “toasted” will entice your family to try more plant-based foods.

Are You Staying Hydrated?

CBS News reports up to 75% of the American population is chronically dehydrated, meaning that they fall below the average recommended intake of 8-10 cups. At Tri-Rehab Canton, I often see the effects of mild dehydration in our clients – muscle cramping with light exercise, dry skin and general fatigue.

“Because the human body is so unique that it will say ‘I want water’ in food, in any way, shape or form,” said Grace Webb, Assistant Director for Clinical Nutrition at New York Hospital. “People just think that when they start to get a little weak or they have a headache, they need to eat something, but most often they need to drink.”

If you are part of the 75% who need to increase fluid intake, try these tips:

  • Add some fruit or herbs: lemon, lime, cucumber, raspberries, mint, basil
  • Drink a full cup before every meal
  • Use a water bottle and bring it with you when you leave the house
  • Try sparking or carbonated water instead of soda
  • Drink a cup with your daily activities: drink after a bathroom break or every time you pass the work water cooler.

If you’re coming to Tri Rehab, bring your water bottle with you! We’ll help you increase your water intake and make sure you’re properly hydrated.

Tips to Safely Shovel Snow

As cold weather and the first snow arrive it is important to remember that shoveling or even using a snow blower is vigorous exercise. Before engaging in any snow removal activity be sure to check with your doctor because snow removal does place a significant amount of stress on the heart.

shoveling-17328_1920As with any exercise remember to dress appropriately for removing snow, water repellent clothing in light layers is best when combined with a warm hat and mittens as well as warm non-slip boots. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) also recommends people do a light warm-up before clearing snow and remember since snow removal is vigorous exercise take frequent breaks and drink water to avoid dehydration. The shovel should be the proper size and height for your body build, the proper size shovel and the use of the tool grips will maximize your strength for removing the snow. If possible push the snow rather than lift it, but if you must lift the snow follow these easy tips:

1. Squat with your legs shoulder width apart, knees bent and back straight.
2. Lift with your legs and avoid bending at the waist.
3. Scoop small amounts of snow and walk to the dumping spot rather than throwing the snow with the shovel, this will help avoid extra strain on your spine and unnecessary twisting.
4. Remove large amounts of snow in pieces, rather than all at once.

If you feel shortness of breath, chest pain or other signs of a heart attack, stop immediately and seek medical attention. Back pain persisting for more than two days may be the sign of a muscle strain or injury and a doctor should be consulted.
Every patient must have a prescription for rehab from their physician. A patient has the choice to go where they know they will get the best treatment for their specific goals. At Tri-Rehab, your insurance coverage will be verified and your first appointment will be scheduled within 24 hours.

For more information on related health and wellness, log into

Safety Precautions for Balance Patients

yoga-544970_19201. Be sure that all electrical and phone cords are tucked out of the way and that all throw rugs are removed.
2. Make sure carpet is safely secured to the floor and that there are no wrinkles or raised areas.
3. Place non-skid strips on the bottom of the bathtub.
4. Be sure to sit down while shaving, brushing your teeth, styling your hair or putting on make-up. Use a tabletop mirror or a full length mirror so you can use it while either standing or sitting.
5. Be careful when you walk from one surface to the next, for example, from a carpeted area to a tile floor.
6. When moving from a lying down position to a standing position, sit up first, rest a moment, then proceed to stand up slowly and stand a few moments before trying to walk.
7. Arrange items in your cupboards so that the frequently used items are easy to reach.
8. Make sure that all stairs and hallways are well-lit and free of clutter.
9. Be sure to always use railings when going up or down stairs. It is always a good idea to have railing on both sides. If there are no railings, place your hand along the wall as you proceed.
10. Use night-lights to assist you walking at night.
11. Sit on firm, high furniture that has arm rests to assist you when standing.
12. Avoid ladders, try and have someone else get high items to prevent falling.

Every patient must have a prescription for rehab from their physician. A patient has the choice to go where they know they will get the best treatment for their specific goals. Your insurance coverage will be verified and your first appointment will be scheduled within 24 hours.

Remember, it is all about you!

Muscle Stretching Tips for Active Individuals

runner-690265_1280Stretching (flexibility) is an important part of your exercise program. Muscle and tendons are elastic in nature. When muscles are not stretched on a regular basis they can lose this elastic ability. When this occurs it not only can cause problems to the specific muscle itself but to the surrounding structures and joints, by pulling them into different directions and areas they don’t belong. Stretching should be done 2-3 times a day, holding each stretch for a minimum of 15-30 seconds, 3 times. By not holding the stretch for at least 15 seconds no real stretch occurs. The muscles first reaction to a stretch is to contract and tighten up and it’s not until about 8-10 seconds into the stretch that the muscle begins to relax and stretching occurs.

Always warm up before you begin your stretching program. Ideally, a warm muscle is much more easily stretched than a cold muscle and this can be achieved by taking a brisk walk, riding a stationary bike or walking on a treadmill for 10-15 minutes. Proper daily stretching can decrease the chance of an injury occurring to any body part. It will also keep any individual functional in their everyday activities, without them having to worry about the onset of pain and discomfort. More benefits from daily stretching include increased joint range of motion, reduced stress, promotion of relaxation, and improved posture and overall performance.

One form of stretching that is not recommended is ballistic stretching. Ballistic stretching involves a fast “bouncing” movement at the end range of movement. This bouncing motion can injure muscle, joint and nerves with these jerking movements and is not recommended for majority of individuals.

Every patient must have a prescription for rehab from their physician. A patient has the choice to go where they know they will get the best treatment for their specific goals. Your insurance coverage will be verified and your first appointment will be scheduled within 24 hours.

Remember, it is all about you! For more information on related health and wellness, visit Tri-Rehab’s website at

Michigan rehab clinic offers tips for heat versus cold treatment for sprains and strains

The immediate application of ice is the most accepted treatment choice for sprains and/or strains. Cold (cryotherapy) is an effective treatment because cold causes the blood vessels to narrow, which decreases the blood flow to the injured area. Cold also lowers the muscles temperature which diminishes the oxygen and nutrient needs of the muscles as well as assisting in decreasing swelling, scar tissue, pain and speeds up the injury recovery time.

Tips for using ice: Ice should be applied for the first 48-72 hours post injury. Common sites that may require longer applications are the ankle, knee, elbow and shoulder. Ice should be applied until a feeling of numbness set in at approximately 15-20 minutes and can be reapplied every two hours, using a damp towel covering the skin to protect it.

Heat is an effective treatment because it increases muscle temperature and blood flow, which increases the oxygen and flow of nutrients to the damaged muscle and helps facilitate healing in the later stages. Tips for using heat: Heat can be applied after 96 hours in most cases however, if there are any signs of swelling and/or inflammation present, do not use heat. The application of moist heat is more effective than dry heat (i.e. hot shower or bath) and has deeper penetration. Heat should be applied for 20-25 minutes and can be applied one or twice a daily.

Important Note: If you are in doubt as to whether to use heat versus cold, it is safer to use cold especially for an acute injury or problem.

Every patient must have a prescription for rehab from their physician. A patient has the choice to go where they know they will get the best treatment for their specific goals. Your insurance coverage will be verified and your first appointment will be scheduled within 24 hours. Remember, it is all about you!