Reclaim Your Body After the Holiday Feast: A Physical Therapist’s Guide to Post-Holiday Weight Loss

By Bijal Shah

The holidays are a time for celebration, family, and, let’s be honest, delicious food. But between the endless cookies, rich gravy, and indulgent cocktails, it’s easy to find yourself packing on a few extra pounds. While that’s totally normal and nothing to be ashamed of, if you’re looking to shed the holiday weight and get back into a healthy routine, a physical therapist can be your secret weapon.

Why a Physical Therapist?

Physical therapists aren’t just for injuries anymore. We’re trained movement experts who can help you achieve your fitness goals in a safe and effective way. We understand the biomechanics of the body and how different exercises impact your muscles, joints, and overall health. This makes us well-equipped to guide you through a personalized weight loss plan that’s tailored to your unique needs and abilities.

Here’s how a physical therapist can help you reclaim your body after the holidays:

1. Create a Sustainable Exercise Plan:

Forget crash diets and fad workouts. We’ll work with you to create a realistic exercise plan that fits your lifestyle and preferences. This might include a combination of cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises. We’ll gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts as you get stronger and fitter.

2. Address Pain and Injuries:

Overindulging and neglecting your exercise routine can lead to aches and pains. We can help identify any underlying physical limitations that might be hindering your progress, such as muscle imbalances or joint dysfunction. We can then provide targeted exercises and stretches to address these issues and prevent future injuries.

3. Improve Balance and Coordination:

As we age, our balance and coordination naturally decline. This can make it more difficult to lose weight and stay active. We can incorporate exercises that challenge your balance and coordination into your routine, helping you prevent falls and improve your overall fitness.

4. Provide Motivation and Support:

Losing weight can be challenging, and it’s easy to get discouraged along the way. We’ll be your cheerleader, providing encouragement and support throughout your journey. We’ll also track your progress and make adjustments to your plan as needed to keep you on track.

Remember, it’s not about achieving quick fixes or unrealistic goals. It’s about building healthy habits that you can sustain for the long term.

Here are some additional tips for post-holiday weight loss:

  • Focus on whole, unprocessed foods. Fill your plate with fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. Limit your intake of processed foods, sugary drinks, and unhealthy fats.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water helps you feel full and can boost your metabolism.
  • Get enough sleep. When you’re sleep-deprived, your body produces more cortisol, a stress hormone that can lead to weight gain. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Listen to your body. Don’t push yourself too hard, especially if you’re not used to exercising regularly. Take rest days when you need them, and don’t be afraid to modify exercises to make them easier.

With the right approach and support, you can shed the holiday weight and get back on track to your health and fitness goals. And remember, a physical therapist is here to help you every step of the way.

Happy holidays and happy healthy living!

I hope this article has been helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program.

Three Ways to perform Triceps Stretch

By Bijal Shah

Triceps stretch is an important stretching exercise to maintain the elbow range of motion as well as the flexibility of the triceps muscles. There are a few different ways to stretch this muscle.

Triceps is a muscle that makes up the back of your arm. This muscle straightens the elbow. When you are doing push-ups, planks, or just standing from a sitting position with pushing your arms, you are using this important muscle of your arm. Many times, people are so concentrating on biceps and that “v” look of arms, while building their muscles, they totally forgot this key muscle on the back of the arm. This causes muscle imbalances and invites a lot of pain as well as injury. Along with the strengthening of the muscle, stretching is also crucial. Continue reading “Three Ways to perform Triceps Stretch”

Triceps Strengthening : Exercises For The Back Muscle On Arm.

By Bijal Shah

Triceps is a muscle that makes up back of your arm. This muscle straightens the elbow. When you are doing push-ups, planks or just standing from a sitting position with pushing your arms, you are using this important muscle of your arm. Many times, people are so concentrating on biceps and that “v” look of arms, while building their muscles, they totally forgot this key muscle on the back of the arm. This causes muscle imbalances and invites a lot of pain as well as injury. So let’s talk about this crucial push-up muscle in this article. Continue reading “Triceps Strengthening : Exercises For The Back Muscle On Arm.”

Ergonomics For Gardening: Safety With Hobby

By Bijal Shah

Gardening is a hobby of many. Gardening puts a person close to nature. What a better and inexpensive way to enjoy the weather, and witness your plants growing, getting flowers and fruits. For many people, the garden is the “baby” that gives them successful satisfaction of hard work. With these many benefits, gardening also puts a human body in a series of uncomfortable positions. It is hard work just like a work out session, and a person has to be in certain positions frequently and for a stretch. It is usual for physical therapists to see cases with back pain, hip fractures, ligaments sprain or strain after gardening. So in this article, I want to discuss some basic positioning tips to avoid injuries, falls and pain while gardening.

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Water Exercise: A Good Alternative to Exercise for Summer

By Bijal Shah

With the sun shining to its best, it is hard to survive in the gym for 30 or more minutes working out. The best alternative to exercise in these hot days is in the water. Water exercises are very effective, fun and produce great results. Moreover, water will not let you affect with the outside temperature. There are many benefits of working out in the water. Hydrotherapy or Aquatic therapy also has some great therapeutic benefits for orthopedic and neurological conditions. Here, I want to discuss a few important workout exercises that you can do in the pool or water.

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Three Effective Breathing Exercises for stress management, relaxation, and better health

By Bijal Shah

Breathing is how every cell in our body gets oxygen. This oxygen passes through the bloodstream. At the cellular level, this helps in ATP formation and thus energy production. Breathing is one of the most important involuntary actions. Many times, we are not even aware of our breathing pattern. We only start paying attention to it when we realize we are not getting “enough air”, constantly “out of breath” (AKA SOB), or having difficulty breathing.  Consequently, this turns into a visit to a doctor or ER.   In my previous article, I discussed COPD, which is one of the major disorders that makes people feel out of breath.   Here, I want to discuss a few strategies to perform breathing exercises correctly.

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Signs and symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

By Bijal Shah

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a respiratory disorder that decreases the efficiency of air moving in and out of lungs. This causes difficulty in breathing. In COPD, the airway in the lung loses its normal shape and elasticity. COPD leads to many systemic problems as well. As per the COPD Foundation, COPD is an umbrella term that describes progressive lung diseases. It includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory (non-reversible) asthma, and some forms of bronchiectasis. Continue reading “Signs and symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)”

Ergonomics for Healthcare Professionals: Positioning for Different Surfaces

By Bijal Shah

I want to write about ergonomics for healthcare professional not only because it is important to take care of our body, but it also plays a vital role in patients’ safety.  Proper body positioning or ergonomics of healthcare professional is crucial to avoid injuries and to protect our patients. In addition, this allows us to assist our patients throughout the task to help them perform at their best.

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Shoes – How To Find That Perfect Fitting Pair!!

By Bijal Shah

The shoe market is wide and with many options available that are concentrating on fashion, comfort, and durability. When we shop for shoes, it is a little difficult to get all three in one pair without knowing what to look for. Selection of shoes can become much easier if we know what to consider and what to avoid. Knowing our feet types is a plus as shoe selection will differ widely based on the type of foot and arch.

A proper pair of footwear makes day to day life easy and less painful. Besides, it absorbs the shock and protects the feet. An improper pair of shoes, worn for long period of time, can cause malformation, discomfort or pain in feet, legs or back. This can lead to other health problems or an inability to continue to perform the required daily function!! Most of the time, people just look for either comfort or fashion depending on occasion they are using the shoe for. Continue reading “Shoes – How To Find That Perfect Fitting Pair!!”

Ergonomics of Driving – Tips to prevent injury

By Bijal Shah

So why do we need to have ergonomics for driving? for most of us, driving our car is the way we can be independent. Driving makes us able to go to the places we want to go, see people we care for and be a part of the community we live in. It is crucial for one’s well-being socially and mentally. Physical, cognitive and sensory changes can challenge our ability to drive safely. The story does not end only due to changes in our abilities. I am sure many of you may have had experiences of back pain, neck pain, leg pain or shoulder pain after a long day and ended up stuck in the traffic for a few hours. This is a challenge even for a healthy individual. In this part of ergonomics series, I want to discuss proper positioning and how to get to that positioning while driving.

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Snow Shoveling Safety Tips – Ergonomics to Minimize Risk Of Injury

By Bijal Shah

I recently did tips on carrying heavy objects. Today I want to discuss some do’s and don’ts about snow shoveling. Every year, scary data or articles releases about injuries and disabilities due to snow shoveling. Just carrying heavy wet snow itself is bad. But here, I am talking about carrying and moving this snow for an hour or two a day and for a few months during winter (depending on your geographical area). A study looking at data from 1990 to 2006 by researchers at the US Nationwide Children’s Hospital recorded 1,647 fatalities from cardiac-related injuries associated with shoveling snow. In Canada, these deaths make the news every winter. Snow shoveling is particularly strenuous because it uses arm work, which is more taxing than leg work. Straining to move wet and heavy snow is particularly likely to cause a surge in heart rate and blood pressure.

Good thing is, we can prevent this from happening just by changing our position and using appropriate protective devices.

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Ergonomics when Lifting and Carrying Heavy Objects – Tips to prevent injury

By Bijal Shah

This is a part 2 of a series on using proper ergonomics in everyday life. In this article, I am going to share important tips on carrying heavy objects.  You end up carrying heavy objects on many occasions without even thinking about it. Think about chores done around the house like carrying a toddler, carrying groceries inside the house, lifting a load of laundry, lifting heavy objects at work, etc. The list is long and can go on and on. In fact, as a PT, I see several cases of sprains and strains due to lifting or carrying heavy objects. This usually involves back, shoulder or wrist, etc. The injury not only causes pain but also results in loss of workdays, family, and finance-related stress. No one wants that, right? We need to take care of our body and use proper ergonomics all the time, every time.  So, let’s talk about how to avoid injury by using proper ergonomics.

ergonomics - lifting and carrying heavy objects

Continue reading “Ergonomics when Lifting and Carrying Heavy Objects – Tips to prevent injury”

Ergonomics of Sitting at a Computer Desk – Guide To Prevent Injury

By Bijal Shah

Correct ergonomics for any position is crucial.  If not addressed, an incorrect posture can cause pain, injury and chronic deformities. The data from the Bureau of labor shows 1/3rd of occupational injuries occur from work-related musculoskeletal disorder (MSD), for which employers pay an estimated 15 to 20 billion dollars each year for workman’s compensation. This also results in workers losing work days, extra labor, losing deadlines for projects, etc. Plus, it causes some chronic pain that a person has to suffer through. These are scary numbers, however, with the right techniques, most of these injuries can be prevented!! This is the aim of this series. To help people find a better fit for their work environment, avoid MSD and chronic pain.

I discussed the importance of a proper posture in my previous article. If you are one of the regular readers of this blog, you may have also read about how to analyze a posture.  Here, I want to talk about proper positioning while doing different activities. Essentially, your do’s and don’ts with different motions.  For instance, sitting in front of a computer for long hours, lifting and carrying heavy objects, reading a book or watching television, etc. The technical term of word ergonomics means a study of work. Per OSHA, it is defined as designing a workplace to fit a person’s body. And not making a person fit to design. Yes, it is personal customization of your surroundings!! The first part of this series is ergonomics for sitting in front of a desk like a computer or a television.   Continue reading “Ergonomics of Sitting at a Computer Desk – Guide To Prevent Injury”

A therapist’s guide to Postural Analysis

By Bijal Shah

Understanding a patient’s posture is a major goal for a Physical Therapist for many conditions.  A physical therapist performs postural analysis or posture assessment to determine proper anatomical alignment or posture to identify any abnormalities.   A proper/ normal posture ensures an even balance of the body and prevents a specific set of core muscles from getting overworked.   You may have heard about poor posture or an incorrect posture, and I also published a series of articles talking about different stretches to correct the upper body posture (neck, scapula, and chest).  Physical therapists always look for abnormalities to determine the imbalances that need a fix.

Our body is amazing, it automatically finds a way to compensate for a weakness, imbalance or pain. It starts favoring one side vs other, or few muscles vs others. When this happens, our posture gradually changes. Over time, this becomes obvious. In addition, using few muscles more than other starts to become uncomfortable and painful.  The postural imbalance also causes problems like a muscle spasm, and or bony changes (in chronic cases).

So, let’s talk about what a correct or ideal posture looks like.

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