Category Archives: Blog

Avoid Spring Cleaning Injuries

Do’s & Don’ts of Spring Cleaning

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Avoid Spring Cleaning Injuries

It’s that time of year for cleaning out the cobwebs, de-cluttering, and rearranging our homes. Some of us enjoy the task while others dread it. Did you know that the greatest risk of injury we face in our own homes? From muscle strains to home falls there is no shortage of things that can go wrong but we’ve complied a list of tips to help you minimize injury. Follow these spring cleaning safety tips to have a safe and productive spring cleaning!

    • 1. Do not rush because you are tired or in a hurry.

This is really the most basic spring cleaning safety tip, and all the other ones, at least to a certain degree, stem from this one.Spring cleaning can be tiring work. Do not forget safety even if you have worked hard all day and want to get done.The better thing to do when you are exhausted is to stop and take a break, drink a glass of water, sit under a nice cool fan, and rest instead of being unsafe.

    • 2. Be careful moving large pieces of furniture and appliances.

Use proper lifting technique, keeping you back straight and lifting with your legs. Also, wear shoes when moving heavy items so you don’t hurt your toes. Finally, if you feel it is just too heavy and you can’t find someone else to do it for you, just don’t move it. It won’t be the end of the world to just clean around it. Always have spring cleaning safety in mind.

    • 3. Be safe while on ladders and step stools.

When doing a task, such as washing windows, where you need to be on a ladder use extreme caution. Do not lean too far to either side. A good rule of thumb is that your belly button should not go beyond the sides of the ladder. Also, have someone available to hold the ladder steady for you if possible, and make sure before you step on them that the rungs are not wet, and you are wearing non skid shoes.

    • 4. Be careful when walking on wet surfaces.

This spring cleaning safety tip is really important every time you clean. Everyone knows how easy it is to slip on a wet floor. Make sure you take the proper precautions to keep from falling.
Also, make sure others in your family, including children, are also warned of the wet floor to keep them safe. You may need to block small children’s access to wet floors because they just don’t understand not to run and slide on them.

    • 5. Keep stairs, landings, and walkways clear of boxes, bags and other clutter.

Spring cleaning is a great time to de-clutter your home, but you need to make sure all the boxes and bags of stuff you are getting rid of don’t cause a safety concern. Make sure you place them outside walkways and especially away from steps and stairs where someone may trip on them.

    • 6. Don’t carry too much stuff at once, especially on stairs.

During spring cleaning you will also probably go up and down your stairs a lot carrying things if you live in a home with stairs. Make sure you keep a hand free to hold onto the stair railing. Also, whether you have stairs or not, always make sure you can see over the load you are carrying so you do not trip.

If you are experiencing pain or injury please reach out to a physical therapist. They can evaluate your pain and provide corrective action to help you feel great!

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how to run with bad knees

How to Run with Bad Knees: Pain Prevention & Care

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how to run with bad knees

The biggest fear of every runner is that their joints will start to ache and prevent them from running. You can actually never know when something like knee or ankle pain could occur, but you should know the most common reasons that happen and how to prevent it.

Maybe you had a knee injury when you were younger and it could start showing up again while running. Also, a meniscus tear is another problem that could make your knees ache as well as the jumper’s knee. There are simply many reasons for this pain to show since knees are gentle and the impact of feet to the ground puts too much stress on them. Luckily, there are many ways to prevent this and take proper care of your knees and tendons around them which will enable you to run without any difficulties.

Wear the Right Shoes

Feet are very complex and if you don’t take care of them while running, you will find more problems occurring in them, your knees, and even hips. It is all connected and you have to protect your foot in order to avoid any further aches and problems. Running is a high-impact sport and puts plenty of stress on your feet, ankles, and knees, and wearing proper shoes will help you run easily and reduce any risks of injury and pain.

Your job is to find the right shoes that will provide proper support for your toes, heel, and arch. Also, the sole should be comfortable and thick enough to provide amortization during running. Not only will running become even more fun, but you will manage to save your knees from stress, provide comfort for your feet and avoid and prevent any ankle pain and injuries.

Don’t Skip the Strength Training

Strength training is good for your entire body. Proper strength exercises will make your muscles more strong and more flexible which is an essential part of preventing any pain and injuries. If your lower-body muscles are weak, you should try to make them stronger. You can perform plenty of different exercises, such as lunges and squats and you will manage to make your thighs and knees stronger and more balanced. Also, don’t forget to work on your core and stability, because those will keep your knees and hips protected while running and even help with performance.

Check Your Posture While Running

If you’re experiencing any knee pain during or after your running session, it could be that your technique or posture is off. In the past leaning forward was thought to help, but a recent study by Human Movement Science found just the opposite. Their study found that the impact your body had on the ground increased significantly when runners leaned too far forward. If you’re unsure of how your running posture is affecting your body, ask your physical therapist for a gait analysis.

Don’t Overtrain

It is essential to know your body, listen to it, and know when it’s tired. Too much intense training will only bring negative effects and increase the risks of injuries and pain. If you’re already experiencing knee pain, think about how much you’ve run in the last couple of days and see if that was maybe too much for your body. Your body needs proper rest in order to stay healthy, injury-free, and make progress. If you run one day, make sure to rest the next day, or adjust the amount of time you spend running in one take. Take care of your body, let it rest, and you will reach your goals fast and avoid pain.

Knees are delicate. No joint in your body will give in eventually if you’re putting too much stress on it every day. So, make sure your running technique is right, invest in proper shoes, and take it easy. You will be able to run faster and longer if you gradually increase the intensity.

If you are looking for help with your knee pain or would simply like to improve your running posture please don’t hesitate to reach out to your local physical therapist. Many clinics have running programs that are designed specifically to help keep people on the pavement pain-free!

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gardening ergonomics

Gardening Ergonomics

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gardening ergonomics

It’s that time of year again. Time to exchange snow shovels and winter boots with gardening tools and watering cans. While the warmer weather brings on a new sense of happiness and energy, we need to remember to use proper body mechanics and follow general safety to avoid muscle aches and potentially serious injuries. The number one injury associated with gardening is low back pain. If you have experienced a recent injury or pain, we can help you recover.

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Here are a few tips to make your gardening experience more enjoyable and less painful.

LIFTING:
Lifting heavy objects such as bags of soil, planters, and mulch improperly can lead to low back strains and/or sciatic pain. Other options include moving half of the soil/mulch to a separate pot before lifting the bag or planting into smaller pots that are easier to maneuver. Using a garden cart or wheelbarrow can also assist with moving heavy gardening materials. Remember to lift with your legs, avoid simultaneous lifting and twisting and keep heavier objects close to your body to avoid injury.

PLANTING:
Prepping the soil can also be a difficult and tedious task requiring prolonged forward bending and frequent changes in position. Try prepping the planting bed by using long-handled gardening tools. Once the soil is ready, plant from a kneeling position using either a kneeling stool or a cushion. Remember to avoid twisting at the spine. Those with known chronic low back pain may want to consider planting in to pots, flower boxes or raised flower beds to avoid further injury.

WEEDING:
Most people dislike weeding their gardens and flower beds. Options to reduce the need to do so include using plants as ground cover or using mulch in your flower beds to minimize weed growth. If using a weed spray, look for bottles that have a sprayer hose to allow you to stand upright while treating your problem areas.

MOWING THE LAWN:
Another task that most people find tedious. When able, use an electric start mower. The action of pulling a cord to start your mower is the most common cause of low back injuries. If you must use a pull start mower, remember to bend at your knees and maintain the natural curve of your spine while reaching for the cord. Make sure you tighten your abdominal muscles just before pulling the cord in order to support your spine. If using a push mower, remember to maintain a proper upright posture and take breaks as needed.

Remember to listen to your body. Take frequent breaks and change positions when you start to experience aching, cramping, or fatigue. Stay hydrated and wear sunscreen. If you do happen to experience low back pain or any other injury, remember to contact your physical therapist. They can help alleviate your symptoms as well as educate you on proper body mechanics.

gardening

GARDENING STRETCHES
Stretching before you start gardening can help you from experiencing pain later. Here are some stretching techniques to help get you started!

1.) Fold your hands together and turn your palms away from your body, but this time extend your arms overhead. You should feel the stretch in your upper torso and shoulders to your hand. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat eight times.

2.) Place your hand just above the back of the elbow and gently push your elbow across your chest toward the opposite shoulder. This is a stretch for the upper back and shoulder. Stretch both the right and left arms. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat eight times.

3.) Raise one arm overhead. Bend the elbow. Place the opposite hand on the bent elbow and gently push the elbow back further. This is a stretch for the triceps. Stretch both the right and left arms. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat eight times.

4.) Extend an arm in front of you, making sure the elbow is completely straight. With your palm down, take the opposite hand and bend in the wrist downward. Then turn the palm up, and stretch the wrist backward. This stretches the forearm and wrist muscles. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat eight times.

If you are experiencing pain, trust a licensed professional. Our therapists will help identify the cause of your pain and work with you to help it go away, and prevent pain and injury in the future.

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The warm-up exercises were developed by professional hand therapists who are occupational and physical therapists specializing in the treatment of the hands, arms, and shoulders. These exercises and tips have been designed to supplement more commonly known gardening safety practices that concentrate only on preventing back injuries.
For more information visit: www.asht.org

Sports Overtraining Physical Therapy

Sports Overtraining: Reaching Your Tipping Point

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Sports Overtraining Physical Therapy

Pushing your body to be the best that it can be is a good thing that can yield great results, but sometimes going too heavy on your body’s odometer might be damaging for you in the long run and can even result in injuries that are detrimental to your fitness goals. Overtraining is doing too much, too often, and past the point of your body’s ability to recover quickly.

Since it’s always better to prevent an injury than to have to treat it after the fact, we thought it would be helpful to share signs you can look out for if you think you’ve reached your tipping point.

Signs and Symptoms of Sports Overtraining

  • Persistent aches, pains, or muscle soreness
  • Elevated resting heart rate
  • Decreased agility, strength, endurance, and overall performance
  • Increased susceptibility to infections
  • Chronic or overuse injuries
  • More frequent bouts of illness
  • Feeling irritable, agitated, or depressed
  • Loss of appetite or excessive thirst
  • Headaches
  • Excessive fatigue, sluggishness, or insomnia
  • Becoming restless and losing focus

Although sometimes your body may not be able to keep up with the level of fitness you’d like to perform, it’s important to remember that there is a delicate balance between achieving optimal conditioning and overdoing it.

How to Avoid Sports Overtraining

  • GET ENOUGH SLEEP – This is when our bodies rebuild & repair and our immune system recovers
  • PROPER NUTRITION – Make sure to eat proper nutrients, including plenty of lean meats, fruits, and vegetables
  • EXERCISE SMARTLY – Find a balance & avoid workouts that are too intense for you
  • EASE INTO IT – Follow a structured plan that increases your activity incrementally and safely
  • MONITOR STRESS LEVELS – Remember to breathe during any rigorous activity to remind your nervous system to keep your body calm
  • PROPER RECOVERY TIMETake one or two days between workout sessions or alternate intensity levels for each workout
  • ACTIVE REST – Try less intense exercises such as yoga, stretching, or foam rolling

Even the healthiest of activities should be enjoyed in moderation. If you’re noticing that you’re feeling run down, your performance is suffering, you’re getting sick more often, and you keep getting injured, it’s time to change your routine. Take time off, dial back your intensity, cross-train to add variety once you’re adequately rested, and visit a physical therapist to deal with an injury.

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shin splints

7 Ways Physical Therapists Treat Shin Splints

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shin splints

Here are 7 ways a physical therapist can help treat pain and symptoms associated with shin splints:

Pain Reduction: The RICE principle is the first step to recovery (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). Manual therapy and Kinesiotaping may also speed up recovery and reduce swelling.

Gait and Footwear Analysis: An analysis of how a person walks and runs is an important part of treatment. The wrong mechanism of walking can transmit a great deal of force through the shin to the knee and hip. In such situations, physical therapists will correct gait patterns and recommend footwear with shock-absorbing capacity.

Muscle Stretches and Strengthening: The tibial and peroneal muscles are attached to the shin and must be stretched adequately before any form of exercise. Physical therapy includes various stretches of the foot that will help stretch and warm up these muscles. Strengthening damaged muscles can also help.

 Activity Modification:  Physical therapists may suggest alternative activities to minimize stress on the shinbones. These can include swimming and cycling.

Increase Range of Motion (ROM): Exercises for the hip, knee, ankle, and foot improve blood circulation, reduce inflammation and relieve pain. A home exercise program may also be implemented.

Arch Support:  The absence or collapse of a normal foot arch can lead to shin splints. Physical therapists will recommend appropriate orthotics that can be custom-made for the patient and provide the proper amount of arch support.

Return to Sport: If you are an athlete, your therapist may tailor exercises that are specific to strengthening the areas needed to perform your sport. Modified use of your muscles may also be discussed and implemented. Return to your sport may be gradual to prevent re-injury.

To learn more about shin splints please visit our PTandMe injury center on this website by clicking here.

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PT News PTandMe

PT News February/March 2022

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PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout February and March 2022. We are excited to bring you current physical therapy-based posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

1. Worker’s Compensation: What Is A Job Analysis?

Written by ARC Physical Therapy+ with locations throughout  Missouri, Kansas, and Iowa.

A functional job analysis is the first and most critical step of a comprehensive injury management program. The job analysis is the cornerstone for determining the essential functions of the position and associated physical demands required as well as for developing testing to determine the physical capabilities of an employee.  Read more

 

physical therapy for headaches

2. Physical Therapy Tackles Cervicogenic Headaches Head-On

Written by Jaco Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy practice with locations throughout Oahu, Hawaii.

Are you noticing headaches on one side or the back of your head? Are you feeling worse at the end of your workday or headaches that worsen with computer usage or driving? You may be suffering from cervicogenic headaches. Thankfully, they are treatable with physical therapy!  Read more

 

How to Sleep Better

3. How you sleep matters.

Written by Riverview Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy group with locations throughout Maine.

How you sleep matters. Are you waking up with lower back discomfort or neck soreness that you didn’t go to bed with? You may be sleeping wrong.

Try sleeping on your back or on one of your sides. Sleeping on your stomach is never advised. Just think about it, would you spend your workday with your head turned 90 degrees to the side for 6-8 hours? Of course not.  Read more

We hope you enjoyed our picks for the PT News February/March 2022 edition.

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

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sports medicine physical therapy

The Role of Physical Therapy in Sports Medicine

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Sports medicine through physical therapy comes in many forms. Many clinics keep licensed athletic trainers on staff that will go on-site to schools and other sporting events to act as an initial caregiver at the time of an injury. If an injury occurs, you may be referred to physical therapy. From there, your physical therapist will have an array of different programs tailored to your specific type of injury, the severity of the injury, and your fitness level. However, you don’t have to wait until you have an injury to get help from a physical therapist. Sometimes the best medicine is prevention.

WHEN YOUR BODY EXPERIENCES PAIN:

  • It’s telling you that something is wrong
  • Your body can accommodate the pain, but eventually, a breakdown will happen
  • While you accommodate to your pain, weakness and stiffness begins
  • Once you have a breakdown, pain will happen and more than likely you will stop training

Some ways physical therapists help athletes from experiencing an injury:

Sports Injury Prevention Programs: Physical Therapists offer classes and/or programs geared to specific injuries. Commonly offered programs are geared towards ACL Injury prevention, Golf Strengthening (TPI), Running Injuries, and more.

Gait Analysis for runners: A three-dimensional video assessment of a runner’s biomechanics using a state-of-the-art motion analysis system. See yourself run at variable speeds from five different camera angles. An athlete can learn how to prevent injuries and improve performance through increased cadence and strengthening/stretching.

Functional Movement Screenings (FMS): One way to determine physical weaknesses is to perform the Functional Movement Screen. FMS is an innovative system used to evaluate movement pattern quality for clients and athletes. The functional movement screen is used to identify and correct weaknesses in the movement and strength of athletes.

ONCE AN ATHLETE DOES EXPERIENCE AN INJURY, PHYSICAL THERAPY MAY INCLUDE:

  • Education on faulty or improper posture or body mechanics with training
  • Education and help with technique on exercises that help your muscles stretch farther
  • Flexibility training helps prevent cramps, stiffness, and injuries, and can give you a wider range of motion
  • Correction of muscle imbalances through flexibility and strength training
  • Endurance training
  • Kinesiotaping
  • Alleviation of pain
  • Correction of improper movement patterns

If you are in need of sports medicine physical therapy, we have licensed professionals throughout the country.

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Ice or Heat When in Pain

Ice vs. Heat When in Pain

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Ice or Heat When in Pain

A question physical therapists get frequently asked is whether to use ice or heat on an injury. Here are some general guidelines to help in many scenarios. If you have certain conditions such as fibromyalgia, Reflex Sympathetic Disorder (RSD), or rheumatoid arthritis, your sensory pathways are affected and don’t fall into the typical response patterns.

Ice is for injuries and after activity and heat is for loosening and relaxing tissues, used before activity.

ICE

  • The first 24 – 48 hours after an acute injury onset, use ice. This is true even for simple muscle sprains or pulls.
  • After an activity, at the end of the day or when swelling is present, use ice. When things are inflamed, the more you do throughout the day, the more inflamed the area will get. Ice will assist in decreasing pain, inflammation, and swelling.
  • Ice can also be used for chronic conditions like overuse injuries to help control inflammation.

Ways to Ice:

  • Ice cubes in a plastic bag
  • Wet, frozen towel
  • Gel ice packs

Things to know about icing:

  • Don’t ice for more than 20 minutes
  • Let your tissues fully re-warm before re-icing
  • 20 minutes on, 40 minutes off is a good rule for icing multiple times
  • If you’re icing in an area with superficial nerves (elbow), don’t ice for more than 10 minutes
  • You never want to ice before an activity. You want your muscles warm, not cold!
  • Ice can aggravate symptoms of tightness and stiffness.

HEAT

  • Heat is typically used to help relax or loosen tissues.
  • Heat will bring more blood flow to the area.
  • Heat is usually used in conditions that are more chronic. This helps stimulate blood flow to the area.
  •  Heat, when needed, is used before activity assisting more blood flow to help loosen and relax the muscles.

Ways to Heat:

  • Heating Pad
  • Hot, wet towel

Things to know about heating:

  • Avoid heating for long periods
  • Don’t use heat when sleeping to avoid burns
  • Heat can make inflammation significantly worse.

If your pain doesn’t subside after a few days, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for help. We can evaluate your injury or pain and get you back on your path to recovery.

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BONUS!

Looking for an ice pack and can’t find one? No worries. Making your own ice pack at home is practical and easy.

hand in ice pack

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of rubbing alcohol
  • gallon-sized Ziploc bag

Directions:

  • Pour the water and rubbing alcohol into the bag ** Double the bag for extra protection against breakage.
  • Zip the bag shut removing as much air as possible.
  • Place the bag in the freezer until the liquid reaches a slushy mixture.
  • When ready, wrap the bag in a towel or pillowcase before applying it to the skin. (DON’T NOT APPLY BAG DIRECTLY TO SKIN)
Why we Love Physical Therapy

Why We LOVE Physical Therapy!

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Why we Love Physical Therapy

This Valentine’s day we wanted to tell you why we LOVE physical therapy! There are a million reasons, but these really hit close to home.

1. The human body is fascinating

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a machine that works as well or better than the human body. We see people with all kinds of injuries and pain – and for the most part, with a little help from us (okay, sometimes a lot!), the body will heal. The human body has around 640 muscles in 13 major muscle groups, working together to keep you moving. We love diving in to find out where your pain comes from, what caused it, and how we can get everything working smoothly again.

2. We can provide an alternative to surgery

We love that we get to provide an option for patients that might not be ready or are unwilling to try surgical options. Sometimes surgery is needed, and we’ll recommend someone we know and trust, but we love helping people achieve success with non-invasive techniques.

3. We get to make a difference in our patients’ lives

As physical therapists, few things are more rewarding than watching the small victories of our patients as they work towards their ultimate goals. Being a part of those first moments of success, whether it be a few extra degrees of mobility, that first step without pain – whatever the circumstances… those moments are what keep us coming back to the clinic each day. When patients walk through those doors for the first time, we know they are not at their best, but we’re going to work our hardest to get them back and better than ever!

4. We love seeing the impact of our work in the community

It’s hard not to smile when you see a former patient make the team without red-shirting the season. Or when we hear that one of our seniors is independent and expecting visits from their grandkids. Health is something a lot of us take for granted until we don’t have it. Seeing our patients active, happy, healthy, and out in the community is one of our favorite things.

We LOVE our physical therapy family, and we’re not alone.

Our best advocates happen to be current and former patients. Check out the great things they are saying about our PTandMe physical therapy family.  If you’ve been through a rehabilitation program, please consider leaving feedback for your clinic – It really does make a difference.

Reputation Reviews

To find a physical therapy clinic near you click the button below.

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Heart Disease to Healthy Hearts

Healthy Hearts This February

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Heart Disease to Healthy Hearts

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. In fact, more than 67 million Americans have high blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are four times more likely to die from a stroke and three times more likely to die from heart disease, compared to those with normal blood pressure.

According to the Office of Disease Prevention you can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease.

To lower your risk you can:

  • Watch your weight.
  • Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
  • Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
  • Get active and eat healthy.

A Snapshot: Blood Pressure in the U.S. Make Control Your Goal. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, the first and fourth leading causes of death for all Americans. High Blood Pressure Basics. 1 in 3 adults have high blood pressure. High blood pressure contributes to ~1,000 deaths/day. When your blood pressure is high, you are 4 times more likely to die from a stroke, and you are 3 times more likely to die from heart disease. 69% of people who have a first heart attack, 77% of people who have a first stroke, and 74% of people with chronic heart failure have high blood pressure. Annual estimated costs associated with high blood pressure: $51 billion, including $47.5 billion in direct medical expenses. Blood Pressure Control. Only about half of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control. Reducing average population systolic blood pressure by only 12–13 mmHg could reduce stroke by 37%, coronary heart disease by 21%, deaths from cardiovascular disease by 25%, and deaths from all causes by 13%. Make Control Your Goal, Every Day. Check your blood pressure regularly—at home, at a doctor’s office, or at a pharmacy. Eat a healthy diet with more fruits, vegetables, potassium, and whole grains and less sodium, saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol . Read nutrition labels and lower your sodium intake. Most of the sodium we eat comes from processed and restaurant foods. About 90% of Americans eat too much sodium. Quit smoking—or don’t start. 1-800-QUIT-NOW or Smokefree.gov. Adults should limit alcohol to no more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men. Get active and maintain a healthy weight. Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every week. This infographic was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention in support of achieving the Million Hearts® initiative goal to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.
The American Heart Association also has some great resources on their website including tips to stay active, and how to make every move count!

If you need help finding exercises and activities that fit your lifestyle and abilities talk to your physical therapist. PT’s specialize in the science of movement, so who better to ask! If you don’t have a physical therapist make sure you check out our PT finder and get started on your path to a healthy heart this February!