National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September 9 2011

The media love buzz words, and one of the major ones being thrown for around the last several years is “obesity epidemic.” We’re in one, and unfortunately, it’s not just a grown-up problem. Our poor eating habits and lack of exercise are showing up on our kids too, often around their waists. I’m not a doom and gloom kind of guy, so I won’t go into all the negative statistics here. The bottom line is that healthy, active kids have a better chance of growing into healthy, active adults who are less at risk for diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and all the other ailments associated with being overweight.

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Good Muscle Memories

September 2 2011

What did you do this morning? Maybe you buttoned your shirt and tied yours shoes while getting dressed. Perhaps you walked the dog. After scrambling eggs or flipping pancakes for breakfast, you probably brushed your teeth. Although you may not have realized it at the time, your muscle memory has been busy from the moment you woke up.

Muscle memory (also called motor learning) is a type of procedural learning wherein an action is repeated until the movements required for it can be performed with little conscious effort or attention. Despite its name, muscle memory doesn’t reside in the muscles themselves, but rather in the complex neural pathways that are formed in our brains when the task is learned. The more the task is repeated, the more well-formed and efficient that pathway becomes.

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Sport Specific Injuries: Football

August 26 2011

Even though I have four daughters, football is a big deal in my family. We love to watch college teams (of course, our favorite is BSU), and while I admit I’m not a huge fan of the NFL, I do like to cheer for the Packers (I’m a shareholder, after all). I have been an assistant varsity football coach, and Idaho Physical Therapy used to provide the training services for the Idaho Stallions. Because of the sport’s high injury rate, we were kept pretty busy during the season. It’s the nature of the game.

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Sport Specific Injuries: Golf

August 12 2011

Although we have very mild winters here in the Treasure Valley, sometimes it seems that the cold, damp months go on forever. When the sun finally returns, what better way to celebrate than with a round of golf? By this point in the summer, I hope you’ve enjoyed many great games with friends and have avoided the injuries commonly experienced by golfers.

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Your Own Role Model

August 5 2011

Looking up to a role model is a natural part of the human experience. It comes most easily when we’re children. What little boy growing up in the ‘50s didn’t want to hit a baseball like Mickey Mantle or throw a spiral like Johnny Unitas? Then there are the role models closer to home; maybe you hoped one day to be as strong as your dad or as fast as your big brother. Looking up to a role model gives us something to strive for and a belief that we can be better. But you can only take this so far.

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Sun Safety

July 29 2011

Okay, maybe I’m a little late to the party here, but I was recently shocked by a statistic I heard – that Boise is the #1 city in THE WHOLE COUNTRY for skin cancer deaths (see one article here). I guess on one hand, it’s not that surprising. We have beautiful, clear summer days and mild winter months that make it easy to be outside and enjoy Idaho’s natural wonders. And if you’ve lived here for a while like I have (a.k.a. we’re gettin’ old, folks), then odds are you grew up spending long sunny days working on your family’s farm or ranch. I don’t regret the time spent outside or the memories made while doing it, but it’s worth reminding ourselves from time to time that so much sun exposure does add up.

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The Dangers of Dehydration

July 22 2011

I used to coach a fast pitch club softball team. During the summer, we’d travel to tournaments where we’d play two to five 7-inning games every day. While these tournaments were always tons of fun (all softball, all day, right?!), dehydration was a constant threat. Sweat, heat, lack of shade, exercise – the other coaches and I had to constantly monitor not only the players but also ourselves for signs that we needed more fluids. I’m thankful we never had anyone become dangerously dehydrated, but there were a few close calls.

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Sport Specific Injuries: Bowling

July 15 2011

I love it when my kids and I can have something in common. When I was growing up, I enjoyed watching the 1960s cartoon The Flintstones. Twenty or so years later, I watched the syndicated reruns with my girls. One of the more memorable things about the show was the way Fred Flintstone bowled. He would run on his toes, the rest of his body motionless, ball held in outstretched arm behind him. Then he would fling it, almost side arm, as effortlessly as if it were a golf ball. Try as we might, none of us could ever quite duplicate his approach. The truth of the matter is, despite how easy Fred might make it look, bowling is a complex activity that often leads to injury.

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Put Me In, Coach!

July 8 2011

If you know much about me, you know I love coaching! The first team I ever coached was a “little guy” basketball team when I was a sophomore at Vallivue High School. I remember how fun it was to watch kids improve, implement the things they had been taught to the best of their ability, and to watch them have even more fun as their skills grew. I was hooked. Since then, I’ve coached dozens of teams for girls and boys of various levels in many different sports. Varsity fast pitch softball, basketball and football; junior high basketball and volleyball, and youth league baseball, softball, and basketball – my coaching resume is diverse, to say the least.

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One Year Anniversary

July 1 2011

Well, today marks the one year anniversary of the day I started this blog. The time has really flown (they say it does when you have fun); it seems like just the other day I sat down to write my very first post. I want to thank everyone who has taken time to read my advice, opinions, and random thoughts. I never have to worry about writers’ block because it’s easy to figure out what to say to your friends!

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Maybe It Will Just Go Away…

June 24 2011

For life’s problems, there are pretty much two ways to respond – you can ignore the problem or you can address it. Deciding the appropriate response depends on the particular issue at hand. For example, fenced dogs who growl as you go by should be ignored. That way you don’t cause their bad behavior to escalate, and perhaps one day, the dog will learn you aren’t a threat that needs barked at. However, if you find your house has a rodent problem, ignoring it will only exacerbate the issue. You have to address the predicament before you’re overrun with furry, little home wreckers.

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Sport Specific Injuries: Swimming

June 17 2011

As a farm boy growing up in Canyon County, I never had much reason to know how to swim. We might go wading in a ditch on hot summer days, but that was pretty much the extent of my aquatic experience. Then years later in college, I had an epiphany – what if my child was drowning? Would I be able to save them? I had aspirations of being a father someday, and that thought brought me to a cold sweat. Immediately I sought help from a friend who worked as a lifeguard. Three days a week for several months, we met before classes, and he taught me every stroke he knew. In learning to swim, I felt I’d taken an important step in my journey towards fatherhood. And I’m proud to say that when I finally did become a father, each of my kids learned to swim at a young age.

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Should You Try a Tri?

June 10 2011

This Saturday marks the fourth racing of the Ironman 70.3 Boise triathlon. Starting at Lucky Peak and ending in downtown Boise, this race challenges competitors to 70.3 total miles of swimming, cycling, and running through some of Idaho’s beautiful yet grueling landscapes. If you’ve never been, the event is a ton of fun for spectators, but the most fun is really had by the competitors. Even if you’re not ready to tackle 70.3 miles, that doesn’t mean you can’t try your hand at the booming sport of triathlon.

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National Trails Day

June 3 2011

Saturday, June 4, is National Trails Day. If you’re not normally the outdoorsy type, you may not realize that the Boise Foothills are known for having some of the best trails in the country with miles of beautiful paths perfect for hiking, running, biking, and horseback riding. With such a wonderful resource right in our back yard, there’s really no excuse not to get out and enjoy it. However, it’s good for both newbies and trail veterans to review safety and etiquette guidelines for trail use before heading out:

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Graduation Thoughts

May 27 2011

Graduation is always an exciting, emotional time – the joy of your accomplishments, the sorrow of saying goodbye to friends, the nervousness about the future. As I make the rounds of graduation ceremonies and parties, I’m reminded of my own graduations and of the graduations of my children. Each is a proud memory that I will never forget.

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The Little Finish

May 20 2011

J. R. R. Tolkien once said, “Little by little, one travels far.” It’s really true. Babies learn to walk one step at a time. Novels are written one word at a time. Mountains are climbed one foot at a time. But unfortunately, when we are faced with what seems like an insurmountable task, many of us quit before we even start. “It’s too much work” or “I have so far to go” or “I can’t” become our mantras when instead we should be reminding ourselves, “Just one step at a time.”

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Bike to Work Week

May 13 2011

May 16-20 is Bike to Work Week. During this time, people are encouraged to try out a more car-free lifestyle by biking to work and other errands rather than driving. The economical and ecological benefits of cycling over driving are huge (less wear and tear on your car, cheaper fuel costs, and a smaller carbon footprint), but perhaps the biggest bonus comes from the healthful profits of being active.

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National Runners’ Month

May 6 2011

It seems like every month is devoted to one or more worthy causes. January is National Volunteer Blood Donor Month, as well as National Mentoring Month. October is National Crime Prevention Month and National Physical Therapy Month (hint, hint). May is a particularly busy month; it celebrates National Bike Month, National Mental Health Month, and National Runners’ Month. I’m going to discuss the latter.

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Sleep On It

April 29 2011

I’ve never been a good sleeper. When I was in high school, I had a paper route that got me up at 3:30am, seven days a week, in addition to after-school sports and working on my family’s mint farm. In graduate school, I survived on three hours of sleep a night as I balanced my studies with a full-time job and three kids. Now I do a little better; I average about five or six hours of shut eye. In the mornings, I always tell myself I need to get to bed earlier, but fast forward 18 hours or so and it’s easy for me to find excuses why I can stay up a little later.

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Barefoot Running: Part 2

April 22 2011

In my last blog post, I discussed some of the history behind the barefoot running movement, as well as the biomechanics behind why many think it’s a good idea. This week, I’ll talk about what it takes to transition to a workout without shoes.

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5 Reasons to Participate in the Beat Coach Pete Fun Run

April 15 2011

I wanted to share my experience of this year’s Beat Coach Pete Scholarship Fun Run. I COULD tell you about how much fun I had, but instead, I’d rather give you reasons to sign up for the run next year and have fun yourself.

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Barefoot Running: Part 1

April 8 2011

During the original running boom of the 1960s and 70s, barefoot running was made popular by such athletic giants as Abebe Bikila (an Olympic gold medalist marathoner) and Zola Budd (a world class 5k racer). In 2009, the movement experienced a resurgence thanks largely to the release of Christopher McDougall’s book Born to Run, an exploration of barefoot running via the Tarahumara people of northern Mexico (natural runners who regularly cover hundreds of desert miles barefoot). Today, barefoot running has a small, but cult-like following of enthusiasts, most of whom claim it has changed their life by allowing them to be active in ways they never could in their shoe-wearing days.

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Sport Specific Injuries: Soccer

April 1 2011

Officially it’s about 150 years old, though its roots are much more long-standing. It’s the most popular sport in the world, and fans can participate through youth and amateur leagues, at the professional level, and even in video games. The passion surrounding this sport has been known to cause riots and even wars. I’m of course talking about association football – or as it’s more commonly called here in America, soccer.

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What’s Your Legacy?

March 25 2011

It’s funny the things that stick out in your mind. When I think of my granddad, I usually see him next to granny at the pinochle table, leaning back in his chair to light his pipe and sneaking a glance at granny’s cards. Three generations later, pinochle is now our family’s traditional game of choice, and granddad’s card legacy is fondly recalled at least once during each game.

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Sport Specific Injuries: Track & Field

March 18 2011

When you look at the huge mass of events held in modern Olympic competitions, it’s a little surprising to think that for the first dozen or so Olympics (hosted in ancient Greece in the original stadium in Olympia) the only event was the “stadion” run – the equivalent of a 200 meter sprint. Today’s track and field events can be as short as an indoor 50 meter dash or as long as a marathon. Athletes can be as specialized as a world-class shot putter or as versatile as a decathlete. But despite the variety of events, the basic mechanics of running, jumping, and throwing involved in every track and field competition can lead to injury if athletes do not take the necessary precautions.

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A Solid Investment

March 11 2011

The housing market crash, the stock market controversies, and the resulting economic slump have changed the way many people now think about investing in their future. Are banks still a safe place for my money? What if my social security is not there? With inflation on the rise, what if my savings aren’t enough? I wish I had the answers. But there is one thing I do know – if you want to make a foolproof, no-fail investment that will return rewards to you in spades, invest in your own health.

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Sport Specific Injuries: Baseball & Softball

March 4 2011

Known as the “all-American pastime,” baseball often appears in nostalgic montages alongside fireworks, apple pie, and the statue of Liberty. The sport’s heroes, such as Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson, seem larger than life, propelling themselves and their sport into legendary status. And yet baseball has always been accessible to the Everyman. Anyone can play just about anywhere – all you need is a stick and a ball. From tee ball to the Special Olympics, from rec leagues to the MLB, just about everyone can find a game to participate in. That’s the greatness of baseball.

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Pronation or Supination?

February 25 2011

One of the wonderful design features of the human body is that we can do nearly any kind of activity without having to think about the functions in our body that must coordinate to make that activity happen. Even something as simple as walking or running is a complicated ballet of several structures – the muscular, nervous, skeletal, respiratory, and cardiac systems all must work together for you to keep your balance as you transfer your weight from one foot to the other.

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Sport Specific Injuries: Ice Hockey

February 18 2011

It seems like humans have been chasing a ball with a stick over ice almost as long as they can remember. Historical evidence shows that hockey-like games were played as far back as the middle ages and were spread between several continents. Today this popular pastime can be enjoyed on a variety of levels (youth, collegiate, semi-pro, professional, and even Olympic), and it’s also one of the few hard-hitting sports that is widely available to women.

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Your Own Valentine

February 11 2011

For the last several weeks, store shelves have been saturated with red and pink. Turn on the TV and suddenly you’re bombarded with ads for jewelry and perfume. You call the florist and cross your fingers, hoping someone can spare a second to take your order. Yes, love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day has returned. Although this day is traditionally spent relishing a special relationship over chocolate and a bottle of wine, this year, why not add another valentine to your list – yourself?

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Sport Specific Injuries: Wrestling

February 4 2011

Wrestling is a sport that reaches back to antiquity. It’s written about in The Iliad and The Epic of Gilgamesh. It was made famous by the Greeks and Romans. The Pilgrims brought it with them to the New World – and discovered the Native Americans already knew it. Today wrestling can be as local as a youth wrestling club, as global as the Olympics, or as flamboyant as the WWE. Despite the varying ages and abilities of the world’s wrestlers, there are several common injuries that every wrestling athlete needs to be aware of.

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Do I Need PT?

January 28 2011

This week I was talking with a gentleman who was facing his second total hip replacement. He asked my opinion on physical therapy after such a surgery. “My doctor says I don’t need physical therapy, and that all I have to do to get better is walk,” he said. “But I want to get the best results I can from all this.”

I will never tell anyone to go against the advice of their doctor, but I do like to educate people on what physical therapy is, who it’s for, and when it’s appropriate.

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Sports Specific Injuries: Basketball

January 21 2011

In 1891, Dr. James Naismith invented a game to keep his P.E. students fit during the winter months. It involved a simple ball and a peach basket nailed to a gymnasium wall. In the almost 120 years since, basketball’s popularity has exploded. The sport’s influence ranges from basketball baby toys up to the NBA and even the Olympics, and it’s almost impossible to find someone who doesn’t know at least the basics of how to play.

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Reach For It

January 14 2011

You’ve heard the saying, “it’s like riding a bike” – meaning that once you’ve learned an action, it becomes so ingrained (becomes instinct in a sense) that you’ll always be able to do it, no matter if it’s been years since you’ve performed the action. I’m sorry to tell you, folks, but there’s not a whole lot of truth in that statement.

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A Free Country

January 7 2011

I love America. I know it’s not perfect, but I firmly believe we live in the best country on earth. We have freedoms that people in some parts of the world can only dream of. The right to freedom of speech. The right to assembly. The right to bear arms. We have the right to choose how and where to live our lives.

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A Clean Slate

December 31 2010

New Year’s resolutions are a funny thing. It makes just as much sense to resolve to better yourself on your birthday or at the beginning of a new school year or the start of a new month, or heck, even on the dawn of a new day. But without fail, promises to lose weight, get in shape, eat healthy, gain control of your finances, quit smoking, or any other number of things always crop up on January 1st.

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A Christmas First

December 24 2010

Last week was my birthday (I won’t tell you which one), and for my gift, my wife signed us up for cable TV. Before you shrug and say, “So what?”, let me give you a little background on this epic occurrence…

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A PT Christmas

December 17 2010

My kids say my wife and I are hard to shop for. They don’t want to get me “just another piece of sports memorabilia” for our clinic walls, and they don’t want to get my wife “just another book” for her extensive fiction collection. But I think I’m pretty easily satisfied, gift-wise. In fact, here’s a list of physical therapist-approved gifts that I think are both thoughtful and useful – perfect for that hard-to-buy-for person on your list:

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Perceived Reality

December 10 2010

As strange as it sounds, reality has very little to do with the way we live day-to-day. Instead, it’s our perceptions of reality that tend to dictate how we process experiences, which people/places/events we remember and for what reason, what products we buy, etc. We act on our perceptions, not reality. If this sounds confusing, here’s an example…

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You’re a Runner

November 12 2010

This past Sunday was World Run Day, a day designated to promote charitable giving, community, and you guessed it, running (you can tell from the picture that even our IPT Running Man got into the spirit of things)! As I went out for my celebratory run in the rain, I was a little disappointed to see that the streets of my neighborhood were completely deserted. I know World Run Day is far from the realm of top-tier holidays that most people concern themselves with, but I was still surprised to not see more people out and active on a beautiful, if slightly damp, fall day.

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