|August 8, 2018
Matthew Chouinard, ATC
The Benefits of Playing Multiple Sports in High School
We live in an age where everyone wants to be the next LeBron James, or Tom Brady. Kids grow up falling in love with a certain sport and want to try to be the best they can at it. Everyone wants to specialize and devote all their time to just their best sport in an attempt to maximize their potential. College scholarships appear in reach for young athletes full of ambition and belief in themselves as they enter into the high school setting. Over the years, this has led to more and more high school kids choosing to specialize in just one sport year-round. They see this as an opportunity to refine their skills and get an edge on the competition, but in actuality, playing a new sport each season can potentially provide a more positive impact on an athlete than complete specialization.
The main upside of playing just one sport is that it allows for much more practice time to further develop skills, but that also comes with some downsides. When playing the same sport year-round, the athlete is also performing the same motions and muscle movements constantly. This repetitive stress on a person’s muscles, joints, and bones can lead to overuse injuries that will sideline the athlete. When playing multiple sports, an athlete is changing their motions and movements based on what is specific to the given sport. This allows different muscles to rest as other muscles begin being used more during a transition into the next season, thus making it less likely that overuse injuries will occur.
Another downside of playing just one sport is that it creates a higher chance of burnout for the athlete. If an athlete is just focused on the same sport nonstop, then it’s possible that they will get bored or mentally tired of it. The practices and skill work that they are doing over and over again will become stale to them and they may even lose the desire to play. By playing multiple sports, athletes will be given new challenges and goals each season, helping refresh them and keeping any one sport from becoming tiresome.
As much as it may appear that specialization is the key to athletic success, it may not be the case. The benefits of playing multiple sports as a high school athlete will help to prevent overuse injuries from developing, as well as prevent any one sport from becoming stale. So, the information has been laid out, but people still take both routes when it comes to high school athletics. Should people go all in on one sport or participate in multiple?
By Matthew Chouinard, ATC
July 9, 2018
Beth Carlton, BS, MS, NASM-CES, CFSC
Four Simple Mindset Rules
Personally, goal setting is something that I like to do, but it never used to be that way. It was a struggle and I would always set goals that didn’t make sense or that weren’t valuable to me. As I grew older, I learned that there is nothing more satisfying than making a "To Do" list for the day and being able to check things off. Within the last month, I read a book about mindfulness and being in the present, “The Practicing Mind” by Thomas M. Sterner. This book has taught me to learn to love the process, avoid self-judgment, eliminate impatience, end boredom, reduce stress, feel calmer, experience self-discovery, enjoy the journey, and be happier.
The author of the book, Thomas Sterner, gave 4 simple mindset rules for success:
1. Keep yourself process-oriented. Make yourself a road map on how to achieve your goals.
2. Stay in the present. Looking in the future or the past hinders the process. Keep what you want to achieve in sight.
3. Make the process the goal and use the overall goal as a rudder to steer your efforts.
4. Be deliberate, have an intention about what you want to accomplish, and remain aware of your intention.
When you set a goal, it has to mean something and has to have some sort of value, so that when you achieve it, it means something. You want to start with goals that are the highest on your priority list. So start simple, less is more. You always want to limit the number of goals to 3-5 to help focus your attention and so you can achieve goals in a timely manner. So break down your goals to your top 3 or top 5 that you really want to achieve and write down why they are so valuable to you. It creates those visual aids that you need to help maintain focus.
Something that I learned when I was in school is that we have to think SMART when goal setting. You need to be as Specific as possible, give yourself something to Measure or set realistic deadlines, be honest with yourself and make the goal Attainable, make sure that your goals are Relevant to your lifestyle, and make sure that you have enough Time to accomplish your goals.
To summarize, set goals that motivate you and make sure they are SMART, write those goals down, put a plan in action, and work on that plan. Working on that plan is what makes you successful. Just trust your instincts and don’t get ahead of yourself.
By Beth Carlton, BS, MS, NASM-CES, CFSC
June 4, 2018
Claudia Burns, PT, DPT
Most of us, when prompted, could likely find at least one thing we could improve when it comes to our health. We could all likely exercise and sleep a little more, consume alcohol and sugar a little less, quiet our minds a little more completely, and form closer bonds with our loved ones. Recognizing this fact is a crucial first step, however, developing strategies to reach our health and wellness goals is famously difficult resulting in a barrage of “solutions” presented to you by a variety of different media sources (including this one?!).
The methods that I, and others, have found to be the most successful involve some concentrated, but not difficult, effort. Finding the strategies that will work for you involves knowing yourself – your strengths, weaknesses, favorite excuses, and loopholes that you employ to avoid things you find unpleasant or unenjoyable. It’s helpful to know WHY you skipped that spin class so that you can take a more tailored approach next time. For example, maybe you think the time of day played a role in your playing hooky. So you register for an AM class instead, but skip that one too. Likely, it isn’t the time of day that’s to blame. Maybe you just hate spin class, or group exercise, or endurance training. If so, this isn’t your avenue to fitness. Maybe you need a race date to motivate you, or a partner. You might need a rigid exercise schedule to follow or flexibility to be compliant.
Similar questions can be asked when it comes to your diet, sleep schedule, work life, etc. The important question is “why?” and the important answer is the truth. The truth is void of judgment. So you’re not a group exercise person? Lots of people aren’t. So you’re not a morning person? Stop trying to be. Lots of successful, happy people stay up late and sleep in. You may find the key to your self-improvement success involves realizing you’re trying to be someone you think you should be rather than the person you are. As a friend of mine once put it, “Don’t should on yourself.”
It’s important to remember that everyone is different, and no one is wrong. The only right way to be healthy is the way that works for you. Find what you like, what works, and what’s fun. If it feels like a chore, you’ll treat it like one and try to get out of it. After all, we are our own worst enemies. But we could also be our own best friends.
For more practical, individualized advice, there are a barrage of personality assessments that you can take to help determine personal preferences. One that I have found personally and professionally very useful was developed by the wise, self-described “happiness bully,” Gretchen Rubin. She has developed a super simple, quick test to help you determine your expectational tendencies. You can find the quiz here.
By Claudia Burns, PT, DPT
April 30, 2018
Shawn Paquette, PT, DPT, CSCS
Cancer Survivorship and Physical Therapy
A cancer diagnosis often results in a huge impact not just on a patient’s physical well-being, but also on other aspects of the patient’s wellness, such as their mental health, social interactions, and financial standing. It is a very stressful time in these patients’ lives. Between the onslaught of different doctors’ appointments and the uncertainty of their ultimate prognosis, it is not uncommon for these patients to have high stress and anxiety levels. While patients are being treated for their cancer, participation in physical therapy is probably not the first thing on their mind. However, there are many ways in which physical therapy can assist these patients to achieve better health and an improved quality of life.
One of the biggest complaints associated with a cancer diagnosis is cancer-related fatigue. Cancer-related fatigue is defined as a “distressing, persistent, subjective sense of physical, emotional, and/or cognitive tiredness or exhaustion.” Up to 80% of all cancer survivors report experiencing cancer-related fatigue, and this side effect can persist for years even after treatment ends.
One of the best ways to combat cancer-related fatigue is through exercise. Though it may seem counterintuitive, exercise has the highest quality evidence for treating cancer-related fatigue. It is recommended that cancer survivors participate in 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week, including 2-3 strength training sessions. Physical therapists are in a unique position to guide these patients through an individualized exercise program since they have a sound understanding of how the side effects of cancer and its associated treatments can affect a patient and how to modify their exercise program accordingly.
Though cancer-related fatigue is one of the biggest complaints associated with a cancer diagnosis, there are several other issues that may arise from cancer itself or its associated treatments. Some of the other medical issues commonly encountered after a cancer diagnosis include pain, joint or muscle stiffness, generalized weakness and deconditioning, and balance or gait impairments. All of these issues can be effectively addressed with physical therapy treatment and result in an improved quality of life for the patient.
If you are dealing with physical limitations as a result of cancer or cancer treatments and would like to be evaluated by one of our physical therapists, please give our office a call at 207-442-0325.
By Shawn Paquette, PT, DPT, CSCS
National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Cancer-Related Fatigue. Version 1.2017. December 19, 2016.
National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Survivorship. Version 2.2016. September 27, 2016.