Work Hard, Play Harder

By Riva Preil

In honor of the summer and all our hard work, Amy Stein generously treated the Beyond Basics Staff to a summer weekend of fun!  Last Sunday and Monday, our team met at the Allegria Hotel in Long Beach where we proceeded to bond, eat, and laugh…a LOT!

We participated in team building games that helped us improve our communication skills.  In addition, we played a “Guess Who” game, during which we all submitted three random and unexpected facts about ourselves, and then we tried guessing who submitted the clue.  For example, would you have guessed that Amy was the captain of her cheerleading team in high school?  Or that Yarissa is one of SEVEN children?  Or that Arianna wanted to be a pilot?  Yep, neither did I, and it was definitely a fun experience learning more about my co-workers.

Our group trip was a huge success, and we are especially grateful to Mary Hughes and Karen Medina for planning the details of our outing.

One of the most rewarding aspects of working at Beyond Basics is that I feel part of a TEAM.  I feel truly blessed to work alongside so many talented, accomplished, intelligent, and beautiful women. In the daily hustle and bustle of New York fast paced life, it is easy to forget how lucky I am!  That is why office outings such as this past weekend’s trip are so special.  They serve as important reminders to me to count my blessings and appreciate my unique work environment.  Not only are my co-workers excellent colleagues professionally speaking, but they are also my FRIENDS!  I enjoyed spending quality time with them this weekend, and look forward to many more future team building opportunities.

Take a look at some pictures below!

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Pilates: Foot Review

In honor of summer, and the fabulous Riva Preil, we will use this blog to echo Riva’s advice on summer footwear.  We all know that flip-flops are, in theory, the perfect summer shoe.  They are light, they are airy, and they are very inexpensive.  However, flip-flops provide absolutely no support for our feet.

In an earlier blog, I mentioned the importance of having tone in the muscles of our feet.  If the muscles of our feet have good tone, the bones of our feet can maintain the proper structure they need to balance our legs, pelvis, and spine.  However, if you absolutely need to wear your flip-flops, do the following exercise daily to maintain proper muscle tone in your feet.

You can do this exercise either sitting or standing.  In addition, you will need a small ball, preferably the size of a tennis ball.

Place the ball of your foot on the ball and anchor your heel to the floor (photo 1).  Lift your toes off the ball, and then lower them again attempting to wrap your toes around the ball.  Repeat ten times. With each repetition, the ball of your foot should spread wider and extend further over the ball.

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After ten repetitions, maintain your toes wrapped around the ball.  From here, begin to rotate your foot from right to left (photo 2).  Attempt to keep this motion in your ankle, rather than your knee or your hip.  Do this action ten times.

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Next, roll the ball forward and backward under your foot while you point and flex your foot (photo 3).  This will help you maintain the proper heel striking rhythm that Riva mentions in her blog.  Repeat this action ten 10 times.

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When you have finished with one foot, stand on both feet and observe the difference between each.  Hopefully, the foot your exercised feels more grounded, yet, light and supported.

Stop Flip-Flops?

By Riva Preil

Sure, they may be cute, comfortable, and convenient in an attempt to beat the summer heat…but from a biomechanical perspective, flip-flops may be a poor choice for your summer footwear.  Consider the force that is sent through the lower extremities to the pelvis and spine with each step…multiply that by 10,000 (the recommended amount of steps individuals should take daily)= an immense amount of force is transmitted through the feet and up the kinematic chain each day.  During the normal gait pattern, individuals enter the stance phase (upon completion of the swing phase) with heel strike, followed by foot flat (when the entire foot contacts the ground) and completed with push off through the large toe.  However, flip-flop-wearers take shorter steps, clench their toes excessively (to prevent the flip flop from falling off), and perform heel strike with a decreased amount of vertical force compared to sneaker-wearers.  The poor support offered by flip flops is unfortunately associated with developing plantar fasciitis (tightness of the connective tissue on the bottom of the foot), knee, hip, and even low back pain.

 You may be saying to yourself, “Fine, Riva, I get it…but I’d like to see you try getting a pedicure in sneakers!”  Point well taken, it is not practical or fun to completely eliminate flip-flops from one’s wardrobe.  However, try to replace flip-flops every 3-4 months considering how quickly they lose support. Furthermore, try not to wear them for prolonged periods of time.  Leather flip-flops provide more support than plastic ones, and avoid wearing socks with flip flops.  Finally, make sure that they fit properly- there should be full support from heel to toe.  By following these simple suggestions, you can enjoy your flip flops in tip top health this summer.  Have a happy and healthy summer from all of us at Beyond Basics Physical Therapy!

Sun-Sational Summer!

By Riva Preil

It’s official- the sun is out and summer is in!  Whether you are spending long lazy weekends by the beach or simply enjoying lunch breaks outdoors, now is as good a time as ever to review sun protection facts.

  • Ultraviolet (UV) A and B rays can damage skin IN AS LITTLE AS 15 MINUTES, even on cloudy days. From the perspective of your epidermis, the worst hours of the day are from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.  Therefore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend using sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Sunscreen, which absorbs or reflects sunlight, should be reapplied every two hours (or sooner, if you have gone swimming or engaged in activities that produce sweat).  Make sure your sunscreen is not outdated- three years is the maximum shelf life!
  • Use an umbrella or pop indoors every so often for shade breaks.
  • Wear loose fitting shirts with long sleeves and long pants made from tightly woven fabric when possible. Regular T-shirts do not provide the suggested SPF 15 amount. These garments provide better protection from the sun’s harmful rays.  Also, dry clothes provide better protection than wet clothes.  As far as head gear, canvas material protects better than straw hats or other products with holes (ex. visor).
  • For those who opt for indoor tanning thinking that it is safer than the sun…you may want to reconsider.  Indoor tanning has been linked with certain cancers (ex. melanoma, squamous cell carcinomas, and ocular melanoma), and it should be avoided if possible.

Now, go ahead, apply that lotion, and go enjoy some summer fun in the sun!

When It Heats Up…

…how do you exercise safely? This article in The New York Times gives some great advice on how to stay cool in the summer. We’ve still got a few good weeks of summer left, so stay smart while you stay active! For example, did you know “downing a slushie drink or draping a chilled collar around your neck seems to improve the body’s ability to perform in the heat”? Check out the article for more info!