Physiotherapy Toronto Blog 

Healthy Snacks to Replenish After a Workout

By Athlete's Care on April 27, 2022

Our Toronto physiotherapists and other sports medicine specialists sometimes work with a nutritionist to help our clients. They also field a steady stream of questions about nutrition and working out. What should you eat, and when?

There are many guides on what to eat before you work out. Here’s a look at what’s important to eat after you exercise.

Your goal is simple.

  • Refuel: to replenish nutrients used up by exercising;
  • Repair: provide the building blocks for muscle and soft tissue repair;
  • Rehydrate: replenishing the hydration you’ve lost while exercising.

When it comes to timing, the best advice says to eat within 45 minutes after you finish your workout.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrate is not a bad word. In fact, it’s the body’s natural energy source. Our bodies break carbs into glycogen, which is stored in our muscles.

  • As you workout, you use up those stores;
  • The more intense the activity, the longer/more often you exercise, the more you use;
  • Endurance sports use up more glycogen than resistance training;
  • Post workout, consuming carbohydrates helps you recover by replenishing those glycogen stores in your muscles.

Protein

Proteins, and the amino acids that form them, are the building blocks of muscle tissue. It only makes sense to consume protein-rich foods after a workout.

  • As you exercise, your muscles undergo a process of breaking down;
  • Protein helps the body rebuild, as well as prevent further breakdown.

After you stop exercising, rest is also needed for the repair process.

  • As a general rule of thumb, aim to consume about 15 to 25 grams of protein post-workout, up to 40 grams for intense or repeated exercise;
  • Your individual needs will depend on the type and duration of exercise;
  • It’s particularly important if your focus is strength and resistance training.

Your Toronto physiotherapist or other sports medicine specialist can provide you with advice about your nutritional needs in relation to your workouts or sport, individualized to your situation.

Fluids

It’s important to drink enough fluids before and during your workout. Sweating depletes the body of moisture, and recovery post-workout must also include replenishing liquids.

  • Perspiration uses up the body’s natural levels of hydration;
  • Muscle hydration is essential to the process of muscle protein synthesis, which rebuilds muscle tissue.

How much should you drink? It depends on how hard you’ve exercised.

  • For strenuous workouts, you can weigh yourself before and after exercise;
  • Drink 16 ounces of water for every pound that you’ve lost.

Quick Snack Ideas

The ideal post-workout snack combines at least two of the nutritional components you need. Here are some ideas you can put together quickly, and that store well for a trip to the gym.

  • Apples and peanut butter;
  • Whole grain granola with fruit and Greek yogourt
  • A veggie or cheese omelette;
  • Cottage cheese and fruit;
  • Whole grain crackers and cheese;
  • Peanut butter and banana on whole grain toast;
  • Hummus and pita chips;
  • Avocado on whole grain toast;
  • Fruit, dates, and almonds or other nuts;
  • Almond or other nut butter on rice cakes;
  • Lean meats on whole grain bread – such as a turkey or tuna sandwich with cheese and apple slices.

Your body isn’t just recovering, it’s rebuilding, and that process helps build muscle. Fuelling your recovery the right way means optimizing muscle protein synthesis. If you have any questions about what to eat for your workouts, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Toronto registered dietitian and sports dietitian, physiotherapists, chiropractors, or other sports medicine specialists for a consultation today.

Click here to learn more about Ben Sit, Registered Dietitian and Sports Dietitian.

 

Stress can come in many forms, and it’s an element of concern for many of the conditions our Toronto physiotherapists and chiropractors treat every day - including headaches.

It may seem at first to have more of an effect on mental rather than physical health. Looking at the effects of stress, however, points out the undeniable links between state of mind and state of general health.

The problem with stress...

The problem for many of us who live in an urbanized world is that stress is practically built into daily life.

  • You’re tied to a fixed schedule, even as commuting times are unpredictable (no matter how it’s done);
  • Your job duties and workload may be unpredictable;
  • Your schedule is so busy you feel like you never have time to unwind.

Stress doesn’t have to involve a dramatic or unusual situation, such as a car accident or job loss. The build up of stress through everyday situations can have just as much of an effect over time.

How does it turn into a headache?

Your body responds to the stress in various ways, including:

  • Muscle tension;
  • Teeth grinding;
  • Shoulders tense up.

Stress has been found to be a common trigger for headaches, including:

  • Tension headaches;
  • Migraines.

A tension-type headache, or TTH, feels like a tight band wrapped around your head, with a dull ache at mild to moderate levels. Unlike migraines, TTH are not usually accompanied by visual disturbances or nausea.

  • There may also be tenderness in the neck and shoulders or even scalp;
  • They may be episodic or chronic, lasting for days or even weeks.

Stress may also trigger other types of headaches, or make an existing headache worse.

Treat the pain

Medications are available that can help, including over the counter medications. Your treating medical professional can provide advice and recommendations based on your condition.

  • Heating pads can provide pain relief, and help relax muscles
  • Medical acupuncture can prove to be effective;
  • Exercises and stretching can help relieve muscle pain.

If you suffer from persistent or frequent headaches, our Toronto chiropractors and other sports medicine specialists can help guide you to a diagnosis and customized treatment plan based on the underlying causes.

Treat the stress

The key to reducing stress tension headaches is to reduce the effects of stress – unlocking the link between the feeling of stress and its physical effects.

  • Relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga or Tai Chi can be effective in reducing the effects of stress.
  • Cleaning up your schedule by streamlining your days, and avoiding overloading your schedule with too many commitments will go a long way towards reducing everyday tensions.

Treat yourself well

Treating yourself well is another way of phrasing self care. Stress can be looked at as an imbalance, and looking after your basic needs helps to get balance back.

  • Add exercise to your everyday – it’s a proven method of stress relief, and may even work to treat the headache itself. Avoid overdoing it, though, as that can also cause muscle tension.
  • Eat well, making sure to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts, to give your body the fuel it needs to function at optimal levels.
  • Get plenty of sleep, and if you have trouble with it, seek help.

Headaches can be the body’s reaction to stress and tension. If you are experiencing tension headaches, or other chronic pain, contact one of our Toronto physiotherapy and sports medicine clinics for a consultation today.

 

 

 

Our Toronto physiotherapists, chiropractors, and other sports medicine specialists treat both professional athletes and office workers, utility workers and restaurant staff. Many of the problems and conditions they need help with stem from accidents or unforeseen situations, but others are preventable, or at least could have been mitigated.

Here’s a look at how to keep the complex system of muscles, nerves, and bones that keep you moving healthy. With good habits, it’s even possible to reduce the impact or slow down the onset of conditions such as osteoporosis.

1. Weight Bearing Exercise

Weight bearing exercises build both muscles and bones.

  • Weight bearing exercises force your body to work against gravity, and exercises include jogging, walking, stair climbing, and dancing.

2. Strength Or Resistance Training

Strong muscles protect you against injury in many ways. Staying strong will help avoid and mitigate issues such as arthritis in the limbs.

  • Resistance training uses your body to either move or maintain a position, and exercises include weightlifting, using resistance bands, push-ups, yoga, and Pilates training.

3. Stretching

Stretching has benefits both before and after exercise, as well as on its own.

  • It increases blood flow to muscles.
  • It keeps muscles flexible, and improves your ability to perform any task.
  • It helps you avoid injury and improves balance.

4. Get Your Vitamins & Minerals

Eat a healthy, balanced diet that fuels your bones and muscles, and gives you the energy you need for your level of activity and lifestyle.

  • Calcium & Vitamin D are crucial for healthy bones;
  • Consuming Vitamin C with Vitamin D increases its absorption;
  • Iron plays a key role in keeping muscles strong;
  • Veggies and fruits rich in Vitamin C help to stimulate bone cell growth, and green and yellow vegetables aid in bone remineralization.

5. Posture & Ergonomics

Sitting or standing, posture is important. Balanced posture and a balanced gait avoid undue stresses and strain on your joints, muscles and bones. Our Toronto physiotherapists and other sports medicine specialists can provide help and guidance with any posture-related issues.

  • That includes your seated posture, especially if you work at a computer;
  • An ergonomically designed work station prevents neck, back, and wrist strains common with desk work.
  • Strengthening core muscles goes a long way towards staying mobile and avoiding injury.

6. Rethink Habits

Drinking alcohol and smoking deplete the body of nutrients.

  • Women who consume more than 1 drink per day, and men who consume more than 2, put themselves at an increased risk of osteoporosis.
  • Smoking has the same effect – it works to reduce bone density at a faster rate as compared to non-smokers.

 

If you have any questions or concerns about your musculoskeletal health, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Toronto physiotherapy and chiropractic clinics today for a consultation.

 

A Pain In The Neck - What Is Cervical Radiculopathy?

By Athlete's Care on February 04, 2022

Experiencing a literal pain in the neck? As our Toronto physiotherapists and other sports medicine specialists will tell you, it’s often a case of cervical radiculopathy.

Cervical radiculopathy is often called a pinched nerve. It occurs when a nerve in the neck area becomes compressed or irritated at the point where it attaches to the spinal cord.

The spine & neck

The spine comprises 24 bones, stacked one on top of the other. The bones, in essence, protect an inner canal where the spinal cord sits. The cervical spine includes the top seven bones from the neck to the base of the skull.

Changes to the disks cause responses in the body, including bone spurs around the disk that can in turn make the spine stiffer, and narrowing of the passages where the nerves roots exit the spine, effectively pinching the nerve ends.

What are the symptoms?

  • It can cause pain, including severe headaches, usually at the back of the head;
  • The pain may radiate from the neck into the shoulder and arm, even to the hand;
  • Along with pain, you may experience numbness or weakness in the neck and shoulder muscles.

What causes it?

  • Sudden injuries, often which result in a herniated disk;
  • Wear and tear over time, usually with older patients, and the disks flatten and begin to bulge or herniate.

In cases of wear and tear damage, it can also occur in conjunction with arthritic changes. Sometimes, no firm cause can be established.

We can help

Your Toronto physiotherapist, chiropractor or other sports medicine specialist will begin with a thorough examination and history. They will ask questions about the pain, as well as issues like range of motion in the neck.

Tests may be requested.

  • X-rays can show the narrowing of the foramen in the spine at the nerve roots, and can show damage to spinal disks.
  • Often, an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) test can show signs of cervical radiculopathy. The test will display abnormal areas of softer tissues around the spine.

Treatment options

Your sports medicine specialist will determine the right course of action for your situation.

  • Physical therapy – specific exercises recommended by your Toronto physiotherapist or sports medicine specialist can help to strengthen neck muscles, improve motion, and relieve pain.
  • Medications – starting with non-prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to help control pain.
  • Cervical Pillow – designed to promote the correct curvature of the cervical spine, these can help ease discomfort, especially at night for better sleep.
  • Epidural Steroid Injection (Nerve Block) – a cortisone injection is given direction into the bony part of the spinal canal.
  • Surgery is only suggested where other treatment options haven’t helped to correct bone spurs and pinched foramen.

Whether it’s due to an injury or deterioration over time, cervical radiculopathy can be painful and debilitating. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described, or you have questions about spine and neck health, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Toronto physiotherapy and chiropractic clinics for a consultation.