It can get tougher in these colder months to keep going. Or perhaps you are wanting to start working towards a goal, but know that you find it tough staying motivated or don't know where to begin.
Here are 9 tips to consider when starting a new journey, be it in exercise, nutrition or something completely different.
1. Knowing your 'why': Knowing WHY you started this journey and WHY you are doing it can help keep you in check and keep you motivated to carry on when it gets tough. What is your WHY?
2. Start small: When working on a life long change, start with small, achievable changes so that you are less likely to give up and you can stay motivated as you achieve these tasks.
3. Set a date: Giving yourself a realistic deadline to achieve goals can motivate you to get working and not give up! You will feel accomplished when you achieve this goal by this date.
4. Checklist: These are GREAT for 2 reasons:
6. Find a mentor: Finding someone who is knowledgeable in the field that you are interested in and working towards can help ensure your goals are realistic and provide you with insight into how to achieve your goals safely and efficiently.
7. Find a routine: Once you know what your goals are and know your WHY, setting up a consistent routine every day or week will help your mind and body adjust to these changes. Consistency is key.
8. Be around the right people: Surround yourself with people who will support you and motivate you to keep going. Choosing who you give your energy to will have a huge impact on your end goal and motivation levels.
9. Celebrate all wins: No matter how big or small, celebrate EVERY win. Acknowledge these wins and be proud of the progress you have made. Remember these wins and use this as fuel for your motivation!
Let us know if you have tried any of these tips, and how have they worked for you?
CONCUSSION MYTHS vs REALITY
So often we get clients who come see us very late after having a concussion, and report to us that they were told to only rest, or to just carry on with their everyday activities. When we talk to them, they can report still feeling fatigued, having sleep issues and/or can't handle doing a lot of exercise, to name a few.
Research now supports that pure rest is actually doing a dis-service to those with concussion, and that graduated return to activity after 24-48 hours of physical and cognitive rest (monitored by a health professional with concussion experience) is favored in concussion recovery.
Graduated activity can help with:
Increasing blood flow, and therefore oxygen to the brain to help promote healing
Improving mood and cognition
Increasing your exercise tolerance again
Promoting neuroplasticity (brain changes to promote healing and creating new neural pathways)
It is important to note that a large benefit of reaching out to a qualified health professional in concussion management is for education and guidance around pacing strategies, fatigue management and the most recent evidence-based approaches to concussion management. Concussion rehab is very individual and is not a "one size fits all" approach. If you recently had a concussion, or are experiencing ongoing symptoms that are not resolving, please contact us so we can help you.
Did you know that vestibular migraine is now considered one of the most common vestibular Disorders??
It affects 1-2.7% of the general population and 11% of patients who attend a specialized dizziness clinic. (Shen et al 2020)
Vestibular migraine is a clinical syndrome of transient episodic vertigo/dizziness, or unsteadiness. It can last seconds to hours, in some cases lasting for several days. It includes features of temporary vestibular dysfunction such as nausea, dizziness, nystagmus, imbalance and at times falls.
Following a Vestibular migraine an individual may feel symptoms of fatigue, brain fog, poor concentration, imbalance, motion sensitivity, nausea, and in some instances have continuous light headedness.
30% of individuals with vestibular migraine will have no associated migraine before or after the episode of vertigo/dizziness.
Diagnostic criteria for Vestibular Migraine
A. At least five episodes of significant dizziness/vertigo lasting from minutes to days
B . A current or past history of migraine
C. At least half the episodes of vertigo have one or more migrainous feature associated with them such as typical migraine headache (one sided location, pulsating quality, moderate or server pain intensity, aggravation by routine physical activity, photophobia/photophonia, or visual aura)
D. Not better accounted for by another vestibular or headache diagnosis
(Simplified from the International Headache Society Classification of Headache ICHD-3-Feb 2018)
Treatment of vestibular migraine
Management of Vestibular migraine requires identification of the main triggers for the migraine, assessing for the vestibular and functional issues that arise due from the migraine, then taking a multi-modal approach to management, combining:
Here are some cognitive dual tasking ideas that you can try. These have been used in research studies and we often use these ideas in our clinic to train dual tasking, particularly in balance and walking training.
Randomly naming numbers between 100 and 500 (without repetition or consecutively)
Randomly naming odd (or even) numbers between 1 and 100 (without repetition or consecutively)
What is it?
Peripheral neuropathy refers to the many conditions that result in impairment to the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The role of the PNS, which is a vast communication network within our body, is to relay information between the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and all other parts of the body. Peripheral nerves send different types of information to the central nervous system, including pain, temperature, touch, proprioception and pressure, to name a few.
There are 3 main types of nerves that can be affected in the PNS:
When we are working on balance in the clinic we are always trying to get someone to challenge their balance to make change.
In fact we know that to really improve your balance fast you need to be off balance about 50% of the time. When we are working on balance the aim for us is not to always make you still.
We often are trying to get you practising recovering your balance or integrating your sensors to makes sure all the systems are working well together.
Here Belinda describes how she has been challenging her balance.
"Decided to mix up my daily walk a few days ago (in sunnier times) and challenge my brain and body to do something more novel and out of my normal comfort zone.
It’s amazing how many systems were at play to help me negotiate these rocks safely. Our brains are remarkable, integrating all the information and sensory inputs in order to give an efficient and appropriate output = BALANCE
.... vestibular, vision, depth perception, balance reactions, postural adjustments, proprioception, motor control, coordination, planning, concentration... just to name a few.
Some conscious and many subconsciously working
I was definitely loosing my balance 50% of the time which was putting me in an ideal training zone for balance retraining.
The best part was that this was fun.
If you want to have better balance you need to train all the systems. Train the inputs to improve the output.
When ever we train balance however we do weigh up safety and confidence. But remember no challenge no change.
When talking about Vestibular rehab (the fancy name for retraining balance and reducing dizziness and vertigo caused by the inner ear and related systems).
We loosely break it down into two broad categories – Peripheral (coming from the inner ear itself) or Central (coming from the brain or neurological pathways)
Examples of Peripheral conditions are:
Symptoms can be very similar between central and peripheral conditions and it is not uncommon to see some present with more than one vestibular issue. For example traumatic BPPV post concussion or BPPV with Parkinson's, Migraine triggered by BPPV. This is why a full assessment is important to see where symptoms are stemming from and treat them appropriately
A Physiotherapist trained in Vestibular rehab has the skills and knowledge to be able to distinguish between the two categories in testing and there are treatments for both central and peripheral conditions and then treat these effectively with positional manoeuvres, gaze stability and balance exercises to provide a well rounded program for recovery.
Having dizziness and balance issues checked are important as they can be treated effectively and leaving them untreated increases a persons falls risk, not to mention reduced participation in the activities they enjoy doing because of ongoing symptoms and avoidance due to fear of causing their symptoms. Don't let dizziness hold you back, get it looked at today.
We have been talking around the importance of high intensity exercise for neuroplasticity in the brain for a while. It is widely accepted that it helps improve function in Parkinson's when people regularly (more than 3 days a week) exercise at between 60-80% heart rate max. It is also regularly discussed how cardio exercise is good for overall health including for the heart and lungs.
Research is now showing that it can also improve walking speed and distance in people who have had stroke, traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury over six months ago. The research has shown that the same effort levels are required so getting heart rate up to 60-80% Maximum is needed to make these changes. With improving locomotion/walking/gait. Functional practice is best, which means training improved walking with walking.
So what does the exercise prescription look like to make these changes, again it is recommended a minimum of 3 x a week, we know the ACSM recommends all adults get a minimum of 150 minutes moderate intensity exercise a week.
If we took 70 year old female client the prescription may look like this for someone who is confidently walking over ground. Four times a week walk outdoors or on a treadmill with 30 seconds walking as hard as they can aiming to get their heart rate over 89 BPM (89-118 BPM = 60-80% HR max), then with slower 1.5 min walks in-between for 30 minutes. Ideally the higher the heart rate the better but we need to start slowly and build up if fitness levels are lower.
To measure heart rate you can count the number of beats by feeling your pulse at your wrist or neck and count the beats for 60 seconds or for 20 seconds and times by three. There are also a number of wearable devices such as watches and heart rate monitors that can give you real time information on your heart rate which maybe a beneficial investment if you want to see how your heart rate more regularly.
This advice is a general guideline and it is always recommended that you seek medical advice before starting a new exercise program.
Many people with a Neurological disorder or Chronic health condition, find that they can no longer do all the activities in a day that they wish. When working with clients we get them to appreciate that they need to pace their activities (Something that over my rehab period I have also had to do).
What is Pacing?
“a way of increasing your activity level without stirring up your fatigue/pain or other symptoms such as dizziness too much”
Aim: to maintain an even level of activity throughout the day instead of doing as much as possible in the morning and then resting all afternoon.
When we don't do this we can get in to a cycle which is unproductive which we call the BOOM/BUST cycle.