7 Simple Ways To Stay Active

Too many of us have an all-or-nothing attitude when it comes to staying fit. We’re too “slammed” at work for the gym, or our kids’ activities are keeping us in the car — and off the track — for long hours. Yet, here at Total Body Physical Therapy, we recommend a few basic elements you can add to your daily life that truly add up to a more active lifestyle.

1. Take the Longest — or Hardest — Distance Between Two Points

Speed is usually the name of the game in your busy life. But does the time saved parking close to the store really add value? Make a game of parking at the far end of the lot, so that you have to push a cart or carry a bag a greater distance. When you’re at work, take the stairs — unless you really are running late for that meeting!

2. Pay for Your Lunch — in Footsteps

Skip the cafeteria in favor of a healthy eatery down the street if you’re working. Or walk outside for 20 minutes before you return to your brown-bag lunch. If you’re retired or working from home, walk to the corner grocer’s to gather the goods for lunch. Living out in the country or the suburbs? Pretend that your daily walk is the “fee” you have to pay in order to get into your kitchen and make that sandwich.

3. Consider a Standing Desk

How do standing desks help? It’s amazing how much healthier simply standing in place is, compared to sitting. For one thing, you burn more calories. You’ll also hunch less, meaning that neck and shoulder pain is eliminated. Standing also boosts fitness in significant ways by keeping blood sugar more steady after a meal, and by encouraging more movement overall.

4. Fool Yourself Into Running Errands

Using a smaller glass for water — or mug for green tea — means that you have to return to the water cooler or kitchen more often to fulfill your daily hydration goals. Likewise, you can make going down the hall to borrow a stapler a separate trip from hiking upstairs to ask someone in HR about your vacation schedule. If our Fitbits have taught us anything, it’s that a hundred extra steps here and there really do add up over the course of the day!

5. Use Fitness Benefits as an Incentive to Do Chores

Organizational experts know that 20 or 30 minutes of chores a day adds up to a cleaner, more organized space. You can certainly get a lot of toys into baskets during that time — not to mention mopping a floor or weeding the herb garden. So if you remember that these dreaded tasks also burn calories and build up your core, it may help you feel more like tackling them.

6. Keep Equipment Handy

Stash a yoga mat or 5-pound weights under your bed. Hang resistance bands on a hook in the kitchen. That way, you’ll be far more likely to do a few reps while watching TV or waiting for the pasta to boil!

7. Don’t Put Off Physical Therapy

The most obvious way physical therapy helps is by addressing the aches and pains that keep you from pursuing your active lifestyle. In addition, many physical therapy sessions are a workout in themselves, which helps you meet your weekly cardio and/or endurance goals. A physical therapist is also a great resource for giving you tips on tweaking your daily habits. He or She can go over what a normal day looks like for you and offer advice on how to make it a more active one. If chronic pain is an issue, your PT can show you specific moves that streamline the physical challenges.

Call our Lillington, NC office today to see how physical therapy can help you live a pain-free and more active life.

How Staying Active at Work Can Increase Productivity

Picture yourself at work. Hunched over a keyboard, clicking away on a mouse, answering the phone, or having meetings, the most moving around you are likely to do is to and from the copy machine. It is no surprise that our sedentary jobs are causing fatigue and stiffness, both mentally and physically. Fortunately, having a desk job doesn’t exclude you from experiencing more physical activity at work. Give these activities a try and you are sure to find out you feel better physically and experience higher productivity.

Time for a Mental Shift

Somehow, somewhere along the way, Americans got it into their heads that working without breaks is the sign of productivity. Not true! Working without breaks not only causes physical and mental fatigue, studies have shown that people who allow themselves to take a break are more productive than their power-through counterparts.

Use the 1 in 20 Rule

Studies have shown that the mind can only work continuously on a singular task for 20 minutes at a time before productivity begins to slow. Fortunately, it does not take a lot to reset the brain’s ability to refocus. Standing up and moving around every twenty minutes, changing positions, or walking to another office is enough to give your brain the blood flow it needs to be ready for the tasks at hand.

Stay Hydrated

On average, water represents up to 60 percent of our body weight yet many of us walk around chronically dehydrated. In addition to digestive problems, fatigue, muscle aches, and joint pain, chronic dehydration can slow productivity. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Make sure you are consuming water throughout the day in order to keep your brain firing the way it should.


Stretching your muscles is a great way to keep the blood flowing to your brain. You may find that your body has a natural need to stretch when it has been stagnant too long. This does not mean you need to roll out the yoga mat by your desk and do a pigeon pose. You can stretch your arms, legs, back and neck in just a few minutes without special equipment and enjoy greater productivity for hours afterward.

Don’t Forget to Breathe

We breathe thousands of times a day without even thinking about it, yet becoming aware of your breath is a great way to reduce stress, think more clearly and work better. Take deep breaths that fill your lungs and expel all of the air out. Then, enjoy a more productive work day.

Call Total Body Therapy & Wellness today and speak to our experts.

Staying Food Smart During the Holidays

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With the holidays just around the corner, so follows the holiday weight gain.  It can be very easy to be swept away when you’re surrounded by sweets and finger food, but there are some tricks you can do to prevent the holiday weight gain:

  • Don’t go to a party hungry!
    • When you’re famished, you tend to make wrong choices when it comes to food.  Your body will typically crave carbs and more sugary foods to replenish the energy that you need.
  • Out of sight, out of mind.
    • When at a party, don’t stand and talk next to the food table.  When you do this, it is very tempting to grab a handful of something to much on wile you talk, but when this happens you get distracted in the conversation and don’t realize how much you actually consumed.
  • Take a break!
    • After finishing your first plate, take about 10 minutes before you go up to get seconds.  The communication between your stomach and your brain are slow, so when you eat too fast, your stomach will fill up quickly, and your brain won’t get the message until it’s too late.  Chew on some gum or a mint to pace yourself.
  • Remember your fruits and vegetables.
    • When planning meals, continue to prepare fruits and vegetables for every meal and at parties.
  • Never shop hungry.
    • When you do this, you will tend to buy things that are not on your shopping list. It will usually be full of carbs and sugar since that is what your body needs to restore energy.
  • Don’t consume alcohol on an empty stomach.
    • Doing this will increase your appetite.
  • Get up and move!
    • This is the time of year when things get cold and most people will decrease their physical activity, but not their food intake.  Continue to move by getting a membership at a local gym or starting your own workouts at home.  Either way, maintaining your active lifestyle as it were summer is key.
  • It’s okay to indulge.
    • Having a sweet snack every now and then is okay.  Just look at your portions and stay in tune with your stomach to prevent overeating
  • Yes you can substitute.
    • The American Heart Association has made a guide on ways you can substitute ingredients without sacrificing the flavor, such as for salt or butter.  Their website has more information.

Now that you have a few tricks up your sleep, you can go to or host a party without the weight gain or the guilt of eating too much!

Find more information on healthy holiday eating in Harvard’s blog for healthy eating! 


Blogger: Christina Williams, PTA

Guest Blogger Jennifer: Ten Tips for Eating Well & Saving Money

Fast food restaurants offer a dollar menu. Processed food at the grocery store is super cheap. These might be a good fit for some people’s budgets, but these foods aren’t a good fit for ANYONE’S body. Trust me, I used to eat from the dollar menu and out of boxes of processed, food-like products.
I began to realize the toll these “foods” were taking on my body. I was 40 pounds overweight, tired, anxious, and had no energy. When I took a step back, I realized that I was consuming things chock-full of fillers, artificial dyes, chemicals, and lots of ingredients I couldn’t even pronounce on a daily basis. I did a clean sweep of food in my kitchen and found ingredients including: propylene glycol alginate, disodium inosinate/guanylate, aspartame, phenylketonurics, Red 40, sorbitol, acesulfame, Yellow 5 & 6, Blue 1, propylparaben, high fructose corn syrup, and soybean oil with TBHQ; just to name a few.
I knew it was time for a mealtime makeover! Out with the junk and in with the healthy stuff!
My goal was to eat better and feed my family better, but I had to do it in a smart way. I couldn’t go throwing tons of money on organic everything! With some adjustments, now our family eats a healthy, 6 meal a day diet for $70 or less per week. Eating well DOES require some planning and preparation, but it doesn’t have to be difficult OR expensive. Check out my top ten tips for eating well and saving money and check out the sample meal plan below!
  1. Make a plan: Take inventory of what food you already have and plan your meals around this FIRST. On Wednesdays, I do a quick inventory list of what is in our cabinets, fridge, and freezers. I categorize the food we have into these categories: protein, fruit, veggies, carbs, healthy fats, pre-made meals (frozen from leftovers), and other. These foods are then incorporated into our weekly meal plan, so I make sure we use up what we already have instead of spending extra money on things we don’t really need at the grocery store.
  2. Shop from a list: Use your meal plan to create a grocery list. On Thursdays, I develop a meal plan for the following week, using as many ingredients that I have on hand as possible. That meal plan is then used to make our grocery list, categorized by food types to save me time at the store. I use these headings for our grocery list: produce, meat, cold/frozen, grains, other, and non-grocery. That way, I only get what we REALLY need (saving money!) and shop in one section at a time rather than running all over the store (saving time!).
  3. Shop once: I used to run to the store anytime I needed an ingredient or had a whim to whip up something in the kitchen, but proper planning and valuing my time has stopped this habit! I usually do our grocery shopping for the following week on Fridays and buy only what we need. That’s the only time we go to the grocery store, unless there is something that we run out of or absolutely can’t live without until the next shopping trip.
  4. Buy multi-use ingredients: For example, buy one chicken that can be used as a protein in a salad for lunch on M/W/F and shredded for taco bowls for supper on T/Th. You can change up the seasoning depending on what type of meal you’re having. Black beans can be used as a carb in the salad with the chicken for lunch on M/W/F and with the taco bowls on T/Th!
  5. Use the “Dirty Dozen” list: These produce items have been found to contain high levels of pesticide residue and should be bought organic (if possible): strawberries, apples, nectarines, peaches, celery, grapes, cherries, spinach, tomatoes, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers. (Think “thin skinned” produce.)
  6. Prep your meals & snacks in advance and take with you on the go: I prep our breakfasts, lunches, and snacks on Saturday and Sunday. Then, these meals are easy to grab & go on busy mornings during the week. This keeps you out of drive thrus, helps you avoid impulse buys when you’re HANGRY, and fuels your body throughout the day with healthy things!
  7. Cook in bulk and eat leftovers throughout the week: I used to spend hours cooking and cleaning up the kitchen EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. Not anymore! I cook one bulk meal on Monday night and a different bulk meal on Tuesday night. We eat the same meals every other day (ex: Grilled fish, rice, and roasted broccoli on M/W/F and shredded chicken, corn tortillas, and sauteed zucchini/onions/mushrooms on T/Th.) Finish or freeze the leftovers during the weekend (we do a fridge clean out on Sundays) to avoid wasting food (AKA money!).
  8. Utilize your FREEZER: I check for marked down meat when I grocery shop. I’ll get what I can use for future meals and put in the freezer! I also like to freeze bread, chopped veggies, grilled chicken breasts, cake icing, you name it! This makes it quick and easy to pull out needed ingredients without an extra trip to the store. We also freeze any leftovers at the end of the week to use for future meals, which is a huge money saver!
  9. Get cash back: Browsing apps such as Ibotta (https://ibotta.com/r/kounnnl) before your shop can help you save even more money! It only takes a few minutes to check through the cash back offers. They offer gift cards & cash back through Paypal just for using your store card or scanning your receipt. It’s free, super easy to use, & you get a $10 bonus when you enroll!
  10. Eat a portion controlled diet: Americans typically eat WAYYYY too much food at a time. Instead of eating 3 large meals, try 6 smaller meals spaced 2-3 hours apart. Scale back to a proper portion to save some bucks!
Sample Meal Plan:
The meal plan below is based on a 1500-1799 calorie diet. But, I don’t count calories AT ALL. I use a simple, color coded, portion control system that allows me to eat food from just about every category as long as it fits in the container. Easy peasy!
Breakfast: scrambled eggs, banana, toast with peanut butter
Snack: Shakeology (superfood shake!), frozen banana
Lunch: diced turkey, hard boiled egg, mixed greens, tomato, cucumber, crackers, cheddar cheese, balsamic dressing
Snack: carrot sticks
Supper: baked pork chop, sweet potato, peas
Snack: apple slices with peanut butter
Breakfast: vanilla Greek yogurt, pineapple, oatmeal
Snack: Shakeology, frozen banana
Lunch: baked chicken breast, mixed greens, onion, tomato, whole wheat bread, honey mustard, cheddar cheese
Snack: carrot sticks
Supper: grilled salmon, jasmine rice, roasted brussels sprouts
Snack: apple slices with peanut butter
If you’d like help figuring out an eating plan that won’t bust your budget, if you’re interested in more info on the portion control system mentioned above, or you’d just like to connect; check out my business page at: https://www.facebook.com/gritandgracewellness/ and send me a message. I look forward to hearing from you!

Staying Sun Safe

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It’s finally July!  Time to head out to the beach and soak up all the sun you can! It’s time to get that gorgeous tan that you have been waiting to get all year long.  But, with the added sun exposure, there is a risk for damage to your skin and eyes.  That is why July has been named UV Safety Awareness month.  It is important that you practice sun safety all year long, not just in the summer.  This will help you avoid getting skin cancer or developing problems with your eyes later in life.

What Harm Can Sun Exposure Cause?

  • Suppress Your Immune System
  • Cause Skin Cancer
  • Prematurely Age Your Skin
  • Cause Vision Problems and Damage Your Eyes

How Can I Protect my Skin?

  • Avoid Sunburn: Contracting a sunburn increases an individual’s risk of developing skin cancer.
  • Go for Shade: Stay out of the sun when, especially during peak burning hours (between 10 am and 4 pm)
  • Cover Up: Wearing a hat or other shade protective clothing can partially protect your skin from harmful UV rays.  Long sleeved shirts and pants are good examples of protective clothing.  Remember to protect your eyes (with sunglasses) and face with a hat. Sun protection is important ALL year long, not just summer.
  • Choose the Right Sunscreen: New sunscreen regulations recommend sunscreen should have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 and protect against both UV A and UV B rays
  • Use the Right Amount of Sunscreen: You need to apply at least 1 ounce (palmful) of sunscreen every 2 hours.  You should apply more often if you are sweating or swimming, even if sunscreen is labeled waterproof

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Other ways to avoid damaging your skin are avoiding tanning beds and sun lamps, because these increase your chances of developing skin cancer!  The American Cancer Society recommends that if you want to have a beautiful tan, then the key is to use sunless tanning lotion, which can provide the tan without the risks of cancer.

Don’t forget, enjoy your summer days, but stay sun safe while you do!

For more information, check out the American Cancer Soceity’s website as well as the Federal Occupational Health’s website.


Thinking About Dieting to Get Ready for Summer?

Today is the first official day of summer!  That means that it’s beach season again, time to go on that new fad diet again…or is it???  Are you tired of dieting again and again and again with no real results?   I have some news for you that the dieting industry doesn’t want you to know:

The thing about fad diets is when you drastically reduce the amount of food you eat, your body thinks it is starving.  As a compensation for when you get into “starving mode” your body converts everything you eat into fat, which is much easier for the body to break own than muscle.  so now, even though you are only eating 600 calories a day of cabbage, it is all being stored as far.  Diets that eliminate carbohydrates or other groups of foods may show results initially, but you will gain that weight back as soon as you begin to eat them again.  Completely eliminating certain food groups from your diet is NEVER a good idea.  The body needs nutrients from all the groups of the food pyramid to function properly.

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Key To Successful Weight Loss

The key to successful weight loss, to getting it off and keeping it off, is a lifestyle change.  This means eating sensibly and making good choices.  Now does that mean you can never have french fries or Krispy Kreme again? No.  It just means that if you have a burger and fries for lunch, you should have a lighter dinner that night.  Try to balance your daily meals so that you do not have a large amount of calories on any given day.  Moderation is key.  Smaller portions and healthier choices are the way to go.

There is one more component to weight loss that people cnostantly over look.  (It involves math, so stay with me).

Weight Loss = Calories Consumed – Calories Burned

In short, if you eat less and exercise more, you will lose weight.  For a healthy lifestyle you need to include an exercise program.  Exercise has many benefits.  It will increase your muscle mass, which will in turn increase your metabolism.  This mean you will burn more calories with everything you do, even when you are watching TV!  Exercise will also increase your muscle tone and help maintain your skin’s elasticity.  This will help prevent flaps of skin from remaining around your body once the weight is lost.  Exercise can be fun.  The important thing is to do what you enjoy.  Go for a walk, ride a bike, swim, roller blade, ta-chi….whatever your passion.  The key is to find an activity that you enjoy and will stick with.  Finding an exercise buddy will also help you stay motivated.

A physical therapist can help you develop an exercise program to fit your needs.  This is especially important if you have a current or have a history of pain/injuries in the past.  It is very easy to do the wrong exercises and exacerbate injuries while exercising if unsupervised. Be sure to consult your doctor or therapist before you begin any exercise program if you have any medical conditions or previous injuries that may prohibit your participation.

For more information on starting healthy eating habits or a new exercise program, contact your doctor or physical therapist for more information!


Blogger: Dr. Sara Morrison, PT/DPT, CDT, FCE, CFT, Cert Dry Needling, Cert FMT

Eating Right for Wound Healing


Most wounds, such as cuts and scrapes will heal quickly if kept free and clean of infection.  More serious wounds however, will require more intervention, energy, vitamin, mineral, protein and fluid intake.  More serious wounds would include bed/pressure sores, broken bones, torn or disrupted soft tissue, and surgical incisions and repairs.  Our food choices and our nutritional status will affect how our bodies heal from wounds, injury and surgical intervention.bandaid

Nutritional Tips:

  • Stay well-hydrated
  • Eat enough calories from a balanced diet of proteins, vegetable, fruits, dairy, and grains
  • Include plenty of protein – aim for 20-30 grams per meal and 10-15 grams per snack
  • Include plenty of vegetable and fruits for needed vitamins and minerals –  if specific requirements are needed see your doctor and registered dietician for information
  • If diabetes is a factor, keeping blood sugar levels under control is very important

Lean and High Quality Proteins keep the immune system strong and aids in wound healing.  It also helps to build muscle and bone tissue.  The size of a deck of cards = about 3 oz = 20-25 grams of protein.

Vitamin C & Zinc are superstars for their roles in healing.  Vitamin C is needed to make collagen which is important for repairing tendons, ligaments and healing surgical wounds.  Zinc helps to keep the immune system strong and helps to build collagen.

Vitamin D & Calcium are great for healing and building bone, but both are needed together because you can’t absorb calcium without Vitamin D.

Fiber will help after injury and surgery because pain medications can cause constipation and bowel issues, so the fiber will help to keep your digestive track moving.

Vitamin A helps to regulate the immune system and protects us from infection.

Vitamin E helps as an antioxidant which neutralizes the free radicals that hurt our immune system function.

Vitamin B6 helps maintain a healthy immune system, and helps our nerve function.

Protein – chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, low-fat cheese, cottage cheese, soy-based foods

Vitamin C– citris fruits, strawberries, kiwi, broccoli, bell peppers

Zinc– meat, fish, poultry, dairy foods, whole grains, beans/peas, nuts   (food sources are best)

Vitamin A– sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, spinach, red bell pepper, eggs

Vitamin E– almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, spinach

Vitamin B6-beans, poultry, fish, dark leafy greens, oranges, cantalope


For more information visit www.eatright.org

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Blogger: Gail L. Fulsom  PTA, NDTR, LMBT



Staying Heart Healthy With Exercise


Everyone has heard that physical activity is beneficial for the heart and circulatory system.  Although many people may not know why this is true, they have heard that physical activity is good for them.

The question remains: why is physical activity good for your heart and preventing heart disease?

Physical activity:

  • Lowers blood pressure, which reduces strain on your heart
  • Increases good cholesterol (HDL), which moves fat away from arteries
  • Can reduce levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) which has the possibility of forming fatty deposits in arteries
  • Helps in weight loss & fat loss
  • Builds up muscle mass
  • Improves circulation, preventing blood clots which lead to heart attacks


So now that we know what physical activity does, how much of it do we need to make a difference?  It is recommended that individuals get 30 minutes of exercise for at least 5 days a week.  It is important that we remember the best exercise for the heart is aerobic activity.  These are exercises that focus on large groups of muscles in the body.  For it to be effective, it is key to raise your heart rate.  It is important to remember to warm up before exercise and take time to cool down at the end of the session.  Examples of aerobic activity are brisk walking, hiking, swimming, running, etc.

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For additional cardiovascular health benefits, you should also include moderate to high intensity muscle strengthening at least 2 days per week.  Examples of muscle strengthening exercises includes push ups, squats, sit ups, bicep curls, etc.

Something to remember is that any exercise is better than none.  If you don’t meet your physical activity requirements for the week, then you should still get some sort of physical activity!  If you’re not currently physically active, then you can build up to longer bouts of exercise to help you meet your goal.


If you have more questions about physical activity and heart health:




Heart Healthy Diet


Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America today.   81 million people have some form of heart disease, which is about 35% of our population, and research suggests that the fatty buildup in the arteries that causes heart disease can start in childhood so heart health is important for everyone!  The good news is that most of the factors that impact our risk for heart disease are controllable.


2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans:

  1. “Follow Healthy eating pattern across your lifespan.”
  2. “Focus on variety of foods, nutrient density of foods, and the amount of foods.”
  3. “Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats, and reduce salt intake.”
  4. “Shift to healthier food and beverage choices.”


Heart Healthy Foods:

Whole Grains/High Fiber– ( look for 3 g fiber/serving, “100% whole wheat flour”) oatmeal, barley, quinoa, millet, bulgar wheat, whole wheat, brown rice, whole grain air-popped popcorn, beans and legumes

Lean Proteins- chicken, turkey, fish, peanut butter/almond butter, beans/legumes, tofu, eggs

Low-fat Dairy- skim milk or 2%, reduced fat cheese and yogurts

Fruits/Vegetables- Pretty much all fruits and vegetable are good for heart health but specifically spinach, tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli, avocados, berries, cantalope, papaya, and oranges.  Make your plate as colorful as possible!!

Healthy Fats – OMEGA-3 is best for heart health!  Use olive oil, flaxseed oil, grapeseed and coanola oil for salad dressings.  Canola, peanut and grapeseed oil for low heat sauteing.  Vegetable, peanut and sesame oil for high heat cooking.

Nuts and Seeds- Walnuts, almonds, pecans, and hazelnuts are great for healthy fats, protein and fiber, just eat sparingly because they are high in calories.  .  Add ground flaxseed into smoothies, cereals and yogurts for a great fiber/Omega 3 combo!!


For more info and ideas check out www.eatright.org and www.heart.org!

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Blogger: Gail L. Fulsom PTA, NDTR, LMBT