Day 1 of Wellness

Let me start out by saying I used to HATE running.  But during graduate school I found myself dabbling here and there with my exercise nemesis.  I ran my first 5K, then my first half marathon which challenged me in a way I had ever been challenged before.  

The more I started hitting the trails, the easier it seemed to be to run faster, longer, and before I knew it I was running 12 miles and enjoying it.  What I hated had turned into a form of movement meditation, and I was grateful to have it in my life.

Now rewind to over a year ago.  I had two half marathons on the books both within a six month period, when I happen to step hard onto a sharp rock right under the ball of my toe. Afterwards I noticed a lingering aching every now and then but being a Physical Therapist I thought with a little ice, rest, and massage I would be fine.

Then I began to train for my second half marathon and BAM! I again landed directly on a sharp rock under the ball of my foot.  Except this time the pain was no longer just achy, it hurt bad.  At this point I should have listened to by body (I know this!!!!) but I didn't.  I ran my half marathon and thought okay now I'll rest for the next three months, that will give it enough time to heal.

Except it didn't.

Instead it was getting worse but not just running, but Pilates, yoga, weight lifting, walking and even when I wasn't doing anything.

So after 9 months I finally went to get imaging done. At my appointment the Ortho I went to explained that he believed I had seasmoiditis and flexor hallicus longus tendonitis (which I had guessed but was hoping wasn't the case).

In layman's terms one of the bones underneath my big toe and the tendon/muscle that is used every time you go up on your toes or pushed off of to talk a step forward was inflamed. 

It was at this point that he told me I could continuing doing any activity I wanted and would just have to deal with the pain.  BUT, if I wanted I could get a cortisone shot to help the inflammation. Well after injecting cortisone directly through the bottom of my foot (let me tell you OUCH!) I knew as a physical therapist that this was just temporary relief and not a cure.

I knew on top of my injuries I must have had kinetic chain issues that arouse from this now chronic injury.  The injection wasn't going to help the muscle imbalances that  had formed, wasn't going to completely get ride of the inflammation and I also knew there would be no way to rest my foot without additional support.

So with a second opinion for a Foot and Ankle specialist that's when I started wearing a CAM Boot.  A Cam boot is like a removable cast that comes up below the knee joint and not only takes the pressure off the toes, but stabilizes the ankle.  This then allowed my foot ankle the true rest it needed to heal.  

I wore this boot for a month before switching to a rocker shoe.  A shoe that relieves pressure from the toes but still allows for ankle moblity.  I work the rocker shoe for an additional month.  After which I solely wore gym shoes with a J Pad insert.  This is a cushioned pad that sticks to the bottom of your boot but has a cut out underneath the big toe joint to relieve pressure under the sesamoid.  

While I rested the foot and ankle I began to focus on the rest of my kinetic chain building up strengthen in my core and hips. I worked with a personal trainer 3 times a week while being extremely careful of body mechanics. 

I myself also went to a physical therapist for Dry Needling.  Dry Needling is a modality used in Physical Therapy to release muscular trigger points and improve muscle efficiency, blood flow and referred pain, just to name a few things.  Although this modality is more invasive than other forms of manual therapy due to the use of filament needles piercing the skin it can provide faster results.

Throughout this whole process I had to be extremely careful reintroducing activity back into my life, as if it caused any pain then I knew I would have to back off. I therefore SLOWLY began progressing walking, Pilates, Yoga and adding safe challenges to my weight lifting exercises with my personal trainer.

One of the problems I struggled with was tightness throughout my right ankle and hip, so once I could practice yoga painfree, I began going to Hot Yoga to help relax the muscles further with the external heat.  It allowed my muscles to warming up faster throughout the practice and helped me tremendously with gaining range of motion.  Even with this though I still had to work on stabilizing the joints in their new ranges motion. 

They story now brings us to this week.  As a trail runner I have never enjoyed running indoors on a treadmill, but no way was I going to risk stepping on a rock again just as I started running again. So in order to progress myself I accepted that form and short distances need to be my focus. Therefore treadmill interval training is the route I am taking.

Although it may not seem like much to some, if you have ever struggled with a chronic injury being able to even participate in an activity you love pain free is a reason to jump up and down for joy. So what was my first interval training session like?

  • 3 minutes of walking (3.0 mph)
  • 1 min of Jogging (6.0 mph) followed by 30 sec jump off treadmill (repeated 4 more times)
  • 6 minutes of walking (3.0 mph)
  • 1 min of Jogging (6.0 mph) followed by 30 sec jump off treadmill (repeated 4 more times)
  • 3 minutes of walking (3.0 mph)

Why is it important for me to train this way?  

For starters, I'm back to being a beginner.  I have to relearn how to breath, rebuild up my strength, rebuild my endurance.  I have to relearn how to manage by posture in a body that I don't have 100% confidence in.  I am still fearful that the pain will return, that I will do something wrong.  But it's the little victories that matter, because as they add up over time that confidence will return.

My relationship with running isn't over, but it is evolving.  I look forward to shortening my rest periods, increasing my speed and learning how to set a solid foundation in the 2-5 mile range.

If any anyone else is struggling with a chronic injury affecting their hobby feel free to contact me for a free discovery visit.  Or check out the free injury reports I now have available for neck pain, back pain and knee pain, as well as keep an eye out for my upcoming ankle report.

You don't have to be alone in your quest to wellness. Yes, it takes patience, time, and dedication to adapt to the ever changing human body, but support is always here at Mindful Matters Wellness.

28 Days of Wellness

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Navigating the world of wellness can lead you down many paths. Deciding which path to stay on can be daunting.  So how do we determine our wellness journey when we find our selves lost?

I challenge those who may be struggling with this question to join me during a 28 Day exploration of wellness.  Each day I will examine a topic of wellness that I feel strong about in order to share, learn and grow from.  

Although I will be covering topics I may be dealing with personally, I encourage everyone who reads these, or participates to take the time to reflect on their own trials, tribulations and triumphs in regard to their personal wellness.  

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I ask this of you, as my intent is to travel not just within my comforts but through the unknown,  unaware of where it will lead. I know this plan is without a clear and concise path but I hope those who follow my journey can embrace the twists, turns, circle arounds, fear and excitement that will unfold, just as I have and am willing to do.

Throughout the 28 days I will be sharing images and captions on Mindful Matters Wellness instagram to help capture each days varying topics.  I will then posts blogs here and at times videos on our youtube page to further divulge into the understanding of that day's path.  

May the road less traveled reveal new insights just as the worn path can reaffirm direction

During the next 28 Days if you have any questions regarding how we at Mindful Matters Wellness can help you with your wellness journey feel free to reach out to me or schedule a Free Discovery Visit.

I hope my 28 Days of Wellness will educate, enlighten, bring laughter or maybe tears not just for myself but for those reading as well, and look forward to the journey ahead.

Free Discovery Visits

Clear Path

The best path to staying active, healthy, mobile or fit is anything but clear.  In fact, it is down right daunting and littered with information, opinions and options that may or may not be right for you.

That is why at Mindful Matters Wellness, we offer free confidential Discovery Visits.  A Discovery Visit gives you access to a highly educated member of our staff and provides you with the opportunity to discuss what is going on with your body in an unbiased, safe, and nonjudgmental space.

Doctor Working

The Discovery Visit is a discussion between you and a Doctor of Physical Therapy where you talk about your past and current health concerns and discuss your goals for future health, mobility and overall wellness.  There are no forms to sign and no obligation to move forward with treatment. It is just a chance to explore different treatment options and to create a plan that will help you meet your goals.

Discovery Visits are perfect for those who have had an injury for so long that they fear it will have to become apart of their life. Or for those who would like to perform better but aren’t sure how to maximize their potential.  It is also for those who have had a bad experience with a health care professional and want a second opinion or new approach.  Or for people who want to try a new form of exercise but might be intimidated by learning something new.  Whatever the reason, we’re here to provide support, solutions and a clear path to success. 

Schedule your Discovery Visit and let us help you down the right path to success

-The Mindful Matters Team

Back, Neck or Knee Pain? What's Bothering You?

Mindful Matters Wellness wants to help you feel better.  We've been working hard to create reports that address the types of pain we commonly treat at Mindful Matters Wellness.  7 Easy Tips to Prevent Knee Pain, 8 Effective Strategies to Ease Back Pain, and 8 Quick Easy Ways to End Neck Pain.

Each report contains tips and advice on easy ways you can help reduce the pain that is bothering you.  They are all written by a Doctor of Physical Therapy and are a great place to start if you feel you want relief but maybe aren't quite ready to commit to physical therapy.

We're extremely excited to share these reports with you. At Mindful Matters Wellness it is our mission to help you live life with less pain.  So let us know, what is hurting you and we'll send you the report, for free.  

 

Yoga and Breath: In The Words Of A Master Yoga Instructor

The Breath is the most important aspect of a yoga practice, as you must maintain a steady rhythmic breath. With a focus on quality, its training can allow you to calm the mind and bring awareness to the present moment. This awareness is in essence the heart of yoga.

Breath is our life-force, it nourishes our cells and our tissues, bringing life into our bodies.  

Human beings breathe on average 15 times every minute of every day, and this respiration fuels the burning of oxygen and glucose producing the energy needed to power every muscle contraction, every heart beat and every mental process.  

Slow, deep breaths stimulate a calm and content state of mind and body.

However, most of the time, we are not aware of our breathing and limit the breath to the chest rather than all the way down to the abdomen.  It is this deep belly breathing that is vital for our overall well being and often times requires retraining in order to return to a full, deep and complete breathing pattern. This is important because breath work is the starting point to breaking the viscous cycle of all stresses, injury or emotional disarray. 

With the practice of yogic breathing the true muscles of respiratory (diaphragm and intercostals) will improve in mobility, strength and ultimate efficiency of gas exchange within the lungs; thus allowing for the purification of the bloodstream, cleansing of the sinuses, soothing the nervous system and calming of the mind.

Full, natural breathing occurs when we can find balance of effort and ease, grounding and surrender, freedom of movement and alignment of postures.

Join Malisia Hopkins during her Slow Flow Vinyasa class Thursdays from 5:30-6:30pm in order to further your personal yoga journey as well as gain a deeper understanding of how to utilize yogic breathing to enhance the quality of practice.

 

If you're interested in taking our Slow Flow Vinyasa Yoga Class and live or travel to the East Side of Milwaukee, then check out Malisia Hopkins at Mindful Matters Wellness Thursdays from 5:30-6:30pm. 

"Yogic breathing may sound complex, but have no worries as I will break it down step by step, simplifying the process in a way that anyone can understand"

With intention to navigate and teach, I hope to see you in class!

XOXO,

Malisia Hopkins

American Dreams Do Come True!

America is a country that has balance, strength, and flexibility, all of which are aspects that work together to provide us with the opportunity to live out our own American Dreams. To honor our work, lives, friends, family and history this Independence Day what better yoga pose to practice other than Eagle Pose.

Benefits of Eagle Pose:

  • Strengthening of the arms, legs, knees and ankles.
  • Creating space between the shoulder blades.
  • Stretching the outer hip muscles and IT band.
  • Increased circulation to all joints.
  • Improved digestion, balance and mental focus.
 

Even though it will have you twisted up like a knot and holding on as hard as you can to not to fall over, you are rewarded when you unwind and find that it’s not just your body that feels untangled, but your mind and spirit as well.

Working hard to achieve a goal is deeply rooted into our country’s history; don’t be afraid of challenging your self.  You may teeter, stumble or fall but take a lesson from our Nation’s past and keep fighting for what you need, believe or want to achieve.

Show your American Pride with Eagle Pose:

  • Begin by standing.
  • Bend both knees then lift your left foot up off the ground and cross your left knee over the right.
  • Squeeze your thighs together while making sure your left toes are pointing down towards the floor.
  • Bring your arms out to your sides while keeping them parallel to the floor.
  • Then cross the right arm over the left at the elbow.  Next bend your elbows so that your forearms are now perpendicular to the floor.
  • Engage the back of your hands so they are touching each other.
  • Then slowly turn the hands so that the palms face each other.
  • Pressing the palms together, stretch the fingers upwards.
  • Keeping your gaze focused on one point in front of you, stay in this pose for 3 full and deep rounds of breaths.
  • To unwind, slowly release the hands and bring them to the side of your body.
  • Raise your left leg and place it back on the floor and slowly come back into Standing. 
  • Then repeat the twist on the opposite side.

Note:

If you have balance difficulty you can skip always perform this seated on the floor or chair and focus on the binding and twisting of the arms.

Or

For an added balance challenge you can float your leg back into warrior three while engaging your arms into the twist.

Join us in class to learn poses like this. We wish you health and happiness this Independence Day.  

Edited By: Jennifer Lavin

Low Sodium Tomato Puree

Excess sodium increases blood pressure because it holds excess fluid in the body, and creates added burden on the heart. Too much sodium can increase your risk of heart failure or stroke, as well as osteoporosis, stomach cancer and kidney disease.

With heart disease topping the list as the leading cause of death in the U.S. everyone should be aware of sodium intake, and the excessive use of sodium in the food and drinks we consume as a culture. 

Did you know that sodium consumption should be limited to 2,300 milligrams, and that this number, which we see on nutrition labels isn’t actually a recommendation for daily allowance but a number established for a safe limit of consumption. Did you also know that the average American’s daily sodium intake is 3,400 milligrams?

Imagine driving on a highway.  The speed limit is 70 mph.  It is established as an upper limit to keep you safe. Would you drive at a speed of 170 mph on a daily basis? No, because it would be dangerous not only for you but could also have devastating affects on those you share the road with. Our bodies are the most important vehicle we travel through life in and we need to be conscientious of the fuel we consume to energize our systems.

That is why it is so important to find ways that connect with you to help change your dietary habits to improve your health.  For me, making homemade recipes allows me to control not only the flavor but the sodium intake as well. If a 28 oz. can of crushed tomato can potentially have more than 1000 mg sodium in and a single teaspoon has 2,325 mg of sodium.  How can we create flavor without extra salt? It’s all about the quality of the tomatoes and making your spice rack work for you.

Low Sodium Tomato Puree

 
 

This recipe is easy to make, freeze and store and can be easily adapted to suit your tastes by using different herbs and spices.  So have fun with it! Watch the blog for more #minfduleating recipes. 

Photo Credit: Zeus Becker

Edited By: Jennifer Lavin

Mindful About Snacking?

When you are following a healthy eating plan, hunger and cravings are probably your biggest barrier to success. When hunger or cravings strike, willpower can disappear and leave you reaching for unhealthy snacks like chocolate, cookie, candy, or chips. Therefore you may notice that you are not losing weight despite your best effort of eating healthy and working out.

If weight loss, or muscle gain is a matter you want to be mindful about, then reaching for a healthy snack will keep you on the right track. PLUS...great news is just because it's healthy and satisfying doesn't mean you have to sacrifice taste. This energy bar is tasty, healthy, convenient still satisfying with it's easily digestible calories and natural sugars.

Making your own energy bars can be a fun and easy way to not only enjoy what you are eating but help you stick to your diet because they help stop hungry pains and cravings dead in their tracks.

Many commercially prepared foods are high in fat, salt, sugar and preservatives. The side effect of food preservatives can range from weight gain to chronic heart and brain diseases.
When we prepare our own food, we know exactly which ingredients, and how much of each, are going into our food.

Cooking at home can jump-start your healthy lifestyle! By discovering healthy recipes, learning about food, creating and sticking to a meal plan, you and your family can be inspired to living a healthy fit life.

If you buy energy or protein bars from the grocery store it may be a convenient, but they are not necessarily conveniently priced. You can potentially save money by buying an entire box of 12 or 24, but if you purchase one bar at a time, you could be paying up to two dollars, or more, just for one bar!

Homemade energy bars are made with your choice of nuts and dried fruits, this way you can avoid any allergies, intolerances or overall dislikes  you have by making them yourself.

No-Bake-Date Energy Bars

Nutrient Information:

Yields: 12 servings. Per Serving: Calories: 270; Carbs 36g; Fat: 13g; Protein: 5g; Fiber: 6g; sugar 23g.

Tips:

  • If using fresh coconut, crack open to remove the white meat inside then shred in a food processor
  • Using your hands instead of a spatula makes it easier to control while mixing. Try rubbing some coconut oil in your hands before mixing to prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands.
  • Place plastic wrap down on the baking sheet before spreading the mixture to allow easier removal of the bars after they have set and cooled.

Ingredient Facts:

  • Dates (or Prunes) Bringing natural sweetness to these energy bars, dates also act as the binder to these bars. Look for whole, large Medjool dates in the produce section of your grocery store. These usually contain pits, so make sure to remove them before adding them to your food processor. Some homemade energy bar recipes suggest soaking the dates to soften before adding them to the food processor, but we found that step unnecessary plus made the bars too sticky. Dates are a good source of various vitamins and minerals, energy, sugar, and fiber plus contain calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and zinc.
  • Oats Due to their high fiber content and antioxidant compounds, oats are unique as they can help remove cholesterol from the digestive system that would otherwise end up in the bloodstream.

  • Coconut and Coconut Oil Using coconut oil adds natural saturated fats in to your diet. Saturated fats not only increase healthy cholesterol (known as HDL) in your body, but also helps convert the LDL, “bad” cholesterol, into good cholesterols. Increasing the HDL's in the body helps promote heart health, and lower the risk of heart disease. Using fresh coconut meat helps to restore oxidative tissue damage and contains a source of healthy fats, proteins, and various vitamins and minerals.

  • Seeds High in fiber, vitamin E and monounsaturated fats, seeds can help keep our hearts healthy and improve our immune system as well as provide great sources of protein, minerals, zinc and other life-enhancing nutrients.

Enjoy & Happy Eating! Check the blog often for #mindfuleating recipes. 

Welcome Kathleen Keegan!

Having taught yoga classes and yoga teacher trainings for over 10 years, Kathleen brings amazing knowledge of anatomy and modifications to her sequencing in order to create a positive movement experience for every client, no matter the level of experience. 

Grateful to be able to share the positive benefits of yoga to all those who take her classes, Kathleen is also an avid traveler.

With her favorite destination being Jamaica, she enjoys brining the relaxed and easy going island culture to the Milwaukee yoga scene to provide an escape from the everyday grind.

Her love of yoga shines brightly through her teaching style, and if you want to start your mornings off feeling centered, energized and at peace, you will love her Morning Yoga Flow, which is now on our class schedule.

Want a Sneak Peak of one of Kathleen's Classes?

Check out our newest video below of one of Kathleen's Morning Yoga Flow Classes.  Her use of imagery will guide you through each pose and take you on a journey to peace, ligh and harmony!

So come check out Kathleen's classes! We know you'll enjoy her style as much as we do!

-The Mindful Matters Wellness Team

Mindful Matters Wellness Welcomes Kathleen Keegan As Our Newest Yoga Instructor. Register for her classes at www.mindfulmatterswellness.com/class-schedule

Welcome Zeus Becker!

 

Teaching classes as a Yoga Instructor, Zeus' passions of yoga, fitness, healthy living and healthy cooking brings amazing energy and positivity to our center!

As a world traveler, Indonesian style trained masseuse, and personal chef, Zeus has a flair for life that not only shines brightly through her soul but is  contagious to all those around her.

With her Hatha Flow Yoga, Deep Stretch Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga Classes now on our class schedule, clients will be able to enjoy her personal approach to teaching, and will leave feeling supported and relaxed. 

Interested in learning more about Zeus's teaching style?

Lucky for you...we created a video from Zeus' most recent class at Mindful Matters Wellness for your viewing pleasure.

Zeus uses hands on assists, essential oils and props to guide her students through her sequences in order to complete their journey with a blissful meditative practice at the end of every class.

So come check out Zeus, and her class schedule! We know you'll enjoy her style as much as we do!

-The Mindful Matters Wellness Team

Mindful Matters Wellness is exicted to welcome Zeus Becker to our Team as one of our newest Yoga Instructors. To register for her classes go to www.mindfulmatterswellness.com/class-schedule