By: Dr. Stephanie Duffey
I had heard from many women, books, and blogs that the 2nd trimester is like the light at the end of the brutal tunnel that is the 1st trimester. And those sources were pretty spot on! The new burst of energy and feeling pretty much "normal" has been wonderful. Fatigue still comes and goes, but that is way better than nausea, plus it forces me to be diligent with my bedtime...which is always a goal of mine.
There are two things I've been focusing on at this point in my pregnancy:
Staying active has always been an important part of my life. Exercise (especially running) is my outlet for relieving stress, so now, it's more important than ever before for me to stay consistent with my goal of staying active.
Additionally, there is so much research that supports exercise during pregnancy, and I'm a research junkie because of my training as a PT. Prenatal exercise benefits both mom and baby, improves the labor and delivery experience, is correlated with higher APGAR scores (which means the baby is healthy, strong, and responsive at birth), and can reduce pregnancy-related complications like hypertension and gestational diabetes. It also makes me feel good, so staying active is a no-brainer!
Now, the thing that has changed is what I'm doing for my exercise. With all the changes going on in my body, my activity has had to change as well. Honestly, running and high impact moves haven't sounded good throughout this pregnancy. And now that the baby bump is growing, impact activity causes pressure in my lower abdomen that just doesn't feel so hot. I've found other ways to get exercise and have focused on yoga (hip openers feel amazing!), strength training, core work, and low impact cardio. FabHIIT at FabYOUlous Fitness has been an awesome class that combines cardio, strength, and core. By doing this, I've been able to stay relatively pain free and feel good.
There are always ups and downs on any journey. Right now, I'm thankful to be having more ups than downs. There has been excitement with getting the nursery ready, finding out our baby is a boy, seeing the baby bump grow, and feeling him move. Empower Physio and Wellness is doing great as well and it is so fun to see my clients share in this excitement with me.
These principles of staying active and listening to your body apply to the non-pregnant person as well. This is the foundation of living a healthy, injury-free lifestyle!
Questions or comments? Comment below or let's chat.
By: Dr. Stephanie Duffey
If you’re a serious runner, you probably go through shoes pretty quickly (I know I do!) Or if it’s been a while since you’ve replaced your shoes (over 300-500 miles) it’s probably time to consider a new pair. But before you do, READ THIS POST! I’ll share my tips for identifying the right type of shoe for you based on the level of pronation in your feet.
What is Pronation?
Let me start by saying, pronation is NOT a bad thing–it’s normal and it occurs when your foot absorbs shock as it makes contact with a surface. Pronation is essentially the natural process your arch follows from a lifted position, to a flattened position when you’re walking or running. When selecting the proper running shoe, you’ll want to pay close attention to your gait, which can show a pattern of neutral pronation, over-pronation, or supination (under-pronation).
Causes: Excessive, or over-pronation is when you pronate too much, too quickly, or stay in pronation for too long. This could happen naturally if you have flatter feet.
Symptoms: You could be experiencing tendinitis, shin splints, runner’s knee, or plantar fasciitis.
Shoe Recommendations: You’ll need a pronation control or stability shoe. The inner part of the shoe should have a thicker material to support you. You may consider brands like Brooks and 361. You can also try an insert for additional support (I like Powersteps), however don't just jump to inserts right away. When your running or walking shoe is properly selected, it should give you enough support.
Causes: Under-pronation, or supination occurs when you have a more rigid foot that isn’t absorbing shock as well as it could be. This could happen naturally if you have a higher arch.
Symptoms: You may be experiencing general joint aches and pains.
Shoe Recommendations: You’ll need a nice, cushiony shoe that’s shock-absorbent. You could explore New Balance, Hoka, and Mizuno shoe brands.
No matter what level of pronation you have, I recommend going to a shoe store where they watch you walk or run on a treadmill to see how your foot looks and feels in a shoe. Make sure you’re comfortable. When you find a shoe that you like, stick with it, but I’ll caution you to pay attention to the shoe production quality over time. Often, companies will switch up the production and this can definitely make a difference.
This post should help you find a running shoe that’s right for you! Need help identifying your foot type and what type of shoe would be best for you? Let’s chat!
By: Dr. Stephanie Duffey
Have you ever heard the expression, “You can’t pour from an empty cup?” When I was taking a yoga class the other day, the teacher mentioned this when we were holding a stretching posture for a particularly long time. While I was uncomfortable, her words really resonated with me.
All-too-often, we don’t take the time to slow down and take care of ourselves. This is especially true when it comes to our fitness routines. A lot of people focus on the hard stuff, but the recovery time is equally important because that’s when your muscles rebuild from the intense workouts. There are actual chemical changes that happen in your body to help rebuild your muscles and if you skip out on slowing down, you’re not getting the maximum benefit from your workouts. Proper self-care reduces your risk of injury, helps you feel healthy and strong, and is great for overall mental health.
My key tip for showing yourself some love is to focus on recovery. This means getting enough sleep, fueling your body with nutritious food, staying hydrated, and incorporating stretching into the mix.
Remember, workouts don’t always have to be so intense, they can be enjoyable too. Listen to your body and if you aren’t feeling it, slow down and recognize that the recovery time will be better for you in the long run.
If you need a little inspiration, here are a few of my favorite ways to practice self-care:
I hope this encourages you to find a productive way to slow down and nurture your body. Need help developing a self-care plan? Let’s chat!
By: Dr. Stephanie Duffey
One of the reasons I founded Empower Physio and Wellness was to help improve the quality of life for my clients! That’s why I’m excited to introduce the new “Client Spotlight.” Every other month, I’ll showcase a client I’ve worked with and how together, we’ve help them knock their goals out of the park. I hope this gives you a bit of inspiration—I know it keeps me inspired to keep working hard! Here’s my Q+A with Gabby
What caused you to seek treatment?
I was experiencing outer knee pain every time I ran over four miles, not to mention my back would hurt when I slept in on the weekends. I was worn out, tired of running, and tired of the pain. I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to continue running and working out the way that I had been, so I sought help from Dr. Steph. In addition to treating my injuries, she’s also helping me train for the Flying Pig Half Marathon in May and live a healthier lifestyle overall.
What did you learn about your injury?
Dr. Steph determined that I had an IT band problem, as well as issues with my core. I described my issues to her, and she told me what was wrong and what to do to fix it. We started out using simple breathing techniques, and have continued to build on that.
What was unique about your treatment?
When we started working together, Dr. Steph immediately understood where I was coming from, being a runner herself. Usually doctors will tell you to stop running, which doesn’t fix the problem, it only avoids it.
Tell us, what’s your favorite thing about Empower Physio & Wellness?
Dr. Steph is very encouraging and helps me improve each week and progress with my exercises. She’s always willing to work around my schedule and you can tell she truly cares about her clients. She does whatever she can to help us live a healthier lifestyle and workout with no pain.
How are you progressing?
Since October, I have no pain in my knee or in my back. Running four or more miles is not a problem anymore, and I feel that running the half marathon will be pain-free. The movements are difficult, but I am continually getting better each time I do them.
What are you looking forward to achieving in the future?
I’m excited to start running greater distances again and look forward to my training. We’re working hard to improve my times for the half marathon and I’m confident I’ll be able to PR.
Would you recommend Empower Physio & Wellness to your friends?
Definitely! Dr. Steph understood my goals and knows what it will take to make that happen. I feel confident that physical therapy with her has improved my mood, my movement and my training. It’s a joy to work with her and see where we are progressing.
Inspired by Gabby's story? Let’s chat about how I can help you achieve your goals!
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