Running Tips to Avoid Injury

running cartoon

Going for a run, eh?  Whether a race or just for recreation, make sure you follow these tips to stay healthy and injury-free!


  1. Perform a dynamic warmup. This does not mean jogging a little slower for the first few minutes of any run. A dynamic warmup involves active movement of large muscle groups in order to wake them up and prepare them for the challenge of running. See examples below.
  1.  Stretch. After running, be sure to include static stretching. This means stretching out the muscles without active movement. For adequate stretching, perform each for at least 30 secs, twice. See examples below.
  1.  Cross train. A good warmup before and stretch session after aren’t the only tools in your injury-prevention toolbox. Cross-training is vital to keep your hips and core (abdominals and back) muscles strong. Try other forms of exercise like swimming, biking, yoga, and strength training to help stave off common running-related injuries.


Dynamic warmup exercises: high skipping, grapevine, squats, hip hikes, trunk rotations and leg swings.


Static Stretches: hamstring stretch, hip flexor stretch,IT-Band stretch, and the piriformis stretch.


 Cross Training Exercises: clamshells (for hip and glute strength), bridges, side lying hip abductions, towel scrunches (foot strength) and lots more!



Thank you for your awesome advice and demonstrations Claudia Burns!







-Jenna Willey

The Benefits of Swimming!

Swim Pic

                  Its summertime and we are fortunate to live in Maine where we have plenty of swimming options to cool off! From the ocean, to rivers, pools, and our many lakes we are able to take a dip just about anywhere. Not only is it refreshing to cool off, its fun to swim and it is also beneficial for our health. I know when I go swimming it feels good to flutter my feet in the water and after a little while I feel tired without realizing how much exercising I actually did.  By swimming in the water you have less pressure on your feet and joints but an increase in resistance from the water. Swimming is a great way to build muscle strength, stretch out any tight muscles, and gain more flexibility without putting too much stress on your skeletal system. Swimming is an aerobic exercise which means it is a cardio workout. Aerobic exercising helps lower bad cholesterol, strengthen the heart, and uses multiple muscles at once. “American Heart Association reports that just 30 minutes of exercise per day, such as swimming, can reduce coronary heart disease in women by 30 to 40 percent.” The general rule, depending on what swimming stroke you prefer, is for every 10 minutes of swimming you can burn from 60-150 calories. Wow, I bet the swimmers who are signed up for the 2014 YMCA Peaks to Portland Swim have been practicing for Saturday! The course is 2.4 miles long from Peaks Island to the East End Beach in Portland and occurs this Saturday, July 12th.  It’s going to be a fun event and an inspiring one too!  Go cheer them on, but if you’re busy try to go swimming this weekend and soak up all the great benefits!




-Jenna Willey





Gardening With Less Groaning


         It’s that time of year to plant and maintain the gardens but are you approaching your garden with proper body mechanics? Try to think about how you are positioning your body before weeding your garden all day. Are you bending over from the back or are you squatting down using your hips and knees? Save yourself from back pain and bend from your hips and knees. Try to remember to kneel down either on one knee or use your elbow for support in order to keep your back straight and core braced. Look above at the four options shown in the photo, they are all great gardening positions to avoid groaning! You may want to consider wearing knee pads or place a towel underneath your knees for more support. Another important aspect is to warm up before a garden session. Take a walk around the block, do some light arm circles and stretches. Try to be aware of how long you are out in the garden even if you can’t get enough of it; take a break, drink some water and change your position or project, so you stay loose and avoid soreness the next day!


-Jenna Willey

Foam Rollers!

PPT Foam Bros

FOAM Rollers!

Do you know all the great benefits of a Foam Roller? At Back In Motion Physical Therapy foam rollers are often used to help with posture and bringing back those shoulders by laying on it along your spine but you can do a lot more with foam rollers. For example if you ever have tight muscles, you can use a foam roller to roll out the muscles and bring relief to that area. Sometimes you have to get uncomfortable and roll out that IT Band that runs along the side of your leg from your hip to your knee. The IT Band is a large contributor to stabilizing the knee and it is important to not let it tighten up too much because it could cause some pain. Yes, it is not my favorite thing to do either but after I roll out my IT Band I feel instant relief from the tight muscle! By applying pressure from the foam roller it is releasing blood flow which brings more oxygen to the tight muscles and helps take away the tension! Another way to use a foam roller is for a core workout. If you lay your spine along  the foam roller and tighten up your core, try marching your legs one at a time. You can feel your core working hard to keep you stable on the roller. It is fun and protects your neck from those awkward crunches. Try it out and check out the link above for more tips on rolling out different muscles!






-Jenna Willey



Smoothie Time!!

Green Smoothie


Who loves smoothies?! I know I do and they are fun to make! There are hundreds of yummy recipes that will cater to your taste buds and bring you healthy benefits. Depending on what types of smoothies you like, you also can consume the majority of your recommended daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. By making your own smoothies you can avoid any unnecessary man-made chemicals and start detoxifying your body instantly. Get creative, try out different combinations from bananas, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, spinach, kale, carrots, apples, peanut butter, cocoa powder, pumpkin, cinnamon, coconut and much more. Another great aspect about smoothies is that you can make them dairy free and gluten free by replacing milk or yogurt with almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk etc. The amounts of health benefits are endless from drinking smoothies. If you make smoothies a part of your diet you may notice easier digestion, weight loss, glowing skin, more energy, sharper brain function, a healthier immune system, and stronger muscles from the easy absorption process of all the vitamins and minerals. My favorite recipe is a green smoothie that is soooo simple! I use one or two bananas, depending on how hungry I am with a cup of spinach, about 8 ounces of vanilla almond milk, a few tablespoons of shredded coconut and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Before you cringe at the idea of a green smoothie give it a chance because it all blends into a sweet delicious healthy smoothie!


Have a good weekend!!


-Jenna Willey

Patient Appreciation June 2014 Events!



Come join Back in Motion Physical Therapy next week for our month of June Patient Appreciation Day Events!! We will be offering delicious Donuts and Coffee from 7:30-10:00 am in each of our three clinics on the following days!

On Wednesday June 25th,  come visit us at our South Portland clinic for an early morning treat!

On Thursday June 26th, come visit us at our Gorham clinic for a delightful breakfast!

On Friday June 27th , come visit us at our Portland clinic for our final yummy morning of Donuts and Coffee!

Everyone loves Donuts and Coffee, stop by and say hello we would love to see you!!

Have you Got your dose of “Vitamin N” Today?



You might be wondering “What is ‘Vitamin N’?” or “Where do I get ‘Vitamin N’?” Well, it is FREE and it is right outside your door! This vitamin is obtained solely through the time you spend outdoors because ‘N’ stands for Nature. I love getting outdoors because it’s fun and it’s my own personal time away from a busy world. Being outdoors clears my mind and allows me to relax whether I’m at the beach, snowboarding, summiting a mountain, or reading on the front porch. Spending time in nature has been clinically proven to reduce stress, increase our attention spans, spark creativity, and boost healing along with happiness. Yes, Maine weather can be unpredictable but it is technically summertime now and I know when I take a walk on my lunch break I feel refreshed for the rest of the afternoon. Try to spend at least thirty minutes to an hour outdoors every day. Whether it is lounging in a lawn chair, walking the dog, biking, or flying a kite, you will reap the health benefits of “Vitamin N”! So clear your mind, leave your cell phones behind and have fun enjoying nature!

-Jenna Willey

Let’s Go, H2O!

The spring time is coming here in Maine…well, it could come faster but as soon as March hits I pretend like it’s already warm. When warmer weather is on the way it really encourages me to be healthier than ever. One thing I’m really bad at (and I’ve mentioned this in previous blogs) is drinking water. There is nothing like a glass of fizzy soda or the caffeinated coffee pick-me-up first thing in the morning… and again around 2pm. While the coffee is okay once in awhile, soda really has no health benefit at all.

How often do you find yourself drinking water throughout the day? This is one of my biggest downfalls and I know there are other people out there who are in the same boat.

Did you know you should be drinking half your body weight (in ounces)  of water each day?

That means I’m supposed to drink about 8-9 cups of water per day. It seems like a lot but I guarantee you will feel so much healthier once you start making this change in your life. It also helps in weight loss if that’s something you’re shooting for.

For those of you who prefer some flavor in your water:

This site has a lot of neat recipes for flavored water and they’re delicious!

For those of you who “forget” to drink your water:

This thing is crazy but AWESOME! It actually keeps track of your hydration via your smart phone! It’s amazing what our world is coming to!



Dairy Milk vs. Milk Alternatives

So my New Years Resolution was to start eating a healthier diet. Not necessarily to lose weight but to make healthier food choices and feel better overall. I have mostly cut out soda (which is HUGE for me), I’ve only had one glass in three weeks! And surprisingly I haven’t had many cravings. I’ve been drinking a lot more water with lemon which I feel has helped keep off the cravings.

But here is my larger struggle: I’m a die-hard dairy fan. Who isn’t? Milk, cream, cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, icee cream, basically anything with dairy in it satisfies my every dream…except for the heavy bloated feeling I get afterwards. I was eating all these dairy products and it was messing with my digestive system and making me feel disgusting every day. Yet I continued to torture my body just so my taste buds would be happy. I finally decided it needs to stop. Dairy is good for you in moderation but the word “moderation” wasn’t a part of my dairy-eating style.

So on this “Healthier Me” road I’ve started playing with different types of Milk. Honestly, it freaks me out a little. I could never just drink straight up soy milk or almond milk…something about it doesn’t seem right.  However I’ve convinced myself I need to go on a healthier road so I started drinking almond milk and/or soy milk in my smoothies, oatmeal and lattes. It actually tastes quite delicious. Then I realized that I don’t even know if these alternative milks are healthy for me or not. I just HEAR that they’re healthy… and they’re in the “healthier looking section” of the grocery store so it must be good. 

I looked a little further into it and found this interesting article. And low and behold, like everything else, there are pro’s and con’s to each type of milk. Why can’t we find a food (that isn’t a vegetable) that is straight up just AMAZING for you in every way possible? Like chocolate for instance. But back to milk: Check out the article to see what milk alternative or if dairy milk is the right choice for you!


What’s Your New Years Resolution?

It’s almost the start of 2014! A New Year means new beginnings and the start to a BETTER YOU!

Do you remember what your resolutions were for 2013? If so, did you accomplish your goals? The New Year is a great time to start new goals or dream new dreams but people often make the mistake of making their goals too out of reach. Many of us have a goal to lose weight, starting exercising or just eating better overall. These are wonderful resolutions but they need to be REALISTIC!

With all the health insurance changes this is the perfect year to kick yourself back into gear. Many companies offer more affordable health plans if you’re a healthy individual. Pay less for health insurance, make less doctor visits AND feel better about yourself? I really can’t find a better reason, so start making those resolutions! Here are some tips to get you where you want to be:

1) Set small goals that are reachable: If you need to lose 50 lbs to be at a healthy weight, don’t make your target 50lbs. Set a goal of 5-10lb loss first. This is a much more attainable goal and once you find you CAN lose the weight you’re much more likely to stick with your resolution!

If you’re trying to eat healthier it’s very difficult to get up one day and change your diet completely. I’ve tried it a hundred times and it usually lasts 2-3 days…sometimes only to the afternoon. First, try changing out one meal to a healthier choice. Breakfast is extremely important to kick start your day. People who eat breakfast are more likely to lose weight/maintain a healthy weight because they’re kick starting their metabolism.  So why not swap out that Dunkin’ Donut breakfast sandwich for oatmeal, eggs or a smoothie?

2) Be SPECIFIC: Don’t make your resolution, “I want to lose weight.” Thats great, lose one pound and you’re done! Set a target weight or inches to lose so you know exactly what you’re working towards.

Trying to healthy? What does “healthy” mean to you? Choose foods that you want to/should eat more of (lean proteins, fruits, veggies, whole wheat) and foods you want to eat less of. DON’T DEPRIVE YOURSELF. Allow yourself to have a cookie once in a while, small indulgences every so often will help you stay on track. You just need to be able to eat ONE cookie and not five.

3) Set a time/date: If you set your goal out too far away you’re less likely to meet it. For example, I wanted to lose weight for a friends wedding and it was about 6 months away. I kept saying “I’m going to lose 20 lbs before the wedding.” My goal should have been, “I’m going to lose 5 lbs a month” That would have held me more accountable. There were too many times where I said, “Well, I still have 3 months left, I’ll be fine.” Low and behold, I did not lose the weight I wanted to. Blah.

4) Make it a competition: If you’re a competitive person this is the way to go. If you want to start working out again find a work out buddy. This will be the person who will make you go on the days you don’t want to and visa-verse. Make a goal of how many times you want to work out per week…. if you know your partner went one more time then you you’re going to feel guilty. It’s a great way to hold yourself accountable.

5) Make a Visual Board: This may sound childish but it really does help. Write down your goals in a place you can see. Your kitchen, your bedroom, or maybe right next to the television. Put pictures of you when you were at your goal weight, a celebrity or someone your find inspirational. inspirational quotes, and maybe a box to check off each time you reach a target. However, DONT COMPARE YOURSELF TO ANYONE. Everyone’s body and mind is different.

6) Make it FUN!: I hate running…I’ve personally just never enjoyed it so I don’t include it in my workouts. If you set a goal that includes things your don’t enjoy you’re never going to meet your resolution! You need to find substitutes. Try different classes and activities that you think you might enjoy. You’re bound to find something. If you hate kale, eat more spinach. Don’t make yourself do things you don’t like. You have to be creative! A personal trainer is also a great way to go if you can afford it. When you reach a goal, reward yourself but not with food!  Go buy those shoes you’ve been wanting or buy some new workout clothes. (You’re more likely to hit up the gym if you like your outfit!)


“The only person you should be better than is the person you were yesterday”-unknown


Make 2014 the year you finally meet your resolutions! No matter what they are, big or small, they’re important to you and can lead you to a better life. Cheers!