Breaking the Pattern

Breaking the Pattern

Breaking the Pattern

Human beings are routine and patterned based species. We like things that are predictable and stable. This is because the more routine-based our lives our, the less cognitive activity it takes to complete a task and we preserve more energy as a result. This natural tendency to create routine is due to our body’s biological desire to self-preserve.

 

However, this also means that we are at risk of getting stuck in a pattern and routine that may not actually be good for us in the long haul. We can become so rigid and develop “black-or-white” thinking to our routines and habits, that we can lose sight of what is actually good for ourselves, what is truly necessary to complete tasks, and will actually benefit us in the long run.

 

This can be confusing because you’ll hear trainers, coaches and professionals state that “consistency is key” and YES consistency is key. You generally cannot improve a skill if you do not practice it. But when coaches say consistency, they mean Consistency as in, the type of exercise movement you do, not necessarily the duration of exercise you do. They do not want you to consistently try to keep up with an exercise routine that you genuinely do not like or that no longer fits into your daily living anymore.

 

Let’s provide an example:

Let’s say you are training for a 5k race. You train 3 days a week and hit a plateau. You decide to switch it up a bit and aim for 4-days a week for two weeks…and guess what, you finally hit your 5k goal! Now, fast forward four months and you’re still running 4-days a week since it got you to your goal before. But suddenly, you’re finding that you are no longer hitting your goals and in fact, you’re exhausted and unmotivated to keep running. Essentially, your burnt out. Rather than telling yourself that perhaps going from 3-days of training to 4-days of training helped improve your time was due to variables, such as the novelty effect (the tendency to improve when introduced to a new routine, exercise, etc.), your daily living schedule allowed you to actively participate in 4 days a week, or you were excited and had a deadline, you instead tell yourself that if you do anything less than 4-days a week of training, then you can’t reach your goals. This “4-days of training” a week has become your new “workout routine rule.”

 

Your inner dialogue may sound like this:

  • “3 days isn’t enough.”
  • “That you can’t get reach your goals with anything less than training 4 days a week of training.”
  • You start to put times to your workouts and tell yourself “you’ll only get in a good workout by training an hour each workout session.”

 

What happened was that your brain started to subconsciously create rules for itself since it repeatedly saw improvements in such a short period of time, so it did not trust to break the pattern.  That and, it is human nature to tell ourselves that we need to “do more” than “do less.”

 

However, simply because 4-days of training or 1-hour long workouts, or any other rule you have established for yourself, worked for you at one moment in time, does not mean that is now the only way to train.

 

Some questions to ask yourself to see if you’ve been trapped in the “rule” thinking mindset:

  1. What habits or routines have you created for yourself that tell you, “the workout will only count, or is “worth it”, IF I do (fill in the blank such as: workout for an hour, workout 3 days a week, run 10 miles a week, etc.)?
  2. What habits or routines may have worked well for you at one point, but no longer fit into your daily life now?

 

Your brain created a rule because first, it preserves energy that way by taking the thinking out of the planning and secondly, because we are often our own worst critics and tell ourselves that in order to “have a good workout” or “accomplish a certain task,” then we must do (fill in the blank), even at the expense of our happiness.

 

Break the rules a little. Switch it up. The only constant is change. And change can be good for yourself.

 

 

For more exercises check out our YouTube Channel:

Pulmonary Performance Institute

 

 

 

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The easiest way to motivate any child or teen is to make it social. Teens in particular (ages 12 and older) need to socialize with their friends. We realize that doing so challenging right now, but online platforms are great resources.  Maintaining socialization/a sense of community is a way for teens  to release stress, decrease anxiety, learn about themselves, connect with others going through similar experiences, as well as helps facilitate some autonomy. While socialization is also important for children (12 and younger), children often don’t mind participating with their parents or siblings and thrive on competition and game-like activities. Children want to compete and face challenges with others. They are still constantly learning new activities and ways to move. It’s an important time to learn to take-turns, develop strength and endurance, and learn basic competition/sport rules, like winning and losing like a “team player.”

We have some tips for you to help motivate your child/teen when working out at home!

  • Workout with friends using online platforms: Download a workout to follow and call in a friend(s) to do it together!
  • Schedule in the workouts: pick a similar time, 3 days a week for 30 minutes to workout. Try not to rely on, “we’ll wait and see” to plan a workout, because life is often hectic and other things will take its place.
  • Create month long competitions with friends and/or family: Print out some calendars and make a month long competition with prizes! Some ideas:
    • Track who can do the most push-ups, squats, etc. in a month
    • Track who can walk the most miles
    • Track who can run the most miles
    • Track who does the most 30 minute workouts a week
  • Create daily exercise challenges
    • Pair exercises with times and/or counts and see who can do the most in a set amount of time, or who can get the highest count before needed a rest
  • Switch it up: getting outside, dog walks, house cleaning, dancing, yoga, etc. all count!
    • There are many ways to fit in movement and it does not always have to be a pre-planned workout

By: Nicole Ezcurra, CF-SLP

PPI Youth Division

 

For more exercises check out our YouTube Channel:

Cystic Fibrosis Fitness Institute 

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Protect Your Vocal Folds: The Little Muscles That Give you a Voice!

As a Speech Language Pathologist, I have been curious about the impact’s cystic fibrosis, COPD, and other respiratory illnesses have on vocal quality.

Having been around the CF community for a couple of years, I know that CF can impact numerous organ systems that require consistent medical attention. I know that vocal quality could potentially be impacted due to chronic coughing, yet it is not usually detrimental to one’s overall health.

Your voice says a lot about who you are and allows you to express yourself. A reduced vocal quality can impact your ability to work, as some individuals rely on their voice for their career (e.g., teaching, coaching, singers), it can create challenges in feeling comfortable expressing oneself, as well as can be painful and frustrating to experience.

After reaching out to the CF community, I have learned that vocal quality is a concern form some. Examples that came back from the CF community were:

  • Feeling like one had a reduced vocal range: sometimes following TOBI and/or after post-transplant
  • Reduced volume, specifically at the top end
  • Sinuses impacting vocal quality
  • Loss of voice when tired and sick, and sometimes waking up without a voice
  • Raspy, deep voice: this was seen as both a pro and a con

It is important to note that the following information is only general information and should not be considered a treatment approach, but simply as recommendations to support vocal health.

Why is the voice impacted by CF?

Sound is produced when the air from the lungs is pushed between the vocal folds (two elastic structures in your larynx). Sufficient pressure is needed to cause them to vibrate.

The vibration is what produces voice/sound.

Breathing provides the force to initiate and sustain vocal ford vibration.

Reduced air pressure = reduced volume and ability to speak at longer sentences

Having a chronic respiratory illness, like CF or COPD, can severely impact your lung volume, which reduces the amount of sufficient air needed to build the pressure between the vocal folds to increase the volume of sound.

Voice Quality Symptoms resulting from CF:

  • Dysfunctions in vocal fold movement due to the build-up of mucus on the vocal folds and chronic coughing.
  • Medications that cause dry mouth/reduced saliva
    • For example: TOBI is an inhaled medication. Inhaling medications can cause dryness, swelling, and irritation. Small traces of medication can get left of the vocal folds causing inflammation. This inflammation can result in a hoarse voice, croaking voice, breathy voice, and/or loss of voice.
  • Lung Transplants
    • Insufficient lung capacity
    • Increased risk for gastroesophageal reflux (GER), which can cause inflammation to vocal folds if you have experienced GER for a long period of time
    • Intubation during lung transplants causes increased risk for dysphonia (spasms of the vocal folds) and laryngeal stenosis (narrowing of the airway)

 

 

 

Research findings specifically focused on vocal quality and CF: (you are not alone!)

  • Reduced vocal intensity (loudness)
  • Increased levels of jitter and shimmer (excessive movement of vocal folds during sound production)
  • Increased roughness, breathiness and weakness of vocal quality
  • Increased dysphonia (dysfunction of vocal fold movements) causing a strained and strangled voice quality, and can cause no voice at times
  • Impacts women more than men
  • Phonotrauma to vocal folds (vocal fold abuse) due to: medications, reflux, and chronic coughing

 Okay, enough about “why” the voice changes, and time to get to Three Tips!

1)Vocal Hygiene

  1. Hydration is the most important thing you can do for your vocal folds!
  • What’s recommended?
    • 2 liters of water/day: more than 62 oz a day
      • Drink water after coughing to rehydrate vocal folds
    • Use Glycerin Lozenges (halls, gummy bears)
    • Reduce gum intake / chewing = it hyper stretches the vocal fold muscles
    • Monitor caffeine and alcohol intake
    • Gould’s gargle routine
      • ½ tsp sea salt
      • ½ tsp baking soda
      • ½ tsp honey or maple syrup
      • 1 cup warm water
      • Gargle silently for 5 minutes

2) Respiratory training – for your vocal folds!

  1. Avoid whispering … seems contrary, right? Whispering actually makes your vocal folds work harder
  2. Relax your throat muscles and shoulders
  3. Diaphragmatic breathing (belly breathing)
    1. Breathe from the diaphragm, keep your muscles relaxed.
    2. Let your volume increase gradually instead of all at once
  • Speak as you exhale
    1. Inhale into abdomen, keep tongue on floor of mouth (relax tongue), lips gently closed
    2. Exhale from abdomen and gently exhale with “s” or “sh” sounds
    3. Do 5 breaths per day
  1. Singing is helpful!
    1. You expand the lungs more and exhale in a more prolonged way
    2. Have something to say but feel that your voice just isn’t quite right? Try saying it in a toon.

3) Reach out to a speech language pathologist for more specialized treatment approaches if it is an area of concern and/or symptoms are worsening

 Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

 

By: Nicole Ezcurra, CF- SLP, LSVT

 

For more exercises check out our YouTube Channel: Cystic Fibrosis Fitness Institute 

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Intrinsic motivation is something that develops over time. Kids don’t yet have the cognitive abilities to grasp the concept that, “exercising is good for physical and mental health.” The understanding that by “doing something good for your body now, your future self will thank you,” is far too abstract. Kids don’t live for the future, they live for the here and now.

By the time children are in high school and/or go through puberty, those high order thinking cognitive processes begin to develop. However, social obligations and a sense of figuring out one’s own identify often trump the desire to be consistently active for one’s own physical and/or mental health purposes.

Sports certainly help, as they play a role in encouraging healthy competitiveness within oneself and others, as well as promotes team building and social opportunities that child and young adults actively seek out. However, not every kid plays a sport or has the health opportunities to actively participate in one. So, how do we encourage motivating?

 

There are two types of motivation: intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. Some will say, intrinsic motivation is ideal because it creates long lasting effects on one’s drive and purpose to reach a goal. The definition of intrinsic motivation is, “behavior that is driven by internal rewards.” Extrinsic motivation is the opposite. Extrinsic motivation is defined as, “behavior that is motivated to perform an activity to receive an award or avoid punishment.”

 

When starting to increase your child’s motivation to exercise, extrinsic motivation is the “easiest” way to go. When young, a child/teen is beginning to develop his/her own sense of motivation and enjoyment from exercising, something that is not going to happen overnight. Fortunately, exercising regularly will naturally contribute to developing intrinsic motivation, as it increases the feel-good happy chemicals in your brain (serotonin, dopamine, endorphins). But, habits do take time, so here are three tips to increase your child’s motivation to exercise!

  1. Reward System

There are often mixed reactions to implementing a reward system. However, a reward system is not something to frown about when working on establishing a foundation for positive behaviors. Research has shown that children respond better to positive reinforcements than they do to negative reinforcements.

How to begin a behavior reinforcement plan:

  • For children ages 7-12: Make a personalized goal tracker with your child. For example, if want your kid to do something physically active 3x a week, create a page with three boxes per week to check off after each workout (e.g., can use stickers, a drawing, a penny, etc.)
  • For children 13 and older: they can often keep rack on their own, and independence is key for teenagers and young adults.
    • Each workout = 1 point.
      • It is up to you to decide how often a reward occurs and what the reward will be.
      • Reward types: with your child’s help, create a list of 5 items/things that might be motivating to earn. For example, 30 minutes of a favorite show, a new toy or “surprise box,” staying up later one night a week, choice of a favorite meal for dinner, a new book, etc. The possibilities are endless!
  1. Social Opportunity

As an adult, performing 15 reps, 4x on one exercise is manageable. Our attention is longer. We enjoy isolation more. We have intrinsic motivation or tangible goals set for ourselves, like losing weight. However, children and young adults are heavily socially dependent with shorter attention spans. Their worlds thrive around social opportunities, So, make physical exercise a social experience. Workout with your child, put on a YouTube video and together and complete 30 minutes. Put on your child’s favorite music on in the background and encourage your child to work out for 20 minutes (set a timer). One time a week (or more) invite a friend or sibling, make it an event that can be done inside or outside, and make it fun.

  1. Bring back Play

Which brings us to our third tip: Bring back play! Even if you have a teenager or young adult, play is important to developing a positive attitude towards physical exercise. Play can consist of hiking with friends or family, trying a new activity in your community, and generally, reducing the strict structure around exercise that children and young adults often try to escape as they build independence and autonomy. A majority of the time, exercising can consist of structured exercises catered around a specific goal, however, a few times a month it’s important to switch it up and encourage exploring of physical exercise through unstructured (play) opportunities.

 

 

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Cystic Fibrosis Fitness Institute 

 

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