Flexibility, Improving Movement, Physiotherapy, Stretching

Four types of stretching, which is the best?

Regardless of which physiotherapist you see or which sport you have played in your lifetime, you are bound to have heard or been told that stretching is good for you.

The truth? It is, BUT… there are different types of stretching and it is important you use the right type of stretching at the right time!

Being aware of the possible risks of each type of stretching could make a difference to your likelihood of injury or even your performance!

The main types of stretching are; Static, Dynamic, Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation and Ballistic.

8stretching-istock159682821Static Stretching is the type of stretching that we all know well.  You tension a muscle until you feel a stretch, then hold for  a period of time (usually 20-30 seconds).

Pros:

  • Increases the extensibility of the muscle(s) stretched
  • With prolonged repetition can increase muscle length

Cons:

  • It can increase the risk of injury if done before exercise because of an increased risk of instability.
  • Has been shown to reduce muscle power by 7-8% and muscular endurance by up to 30% for up to 24 hours.

When is it appropriate? After exercise to release tightened muscles and if you are looking to increase overall flexibility and muscle length.

Dynamic stretching is a stretching technique that we may not all be familiar with.  It uses momentum to stretch a muscle for a short period within its range of motion.  Below is a video that runs through an example of a dynamic stretch.

 

Pros:

  • Has shown to improve muscular strength, power, endurance and agility
  • Appropriate during a pre-exercise warm up without compromising stability

Cons:

  • Does not provide an overall lengthening of muscles
  • Can be hard to perform without demonstration or clear instruction

When is it appropriate? Before exercise and daily during rehabilitation programs if appropriate.

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation is simply shortened to PNF.  It is a form of stretching with the aim of providing large increases in range of motion in a short time by contracting opposing muscles against a passive stretch, or in other words, pushing against a static stretch.

Pros:pnf-stretches

  • Can produce large increases in range of motion and muscle extensibility in a short time
  • Facilitates muscle inhibition to allow spasmodic or tight muscles relax

Cons:

  • Has the same effects on muscle power and endurance as static stretching
  • Can lead to injury if not performed correctly and safely

When is it appropriate? After exercise to release tightened muscles, to release muscle spasm and as part of exercise programs to increase flexibility and performance. It is, however, not always necessary and you should consult your physiotherapist on how to do these stretches correctly and to determine which stretches are most appropriate for you.

Ballistic Stretching is similar to static stretching, but involves a bouncing at end of range.  It is not Screen-Shot-2012-08-07-at-9_41_03-PM1recommended as it is not shown to have any lasting benefits and there is an increased risk of injury when performing the stretches.

For more examples of stretches, feel free to view some of our other posts by clicking the links below.

https://northernbeachesphysio.com/2013/11/25/4-tips-for-effective-calf-stretching/

https://northernbeachesphysio.com/2014/02/21/avoid-the-hump-the-stiff-thoracic-spine/

https://northernbeachesphysio.com/2014/03/20/morning-stretches/

https://northernbeachesphysio.com/2014/03/18/best-hamstring-stretching-technique/

Post by Mitchell Sandvoss (B. Physiotherapy)

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Diet, Food, Low-GI, Physiotherapy

Why Low GI?

As physiotherapists, we understand the importance of having balance in our life so that our bodies remain in sync and functioning smoothly and efficiently.  This philosophy is not just limited to bones and muscles, but also to our diet because of the fuels we require to make it through each day.examples of low vs high GI foods

Low-GI is a term that is thrown around a lot, but most of us don’t know how it is relevant to us.  GI (glycemic index) refers to the speed at which carbohydrates are absorbed and raise the blood glucose levels in our body.

If something is high-GI,
carbohydrates are absorbed very quickly and causes our blood glucose levels to spike.

If something is low-GI, carbohydrates are absorbed much slower and cause a steady increase or even a maintenance of our blood sugar levels, depending on what we are doing at the time.

This means that when we eat high-GI foods, the glucose (energy for our muscles) is absorbed quickly into our muscles and provides a short sharp burst of energy, where as low-GI foods provide a longer lasting and more consistent supply.hp_lgi_dailyintake_day1

When our blood sugar levels rise, this sugar needs to be absorbed by our muscles as energy. When our levels spike, if our body cannot transfer the energy to our muscles as fast as it is being absorbed, it is instead stored as fat.

If you consistently eat high-GI foods, there is always an overflow of energy that our body cannot use, causing an increase in your body-fat percentage.  There is evidence to show that a heightened body-fat percentage can increase your risk of stroke, heart disease/attacks, diabetes, cancer and the list goes on.

So before a big day, or before exercise it is recommended that you try to consume something low-GI so that your energy lasts and you don’t crash.  However, these shouldn’t be the only times you eat low-GI foods, as they are the best foods for weight control and getting the most out of each and every day.

When it comes to knowing what is considered low- and high-GI, the ranges are as follows: glycemic-index

Low-GI = 55 and under

Medium GI = 55-69

High-GI = 70 and over

For a list of low-GI foods, click the
following link:
http://www.the-gi-diet.org/lowgifoods/

Post by Mitchell Sandvoss (B. Physiotherapy)

Physiotherapy

The 5 Tips to getting the most out of your Retirement Years!

When you retire, you will find you have much more time on your hands.  Good health begins with a good lifestyle, and below are 5 tips to improve your longevity and allow you to think, move and live well long after you stop working.

WALKING is a great activity that almost everyone can do.RetireesWalking2
It has many benefits including reducing the risk of heart disease and improving lung function. It also increases or maintains muscle strength and balance while also maintaining bone density.

It is accessible to everyone and it is important that you add walking to your daily routine for 20-30mins.  A new local walk worth trying is the loop around Narrabeen Lake which stretches for 8.5kms and has beautiful scenery!

STRETCHING is an excellent way to take the pressure off your body.  It reduces that feeling of stiffness by providing a greater amount of Thoracic Open Book stretchextensibility in your muscles.

Incorporating a simple stretching routine into your morning routine can be a great way to start the day.  The muscles to focus on include your hip flexors (front of your thigh), hamstrings (back of your thigh), gluteals (bottom muscles), neural stretches and rotating and distracting the spine.  For instruction on stretches and technique, links will be provided at the end of the blog.

LIGHT RESISTANCE TRAINING is a great tool for regulating blood pressure and increasing bone density while reducing your risk of falls.  It also increases muscular strength and endurance which allows you to complete daily tasks with greater ease.

Resistance female1training can be conducted through the use of resistance bands, body weight, free weights, machine weights, etc. and is recommended 2-3 times a week.

Choose a weight that you can lift 12-15 times without great difficulty and complete 2-3 sets of 4-5 different exercises concentrating on closed-chain (hand/foot stay still, body moves) exercises that work all major muscle groups (legs, chest, back, shoulders).

As we age, we also become more susceptible to injury so it is important to consult a trained professional to create a program that is appropriate for your age and fitness level.

A BALANCED DIET is vital to looking after our bodies regardless of age, but becomes more important as our body becomes less efficient.  Be sure to include a large variety of foods with emphasis on natural meats, fruit and vegetables to allow us to receive the necessary vitamins, minerals and fuelsfood for each day.

The newest research states that we should be increasing our daily intake of natural fats (found in grain-fed meat products and things like avocado and unsalted nuts) and reducing our overall intake of
processed carbohydrates (such as white rice, white bread and fruit juices).

Also be aware that you aren’t over-indulging in foods containing processed saturated fats, processed sugar, or a high salt content or by over-eating, because these can a gradual rise in cholesterol which can increase the likelihood of heart attack or stroke.

FIND A PASSION/HOBBY to give yourself the motivation to keep healthy and fit.  They provide you with the opportunity to be physically and mentally active on a consistent basis and as we all bikeoldknow if we don’t use it, we lose it!

Ensure that you choose something that is easily accessible and appropriate for your physical and mental capabilities, but still challenges and engages you.

Always make sure that safety is your first thought when exercising or trying something new.  Try to avoid extreme conditions (hot or cold) and choose an intensity that is within your limits.  If you are unsure about how to approach something, we recommended that you seek professional advice.

https://northernbeachesphysio.com/2014/03/20/morning-stretches/

https://northernbeachesphysio.com/2014/03/18/best-hamstring-stretching-technique/

Post by Mitchell Sandvoss (B. Physiotherapy)

abdominals, back, Core stability, Daily Exercises, Gymn Dangers, Hips, Improving Movement, Injuries, Physio's Personal Tips, Physiotherapy, Pilates, Stability

How stable is your core?? Here’s how to check!

personaltrainerOften, people spend hours doing “core training” in the gym such as sit-ups, planks and the like only to find that they still experience symptoms of instability such as low back pain during training or, they get injured regularly doing exercise. The problem? This kind of “core training” addresses the strength of your abdominal and oblique muscles which are responsible for providing movement but does not train the deeper, stabilising muscles that are responsible for maintaining good alignment of the spine.

Here is a little exercise to introduce the feeling and the essence of stability in you torso. The true “core”:

1. Lie on your back, knees up, feet flat on the ground.

2. Breath, and feel how your ribs move and the shape of your spine changes.

3. Place your index fingers on the bones at the top of your pelvis at the front.

4. Feel what happens when you lift one foot from the floor REALLY SLOWLY!!! No jumping it up!!!

5. Try again and try to not allow any movement in your pelvis or lumbar spine.

Did you hold your breath? Did your pelvis roll toward the side you lifted? Did your back arch away from the floor? Did you get a “ping” of back  pain?

If YES was an answer to any of these questions you have room for improvement in you core stabilisation.

Practicing this exercise is actually a great way to begin the reactivation of your deeper, stabilising muscles.  Breathing as you move and load the spine is essential to prevent rigidity. Our bodies are designed to be fluid and coordinated when moving and breath holding can stifle this and cause us to become to stiff when moving! If you don’t breath while you do anything you won’t do it for very long!!

Mullumbimby-Pilates

For detailed explanation of core stability refer to our previous blog “What is core stability?”. You can find it here: https://northernbeachesphysio.com/2014/03/28/what-is-core-stability/.

Also, watch this video of one of physiotherapists, Angus, walking through the above exercise and explaining how to activate your core!

abdominals, Balance, Core stability, Daily Exercises, Physiotherapy, Shoulder, Stability

Swiss Ball for Stability – video-blog

Hello and welcome to our first video blog.

Its all about core stability, pelvic stability and balance – all three very important to maintaining a healthy balance within yourself.

Here’s Angus to demonstrate the exercise.

If you haven’t got a Swiss Ball at home then we highly recommend you get one – they are an extremely versatile aid to keeping yourself in-trim at home and to top it all they are great fun to use too.   We’ll have plenty more demonstrations of exercises you can do with a Swiss Ball soon.

We have them in stock in the shop so ask at reception. Here’s the page that lists all our supplies:- https://northernbeachesphysio.com/supplies/

We’re aiming to make a lot more video clips over the course of this year which will be hosted on our Northern Beaches Physio channel on YouTube.

Here’s a link:-  http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNCRpch8eeN3bPCH4oaAPFQ

Stay tuned !

So, how are we doing?  Did Angus do well? (and no, channel seven, you can’t have him).  Do you like our blogs?  What would you like to see more of?  Use the ‘Reply’ field below to have your say, we’d love to hear from you.

Post by Catherine Stephens B. App Sc (Physio) MAPA.

Improving Movement, Physiotherapy, Stretching

4 Tips for Effective Calf Stretching

Stretching the calf muscleImportant after any extended walking, running, golf or weight bearing sport!

1)    Ensure the foot is directly in line with the leg. Toes not turned out as is often the case.

2)    To get an effective stretch you need more pressure than just stepping backwards so press into a wall or bench with hands or forearms.

3)    Roll the heel backwards so the very back of the heel is on the ground and lift the toes just a little.

4)    Straighten the knee completely feeling tightness in the muscles above the knee, lifting the knee cap.

Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds to get effective lengthening through the entire length of the calf muscles.

Note : in the case of Achilles tendonitis this is not suggested as it tends to aggravate the tendon.