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)

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Balance, Daily Exercises, Lifestyle, Physiotherapy, Stability

Heart – the Most Important Muscle of All

People tend to think of physiotherapy as only being concerned with the obvious muscles like “glutes”, “pecs”, “biceps”, “quads” etc.  And although having strength and power in these muscles is important, there is one muscle that overrides all in it’s importance to maintaining good health.

SkippingI’m referring of course to the heart muscle! Without a healthy heart then all the good work done in keeping your other muscles strong is wasted!

Here at Northern Beaches Physiotherapy we are dedicated to helping our patients maintain good overall health. One major aspect of this is achieving good cardiac fitness and endurance!

There are myriad ways to exercise the heart but one of the easiest and most convenient (and therefore most likely to be done on a regular basis) is skipping.  The equipment costs are probably less than $5 and you need a space only as big as a small room or courtyard to do it in!

Skipping for five-ten minutes every day is about as good an exercise as you’ll get. Its not just aerobic – it will also keep many other muscles in tone, including your calves, thighs and buttocks.

Skipping also provides a challenge to the stabilising muscles of your ankles and core, as well as challenging the coordination of your shoulders, wrists and legs!

So go buy yourself a skipping rope and challenge yourself!! Skip for five-ten minutes everyday and in next to no time you will see the benefits to your overall fitness and health!

 

Post by Angus Tadman (B.App.Sc Phty Hons I)

abdominals, back, Core stability, Feet, Gymn Dangers, Physiotherapy, Pilates, Shoulder

What is Core Stability?

Power and Strength are useless without Stability and Control

muscles

Big flashy muscles might be attractive but as any physio will tell you, they are next to useless without core stability.

Thankfully the health and fitness industry has now started to embrace the need for core stability, but still few people really understand the concept and what it means.

Essentially our bodies have hundreds of different muscles that all perform important tasks and the very conspicuous Abs, Glutes, Pecs, Delts and Biceps (amongst others) are there to provide strength but they are supported by a plethora of smaller, less conspicuous muscles that provide stability.

shock absorbersThese are generically referred to as the ‘Core Muscles’ and the best comparison we can think of is with automotive suspension systems.

If the ‘Strength’ muscles are the springs then the ‘Core’ muscles would be the shock absorbers.  They are usually less conspicuous, sometimes even hidden within the springs but without them your car would fall apart in no time.

The same goes for humans.  Good strength muscles alone won’t keep you running smoothly. Without good core stability you’ll be in for lube and servicing (physio) all too often and eventually you’ll be off to the scrap yard before your time!

inner_core_musclesWhen it comes to spinal stability, the most important muscles are the multifidus, pelvic floor and transversus abdominis. As shown in the image to the right, these muscles form a supportive cylinder around the spine. The transversus abdominis is like a corset around your abdomen and it sits deep underneath all the “six-pack” muscles.  It attaches the lower ribs, diaphragm and lumbar spine to the pelvis.

This ‘core’ stabilises the spine and allows the load of movement to be evenly distributed between all the intricate joints of the spine. Just like a car suspension system, it reduces the shock through the joints and thus reduces wear and tear which would, over time, lead to conditions such as arthritis or bulging discs.

personaltrainerDoing exercises like sit ups is useful to strengthen the big “six-pack” muscles, but doing this exercise without good core stability will lead to excessive load through the joints of the spine and can lead to injury of the spine.

So in that respect it is important to activate and strengthen the core before you start on a regime of strength building.

 

Muscles of the posterior shoulderAnother example is the shoulder. The “delts”, “lats”, “pecs” and “biceps” look fabulous but they are not the stabilisers of the shoulder.

Over training of these without attention to the deeper, core stabilisers of the shoulder can result in injury as a result of an increased load being put through the system without the appropriate “suspension”, so to speak.

See our blog on ‘Shoulder Stability’ for a series of simple exercises to build core shoulder stability.

Each area of the body  has a “core” component.

Feet have intrinsic muscles that operate in balancing.

Ankles rely on hip and foot stabilisers for control.

Knees similarly need good hips and feet to be protected.

and even Necks have a deep system of muscles that control movement.

In essence, the core muscles play a crucial a role in overall well being and strength. Without the stability and control provided by the deeper core muscles, the power and strength gained from training is useless!!

Stay tuned as our series of CORE STABILITY blogs will introduce the specifics of core training for different parts of the body and the common areas of overloading we see in fitness regimes!

Post by Catherine Stephens (B.App.Sc Physio) and Angus Tadman (B.App.Sc Physio Hons I)

abdominals, Gymn Dangers, Physiotherapy, Pilates, Shoulder, Stability

Strong is the new SEXY

Strong is the new sexy but you have to be stable to be strong

Fit Woman

The media image of gorgeous and sexy has changed in recent years. It seems the willowy overly thin or the voluptuous curvy image of attractive woman has been surpassed with healthy strong and muscular women like Michelle Bridges or Anglina Jolie as Lara Croft. Men with muscles and great posture have always been the most admired and now the girls are aiming for the same.

In endeavouring to achieve this end it is essential to increase core strength and stability as we build power. A failure to address the “stability” part of “strong” will leave the body at risk of injury. Building muscle bulk is quite possible without core strength but pain might build to and there is nothing sexy about being injured or in pain!

We see increasing episodes at the clinic of back pain, tendon injuries and knee injuries in the strong but unstable individual who has been focusing purely on developing power and a good looking pysique.

Cross TrainerSome gym machines provide so much control of movement there is no challenge to stability, resulting in increasing strength but without the protection offered by the co-activation of stabilising muscle systems throughout the body.

Holding onto the handles of the cross trainer has the machine providing control of movement direction, minimising how much stability you have to provide from within.   Using the cross trainer not holding the handles ensures YOU have to provide the stability and control to maintain smooth movement.

Try it and feel the difference…. carefully at first!!  It is a much harder workout – and thats the acid test.  If its easy its not doing you as much good.

BOSU

Incorporating free weights and weight bearing exercise on unstable platforms like a BOSU will have you protecting the joints while building strength.

We know that good control and correct activation of the deeper abdominals flatten the tummy. Without this the rectus abdominus  (the six pack muscle) can strengthen but the abdomen can remain distended.  We often see very strong men with big bellys… a result of poor training technique.

Strengthening the deeper muscles around the shoulder girdle gives improved contours through the back and will stop the winging of scapular (Chicken wings). Strong shoulders look great!!

So ..if you are aiming for Strong and Sexy remember to train for stability too. Power in useless without control!!

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.