After weeks filled with snow days, cooped up in the house with your kids, it’s time to get moving! Start with our quick warm up, then 3 rounds of 5 exercises, and remember to keep exercises slow and controlled to get the most out of your workout. Then finish with a deep breathing cool down.
Warm-up: Jump rope (with an invisible rope unless you have one!) for 60 seconds. Keep your shoulder back, core tight, and knees over toes.
2-3 Rounds of:
1.) 10 Walking lunges - 5 on each side, make sure your knee stays over or behind your toes. Add weights for a challenge.
2.) 30" to 60” Plank - Start short, increase time as you practice. Press through your shoulders and don't let your hips sag. Keep your elbows straight but not locked/hyper-extended.
3.) 10 Push-ups - Modify by doing them from your knees
4.) 15 Glute bridges - Keep your core tight and squeeze your glutes at the top
5.) 10 Tricep dips - Find a stable couch, bench, or other surface from which to do these. To make them easier, keep your feet closer to the bench, or don't dip down as far. To make them harder, move your feet farther away, and try straightening your legs.
Cool down: 2’ of Deep breathing - Lie on your back, and place one hand over your stomach and the other over your chest. Breathe slowly and deeply, and aim to feel your chest and stomach rise and fall simultaneously.
Vertigo is defined as a sensation of whirling and loss of balance, associated particularly with looking down from a great height, or caused by disease affecting the inner ear or the vestibular nerve; dizziness, loss of balance, loss of equilibrium, or spinning.
There are two types of Vertigo: peripheral vertigo and central vertigo.
Central vertigo is less common and is caused by the central nervous system (primarily the brain).
Peripheral vertigo is by far the most common. There are five types of peripheral vertigo:
1) Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
2) Meniere’s Disease
3) Vestibular Neuritis
4) Acoustic Neuroma
Of the five, Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is, by far, the most common.
Common symptoms of BPPV are dizziness, loss of balance, spinning and even nausea. The cause of BPPV is the disturbance of the inner ear crystals.
Physical therapy is often used to treat BPPV. Physical therapists screen each patient to see is their vertigo is BPPV, and if it is, there are several maneuvers used by PT’s to realign the crystals of the inner ear. Often the symptoms can be resolved or significantly improved in just 1 – 2 visits.
The first step, if you suffer from vertigo, is to see your medical doctor or physical therapist. If he or she diagnoses you with BPPV, try physical therapy. It might be a safe, quick and drug free approach to feeling better.
Brian Colvin, PT
Do you drive for a living? Have a long commute to work? Or find yourself bussing the kids around all day? These hours in the car really add up throughout the week, and a lot of people who spend hours in the car suffer back pain! Although you might not be able to change the amount of time in the car, you may be able to tweak a few things to keep you back and body happier during and after your travels! The two most common areas we see strained from driving are the low back (sometimes this can even cause symptoms like tingling, pain or numbness down the legs known as sciatica), and the upper back, neck and shoulders (sometimes this pain also radiates down the arms). Here are a few tips for healthy driving:
Neck, upper back or shoulder strain:
Also, take driving breaks as you’re able to. Sometimes taking a 5 minute break during your drive to stretch out and walk around can make a big difference if your comfort level!
Lastly, stretching your hips, back and shoulders regularly, and exercising the muscles around your hips and spine (back and core muscles) will also help you stay healthy and fend off the aches and pains causes by long amounts of time in a car or truck.
If you’re suffering back or other pain that’s aggrevated by driving, call us and we can take a look at it and build a program for you to combat your pain! 616-662-0990
Sources: Posture Direct: Tips to Improve Your Posture; Cleveland Clinic: Back Health & Posture (2015)
By: Lisa Bartz, Certified Exercise Physiologist (C-EP)
While we may laugh at this old quote from a commercial, the reality of balance problems is becoming significant in our ever-aging population.
Balance problems can occur from a variety of issues including:
- Joint stiffness
- Inner ear problems
- Certain medications
- Lack of activity or sedentary lifestyle
- Simply aging
Balance problems can also be caused by medical conditions such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, brain injuries, arthritis, spinal cord injuries, cognitive diseases, or diabetes.
Balance issues can also occur when one or more systems in the body are not working properly including: vision, inner ear, muscular system, awareness of your own body position (proprioception).
A person may feel dizziness, instability, vertigo, or a sense that there falling. They may be fine while standing still, but as soon as they move or change position they may suddenly lose their balance. This often causes fear in performing simple daily tasks and causes the person to becomes more and more sedentary. It becomes a vicious cycle of loss of conditioning and decreased activity level.
It is important to identify how your balance issues occur. How often do you have them? What are you doing when you experience them? What medications do you take? Have you had your vision or ear checkup recently? Do you have any other medical conditions or problems?
Physical therapy can offer numerous options for treating balance problems based on each person’s needs. Therapist look at multiple systems of the body including muscles, joints, inner ear, eye tracking ability, skin sensation and positional awareness of the joints. They are experts at prescribing active movement techniques and physical exercise to improve the systems, including strengthening, stretching, proprioception exercises, visual tracking and inner ear retraining.
This can help you reduce fall risks, reduce the fear of falling, improve mobility, improve balance and strength, improve your movements, and increase your activity levels.
By: Steve Bartz, PT
It is not a surprise that when you lack sleep or sleep poorly, you aren’t at your top efficiency for the day. What may surprise you, however, is how much a lack of sleep actually affects your body, your brain, and your skin:
If you don't get enough sleep, your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol in excess amounts. Cortisol can break down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic (WebMD).
How much sleep is necessary?
This is a tricky question that varies for everyone, but it is important to talk about. A safe answer is 7-9 hours on average per night. The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following amounts based on age:
By: Rebecca Popma
TIGHT HAMSTRINGS are a common contributor to BACK PAIN!
There are lots of ways to stretch your hamstrings, and here's one:
Find a step or chair to prop one foot up on, and lean forward at the hips, pulling your belly button toward your thigh (not hunching over to bend your back). Lean until you feel a mild to moderate stretch in the back of your thigh, and hold for about 30 seconds on each side.
This may help your low back pain, because your hamstrings affect your pelvis position, and this can put stress on your low back.
Remember, there are LOTS of causes of back pain, so it's always best to get it checked out by a PT or your Dr!).
By: Lisa Bartz, C-EP
Today we’ll discuss the common saying, “no pain, no gain.” Like many other common sayings, people tend to state this as if it’s a fact. So, is it a fact? Well, I’m not sure if we’ll be able to reach a consensus, but I’ll give you some information that will both support this statement and refute it.
First, it’s important to gain more understanding about the purpose of pain. Pain exists to indicate that there is something wrong with our body. Nobody likes to be in pain, but it does serve a purpose. If we only seek to eliminate pain (with medication and injections) without fixing what’s causing the pain, we will likely not have long term success.
Often the source/cause of pain will be the main factor in determining if “no pain, no gain” is accurate. If we’re dealing with an overuse type of injury, we really don’t want to reproduce the pain with our activities. This would include such conditions as lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), plantar fasciitis, any type of bursitis or tendonitis, or spinal strains. In these situations we need to assist the body in healing, and if we continue to do activities that trigger the pain, we will not have success in eliminating the pain. So in those situations, we do not want to cause pain and would not agree with “no pain, no gain”.
Conversely, sometimes we deal with stiffness or loss of mobility in the body. When we work on gaining back lost mobility, this is not typically a pain free endeavor. So if we are stretching or mobilizing a tight joint or muscle, it will be uncomfortable, and we’re ok with that. In fact, we expect that. So in cases such as these, we enthusiastically say “no pain, no gain!”
A third situation deals with trying to gain strength/muscle. When trying to build muscle we need to challenge the body so that it reinforces itself by building more muscle. We need to push muscles to the point of fatigue (“feel the burn”), and this typically results in some post workout muscle soreness. So if people are doing a muscle workout and they complain about being sore afterward, guess what we’re going to say? You guessed it, “no pain, no gain!” That being said, there is an appropriate amount of soreness that is good, as opposed to not being able to move for 2 days! But that’s a topic for another time.
So as you can see, sometimes this common phrase is accurate and applicable, but sometimes it is not. If you’re not sure, please ask Mason, Steve, or Brian, and we will be glad to give you an answer!
Mason Riegel, PT
During the holidays it seems everyone is talking about diets, and how they do not want to gain any holiday weight. But other than gaining unwanted weight there are actually more negative side effects that you may not have thought about. One big one is inflammation in your body.
What is inflammation?
“When inflammation occurs, chemicals from the body's white blood cells are released into the blood or affected tissues to protect your body from foreign substances. This release of chemicals increases the blood flow to the area of injury or infection, and may result in redness and warmth.” (webmd)
What are the symptoms / physical signs of inflammation?
There are several home remedies to get rid of inflammation in your body, some of them are:
By: Rebecca Popma
A bad spill can be a life-changing experience. More than 1/3 of adults 65 and older fall each year in the US! If you feel like your balance isn’t what it once was, or if you’ve experienced a minor or major fall in the past, here’s a few tips for you:
1. Move regularly! Don’t avoid physical activity because of fear. Exercising, walking, and moving will continue to train your brain and your muscles in how to balance. The more you move, the more confident you will be in your steps and movements. (An exercise class is a great way to do this!)
2. That being said, you want to make sure you’re moving in a safe environment. Wear sturdy shoes when you’re out and about, and be careful of slipping while wearing socks in your home. Look around your home and see if there are any tripping hazards like cords, loose rugs, etc. Make sure your staircase has handrails and your shower/tub has grab bars. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about the use of a cane or walker. Plow and salt your driveway in the winter (or hire someone to do it). Position yourself for safety in your everyday tasks in your home.
3. Vision: One of the biggest causes of falls is poor vision. Have your vision checked annually and wear your contacts or glasses. The other part of this is to have good lighting in your home, and take extra precautions when you’re out and the lighting is dark.
4. Have your hearing checked. The inner ear is highly related to balance! Also, if you suffer a certain type of vertigo (BPPV), physical therapy can help you, and it is often a quick treatment process.
5. Train your brain & muscles to balance: perform exercises (in a safe environment, with instruction) to improve balance while standing/sitting still, and while moving.
6. Improve your strength, mobility and posture: a lack of strength or mobility in a joint can add stress or pain to other parts of the body, and can contribute to a fall. Focus on training your core, hips, and legs, (along with stretching), as these are shown to significantly help improve your balance.
If you struggle with balance or have had some close calls with falling, don't hesitate to give us a call and see what we can do to help you: 616-662-0990.
By: Lisa Bartz, C-EP
December is here, and so is the winter weather! There are two major types of injuries that seem to go along with one of winter’s biggest issues: shoveling snow.
The first and by far the most serious injury is heart attacks. Every year across the country, people suffer heart attacks and/or heart-related symptoms when shoveling snow. Snow can be heavy, and in combination with all the extra clothes we wear, very taxing.
This leads us into the second and probably the most common injury: back pain. Shoveling is one of the most taxing activities on your back. It is very repetitive and at times heavy, putting a lot of stress on your spine.
There are several things to keep in mind to keep you safe and healthy during this winter weather:
If you keep these few simple things in mind, it can lead to a healthier and happier winter.
By: Brian Colvin, PT
Steve Bartz, PT