As the weather warms up, everyone is ready to get outside and be active! This is great, BUT this often is a time when we see a spike in injuries, as people have been cooped up all winter and hop into full-swing activity too quickly.
Be smart and don’t start your spring out with an injury. Whether its sports, exercise, or yardwork, people tend to put a lot of strain on their body when it’s not used to moving as much in the winter.
As we age, our body can’t go from 0 – 60. Here are a couple of simple tips you can do to stay healthy and enjoy your spring free of injury:
Preventing injury will be much easier and more comfortable than recovering from it!
If you do suffer an injury this Spring, we can help and are just a phone call away. Let us know and we’ll get you in right away!
By: Brian Colvin, PT
At some point in our lives, we all have to sit at a desk. We all know it can cause a lot of damage to our bodies, so here are some ways to reduce the damage and make working from a desk more comfortable:
• Keep your monitor at an arm’s length away (approximately 19 inches)
• Follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes of staring at your computer screen, spend 20 seconds looking at something at least 20 feet away! This will give your eyes a break
• Adjust chair height so knees are about level with hips
• Keep your hips as far back in the chair as possible, to give you low back support
• Keep your wrists straight, with your hands at or below elbow level
• Keep objects you use a lot, such as your phone, stapler, tape, etc. close to your body to avoid reaching
• Wear a headset or have your phone on speaker so you don’t strain your neck
• Stand up and walk or stretch every hour - it does not need to be for long, just to get your body out of the sitting position and move a bit
All of these little adjustments can help you feel better if you’re stuck at your desk! If you have access to a standing desk, that can also be a great alternative to sitting, or you can switch between the two while you're working.
If you are currently experiencing any pain at work, we might be able to help!
Give us a call at 616-662-0990!
By: Rebecca Popma
& Lisa Bartz
Sitting is the new smoking.
Have you heard this claim before?
The body loves movement, and static positions can take a toll on the health of the joints and muscles. However, we now live in a society where we find ourselves sitting several hours a day. Whether you are working, relaxing, reading, or surfing the web on your phone or laptop, we maintain a typical posture that places our neck and shoulders at a risk for injury.
I’m sure as you are reading this, 90% of you are somewhat slumped over, with your head forward and shoulders rounded. This position exponentially increases the relative weight of the head and places much more stress on the neck joints and muscles. You may feel your muscles tighten up and your joints stiffen with an extended stay in this position. The problem is, most people are unaware of their posture at work or at home until it’s too late.
So how do you avoid this position or recover from years of stress on your neck?
Here are some ideas!
Stretch the pectoral muscles: As you sit with this rounded shoulder posture, it places your chest muscles in a shortened position and they tighten up. Over time, they maintain this shortened position and pull the shoulders forward even more, making it difficult to straighten up and raise your arms overhead. One easy way to stretch these muscles is to stand in a doorway, place your hands on each side of the frame, and lean forward until a gentle stretch is felt in your chest muscles. Be careful this does not cause pain in your shoulders!
Strengthen scapula muscles: The main muscles that help you correct posture are localized around your shoulder blade. Muscles called the rhomboids help pinch your scapulas together, pull your shoulders back and help with a strong erect posture. If you have an old elastic band lying around or access to a gym, rows are one of the best exercises you can do to strengthen these muscles! If these are not accessible, you can sit on the edge of a chair and squeeze your shoulder blades together like you are trying to pinch a ball in the middle of your back. Hold the pinch for 5 seconds, relax, and repeat 20 times!
Become aware of posture: People who work at a desk or on a computer all day often get engrossed in their work and forget how they are positioned. Try setting a timer for every hour. When it goes off, assess your posture. If you find yourself hunched over, stand up, stretch, do some shoulder blade pinches and reset yourself before continuing work. This can be a very effective way to realign your neck and shoulders and avoid the pain!
By: Andrew Bult, SPT
To the runners, joggers, and walkers who want to be runners that feel like you aren’t getting any faster or better at running:
Try to vary your routine with interval runs!
This can look different, but the basics of interval training are:
These fast intervals where you push yourself faster than you would normally run will put stress on your cardiovascular system (stress is good, unless you have cardiovascular/pulmonary disease or doctor’s recommendations not to exercise). These fast intervals will cause adaptation as your body “rises to the occasion”. Your heart will work harder to get oxygen to your muscles, which causes adaptations over time like your heart size increasing, being able to fill with more blood, and pump harder when your exercise to deliver oxygen to your muscles faster. (Increased stroke volume—the amount of blood your heart pumps out with each beat). Your muscles will become more efficient at using energy, and they’ll become stronger as you run faster than before.
Sometimes it takes a change in routine to elicit change in your results!
So practically, what would interval training look like for you? How should you program your interval runs?
For the experienced runner:
How fast do you normally run? 8:30 minute miles? Try 0.25 miles at a 7-minute pace, then rest for two minutes, then repeat.
There’s no magic number to interval training, maybe you can only do a 8-minute pace. The goal is to be pushing yourself harder than normal. With time your body will adapt and these short intervals will be sustainable for longer amounts of time/miles.
For the beginner runner who stops to walk often:
How far do you normally go before stopping to walk? (in minutes or in miles)
You want your interval to be SHORTER than this. If you normally make it 1 mile before walking or becoming exhausted, try a .25 mile or .5 mile fast interval. After the first interval, break to walk or stop and catch your breath for 2-4 minutes, so your body can recover enough to push yourself in the next interval. Repeat several intervals for a 15 to 30 minute workout.
Another example: If you normally can run for 4 minutes before having to stop, try 2-minute fast intervals, followed by 2 minutes of walking or resting. Repeat this interval+rest 4 times (or more!)
Interval training is very effective way to get faster and more efficient (or to get your workout in quicker!) There are LOTS of ways to do interval training. Try out longer and shorter intervals.
Varying your workout is beneficial for your performance and your health!
Remember, warm-up with a walk or jog before you run hard, and always put safety first when considering how hard to push. Ask your doctor if you aren’t sure.
Lisa Bartz, CEP
Steve Bartz, PT