Happy first day of Spring!
The sun is finally out, and the temperatures are (mostly) above freezing! It’s time to start thinking about making the most of the longer daylight and enjoying the sun and warmer weather by exercising outside!
Whether it’s in your neighborhood, at the park, or just in your yard or on your patio, there are lots of exercises you can try outside:
Invite a friend to your outdoor workout, or find a group that does outdoor activities together! This makes it more fun and keeps you accountable to your workouts.
As you begin to exercise outside this spring, don’t forget to warm-up, especially with the temps still being cold. Your warm up can be just a few minutes long, inside or outside, and should focus on getting your heart rate up and should include dynamic stretching. Here are a few warm up exercises/dynamic stretches to try:
1. Leg swings - 10 reps on each side, to stretch the front and back of your hip and leg; hold something for balance if needed
2. Forward march with knee-to-chest stretch - 10 reps on each leg, to stretch your hip and groin
3. Walking quad stretch - 10 reps on each side to stretch the front of your leg and hip
Let us know your favorite outdoor exercise in the comments! As always, if you have a nagging injury keeping you from exercise, call us to set up a physical therapy evaluation: 616-662-0990.
By: Lisa Bartz, C-EP (Cert. Exercise Physiologist)
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.
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)
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
Who's bad at remembering to drink enough 💧WATER💧?
Dehydration caused by lack of water can cause all kinds of issues, like headaches, dry skin, fatigue, kidney stones, low blood pressure and much more! Avoid dehydration and feel more energized this summer by drinking 2 to 3 L of water every day! If you're out in the heat sweating, or exercising, make sure you drink extra!
Try a couple of these tips to make drinking water easier:
1. Drink a cup of water BEFORE your morning coffee 1️⃣🥤 2️⃣☕️
2. Get a high quality water bottle and bring it with you everywhere💧
3. Set an alarm reminder on your phone to drink water a few times throughout the day ⏰📱
4. Hate water? Try adding lemon, lime, cucumber, fruit (get a bottle with an infuser!), or sparkling water 🍋🍓
By: Lisa Bartz, C-EP
Frequently, I get asked what’s the best form of exercise. What should I do? Should I buy a bike or a treadmill? Should l lift weights or swim? There is no one best answer. It depends on the person. Ask yourself these questions before investing in exercise equipment or a gym membership:
1. What is my reason for exercising? Do you want to loose weight, get stronger or train for something? Everybody has a different reason and its important to tailor your program to your goals.
2. How much money are you willing to invest in your exercise? Some gym memberships can be expensive, but some offer classes or services like child care that might make working out easier for you. Some pieces of exercise equipment can also be very expensive. If you’re looking to not spend much, there are a lot of inexpensive ways to work out that are easily accessible to everybody.
3. What exercise do I ENJOY doing? Believe it or not, this is by far the most important. If you don’t like what you are doing, chances are you won’t continue to do it. Everybody has different activities that they enjoy. Even if you don’t love it, which form of exercise fits you the best?
4. Am I self-motivated or do need to be accountable to somebody? This could be in the form of a trainer or a friend you exercise with. Some people like to exercise by themselves. Others need the push of a partner or somebody to help keep them on track.
The important thing to remember is there is a type of exercise out there for everybody. It does matter if your young or old, have a lot of cash to spend on exercise or minimal, there is a form of exercise that’s right for you. If you have more specific question ask your local therapist. Exercise is our area of expertise and we would be happy to give you some guidance and answer any questions. Finally, remember the most important thing: If you like the form of exercise you choose you will have a great chance for success!
By: Brian Colvin, PT
We love this article from Move Forward PT, with a few tips for YOU wherever you're at in life!
Starting healthy habits early can help stave off many age-related health conditions. Here are some decade-based tips from physical therapists.
2 Tips for 20s:
3 Tips for 30s:
4 Tips for 40s:
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
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Including wonderful holiday food and treats!
The Christmas season can be one of the hardest times to eat healthy. Sugary and fatty foods are everywhere, and they ARE DELICIOUS! We feel better when we eat healthy and aren’t feeling bloated or crashing from all of the sugar and unhealthy fats, so here are some tips to keep from over-indulging over the next few weeks!
Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Total Diet Approach to Healthy Eating (JAND 2013)
By: Lisa Bartz, C-EP
I was golfing recently with a friend who mentioned that his dad had read an article about how using good posture during the golf swing could improve performance. My friend decided to try to focus on improving his "golfing posture" and was surprised at how much of a difference it made. He reported improved distance on his shots, as well as better control. He noted that his new golfing posture felt strange, yet better. He was very surprised that something that seems so simple could have such a positive effect!
Physical therapists typically spend a great deal of time educating our patients about the importance of good posture, as well as giving frequent reminders to correct posture of form during exercises. We understand the importance of good posture, especially in terms of how it related to physical performance. The body has optimal positions (postures) in which it is intended to perform, and when people do not maintain good posture, it eventually results in pain, soreness, or decreased muscle performance.
Good posture involves more than just "standing up straight." If you would like to learn more about this subject, we have 5 exceptional PT's that would love to help you out!
- Mason Riegel, PT, FMS Certified
Steve Bartz, PT