Four Tips for Improving Posture

Over time, poor posture may be caused by habits from everyday activities such as sitting in office chairs, staring at the computer, cradling a cell phone, carrying a purse over same shoulder, driving, prolonged standing, caring for small children, or even sleeping.

Poor posture can easily become second nature, causing and aggravating episodes of back and neck pain and damaging spinal structures. Fortunately, the main factors affecting posture and ergonomics are completely within one’s ability to control and are not difficult to change.

Here are several ways to improve posture and ergonomics, especially for people who work sitting in an office chair for most of the day.

Identify the Warning Signs of Back Pain

Back pain may be the result of poor ergonomics and posture if the back pain is worse at certain times of day or week (such as after a long day of sitting in an office chair in front of a computer, but not during the weekends); pain that starts in the neck and moves downwards into the upper back, lower back, and extremities; pain that goes away after switching positions; sudden back pain that is experienced with a new job, a new office chair, or a new car; and/or back pain that comes and goes for months.

Keep the body in alignment while sitting in an office chair and while standing When standing, distribute body weight evenly to the front, back, and sides of the feet. While sitting in an office chair, take advantage of the chair’s features. Sit up straight and align the ears, shoulders, and hips in one vertical line. Any prolonged sitting position, even a good one, can be tiring. Shifting forward to the edge of the seat with a straight back can alternate with sitting back against the support of the office chair to ease the work of back muscles.

Some people benefit from a naturally balanced posture that is achieved by sitting on a balance ball; in this posture the pelvis is rocked gently forward increasing the lumbar curve which naturally shifts the shoulders back (similar to sitting on the edge of a chair seat).

Also be aware of and avoid unbalanced postures such as crossing legs unevenly while sitting, leaning to one side, hunching the shoulders forward, or tilting the head.

Get Up and Move

As muscles tire, slouching, slumping, and other poor postures become more likely; this in turn puts extra pressure on the neck and back. In order to maintain a relaxed yet supported posture, change positions frequently. One way is to take a break from sitting in an office chair every half hour for two minutes in order to stretch, stand, or walk.

Increase Awareness of Posture in Everyday Settings

Becoming aware of posture and ergonomics at work, at home, and at play is a vital step towards instilling good posture and ergonomic techniques. This includes making conscious connections between episodes of back pain and specific situations where poor posture or ergonomics may be the root cause of the pain.

Use Exercise to Help Prevent Injury and Promote Good Posture

Regular exercise such as walking, swimming, or bicycling will help the body stay aerobically conditioned, while specific strengthening exercises will help the muscles surrounding the back to stay strong. These benefits of exercise promote good posture, which will, in turn, further help to condition muscles and prevent injury.

There are also specific exercises that will help maintain good posture. In particular, a balance of core muscle and back muscle strength is essential to help support the upper body and maintain good posture.

InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

12 Muscle-Building Foods

Building muscle is a balance between strategic strength training and an eating plan that includes proper protein and healthy carbohydrates while limiting refined sugars, processed food, and artificial ingredients. This doesn’t mean that you have to settle for the same salmon and kale for lunch and a dry chicken breast for dinner.

Here is a compilation of 12 muscle-building foods that can add variety to your diet and help you sculpt those muscles into flex-worthy shape.

1. Greek Yogurt: With more than twice the protein of regular yogurt, Greek yogurt is a great source to turn to when focused on muscle enhancement. Just be careful to look out for artificial colors, added sugars, and ingredients. Greek Yogurt also contains casein, a slow digesting milk protein to help keep you feeling full longer.

2. Black Beans: Don’t save these gems for taco night. Eating black beans provides you with vitamins B, K, C, and A which are low in saturated fats. It’s a high protein and fiber food that is low in calories. Yes, please.

3. Cottage Cheese: Also containing casein, cottage cheese additionally contains an average of 28 grams of protein in one cup! Choosing a low-fat cottage cheese is a great option provided it has not been supplemented with extra sugar or sodium.

4. Eggs: A whole egg is a perfect pick for a protein punch. And don’t get rid of the yolk! When trying to build muscle, the yolk contains beneficial nutrients worthy of consumption.

5. Broccoli: Not only is broccoli low in calories and filling, it also contains a significant amount of soluble fiber, which aids in fat loss. Who doesn’t love a fat loss bonus?!

6. Chocolate Milk: Another option containing the slow-digesting protein, casein, chocolate milk has been touted as not only a great post-workout recovery drink, but a good source of necessary carbs.

7. Almonds: These nuts stack up high when it comes to fiber and protein in comparison to most nut options. They also contain vitamin B, a vitamin linked to energize metabolism.

8. Raspberries: Raspberries contain the most fiber of all berries. A fiber-filled diet is imperative for proper digestion and muscle sculpting. The antioxidants can also help regulate metabolic rates and insulin sensitivity.

9. Avocados: Packed with monosaturated fat, the “good” fat, avocados can help eliminate weight from the midsection while containing a host of 20 different essential nutrients.

10. Quinoa: An option over grains that are high in amino acids, which sets it apart from most carbohydrates in your diet.

11. Apples: Offering electrolytes, carbs, and fiber, apples are a great post-workout snack and option for adding muscle mass to your physique.

12. Spinach: Not only known as a superfood, the calcium in spinach can help to relax muscles and prevent cramping during muscle training intervals.

InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

3 Tips to Run your Fastest

You’ve been running for a while, and it feels good, but you’re ready to take the next step — and make it a faster step, at that. The good news is that the more you run, the better your chances are of increasing your speed. But how you run can be the key difference between shaving minutes off your mile and staying steady at your current pace. If you’re feeling like improving your time, these tried-and-true techniques will build up speed while minimizing injury.

1. Intervals

With any workout, you want to build up your intensity gradually to avoid injury — this is where sprinting intervals come into play. On your next run, alternate between running at a sprinting pace for 30 to 60 seconds and your normal pace for two to three minutes. Due to the focus on timed running sessions, this type of workout is best on the treadmill; the next time you’re at the gym. The more you’re at it, you’ll find that these small bursts of sprinting will start to make your normal pace feel slow.

2. Tempo Runs

When running takes you outside, tempo runs are a great way to work on increasing your speed. During a tempo run, go faster than you normally would but at a pace that you can sustain for a longer period of time. During the run, you want to feel comfortable but challenged — you should be slightly out of breath, and holding a full conversation should be difficult (if not impossible). The idea behind a tempo run is to condition your body to perform past its lactate threshold (the point where it begins to fatigue); by doing so, the body is able to perform faster and at longer distances. When starting out, try a 10-minute tempo run, and over time, allow yourself to build up to 20 minutes; aim to incorporate a tempo run into your routine every seven to 10 days.

3. Hills

Given how slow you feel chugging up a hill, it may have you questioning why this makes for good speed training. But consider this: running uphill builds strength in your butt and legs while also improving lung health — all of which are essential for becoming a faster runner. To make hill running feel easier, focus on your breath, trying to match it evenly with your stride. Try a session of hill repeats outside, or the next time you’re at the gym. After a few rounds of hill training, running on flat ground will feel like a piece of cake.

InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

12 Tips for Faster Metabolism

Many people want to make big changes in the level of their metabolism. If your metabolism runs high you can burn fat and lose substantial weight with out a lot of extra activity or at least faster. The definition of metabolism is the level with which a persons body will make and then consume calories that are needed for life.

Lots of things will affect a persons level of metabolism and it can change at different times depending on the frequency one eats, his or her genetics, the volume of muscle mass, stress and activity. Things that make a persons metabolism slow down can be the loss of muscle mass because of the lack of activity. When that happens the body tends to consume its own muscle because there is a lack of energy from food to get along and finally the metabolism slows down because with advanced age physical activity normally declines.

1. A lean body mass will increase metabolism. It is certainly possible to delay the decline in metabolism as you grow older even though the decline is natural. Muscle volume is a determinant of metabolism that will take away fat or calories. There is no way around it that exercise is important. Weight training at least a couple of times a week will build muscle and strength and you can fill in the gaps between workouts with lighter easier exercises. Even things like taking the dog for walks and avoiding the elevator and taking the stairs can serve over time to help increase metabolism and in turn burn calories. An important factor is to match ones eating with ones activity. Some important suggestions for getting the right quality and quantity of exercise follow.

If your goal is strength training use these:

  • Add repetitions to a certain exercise (go from 5 reps to 10 reps).
  • Increase the amount of resistance (More weight, stronger bands, etc).
  • Seek out new proven exercise techniques when appropriate (new equipment can help).

To train for cardiovascular fitness:

  • Space the exercises with little breaks.
  • Combine different exercises and do a sort of cross training circuit.
  • Increase speed and resistance in the exercises.

2. Eat the first meal of the day, breakfast. Many people ignore that most important meal of the day using the excuse of time. It has been proven that those that eat breakfast will stay thinner than those who do not. The facts are that the metabolism can slow during the early hours if breakfast is delayed until midmorning or if it is skipped altogether.

3. Like an evil, avoid sugar. The reason is that sugar facilitates the ability of the body to store fat. The goal is to keep the blood-sugar as level as possible and eating foods high in sugar makes that nearly impossible. Also the fact that you are exercising several times a week will also help keep the sugar in the blood stabilized.

4. Hot Spicy foods increase metabolism, eat them.

5. Go to Sleep. People that do not get enough sleep are at risk to gain weight according to researchers. It has also been shown in some studies that the last few hours of sleep are when muscles are repaired and regenerated.

6. Drink more water. Because we are exercising we have toxins being released and they need to be flushed and water serves that propose. Conversely if there is not enough water the bodies functions are slowed down and all the systems decrease in speed and produce additional stresses and it becomes a spiraling problem.

7. Eat more small meals about 2-3 hours apart. Make it so you eat about 4 – 6 meals a day.

8. Do not skip meals. A dieter may want to skip meals but in order to lose weight the metabolism has to be kept high and in order for metabolism to be kept up there has to be fuel.

9. Get good at planned meals. Establish a balanced pattern and plan out the amounts and times to eat the proper meals. Avoid a sporadic schedule for meals as this is a huge mistake.

10. Get rid of the stress in your life. Stress can come from all different areas of your life and it can detrimentally affect your attempts to increase your metabolism. Work on the areas of stress and your metabolism will naturally increase.

11. Green tea in copious amounts as a alternate for drinking coffee, will serve to stimulate your metabolism and it does not have the negative side effects like coffee does if you drink too much.

12. Energy foods are a vital ingredient to making this change to increase your metabolism. Some energy foods are whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruits.

Before you embark on any health related change always consult your trusted health professional and listen to your body. To reach the goal of balancing and increasing ones metabolism and body weight is an obtainable goal but one needs patience and persistence as this is not a quick fix proposition. Do not allow anything except success as an option. You can reach your goal.

InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

How to Use Acupressure for Back Pain

How to Apply Acupressure for Back Pain

First of all you need to “find” your spine in your foot. Sit on the floor with your legs crossed. Pick up any foot and loot at its inner edge. There is a line between the heel and big toe, which is a projection of the spine. Visually divide the line into several parts: the sacrum, lower back, chest and cervical spine. Now use your thumb to massage the line from the heel towards the toe. Do the massage with enough strength but within the rational scope. If there are problems in your spine, you will easily find their reflections in your foot during the massage. They will be felt as painful or sometimes hard points. While working with them you are actually working with your spine, but indirectly, since there is a close connection between them and the latter. What you do is the relaxation of the same nerve endings that make you keep tension in the back. The first relaxing effect will be observed right from the first massage session.
pressure points for back pain in foot

Feet Pressure Points For Back Pain Relief: How All This Works?

Does acupressure work for back pain? Yes, it does, and there is no mystery about it. Our soles and palms are the main organs of touch, and the 72, 000 nerve endings converge here (in yoga they are called 72,000 energy channels, or nadi). Palms and feet adequately assess the situation (temperature, wind, humidity, and more) and “report back” about it all the organs and systems of the body directly. Through this process, heat, and moisture regulating (and others) mechanisms are carried out without the intervention of our consciousness. But we can also use this to our advantage to reap the benefits: massage your feet – relax your body, place your feet into water – all your nervous system relaxes, put the feet into warm – all your body warms; and through acupressure you can relieve pain and ease the condition of all the organs and body systems.

How To Use Acupressure For Back Pain: More On Technique

Preparation. Wash your hands and feet with warm water, and pat dry with a towel. Heat the massage oil slightly.
The position of the body. Sit with your legs crossed. If you feel tension in the back, make a support for your back and buttocks. Put a cushion under the knee of the massaging leg, and grasp the foot.
Massage. At first, lubricate both feet with the heated oil. Then massage the feet one by one. Rub the soles from heel to toe and back. Twist and pull each toe. Press the foot from its edges for a few times. Then massage the reflex zones: use your thumb to press hard and rub the area in a circular motion. After the acupressure pat the soles. Take a relaxed foot with your hand and rotate it to work on joints: ankle, toes, and heel. Make sure the foot (and leg) does not strain; all the motions should be done with your hands only.
Massaging feet with the elbow. It is very convenient and requires much less effort than the massage with your fingers. You have to take the lotus or half lotus pose, and massage your feet with your elbow. You can increase the pressing force by pressing your palm with the other one.
The frequency and duration. The optimal way is to massage your feet for 5 minutes each daily or every other day. Then the effect will not take long to come.

Acupressure Contraindications

The contraindicated conditions are: infectious disease with fever; tumor or metastasis risk, varicose veins, swelling of the joints of the foot (You have to massage only the reflex zones, without touching the joints). You shouldn’t massage subcutaneous seals, fungal infections, warts and moles.

InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

What to Eat Before & After a Workout

Here are some great tips to try and foods to eat before and after a workout:
  • If you workout in the morning… You need to eat within 30 minutes of waking up so you can jump-start your metabolism. Try having a few bites of oatmeal or half a banana—having something is your system is better than nothing.
  • If you workout in the afternoon… Eat a light snack if you are hungry before your workout. Power foods like a small bowl of oatmeal, a banana, apple slices with peanut butter or muscle milk.
  • After your workout…
    Eat within 30 minutes after your workout so your body doesn’t start burning muscle. It’s important to fuel your body with some form of protein, so grab a handful or almonds or whip up a protein shake. Then, eat small meals every 3 hours throughout. Even If you’re not hungry, you should at least have a small snack. This will prevent you from waiting too long to eat and then overeating because you feel starving.
It is recommended to avoid foods that are high in fat and anything spicy before working out to avoid feeling sluggish and getting an upset stomach. It’s also extremely important to make sure you are hydrated before you hit the gym. Try to drink two to three cups of water a few hours before you workout and remember to bring your water bottle with you. Then hydrate throughout the day to replace all the H20 you lost while sweating it out.
No matter how you look at it, you should be eating and working out to feel healthy and good about yourself.
InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

How to Prepare for your Golf Season

In all sports, preparation is the key to top performance. Baseball, hockey and even basketball have a preseason, which allows athletes an opportunity to gradually get in shape, so that they are “game ready” for the regular season. A preseason golf schedule can also give you a chance to work on your basic fundamentals as well time to set some goals for the upcoming season.

It is important to be in good physical shape before the season starts in order to maximize your performance on the course and help prevent injuries. If you have any physical issues in the preseason, we suggest that you first seek advice from your physician. Some injuries may require treatment from a physiotherapist or message therapist, simple stretching exercises or medications to help relieve pain.

If you have not maintained an active lifestyle over the winter, it is important to gradually work yourself into shape. There are three areas that I suggest you work on this spring to help improve your game. Flexibility training, aerobic training and strength training are all important components of a good golf swing.

First, work on stretching all your golf muscles and improving your overall flexibility. As our body ages we lose flexibility and our range of motion. The key muscles to work on include your core (abdominal) muscles, shoulders, back, hips and legs. All these muscles need to be stretched so that you can create a swing that can generate power and distance. Once your season begins it is important that you continue to stretch and warm up properly before you play and practice.

Aerobic training involves activities that will help you to improve blood flow and gradually increase your heart rate. A treadmill, stationary bike, short walks or even daily rides on your bicycle are a great way to start. It is important to start slowly and gradually increase the length of each of your training sessions. An average golfer that walks eighteen holes will walk close to four miles during their round. Prepare yourself properly this spring for that next “walk in the park.”

Strength training involves working your specific golf muscles to help generate power in your golf swing. Most players on tour understand and follow a regular program for strengthening their golf muscles. Work all your golf muscles and make sure that you equally work both sides of your body, when you work with weights.

Practice sessions at the range also need to be planned. Don’t be too eager to play golf before your swing and body is ready. At the range you can work on the various elements of your game and gain a better understanding of both your strengths and weaknesses. When you do play golf this spring, start with 9 holes and keep track of important statistics such as fairways hit, greens hit in regulation and putts per hole. These numbers will give you a great indication of what you need to work on. If you don’t understand how to improve your weaknesses, then take some lessons from a qualified instructor. You will be able to quickly pinpoint your swing flaws, make swing modifications and learn some effective drills that will help eliminate your swing mistakes.

InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

Why Sitting is Bad for you

Sitting down for brief periods can help us recover from stress or recuperate from exercise. But nowadays, our lifestyles make us sit much more than we move around. Are our bodies built for such a sedentary existence? Murat Dalkilinç investigates the hidden risks of sitting down. 

InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

Preventing Overuse Injuries

Over the past 20 years more children are partici­pating in organized and recreational athletics. With so many young athletes playing sports, it’s no wonder injuries are common. Half of all sports medicine injuries in children and teens are from overuse. The following is information from the American Academy of Pediatrics about overuse injuries and injury prevention tips.

What is an overuse injury?

An overuse injury is damage to a bone, muscle, ligament, or tendon due to repetitive stress without allowing time for the body to heal. Shin splints are an example of an overuse injury.
The following are the 4 stages of overuse injuries:
  1. Pain in the affected area after physical activity
  2. Pain during physical activity, not restricting performance
  3. Pain during physical activity, restricting performance
  4. Chronic, persistent pain even at rest

Who is at risk?

Children and teens are at increased risk for overuse injuries because growing bones are less resilient to stress. Also, young athletes may not know that certain symptoms are signs of overuse (for example, worsening shoulder pain in swimmers). If you think your child has an overuse injury, talk with your child’s doctor. A treatment plan may include making changes in how often and when the athlete plays, controlling pain, and physical therapy.

How to prevent overuse injuries

Athletes should stay away from excessive training programs that could be harmful. The following are guidelines to help prevent overuse injuries by promoting a healthy balance of activities.

Prepare

Athletes should have a preparticipation physical evaluation (PPE) to make sure they are ready to safely begin the sport. The best time for a PPE is about 4 to 6 weeks before the beginning of the season. Athletes also should see their doctors for regular health well­ child checkups.
Athletes should maintain a good fitness level during the season and off­season. Preseason training should allow time for general conditioning and sport­specific conditioning. Also important are proper warm­up and cool­down exercises.

Play smart

Athletes should avoid specializing in one sport before they reach puberty. Child “superstars” are often injured or burned out prior to college. Children should be encouraged to try a variety of sports.
Participation in a particular sport should be limited to 5 days per week.
Athletes should sign up for one team and one sport per season.

Rest up

Athletes should take at least 1 day off per week from organized activity to recover physically and mentally.
Athletes should take a combined 2 to 3 months off per year from a specific sport (may be divided throughout the year [that is, 1 out of every 6 months off ]).

Training

Increases in weekly training time, mileage, or repetitions should be no more than 10% per week. For example, if running 10 miles this week, increase to 11 miles the next week.
Cross­train. Athletes should vary their endurance workouts to include multiple different activities like swimming, biking,  or elliptical trainers.
Perform sport­specific drills in different ways. For example, running in a swimming pool instead of only running on the road.

How to prevent burnout

Burnout (overtraining syndrome) includes mental, physical, and hormonal changes that can affect performance. To help prevent burnout in your child, follow the guidelines in this handout. Other suggestions include
Keep your child’s practice fun and age­appropriate.
Focus on your child’s overall wellness, and teach them how to listen for problems with their bodies.

Remember

Parents: Your goal should be to promote a well­rounded athlete who can enjoy regular physical activity for a lifetime.
InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

Medicine Ball Buster Workout

Medicine balls are a fun alternative to weights for both resistance training and cardio. They generally range from 2 to 12 pounds and can be used to tone your upper body, lower body and core. They can also help improve range of motion, coordination, and flexibility. Try these moves for a killer “ball busting” workout: This killer medicine ball workout mixes cardio and resistance moves to help you build strength and blast fat—all while sculpting a tighter torso and flatter abs. A weighted ball is a great training tool because you can add it to almost any exercise to challenge your core stability and improve coordination. For best results, do this workout on two or three nonconsecutive days per week.

Workout details: Do each move as quickly as you can with good form, moving from one exercise to the next with little or no rest in between. Once you’ve finished the last move, rest and repeat the entire circuit 1 or 2 more times.

Power Cross Chop: Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart, holding the medicine ball at your chest. Brace your abs in tight and twist your torso to the left. Allow your right heel to pivot off the floor and bring the ball up over your left shoulder. Quickly “chop” the ball down and across your right thigh, lunging as you pivot your left heel off the floor. That’s one rep. Do 15 reps in a row and then switch sides and repeat.

Figure 8 Scoop: Hold the medicine ball at your chest and stand with your feet wide. Step your left leg out into aside lunge as you scoop the ball down and to the outside of your left thigh. Press through your right heel to straighten your right as you reach the ball up and overhead, quickly reversing the lunge and scoop to the right. (Think of tracing a figure-8 pattern with the ball as you lunge from side to side). That’s one rep. Do 15 reps total.

Split Push-Up with Knee Tuck: Get into a push up position with your feet wider than hip-width apart. Place your right hand on top of the medicine ball (if this is too tough, modify on your knees). Balancing on the ball, lower your body into a pushup. As you extend your arms, bend your left knee across your chest towards the ball. Quickly step your left foot back to the floor and repeat. Work up to 15 reps on both sides. To make this move even more challenging, bring your feet closer together in your pushup position.

Balancing Burpee: Standing with your feet hip-width apart, hold the ball at your chest. Squat down and place the ball on the floor, keeping your arms extended. Shift your weight into the ball, pressing your hands on top. Quickly jump your feet back into full plank position, still balancing on top of the ball. Brace your abs in tight to help your balance. Jump your feet back in, landing in a squat. Quickly stand up and press the ball overhead. That’s one rep. Try for 15 reps in a row. Too tough? Try walking your feet in and out of your squat and plank position instead. Too easy? Add a jump when you stand and press the ball overhead.

InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.