Awesome Free Apps for Health and Fitness

Smart phones have gotten a bad reputation over the past few years due to the tendency of those who use them to fall into patterns of poor posture. However, although “text neck” has certainly become a thing, smart phones (and web programs) can also help in your pursuit of better health and fitness. Here are some apps we like to use to promote a healthy and physically active lifestyle:

1. My Fitness Pal
My Fitness Pal is a free app with an online food tracker journal. You can use this on the web or on your phone. Input foods and exercise and it will automatically calculate calories in/out as well as give you a breakdown of what you are in eating in terms of carbs, proteins, fats, fibre, and various vitamins and minerals. You can set goals for calorie intake and exercise. If you are a visual person, the graphs and tables will definitely help. You can also scan barcodes on food labels for easy input on your phone and import online recipes. My Fitness Pal has a huge database of foods already so this app tends to be simple, easy-to-use and very user friendly. Premium version is available if you want a more detailed overview of your habbits.

2. Nutrition Tips
This a fun, free app. It is filled with random nutrition facts that are just good to know. For example, it can tell you which foods are high in certain nutrients, or what the leanest cuts of a certain meat are. You can swipe through these at your leisure. Recommended for anyone keen to learn more about what they are eating.

3. Fit Bit
Fit Bits have been taking over recently in the health and fitness industry. A number of our staff have purchased them and have been very happy with what it delivers. There is an app to go along with the sweet wristband. It gives you a breakdown of your daily activity and your sleep patterns. It can also log your food intake and water consumption. You will need to purchase a Fit Bit wristband, but this is a nice option for those who want an all-in-one personalized app. You can also upgrade the app to a premium experience for an additional charge.

4. Strava
The Strava app has various options, starting at “free.” It is a favourite of cycling and running enthusiasts because it can track and save your routes, and also allows you to compare your progress with others segment by segment. In other words, you can see how you stack up against other runners or cyclists on a particular stretch of road or a particular section of a route. Strava is also compatible with a wide variety of heart rate monitors and GPS devices including Garmin, TomTom, Polar, Suunto and Timex. This gives users some control over their experience as they can customize the experience to their preferred device.

5. Runkeeper
Runkeeper is a free, GPS based tracking app. You do not need an additional device to use Runkeeper, but you will need to be in an area that is open enough to access GPS capabilities on your phone. Runkeeper uses the GPS to track your overall distance, your route, your pace and overall time of a workout. You can set Runkeeper to “walk” or “run” and save your workouts. The other thing that’s nice about Runkeeper is that it has the option to set an auditory cue for tracking. So, if you don’t want to have to keep looking at your phone during a workout, Runkeeper announce at regular increments (every 5 minutes) what your time is at, your overall distance and your average pace.

6. Nike Training Club
If you’re looking for some new exercise ideas, check out the Nike Training Club app. Nike Training Club offers free guided workout videos ranging from beginner workouts up to seasoned veteran. They also offer four-week training programs for all levels. Timing is also included for workouts, so this can be a great option for those whose schedules are time-restricted. Use the app to find a workout that fits the amount of time you have to optimize your training time.

7. Charity Miles
Charity Miles allows you to run for a good cause! What an excellent idea. If you’re looking for that extra motivation to get your running shoes on and get going, this is it. With each mile you complete, a corporate sponsor will make a donation to a cause of your choice. Each mile may only be worth a few cents, but when many people get on board with Charity Miles, these little bits will add up quickly and really make a difference for somebody!

Of course, there are many more apps out there. Why not try a few out to see if there is one you enjoy using? Tracking or logging your workouts and food can help you to see your progress, especially on those days you’re feeling like maybe you didn’t get as much done as you would have liked to. They can be a really excellent tool to use in conjunction with a great team of healthcare professionals (like your physiotherapist or registered massage therapist!) in achieving your health and fitness goals.

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

No pain, no gain?

No pain, no gain at the gym, right? Right? Absolutely not! 

No Pain No Gain? NOPE

These days there seems to be an increase in the amount of fitness memes and “motivational” quotes that claim working through pain is something to be celebrated, something to strive for. Unfortunately, this is really not the case. If you are in pain during a workout, or a particular exercise, it is really best to stop what you’re doing immediately and re-evaluate.

Pain as protection
Pain is produced by the body as an evolutionary response to protect itself. For example, if you touch something too hot, your body automatically generates a reflex that pulls your hand away quickly. However, if you hold your hand there too long, pain is generated. This is your body’s way of telling you that you should stop what you’re doing and remove yourself from the painful stimulus. The same can be said of a workout or a particular exercise. If it is causing you pain, it is your body trying to tell you to stop or to lighten the load or maybe change a position to something more comfortable.

DOMS stands for delayed onset muscle soreness. It happens hours after a particularly tough workout. If you have recently increased your load (e.g. added more weight to your lifts or run for a much longer distance than you’re used to), you may experience DOMS after your workout. This can be normal to an extent. You might feel a bit achey or tight. DOMS will generally recrease after some massage or foam rolling. However, if the pain persists, you may want to throw an extra rest day into your week to allow your body more time to recover.

Training for longevity and progress
You should not be in pain during a workout. If you are finding you are in pain more often than not, it is best to change that exercise that is the problem to something that your body finds more comfortable. If you push through the pain, you will likely end up with a more serious injury. If you get injured, you’re going to have to skip your workouts for much longer than you’d like to allow your body time to recover and to re-train movement patterns so you are no longer in pain. Ideally, you should feel like your muscles are working but not hurting. This means that you will be able to continue a long term training plan. Stopping a workout or exercise before pain becomes an injury will help you a lot more in the long run. It is also a good idea to come see your physiotherapist or massage therapist as soon as a pain becomes apparent. You’ll be able to work on a treatment plan to stop it before it becomes a problem!

Body awareness
Body awareness is something that isn’t always an evident part of a workout routine. However, knowing your body and when something feels “off” is a valuable skill. Try to notice how your body is feeling and make note of any specific movements or exercises that tend to trigger a painful feeling. This will make it easier to work on recovery and work past the pain, rather than through it. Your body can change from day to day, and some things mean you might have to take it a little easier some days. These reasons could include lack of sleep, a recent illness, and stress.

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

Exercises to Correct Poor Posture

Last week we discussed the effects of upper and lower crossed syndromes. To follow up, this week we will discuss some stretches and exercises that can help to correct these syndromes and improve posture.

Upper Crossed:
As previously mentioned, upper crossed syndrome causes the pectoral muscles, upper trapezius and levator scapulae muscles to become tight or facilitated. These muscles will need to be released or relaxed. Meanwhile, the deep neck muscles used to help nod the head and the lower trapezius and muscles between the shoulder blades become weak or inhibited. So, we’ll need to work on building strength in these muscles.
1. Chest opening stretches to release the pectoral muscles (hold for min. 30 seconds)
2. Levator scapulae stretch (hold for min. 30 seconds on each side)
This can be a bit of an awkward position. Basically you want to point your nose towards each armpit. You can also try stretching your top arm up along a wall rather than bending at the elbow if it’s more comfortable.
3. Deep neck flexor chin tucks (aka the double chin exercise)
This can be a tough one. It is a very small movement but you should feel deep neck muscles turning on (this may be a very light feeling at first). If you are having trouble with this, try pushing your tongue against the top of the roof of your mouth.
4. Band rows and reverse flys
You can do these with dumbbells or a cable machine as well. If you are just starting though, it can be beneficial to use a theraband as it is lighter resistance and can help make sure the right muscles are active during the exercise and that your upper trapezius and levator scapulae aren’t taking over. Make sure your shoulders don’t sneak their way up to your ears.

Lower Crossed: 
With lower crossed syndrome, hip flexor muscles such as the iliopsoas and rectus femoris and muscles of the lower back have a tendency to be tight while the abdominal muscles and gluteal (buttocks) muscles have a tendency to get weak. To help correct this, we will need to stretch the hip flexors and lower back, while building strength in the abdominals (core) and gluteal muscles.
1. Hip flexor stretch (hold for minimum 30 seconds on each side)
Be sure to keep a strong core during this stretch as it will help to make sure you are feeling the hip flexors stretch specifically. Also, if you’re having trouble finding a good position for your stretch, try tucking your pelvis underneath yourself and then gliding your whole body slightly forward towards your front knee.
2. Quadratus Lumborum (lower back) stretch (hold for minimum 30 seconds on each side)
Try a variation on the child’s pose from yoga. Start in the centre, then slowly reach over to one side, hold, then move on to the other side.
3. Abdominal exercises focusing on core bracing, such as plank and side plank
Make sure your spine stays neutral and that abdominal muscles are held tight/core is braced. Hold for a minimum of 6 seconds on each side.
4. Glute or hip bridging
Make sure you brace your core first, then push the hips to the ceiling, focusing on the gluteal or buttocks muscles doing the work. Double whammy working on both the abdominal and gluteal muscles!
These are only a small selection of exercises that can be used to help correct poor posture and upper and lower crossed syndromes. For a more complete and individualized evaluation, please book an appointment with a physioherapist or registered massage therapist. We’d love to help you achieve your goals!
InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

Poor Posture and Upper and Lower Crossed Syndromes

Many people will experience chronic pain at some point in their lives. Often times this pain can creep up unexpectedly due to poor or non-optimal postural habits. In this day and age, poor posture has become common due to an increase in screen time and desk jobs. We spend a lot of time in the day sitting or hunching over smartphones and tablets or straining our necks trying to get a better grasp on the view of a computer.

Since we spend so much of our days in a slumped position with poor posture, this can have a significant effect on the functionality of muscles and the body overall. Today, we are going to look at what is referred to as “crossed syndromes.”
Upper crossed syndrome:
The upper cross involves mucles of the neck, chest and shoulder. With a head forward posture (head is pushed very far forward past the shoulders) or a hunched posture (upper back is rounded and shoulders collapse inwards), this can either facilitate or inhibit certain muscle groups. Generally, the deep neck flexors (muscles at the front of the neck that help the head perform a nodding motion) and the lower trapezius (between the shoulder blades) do not function optimally. They can get sluggish or weak. Meanwhile, the pectoral muscles in the chest and the upper trapezius take over. These tend to be tight areas that pull the shoulders forward into an uncomfortable position. Over time, upper crossed syndrome can cause tension headaches, and contribute to chronic neck, upper back and shoulder pain.
Lower crossed syndrome:
The lower cross involves the abdominal muscles, muscles in the lower back, and muscles around the hip joint. With lower crossed syndrome, the pelvis is anteriorly rotated. This means that the front of the pelvis is pulled towards the ground while the back of the pelvis pushes out (or causes the buttocks to stick out so to speak). Hip flexors, such as the rectus femoris and iliopsoas, as well as the muscles of the low back tend to get tight, while the abdominal muscles and gluteal (buttocks) muscles get lazy. This can contribute to pain the hips in and lower back.
These are only some symptoms of poor posture. The body is connected and one seemingly small link out of place can have an effect on the body as a whole. It is important to note that these syndromes can also cause pain to spread in other areas. For example, if your pelvis is out of its natural alignment as with lower crossed syndrome, this can lead to knee pain, or ankle pain, or foot pain as it radiates down the lower limb. It can also lead to problems above the hip, suck as lower back pain, and pain along the entire length of the spine all the way to the neck and head. Often times, pain may feel like it is in one specific area, but it can be caused by unexpected yet related issues further along the chain of muscles and joints in the body.
Poor posture can also wreak havoc on your nervous system. If a joint is out of alignment, nerves can risk becoming pinched or trapped in odd places. For example, the brachial plexus (which is a bunch group of nerves) runs through the armpit and around the shoulder area. If your shoulders are being pulled forward to a hunched posture, this can put excess pressure on the brachial plexus leading to tingling or numbness in the hands and fingers.
Practicing good posture on a daily basis is important. Next week we will look at some of the common stretches and exercises that can be used to help improve your posture. Until then, if you are interested in finding ways to better your posture in the pursuit of lessening the pain you may be feeling, please come see your physiotherapist or registered massage therapist. They can give you a much more specific treatment plan!
InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

Thoughts on the Pursuit of the “Beach Body”

The internet can be an excellent source of gathering information, but it also has its downfalls. Around this time of year, we get bombarded with the idea of a “beach body” and that we all better jump on the next fad diet and increase our exercise to crazy amounts in order to achieve this so-called “beach body.” This beach season, I challenge you to try something different. Try not to get sucked in to this idea. Instead, let’s focus on having fun this summer and trying something new. Here are some ways to challenge the ads you see on the internet and instead feel good from the inside out:
1. Find activities you enjoy! Not everyone is keen on being stuck in a sweaty gym. That being said, it is others’ idea of a perfect place to workout. If you’re not keen on going to the gym, find something else that you enjoy. The weather has been great and it’s only going to get better – maybe you want to challenge yourself to try new hiking trails this summer? Maybe have always wanted to try yoga – now is a great time to give it a go! Maybe you want to try rock climbing, or stand-up paddleboarding or maybe you just want to spend more time walking around our beautiful city – whatever it is, stick with what you enjoy. If you find activities you like, you are more likely to continue doing them, and also to challenge yourself to walk longer distances, or try a tougher climb because you are enjoying your activity. This can help so much when you’re trying to stick to an activity program. Being outdoors in the sunshine will also increase your levels of vitamin D – adequate vitamin D helps to keep your mood elevated.
2. Find meals that work for you! There are so many different diet trends out these days, it can be difficult to know where to start. If you’re feeling really lost, try making an appointment with a nutritionist to see if they have any recommendations specific to you. If you’re wanting to go it alone, try to focus on eating fresh foods and lots of vegetables. We have wonderful produce available at farmer’s markets here in Vancouver – take advantage of them! And don’t let anyone fool you into thinking you HAVE to eat certain foods to be healthy. If you’re really not into kale, that’s fine. I’m sure there is another leafy vegetable you’d prefer instead. Limit the processed foods (but don’t give them up completely). If you deprive yourself of all the foods you like to treat yourself to, well that’s no fun either! Instead, maybe try eating really healthy during the week, but give yourself some leeway during the weekends when summer barbecues tend to be plentiful.

3. Focus on what your body can do! It can be tough to change your mindset, but try to think about all the things your body has accomplished, rather than solely on what it looks like. Again, everyone is different and that’s awesome. Look at all the things you have done recently. Have you broken a new personal best on your weekly runs? That’s so great! Have you tried yoga recently and made it through the whole class when you weren’t quite sure it would happen? Amazing! Maybe you just caught up to that energetic toddler of yours – phenomenal! Whatever it is you’re working towards, it is important to congratulate yourself on personal victories. You are doing wonderful things! I promise. Look closely.

4. Spend more time with family and friends! With the weather warming up, social gatherings also have a tendency to increase as well venture out of the cozy homes we didn’t want to leave in the winter. More often than not, spending time with the people you love is going to leave you in a better mood. Check out all the awesome people that care about you wanting to share stories and share laughs – it’s bound to put a smile on your face.
I’ll leave you with one more thought. I’m not sure who had the original idea, but it has been replicated a number of times and it’s so true. Here’s the real secret to getting a beach body:
InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Your Body and How to Have a Better Sleep

Sleep is a vital part of health and wellness, but it is also something that seems to keep slipping from our increasingly busy lives. Getting enough good quality sleep is important in allowing the body to grow and recover from daily stressors as well as illness and disease. Chronic lack of sleep can lead to more than just fatigue during the day. It may be the root cause of a number of issues, including the following:

1. Brain: Sleep is when your brain rests its neurons and strengthens newly formed neural pathways. Without adequate sleep, your brain becomes exhausted. You will feel sleepy, or have trouble concentrating during work or school. Lack of sleep can also put you at increased risk for mood swings, depression and impulsive (and possibly) risky decision-making. Your alertness can also be affected, putting yourself and  others at risk if you are driving or operating heavy machinery.
2. Immune System: During sleep is an optimal time for your body to produce antibodies and other cells that can fight infections. If your body is not given enough time to do this, your immune response will be weakened and you may be more susceptible to infection or illness. Also, without enough sleep, it is likely that an illness or infection might take longer to be eradicated from your system.
3. Digestive System: Lack of sleep causes various hormones to be released in non-optimal quantities. For example, if your body is sleep deprived, it will release an increased amount of Ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite. It will also release a decreased amount of Leptin, which is the hormone that tells your brain you are full. So, you now feel more hungry, but also don’t feel full with the same amount of food that would normally be enough for you. Lack of sleep can also cause your body to crave simple carbohydrates: sugars and processed bread products. These foods provide your body with a quick burst of energy it feels it needs when you are sleep-deprived.

4. Cardiovascular System: In addition to the above digestive hormones, your body will also release elevated amounts of the stress hormone, cortisol when you have not gotten enough quality sleep. An increase in cortisol can cause added stress to the cardiovascular system, resulting in hypertension or high blood pressure, and increasing the risk of heart disease and even stroke. 
So, there are multiple issues that can occur with sleep deprivation, but not everyone has an easy time falling and staying asleep. Here are some tips to help you fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer:
1. Don’t take long naps too late in the afternoon.
2. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine too close to bed time.
3. Save high intensity exercise for the morning or early afternoon. Gentle yoga or similar exercises may be beneficial closer to bed time to help you relax. A regular exercise schedule can help regulate your sleep quality.
4. Avoid large meals too close to bed time.
5. Avoid blue light from phone, computer or tablet screens one hour before bed time. If you must look at your screens, you can download a blue light filter such as f.lux to help decrease the effects of blue light on your sleep schedule, or use the night mode setting.
6. Use your bed for sleep. Try to avoid doing work in bed if at all possible.
7. If you’re still having trouble sleeping, try massage therapy or physiotherapy to uncover underlying causes of aches and pains that may be aggravated by your sleep position.
InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

Why You Should Include Balance Training in Your Program

Balance training is something you may or may not have included in your warm-up, rehabiliation or workout program before. However, it is a major component of a well rounded and complete program. Generally, the different avenues for which you will train your body will fall into the category of strength, power, agility, flexibility and balance. If you have not considered including balance training into your normal routine, here are some reasons you may want to re-consider:

1. Improves proprioception. Proprioception is your brain’s awareness of where your body is in relation to itself (e.g. your knee relative to your ankle) and your body in relation to its environment (e.g. it will behave differently on a stable vs. an unstable surface. Essentially, balance training can help to improve the communication between your brain and your body (neuromuscular coordination). Training this connection can help your body to learn more complex movements in the future. So, if you are looking to learn a new sport skill, training a related balance skill can help you progress to that specific sport skill more quickly and more efficiently.
2. Increases stabilization. To have what one might consider “good” balance, you must be able to stabilize specific muscles or groups of muscles. For example, standing on one leg can actually be a very complex group of stabilizing muscle movements. To do this, the muscles around your ankle must be stable so as not to roll over, causing you to lose balance. The quads and hamstrings must work to stabilize the knee joint as well as the hip joint, and your core muscles (abdominals, back and glute muscles) work to stabilize your trunk and pelvis. So standing on one foot may seem like a simple movement, but there is actually a lot happening! As you work on increasing these stabilizer muscles through balance exercises, this stabilization can be transferable to better posture. The core, thigh, lower leg and ankle muscles need to work together during the standing on one foot exercise, and also need to be active while standing with good posture. Improving your posture can do wonders for some of the aches and pains that may be have developed while “slumping” over your computer, phone or other tech gadgets, pulling the body out of its natural alignment.

3. Fall prevention. As we age, falls may become more of a concern. Balance exercises can help combat this concern. Balance exercises themselves can be very gentle – anyone can do them! They are also easy to practice at home. Along with the above mentioned ways that balance can help to improve your functional movement, practicing balancing may mean you will be less likely to fall should you get tripped up as it can help you to regain your upright posture or correct yourself after a stumble. Practice makes perfect!
Balance Exercises:
Balance exercises can be as simple as practicing standing on one foot. While doing so, make sure you are focusing on stabilizing your core, thigh, lower leg and ankle muscles. Use your arms for balance or stand near a wall or counter so you can catch yourself if needed. Start for just a few seconds and gradually increase your time as you feel you’re getting better. 
To make this exercise more difficult, try standing on a pillow or other soft, uneven surface. Try wearing shoes or going barefoot and see which feels more difficult for you. For a really tough challenge, try squatting on one leg (make sure your knee or hip don’t collapse inward or outward!) 
Vestibular System:
If you are feeling like you are a pro at balance exercises, try doing them while shaking your head back and forth, looking at 4 alternating points of a room, or while closing your eyes (make sure you have something nearby to catch yourself on if you try closing your eyes!). Does it feel much more difficult? This is because part of balance system is within the inner ear (vestibular system), and part is visual. While moving your head, you are disrupting your vestibular system, making it more difficult for your brain to tell where the rest of your body is. While closing your eyes, you are taking away the visual reference your brain has to see where your body is in space. These systems work together and contribute to balance as well.
If you are interested in improving your balance and learning some cool new exercises to add to your routine, give us a call to make an appointment with one of our fantastic physiotherapists!

Cambie Village: 604-566-9716
Burnaby Heights: 604-298-4878

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

How to Stay Accountable and Motivated Towards Your Goals

So it’s warming up in Vancouver and a few months have past since we decided on our new year’s resolutions for 2016. How are you doing on yours? Maybe you’re doing great (congratulations!), or maybe you could use a little extra motivation to stay or get back on track. This week, I’d like to discuss some goal-setting tactics to help you make the most of those resolutions or other goals that you are working toward.
I’ve included some further discussion on goal-setting later on in this post, but first I’d like to talk about a few ways to stay accountable and motivated in reaching for your goals.
1. Write it down. Make a contract with yourself. Write down your goal(s) and sign in. Post this paper somewhere you’ll see it each day. If you’re feeling creative, decorate it with pictures or magazine clippings that are relevant to your goals.
2. Tell somebody about it. Tell a good friend or spouse or parent or co-worker or anyone about your goal. Reach out to this person (or people!) when you’re not feeling motivated. If somebody else knows how important this goal is to you, they can give you a pep talk when you need it!
3. Make a goal-buddy. Maybe another person near and dear to you is looking to achieve the same goal. Now you can look forward to seeing that person and spending some time together working towards a mutual goal. Again, this is great for the pep talks when you’re needing them as well. 
4. Check out photos/videos/articles related to your goals. Sometimes it helps to have a pinterest board or follow an instagram account with people doing what you’re looking to achieve. For example, maybe you’re really interested in getting into cycling. Look for more information about cycling, or find some videos for beginners if you’re new to cycling. You can learn some tips and tricks which can help you past sticking points. These can also serve as inspiration or motivation on the days you’re just not feeling it (hey it happens to the best of us!)
5. Break your goal down into smaller goals. Maybe the idea of running a 10km race feels overwhelming. Think about smaller goals that can help you along your way. Maybe your first goal is to complete 3 shorter training runs in one week. Or, break your runs down into run-walk intervals so you have some time to slow down and catch your breath. By creating multiple smaller goals, you give yourself a sense of achievement after you complete each of these goals, rather than creating potential frustration if you do not meet your big picture or overall goal of running 10km right away.
6. Address troubles directly and quickly. If your goal is to run 10km, and you happen to fall victim to a sprained ankle, that is going to be frustrating. Instead of pushing through this, go see your physio or your massage therapist and have them take a look at it. The quicker you recover or find a solution, the quicker you can get back to working on your goals.
Next, let’s look at actually setting goals. Many use the mnemonic “SMART.”
1. S is for specific: Your goals need to be specific. Goals can start off as “I want to eat better,” but you’ll need to make some decisions as to what better means for you. For example, maybe eating better means that you want to add more vegetables to your daily diet. In this case, a more specific goal could be: “I want to add two more servings of vegetables to my diet each day.”

2. M is for measurable: We need to find a way to measure this. If we continue with the example above, we might measure this goal by creating a food diary, or using a food tracking app to count the servings of vegetables you are eating each day.

3. A is for attainable or adjustable: You should keep your goals within reason. Your goal cannot be “I want to fly like a bird” because you are likely not going to sprout the wings to be able to do this. Set your goals so they are challenging but so difficult that they are unreachable. Another good way to think of this is to keep your goals adjustable. This means that you have some wiggle room. For example, if you are training to run your very first 5km race, maybe you have set your goal to complete 3 training runs in each week leading up to your race. You will need to have some leeway if you fall ill and are unable to breathe properly to do those runs. Alternatively, maybe you are finding you are achieving your goal of 3 runs each week and finding it easier than you thought! In this case, adjusting your goal to keep challenging you is a great way to stay motivated. Maybe you decide to add a 4th day of sprints to your 3 more slowly-paced training runs.
4. R is for relevant: Any stepping stones or sub-goals need to be related to your overall or big picture goal. For example, if your goal is to run a 5km race, you wouldn’t necessarily add a swimming goal in pursuit or your running goal.
5. T is for time-bound: You should add a deadline or time frame to your goal. This can help keep you on track. For example, if you are training for that 5km race, sign up for that race in advance! This will give you a very specific deadline of when and how you’ll want to plan your training runs.
InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

Stretches for a Pain in the Tailbone

The tailbone, located at the bottom of the spinal column, is known in anatomical terms as the coccyx. Pain found in this area is the result of overuse, trauma or tightness in the neighboring muscles — which include the glutes, adductors and piriformis. Stretches can help alleviate pain and keep the tailbone area more flexible.

Cat Cow Combo

The Cat Cow Combo is two yoga poses blended together in one exercise. Assume an all-fours position with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Take a big breath in as you arch your back and look straight up in the air. After holding for a full second, exhale and round your back in the air as high as possible. When doing this, drop your tailbone down and fix your gaze back down on the floor. Hold this again for a second and continue to alternate each position with each breath.

Knee Pull-in

A knee-to-chest pull-in helps stretch the lower back and glutes area from a lying position on the floor. You can do this with both legs or one at a time. Lie face-up with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Carefully raise your feet and grasp the back of your thighs, just below your knees. Pull your knees in toward your body as far as possible and hold this for 20 to 30 seconds. Perform the single-knee-to-chest pull-in the same way, except keep one leg straight.

Lying Groin Stretch

The lying groin stretch lengthens the adductors and external rotators that run up the inner thighs to the pelvic area near the front of the tailbone. Lie comfortably on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Carefully lower your knees to your sides as you place the soles of your feet together. Position your hands on the insides of your thighs and apply light downward pressure to emphasize the stretch, and hold this for 20 to 30 seconds. This stretch is commonly done from a seated position, but this variation causes stress on the tailbone — which can exacerbate your pain.

Piriformis Stretch

The piriformis muscle is found deep inside the glutes area. It runs from the top of the femur to the coccyx. A piriformis stretch helps lengthen this muscle. Get into an all-fours position with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Keeping your left knee on the floor, move your right leg forward and position your outer shin on the floor at an angle to your body. Lean forward and lower your hips toward the floor as far as possible. Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds, slowly release and switch sides. When doing this stretch, flatten the top of your back foot out on the floor and straighten your leg.
InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

7 Exercises to Maximize Hand, Wrist, and Forearm Strength

It is extremely important not to neglect working your forearms during your exercise routines. The hands, wrists, and forearms should be prioritized while warming up and while working out. Below, we recommend several stretches and essential exercises that will allow you to build strong and symmetric forearms.

The Benefits of Forearm and Wrist Exercises

So often, the biceps and triceps are the focal point of upper extremity development, while the forearms and wrists are given minimal attention. But the forearms and wrists allow us to perform the exercises that develop and maximize biceps, triceps, deltoid, chest, and back strength. Therefore, it is imperative that we devote time and energy to optimize the strength of our hands, wrists, and forearms.

7 Essential Forearm and Wrist Exercises

Here are seven essential tips to really help you to develop strong and symmetric wrists and forearms. We recommend doing these exercises three times per week.

  1. Flex and extend all fingers, while making a complete fist for 30 seconds. Next, open and close your fingers do 2 sets of each for a total of a minute.
  2. Flex your wrist and hold in maximum flex for 30 seconds with the elbow straight but not locked.
  3. Extend your wrist with the elbow straight for 30 seconds. Do 2 sets for a total of 2 minutes. These initial three stretching exercises will prepare you for the more complex and more intense weight-bearing exercises to optimize muscular development and the strength of the forearm.
  4. Seated Wrist Hammer Curls – In a seated position with your back straight, place your forearm on your thighs with your thumbs pointed upward. Use a 5-, 10-, or 20lb weight in a hammer position and lift it back and forth slowly for 3 sets of 20 repetitions. This will develop your brachioradialis muscle, which inserts at the distal aspect of the forearm at the wrist. Greater hypertrophy of this muscle will give more definition and balance of the forearm.
  5. Seated Wrist Straight Curls – This is to develop your flexor muscles. In a seated position, with your forearms on your thighs and palms facing upward, with a 5-, 10-, or even 20lb weight in hand, flex your wrist upward. Keep the forearms well placed against your thighs for greater stability and isolation of the wrist and forearm musculature. Be careful to place the wrist three to four inches away from the knee to allow the full range of motion. Do 3 sets of 20 repetitions.
  6. Seated Reverse Wrist Curls– This is to develop your extensor muscles and is also done in a seated position with your forearms on your thigh, palms facing downward, with the wrist three to four inches away from the knees. Grasp the weight and extend the wrist fully. Do this for 3 sets of 20 and be sure to not lift the elbows from the thighs when extending the wrists. Keep the palms down.
  7. Finger Curls – This is an easy exercise to perform and will develop finger and hand strength. Simply sit and hold a 5-, 10-, or 15lb in weight your hand. Turn your hand with the palm upward with the back of your wrist on your thigh. Allow the weight to roll down your fingers, and now curl your fingers back holding the weight securely. Remember to keep the back of your wrist against your thigh throughout the execution of the exercise. Use weight which you can effectively control and execute the exercises properly.

Ultimately, these seven exercises will help to maximize the strength and contours of your hand, wrist, and forearm. This increase in the overall strength of your upper extremities will also help to improve your hand and wrist dexterity, which in turn can improve competitive performance in athletics, gaming, and even in day-to-day tasks.

InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.
1 59 60 61 62 63 69