Category Archives for "stretches"

How to Safely Exercise When Pregnant

Remaining active during a pregnancy may help reduce some discomforts and help prepare the body for delivery. Acute exercise generally increases oxygen uptake, heart rate, stroke volume, cardiac output, and lung volume during pregnancy. Remember to complete the “PARmed-X for Pregnancy” health screening prior to participation in a prenatal fitness class or other exercise. Medical clearance should be obtained prior to exercise for women who were sedentary prior to pregnancy or have a medical condition.

Benefits:

  • reduced backaches
  • reduced constipation and bloating
  • may help prevent gestational diabetes
  • improved weight management
  • increase in energy
  • improved mood
  • improved posture
  • better sleep patterns
  • development of muscle tone
  • promotes strength and endurance
  • better coping with labour

Contraindications to Exercise:

Absolute Contraindications:

  • hemodynamically significant heart disease
  • restrictive lung disease
  • incompetent cervix/cerciage
  • multiple gestation at risk for premature labour
  • persistent second or third trimester bleeding
  • placenta prevue after 26th week of gestation
  • premature labour during current pregnancy
  • ruptured membranes
  • preeclampsia/pregnancy-induced hypertension

Relative Contraindications:

  • severe anemia
  • unevaluated maternal cardiac dysrhythmia
  • chronic bronchitis
  • poorly controlled Type 1 diabetes mellitus
  • extreme morbid obesity
  • extreme underweight
  • history of extremely sedentary lifestyle
  • intrauterine growth restriction in current pregnancy
  • poorly controlled hypertension
  • orthopaedic limitations
  • poorly controlled seizure disorder
  • poorly controlled hyperthyroidism
  • heavy smoker

Warning Signs to Terminate Exercise Session

  • vaginal bleeding
  • dyspnea before exertion
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • chest pain
  • muscle weakness
  • calf pain or swelling
  • preterm labour
  • decreased fetal movement
  • amniotic fluid leakage

Exercise Recommendations:

Aerobic Exercise

Frequency: 3-4 days per week (women who exercise less than 2 days or greater than 5 days may increase their risk of having a low-birth-weight baby) 
Intensity: Moderate intensity exercise is encouraged for women with a pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) of less than 25 kg per squared meter. However, women with a pre-pregnancy BMI of greater than 25 kg per squared meter should engage in light intensity exercise.
Time: More than 15 minutes per day is recommended. Individuals may gradually increase the duration to a maximum of 30 minutes per day of moderate intensity exercise for a total of 120 minutes per week. A 10-15 minute warm-up before exercise and 10-15 minute cool-down of light physical activity after a training session is recommended. 
Type of Exercise: Use large muscle groups in dynamic, rhythmic physical activities.

Resistance Exercise

One to three sets of 10-15 reps with approximately 2-3 minutes rest in between each set is recommended. Engage in light to moderate resistance exercises. The following are sample routines according to different trimesters from Brad Schoenfeld (NSCA). 

References:
http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/exercise-during-pregnancy/
https://www.nsca.com/uploadedfiles/nsca/resources/pdf/certification/quizzes/quiz_pack_articles/october_2011_33.5.pdf
InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

How to Improve Flexibility with a Yoga Block

Flexibility is the ability to move a joint through its complete range of motion and is important in carrying out daily activities and in athletic performance. Maintaining flexibility of all joints produce efficient movement and reduces risk of injury. It can be improved in all age groups by regularly engaging in exercises targeting different joints. Joint capsule stiffness, muscle viscosity, ligament and tendon compliance all affect flexibility. Therefore, adequate warm-up and proper stretching is essential in optimizing joint range of motion. Chronic conditions such as lower back pain may arise if an individual has poor lower back and hip flexibility, in conjunction with weak abdominal muscles.

Flexibility exercises are most effective through warm-up exercises or passively through moist heat packs or hot baths to increase the muscle temperature. An effective warm-up is typically 5 to 10 minutes long, but may be longer for older adults or individuals with health conditions. Watch the video below, led by InSync Physio’s Claire McDonald, on how to do a comprehensive warm-up targeting all of the major muscles:

Evidence-Based Recommendations:

Frequency: more than 2-3 days per week with daily being the most effective
Intensity: stretch to the point of feeling tightness or slight discomfort
Time: hold a static stretch for approximately 10-30 seconds, hold for 30-60 seconds for older individuals
Type: static (active or passive), dynamic, ballistic, or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation
Volume: a total of 60 seconds of stretching time for each flexibility exercise is recommended
Pattern: repetition of each exercise 2-4 times

Stretching for Beginners: 

Yoga blocks can be very helpful for individuals building their flexibility by reinforcing balance and proper alignment. Use a yoga block for the following positions:

1) Forward Folds for Tight Hamstrings

Place a yoga block flat on the ground and sit directly on top with legs extended forward and feet flexed.

2) Hip Openers for Tight Hips

Sit on the ground and bring your feet together, then place a yoga block under each knee for support. Remember to sit up straight.

3) Standing Thigh Holds for Posture: 

Standing tall, place a yoga block between the thighs to tilt the pelvis downwards and realign the spine.
InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

5 Effective Exercises for Tennis Elbow

What is Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)?

Tennis elbow is a widely common soft tissue condition characterized by pain and inflammation on the lateral and outer aspect of the elbow. It is typically due to overuse of the extensor carpi radialis brevis tendon through repetitive actions such as improperly playing tennis, operating machinery, typing or other gripping activities. Symptoms may include weakness in the arm, stiffness in the elbow, and difficulty performing common hand actions such as holding an object. While ice packs and braces can assist with pain control in the early stages of tennis elbow, improving one’s fitness is very important in the long-term management and prevention of this elbow condition. Try these five exercises to strengthen the arm:

BALL SQUEEZE (to improve grip strength)

1) Hold a tennis ball (rolled up sock or towel can also be used) in your hand.
2) Squeeze the ball for 5 seconds and then relax the hand for 10 seconds.
3) Repeat 8 – 12 times for 3 sets, then alternate to the other hand and repeat exercise.

WRIST TWISTS (to improve forearm supination)


1) Place your elbow on a table so that your hand and wrist are just off the edge.
2) Hold a very light dumbbell (around 2 lbs) in your hand.
3) Rotate the arm outward and turn the dumbbell up. Then rotate the arm inward so that the dumbbell will point back down.
4) Repeat 15-20 times for 3 sets on each arm.

WRIST FLEXION (to strengthen flexor muscles)

1) Place your elbow on a table so that your hand and wrist are just off the edge.
2) Hold a very light dumbbell (around 2 lbs) in your hand so that the palm is facing up.
3) Flex your wrist by curling the dumbbell towards the body and then back down to starting position.
4) Repeat 8 – 12 times for 3 sets. Alternate to other hand and repeat exercise.

WRIST EXTENSION (to strengthen extensor muscles)

1) Place your elbow on a table so that your hand and wrist are just off the edge.
2) Hold a very light dumbbell (around 2 lbs) in your hand so that the palm is facing down.
3) Let your wrist slowly drop down and then lift your wrist back up to starting position.
4) Repeat 8 – 12 times for 3 sets. Alternate to other hand and repeat exercise.

HAMMER CURLS (to condition your forearm muscles)


1) Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
2) Hold a light dumbbell (5 to 10 lbs) in a hammer grip position (dumbbell is vertical) in both hands.
3) Keeping the elbows close to the body, flex your forearm upward to 90 degrees, then back down to starting position.
4) Repeat 8 – 12 times for 3 sets. Alternate to other arm and repeat exercise.

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

10 Easy Foam Rolling Techniques

Foam rollers have become a widely used tool for muscle recovery. In response to working out hard during training, the collagen and elastin fibers in the connective tissues surrounding the muscles become more dense and rigid forming strong adhesions commonly known as knots. Building knots can prevent normal muscle contraction and cause pain. The role of foam rolling in self-myofascial release has been known to break down these adhesions, which can improve range of motion, mobility, posture, and muscle recovery. A few important tips: engage your core throughout rolling, relax, remember to breathe, avoid rolling directly over your bones, joints, neck and lower back. Below are TEN great foam rolling exercises to target the entire body (source: http://www.mensfitness.com). Slowly roll on the targeted area until a tender spot is found and remain on that spot between 30 to 90 seconds.

1. Upper back roll

Lie down with your back on the floor. Place a foam roller underneath your upper back and cross your arms in front of you, protracting your shoulder blades. Raise your hips off of the ground, placing your weight onto the roller. Shift your weight to one side, rolling the upper- to mid-back. Alternate sides.
2. Calf roll

While seated, place a foam roller underneath your lower leg with the other leg placed on the floor supporting some of your weight. Place hands at sides or just behind you, and press down to raise your hips off of the floor, placing your weight against your calf muscle. Roll from below the knee to above the ankle. Repeat on opposite leg.

3. Groin roll

Lie face down with one leg on top of a foam roller so it’s against your inner thigh. Shift as much weight onto the foam roll as can be tolerated. While trying to relax the muscles of the inner thigh, roll over the area between your hip and knee. Repeat on opposite leg.
4. IT band roll

Lie on your side with bottom leg placed onto a foam roller between the hip and the knee, and top leg crossed in front of you. Place as much of your weight as is tolerable onto your bottom leg. Roll your leg over the foam from your hip to your knee. Repeat on opposite leg.

5. Hamstrings roll

While seated, extend your legs over a foam roller so that it is positioning on the back of the upper legs. Place your hands to the side or behind you to help support your weight. Using your hands, lift hips off the floor and shift your weight on the foam roll to one leg. Relax the hamstrings of the leg you are stretching. Roll over the foam from below the hip to above the back of the knee. Repeat on opposite leg.

6. Quadriceps roll

Lie face-down on the floor with your weight supported by your hands or forearms. Place a foam roller underneath one leg and keep that foot off the ground. Shifting as much weight onto the leg to be stretched as is tolerable, roll from above the knee to below the hip. Repeat on opposite side.

7. Lats roll

While lying on the floor, place a foam roller under your back and to one side, just behind your armpit. Keep the arm of the side being stretched to your side as you shift your weight onto your lats, keeping your upper body off the ground. Repeat on opposite side.

8. Glutes roll

Sit with your butt on top of a foam roller. Bend your knees, and then cross one leg so that the ankle is over the knee. Shift your weight to the side of the crossed leg, rolling over your glutes until you feel tension. Repeat on opposite side.

9. Lower back roll

In a seated position, place a foam roller under your lower back. Cross your arms in front of you and protract your shoulders. Raise your hips off the floor and lean back, keeping your weight on your lower back. Now roll over back and forward, keeping your weight off the spine and on the muscles to one side of it. Roll over your lower back. Repeat on the other side.

10. Chest roll

Place a foam roller on the floor. Lie face-down with the foam roller at shoulder height and extend one arm forward. With the foam roller just below your armpit, press your chest into the foam and roll in small movements and release tension in your chest. Roll back and forth on your chest, then extend your other arm and repeat.

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