New Year, New You

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Two views of local Extension leaders drilling ...

Two views of local Extension leaders drilling in physical exercise in middies and bloomers, … (Photo credit: Cornell University Library)

It is a week into 2013.  We at Advantage PT are curious how everyone is doing.  Remember that getting back into the swing of things following the holiday period can be tough.  After being busy with family and all of the food and decreased time for staying in shape, we wanted to offer some pointers to get back into the swing of things.

This is a short list of ways to stay injury free as you return to your workout schedule:

  1. Pace Yourself – Don’t go too hard too fast
  2. Lighten Your Load – Take a few workouts to get your strength and stamina back to where it was
  3. Eat Well – Pay attention to what you are putting in your body.  The right foods will help you ease back into the workout routine
  4. Find a Friend – A friend can help encourage you to stay on track
  5. Set Goals – Studies show that written goals help you work to achieve them instead of just dropping them
  6. Track Your Progress – Keep a journal or use a phone app to keep track of your mileage or weights on each exercise
  7. Do Something You Enjoy – There are a ton of options out there.  Find one you like doing!!!
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Are You at Risk for Shin Splints?

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English: DEERWOOD, Md. (Feb. 7, 2009) Lt. j.g....

English: DEERWOOD, Md. (Feb. 7, 2009) Lt. j.g. Gina Shaw treats shin splints by wrapping her leg in ice after her 8 Kilometer run after competing in the 2009 Armed Forces Cross Country Championship. The women’s cross-country team finished second behind the Air Force. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jhi L. Scott/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A common complaint among runners is Shin Splints.  In all honesty, this type of injury happens to more than just runners.  Anyone who has a mild to major increase in activity level is susceptible to shin splints. Shin splints (medically known as Medial Tibial Distress Syndrome) can limit the amount of activity a person can do.  If you have ever had shin splints before, you know exactly what I am talking about.  The pain is excruciating!  So now that the summer is coming to an end, maybe you are trying to increase your amount of activity before the clouds and storms come in representing the change in seasons.

Some factors that increase your risk to shin splints are:

  • Improper footwear
  • Overpronation of the foot/ankle
  • Muscular weakness
  • Muscular tightness
  • Decrease joint mobility
  • Poor training quality/form
  • High foot arches

I am sure that everyone can fit into this list in at least one category.  I know that I fit into at least two fo them.  Does that mean you will get shin splints?  No!  Does it mean you should address pain in the front of your lower leg (shin) if you have it?  Yes, of course!  Here are a few tips to help avoid shin splints

  • Try to stay on softer surfaces for running
  • Replace running shoes around 300-400 miles
  • Limit distance increases to 10% or less each week
  • Include lower impact activities (cycling, elliptical, rowing, swimming, etc.)
  • Stretch the calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus)

If you do get shin splints, Advantage PT therapists can help get you back to full training faster!!  Email us with any questions (Office@AdvantageSportsTherapy.com)

Happy Thanksgiving!!

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A slice of homemade Thanksgiving pumpkin pie s...
Image via Wikipedia

The staff at Advantage Physical Therapy would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!!

This time of year can be very stressful and painful for everyone.  There are two big events happening this week.  Thanksgiving on Thursday, and Black Friday on Friday.

Let’s start with some tips for making it through Thanksgiving:

1.  When you are in the kitchen, try to use good form when working:

  • Stand upright when chopping and/or carving
  • Use your legs when getting into and out of the oven or refrigerator
  • Take breaks if you feel pain

2. When it’s meal time:

  • Pace your eating, you don’t have to eat everything.  Try to enjoy some conversation
  • Try and use good posture when sitting
  • Stand up and move around every 20-30 minutes (you can refill your drink, check on the football games, etc.)

On Black Friday, the malls will be a mad dash.  I can’t believe that some of the stores are even opening up at midnight Thursday night (or Friday morning)!!!  Here are a few tips to stay safe while doing your holiday shopping:

1.  Try to limit your load:

  • Carrying heavy items can cause you to move with poor spinal control and positioning
  • It’s okay to make several trips to the car (this might even burn off some Thanksgiving dinner calories

2.  If you can’t limit your load (i.e. heavy items like TVs and computers):

  • Try and get a store employee to help you
  • If that isn’t possible try to limit the distance you have to carry the item
  • Carry the item as close to midline as possible (keep it close to your belly button

On the lighter side:

Everyone has different traditions for Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving Day, my family goes to my aunt and uncle’s home for a late lunch/early dinner.  We all watch some football on TV, catch up with the cousins, and for the last 7 years we have been adding some children to the mix.  It is always nice to see family.  But we can’t forget eating some turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie.

Since high school, I have played football on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  The game changes every year.  It used to be a bunch of us around the same age, but that crowd has quieted down and now we challenge some of the college aged kids to some flag football.

Go ahead and leave a comment of some of your favorite traditions for the holidays.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook!!!

Ski Resorts Opening This Weekend

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The local ski resorts are opening this weekend.  That includes Snoqualmie Pass, Stevens Pass, Mt. Baker, and Crystal Mountain.

Skier carving a turn off piste

Image via Wikipedia

I know that growing up around here means skiing and snowboarding in the winter time.  The problem is that most of us do not perform these activities year round.  Winter sports are just that, WINTER SPORTS.  This means that many of the muscles that we use for these activities have not been used since last year.  I recall many times coming home the day after my first trip to the mountains for the year.  I was definitely sore and only wanted to spend some time in the hot tub.

Besides muscle soreness, being up on the mountain skiing and/or snowboarding can leave the body vulnerable to many injuries all over the body.  Without the right equipment or preparation, there is a litany of injuries that can occur:

Head and Spine:

Both the head and spine are vulnerable to injuries from falling while on the mountain.  It is recommended that everyone should wear a helmet to help protect the head in the case of a fall or collision.  Spinal injuries can also happen from a fall as well as poor core stabilization during the act of snowboarding or skiing.

Lower Extremity:

The entire lower extremity is at risk for injuries when skiing.  Ankles tend to be pretty safe due to the ski and/or snowboard boots and bindings, but because of the design, the knee can have more rotational force applied to it than it can handle.  Good strengthening and conditioning of the muscles surrounding the knee can help lower the chance of damage to any of the knee ligaments (ACL, MCL, etc.).

Upper Extremity:

The shoulders, arms, wrists and hands are at risk for injury mainly during a fall.  It is a natural reaction to put your hands out to catch yourself and you can injure anything from the thumb all the way up to the shoulder.

Injury Prevention

It is always good to be prepared for all activities.  Winter sports are unique in that most people will spend an entire day on the mountain.  Think to yourself when the last time you spent an entire day using all of the muscles you use in skiing and snowboarding?  I know that I don’t use those muscles for extended periods very often.  We can still train ourselves to overcome some of the deficits.  Most of us will still be sore following a day at the mountain.

Planks and Monster Walks are two very good exercises for preparing your body to deal with the rigors of snow sports.

Planks:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJo9IhFwlUc&feature=player_profilepage

Monster Walks:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dc7Yd5J54Ow&feature=player_profilepage

Stretching

Some light stretching at the end of the day can help maintain tissue elasticity in order to help limit delayed muscle onset soreness. It is always a good idea to stretch the legs (hamstrings, quadriceps, calves) and the low back (prayer stretch).