FEBRUARY- Fitness Tip:
Stretching prior to exercise should be done gently, after a brief warm up. The most effective stretching should be done after the workout. When muscles are warm, they are most receptive to stretching. Letting muscles cool down without stretching may lead to post-exercise soreness and muscle tightness that may effect the quality of your next workout.
5 L's of Lifting:
1. Load: Test weight of load before lifting and get help if needed.
2. Lever: Keep load close to body to decrease stress on back. EX:
If you hold a 20 pound box close to the body, it adds 20 pounds of
pressure to the discs in your back; if you hold the same box at arms
length, you add 200 pounds of pressure to your discs.
3. Lordosis: Maintain the natural curve of your back--not too much
and not too little.
4. Legs: Use the big muscles of your legs to lift with, not your
back. Also, reposition your feet to avoid twisting your back when you
are moving objects.
5. Lungs: Before lifting inhale, contract your stomach muscles, and
breathe out as you lift. DON'T hold your breath because it increases
the pressure on your discs and can impair heart function.
- Ankle Sprains:
Do you consider yourself to be someone who is prone to spraining your
ankle? You can protect yourself from further ankle sprains by
exercising to improve your ankle strength, flexibility, and
is the ability of specialized nerves in your ankle to provide feedback
regarding your exact ankle position.
When you sprain your ankle, these nerves may be damaged and
your ankle will be less stable. With
specific training, you may regain the ability to sense ankle position
and thus improve your ankle stability.
example, try balancing on one foot for 30 seconds.
See how long you can stand on one side compared to the other.
Now try it with your eyes closed.
do a lunge with your eyes open. If
you lose your balance, practice lunges for a few days.
When your balance has improved try to lunge with your eyes
training is just one way to get your ankle back in shape.
If ankle problems persist ask your physical therapist to design
a specific program to help you prevent further sprains.
- Warm Up/Cool Down:
Why warm up and cool down? The warm
up protects you from injury by preparing soft tissue such as ligaments
and muscle to handle the stress you place on them when you play your
sport. The cool down period is thought to optimize
cardiovascular recovery after exercise and to decrease muscle
Do you hop on the athletic field/court
ready to play full steam after performing only a few stretches – or
no warm up at all? In order to prepare your body for athletic
activities, it is recommended that you do an aerobic warm up for at
least 5-10 minutes. This warm up, for example light jogging or
cycling, should gradually increase your heart rate. Follow the
aerobic warm up with stretching exercises prior to beginning your
activity. In addition, after exercising a cool down period
similar to the warm up period is recommended.
Ever feel like you always have the urge to go to the bathroom?
Try limiting the amount of caffeine you consume, as well as
artificial sweeteners which are found in diet colas.
Also avoid tomato products, citrus fruits and juices, and spicy
foods. All of these
products are bladder irritants which can cause the bladder to feel
like it needs to go to the bathroom.
Does your child complain of elbow pain?
Is he or she a softball or baseball pitcher?
Your child may be developing “little leaguer’s elbow”
which is a result of using poor mechanics with pitching.
The force for pitching should not come from the elbow, instead
the trunk should be used. The
non-throwing shoulder and foot should be placed towards the target;
force should occur by rotating and bending the trunk forward to place
the belly button over the front knee as soon as possible.
If your child plays football, encourage him to block and
tackle with the head up to decrease the chance of neck injuries.
With children returning to school this month, parents should be
aware of their kids’ backpacks to make sure they are not harming
their muscles and joints. Children
should wear both straps; using just one strap can curve the spine and
strain the shoulders, neck and back.
Buy backpacks with wide straps to prevent compression of nerves
in the collarbone and shoulder regions.
Also backpacks should not weigh more than 15-20 percent of your
child’s body weight to prevent rounded shoulders and muscle strains.
Stress is the body’s way of dealing with trying
situations. Stress is the same as the “fight or flight response” that
our body uses to gear up all of the systems in our body to be prepared
to protect ourselves. So
as we are stressed our breathing rate, blood flow to the body, heart
rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension all increase, while the blood
flow to our arms and legs decreases, which also creates a decrease in
temperature in our hands and feet.
To discover techniques to relax and decrease strain on your
body, check out the tip of the month in November and December.
Stress can provoke headaches, so relaxing can alleviate headaches.
One technique to relax consists of visualizing.
Take a few deep breaths and picture yourself lying on a serene
beach soaking up the warm sun and listening to the gentle roll of the
waves; begin to visualize when you feel stressed or the start of a
headache and continue for several minutes until you feel relaxed.
You can also visualize holding a cup of hot
chocolate and how it warms your hands.
Imagine the warmth is progressing up you arms, through your
chest, to the neck, and arriving at your head.
Following last month’s tip on relaxation techniques,
another method is using muscle tightening.
You can begin by taking a few deep breaths, then scrunch up
your face and hold for 5 seconds, then shrug your shoulders up to your
ears and hold 5 seconds, move down and tighten the muscles in your
arms, then ball up your fists. Continue
down to your abdominal (stomach) muscles, then squeeze your buttocks,
next are your thighs, then the calves, and finally scrunch your toes.
Tighten all of you muscles for a 5 second hold and continue to
use deep breaths to relieve the body of stress.
Do you know what position your chair should be at to
decrease stress on your back? The
following guidelines are to be followed to adjust your chair
Sit all the way back into your chair to allow the chair
to support your back; 1 inch space is all that is needed between the
back of your knees and the end of the seat.
Adjust the back of the chair so its shape fits the shape
of your back; if needed, use a towel roll or lumbar roll pillow to
ensure fit in the small of your back.
Adjust the height of the chair to allow you to reach
your workstation with your elbows at a 90 degree angle.
Angle the seat of the chair so your thighs are parallel
with the floor.
Both feet should be rested on the floor; use a foot rest
to support your feet if your legs are too short.
Cradling a phone between your shoulder and neck can cause
excessive strain on the tissues supporting your neck. Always hold the phone with your hand. If you spend extended periods of time on the phone at work or
home, use a headset that allows the shoulders and neck to remain in a
position of good posture.
The height of our computer screens and documents from which
we type from can affect the health of our necks. The top of the computer screen should be at eye level to
place our neck in a neutral position.
Documents should be placed on a document holder to the side of
the screen at the same level to prevent use from holding our necks in
a bent position to read papers on the desk.
To prevent wrist strains or carpal tunnel syndrome with
typing, our chairs should be adjusted so that the elbows are bent at
90 degrees or a right angle (the angle between the forearm and upper
arm). The hands should be in a straight line with the forearms
and if the hands are angle up from the wrist, use a wrist
support in front of the keyboard to decrease stress on the wrists.