Click & Book Online Now

Call us now: 023 8025 3317

Hot OR cold?

Posted on 16th January 2018 by

It’s a common dilemma, you’ve picked up an injury but aren’t sure whether to put ice on it or use heat? Both can be great at relieving pain from an injury, but in some instances it’s better to use heat and in others cold.

So, take a look at our quick reference to guide you!

Hot or cold for injury

This article provides general advice and does not replace individual medical advice. Before you treat an injury yourself, if you are concerned about your symptoms or have specific questions, please seek appropriate medical attention.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave


Runners – The Importance of Footwear and getting it right!

Posted on 15th January 2018 by

For a runner, running footwear is the most important piece of kit you will have in your running career (well – joint-most important next to a good Sports Bra for you ladies!). You will fight together through tarmac and forest paths, from quick mid-week runs to the long, slow Sunday ones. Training and racing side by side – so, with the Hendy Eastleigh 10km around the corner, you need to a pair of shoes you’re going to get on with!

Running Footwear has evolved so much in the last decade, it would be naïve to attempt to choose your perfect shoe alone. There are so many variables such as cushioning, stability, heel offsets and durability across well over 20 brands, who have up 30 shoes each on the market. That’s a lot of shoes!!

So, as your Official Health Partner of the Hendy Eastleigh 10km 2018, we thought to give you 5 points to find your match made in heaven:

  1. Support your local shop. Don’t buy online – you can’t get fitted properly over a computer- not yet at least! Go in and talk to someone one-to-one and get a gait analysis done. A gait analysis helps identify any abnormalities in your running style and whether it can be corrected with a particular set of shoes. The main movement they will look out for is the term ‘pronation’ and other elements such as heel striking and lateral/medial rotation of the hip. From this information, they will be able to suggest the best solution for you.
  2. Be open minded – don’t judge a shoe by its colour or brand. Always try what the shop recommends and get the shoe which feels most comfortable. Not the one which matches your new sports top! A pretty pair of shoes won’t hide the pain on your face half way round 10km!!
  3. Be transparent! Talk to them openly about your current aches and pains, and also what you like/don’t like about each of the shoes they suggest. That kind of feedback maybe the different between getting a good shoe and the perfect shoe for you!
  4. Don’t be too limited on price. For a good pair of running shoes, you’ll be looking at spending around £110 for a decent pair. It’s an investment for sure, but the shoes will last you long time and can offset a lot injuries and pain in the long run – no pun intended! They will last ~450 miles for the higher mileage shoes before you need to consider replacing them. So for someone doing 10 miles a week, that’s about a year!
  5. Don’t leave it too late! Give it at least three weeks before the race. Trust me from experience – it will make you re-evaluate everything you thought you knew about blisters otherwise! Break the shoe in properly with about 5 x 5km runs. And then, if you have any issues, just talk to them. It does happen and they will usually be keen to rectify the problem. But be wary, most guarantees only last a month!

Good luck to all who are doing the Hendy Eastleigh 10km! Fingers crossed for good weather and we will see you there as your Official Health Partner for the day!

Cameron Knapp

goPhysio – Sports Massage Therapist

Read More 

How to warn up for running

Top tips for injured runners

Runners – how to maximise your training time


Blue Monday

Posted on 14th January 2018 by

Blue MondayBlue Monday is a name given to a day in January (typically the third Monday of the month) claimed to be the most depressing day of the year. This year it’s Monday 15th January 2018.

However, knowing it’s coming up, you could make a conscious effort to set out and enjoy it – in different ways perhaps, but just as much as you would enjoy a warm summer’s day. How can that be possible?

Well, it’s really is up to you whether you exist in a prison on Blue Monday, or you enjoy yourself. If you prefer the latter, our suggestion is simple: exercise.

Aerobic exercise, any steady movement you enjoy—walking, jogging, swimming, cycling—boosts endorphins, and will leave you feeling calmer and happier.

To stay healthy, adults should do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week. If you haven’t exercised for a while, gradually introduce physical activity into your daily routine. Any exercise is better than none. Even a 15-minute walk can clear your mind and relax.

And after that, who wouldn’t like a massage? Treat yourself and add a therapeutic massage to your routine. You’ll feel, look and simply be healthier far into the future. It’ll promote a faster healing of strained muscles and sprained ligaments; reducing pain and swelling as well as formation of excessive scar tissue

Make your Blue Monday the best Monday of the year!


How to Foam Roll – The Art of Self-Myofascial Release

Posted on 12th January 2018 by

Here’s a quick, no nonsense guide for runners to help improve your warm-up, performance and prevent injury with some simple foam rolling! It’s all about the fascia!

What is fascia?

Firstly, fascia is a dense connective tissue that surrounds every muscle, joint and organ in the body.

There are 3 types of fascia; superficial, deep and visceral.

  • Superficial fascia lies just beneath the skin.
  • Deep fascia penetrates and surrounds muscle tissue.
  • Visceral fascia helps keep vital organs in place.

Everything in the body is connected through fascia, but some areas are more connected than others, forming thickened sheaths and bands of fascia. These are bundled together, inseparable from the muscle tissue (myo) and it’s accompanying web of connective tissue (fascia), forming a 3D myo-fascial web throughout the body. Think of a 3D spider’s web in the shape of your body & you’re getting close!

When working optimally, this myo-fascial web helps provide support, stability, movement dynamics, force transmission and optimises sporting performance.

Why should runners foam roll?

Trigger Point Grid Foam Roller Foam rolling
We like the Grid Rollers from Trigger Point Therapy
  • For warm-up pre running, as it’s far more effective that static stretching (5)
  • To increase nutrient-rich blood flow to muscles that need it.
  • To improve the mobility and flexibility of muscles and joints (4,6,7).
  • To increase athletic performance (8,9).
  • To recover from exercise faster (1,2,3).
  • To reduce inflammation and remove toxins/chemical waste products.
  • Longer term, to break down adhesions in muscle and connective tissue.
  • You can also successfully self-treat minor injuries such as muscle strains and trigger points.

When should runners foam roll? 

  •  MB1 MB5 Trigger Point Roller Ball
    A great alternative to a foam roller is the MB1 or MB5 ball

    Before exercise: when paired with a dynamic warm up to increase blood flow to areas that may be lacking it.

  • After exercise: used within a cool-down procedure to flush out blood that has pooled in working muscles and to allow fresh nutrients and oxygen in to kick start the recovery process.

Rolling for only a few minutes can have a dramatic impact on the quality of your training session. So, if you’re stuck for time, pre-exercise rolling would provide most benefit.

How to foam roll

Remember this easy guide and apply it to each muscle group that you’re working on.

  • 4 linear rolls (to search the muscle for areas of tightness, we call these ‘hot spots’).
  • 30 second holds on each hot spot.
  • 4 joint movements (to move the muscle underneath the roller).
  1. Underside of the foot (plantar fascia)

TrP Foot roller Foam rolling

  • Place the roller under the sole of the foot.
  • Apply pressure and roll slowly towards the heel and back to the sole of the foot, 4 times.
  • Hold pressure on any hot spots you may find.
  • Once this hot spot starts to reduce, maintain pressure and add in movement of the toes by flexing and extending them all 4 times.
  • Repeat the process 3-4 times.
  1. Calves (gastrocnemius and soleus)TrP Calf Roller
  • Zone A = achilles to mid-calf.
  • Zone B = mid-calf to just below the knee.
  • Roll zone A, followed by zone B.
  • Begin by sitting on the floor with the roller on your Achilles tendon.
  • Place your hands behind you and the other leg on top to add pressure.
  • Roll up and down searching for hot spots. If any are found, hold this pressure for 30 seconds.
  • You can also ‘span’ the muscle by turning your foot inwards and outwards whilst maintaining pressure on a hot spot.
  • Repeat this process 3-4 times before moving on to zone B.
  1. Thighs (quadriceps)
  • Zone A = front of the hip to mid-thigh.
  • Zone B = mid-thigh to just above the knee. TrP Quads
  • Roll zone A, followed by zone B.
  • Begin by lying on your front with the roller at the front of your hip just below the bone.
  • Support yourself with your elbows out in front and the other leg bent up to the side.
  • Roll up and down in search of hot spots. If any are found, hold this pressure for 30 seconds.
  • You can also ‘span’ the muscle by turning your foot inwards and outwards whilst maintaining pressure on a hot spot.
  • Now, once on a hot spot, bend and straighten the knee 4 times.
  • Repeat this process 3-4 times before moving on to zone B.
  1. Buttock (gluteals and piriformis)
  • Begin by sitting on the roller with your hands behind you for support.
  • Shift your weight onto one side as you bring that leg up and cross it over the other.
  • Aim to have the roller ‘in your back pocket’.TrP Glutes Foam Rolling
  • Roll along the length of your glute in search of hot spots. If any are found, hold this pressure for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat the process 3-4 times.
  1. Upper back (paraspinals, rhomboids, trapezius)
  • Lay on your back with the roller just below the shoulder blades.
  • Place your arms behind your head or cross them in front of your chest.TrP Upper Back Foam Rolling
  • Lift your hips off the floor and use your legs to roll up and down the spine.
  • Carefully extend your back over the roller.
  • Add in side bends to target various muscle groups.
  • Again, if any hot spots are identified, hold this pressure for 30 seconds before moving on.
  1. Chest (pectoralis major/minor)
  • Lay on your front and place the roller (or trigger point ball) just inside the shoulder joint, on the pectoralis tendon. Pec TrP
  • With the arm above the head roll up and down in search of hot spots.
  • If any are found, hold this pressure for 30 seconds.
  • Add in arm movements to manipulate the soft tissue underneath the roller. 4 straight-arm scoops should do it.
  • Repeat this process 3-4 times.
  1. Latissimus Dorsi
  • Lay on your side with one arm above your head for support.
  • Place the roller at a 45° angle just underneath your armpit.Lat Dorsi TrP
  • Shift your weight to roll up and down in search of hot spots.
  • If any are found, hold this pressure for 30 seconds.
  • Add in straight arm movements to release the tissues further, 4 movements followed by 4 rolls.
  • Repeat this process 3-4 times.

References

  1. Pearcey GP, Bradbury-Squires DJ, Kawamoto J, Drinkwater EJ, Behm DG, Button DC. Foam rolling for delayed-onset muscle soreness and recovery of dynamic performance measures. J Athl Train. 2015;50:5–13.
  2. Macdonald et al. (2014) Macdonald GZ, Button DC, Drinkwater EJ, Behm DG. Foam rolling as a recovery tool after an intense bout of physical activity. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2014;46(1):131–142.
  3. Rey E, Padron-Cabo A, Costa PB, Barcala-Furelos R. The effects of foam rolling as a recovery tool in professional soccer players. J Strength Cond Res. 2017;
  4. Bushell JE, Dawson SM, Webster MM. Clinical relevance of foam rolling on hip extension angle in a functional lunge position. J Strength Cond Res. 2015;29:2397–403.
  5. Su H, Chang NJ, Wu WL, Guo LY, Chu IH. Acute effects of foam rolling, static stretching, and dynamic stretching during warm-ups on muscular flexibility and strength in young adults. J Sport Rehabil. 2016; 1-24.
  6. Kelly S., Beardsley C. (2016) Specific and cross-over effects of foam rolling on ankle dorsiflexion range of motion. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy 11(4), 544-551.
  7. Macdonald GZ, Penney M, Mullaley ME, Cuconato AL, Drake CD, Behm DG, Button DC. An acute bout of self-myofascial release increases range of motion without a subsequent decrease in muscle activation or force. J Strength Cond Res. 2013;27:812–821.
  8. Peacock CA, Krein DD, Silver TA, Sanders GJ, von Carlowitz KPA. An acute bout of self-myofascial release in the form of foam rolling improves performance testing. Int J Exerc Sci. 2014;7:202-211
  9. Monteiro et al. Acute effects of different self-massage volumes on the FMS overhead deep squat performance. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2017; 12(1): 94-104.
  10. Monteiro ER Correa Neto VG. Effect of different foam rolling volumes on knee extension fatigue. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2016;11(7):1076‐1081.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave


Productive healthy ageing and MSK health

Posted on 9th January 2018 by

Last month, Public Health England published new guidance, entitled Productive healthy ageing and musculoskeletal (MSK) health.

Over the last few decades, life expectancy has been steadily increasing, with the ONS estimating that by 2041, there will be an 3.2 million people aged 85 years and older in the UK.

The report highlights that older people have an abundance of skills, knowledge and experiences that benefits the wider community greatly, however, the opportunity to utilise these resources is dependent on good health as we age.

Challenge the view that retirement is about sitting more and moving less.

As life expectancy rises, we must promote the concept of productive healthy ageing. This involves many pillars including; financial security, resilience, social activities and physical health.

Productive healthy ageing

Physical Health 

MSK conditions are problems of the bones, joints, muscles and spine, and are a common cause of severe long term pain and physical disability. There are 3 groups of MSK conditions:

  • inflammatory conditions, for example rheumatoid arthritis
  • conditions of MSK pain, for example osteoarthritis, back pain
  • osteoporosis and fragility fractures, for example fracture after fall from standing height

The older a person is, the more likely they are to experience chronic diseases and disabilities such as poor MSK health.

MSK conditions have a massive impact on society.

  • Lower back and neck pain were the leading causes of disability in England from 1990 to 2016.
  • Estimated levels of MSK conditions in England for 2012 also found that 18% and 11% of people aged 45 years and above have knee and hip osteoarthritis, respectively.
  • An estimated 17% of all ages have back pain.
  • Fractures, which are often a consequence of falls, are one of the most serious MSK problems seen in the older population.

There are many risk factors that can increase people’s susceptibility to MSK problems, including age, being overweight or obese, lack of physical activity, and poor health habits such as smoking.

The two risk factors that often coincide are increasing age and reduced physical activity. As people age, they take part in less physical activity

In the 19 to 24 year age group 76.6% of people are physically active compared to 24.7% in individuals aged over 85 years.

Living for longer does not mean a lifetime of pain and ill-health. There are steps that we can take throughout our lives to maintain healthy productive lives, reduce the risk of developing MSK conditions and better manage our health.

Our Top Tips

As a physiotherapy, health & well being clinic, a significant number of the people we see are in the older age range. We see people with MSK conditions such as osteoarthritis, back pain and osteoporosis. We see people concerned about their reducing mobility or with balance problems that mean they are starting to loose their independence. More frequently, we are now seeing people who are really investing in their physical health – listening to the messages the Government are putting out and taking action to reduce the risk and impact of MSK conditions.

Physical activity in adults

So, what are the best ways of tackling physical health as we age?

  1. Stay as active as possible. Simply walking is fantastic, you can make it social or build it into functional tasks such as shopping. Set yourself some walking goals, to increase your distance gradually. Find a variety of physical activities that you enjoy – swimming, specialist classes, yoga or Pilates are all great ideas. It doesn’t matter what you do, the most important thing is that it’s fun and enjoyable, then you’re more likely to make it part of your routine!
  2. Sit less. Don’t be tempted to sit more. Activities such as gardening, going out shopping, looking after grandchildren and cleaning are all wonderful ways to stay active.
  3. Be health conscious. If you’re invited to check up’s at your G.P., don’t put them off. Keeping on top of your general health and managing any conditions you may have, will help with your physical health. You can also have check up’s or health MOT’s through schemes such as Health Works locally. Try and eat well, sleep well and have time for relaxation too!
  4. Keep on top of aches and pains. If you do pick up an injury or an MSK condition such as arthritis is giving you pain or limiting you, seek help. Seeing someone sooner rather than later will help make sure you can stay physically active and recover quickly, so you can continue enjoying life. “Use it or loose it” is a very apt saying as we age. If you can’t keep active due to pain or an injury, you can very quickly loose muscle strength, balance, fitness and flexibility. So it’s really important to be pro-active.

How we help 

We run a range of specialist services for the older residents of Chandlers Ford and surrounding areas of Hampshire. Our core service of physiotherapy is there for you if you want help and relief from pain or an injury. It’s also valuable if you have a diagnosis of an MSK condition such as arthritis or osteoporosis, and want to know more about the condition and be pro-active about managing it.

We also run weekly Positive Steps classes, which are specifically designed exercise classes for older people. They are a relaxed, sociable and fun way to exercise in a supportive environment, led by Clinicians who understand your exact needs and goals. You can try your first class for free, so why not get together with a friend or partner and give it a try!

We also have an extensive Pilates timetable. Our mat classes are ‘Clinical Pilates’, so adapted specifically to work on optimising physical health and run by Clinicians who understand the ageing process and the best way to exercise.

Wherever you find yourself, we’re here to help and support you. Not sure if and how we can help? Just pop in or give us a call and we can have a chat!

 

SaveSave


The Benefit Of Pilates For Winter Sports

Posted on 8th January 2018 by

Winter is upon us and with that, ski and boarding seasons are in fill swing!

We get lots of enquiries at the clinic about how best to prepare for skiing holidays and how to prevent the worst from happening with injuries.

In today’s blog, we’ll look at why preparing for your ski or snow boarding holiday is important and what Pilates is – if you haven’t come across it before

Ski holidays are a big commitment, both physically and financially. They are also time limited, so most people ski around 6-8 hours a day for 5-7 days in a row. This can be a huge increase in demands on your body if you normally sit in an office all day!

Pilates can help to prepare you for the slopes in many ways:

  • Helps to prepare the body for intense period of exercise
  • Reduces the risk of injuries
  • Improves fitness
  • Addresses muscle imbalances
  • Helps you make the most of your holiday!

Pilates is a low impact form of exercise, usually mat based, that centres around the idea of maintaining a strong ‘core’ during dynamic movement patterns. It works on improving balance, flexibility, muscle strength and posture. It incorporates elements of yoga, martial arts and Western forms of exercise.

So how does having a well trained ‘core’ help me on the slopes? 

There are 4 key elements that will help you during your time on the slopes – Posture, Alignment, Control & Muscle Balance.

I’m sure you’ve seen it before, some people struggle to even stay upright! During this struggle their muscles are so tense and working so hard to keep them upright, thinking about posture goes out of the window!

Posture

A crucial part of winter sports is how you stand on your skis or board.

Incorrect posture will force your body to work much harder than it needs to, which is really inefficient. So, you’ll find that some of your muscles will tire much more quickly and your body will generally fatigue.

When you’re on your skis or board, your posture needs to be stable, yet easily adaptable to the dynamic nature of snow sports.

Pilates helps posture by educating the right postural muscles for you. It teaches postural muscles to work effectively and efficiently.

Alignment

This follows on from posture. Alignment is the relationship in your body between key areas like your head, shoulders, pelvis, hips, knees & ankles. So, if you were drawing a line between these key points like a dot to dot – there will be good and not so good patterns of alignment.

Learning to align your body in its optimal position, will reduce the strain on joints and muscles. Correct alignment will improve your control and balance.

We take it for granted, thinking our body will naturally do this, but a lifetime of postural stresses, injuries, sitting at desks, driving etc. will effect our optimal alignment. We may have tight weak muscles or even some that don’t ‘switch on’ when they’re needed.

Pilates really works to optimise your alignment, teaching all those bits of your body to work efficiently in relationship to each other. Being conscious of your alignment will carry over to your time on the slopes and you will reap the benefits in efficiency, endurance and preventing injury.

Control

Being able to control your body effectively allows you to make small changes without over or under compensating. This skill is vital in skiing and boarding. Reduced control results in working harder than you need to, overstraining the body.

All the moves and exercises in Pilates will challenge and educate body control. Practising control off the slopes will help it become second nature when you’re on the slopes! Let’s face it, when you’re hurtling down a slippery mountain with an equally slippery piece of equipment attached to your feet, a bit of control is a nice thing to have!

Muscle Balance

Muscle imbalances are common throughout the body and don’t always result in a problem. But if your body is being put under greater prolonged physical stress (like a week skiing!), imbalances can become problematic. Weak muscles can be forced to use increased tone or tension to help support them, which increases their work load. Other muscles can work overtime to try and compensate. As skiing/boarding is a whole body exercise, it’s important to address any imbalances you may have.

Pilates is a great form of exercise to do this, that really works the whole body. When practising Pilates exercises you can quickly find out which areas are weak or tight!! It will really teach those ares to work and address any compensations your body is making.

So, how exactly can Pilates can help prevent injuries and keep me safe during my trip!

All of the points above are vital injury prevention tips – correct posture and alignment, better control and well balanced muscles will all reduce the risk of injury.

Any area of the body can be injured when skiing, as it’s a whole body sport. This includes joints, bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons. An injury can vary from a minor muscle strain to a major bone/joint injury such as fracture or dislocation.

Pilates specifically can help you:

  • Maintain control
  • Improve balance – reducing the risk of falling
  • Distribute the load evenly throughout your body – reducing the risk of overworked muscles
  • Increase your flexibility – helping you maintain the correct posture and stance
  • Improve your dynamic movement control – allowing you to adapt to your terrain

Pilates will give you the skills needed to have a safe and enjoyable time away – plus it’s a great form of exercise all year round! The benefits are transferrable to everyday life and exercise too, not just extreme winter sports.

If you’re interested in experiencing for yourself how Pilates can benefit you, come and join one of our classes. We run an extensive timetable of classes, including daytime, evening and Saturday mornings – with a range of levels to suit all.

The goPhysio Team also have some top tips to help reduce the risk of injury on the slopes

Fiona – Listen to your body! Don’t keep going if you feel like you need a break.

Kim – Get any pre-exisiting injuries treated BEFORE you go – don’t leave it until the last minute! You really wouldn’t believe the number of people we see at the clinic a few days before they’re due to go skiing, who’ve had an injury for ages and call us in desperation (normally looking for a knee brace to solve their problem!). Think ahead!!

Paul – Pace yourself throughout the day and have regular breaks to top up energy levels with a hot chocolate!

Francesca – Just in case……make sure you have some insurance to cover any injuries or illnesses while you’re away.

We hope you have a safe & happy holiday!

p.s. Obviously, some injuries are totally unavoidable. So if you do find yourself heading home not quite in one piece, we’re here to help you recover too. You can book an appointment online or give us a call. We aim to offer you an appointment within 24 hours, if not the same day so you can get sorted without delay. All our team are keen skiers or boarders, so know exactly what you’re talking about.


Warming Up For Running – “Do I really need to?”

Posted on 8th January 2018 by

So, you’re ready for your next run. But before you set off, let’s consider the importance of a proper warm up.

If you’re an early morning runner and you’ve been led in bed all night, you’ll need to loosen up. Likewise, if you’ve been sat at work all day, you’ll need to prepare those joints and muscles for the physical activity that you’re about to put them through. Even if you have a physical job, getting yourself ready to run will not only improve your running performance, but it will help keep you free from injuries and increase your recovery rate.

So, warming up for a run is definitely important! But what’s the best way to warm up? 

Foam rolling

Love it or hate it, using a foam roller correctly has been proven to improve performance (1,2) and it’s a great way to prepare your muscles for running. From loosening up fascial adhesions to improving circulation, myofascial release with foam rolling is quick and effective and shouldn’t be left out of any warm up routine.

Using a foam roller (or a ball), stick to these six areas for the best whole-body release:

  1. Feet
  2. Calves
  3. Quadriceps
  4. Tensor fascia lata/TFL (hip flexor at the front of your hip)
  5. Lats (run from your armpit down the side of your body)
  6. Pectoral (chest).

Spending 60-90 seconds rolling each area will improve blood flow, release tension and will help identify any sore areas that may need some extra attention. If you’re not sure exactly what to do with your from roller or would like to learn how to use it effectively, why not some along to one of our foam roller workshops.

Mobility

How healthy are your joints? Simply moving a joint through its full range of motion will increase lubrication, open capillaries, improve circulation and facilitate coordination. Focus on your ankles, knees, hips and lower back. Here are some simple mobility exercises that you might do as part of your warm up.

Ankles: circle in each direction. Point the toes and bring them back towards the shins.

Knees: standing heel kicks to facilitate bending and extending the knees.

Hips: rotate one leg at a time in outward circles, before changing direction. Try to keep the circles as big as possible, as to challenge the full range of motion at the joint. Hold on to something if you’re balance isn’t great.

Lower back: laying on your back, bring both knees to your chest, squeeze and relax. Also try taking your right leg over to the left side with a bent knee to encourage rotation. Repeat on the other side.

Stretching 

Perform a few dynamic stretches after your mobility work. Dynamic means that you are stretching through moment (not holding a stretch).

Great examples of dynamic stretches include:

  • Forward lunge with a torso rotation.
  • Forward lunge with a torso side bend.
  • Bringing alternate knees to the chest and squeezing.
  • Alternating high kicks with a (fairly) straight leg.
  • Hamstring stretches with an arm scoop whilst gently walking forwards.

Try to avoid static stretching before physical activity. Research has shown that it can in fact be detrimental to athletic performance (3,4,5).

Muscle activation

Getting the right muscles firing before your run can help to maintain balance, symmetry and prevent injuries from occurring.

These exercises are fab for activating the muscles you need for running:

  • Calves: heels raises, skipping.
  • Quadriceps: lunges, bodyweight squats, tuck jumps.
  • Hamstrings: heel kicks.
  • Glutes: crab walks, side-to-side shuffles, or backwards shuttle runs.

Running backwards is a great way of activating those big gluteal muscles which continue to work when you turn around and run forwards (just make sure you’re in a hazard-free environment to prevent any unwanted falls).

Having your glutes activated will stabilise your hips, you’ll have greater propulsion when pushing off and your knees will be less inclined to fall in every time you plant your front foot. Not only will this make you a more efficient runner, but it will help prevent hip, knee and ankle overuse injuries from occurring.

So, here’s a summary for a runner’s guide to a quick, efficient warm up:

  • Foam Rolling – Quick six; feet, calves, quadriceps, TFL, lats and pecs.
    60-90 seconds on each, then move on.
  • Mobility Work – Move each joint through its full range of motion. Include ankles, knees, hips, lower back.
  • Dynamic Stretches – Active stretching with movement.
  • Muscle Activation – Calves, quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes.
  • Backwards running will help with your forward running.

References

  1. Peacock CA, Krein DD, Silver TA, Sanders GJ, von Carlowitz KPA. An acute bout of self-myofascial release in the form of foam rolling improves performance testing. Int J Exerc Sci. 2014;7:202-211.
  2. Monteiro et al. Acute effects of different self-massage volumes on the FMS overhead deep squat performance. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2017; 12(1): 94-104.
  3. Chatzopoulos D., Galazoulas C., Patikas D., Kotzamanidis C. (2014) Acute effects of static and dynamic stretching on balance, agility, reaction time and movement time. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine 13(2), 403-409.
  4. Lowery RP et al. Effects of static stretching on 1-mile uphill run performance. J Strength Cont Res. 2014; 28(1): 161-7.
  5. Costa PB, Ryan ED, Herda TJ, Walter AA, Defreitas JM, Stout JR, Cramer JT. Acute effects of static stretching on peak torque and the hamstrings-to-quadriceps conventional and functional ratios. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2013;23:38–45.

Runners – How To Avoid Injuries

Posted on 4th January 2018 by

No one wants an injury, particularly runners. Not being able to run because of an injury is highly frustrating. The good news is, so many running injuries can be avoided very easily.

Sports Therapist, Tom, shares some top ways of helping to prevent an injury if you’re a runner.

Warm Up Effectively

A solid warm up should consist of foam rolling (which can improve performance), mobility work to maximise joint health and longevity, dynamic stretching and muscle activation to fire up the key players in running (calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes). Running backwards is a great way of activating your glutes which play a huge role in stabilising the hips and promoting good form when running forwards. Read more about warming up here.

Route Knowledge

Know your run. If you’re heading out on a new route, make sure you know the terrain, any obstacles, gradients or side-planes and are equipped for the specific weather and conditions that you’re running in.

Train Smart

Increase mileage safely and run with proper form. There are so many resources now online to help guide and direct your training in a ‘smart’ way. This is crucial to preventing injuries if you’re serious about progressing your running. Joining a running club or group is a great way to get guidance and support too.

Increasing Mileage

Beginners should avoid increasing their mileage every week. Instead try every 3-4 weeks. Add an extra day into your running week to increase your weekly mileage. Advanced runners should increase their mileage by 5-10% of their current mileage and remain there until they’re comfortable. This may take several weeks. Injury can occur easily if you ramp up your speed or mileage too quickly. Remember, slow and steady wins the race!

Form

If you’ve been injury free for a long time and you aren’t looking to shave seconds off of your PB, I wouldn’t advise you to alter your running form. However, if you have an injury and a gait analysis suggests you would benefit from altering your form, it would make sense to address this issue. Try to reduce your stride length so that you plant the foot with a vertical shin, this will reduce the forces transmitted through your legs and limit any deceleration from planting your foot too far forward. Also, try to maintain space between the knees. Allowing the thigh to internally rotate or drop in when you run can lead to overuse injuries occurring at the hip, knee and foot. If you need expert advice and guidance on this, consider something like our running rehab service.

Footwear Advice

Ensure that you wear a comfortable shoe that fits well. Rubbing and blisters can put an end to anybody’s run. Don’t be tempted to buy the shoes that look the nicest, fashion won’t help keep you injury free. If you have low arches, find a shoe that supports you in the areas that you need it. Seek professional advice from a reputable running shop where you can try the shoes and they have video gait analysis. Read more about the importance of getting your footwear right here.

Strength Work Between Runs

A stronger kinetic chain will decrease ground reaction forces (GRF), making running more comfortable and more efficient. Working on your core stability will promote the transfer of forces from your upper and lower limbs, meaning less work for your legs. Strong glutes will stabilise your hips and prevent poor biomechanical loading from occurring. Pilates is a great way to help this.

Balance & Proprioception

Proprioception is your body’s awareness of where it is in space – so your joints and brain and muscles all talking to each other! Along with balance, it’s a crucial component to keeping you injury free. It enables your body to cope and respond to uneven terrain, pot holes and curbs and varied weather conditions. Both are very trainable with the right exercises.

If you’ve ever sprained an ankle and haven’t undergone a rehabilitation programme, the chances of you re-spraining that same ankle are very high. After an injury your ankle suffers from a loss of proprioceptive ability and strength, which needs to be rebuilt with balance, proprioception and strength work. If you’re lucky enough to have never sprained an ankle but enjoy running both on and off road, lower limb stability with balance and proprioception work should be a part of your regular gym routine.

Catching Minor Injuries In The Early Stages (Recognition & Treatment)

Being able to recognise the early stages of injury will allow you to nip them in the bud before they become an issue. Examples include plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinopathy, shin splints, patella tendinopathy, ITB syndrome and muscle strains. As soon as any signs or symptoms are noticed, your best option is to consult an injury specialist. We all know what muscle soreness (DOMS) feels like. If it’s a different pain, don’t run through it.

Cool Down Correctly

Exercise causes our muscles to break down on a microscopic level, which can lead to muscle shortening if left untreated. Stretching after running will help maintain the resting length of your muscles and prevent any imbalances from occurring. Sports massage is a great way of helping recover too. A sports massage will help flush out any lactic acid and waste products left sitting in your muscles following exercise, as well as promote the flow of nutrient-rich blood to those areas to facilitate healing and decrease recovery times.

Sleep

Sleep is very important when talking about injury prevention in runners. When you sleep, hormones are released that promote recovery. When you don’t get enough sleep, stress hormones and inflammatory markers remain elevated which adversely affects your ability to recover. These hormones can also alter appetite regulation, potentially leading to weight gain. To remain injury-free, you need to sleep and recover to the best of your ability. Establish good habits by going to and getting out of bed at the same time each day, and try to get at least 6-7 hours of sleep each night as a minimum, 8 hours is great.


Tackling Obesity

Posted on 2nd January 2018 by

With the UK recently being branded as the most obese country in the EU it’s clear that it’s time to start making some changes. Nearly 65% of the UK’s population are overweight and almost a quarter are classified as obese.

Obesity is responsible for about one in every ten deaths in Britain and costs the NHS £5.1 billion a year. It vastly increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which is the leading cause of blindness in people of working age and leads to more than 100 amputations a week.

But how do we change it? More fad diets and ‘the best’ new exercise regimes pop up on social media every day. But what do we really need to do to get the weight off and keep it off?

Well the short answer is that we need to expend more calories through exercise than we put in through eating in order to lose weight. But not all foods are equal; some high calorie foods such as avocados and nuts, which are banned on many diets, actually contain high quantities of important vitamins and minerals which are an essential part of our diet and can even help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Meanwhile many low-calorie foods and drinks may be high in sugar instead.

The Government recommends that all healthy individuals over the age of five years eat a healthy, balanced diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables and starchy foods.

The Eatwell Plate is a pictorial representation of the recommended balance of the different food groups in the diet. It aims to encourage people to choose the right balance and variety of foods to help them obtain the wide range of nutrients they need to stay healthy.

eat well

A healthy, balanced diet should:

  • include plenty of fruit and vegetables – aim for at least 5 portions a day of a variety of different types
  • include meals based on starchy foods, such as bread, pasta, rice and potatoes (including high-fibre varieties where possible)
  • include moderate amounts of milk and dairy products – choosing low-fat options where possible
  • include moderate amounts of foods that are good sources of protein – such as meat, fish, eggs, beans and lentils
  • be low in foods that are high in fat, especially saturated fat, high in sugar and high in salt (typically processed foods)

Exercise to lose weight needs to be a combination of cardiovascular and resistance training to be most effective. Other than that, there’s not really a right or wrong here – what exercise you chose will depend on what you enjoy and any other injuries or health problems you might have. If you’re not sure it’s always best to consult your GP or physio first. Picking an exercise that you enjoy means you are much more likely to keep it up in the long term. By joining a class or inviting a friend to join in with you, exercise becomes more of a social activity than a chore and so you’re much more likely to stick at it. Aim for 5 x 30minute sessions every week, this can be anything that gets the heart rate up – from gardening and hoovering to a gym session, bike ride or swim. If you’re interested in our group exercise classes we currently offer pilates, active backs and positive steps, as well as individualised rehab plans with one of our sports therapists.

Wherever you start, start with small changes to your diet and your exercise routine that are both achievable and sustainable.


Dry January

Posted on 1st January 2018 by

Dry January is a public health campaign promoting abstinence from alcohol for the month of Dry JanuaryJanuary.

After the excesses of the festive season, January brings a chance to turn over a new leaf and detox the body. Take a look at our top 5 benefits of giving up the booze to help keep you on track.

Save money

Last year 79% of people that completed Dry January reported that they had saved money. How much you save obviously depends on how much you drink now, but also factor in saved taxi fares and no more late night stops at the kebab shop and its surprising how quickly things add up. Instead of empty wallets and a fuzzy head try putting the money you would have spent on a night out towards something special; that new pair of shoes, trying a new activity or even putting it towards a holiday suddenly now seems much more valuable than a hangover. Check out how much money and how many calories you could save using this handy impact calculator from Alcohol Concern.

Improve your energy levels

Whilst alcohol is a sedative this doesn’t necessarily mean it will help you sleep. In fact many people find the quality of their sleep is much poorer after drinking. This is because alcohol increases the levels of the stress hormone adrenaline in our body which quickens our heart rate and stimulates our body into alertness. If you add fizzy drinks as your mixers these often contain high levels of sugar and caffeine, making the problem worse. Last year 62% of people reported that their sleep and energy levels had both improved by quitting alcohol. Try swapping the alcohol for water, soda or orange juice and wake up fresh for some morning exercise to boost those energy levels further.

Lose weight

Alcoholic drinks tend to be made from sugars and starches making them high in calories without any nutritious benefit. A pint of beer or small glass of wine is equivalent to consuming a large slice of pizza (150-200 calories). Meanwhile our craving for greasy, fatty foods are likely to increase after alcohol due to the release of a protein in our body called Galanin. To make matters worse alcohol also slows our metabolism making it harder to burn fat. So it’s no surprise that 49% of people reported they lost weight during dry January last year.

Improve your mood

Regular drinking lowers the levels of Serotonin (the happy hormone!) in our brain, making us more susceptible to emotional ups and downs. Alcohol has been strongly linked to anxiety, depression and aggressive behaviour; it’s thought that 50% of violent crime can be attributed to alcohol. Giving up alcohol helps restore the delicate balance of chemicals in our brain, keeping us on an even keel so that we can make clear-headed decisions.

Stay healthy

Alcohol is linked to more than 60 medical conditions including liver disease, heart disease, some cancers and depression. Not only this but it strongly contributes to obesity (see above), and can weaken our immune system. This means that we are more susceptible to winter colds and our capacity to heal is reduced. From a fitness point of view it alcohol consumption causes dehydration which will affect our muscle’s ability to be able to perform an activity and will also slow our reaction times, having a negative effect on nearly every sport. If we are injured alcohol will slow our recovery time as our body is using more energy to get rid of alcoholic toxins from the body and has less reserves to absorb important nutrients from our food nor to create the hormones and proteins necessary to build new muscle or repaired damaged tissue.

Feeling tempted? Why not give it a go this January!

SaveSave