3 Health Tips for Women

3 Health Tips for Women

By: Devan Mercereau, Physiotherapist

There’s no denying it, these 18 months have been a whirlwind for many of us. From the continuous announcements and updates to changes in restrictions, activities and social gatherings, many of us have had to adapt throughout this time.

Having some sort of routine on a day-to-day basis can help us prioritize self-care, create better habits and even help with our mental health. There is no cookie cutter routine for everyone – each of us have different lifestyles, goals, careers, and accessibility. That being said, there are a few components to your routine that can help change your health and make time for care.

Below, you will find 3 habits that can help change your health for the better:

1. Establishing a Sleep Routine to Ensure Adequate Rest

Sleep is a key factor in our day-to-day health and a major contributor to proper healing. Adequate rest can help to increase our moods and productivity throughout the day. It is important for us to get around 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Now, I know what some of you are thinking – that seems like an impossible amount of rest to get every night! But, simply getting into the habit of waking up around the same time every day and going to bed at the same time can help build our routines to make us feel more rested. This usually means an alarm to wake you up in the morning and for your bedtime too!

Limiting screen time (phones, T.V., computers and tablets) prior to going to bed can also help with a better sleep. Alternatives such as reading, audio books, journaling or mediation are great ways to help wind down from our busy lives to get a better, more restful sleep.

Getting enough sleep can boost our energy levels, which ties into the next habit – having enough energy to get physical activity into our daily routine.

2. Add Physical Activity into Your Daily Routine

Making time in our routines for physical activity throughout the day plays an important role in our overall health and energy levels. The great thing about physical activity is that we can do it in so many different ways. Whether it is strength training, running, walking, biking, hiking, chasing after the kiddos, taking the stairs, or sporting activities!

Having a variety of physical activity can help us stay motivated and interested in any form of exercise. There are a couple things to consider when incorporating physical activity into our daily routine: such as what are your goals or motivations, what is your current level of physical activity and are there any reasons as to why you should not participate. If there are any concerns about where to start, talking to your medical doctor or getting exercise suggestions from a Physiotherapist can help guide you in the right direction! With such a range of exercises, many of our physical activity routines will look different based on our goals, abilities, accessibility and interests.

Adding exercise into your daily routine, even just 30 minutes a day can help improve or maintain your range of motion, muscle strength and endurance, and balance. All of these components are key throughout our lives to keep us functional!

3. Nutrition and How to Eat to Nourish Our Bodies

D Nutrition is another key component to our health. Healthy eating habits can help fuel us to exercise and plays a role in a good night’s sleep. Getting the proper sources of carbohydrates, protein and fats help us regulate our energy, increase moods, and allows us to stay strong and healthy. A balanced diet can also help lower risks of secondary medical conditions such as: type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

Following the recommendations on the Canada’s Food Guide is a helpful way to guide us into healthier eating habits. Each person will have different dietary needs based on their age, medical history, and activity level. To help incorporate healthy eating into your routine try making a list of groceries and meals for the week or get the family involved and have a plan ahead of time (especially for those with busy schedules) to help you keep on track to a healthier diet and routine.

If you have a lingering injury that is limiting you from physical activity, need some guidance with exercises prescription, or want to make more time for care, then feel free to reach out to the clinic or book an appointment online with one of our team members by clicking here.

Resources:

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/getting-better-sleep.htm

https://www.blurtitout.org/2018/11/08/mental-health-benefits-routine/

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diet-nutrition/changing-habits-better-health

https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/

Getting to the Core of Low Back Pain!

Getting to the Core of Low Back Pain!

By Julia Towers, Physiotherapist

The lower back is one of the most common areas that we treat here at Stride Physiotherapy. Low back pain (LBP) is now the most common cause of lost time at work, potentially related to our increasingly sedentary lifestyle and prolonged periods of sitting1 – COVID and working from home hasn’t helped this either! As a Physiotherapist, I often hear of the ways that this limits a patient’s function and quality of life, so feeling better quickly is typically the main goal. Despite the fact that there isn’t a “snap of your fingers fix”, there has been a huge amount of research done on this area of the body, specifically in relation to the core muscles. Let’s take a look at what we can do to treat this nasty pain!

What Is the Core?

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Your core is so much more than just that sought after 6-pack! Looking at the picture below, you can see that our bodies have many layers of muscle at the front, back, and sides. Not pictured are the pelvic floor and diaphragm muscles which are also critical to core stability. Of particular importance is a muscle called “transversus abdominis” (TrA). It is our deepest layer of abdominal muscle – one I like to refer to as our bodies natural back brace. Think of it as a corset that draws inward around the spine.

How Does the Core Relate to Low Back Pain?

The TrA muscle stabilizes the pelvis and lower back prior to movement of the body. Early work by Hodges and Richarson showed that in those with 18+ months of low back pain, there was delayed activation of the TrA muscle compared to those without LBP3, 4. What this means is that after long periods of pain, the deep stabilizers of the back have less control.

What Is the Best Exercise for Treating Low Back Pain?

Many studies have tried to tackle this question over the years and the main conclusion has been that compared to general exercise, core stability training is better for decreasing pain and increasing function in those with longstanding LBP in the short-term5. In the long-term, general exercise (eg. biking, walking, running, weight training, etc) was just as effective.

 

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There are many ways to train core stability and believe me – there is much more to it than just doing a pile of sit-ups and crunches. Actually, doing these typical core exercises will only strengthen the major mover muscles and miss true core stabilization all together. Being able to activate the TrA is the first step. Below is a fantastic exercise to start with!

    1. Lie on your back
    2. Feel for the area about an inch inward from where your hip bones stick out at the front (this is where your TrA muscle lies, deep down)
    3. Breathe in and as you exhale think about drawing your belly button toward your spine and pulling your hip bones inward – this is just a cue (the bones won’t actually move)
    4. As you do this, gently press your low back into the floor
    5. You should feel a gentle, slow activation under your fingers
    6. Work towards holding for ~5-10 seconds without holding your breath

Although this may seem easy, it is very important and sometimes difficult to achieve correct form. I would highly recommend booking in with one of our Physiotherapists at Stride to fully assess, determine a plan, and teach you this exercise. Once you can perform this exercise, we start to add other, more functional movements and change the positions that you’re training in. Eventually this re-teaches the deep core muscles to “kick on” during routine and athletic activities before you move, lift, bend, exercise, etc. To book your appointment online click here.

Final Thoughts

This has been a lot of information, but I want to reassure you that your back is a very robust and resilient structure! Although we can’t blame one muscle for LBP, we do know that there can be some short-term improvements if we train the deep core stabilizers. Ultimately, the best thing for chronic LBP is getting moving. Change up your posture frequently, go for a gentle walk, and if there’s an activity you particularly love let’s talk about getting you back to doing it!

Please consider seeing a Physiotherapist who can help you keep your LBP at bay and assist you on your journey of healthy ageing! We would do this with a combination of hands-on treatment, education, and exercise. Let’s break bad habits of motion, change fear related to movement, and build some self-efficacy!

Resources

    1. Lynders, C. (2019). The Critical Role of Development of the Transversus Abdominis in the Prevention and Treatment of Low Back Pain. HSS Journal, 15(3), 214-220. doi:10.1007/s11420-019-09717-8
    2. Build Your Core. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://us.humankinetics.com/blogs/excerpt/build-your-core
    3. Hodges, P. W., & Richardson, C. A. (1998). Delayed Postural Contraction of Transversus Abdominis in Low Back Pain Associated with Movement of the Lower Limb. Journal of Spinal Disorders, 11(1). doi:10.1097/00002517-199802000-00008
    4. Hodges, P. W., & Richardson, C. A. (1996). Inefficient Muscular Stabilization of the Lumbar Spine Associated With Low Back Pain. Spine, 21(22), 2640-2650. doi:10.1097/00007632-199611150-00014
    5. Wang, X., & Chen, P. (2014). Core Stability Exercise Versus General Exercise For Chronic Low Back Pain Meta-analysis. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 46, 505. doi:10.1249/01.mss.0000494982.79731.79
    6. Physitrack, “Transverse abdominis in hook lying”. https://ca.physitrack.com/exercises

Benefits of Prenatal Massage

Benefits of Prenatal Massage

By Cheyanne Heyn, Massage Therapist

Hello Everyone! I’m Cheyanne, one of Stride’s Registered Massage Therapists. I am trained in a variety of massage techniques, but I particularly love treating pregnant and post-partum mama’s with Prenatal Massage. Read along in this blog to find out more about Prenatal Massage and if it’s the right fit for you!

What is Prenatal Massage?

In short, a Prenatal Massage is designed for women who are pregnant. Prenatal massages assist with the normal adaptations that your body goes through during pregnancy.

In a standard massage, you would typically spend half the time on your stomach lying face-down (which is not possible with a baby belly obviously!) and half the time facing up (a position which is not advisable for extended periods of time during pregnancy, as it puts pressure on major blood vessels that disrupt blood flow to the baby and can make you feel nauseous). That is why during a Prenatal Massage, you are positioned with special cushioning and pillows to maximize your comfort and accommodate for your growing belly and breasts. You may even lay on your side with pillows for support.

What Are the Benefits of Prenatal Massage?

Research has shown that massage can help reduce stress hormones and loosen muscle tension in your body. Massages help increase blood circulation and keep your lymphatic system working at optimal efficiency (i.e. Reducing swelling). Regular Prenatal Massages are able to do more than just help you relax and can help relieve:

– Insomnia (sleep issues)

– Joint pain

– Neck pain

– Hip and pelvic pain

– Low and mid back pain

– Leg cramping

– Sciatica

– Swelling and edema in hands and feet (if not caused by preeclampsia)

– Headaches and migraines

– Sinus congestion

– Compression syndromes (Carpal Tunnel and Thoracic Outlet)

How Often Should I Get a Massage?

Frequency of massages vary from case to case. If treating primarily stress or general tension, monthly would be recommended. In the event we are treating pain or a specific condition, massages would be recommended more frequently, and a treatment plan would be discussed between your massage therapist and yourself.

During the third trimester, frequency may also be increased to weekly or bi-weekly to help prepare the body for labour and delivery.

Are Massages Safe During Pregnancy?

Yes! Massages during any point in pregnancy is safe. There are massage therapists that will not do prenatal massages for varying reasons. However, there have been no studies or research proving that massages can cause labour or miscarriage during a healthy pregnancy. There are trigger points in the body that are linked to the uterus, so these spots are avoided during pregnancy. It’s why it’s important to see an experienced Registered Massage Therapist in Red Deer for Prenatal Massage.

Please be sure to discuss any complications or health issues with your Massage Therapist before your treatment to make sure it is safe for you and the baby. If you’re still wondering about Prenatal Massage or how we can help you get to the finish line feeling your best, feel free to give us a call or email. If you think this treatment could be right for you, book an appointment online by clicking here.

The Top 2 Exercises to Alleviate Runner’s Knee

The Top 2 Exercises to Alleviate Runner’s Knee

By: Eric Walper, Physiotherapist

Summer is upon us, and we are quickly moving into the peak of the running season. With the possibility of running a race in the upcoming months, there comes an increased intensity and volume of training. At the same time, we are starting to see an increased prevalence of running related injuries. Runner’s Knee, or IT Band Friction Syndrome, is a common running injury that we usually see as our running athletes continue to push their volume and bodies into unfamiliar territory. Many of us have heard of the IT band – a dense piece of connective tissue that runs down the outside of the leg from the hip to the knee. It provides the structural support for the outside of our thigh and that stability aids us in side-to-side motion.

What is Runner’s Knee and What are the Common Causes?

Runner’s Knee is defined as an inflammation of the IT band as it crosses the outside of the knee joint. It is due to the repetitive motion often seen from prolonged and/or high intensity running activities. The three most common contributors to this condition are:

– Inadequate or improper footwear

– Decreased strength in the glutes (butt)

– Instability in the ankle

Considering the last two common contributors during our physical rehab or exercise prescription for this injury, we often look at implementing exercises that add strength to the hips above the knee and stability to the ankle below the knee.

Two Exercises to Alleviate Pain from Runner’s Knee

Below, you will find my 2 favourite exercises I recommend to someone who is suffering from Runner’s Knee.

  1. Strengthen Your Hips

When strengthening the hip, one of our commonly assigned exercises is a single leg squat. Here are the steps to perform this exercise:

– You want to stand 2-3 feet in front of a chair facing away from it.

– Place one foot on the chair behind you, shifting your weight onto the target leg in front.

– Begin by lowering your hips down and back while maintaining your knee directly in line with your foot. Try not to allow your knee to collapse inwards or travel too far forward over the foot in front.

– Perform 10-12 reps in 2-3 sets as part of a rehabilitation program.

 

 

  1. Work on Ankle Stability

To enhance the stability of the ankle, we will incorporate single leg balance exercises. One of my favorite exercises is doing a single leg stance while moving the opposite leg. Here are the steps to perform this exercise:

– Shift your weight to the target leg, slowly lifting the other leg completely off the ground.

– When you are sure of your balance, begin spelling the alphabet or performing large circles with the leg lifted into the air. The leg that you are balancing on will have to work hard to maintain stability while you move your other leg.

– Perform this exercise for 20-30 seconds in duration in 2-3 sets.

 

Next time you notice pain on the outside of your knee or have a suspicion that you too could be experiencing Runner’s Knee, try these two exercises to alleviate your pain. If all else fails, stop by the clinic and book an appointment with one of our experienced physiotherapists to get a thorough assessment and get to the root of your problem. You can book an appointment online by clicking here.

 

3 Tips to Prevent Golf Injuries This Season

3 Tips to Prevent Golf Injuries This Season

By: Blake Goehring, Physiotherapist

Golf… the predominant love-hate game that we play in the summer. The sport is frustrating enough to play that you do not need any injuries amplifying your struggles. The following is a short guideline to follow to keep yourself hitting the long-ball and “enjoying” the game of golf this season!

Tip #1: Grease the Hinges

A lot of people don’t look at golf as an overly athletic sport, but the golf swing requires movement at more joints than most sports. Life circumstances are not exactly helping this situation … between aging, office work, and general sedentary lifestyles, it is easy to become stiff. It is important that before you unload all your COVID stress on your golf ball that you try to warm up your shoulders, core, and hips. Below are my three favourite warm-up stretches for golf:

  1. Arm Circles

–  Start with small dinner plate size circles. As you warm up, progress to full overhead circles.

– Perform for 30-60 seconds.

– Change directions and perform for another 30-60 seconds.

  1. Trunk and Hip Rotations

– Put your golf club behind your head and hold onto it with your hands.

– Start rotating side to side and gradually rotate further as tolerated.

– Making sure not to bend through the spine, but at the hips to bend your upper body forward. Continue to rotate from here to simulate the golf swing. Don’t be afraid to shift weight back and forth through your feet while doing so.

– Perform 30-60 seconds.

  1. 90-90 Exercises for the Hips

– Start by sitting with one leg in front of you, your knee bent to 90 degrees, and the inside of your ankle pointing up.

– Your other leg will be to your side, again with the knee bent to 90 degrees and the inside of the ankle pointing towards the ground.

– Slowly shift your weight forward, hold for 1-2 seconds and then shift your weight backward for the same amount of time.

– Continue these weight shifts for about 30 seconds and then switch the starting leg positions and repeat for another 30 seconds.

Tip #2: Do Not Strangle Your Club

One of the most common injuries we see from golfers is elbow issues from the repetitive nature of the golf swing. The harder you grip your club, the more your forearm muscles must work. These problems can start with:

    1. Playing a lot of rounds (high volume).
    2. Taking large divots or making hard contact with the ground.

Loosening your grip can help you have a more fluid swing and prevent excessive load on your forearm muscles that could eventually lead to elbow pain.

Tip #3: Hip vs. Back Movement

The great Chubbs Peterson once said, “It’s all in the hips.” All movie quotes aside, this especially rings true for our senior golf population. Most back strains that occur in golf come from the inability of a person to bring their hips through, which translates unnecessary force to the back. Both of your hips need to rotate inward or towards the direction you are hitting the ball to keep your spine in a good place while swinging. How do you know if this is the case for you?

Our physical therapy team can help to identify if your hips (or any other body parts) are not moving properly and provide some strategies to keep your back and body healthy over this golf season! Feel free to book an appointment online by clicking here.

It’s National Physiotherapy Month!

It’s National Physiotherapy Month!

By Jennifer Goehring, Physiotherapist

Well, it’s that time of year again! May is National Physiotherapy Month and you guessed it, we are celebrating! This is our 3rd year of annual fundraising for an initiative that is near and dear to our hearts.

Giving back to the Red Deer community has always been a primary mission and pillar of the Stride team. Every year around this time, we partner with an organization to fill a need that directly impacts Central Albertans and the clients we connect with everyday.

How We Are Giving Back to the Red Deer Community

This year, we have partnered with The Lending Cupboard in Red Deer to donate an important piece of equipment that benefits both our clients and the community. The Lending Cupboard is a charity in Red Deer who lends a variety of medical and rehabilitation equipment to anyone in need. It was originally founded in 2006 in someone’s garage with a vision to allow everyone access to medical equipment at no cost, but now operates with over 15,000+ pieces of medical equipment in 6,500 square feet of operation.

Most people have suffered an injury at some point in their life where they have needed equipment such as crutches, a wheelchair, an air cast, and so on which all happen to be expensive for their short-term intended use. In addition to cost, this type of medical equipment seems to take up extra space in our homes and never get used again! It’s why we align so well with The Lending Cupboard’s vision of providing access to equipment for anyone in need while also recycling and reusing quality products.

What is a Cryocuff Machine and How Does it Work?

Jen was fortunate enough to sit through a meeting in early 2020 where Janice of The Lending Cupboard spoke about the demand and need for a piece of equipment called a cryocuff. A cryocuff is an ice unit that provides cold compression around joints. It looks like a mini cooler with a hose and ice pack on the end of it. Cryocuffs aid in quicker recovery from the pain and swelling after surgery. They are particularly useful and strongly suggested by medical professionals following surgeries like a Total Knee Replacement and ACL surgeries. To purchase one outright costs close to $350!

At this current time, The Lending Cupboard has 32 total cryocuffs in their inventory. In the first quarter of 2021, they have already loaned out this machine 81 times. At any given time, there is often a waitlist of 2-10 people! This is all with the number of surgeries lower than normal due to COVID-19. The Stride team has committed to donating an additional 3 units to help to address the demand. Following this donation, The Lending Cupboard would love to have another 5 units. We are hopeful that this year is just a starting point for how we can help this organization!

 

Why Our Team is so Passionate About Physiotherapy and Rehab

Now that we have shared a little about one of our passion projects for this year, we would love to share a little bit about our team members. After all, it is National Physiotherapy Month, and our rehabilitation team has their own motivators that allows them to show up everyday to provide you with exceptional care! We asked each of them, “What does your profession mean to you?” and “Why are you so passionate about what you do?” Below you will find some great insight and quotes from our team!

My passion for Physiotherapy started by getting injured during athletics and I had a rehabilitation team help me fully get back to my activities. My motivation for going to work everyday is to pay forward the same kindness that my therapists extended to me in the past.

– Blake Goehring

To me, Physiotherapy means restoring, maintaining, and improving people’s ability to do what they love most. Whether it be engaging in a sport, playing with grandchildren, or doing what is necessary for home/work life, Physiotherapy can help! It also means providing people with the tools and knowledge to engage in their own well-being and recovery. It’s much more than what is done within the clinic walls! I am passionate about my job because I get to work alongside amazing patients to create goals and crush them! It’s so satisfying to see short and long term progress in a rehabilitation journey. Each patient becomes stronger in their own way, which I love being able to witness!

– Julia Towers

Physiotherapy is the means in which I get to engage with my community to make meaningful healthy change. I am passionate about Physiotherapy because I get to play an important role in remediating and promoting healthy physical lifestyle choices for my patients, friends and family.

– Eric Walper

“To me, Athletic Therapy means to help others towards living a healthier and pain free lifestyle. This is accomplished through treatment, but also the patient learning about their body! I am passionate about what I do because it gives me an opportunity to relate to others through a trusting relationship and working together to achieve a common goal of rehabilitating their injury.

– Morgan Walper

Physiotherapy to me is about helping people get back to the things they love and improving their quality of life by making changes in their overall function. I am passionate about my job because I can help people get back to enjoying day to day activities, whether it is sports, family, traveling and many other things!

– Devan Mercereau

One of my favourite aspects about my job as a Physiotherapist is being able to connect with so many people in different walks of life to help them achieve their health goals. Physiotherapy is all about perpetual movement to me – keeping people active to enjoy any activity they love!

– Jen Goehring

Massage Therapy is the healing of the body and mind through touch. I’m passionate about it because nothing feels more rewarding than helping a person heal and get back to feeling amazing again!

– Cheyanne Heyn

My passion for Massage Therapy comes from the people I get to spend time with everyday. The relationships I have created and the fact that I have been entrusted with their care and wellbeing means a great deal to me. I love that I get to call massage my career and that I’m able to help along the way.

– Krista Tait

If you want to learn more about any of our clinic updates and initiatives, feel free to follow along with us on social media @stridephysiotherapy or click here to book with one of our awesome team members!

The Beauty of Bowen Therapy

The Beauty of Bowen Therapy

By: Krista Tait, Registered Massage Therapist

Hey Everyone! I’m Krista, one of Stride’s Massage Therapists. While many of you may think about the more traditional forms of massage, my practice primarily focuses on three specialty techniques – Bowen Therapy, CranioSacral Massage, and Lymphatic Drainage. I often get asked questions about these treatments and how they can be helpful. Follow along in this blog as I dive into the beauty of Bowen Therapy and a variety of conditions that I can treat with it… you might be surprised what you find on the list!

What Is Bowen Therapy?

Bowen Therapy is based on the work of the Australian therapist, Tom Bowen. Bowen is a specific series of muscle and connective tissue movements designed to treat a wide range of problems and injuries. It addresses every system in the body, internal organ systems and musculoskeletal structure. These gentle moves send neurological signals to the brain, which then processes and responds back with impulses that realign the body. Respecting the feedback loop is essential for the body to restore its own natural balance.

How can Bowen Therapy Help?

Bowen Therapy can offer pain and emotional relief where other modalities have failed. It is appropriate for newborn babes to the elderly – all ages!

What Conditions Does Bowen Therapy Treat?

Bowen Therapy can provide significant relief to clients suffering from the following:

      1. Muscular and skeletal problems in neck, shoulder, hip, knees, ankle and back, including sciatica, whiplash and fibromyalgia
      2. Frozen shoulder, tennis and golfer’s elbow, and carpal tunnel syndrome
      3. Problems with posture and body alignment
      4. Migraine and recurring headaches, neuralgia
      5. Bell’s Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease and the difficulties suffered by someone who has endured a stroke
      6. Respiratory problems including asthma, bronchitis, hay fever
      7. Sports and work-related injuries
      8. Digestive conditions such as kidney problems, constipation, colic, IBS, indigestion, diverticulitis, colitis and Crohn’s Disease
      9. High blood pressure
      10. Arthritis
      11. Hormonal & Gynaecological conditions, pregnancy and fertility problems, infertility (male and female), PMS, breast lumps, menopause
      12. Stress management, fatigue and sleep problems
      13. General relaxation and body balancing
      14. Bowen may help during pre- and post-operative periods
      15. Bedwetting
      16. Anxiety and depression

What Does a Treatment Look Like?

Treatments are one hour long and are done seven to ten days apart. The body will continue to process the treatment for the next five to ten days. It is recommended that you do not see other practitioners during this time.

How Many Visits do I Need?

Minor problems can be resolved in just one session with a massage therapist, while more complex problems may take four to six treatments. Some complex problems may require maintenance treatments to help the body stay in its natural balance.

If you’re still wondering about Bowen Therapy or my other massage therapy techniques, feel free to give us a call. If you think this treatment could be right for you book an appointment online by clicking here.

References

(1) Dr. Manon Bolliger ND, DHANP, RBHP (2008)

(2)Wanda Parks RMT, RNCP, RBHP (2008

 

6 Principles for Building a Foundation to Move for Life

6 Principles for Building a Foundation to Move for Life

By: Brittany and Andrea, Founders of GymClass

Hi! We’re Brittany and Andrea, the Founders of GymClass! GymClass is our online fitness platform which we have created to tie in our knowledge and training, as well as our love of teaching, to be able to share it with you! We have designed this space as a fitness program where we take out all the guesswork and give you a progressive and intentional workout plan.

If your physiotherapist/doctor has given you the ‘ok’ to start moving past the rehabilitative stage then we’ve got you covered. All you have to do is show up and follow along!

We were so thrilled when Jen asked us to do a guest blog post for Stride as we have a very similar vision in wanting to help people move and live better! Thanks for hangin’ with us for the next few minutes … and don’t forget to read to the bottom to discover our special deal!

What’s Next?

Do you want to know something crazy? Not everyone knows what it’s like to live pain free. If you haven’t experienced a proper functioning body, where you are moving well and moving well as a whole, you might not even know what it is like to feel THAT GOOD! If you’ve never had to rehabilitate an injury, work on muscle imbalance, improve posture, or correct years of incorrect gait patterns, then you may not realize how moving well is something we often take for granted. Movement is truly a gift that we are given the opportunity to enjoy and work on every single day.

Many of you are reading this because you have a goal to create pain free movement in your daily lives. You’ve experienced or continue the work with your physiotherapist to correct injuries and strengthen your body so you can return to normal function. You’ve done all your sessions and your homework exercises, but now what?! You’ve started this beautiful journey of becoming a better mover and we want to help you continue on that path. We want you to fall in love with movement. Movement is self-love. Showing up for yourself is self-love. Placing importance on feeling good in your body is self-love. Pushing yourself to be stronger in fitness and health is something you deserve.

Whether you’re recovering from an injury, starting a workout program for the first time, or getting back to your regular exercise, it’s important to build a strong foundation so you can continue to progress.

We have six principles that we use in GymClass that we want to share with you to help you build your strong base to move better!

(All of these principles are covered in our FoundationsClass series on our online platform).

 

  1. Use Your Breath

We know this sounds simple, but it is one of the most overlooked components of exercise. Using your inhale and exhale properly helps to deepen your core work, keep your heart rate under control, and protect the internal structures of your body. Inhale to prepare, fill your diaphragm in a 3-dimensional way, and exhale on the working part of the exercise to turn on those deep core muscles.

 

  1. Stabilize Your Shoulder Girdle

A stable shoulder is so important! To prevent injury and ensure you are working the goal muscles, we must first set our shoulder blades. Create width across the back at the shoulder blade (without pinching), and create openness or flatness across the front. Now your shoulder is protected and ready to move!

 

  1. Engage That Core

To do this we need to hit a few very important cues. Close the rib cage down as if we were connecting it to the hipbones. From there we lift up on the pelvic floor, drawing those deep transverse abdominals up (like an elevator) and into the spine. Now add a light squeeze of the glutes, and that core is fired up and ready for movement. The core is your powerhouse. By engaging the core first and foremost before any exercise, you provide a safe base for movement.

 

  1. Stabilize Your Pelvis

Your pelvis can be set in various ways:

  • Neutral (hip bone over pubic bone)
  • Anteriorly tilted (hip flexors lengthen, hip extensors shorten)
  • Posteriorly tilted (hip flexors lengthen, hip extensors shorten)

Starting in a neutral spine will help you maintain the proper curvatures of your spine, while having the least amount of stress on your joints.

 

  1. Use Those Glutes

Your glutes affect everything! We need strong glutes to prevent movement dysfunction, pain, and injury. So, squeeze that bum! Glute strength is essential to aid and build strength in your lower half and core, while working to prevent low back pain.

 

  1. Hit All Components of Fitness

We need to be well rounded to be a good mover. This means you need to be training for aerobic and anaerobic cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength, muscle endurance, as well as flexibility. Each component will complement the next. The goal is to be a lifelong mover and to do that we need to take care of our body across the board.

When you create a strong base of both the understanding and principles of movement, you are setting yourself up for success in any fitness
programming. You are moving towards a stronger, healthier you. We teach and reinforce these principles in every single session at GymClass. We believe in the power of intentional movement for life!

 

Teaching people how to move with confidence and strength is not something we take lightly. We are incredibly honoured to be a part of your story, and we would love to have you join us for your movement journey. Please enjoy a MONTH FREE of GymClass on us – all you have to do is email hello@gym-class.ca and mention Stride. We meet you where you are and push you to be stronger. Let’s do this together.

-Brittany & Andrea

 

Click here to check out GymClass’ website for more information.

4 Tips for Preventing Back Injuries This Winter

4 Tips for Preventing Back Injuries This Winter

By: Devan Mercereau, Physiotherapist

As beautiful as they are, winters in our province are cold and snowy! When a storm hits, so does our responsibility to go outside and clear our sidewalks and driveways from snow. Most of us have been there; bundling up from head to toe, facing the grueling cold to clear our driveway, only to have to go out and repeat the whole process an hour later. As tedious as it is, rushing this annoying winter chore can have consequences. In addition to winter sports and icy conditions, shoveling snow can be the culprit behind many injuries this time of year.

Here are my top 4 tips for shoveling snow so you can stay safe, prevent injury, and enjoy all the great winter activities Alberta has to offer!

Tip #1: Body Position

Body positioning and proper mechanics are some of the most important aspects of any activity. I understand this as I have experienced issues with my own lower back from playing sports and growing up with scoliosis (curvature in the spine).

When shoveling snow, consider this checklist for proper body positioning and mechanics:

– Hinge at the hips

– Have a slight bend in the knees

– Place your feet about hip width apart, creating a larger base of support

– Keep the shovel close to your body to avoid reaching

– Avoid twisting and throwing snow

Tip #2: Mindfulness When Shoveling

Being aware of proper body positioning when shoveling can help prevent injuries. It’s easy to forget about maintaining good posture and body positioning when it is freezing cold and the snow is blowing all around. Shoveling smart and pacing yourself can help to avoid extra strains on the body. This correlates with tip #1!

It is also wise to think about the type of snow you are shoveling. Sounds strange, right? Even if the fluffy stuff seems effortless to move, it’s also easier to forget about proper body positioning, causing extra strain from repetitive twisting or movements. Similarly, wet snow can be heavy, creating an opportunity for overexertion and fatigue. Evaluate your conditions every time you go outside!

Finally, be aware of the amount of shoveling required. If you have a large driveway, taking small breaks throughout the process decreases the strain on the lower back from continuous repetitive movements.

Tip #3: Pushing Smaller Amounts of Snow

I know what you are thinking, smaller loads = more time shoveling! But the extra time investment could pay off.

Depending on the snowfall, the weight and density of the snow can change quickly. So, pushing smaller and lighter piles can decrease the load on your spine. Although it may take more time to remove, the decreased risk of injury may be worth it.

Tip #4: The Type of Shovel

A durable, lightweight shovel can decrease the load on the body when pushing snow around. Using a shovel with a curved handle also improves body positioning because it allows us to keep our spine in a more neutral position, rather than hunching forward over a straight handle. If your shovel is too big and cumbersome, try swapping it for a smaller model and embrace tip #3!

If you are experiencing any lower back pain or want to improve strength and conditioning for functional activities, feel free to reach out to our clinic or book an appointment online by clicking here.

How To Use Your Foam Roller & Top 10 Exercises

How To Use Your Foam Roller & Top 10 Exercises

By: Jen Goehring, Physiotherapist

Foam rollers – I bet you have heard this buzz word before or perhaps you have seen that funny looking cylinder at your local gym or in your friend’s living room. You may have seen one before, but you aren’t quite sure how it is used or where to use it? Stick with me through this short post and I will teach you foam rolling basics as well as my top 10 favourite exercises to release full body tension.

What is a Foam Roller?

Let’s start by answering this question. A foam roller is a dense cylinder that is used as a self-release tool to help get rid of tight muscles or knots. The purpose of foam rolling is to relieve tension and pain in your muscles as well as increase range of motion. Basically, you want to place the foam roller on an area of muscular you have discomfort in your body, slowly lower your weight onto it, and hold for tension relief.

8 Basic Tips for Foam Rolling

  1. Foam rolling is best performed when you are warm – after a warm-up or work out.
  2. For best results, foam roll a muscle group or area for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
  3. Roll over muscles only. Never use a foam roller over bone, joints, or your lower back.
  4. It is best to stay on a muscle with your foam roller until you notice a change in discomfort. This means you should feel relief. For example, if you start and the discomfort feels like a 5/10, wait until it has reduced to a 2-3/10 prior to moving onto the next area.
  5. Discomfort or soreness while foam rolling is normal. In fact, you want to use your roller on the worst spot you can find in a muscle group. However, pain is not normal. If you are rolling and it is painful, you should ease back.
  6. Foam rolling is most effective on larger muscle groups, as pictured below. Use a lacrosse ball or another self-release tool for fan shape or irregular shaped muscles.
  7. There are two different techniques for foam rolling, both of which are effective. Option #1: Roll up and down on the area. Option #2: Place and hold the foam roller on one spot.
  8. There are many different positions that you could use for foam rolling the same area. Find a position that works for you.

Top 10 Exercises

Below are pictures of my top 10 favourite stretches and exercises to do with a foam roller. This routine will help you relieve tension from head to toe in about 10 minutes!

  1. Thoracic Extension

– Support your neck with your arms while bringing your elbows in line with your ears (added chest stretch).

– Keep your bum on the ground with your knees bent to protect your lower back.

  1. Lats Stretch

– Roll up and down on your side. Your lat muscles span from your shoulder to your lower back (these are huge muscles!).

  1. Quadriceps or Thigh Stretch

– Roll from your hip to just above your kneecaps.

  1. IT Band Stretch

– Use a tripod position to help offload some of your weight (both arms and opposite leg). This one is quite intense!

– Roll from your hip to just above your knee joint.

  1. Groin Stretch

– Roll from your pubic bone to the top of the knee.

– This exercise takes a little bit of coordination – make sure you get your bottom leg out of the way and try to apply as much pressure downward as possible.

  1. Hip Flexor Stretch

– Roll from below your belly button to your hip bones.

  1. Shin/Outside Shin Release (2 Areas)

– Roll from below the knee joint to the top of the ankle.

– You can move side to side to get different parts of the muscle.

 

 

 

 

  1. Glute/Buttock Stretch

– Get yourself into a figure-4 stretch, then lean slightly onto the side of the leg that is up.

  1. Hamstring Stretch

– Put one leg over top of the other to get more pressure on the hamstring for a greater release.

– Roll from just below your sit bone to just above the knee joint.

  1. Calf Stretch

– Put one leg over top of the other to get more pressure on the calf for a greater release.

– Roll from just below your knee joint to the top of the Achilles. Gently roll to both sides to relieve both heads of the calf muscles.

If you have any questions about foam rolling or need some self-release tools for your home rehab, you can book your appointment online by clicking here.