INJURY PREVENTION

Starting new activies without the proper precautions can result in injury. Exercise smart to stay healthy.

THE BENEFITS OF YOGA FOR INJURY PREVENTION

Yoga has many benefits, including injury prevention.  Yoga can enhance your physical fitness and be a great addition to your regular exercise routine. It can help to reduce injuries by balancing out your body in between other types of work-outs such as weight-lifting, running, and especially repetitive rotational sports like golf, baseball, or tennis.  When you perform a certain sport or repetitive activity that primarily involves one side of your body or has you repetitively twisting to one direction then your body develops muscle imbalances which can cause long-term problems in the back, neck, hips, and shoulders.  Doing yoga between other activities will create more symmetry through your body by re-aligning your spine and balancing out the muscles around your pelvic and shoulder girdles. 

There have been many studies done on the effects of yoga on chronic low back pain, and they have all concluded that people who started doing yoga regularly experienced a reduction in pain and an increase in functional mobility and quality of life.  It can also help with neck or shoulder pain by improving thoracic mobility and chest flexibility, as well as promoting better posture.  Hip, knee, and ankle issues can also be prevented by yoga improving hip flexor, hamstring, IT Band, and calf flexibility, increasing core, glut, and quad strength, and by improving balance and enhanced proprioception.  Yoga is also great for reducing stress, anxiety, and depression, and has even been shown to help reduce high blood pressure!

There are many different types and levels of yoga, so everyone should be able to find one that works best for them.  There are gentle style classes that are good for learning breathing techniques, relaxation, and gentle stretching poses.  There are also “Hot Yoga” styles, such as Sumits and Bikram that utilize a repetitive sequence of poses to improve joint and spinal mobility in a heated environment.  Then there are the more challenging types of yoga that are great for athletes or fitness nuts, such as Vinyasa Flow classes that have you constantly moving and flowing between different poses that work on strength, flexibility, and core stability.

 

It is optimal to get at least 2 sessions of yoga per week, and to alternate them with your other regular activities, but a lot of people will feel the benefit with even just one session a week!  If you are currently being treated for any injuries or have any other health concerns, you should always check with your healthcare provider before trying a new activity.  If all is well, then go for it!

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PROPERTY APPLYING FIRST AID TO AN INJURY

PROPERLY APPLYING FIRST AID TO AN INJURY

The beginning of any workout routine can be the riskiest in terms of injuries.  Applying proper first aid to the injury is important in improving recovery.  Dr. Scott Lynch, director of sports medicine at Penn State Medical Center, said it’s all about blood flow. When you injure yourself, you should follow guidelines known as RICE—rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

 

“Elevation is probably the most important thing because it limits the amount of blood flow to the area and the amount of swelling,” he said.

 

Cold temperatures applied to an injury help constrict, or narrow, the blood vessels and keep blood from pooling there. This could cause too much inflammation or swelling that can delay the healing process.

Dr. Cayce Onks, family and sports medicine physician at Penn State Hershey, said icing an injury for the first 48 to 72 hours after it occurs can reduce the amount of secondary tissue damage. Ice also can help decrease pain.

 

Use ice for 20 minutes, once an hour. That’s so you don’t create other issues such as frostbite or damage to the skin. It also gives the skin a chance to recover from each icing session.

While special freezer packs are easy to obtain, Dr. Onks said plain old ice in a bag (or a bag of frozen vegetables) works best. “You can mold it around the injury and get more coverage,” he said. “You also have to keep in mind that because of the chemicals in freezer packs, they can get much colder than ice and you could cause temperature- related skin problems.”

 

Heat, on the other hand, is often used to ease muscle aches and pains, or to loosen up tense and sore areas before activity.

 

“Heat typically brings blood flow to the area, which provides nutrients that the tissues need for healing,” Dr. Onks said. “It can also increase the flexibility of tendons and muscles.”

 

Athletes who have chronic issues or old injuries typically heat before they are active and ice afterward. Some people prefer moist heat because they feel the extra humidity helps the heat penetrate.

 

In a physical therapy setting, providers can also produce deeper heat by using ultrasound. A heating pad or a pack you heat up in the microwave will do the trick. Commercial heat patches or products such as Icy Hot may provide temporary or superficial relief, but they don’t typically offer the penetration of ice, moist heat, or ultrasound.

 
 

FITNESS AFTER 40

FITNESS AFTER 40!

Getting older, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do things that we enjoyed in our youth.  It just means we need to be smarter about it.   If you are over 40, don’t despair just be more aware!

 

When we get into our 40’s one of the first things we notice is our joints and muscles don’t rebound the way they used to.  The cartilage in our joints is thinner and more worn than in our youth.  Our tendons and ligaments start to lose some elasticity.  When it comes to higher impact activities, moderation is the word.  You can still do many of the things you did when you were young but you need to spend more time preparing your body for the activity and providing more rest and recovery.

 

Stretching needs to be done before and after workouts to prevent injury.  Incorporate a proper warm-up and dynamic stretching before activity.  Do your static stretching after your workout as part of your cool down.

 

Recovery is longer after 40, make the time to allow the body to recover from a workout.  The intensity of the workout and how your body feels after the workout will help you gauge your recovery time.  Every individual is different.

 

Your body can build strength and muscle well into your 50’s.  Incorporate weight training as part of your fitness program to keep strong well into your later years.  The important thing is to have a strong focus on form and leave the ego at the door.  If you haven’t done weight training in a while, don’t think that you are ready for a weight you haven’t done in a long time.  Work your way up and you can potentially exceed the strength of your youth!

 

Don’t compare yourself to others, our fitness and life experiences, genetics, pre-existing conditions, are unique and our body will respond differently when compared to our peers.  Keep your measurements of fitness as your own and set your own goals based on modest progression.  Doing this will keep you healthy and fit after 40!

BEST KNEE EXERCISES

 

BEST KNEE EXERCISES FOR BAD KNEES

Partial Squats

Stand about 12 inches away from the front of a chair with your feet about hip width apart and your toes forward. Bending at the hips, slowly lower yourself halfway down to the chair. Keep your abs tight, and check that your knees stay behind your toes.

Step-ups

Using an aerobic step bench or a staircase, step up onto the step with your right foot. Tap your left foot on the top of the step, and then lower. As you step up, your knee should be directly over your ankle. Repeat with your left foot.

Side-lying Leg Lifts

Wearing ankle weights above the knee, lie on your left side, legs straight and together, with your left arm supporting your head. Keeping your right foot flexed and your body straight, slowly lift your right leg to about shoulder height, then slowly lower. Repeat with your left leg.

Inner-thigh Leg Lifts

Wearing ankle weights above the knee, lie on your left side, slightly back on your butt. Bend your right leg and place it behind your left leg with your right foot flat on the floor and your left leg straight. Support your head with your left arm. Slowly lift your left leg about 3 to 5 inches, then lower. Repeat with your right leg.

 

Calf Raises

Using a chair or wall for balance, stand with your feet about hip width apart, toes straight ahead. Slowly lift your heels off the floor, rising up onto your toes. Hold, then slowly lower.

Straight-Leg Raises

Sit with your back against a wall, left leg straight and right leg bent with your foot flat on the floor. Slowly raise your left leg straight up about 12 inches off the floor. Hold, then slowly lower. Repeat with your right leg.

Short-Arc Knee Extensions

In the same starting position as the straight-leg raises, put a ball (about the size of a basketball) under your left knee so that your leg is bent. Slowly straighten your leg. Hold, then slowly lower. Repeat with your right leg.

Hamstring Stretch

Lie on your back with your left leg flat on the floor. Loop a towel or rope around your right foot and pull your leg as far as comfortable toward your chest, while keeping a slight bend at the knee. Keep your back pressed to the floor throughout the stretch. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds and then release. Repeat three or four times with each leg. Do this stretch five or six times a week.

 

SORENESS OR PAIN?

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN

SORENESS AND PAIN?

 

Being able to figure out the difference between soreness and pain is key to identifying injuries early.  To a degree, soreness is expected with any kind of fitness routine, especially in the early phases of a new program.  Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a very common soreness to experience and is not a sign of injury. This is a soreness that typically sets in 24-48 hours after a new or more difficult workout. As the name implies, it is soreness in the muscles that were targeted by a specific exercise. This soreness will subside gradually, but progressively over the course of a week, and stretching and low level activity like a bike will also help alleviate the soreness.

 

Pain, on the other hand, is a sensation that is more indicative of trauma to a joint or muscle. The sensation if typically more sharp in nature and directed to a more specific spot compared to a gernalized area as in DOMS. Pain needs to be addressed immediately.  When experienced during a workout, sometimes just altering your form in the exercise can help or by using a lighter weight.  Tell your coach immediately and he/she can help you with altering your exercise to avoid the pain.  If you experience pain for longer than a week or two, then this is where Physical Therapy can be helpful.  Addressing “Pain” conditions early are key to avoiding missing fitness workouts for long periods of time.

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