Andries Lodder biokineticist in Fourways
Bio4Me biokineticist practice in Fourways
Bio4Me best biokineticist in Fourways

This one is for the oldies out there! Just a few minutes of low intensity exercise can help you lower your death risk!

Posted on March 19th, 2018 by Andries Lodder

The importance of exercises for older adults 

By Xavier Mc Creanor

How physically active are you? Some might answer “I am to busy to fit in a exercise session”. Others might say that “I am to old to do exercises”.  The recommended guidelines for exercise for older adults are at least 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity. For some older people this is just not possible. Don’t worry current research by the St George’s University of London showed that a few minutes of physical activity (at any level), to a total of 150 minutes a week, correlates to a lower risk of death in older men. The researchers further suggested that the 150 minutes can be divided into 10 minutes bouts of low intensity exercises.  (Jefferis, Parsons, Sartini, Ash, Lennon, Papacosta & Whincup, 2018)

It is important to remember that regular physical activity plays an vital role in healthy aging and chronic disease management. Here are a few guidelines to follow when you are planning to start a new exercise program.

  • Your exercise planning should keep your health status and functional capacity in mind.
  • Set realistic goals that is achievable.
  • Planning is key, when planning to exercise keep the type, frequency and intensity of the exercise in mind (It is suggested that you start of slowly and gradually increase the intensity, frequency and time as you progress)

Older adults will derive distinct benefits from the following exercises:

Prof Jerome Flog (a researcher from the division of Cardiovascular Sciences, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health) says that the key to successful aging is  aerobic exercises. Aerobic exercises have a beneficial effect blood pressure, lipids, glucose tolerance, bone density, depression and quality of life. You can read more about his research by following this link: Aerobic Exercise in the Elderly: A key to successful aging.

Strength training in older adults can help reduce arthritis (reduces pain and stiffness, and increases strength and flexibility), diabetes (improves glycaemic control),  osteoporosis (builds bone density and reduces risk for falls),  heart disease (reduces cardiovascular risk by improving lipid profile and overall fitness),  obesity (increases metabolism, which helps burn more calories and helps with long-term weight control) and back pain (strengthens back and abdominal muscles to reduce stress on the spine). Experts at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Tufts University, with the help of older adults, have created this book, Growing Stronger: Strength Training for Older Adults to help you become stronger and maintain your health and independence.  You can download your online copy by following this link:  Growing Stronger – Strength Training for Older Adults.

Stretching is important as you get older. The benefits of stretching includes; development and maintenance of strength, improving flexibility, and increased circulation and blood flow, to provide a greater quality of life and healthy. Stretching reduces lower back pain and arthritis, reduces your risk of falling, helps improve your posture and increases your energy levels. It is recommended that you stretch at least once per day.

Balance should not be taken for granted.  It is important to navigate without the fear or effort. Balance is probably one of the most important aspects in life to focus on as it effects your confidence to complete any tasks in daily living.  For some people balance is a problem. Exercise can reduce your chances of suffering a fall-related injury. In a study conducted on older adults and the effect of fall prevention exercise programs it was indicated that exercise programs reduced falls that caused injuries by 37%, falls leading to serious injuries by 43% and broken bones by 61%. This report was published online in the BMJ – If you would like to read the full article please follow this link: The Effects of Fall Prevention Exercises.

If you want to test your balance and co-ordination please feel free to contact our practice and we can do scientific testing to formulate an exercise program specifically for your need that can help diminish your risk of falling.


Jefferis, B. J., Parsons, T. J., Sartini, C., Ash, S., Lennon, L. T., Papacosta, O., … & Whincup, P. H. (2018). Objectively measured physical activity, sedentary behaviour and all-cause mortality in older men: does volume of activity matter more than pattern of accumulation? Br J Sports Med, bjsports-2017.

Fleg, J. L. (2012). Aerobic exercise in the elderly: a key to successful aging. Discovery medicine13(70), 223-228.

All you need to know about shin splints!

Posted on February 28th, 2018 by Andries Lodder

Do you suffer from lower leg pain?

Below your knee either on the front outside or inside part of the lower leg?

You might have shin splints!

By Xavier Mc Creanor

Shin splints or medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) is a symptom complex seen in people who complain of exercise induce pain along the distal posterior-medial aspect of the tibia. In other words, pain on the front part of your shin.  You might experience pain around the inside of the shin bone, outside of the shin bone or even pain on the shin itself (see image below).

So, what does this mean?

Pain due to overuse along the shinbone, the large front bone in the lower leg. This injury is caused by the excessive amounts of force on the shin bone and tissues attaching the shin bone to the muscles surrounding it. This force causes the muscle to swell and this process increases the pressure against the bone leading to inflammation and pain. Little cracks can also occur in the bone due to overuse.  When the body doesn’t get enough time to repair these miniature cracks it can lead to a complete stress fracture or in severe cases a complete fracture. That’s why we recommend that you see a physiotherapist before tying to treat it your self to rule out more serious problems, like stress fractures or compartment syndrome.

Who can get shin splints?

You don’t have to be a professional athlete to get shin splints.  However, many athletes, runners, squash players, even dancers and gymnasts do get shin splints. Beginner runners who don’t start with a gradually increasing training program or seasoned runners who change their workout routine by suddenly adding too much distance, or switching from running on flat surfaces to hills.

Why do you get shin splints?

Shin splints are usually associated with doing too much too soon. However, sport scientist and medical experts has identified several ways you can obtain a shin splint injury. Here are a few examples;

  • A sudden change in your training routine or an intensified training program.                                                                 
  • Sport that requires a quick take of or hard landing.                                                                                                               
  • Overpronation (excessive range and speed of foot pronation).                                                                                             
  • Insufficient stretching.                                                                                                                                                                    
  • Worn shoes (incorrect footwear).                                                                                                                                                          
  • Poor muscle function around the hip and knee, overloading the shin.                                                                                                             
  • Excessive stress placed on one leg or one hip can also cause shin splints. In runners specifically shin splints occur when their dominant leg is involved.  If you’re right-handed, you’re usually right-footed as well, and that’s the leg that’s most likely going to hurt. Beginner runners who have not yet adjusted to the stresses of running usually get anterior shin splints due to the imbalances between the calf muscles and the muscles in the front of their leg.  If you are a beginner runner we suggest that you do several stretches before and especially after your run.
How do you treat shin splints?

Health care professionals agree that when shin splints strike you should stop training completely or decrease your training depending on the degree and duration of pain. Then, as a first step, ice your shin to reduce inflammation. Here are some other treatments you can try;

  • Make sure you wear the correct running shoes for your foot type specifically, overpronators should wear motion-control shoes. Severe overpronators may need orthotics. Have two pairs of shoes and alternate wearing them to vary the stresses on your legs.  If you suspect that you are overpronating we recommend that you see a podiatrist for a professional opinion.                                                                                                                                         
  • Let a healthcare professional or exercise specialist look at your training programme and make sure any changes in your training are done with a gradual build (volume and pace). Consider cross-training for a while to let your shin heal. Swim, run in the pool or ride a bike. Hills and excessively hard surfaces should be avoided until shin pain goes away completely.                                                                                                                                                                                        
  • If there is no more pain after the injury you need to strengthen the necessary muscles. We suggest that you do calf raises, bent leg calf raises, foot raises (with Thera-band resistance), toe taps while seated on swiss ball and pronation control exercises.  These exercises will build strength and endurance in your gastrocnemius, soleus, tibialis anterior and tibialis posterior muscles, essential running. It’s advised to do all four exercises to fatigue. The exercises are technique-based, and you should do as many as possible up to 4 x 12 reps but stop if technique fails. Build up slowly, running them all every day if you already suffer from shin splints. Feel free to contact us if you need help with setting up the best exercise program to manage your shin splints.                                                                                                                                                                                                          
  • Stretching is also important. After you complete any exercise program it is important to finish off with stretching the gastrocnemius, soleus and achilles muscles. You can do this by doing a calf stretch or using a foam roller over the calf muscle. 

For more information on shin pain or other injuries don’t hesitate to contact us for a full assessment. 

Hypertension – Here’s how exercise can help you!

Posted on February 15th, 2018 by Andries Lodder


Do you suffer from high blood pressure?

By Xavier Mc Creanor

If you do, your doctor will probably suggest that you increase your activity levels to lower your blood pressure. Your doctor may want to lower it with medicines to start with before commencing you on an exercise program. It is important to remember that you must seek medical advice before you start your gym fitness regime. If you take regular medication, ask whether exercising will make it work differently or change the side-effects. The most common medication prescribed for high blood pressure is beta blockers. Beta blockers helps you to control your high blood pressure, they can make it difficult for you to reach your target heart rate (since their job is to slow it down). Remember, if you don’t reach your target heart rate, you will still be getting important cardiovascular benefits.

Even if your blood pressure is not overly high, increasing the amount you exercise can even keep it under control without medication. Please note that physical activity increases your blood pressure slightly in the short term.  Your blood pressure should return to normal depending on your fitness levels. It is recommended by The American Heart Association that you must get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise, 75 minutes of vigorous or a combination of both each week.

What exercises should you do to lower your blood pressure?

We recommend that you should do a combination of cardiovascular, strength and stretching exercises.

Cardiovascular, or aerobic, exercise can help lower your blood pressure and make your heart stronger.

Examples include walking, jogging, bicycling, rowing, high- or low-impact aerobics, swimming, and water aerobics.

Strength training builds strong muscles that help you burn more calories throughout the day. It’s also good for your joints and bones.

Moreas and fellow researchers (2011) found that weight training improves blood pressure. They found that systolic and diastolic went down after following a 12 weeks weight training program, 16 and 12 mm. The decrease in the participants blood pressure was enough to shift the group average from being stage 1 hypertension (150/93) to pre-hypertension (134/81). 

No overhead exercises are recommended as this will elevate your blood pressure.

Stretching makes you more flexible, helps you move better, and helps prevent injury.

Please feel free to consult with the practice to get you started on a specialized training program to better your blood pressure.

It is important to know when you must stop exercising!

If you feel chest pain, weakness, dizziness, light-headedness, or pressure or pain in your neck, arm, jaw, or shoulder. Seek emergency treatment immediately if these symptoms do not go away quickly.


Mobility vs Flexibility

Posted on February 6th, 2018 by Andries Lodder

By Jennifer Steele

It’s the new year and everyone is trying to get fitter, healthier and stronger. However, how many of us are taking the time to improve every aspect of our fitness.  There is far more to improving fitness then just doing cardio and strength. Yes, cardio and strength are very important and will help us achieve our performance goals as well as our health and aesthetic goals, but do you know how important it is to work on your flexibility and mobility.

The first thing you may ask is what is the difference between flexibility and mobility.

Are they not the same thing?

To begin with think of mobility as more of an umbrella term that is used to cover a range of aspects that affect the ability of a joint to move through its full range of motion. Simply it is the freedom of a joint to move. Flexibility is one of the terms and concepts that falls under this umbrella. If the muscles that attach around a joint are to tight they will limit the range of motion of the joint. Therefore, it can be said that flexibility refers more the length of the muscle and how it affects the range of motion of the joint.

Under the umbrella of mobility there are many more aspects to consider then just the length of the muscle, there is muscle strength, other joints, tendon or ligament damage. The mobility of a joint is not limited to just one single area, instead it’s how several areas of the body all work together.

Let’s take an example of two gymnasts. The first gymnast spends everyday stretching, sitting in static stretch positions making sure her muscles are loose and long. The second stretches for short amount of time after each practice and spends the rest of her time working on core strength, stability, tendon length and health and basic control of all her movements. Now both gymnasts are asked to kick their leg up in front of the other as high as they possibly can. Logic would say the gymnast that spends more time stretching would have a greater range of motion. However, this is not the case, gymnast one gets her leg up just above 90 degrees, while gymnast two gets her leg up to almost 180 degrees.

You could have amazing flexibility and stretch every day. However, if you don’t have the strength, co-ordination, core strength, stability and flexibility to move a joint through its full range of motion then your performance won’t increase.

So how do we go about improving our mobility and flexibility?

The first rule is that you should only work on areas that are tight and avoid areas that are loose and weak. Figure out which areas are limiting your range of motion or preventing you from doing certain movements and work on them. Rather than trying to spend hours at a time stretching and working every aspect of your body. There is no general rule for everyone with flexibility and mobility training as everyone will have different areas that are tight or loose.

If you are struggling to get low down in a squat for example your ankle, hip and back flexibility could be affecting the position, while the mobility in your lower leg, hips, lower back and core could also be playing a part. However, for no two people will they need to work on the same areas.

For individualized help we would recommend having a full postural and biomechanical assessment done in order to identify your own personal areas that require work.

Contact us here for more information.


How to prevent injuries in 2018?

Posted on January 29th, 2018 by Andries Lodder

Here are the best exercises for your body to stay injury-free.

By Xavier Mc Creanor

Injuries such as sprains, strains, tendonitis, and even broken bones are all consequences of living an active lifestyle. With the right knowledge and preparation, many injuries can be reduced or entirely prevented.

There are two classes of injuries: traumatic or acute and cumulative or chronic. Traumatic injuries are those accidents that happen in sport or daily life. Cumulative injuries relate to tissue damage that occurs over time because of repetitive strain. These types of injuries creep up and may be a function of poor posture, faulty movement patterns, or improper training form.

To prevent an injury, you need to be physically prepared. We advise you to include the following into your training programs for injury prevention.


Flexibility refers to the range of movement in a joint or series of joints, and length in muscles that cross the joints to induce a bending movement or motion. Flexibility varies between individuals, particularly in terms of differences in muscle length of multi-joint muscles.

Our advice: Spend at least one 5-minute session per training session on stretching, preceded by a thorough warm-up.


Strength is the maximal force you can apply against a load, power is proportional to the speed at which you can apply this maximal force

Our advice: Include two or three 30-minute strength training sessions with weights per week.


Balance is an ability to maintain the line of gravity (vertical line from centre of mass) of a body within the base of support with minimal postural sway. Sway is the horizontal movement of the centre of gravity even when a person is standing still.

Our advice: Single-leg balancing on the bosu-ball (or balance mat for beginners)  is a great balancing exercise and can be included in your everyday workout session. Do 3 sets of 30 seconds on each leg.


Agility is the ability to change the body’s position efficiently, and requires the integration of isolated movement skills using a combination of balance, coordination, speed, reflexes, strength, and endurance. We recommend that agility exercises should be performed only by a trained individual or under the supervision of a exercise health care professional (Biokineticist).

Our advice: Include one agility exercise at least once a week in your training session.



The ability to exert a maximal force in as short a time as possible, as in accelerating, jumping and throwing implements.

Our advice: A burpee plus a 10-meter sprint is an excellent combination for power generation. Include five in a row twice a week.

Vitality Fitness Assessment

Posted on January 10th, 2018 by Andries Lodder

What is Vitality Fitness Assessment?

The Vitality Fitness Assessment is made up of two parts – the first part measures your cardio-vascular fitness and the second measures your strength and flexibility. It has been designed to give you an accurate and personalised understanding of your fitness. After the Vitality Fitness Assessment, our team of biokineticists will show you what you need to focus on in order to get fitter and stronger.

How long does the Vitality Fitness assessment take?

The Vitality Fitness Assessment takes about 45 minutes to complete.

Vitality Points

You can earn 2 500 Vitality points for doing the assessment and up to 5 000 additional points based on your fitness level. Points will show on your Vitality Points Monitor within 7 days. The points you earn from your Vitality Fitness Assessment contribute towards your yearly cap of 30 000 fitness points.

How to book?

Book an appointment with our practice today. Bring your Discovery Health membership card or proof of your Vitality membership, exercise gear and R400 with to your assessment. You will need to pay for the assessment upfront. If you are on a Medical Scheme plan that covers the cost, you can claim this amount from your day-to-day benefits if you have funds available.

Improve Your Ergonomics and Improve your Posture

Posted on November 30th, 2017 by Andries Lodder

By Jennifer Steele

In our previous post we looked at the negative health implications poor posture can have. We spoke about various methods that can be used to help correct bad posture such as supportive braces and exercise that can help strengthen the musculature of the body to assist in improving posture. We also mentioned improving the ergonomics of your working environment to ensure you are placing your body in the best position throughout your working day.

So, what are ergonomics and how can we improve it in our daily lives?

Ergonomics is the study of people’s efficiency in their working environments. It looks at how furniture and equipment can be arranged so that people can do their work or activities in the most efficient way possible. Most individuals spend the majority of their day sitting at a desk behind a computer. However, for most, the main reason for their bad posture is the lay out of and the type of furniture they use.

How should our work space look?


The chair you sit on should support your spinal curves, it should have an adjustable height so that you can make sure your feet are resting flat on the floor and your thighs are parallel to the floor. If the chair has arm rests your arms should rest,at roughly 90-120 degrees, on them with your shoulders in a relaxed position.

All key objects should be within arms reach so that you don’t have to keep stretching or standing up to reach things, this goes for telephone, keyboard and mouse, stapler, writing materials, printer and even things such as a water bottles should be places at arms length away.

Keyboard and Mouse and Monitor:

While typing or using the mouse for your computer you should keep your wrist straight and your forearms should be relaxed on the surface of the desk with the hands slightly lower down then the forearms if possible. While holding the mouse use as little pressure as possible. The top of the computer monitor should be at eye height or just below and it should roughly be an arms length away. 


If you frequently talk on the phone while typing or writing, place the phone on speaker or use a headset so that you don’t cradle the phone between your ear and your neck.


There should be adequate room under the desk to fit your feet and thighs comfortably. The desk should be at a height so that your elbows rest at a comfortable angle of roughly 90 to 120 degrees. If the desk is to height raise the chair height and rest your feet on a footrest, if the desk is to low place books or wedges under the legs to raise it to the correct height.

Once your working environment is set up correctly make sure you are still aware of your posture and that you supplement this with corrective exercises and stretches to ensure your posture is improved in all aspects of your life. Also, always remember that even if your desk is perfectly set up you should always try to stand and walk around, stretch and get some fresh air at least once every hour.

For more information on how you can make your work space more efficient and posture friendly contact us here

How Bad Posture is Affecting more then just your Back

Posted on November 22nd, 2017 by Andries Lodder

By Jennifer Steele

We have all been told time and time again to stand up or sit up straight. Having good posture makes us look poised, confident, healthy and professional but there are many health reasons beyond this that we need to consider when we think of good posture. In our 21st century lives we spend the majority of our days sitting at desks, in cars or looking down at our phone screens. None of these positions promote good posture as it is in these positions that we slouch the most.

When we have good posture, we reinforce the alignment of the spine, neck and head. While slouching forces the head forward, the shoulders round and the back curves. The muscles in the body are forced to work overtime, some constantly being placed in shortened positions causing them to become tighter and tighter, while others are being lengthened and end up getting weaker and weaker. Constant bad posture trains the body to function incorrectly and this then transfers into all aspects of our lives.

Bad posture can lead to problems all over the body not only in the back but problems with muscle functioning, digestion, poor circulation as well as changes in mood and stress levels. Here are some negative side effects that bad posture can lead to

Pain and Soreness:

Poor posture puts excessive stress and pressure on the spine and neck as it is not in its optimal position. Due to the excess stress put on the bones and ligaments, structural changes, such as disk degeneration, can occur while the muscles can go into spasm due to the increase strain put on them.

Poor Circulation:

Sitting with your legs crossed or your shoulders slouching forward can put excess pressure on veins, arteries and lymphatic vessels which can impact the circulation to and from specific areas. Fluids can build up where they shouldn’t and cause oedema pain and other problems.

Increased fatigue:

When you have bad posture, the body has to work harder to try and keep upright and in a normal position, the body is supposed to be upright and have good posture and, so it fights all the time to be in this position. This leads to fatigue quicker than normal.

Decreased Motivation and increased stress levels:

Sitting slumped and slouched over can have a direct effect on your productivity, motivation and stress levels. A study released in Health Psychology found a direct correlation between individuals with bad posture and poor work ethic and low self-esteem.

So how can you improve your posture and prevent these negative effects:

First things first check the ergonomics of your working environment- look out for our next post on how you can optimize your desk and working environment using proper ergonomics. There are supportive braces that you can wear that can help you improve your posture, but this generally isn’t a cure and as soon as the brace is off, you relax your return to your old habits. The best and most effective long-term solution is to do corrective exercises.

Below are 2 simple exercises you can try that can help correct your posture:

Seated Rows with Thera Band:

  • Sitting on the floor with your leg straight out if front of you.
  • Wrap the Thera band around your feet and hold each end in your hands.
  • Then keeping the elbows bend and tucked in next to your body, pull and row the Thera band backwards.
  • Move slowly back to the starting position making sure to control the movement throughout.
  • Repeat for 10 reps and 3 sets.

The Doorway Stretch to loosen tight Pec and chest muscles:

  • Standing in a doorway, lift your arm so it’s parallel to the floor and bend at the elbow so your fingers point toward the ceiling.
  • Place the hand on the door frame
  • Slowly lean into your raised arm and push against the door frame for 10-20 seconds.
  • Repeat the stretch 2-3 times

For more information give us a call and we can do a full postural assessment on you and give you specific exercises to strengthen and stretch your over worked muscles.

HIIT- Quick, Easy and Convinient

Posted on October 25th, 2017 by Andries Lodder


By Jennifer Steele

We all want to be fit, healthy and look good. However, one of most common reasons people give for not being healthy is lack of time. They say they don’t’ have time to exercise, don’t have time to prep and cook healthy meals and don’t have the time to take a few minutes of time for themselves each day and destress. This well may be the case but what most people don’t know is that they don’t need to spend hours in the gym or the kitchen. There are many solutions out there for including healthy habits into a busy schedule and one of them is High Intensity Interval Training.

High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT is a training technique with two parts. The first is a short period of 100% all-out effort followed by a rest period that is either low intensity active recovery or complete rest. This type of training gets your heart rate up and keeps it up, there is an increase in the bodies oxygen demands. The body can’t keep up with this demand and so by the end of the workout there is an oxygen deficit and so the body asks for more oxygen during recovery post workout. This after burn effect is known as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen consumption (EPOC) and it is the primary reason why you burn more calories and fat after high intense training session then with steady state long sessions.

Other benefits of HIIT sessions:

  • Increased metabolic rate
    • Due to the increase in oxygen demand and the EPOC that follows High Intense Interval Sessions there is an increase in metabolism and fat burning for up to 48 hours after exercise. This means that even after you leave the gym you are still burning fat!!
  • Quick and convenient
    • HIIT sessions can be done in 30 minutes or less and so there is no more excuses about not having enough time.
  • No equipment necessary
    • These sessions are not only quick and convenient, but they can be done anywhere as they need no equipment, in a bedroom, lounge, hotel room or even garden there really is no reason for not breaking a quick sweat.

Here is a basic example of a HIIT sessions:

  • 3- 4 Rounds of:
  • 1 minute = Squats
  • 1 minute = Jumping Jacks
  • 1 minute = Push Ups
  • 1 minute = Mountain Climbers
  • 1 minute = Sit ups
  • 1 minute = Burpees
  • 1 minute = Step ups
  • 2 minutes = Rest

27- 36 Minutes in total, no equipment needed.

So next time you pressed for time and need to squeeze in your recommended 30 minutes of exercise, why not give a HIIT session a go!

For more information contact us.