Andries Lodder biokineticist in Fourways
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Posted on May 2nd, 2018 by Andries Lodder

By Jennifer Steele

So many athletes suffer from overtraining syndrome, especially when training for big events and competitions. Previously we have spoken about the importance of including rest and recovery sessions in their training programs. However, there are still those that fail to do so and train longer and harder without increasing their recovery time. For an individual to see improvements in their performance the body needs to be overloaded to a certain extent. When the body is overloaded and exposed to a high level of demands it is forced to adapt to these demands and that is when performance gains are seen. The problem comes in when the overload exceeds the bodies recovery capacity. When there is inadequate time for recovery an athlete is at risk of overtraining and developing overtraining syndrome, which can have a detrimental effect on both the physical and mental state of the athlete.

So how can you tell if you are at risk of overtraining?

  1. Feeling washed out, tired, drained, and lethargic
  2. Elevated resting heart rate
  3. General aches and pains and an increase in the incidence of injuries
  4. Decreased levels in performance
  5. Insomnia
  6. Headaches and decreased immunity with the development of colds, flu and other illnesses
  7. Irritability or depression
  8. A loss of enthusiasm or drive for their sport
  9. Decreased appetite and weight loss

The solution:

If you are experiencing these symptoms and are at risk of overtraining or are currently in an over trained state, you can try the following:

  1. Ensure you are getting an adequate amount of sleep. 8-12 hours of sleep is necessary when training at intensities. Including a short nap in the day can also help reduce the stress on your body and increase your recovery levels.
  2. Take 3-5 days off from training completely. After adequate rest you will feel rejuvenated and want to return to training.
  3. Reduce your training volume and intensity for a few days.
  4. Get a deep tissue or sports massage. This will assist in your muscle recovery as well as allow your mind to relax.
  5. Ensure you are eating an adequate amount of food each day and getting the nutrients your body requires such as proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and mineral.

It is important to remember to listen to your body and give it the rest and time off that it requires. Take at least one full rest day a week and give your body time to rest between workouts in the week. It is great to work towards a goal but it important to remember that in order to achieve that goal you need your body to be at it peak.

For more information and training advise contact us here. 


The Importance of Rest and Recovery

Posted on April 20th, 2018 by Andries Lodder

By Jennifer Steele

In today’s world of competitive sports all athletes are searching for a competitive edge. Some spend an extra few hours in the gym or practicing their techniques. Others ensure their training is as sports specific as possible. However, how many are optimizing their recovery sessions and rest time?

Rest and recovery are seen as the ‘forgotten training component’.

This is because most athletes understand the importance actual training plays in their performance. However, few understand the important role that recovery, rest and sleep play. When it comes to strength, conditioning and practice sessions athletes and many other individuals plan their training weeks and days meticulously, understanding exactly what they need to put their bodies through in order to excel on game day.

On the other side of the training they are doing is recovery. However, many athletes fail to  schedule into their programs; massages, short power naps, ice baths, rest days, and post season time off. Deep down they know their body needs to recover but when it comes to taking a day off or resting they feel guilty and so they continue training.

What athletes need to understand is that adaptation and gains in strength, power and technique don’t occur during a heavy training session. Rather it is during the recovery after the session and rest when the adaptations occur. Rest is physically necessary so that muscles can repair themselves, rebuild and strengthen. It is during this time that energy stores are replenished and repairs take place. Without adequate rest the body is in a constant state of overtraining. If in this state for too long there is risk of the person developing overtraining syndrome.

Rest and Recovery can also be split into two categories:

Short term recovery:

This occurs immediately after an exercise session. It can consist of the short low intensity exercise, known as Active Recovery, replenishing the bodies energy and fluid stores by eating and drinking a post exercise meal and drink. The use of recovery techniques involving the removal of chemicals and fluids that build up during exercise are also used here. Sleep and sleep quality are also an important factor that needs to be considered for short term recovery. After all training sessions, especially hard/intense sessions the quality of sleep that an athlete gets has a massive effect of their recovery.

Long term recovery:

This is more the recovery that is built into a full training season. It includes rest/recovery days in each week, taper weeks, rest blocks and post season time off. All these factors play a role in an athlete’s overall recovery.

If not managed correctly both short and long-term recovery can have detrimental effects on an athlete’s competitive career, performance levels and overall health and wellbeing.

So how can rest and recovery be incorporated?


Athletes should include short power naps between 10-20 minutes into their day following or between training sessions to help and encourage their bodies natural recovery processes. They should also aim to get between 8 and 12 hours sleep every night to allow their bodies to fully recover from the days training and prepare then for the next.

Nutrition and Hydration

Athletes should follow an individualized diet that takes into account their specific caloric needs. They should also ensure that they eat at the right times in the day taking into account the goals of each training session and ensure that they replenish and remain hydrated throughout the day by drinking adequate water and when necessary sports drinks.

Stretching and Mobility

Athletes should ensure they include adequate stretching and mobilizing exercises into their training sessions. During their warm up including dynamic stretches and mobility exercises can help prepare the body for exercise and prevent injury. While including stretches after a session can assist in flexibility, as well as reducing tight and stiff joints, improving mobility, reduce muscle soreness and assist in short term recovery.

Recovery Techniques

Heat, ice, compression, massage, and other specific techniques have been shown to help speed up and improve athlete’s recovery from strenuous training sessions. By reducing inflammation, improving circulation and assisting in muscles repair techniques such as sports massage, compression boots and ice baths can be used by athletes to help assist their bodies in dealing with the demands of training and improving their recovery times.

Athletes need to understand that with greater levels of training comes a greater need for planned rest and recovery sessions and periods within their training schedules. Remembering that fitness and strength isn’t acquired in the gym, rather it is when the body is allowed to recover that results and adaptation take place and present themselves. Dedicating specific time to recovery can help give all athletes the competitive edge they are looking for, increase their performance, lengthen their careers and keep them injury free. 

For more information and to make use of our recovery techniques don’t hesitate to contact us. 


Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS), here’s what you need to know!

Posted on March 28th, 2018 by Andries Lodder

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome?

By Xavier Mc Creanor

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is a term used for several different conditions that can occur when nerves and blood vessels in the thoracic outlet are compressed or irritated. The thoracic outlet is the narrow space between your collarbone and first rib. Blood vessels, nerves, and muscles that extend from the back to the arms pass through this area. If the space in the thoracic outlet is too narrow, these structures can become compressed. The increased pressure on the blood vessels and nerves may cause pain in your shoulders, neck, and arms. It can also cause numbness or tingling in your hands.

Types of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Vascular – Compression of the artery and/or vein. This type of thoracic outlet syndrome occurs when one or more of the veins or arteries under the collarbone (clavicle) are compressed. Vascular thoracic outlet syndrome symptoms include: discoloration of your hand, arm pain and swelling, blood clot in veins or arteries in the upper area of your body, lack of colour in one or more of your fingers or your entire hand, weak or no pulse in the affected arm, cold fingers, hands or arms, arm fatigue with activity, numbness or tingling in your fingers, weakness of arm or neck or a throbbing lump near your collarbone.


Neurogenic – The nerves become compromised from an extra cervical rib (see Figure 1 below), present at birth. This form of thoracic outlet syndrome is characterised by compression of the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that come from your spinal cord and control muscle movements and sensation in your shoulder, arm and hand. In the majority of thoracic outlet syndrome cases, the symptoms are neurogenic. These neurogenic symptoms include; muscle wasting in the fleshy base of your thumb, tingling sensation in your arm or fingers, pain or aches in your neck, shoulder or hand and lastly weakening grip.

Nonspecific-type (Disputed or painful form) – No neurological deficit but patients experience neurological symptoms and pain. Typically, these patients’ clinical tests are negative, but they complain of pain. This type is also called disputed TOS. Doctors find the reality of nonspecific TOS debatable. People with nonspecific-type thoracic outlet syndrome have chronic pain in the thoracic outlet that worsens with activity, but a specific cause of the pain can’t be determined.

How is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Diagnosed?

Your doctor will perform a physical exam and review your symptoms.  The doctor might perform a few tests to reproduce the symptoms to make a more accurate diagnosis.  The doctor might also send you to do an X-ray, MRI, Electromyography (EMG), or a nerve conduction study to confirm your diagnosis.

How can a Biokineticist help you?

Biokinetic treatment is recommended to help strengthen and stretch the shoulder muscles.  Your Biokineticist can help you to strengthen these muscles to improve your range of motion and your posture.  Exercises can provide support for the collarbone and the muscles surrounding the thoracic outlet.  Regular exercises may take the pressure of the blood vessels and nerves affected in the thoracic outlet area.

If you are overweight your Biokineticist can assist you with a weight-loss training program focusing on exercises that will help relieve symptoms over time. A healthy weight is important for reducing pressure on the joints affected.

Prevention is better than cure therefore your Biokineticist will educate you on the following;

  • How to maintain a proper posture while sitting or standing
  • How to perform the correct stretches
  • Guidance on maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle
  • Performing strengthening exercises
  • How to avoid activities that make your symptoms worse
  • How to avoid repetitive movements
  • The correct way to lift heavy objects

Our team of Biokineticist are ready to assist you, please feel free to contact us today.

Article resources:

What is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome?

More on Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Mayo Clinic’s take on Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome from Orthopaedic Surgeons perspective–conditions/thoracic-outlet-syndrome



The Importance of Core Stability

Posted on March 26th, 2018 by Andries Lodder

By Jennifer Steele

When speaking in terms of the human body, stability refers to a person’s ability to control the movement and position of their muscles, joints and limbs. With greater stability comes greater control. So, with this in mind, core stability refers to the individual’s ability to control and move their core with or without movement of the other limbs of the body. The greatest misconception is that in order to have a strong core and to have a stable core you need to have a 6 pack, or that if you have a 6 pack you have good core stability.

However, this is not the case. Having a visible 6 pack or a well-defined core requires an individual to have a certain level of body fat. The lower the level of body fat the more visible the core muscles will be. However, this has nothing to do with the individuals ability to control and stabilise their trunk, lumbar and abdominal regions.

So how do we go about developing good core stability?

First let’s look at the muscles involved in the core, then how we can go about strengthening them and finally the benefits of having good core stability.

Muscles Involved:

The core muscles are like a corset and wrap around the trunk. They are like a powerhouse and when they have adequate strength and work together they provide a solid base for which all other muscles of the body can act against. The Transverse Abdominus, Multifidus, Diaphragm and Pelvic Floor muscles all form part of the cylinder that are the core stabilisers. These muscles all keep the spine in its most neutral position and help to aid in preventing injury. Prior to any movement of the limbs of the body the corset of core muscles should contract to keep the body ridged and stable and provide a solid foundation against which the limbs can move. 

Benefits of Core Stability:

Injury prevention:

Improving core stability is essential in preventing injury to all areas of the body. It is especially important in preventing lower back injuries as it is the primary stabilizer of the lower back and when the core works effectively it helps to relieve the pressure off of the lower back. It is also important to prevent other injuries such as hamstring strains or hip impingement. When the core is activated prior to other movements the other muscles of the body can work more efficiently together and movements are better controlled and performed with better technique which reduces the risk of injury.

Rehabilitation from injury:

Strengthening the core stabiliser when recovering from all injuries is important as it will help improved the quality of all movements. It will also help in preventing the injury from reoccurring as well as improve overall control within the body.

Improved Sporting Performance:

With improved core stability comes improved sporting performance. No matter who the athlete, core stability and strengthening should be included in everyone’s training regime. Not only does it prevent injury like we said before but it will help improve balance, coordination, reaction time, efficiency and quality of movement, as well as overall strength and power.

How to Improve Core Stability:

Phase 1: Back Flat on the Floor

A good place to start training your core is by doing core stability exercises where the lower back is flat on the floor. By starting here is ensures that while the muscles strengthen the back is still supported and is protected from injury. When doing any of these exercises it is important to push the lower back into the ground and not let it arch up.

An example of this exercise is the dead bug

Dead Bug:
  1. Lie on your back with both your arms and legs up in the air 
  2. Push the lower back into the ground and activate the core
  3. Slowly lower alternate arm and leg towards the floor (To the point where you feel the lower back coming off the floor)
  4. Return the arm and leg to the starting position and repeat with the other side. 
  5. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps per arm/leg

Phase 2: Back unsupported, stable base

Once you have mastered control of this type of exercise you can progress your training to exercises where the back is no longer supported and instead the core has to do be in control and strong.

First start by doing a basic 4 base plank.


  1. Lie on your stomach on an exercise mat
  2. Push up onto your elbows and toes
  3. Engage your core and ensure you have a flat back
  4. Start by holding this position for 15 seconds and then progress up to a minute as you get stringer

Phase 3: Back unsupported, unstable base

Once you have mastered a basic plank, you can start lifting each limb off the ground making the core work harder to stabilize the body.

Reduced base of support plank:

  1. Lie on your stomach on an exercise mat
  2. Push up onto your elbows or onto straight arms and toes
  3. Engage your core and ensure you have a flat back
  4. Now lift each limb up from the floor and hold for 10-20 seconds (Alternating limbs for the duration of 1-2 minutes) 
  5. Once you can lift one limb progress to lifting alternating arm and leg at the same time like the picture below
  6. Start by holding this position for 15 seconds and then progress up to a minute as you get stringer

Phase 4: Back unsupported, additional instability

The final stage is when the back is unsupported and you add elements of instability to the exercise. Placing the hands on a bosu, or the feel on a swiss ball while performing a plank is a good place to start.

Plank on a Bosu:

  1. Place hands on the edge of a bosu ball
  2. Push up onto toes and hands
  3. Engage your core and ensure you have a flat back
  4. Start by holding this position for 15 seconds and then progress up to a minute as you get stringer
  5. Once you can hold this position you can make the exercise harder you can add leg movements such as knee tucks into the exercise

Plank on a swiss ball with leg lifts:

  1. Place feet on a swissball
  2. Push up onto straight arms onto your hands
  3. Engage your core and ensure you have a flat back
  4. Start by holding this position for 15 seconds and then progress
  5. Once you can hold this position you can make the exercise harder you can add leg movements such as leg lifts into the exercise
  6. Note: The further away the swiss ball is from your body the harder the exercise 


For more information on how to improve your core stability and on exercises to include in your program contact us and  book your assessment today. 


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.