Andries Lodder biokineticist in Fourways
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Add a Spring to your step

Posted on September 9th, 2019 by Andries Lodder

By Fatima Jeewa

We have officially reached the month of spring!

It has been a long couple of cold months and many of us have been hibernating away, not doing much exercise.

How can we effectively return back to our routines or start a fitness program?

Exercise and routine tips:

  • Consult a GP to gain clearance before starting exercise.
  • If you are on medication, don’t stop taking your medication but find out when would be the appropriate time to exercise as certain medications can cause a low heart rate or dizziness during exercise.
  • Include a cardio component in every session. This will help to increase your cardiovascular fitness levels, allowing you to cope with longer routines.
    • Cardio exercises include: swimming, cycling/spinning, running, rowing and even boxing.
  • Find an exercise/class that you enjoy and a trainer that encourages you to come back and keep working hard. Reasons to come back will be reasons to continue!
  • Encourage a friend or partner to train with you so you can encourage each other.
  • Remember safety and injury prevention.
  • If you have existing injuries and you are unsure on how to manage them, speak to your GP and consult a Physiotherapist and Biokineticist to treat the injury first before continuing. Unattended injuries are prone to come back more frequently.
  • Form and posture are everything. Perfect the art of the exercise before doing many reps and sets as an exercise done wrong many times has no benefit.

Implementing a healthier lifestyle:

  • Exercise and a healthy lifestyle go hand in hand. Feeling energetic and seeing results will motivate you to stick to your goals and work hard!  
  • It’s not always easy changing your lifestyle and habits that you’ve had for many years. The decision to change needs to be a conscious decision.
  • It starts small and continues with consistency. Start with small daily goals and weekly goals that are realistic and achievable. Reward yourself with each milestone you make and you will reach your goals.
  • Encourage friends and spouses to adopt a healthier lifestyle with you as having support makes it easier to stick to a goal.

For more advice on how to kick start your new healthy lifestyle don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Build those biceps!

Posted on August 23rd, 2019 by Andries Lodder

Biceps Muscles – Anatomy Muscles isolated on white – 3D illustration

By Nicole Harran

As we age, the strength in our arms decreases at a rapid rate. This is due to the increasing disuse of our upper bodies.

The lower body is used more often for activities such as:

  • walking
  • standing from a seated position
  • climbing stairs
  • balancing

To keep our independence with activities of daily living, building up the arm muscles is a very significant factor.

The arm muscles can be split up into the upper arm and lower arm:

The upper arm plays a significant role in picking up objects and being the main mover of the arm. While the forearm muscles play an important role in grip strength and fine motor skills.

Something as simple as picking up a kettle to make a cup of tea can be a strenuous activity if one doesn’t have enough arm strength.

In this article we are focusing on the upper arm muscles

The Biceps – a two headed muscle in the front of your arm causing the forearm to flex.

Different exercises will target the different heads of the muscle:

Bicep curl – To maximize activation of the long head, start the curl in the standing position with your hands lined up with the body and in the neutral position (thumb pointing forward) .
Reverse bicep curl – To maximize activation of the short head, turn the palms to face down.
The triceps – a three headed muscle located at the back of your arm causes extension at the elbow.

Different exercises will target the activation of the different heads:

Tricep kickbacks – Targets the long head of the triceps.
Overhead tricep extensions – Targets the activation of the medial head due to the rotation of the hands at full extension.
Tricep dips – these target the activation of the lateral head of the triceps.

If you are struggling with activities of daily living, need to increase your upper body strength or want more aesthetically pleasing arms, contact us and let us help you condition that upper body.

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Strong, Powerful Hamstrings

Posted on August 8th, 2019 by Andries Lodder

By Jennifer Steele

How do we develop strong, powerful hamstring muscles?

In our every day lives we spend way too much time sitting. In a seated position the hamstring muscles become weaker. We spend well over half the day in this position and so numerous people regardless of how active they are suffering from weak hamstrings.

Our hamstring muscles are responsible for bending our knees. Seems simple right. Well unfortunately the hamstring muscles can be a whole lot more complicated than they seem.  With a strong healthy hamstring you can run fast, jump high and accelerate and decelerate with ease. Not only this, but having strong hamstrings also helps improve your posture, prevent lower back pain and other lower body injuries. However

Anatomy:

Many people don’t know this, but your hamstring muscle is made up of three separate muscles; the biceps femoris and the Semimembranosus and Semitendinosus muscles. All three hamstrings originate at the ischial tuberosity on the pelvis, also known as your sit bones. The Semimembranosus and Semitendinosus muscles then travel down the inside of the back of the thigh and insert on the Tibia. While the Biceps Femoris muscle runs down the outside of the back of the leg and inserts onto the fibula. As the hamstring muscles cross both the knee and the hip joints they are responsible for movement of two joints. They bend the knees as well as draw the hips backwards.

Function:

The hamstring muscles play an important role in most functional movements, such as walking, running, jumping and changing directions. During explosive movements the hamstrings are responsible for absorbing some of the force and shifting it from the knees to the hips. One of the hamstrings most important roles is to control deceleration during running or sprinting. Using an eccentric contraction while running downhill or slowing down from high speeds the hamstrings ability to control this motion takes some of the pressure off the lower limb joints and helps prevent injury.

The hamstrings also play an important role in posture and the alignment of the pelvis, hips and spine. If they are too tight or loose, they then tug or loosen their hold on the pelvis meaning the alignment of the hips and back will change. If altered to drastically it can lead to problems such as lower back pain and even knee pain.

Benefits of having strong hamstrings:

  • Reduces chance of injury
  • Improves athletic performance
  • Reduces lower back pain
  • Improves posture
  • Helps protect the knee joint

Exercises:

Pelvic Bridges:

Double Leg:

  1. Lying on your back with arms at your side, with knees bent and weight on the heels
  2. Push your hips up towards the ceiling, keeping the core tight and ensuring the back doesn’t arch

Single leg:

  1. In the same starting position as a double leg pelvic bridge, extend one leg up off the floor
  2. Then lift the hips to the ceiling using only the one leg still on the floor
  3. Ensure the hips stay level and that the back does not arch

Unstable:

  1. In the same starting position as a single leg bridge, place the working leg on an unstable surface such as a foam roller, bosu ball or medicine ball
  2. Pushing into the working leg on the unstable surface push the hips towards the ceiling
  3. Make sure to control the movement and keep hips level

Eccentric Hamstring curls on SB or Sliders:

  1. Lying on your back with the feet on the Swiss ball or sliders and knees bent
  2. Lift the hips up to the ceiling and slowly straighten your legs out, keeping the hips off the floor
  3. Once the legs are almost straight quickly pull the heels back towards the bum, again keeping the hips off the floor
  4. This exercise can be done double leg and then later when stronger single leg

With all this been said it is still important to remember that even when strengthening your hamstrings, it is still important to stretch them out because if they become too tight and start pulling on your pelvis and tilting it, it will lead to other issues.

Stretches:

Door Stretch:

  1. Lying on your back with one leg through the door and the other up against the door
  2. Keep both legs straight and hold the stretch for 20-60 seconds

So in order to develop bullet proof hamstrings that allow you to sprint and jump to your full potential make sure to include hamstring exercises and stretches in your exercise programs. For more information and individualized exercises do not hesitate to contact us and book your assessment.

Lets get to the core of this

Posted on July 29th, 2019 by Andries Lodder

By Fathima Jeewa

The one aspect we commonly hear as athletes and trainers is “have a strong core or core stability”, but what do the “core” muscles consist of and why is it an important component in rehabilitation and sports.

Core stability relates to the bodily region bounded by the abdominal wall, the pelvis, the lower back and the diaphragm and its ability to stabilise the body during movement.

The main muscles involved include the transverse abdominis, the internal and external obliques, the quadratus lumborum and the diaphragm.

Why is core stability so important?

Core stabilization is important because:

  • It improves dynamic postural control
  • Ensures appropriate muscular balance
  • Affects joint movement around lumbo-pelvic hip complex
  • The core is the centre of gravity & where all movement starts from
  • Operates as an integrated functional unit
  • The body’s stabilization system must function optimally to effectively use the Strength, Power, Neuromuscular control, and Muscular endurance developed in prime movers
  • Decreased neuromuscular effectiveness leads to compensation & substitution patterns as well as poor posture during functional activities

Exercises to strengthen your core:

Plank and side plank
Double leg pike on swiss ball
Russian twists
Table top crunches

If you are struggling with core stabilization, lower back pain or posture problems, core strengthening is specifically for you. Core strength is something we as biokineticists emphasize during training to ensure exercises are completed pain free and with good posture.

If you need some assistance with core strength, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Snapping Hip Syndrome

Posted on July 16th, 2019 by Andries Lodder

By Nicole Harran

Have you ever struggled with hip pain and not known who to turn to or what to do? The prevalence of hip pain is increasing at a steady rate due to a variety of factors (posture, obesity, sedentary lifestyle and various others). Snapping hip syndrome is one possible reason for hip pain, or an irritable sensation around the hip. Many have described it to feel as if the ball of the hip joint keeps subluxating out of the socket, making it feel week and misplaced.

Snapping hip syndrome, also known as “dancers hip” is a condition where there is a snapping sensation felt over or around the hip joint. This is felt more so with specific movements the hip is subject to, often due to a muscle or tendon moving over a bony structure within the hip.

Anatomy of the hip.

Causes of snapping hip syndrome

The most common site that the snapping occurs is over the greater trochanter . The iliotibial band, iliopsoas and rectus femoris tendon’s all insert on and around the greater trochanter. When specific movements are performed a small amount of incorrect biomechanical movement can cause certain structures to catch over the bone, causing the snapping sensation. If some tissue gets caught during the movement, the specific movement or other similar motions can become very painful and debilitating.

Treating a snapping hip

Many people may present with snapping hip syndrome, however it can often go untreated without pain. The only time to seek medical attention is when the snapping begins to cause pain in and around the hip.

At home adjustments

  • Reduce or modify a certain activities which causes the pain.
  • Apply ice to reduce any possible inflammation that may be around the hip.
  • Alter some daily habits which place pressure on the hip joints.

Severe cases

In more severe cases it may be useful to see a biokineticist in order to:

  • Correct faulty biomechanics which may be a causing factor.
  • Stretch or strengthen certain muscle groups.
  • Fix ones posture and train the muscles to work in the correct manner.

Exercises which may help snapping hip syndrome:

Quadriceps stretching

When doing a quadriceps stretch, it is important to maintain a neutral pelvis and prevent any anterior rotation which may cause pain in the lower back.

Hamstring stretch

Hamstring stretch, lie on the floor with the glutes as close to the wall as possible. Raise one leg up against the wall, keeping both legs straight and hips neutral.

Sideways walking

Sideways walking is a very good exercise to strengthen the glutes and stabilize the pelvis, avoiding any excessive unwanted movement.

Static deadbug

The static deadbug is a good exercise to do when learning to engage the core. Core strength will help stabilize the trunk region and potentially prevent unwanted movements causing the clicking.

If you are currently struggling with snapping hip syndrome where it is causing pain or irritability, contact us and let us help you find the cause and treat the pain.

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Peroneal Tendonopathy

Posted on July 11th, 2019 by Andries Lodder

By Jennifer Steele

Are you suffering from pain on the outside of your foot while running, walking or jumping? If the pain is directly behind the little bone that sicks out on the outside of your ankle, then you could have Peroneal Tendonopathy.

Peroneal Tendonopathy occurs when the Peroneal Tendons become inflamed. This can be due to an increase in load or overuse of the tendons which leads them to rubbing on the bones of the ankle and becoming inflamed. Overtime the tendons will thicken to try and compensate for the increased load, leading to further inflammation.

Anatomy:

There are two Peroneal tendons in each leg. They run down the outside of the lower leg and behind the lateral malleolus of the ankle (bony bump on the outside of the ankle).

One tendon attaches on the outside of the foot at the base of the baby toe, while the other goes underneath the foot and attached underneath the arch. These tendons provide stability to the ankle and protect the joint from sprains. They also assist in turning the foot outwards and in stabilizing the arch of the foot.

Causes:

Any activity that involves excessive ankle movement can lead to Peroneal tendonopathy. However, it is especially common in runners who supinate and roll their feet outwards leading to pressure being placed on these tendons and causing it to rub on the malleolous in the ankle.

Risk factors:

  • Overuse
  • A sudden increase in training
  • Poor footwear
  • Poor biomechanics of the lower leg
  • Muscle imbalances
  • Individuals with a high arch in their foot

Signs and Symptoms:

Peroneal tendonopathy can be either acute, meaning it develops very suddenly usually following a specific traumatic event or more commonly, it can be chronic and develop over time.

Symptoms:

  • Pain behind the lateral malleolus
  • Pain at the back of the ankle
  • Pain when turning the foot out
  • Pain during and after weight bearing activities, such as running
  • Ankle instability
  • The skin at the back of the ankle will be warm to the touch due to the inflammation

Diagnosis:

A medical professional will use an individual’s history to determine if they have the risk factors and symptoms of Peroneal Tendonopathy. A variety of movement and biomechanic tests can also be done by a physiotherapist or Biokineticist to determine if the tendons are inflamed.

A CT scan or MRI might be necessary to rule out any tendon ruptures or other abnormalities in certain cases.

Treatment:

Since the tendons are inflamed due to overuse, rest will be essential in helping reduce the inflammation, swelling and pain. Therefore, only non-weight bearing activities should be done for the first few days and weeks depending on severity. Anti-inflammatory drugs can be taken to help with any pain if prescribed by a medical professional.

Initially the best treatment is rest, ice, compression and elevation in order to allow the tendons time to recover.

After which a exercise program should be started in order to correct any biomechanical abnormalities or muscles imbalances. Exercises to strengthen the peroneal muscles and tendons should be performed, as well as ankle stability exercises. If the individual is a runner then their running style and technique should be checked and corrected if necessary. Their footwear should also then be checked to see if it is appropriate.

Exercises:

Single leg balancing:

  1. Stand on one leg with the supporting knee a little bit bent
  2. Ensure your hips stay in line and that the arch of your foot does not collapse
  3. Balance for as long as possible
  4. To make this exercise more effective it can also be done on an airex mat or balance pad
  5. Balance for 30 – 60 seconds per leg for three to four rounds
  6. Arm, head and eye movements can also be added to make this exercise more challenging

Ankle Eversion exercises:

  1. Place a Thera band or loop around your foot
  2. Pulling from the ankle only turn your foot outwards
  3. Ensure your leg and knee do not move and that only your ankle turns
  4. Do 3 sets of 10- 20 repetitions per leg

Calf stretches:

  1. Standing with one leg forward and bent and the other straight out behind you
  2. Keep the feet straight forward and the both heels pushed into the ground
  3. Bent forward to stretch the Gastrocnemius muscle of the calf of the back leg
  4. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds
  5. Then bend the back knee and sit back into the back leg to stretch the Soleus muscle of the calf
  6. Hold this for 30 seconds
  7. Repeat this twice per leg

For more information or to book an assessment if you think you could be suffering from Peroneal Tendonopathy do not hesitate to contact us.

Whiplash Associated Disorder

Posted on June 26th, 2019 by Andries Lodder

By Fathima Jeewa

Trauma to the neck is common during motor vehicle collisions and injury during sport. A common neck injury is whiplash which is a sprain to the upper cervical region. Neck sprains typically occur at the extremes of motion, a violent muscle contraction or an external force.

The cervical region forms one of the five regions in the spine, i.e. cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral and coccygeal. Each region is structurally and functionally different and plays an important role in spinal movement and strength.

The cervical vertebrae is made up of 7 vertebrae with each vertebrae increasing in size. The cervical region contains spinal nerves which innervate muscles of the neck, shoulder and diaphragm. These nerves also provide sensation for the skin of the ear, neck and upper chest. Impingement of these nerves can result in headaches, neck pain and breathing difficulties.

What is Whiplash?

During a whiplash the neck is violently forced forward and then backward resulting in overstretching of the anterior and posterior muscles as well as ligaments in the neck muscles.

Symptoms of a whiplash include:

  • Pain in the surrounding neck and shoulder muscles
  • Stiffness
  • Restricted range of motion of the neck
  • Ongoing symptoms for several days and more
  • Loss of balance
  • Headaches
  • Muscle spasms
  • Sensation of pins and needles

Management of whiplash injury

  • Treatment includes rest, ice and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs prescribed by a medical practitioner.
  • A collar may be used for additional cervical support continuous ice and heat therapy can then be used.
  • Progression to gentle stretching and exercises supervised by a physiotherapist or Biokineticist.
  • Return to competitive sport should not occur until there is no pain and all neck tests have been proved negative.
  • Symptoms should be monitored closely and discussed with the physician, physiotherapist and Biokineticist.

For more information or treatment on whiplash associated disorder, feel free to contact us and let us help you.

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Important facts about Asthma

Posted on June 18th, 2019 by Andries Lodder

By Nicole Harran

Asthma is a condition in which a person’s airways become inflamed, narrow and swell, producing extra mucus, making it difficult to breathe. It can be a minor attack or severe which can interfere with daily activities. In some cases, it can lead to a life-threatening attack.

The exact cause of asthma is not entirely understood, however, each individual has different triggers.

Asthma signs and symptoms include:
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
  • A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling (wheezing is a common sign of asthma in children)
  • Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu
Treatment

Prevention and long-term control are paramount in stopping asthma attacks before they start. It usually involves identifying your triggers, avoiding them and tracking your breathing to make sure your daily asthma medications are keeping symptoms under control.

In case of an asthma flare-up, you may need to use a quick-relief inhaler.

Medication
The right medications for you depends on several things:
  • Age
  • Symptoms
  • Asthma triggers
  • What works best to keep your asthma under control.
Commonly there are two categories of medication:
  1. Preventive, long-term control medications – reduce the inflammation in your airways that leads to symptoms.
  2. Quick-relief inhalers (bronchodilators) – quickly open swollen airways that are limiting breathing.
How to avoid triggers:
  • Use your air conditioner. Air conditioning reduces the amount of airborne pollen from trees, grasses and weeds that finds its way indoors.
  • Decontaminate your decor. Minimize dust that may worsen symptoms by replacing certain items in your bedroom.
  • Maintain optimal humidity. If you live in a damp climate, talk to your doctor about using a dehumidifier.
  • Prevent mold spores. Clean damp areas in the bath, kitchen and around the house to keep mold spores from developing.
  • Reduce pet dander. If you’re allergic to dander, avoid pets with fur or feathers.
  • Clean regularly. Clean your home at least once a week.
  • Cover your nose and mouth if it’s cold out. If your asthma is worsened by cold or dry air, wearing a face mask can help.

For more information on asthma and how to train around it contact us

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Obesity and Exercise

Posted on June 6th, 2019 by Andries Lodder

By Jennifer Steele

Obesity is a complex disorder that involves an excess of body fat. This is not just a cosmetic concern as it can result in numerous health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Classification

An individual can be classified as obese in several ways.

  • BMI
    • When an individuals Body Mass Index (BMI) is greater than 30 they are classified as obese.
    • BMI can be calculated by dividing an individual’s weight (kg) by their height (m) squared. A BMI between 25 and 29.9 places an individual in the overweight category.
    • The problem with this method of classification is that BMI does not take an individual’s muscle mass into account. Therefore, a very muscular person such as a body builder and an obese person could have the same BMI even though their body composition is drastically different.
  • Body Fat Percentage
    • Individuals with body fat percentages of greater than 32% for women and 25% for men are considered obese.
    • Body fat can be measured using calipers, a body fat scale that uses bioelectrical impedance analysis, air displacement plethysmography, MRI scans or CT scans.
    • This can be a better way to establish an individuals body composition. However, the accuracy of the results can be hugely affected by the method used to calculate an individuals body fat percentage and so the results are not always reliable.
  • Waist Circumference
    • A waist circumference greater then 80 cm in women and 92 cm in men.
    • When measured in the correct place this can be a helpful measurement as it is a good indication of where an individual is storing their fat. When excess fat is mainly stored around the abdomen it increases an individuals risk of co-morbid diseases such as high cholesterol, heart problems and diabetes.

Obesity is a result of an energy imbalance, an excess of calories taken in and to few calories burned.

There are numerous factors that influence how many calories an individual burns each day, such as genes, gender, age, and body size. However, with all people the amount of physical activity performed each day has the biggest influence.

Keeping physical active and consuming a healthy diet can help people stay at a healthy weight, as well as help people lose weight. The amount of exercise each individual needs to do is dependent on their own personal goals. However the World Health Organisation does recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day or 2.5 hours a week. Moderate intensity exercise is any activity that increases your heart and breathing rate, but you are still able to maintain a conversation.

Examples of moderate intensity exercise:

  • Fast walking
  • Jogging
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Circuit training

Along with this moderate intensity exercise, including 2-3 resistance or strength training exercises sessions a week can also help to increase muscle mass which helps with fat loss.

When it comes to exercise it should be noted that doing any physical activity is better then doing none. If you are currently not exercising you should start gradually, and it can be beneficial to receive the help of a trained professional. If you have any health issues or co-morbid diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart conditions then seeking the help of a health care professional such as a Biokineticist is advisable as they can tailor make an exercise program appropriate for your health conditions.

Even just including a small amount of exercise into your lifestyle can drastically help improve your health. Just always remember that the weight won’t come off in a week and that a total lifestyle change, diet, exercise and mindset will get you the best results.

For more information or help on on improving your health don’t hesitate to contact us to set up an assessment.

Lung Function Testing

Posted on June 3rd, 2019 by Andries Lodder

By Nicole Harran

Lung function testing consists of a variety of tests that check how efficiently the lungs work. The most commonly practiced test is spirometry.

Spirometry is used to detect the amount of air the lungs can hold and how forcefully one can empty air from the lungs. It is commonly used to screen for breathing problems. These include; diseases that affect lung volumes and airways, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma.

There are 2 types of disorders that cause problems with air moving in and out of the lungs:

  1. Obstructive – This is when air has trouble flowing out of the lungs due to airway resistance. This causes a decreased flow of air.
  2. Restrictive – This is when the lung tissue and/or chest muscles can’t expand enough to accommodate the air. This creates problems with air flow, mostly due to lower lung volumes.

About Spirometry:

These tests are not painful. They are performed by a pulmonary function technician (or biokineticist), who will require you to use maximal effort to blow out and breathe in air into a device. The tests are repeated a minimum of 3 and maximum of 8 times to make sure the results are accurate.

There are certain pre-test instructions that should be made aware to the patient before the test:

  • Do not smoke 6 hours prior to testing.
  • Avoid consuming alcohol 4 hour prior to testing.
  • No heavy exercise 30 minutes prior to testing.
  • If they use a short acting inhaler, it should not be consume 6 hours prior to testing.
  • Wear lose fitting clothing.
  • Do not eat a heavy meal before the test.

When to perform a pulmonary function test?

If suspected or screening for:

  1. Allergies
  2. Respiratory infections
  3. Trouble breathing from injury or surgery
  4. Chronic lung conditions
  5. Restrictive airway problems
  6. Exercise induced asthma

Once the test has been completed your results will be presented to the technician. The results will be interpreted by a medical practitioner and the appropriate responses will be taken to ensure your optimal health.

For more information on lung function testing and to know whether you should perform a test or not, contact us and let us guide you.

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