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Common Golfing Injuries

Posted on April 16th, 2019 by Andries Lodder

By Nicole Harran

Golf is an extremely complicated sport when it comes to analyzing the biomechanics of one’s swing. Due to the swing being such an asymmetrical repetitive motion, it places the body under huge amounts of stress from multiple directions. The body is not designed to withstand these unnatural forces and without enough strength and mobility, this could lead to various injuries throughout the body.

Golf techniques prone to injuries:

  • Casting – when a golfer uses excessive wrist action in their back swing, hoping to achieve a greater range of motion and increased distance, it can become problematic. This action leads to a large eccentric contraction (lengthening of the muscles) of the leading arm and concentric contraction (shortening of the muscle) of the forearm flexors of the following arm. Repeatedly doing this in a swing can lead to lateral and medial epicondylitis
  • Sway – When a golfer attempts to gain momentum by shifting the weight backwards with the backswing and then pushing it forwards with the actual swing, it predisposes one to hip and back injuries due to the excessive movement.
  • Weight shift – a weight shift within a golf swing is extremely important when it comes to the biomechanics of the rest of the body. Golfers who don’t shift their weight during their swing often compensate by using other parts of the body. The shoulders and the thoracic spine are usually the sections which take the strain, leading to injury.

Common injury areas:

  1. Lower back – For all the avid golfers who spend many hours hunched over their clubs to inevitably improve their game, may be doing more damage than good.
    When standing hinged over your clubs for hours on end and then adding rotational forces to that already loaded lower back, it places large amounts of stress to that area. Without some core training, back strengthening and derotating your spine, lower back pain is inevitable.
  2. Rotator cuffs – The rotator cuffs, are four stabilizing muscles within the shoulder. If the incorrect biomechanics are repetitively used during a golf swing, this could very easily lead to impingement’s and even tears of the muscles. This makes shoulder stability and strength training a vital component for golfers.
  3. Elbow –  Two commonly know injuries with regards to the elbow are know as “golfers elbow” and “tennis elbow”. Golfers elbow: refers to the irritation and inflammation of the tendon on the inner side of the elbow. Surprisingly tennis elbow is more common in golfers. Tennis elbow: refers to the irritation and inflammation of the tendon on the outer surface of the elbow. Treating tendinitis can be a tedious task, however, it involves strengthening of the forearm muscles and tendons, reducing inflammation and correcting your technique to avoid the unwanted repetitive stresses.
  4. Knee – Knee injuries vary in type and severity when it comes to golf. During the golf swing, your knees serve as the point of stabilization while the hips are rotating. This becomes problematic with weak knees as the knees move out of alignment and this places large amounts of stress on them. Strengthening and stretching  the muscles surrounding the knees is of utmost importance to prevent any knee pain.
  5. Wrist – The wrists take a large proportion of the impact when striking a golf ball. If the wrists are not strong enough to withstand these forces, they can become irritated and inflamed, leading to possible tendinitis. For this reason it is paramount to strengthen the wrists and forearm muscles.

Preventing these injuries:

Lower back pain:

Two common causes of lower back pain involve; a weak core and tight muscles (very often tight hamstrings which cause a malalignment of the pelvis).

Core strengthening is an essential component that should be incorporated into all training programs as the core serves as the bodies center of balance and stability. Working the core and ensuring the correct engagement allows for the muscles of the lower back, hips, pelvis and abdomen to work in harmony. When the muscles work in harmony it creates an ideal environment for the body to work in and prevents any unwanted movements.

Core exercises: Dead bug

How to do it:

  • Lie face up with your arms extended toward the ceiling and your legs in a tabletop position (knees bent 90 degrees and stacked over your hips). This is starting position.
  • Slowly extend your right leg out straight, while simultaneously dropping your left arm overhead. Keep both a few inches from the ground. Squeeze your butt and keep your core engaged the entire time, lower back pressed into the floor.
  • Bring your arm and leg back to the starting position.
  • Repeat on the other side, extending your left leg and your right arm.
Rotator cuff injuries:

Your rotator cuff muscles are made up of a group of four muscles within the shoulder/scapular area: teres minor, infraspinatus, supraspinatus and subscapularis. These muscles serve a very important role in shoulder movement and stability. Rotator cuff injuries often occur due to overuse and improper functioning of these muscles. This makes strengthening these muscles very important, especially in golf, due to the biomechanics associated with the golf swing and stance.

Rotator cuff exercises: Isometric internal and external rotation

How to do it:

  • External rotation: Bend your elbow 90 degrees, make a fist, and press the back of your hand into the wall as if you were rotating your arm outwards.
  • Use a small towel for a little padding, if needed.
  • Gently press into the wall for about five seconds. Slowly release pressure on the wall. Stop the exercise if you feel any increased pain.
  • Repeat the exercise 10 to 15 repetitions, and then start the next rotator cuff isometric exercise.
  • Internal rotation: Bend your elbow 90 degrees, make a fist, and gently press into the corner wall or door jamb as if you were trying to rotate your hand inwards towards your belly button.
  • Remember, no motion should occur in your shoulder during the exercise. 
Elbow: Tennis elbow (Lateral epicondylitis)

Treating lateral epicondylitis can be a tricky and frustrating process. Tendons have a poor vascular supply and this makes their healing process take much longer than many other parts of the body. Rehab and injury prevention of tennis elbow involves resting the arm and allowing the muscles and tendons to recover as well as strengthening the forearm muscles.

Tennis elbow exercises: finger web exercises

How to do it:

  • Placing the hands and fingers in different positions in/around the web and squeezing, extending, pulling or pushing apart the web.
  • These exercises can be done for the wrist.
Knees injuries:

Knee stability and leg strength is paramount in more than just a golf setting. The legs are essential components in allowing us to move around independently and complete many activities of daily living. They are our base of support for the rest of the body and need enough strength and stability to allow us to complete desired tasks.

Leg strengthening exercises: Quad and Hamstring setting

How to do it:

  • Quadriceps setting:
  • Lie flat or sit with your leg straight.
  • Tighten the muscle in the front of your thigh as much as you can, pushing the back of your knee flat against the floor. This will pull your kneecap up your thigh, toward your hip.
  • Hold the muscle tight for around 10 seconds.
  • Repeat this exercise .
  • Hamstring setting: Lie on your back on the floor or a bed.
  • Pull your heel into the floor or bed as much as you can.
  • Hold this position for around 10 seconds.

To prevent any unwanted golf injuries or to maintain the strength and mobility needed to carry on playing a pain free golf game, contact us and let us help you.

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Common Cycling Injuries

Posted on April 10th, 2019 by Andries Lodder

By Jennifer Steele

Humans have been riding bicycles since the early 1800s and it is now one of the most popular weekend sporting activities to take part in. Whether it be road racing, mountain biking, completing a few laps at your local bike park or just popping out for a coffee, there are always people out riding.

Cycling is also now seen as one of the best ways to boost one’s overall health. It can assist with weight loss, help fight chronic disease, improve overall fitness and strength levels as well as help decrease stress levels. With this in mind its no wonder the number of cyclists continues to rise every year. However, even with all its health benefits, like other sports, cycling also has its problems.

Injuries

No one wants to be forced off their bike due to an injury. Like with any sport one minute you are in the best form of your life and the next you can’t even get out of bed without pain.

These are some of the most common injuries cyclist face, how to deal with them and prevent them keeping you out the saddle.

Common Injuries:

Impact injuries:

The biggest problem with cycling is the fact that unlike many other sports you can fall off your bike. You can fall off your bike, and you can fall hard!! Impact injuries due to falls are very common in cycling and most often can’t be prevented. However, ensuring that you ride within your limits, take safe lines, and wear the appropriate protective equipment such as a helmet can help prevent injuries.

Lower back pain:

Due to the nature of a cyclist’s posture. Leaning forward curled over the handle bars, means that lower back pain is one of the most common injuries experienced by cyclists. Three of the most important factors to consider when dealing with lower back pain caused by cycling are:

  • Position and bike set up
    • If you are experiencing lower back pain the first thing you can get checked is your bike set up and your posture/position on the bike. For example; if your handle bars are to lower it can cause back pain so simply raising them up could help alleviate some of the pain.
  • Core strength
    • If a cyclist’s core is weak then their lower back will be put under constant strain while on the bike. Improving overall core stability and strength can help reduce back pain in cyclists, as well as improve their power output; as their legs are pushing off a stronger base.
  • Posture off the bike
    • It is not only your posture off the bike that can lead to problems. If you sit at a desk all day it could be your posture, there that is causing the problems. Ensure your desk at work is set up correctly and that you are aware of how you are sitting and when the pain is at its worst.

Knee pain:

The knee joint is involved every time a cyclist turns over the pedals. The problem comes in when the knee gets pulled out of alignment. Most knee problems on the bike come from an incorrect bike set up. For example, if the saddle is to low it can lead to pain in the front of the knee due to strain being placed on the quadriceps, while pain behind the knee can come from a saddle that is to high which stretches the hamstrings out at their attachment. Most cyclists fasten their feet to the pedals of their bike with cleats. However, if the cleat is not set up correctly it can also cause problems. Pain on the medical or lateral aspect of the knee is a common sign of incorrect cleat set up as the knee does not track correctly in these circumstances.

Wrist arm hand or neck pain:

Ideally when cycling about 60% of your body weight should be positioned over the rear of the bike and 40% at the front. If to much goes over the front and through the handle bars it can lead to pain in the wrists and neck. Therefore, your seat should not be to far away from the handle bars and the handle bars should not be to low.

It is also important to not grip the handle bars to tightly and to make a concerted effort to relax the shoulders as this can help prevent the Trapezius muscles from tightening up causing neck pain.

Saddle Sores

A saddle sore is considered any sore, raised area of skin or irritation around the buttocks or undercarriage area. As the name would suggest they are caused by contact with the saddle. Friction between the saddle, skin and cycling shorts fabric can lead to horrible skin reactions and sores.

The most common cause of a saddle sore is old cycling shorts and a too high saddle. It is also important to find a saddle that suits you, as well as your gender as specific men’s and women’s saddles can help reduce rubbing and irritation from occurring.

The best thing to do once a saddle sore has formed is to keep the area clean and dry. If it is painful to sit on the saddle the best thing to do is to take a few days off the bike to allow the skin time to heal and calm down.

Hot foot

This is a burning sensation, numbness or pain felt on the underside of the foot. It is usually as a result of pressure being placed on the nerves that travel through the ball of the foot, towards the toes. In order to prevent and treat it the pressure within the foot needs to be redistributed. The pressure in the foot can be due to:

  •  The foot swelling due to heat
  • Tight socks
  • Cleat placement
  • Poor insole support

Achilles Tendonitis:

This is an overuse injury cause by inflammation of the Achilles.  Like with knee problems the main cause of Achilles problems in cyclists is the cleat and foot position on the pedal. If the cleat is pushed all the way forward, then the calf muscles will be overused during the pedaling action causing the Achilles to become inflamed. The same is true if the seat is to high as the toes will be continually plantar flexed engaging the calf muscle continuously.

When it comes to cycling injuries, bike set up is one of the most important factors to consider. It is important that if you are experiencing pain to get a professional to check your set up and posture on the bike. It is also important to ensure your core stability is good and that you are doing adequate strength training to prevent any muscles imbalances or injuries.

For more information regarding cycling injuries and how to prevent them do not hesitate to contact us to set up a consultation.

Neck Pain

Posted on March 19th, 2019 by Andries Lodder

By Nicole Harran

Neck pain is becoming an increasing problem amongst the population. Various factors are contributing towards neck pain which will be discussed and some tips will be provided on how to prevent and deal with it.

The Neck:

The neck is made up of a series of vertebrae which extend down from the skull to the upper torso. Between the vertebrae are intervertebral discs which serve as a shock absorber, allowing for motion within the spine. Within the vertebrae is the spinal column – a cord of nerves that send signals from the brain to the rest of the body, creating movement.

Anatomy of consecutive vertebrae

Causes of neck pain:

  • Muscle tension and strains – Overuse of the neck muscles may cause pain and tension. Activities such as working at a desk for too long, sleeping in a bad position, gritting your teeth and bad posture may all contribute towards neck pain.
  • Posture – one of the biggest contributing factors towards neck pain. It often places excessive stress on the cervical spine, straining the muscles and causing deviations of other regions of the spine and body. The misalignment often leads to injuries and pain.
  • Injury – The neck is particularly vulnerable to injury during, accidents, falls and sports where the neck is forced to move outside of its normal ranges. Injuries can vary in seriousness; from acute whiplash to varying degrees of paralysis if the spinal cord is damaged.
  • Illnesses – Meningitis, cancer, infections and various other illnesses can contribute towards neck pain.
  • Bone diseases – Osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and spondylosis are just some bone diseases which may predispose an individual to neck pain.
  • Nerve compression – Herniated discs or bony spurs in the vertebrae of your neck can press on nerves branching out from the neck, causing pain in the neck or referred pain.

Prevention:

  1. Good posture
  2. Take frequent breaks from work and strenuous activities
  3. Establish good ergonomics
  4. Avoid carrying heavy bags over one shoulder
  5. Sleep in a good position
  6. Wear protective gear when necessary
  7. Keep active
  8. Stretch your neck slowly and correctly

How to train your postural muscles:

  • When doing any exercise, especially with the upper body, learn to set the shoulders and exercise in this position.
Shoulder setting

– Lift the shoulders up and back (squeezing the upper back muscles) and slowly lower the shoulders in this pulled back position.

  • Seated rows.
Seated Rows with theroband

– In a seated, upright position, wrap a theraband around the feet (alternative to using a machine). After setting the shoulders, keeping the back upright, pull the elbows backwards.

– Keeping the elbows tucked in towards the body, palms facing up and squeezing the upper back.

  • Internal and external rotation of the shoulders.
Internal and external rotation with band
  • Standing/seated, shoulders set, using a resistive device. With external rotation, keeping the elbows squeezing the side of the body, rotate the arm outwards, against the resistance (resistance will travel across the body).
  • For the internal rotation, keeping the elbows squeezing the side of the body, rotate the arm towards the body (the resistance will travel towards the body).
  • Arm wall slides.
Shoulder wall slides
  • Standing with your back against the wall, feet slightly away from the wall. Bend the knees slightly and press the lower back into the wall. Keeping this position, raise the arms to 90 degrees and bend the elbows to 90 degrees. Slowly slide the arms up and down the wall, keeping the assumed position.
  • Thoracic mobilization stretch.
Supine thoracic mobilization

– Lying supine on the floor or hard surface, place a rolled up towel under the back at chest level. Keeping the legs straight and pressing the lower back into the floor raise the arms and elbows to 90 degrees. Slowly try press the forearms back towards the floor, preventing the back from arching.

– Lie in each position for 1 – 2 minutes thereafter moving the towel slightly higher towards the neck.

What to do?

If you are experiencing neck pain, have experienced neck pain or want to prevent neck pain, contact us and let us help you. We can assist in stretching and strengthening of the neck muscles, help with posture and provide guidance for day to day activities to prevent pain.

Lower Back Pain

Posted on March 12th, 2019 by Andries Lodder

By Jennifer Steele

Over 80% of all adults will experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. Lower back pain is one of the leading causes of disability in the work place as well the top reasons for days of work missed.  It can affect both men and women and can range from a constant dull ache to an intense sharp shooting pain. As it is so prevalent within the population it is fortunate that there are ways to prevent lower back pain from occurring. If these prevention’s fail then simple treatment plans and the correction of body biomechanics can often relieve the back pain before it becomes debilitating.

Pathophysiology

There are numerous causes of lower back pain. These causes can range from; improper lifting technique, poor posture, age related spine and joint changes, accidents, poor exercise form and leading a sedentary lifestyle.

Lower back pain can be acute, lasting for a few days or weeks or chronic which is long term and can lasts for months and years.  The majority of acute lower back pain cases are mechanical in nature. This means there is a disruption to one of the components of the spine, muscles, inter vertebral discs or nerves.  Roughly 20% of individuals that experience an acute episode of lower back pain develop chronic pain.

Anatomy

The back is made up of a variety of structures. It has 33 irregular bones called vertebrae. Between each vertebra there is an inter-vertebral disc (IVD). These discs act as cushions and absorb the shock up the spine.

Each disc has a similar construction to a car tyre. An outer ring which is made up of fibrous bands is called the Annulus. The inside of this band is filled with a gel like substance called the Nucleus Pulposus. The discs act like coiled springs, with the Annulus pulling the vertebrae together against the elastic resistance of the nucleus on the inside.

Bands of tissue known as ligaments hold the vertebrae in place, and tendons attach the muscles to the spinal column. Thirty-one pairs of nerves are rooted to the spinal cord and they control body movements and transmit signals from the body to the brain.

The lower back supports the weight of the entire upper body. The muscles of the lower back are primarily responsible for the flexing and rotating of the hips while walking and performing everyday movements. They also assist in the support of the spinal column.

The majority of lower back pain is as a result of injury to either the muscles, ligament, joints or discs within the back. Various causes of lower back pain affect different structures.

Causes

  • Muscle Strain or ligament Sprain:
    • Repeated heavy lifting or a sudden awkward movement can strain the back muscles and spinal ligaments. If you’re in poor physical condition, constant strain on your back can cause painful muscle spasms.
  • Bulging or Ruptured Disks:
    • The soft material inside an inter-vertebral disk can bulge or rupture and press on a nerve. However, you can have a bulging or ruptured disk without back pain.
  • Arthritis:
    • Osteoarthritis can affect the lower back. In some cases, arthritis in the spine can lead to a narrowing of the space around the spinal cord, a condition called spinal stenosis.
  • Skeletal irregularities:
    • A condition in which your spine curves to the side (scoliosis) also can lead to back pain.
  • Osteoporosis:
    • The spine’s vertebrae can develop compression fractures if your bones become porous and brittle.

Signs and symptoms

The signs and symptoms can be varied. They can also begin suddenly or over a period of time.

Identifying the specific signs and symptoms can help identify the exact cause of the lower back pain and therefore assist in the treatment of the problem.

The signs and symptoms can include:

  • Muscles spasms and aches
  • Shooting or stabbing pains
  • Radiating pain down one or both legs
  • Pain when bending, lifting or twisting
  • Pain that worsens after prolonged sitting or standing

Diagnosis

The most important aspect of lower back pain is the diagnosis. As there are multiple causes of lower back pain this is the most important area to identify. Without the underlying cause of the pain, the problem cannot be treated.

Various health care professionals such as a physiotherapist and biokineticists can perform a variety of assessments and special tests to identify basic causes of lower back pain.

If the pain is more serious then tests such as X rays and MRI’s are required to identify the underlying cause of the back pain. In these cases the back pain is usually structural and cause by bone, ligament of disc.

Treatment

As there are multiple causes of lower back pain and so there is not one treatment that will work for everyone. However, there are a few simple treatment options you can try.

One of the most important areas to look at when treating lower back pain is how long an individual remains seated for. Simply put movement is essential in treating lower back pain and remaining seated for extended periods of time is detrimental.

When treating lower back pain a multi-disciplinary approach is beast. Physiotherapists, Chiropractors, Doctors and Biokineticists can all provide essential input when dealing with lower back pain and assist in its prevention and treatment. Physiotherapists and Chiropractors can assist with the necessary joint mobilization and soft tissue release. Biokineticists can assist with strengthening exercises and stretches. While in more serious cases the input from a Doctor or Surgeon will be necessary.

Exercises:

One of the primary treatments for Lower back pain is using exercise to strengthen the core and stabilizer muscles and stretches to stretch those muscles that are tight and causing pressure to be placed on the lower back.

Trunk Rotations:

  1. Lying on your back with your hands at your sides and knees bent
  2. Keeping the feet flat on the floor, roll the knees from side to side
  3. Make sure to keep both shoulders and hands flat on the floor
  4. This exercise can also be done with the feet up on a Swiss Ball if one if available
  5. Perform 3 sets of 20 rolls

Should the symptoms of lower back pain persist for longer than 3 months with no relief after trying various treatment methods, it is advised to seek the help of a medical doctor who can advise if an x ray or MRI is necessary to determine if there is a more serious cause behind the pain.

If you are suffering from lower back pain the best thing to do is to go for an assessment. This way the underlying cause of your back pain can be identified and the treatment can be more specific and effective.

Contact us today to book yours.

Joint Range of Motion (ROM) and Flexibility

Posted on March 4th, 2019 by Andries Lodder

By Fathima Jeewa

The importance of stretching and it’s benefits often goes unnoticed. Here are some tips and advice to keep you injury free.

What is flexibility?

Flexibility is the ROM or movement around a specific joint or joints. When improving ones flexibility is the objective of a session, focusing on the muscles and fascia is of great importance.

What is stretching?

Stretching is the process of placing a certain body part(s) in a position which lengthens or elongates a specific muscle(s) and the surrounding soft tissue.

Types of Stretching:

There are four commonly used types of stretching:

  • Static stretching: where a body part(s) is slowly moved into a position where a stretch is felt and then held for 10 to 30 seconds before the stretch is then released. This type of stretching is ideally performed once the muscles are already warm, such as after a warm-up.
  • Dynamic stretching: where the body is stretched with movement. The body moves gradually into a position and this movement is repeated to increase the ROM.
  • Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) stretching: involves stretching the muscle(s) to a certain position and contracting the muscle in that position for around 10 seconds, relaxing the muscle and stretch and then repeating.
  • Ballistic stretching: this type of stretching uses bouncing movements to move the muscle into a stretch. Caution with this type of stretching is important.

Factors limiting flexibility:

Various factors limit ones flexibility which may predispose an individual to a multitude of injuries. Some common factors are:

  • Bony Block
  • Muscle tightness
  • Inelastic skin
  • Dense scar tissue
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Soft tissue block

Effects of prolonged immobilization and limited flexibility:

  • Muscles lose flexibility and remain in a shortened position.
  • Prevent pain-free return to activity – the muscles and surrounding soft tissue may still feel and be tight. This may make returning to exercise an uncomfortable experience.
  • Predisposes the individual to microtraumatic injuries. If the tissue is not rehabilitated and worker through a full ROM this creates a muscle which is susceptible to injuries as it may not function optimally.
  • Reinjury.

What are the benefits of stretching?

  • Prevents degenerative joint changes and promotes healing.
  • Decreases muscle spasms and pain – specifically lower back back. Tight muscles can reduce ones ROM, this increase the risk of straining a back muscle due to the unnecessary tension.
  • Improves posture – muscular imbalances often lead to faulty posture, by combining stretching and strength training, musculoskeletal pain and improper alignment may be reduced and aid in good posture.
  • Increased blood flow and temperature – this improved circulation may reduce your recovery time and the amount of stiffness/soreness experienced after exercise.
  • Increased flexibility – this assists in performing daily activities with ease and decreases the reduced motility that accompanies aging.
Tips for stretching

Stretching dosages:

Hold stretches for approximately 30 seconds and repeat twice. Be careful not to over stretch a muscle (It should not feel very painful).

Tips for static stretching:

  • Remember to warm up before stretching – short jog, swim or cycle.
  • Hold stretches in fixed position for approximately 30 seconds .
  • Breathe rhythmically and slowly, exhale during the stretch.
  • Noticeable changes may only be seen after 4-6 weeks.

Avoid forceful stretching during these conditions:

  • If you have recently had a fracture.
  • If a specific limb has been immobilized for a while.
  • Inflammation or an infection affecting the joint.
  • Acute pain during stretching.
  • Bony blocks that avoid motion.

Stretching is a vital component of an exercise program and should be performed daily. For more information on stretching and some good stretching advice and techniques contact us.

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What is strength training and why is it important?

Posted on March 1st, 2019 by Andries Lodder

By Nicole Harran


What is strength training?

Strength training is a component of physical exercise, focusing on using resistance to induce a contractile force to inevitably increase a muscles strength, anaerobic endurance and size.

When doing strength training, it causes microscopic damage to the muscle fibers (catabolism – breakdown of muscle fibers). The body’s natural processes then repair the muscles and allow them to regenerate and become stronger (anabolism – repair and re- growth of muscle fibers).


Why do Strength training?

Today’s lifestyle for a large number of people, incorporates many hours of sitting and living in a sedentary and inactive environment. Many areas are to blame for this such as:

  • Long sedentary working hours.
  • Excessive time spent driving.
  • The increased popularity of computer, video and television games.
  • Reduction in physical education time in schools.
  • Aging.

The repercussions of a sedentary lifestyle are becoming more prevalent and our bodies are paying the price.

Benefits of Strength training:

  1. Strength training builds muscle strength and helps too tone muscles. Physically inactive individuals can lose as much as 3 – 5 % of their muscle mass each decade after the age of 30.
  2. The number of muscle fibres declines with age. Strength training can slow down or even reverse the aging process by building muscle mass and strength.
  3. Strength training is shown to assist in bone growth, possibly aiding in the prevention of osteoporosis.
  4. This type of training can assist in the prevention of falls in the elderly.
  5. Strength training plays an important role in maintaining/reducing body weight.
  6. Enhance ones quality of life.
  7. Help manage chronic diseases.

To continue living an independent and healthy lifestyle, strength training is of the utmost importance. Activities of daily living require a person to be mobile and strong enough to perform a variety of movements. An activity as simple as pouring a cup of tea can become extremely taxing as one ages and lives a more sedentary lifestyle.

No gym? No problem!

There are various options to consider when doing strength training.

Some techniques include:

  • Body weight exercises: with this type of exercise, your body weight serves as the external resistance. This is an easy and effective method to incorporate into a home gym program.
  • Free weights: barbells and dumbbells are just some of the resistance strength training tools that can be found in a gym. At home substitutes for these can be soup cans, sugar bags and various other home appliances.
  • Weight machines: most gyms offer various resistance machines, suggesting ways of using the equipment and for specific muscles.

After the age of 40 years and if you have been living an inactive lifestyle, it is advised to check with your doctor before beginning any strength training program for various health reasons.

Tips for strength training:
  1. The abdominal and back muscles (core) are stabilizing muscles which assist you in maintaining the correct posture when exercising. Thus strength training for these muscles should be performed at the end of a session so they are not fatigued too early.
  2. When lifting weights, exhale through the strenuous part of the exercise and keep breathing throughout.  Holding your breath during a movement may increase your blood pressure unnecessarily.
  3. When performing strength exercises, control the movement by performing them slowly and thinking about the correct form throughout.
  4. Concentrate on maintaining a good posture, using a mirror can be very helpful with this.

Some at home, strength training exercises for the whole body:

Wall facing squat:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hV_rDOloxCI
  • Stand facing a wall, feet approximately 10 cm away from the wall. The feet should be wider than the hips and slightly pointed outwards.
  • Straighten the arms above the head, resting them against the wall.
  • Bending from the knees, and pushing the hips back, go down into a squatting position, trying to get as low as possible.
  • Work towards having the feet as close to the wall as possible.
Variations:
Sit to stand:
  • Seated on a bed/chair/bench around hip height, arms across the chest.
  • Get up from the seated position into a standing position .
  • Slowly sit back down and repeat.
Jump squat:
  • Starting in a standing position, feet wider than hips and toes pointed slightly outwards.
  • Squat down to a level where the hips are in line with the knees or lower.
  • On the up movement, it is an explosive jumping movement for height.
Push up:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFOSh8vpd6I
  • Starting in a prone (on your stomach) position, hands under shoulders and feet slightly apart, planted into the floor.
  • Engage in the core muscles, and press up so the arms are in an extended position.
  • Slowly and controlled lower back down to the floor and repeat.
Variations:
Wall push up:
  • Facing the wall, standing slightly further than arm’s length away and feet shoulder width apart.
  • Lean your body forward and place your palms flat against the wall at shoulder height, shoulder width apart.
  • Bend the elbows and lower the upper body towards the wall in a slow and controlled motion.
  • Push back until your arms are straight and repeat.
Explosive push up:
  • Starting in a prone (on your stomach) position, hands under shoulders and feet slightly apart, planted into the floor.
  • Engage in the core muscles, and press up in an explosive manned so the hands are able to come off the floor.
  • Catch your body in a push up position and slowly lower to starting position and repeat.

Let us help you be a fitter and stronger you! For more information and assistance contact us and book for an assessment today !

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What is Stability

Posted on February 22nd, 2019 by Andries Lodder

By Jennifer Steele

Components of Fitness

There are multiple terms used everyday to describe a variety of different areas within fitness.  Strength, stability, flexibility, mobility, proprioception, balance, reaction time, power, speed agility to name a few are all components of fitness. However, the difference between all of them is sometimes blurred. If used correctly, all these components can work together to reduce pain, improve movement patterns and bio-mechanics, and improve fitness levels.
Four of the most basic components of fitness are strength, stability, mobility and flexibility.
  • Strength:

    • The ability of a muscle or group of muscles to contract and develop a contractile force against a certain resistance.
  • Mobility:

    • Mobility within a joint is the degree to which it can move before being restricted by surrounding tissues such as tendons, ligaments and muscles.
  • Flexibility:

    • Is the absolute range of motion that a joint can go through. It is the distance and direction that a joint is able to go through and it is directly affected by muscle length and mobility.
  • Stability:

    • Is the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to control joint positions and balance within the body during movement or while stationary. Stability is obtained and achieve using active, passive and neural systems within the body.
Strength, stability, flexibility and mobility are all different qualities and abilities within the human body. However, they all play a role in performing efficient, pain free movements.

Stability:

For optimal function in both exercise and everyday life we need our bodies to be in a state of equilibrium. This equilibrium can be achieved through the integration of strength, stability, flexibility, proprioception, reaction time as well as specific skills and techniques. With regards to 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.

Types of stability:

There are two main types of stability; namely static stability and dynamic stability.

Static stability and dynamic stability:

  • Static stability is required during movements of minimal movement such as a plank.
  • Dynamic stability is required and used during movements through full ranges of motion, in everyday actions and while playing sports.
  • When beginning with stability training static stability is always the first area of focus.

Stabilizers:

During any movement there will be a primary mover muscle. This is the muscle performing the actual movement. There are also stabilizer muscles. These are not directly involved in the movement, instead they work to keep the body stable and steady. If the body is stable and steady the primary movers can do their job more efficiently and produce optimal movement patterns. Numerous muscles within the body can be both a primary mover, as well as a stabilizer. However, some muscles do work to stabilize the body during more movements then others. For example, the muscles of the core are stabilizers of the trunk during the majority of functional movements. However, they are also part of the primary mover group of muscles during a sit up. During almost every movement that we perform we require stability. Therefore, it should  be one of the primary focuses during athletic training. Working to improve strength before fixing problems with stability is counterproductive.

Benefits of improved stability:

  • Improved coordination and movement efficiency.
  • Improved hip stability and control during walking and running.
  • Improved posture during everyday activities and during exercise.
  • Improved form and technique during strength and power movements.
  • Improved athletic performance .
  • Decreased injury rates.

Core Stability:

Our core muscles are utilized as stabilizers during almost every functional movement that we perform. Whether it be a squat, a lung, a push up or a plank the core is require provide a stable base from which all the other muscles of the body can initiate movement from. 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 stabilizers. 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.

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

Killarney Country Club Wellness Day

Posted on February 6th, 2019 by Andries Lodder

 

Killarney Country Club Wellness Day – Saturday 23rd February 2019!

The Discovery Vitality Fitness assessment is a quick functional assessment to observe your strength, flexibility and cardiorespiratory fitness. With seven simple exercises and a few measurements, this test is a quick and fun way to identify your strengths and weaknesses with regards exercise as well as gain your vitality points to reach your desired status. The assessment costs R425.00, it can be paid cash or credit card and can be claimed back from medical aid. *You do not need to be a member of Killarney Country Club to do the assessment!

Prehabilitate Your Golf!

Posted on January 31st, 2019 by Andries Lodder

By Nicole Harran

Golf: “a game played on a large open-air course, in which a small hard ball is struck with a club into a series of small holes in the ground, the object being to use the fewest possible strokes to complete the course.”

What makes golf so challenging?

Golf is a game of asymmetrical movements which places stresses on the body from multiple directions. Biomechanically, swinging a golf club is an intricate and abnormal action that incorporates the whole body. Now thinking about it mathematically, the average golf course is a stroke 72, meaning to shoot even on 18 holes, an individual’s round will consist of 72 shots. For all the non-professionals, this score lives in our beautiful imagination. However, working with our imagination, 72 golf shots are very similar to performing around 72 oblique crunches to one side! What could go wrong?

What could go wrong…

The asymmetrical repetitive movements place the body under huge amounts of stress, leading to troublesome aches and pains, inevitably affecting your game. So before these aches and pains become a part of your game why not do something about it?

What to do?

Due to the nature of ones swing, it causes rotation of the spine, imbalances in the muscles and limitations with regards to range of motion. With exercise we want to prevent these components by de-rotating the spine, addressing the muscular imbalances and increase ones range of motion. By doing this we have every intention of strengthening golfers, physically and mentally to improve their golf game.

Go through the phases of prehabilitation.

  1. Assess your golf posture and swing:

  • Scrutinize your swing biomechanics, posture, stability and muscular strength and weaknesses.
  1. Identify the demands:

  • Observe what type of movements and demands golf places on your body.
  1. Identify the risks:

  • Recognize what risks your body may be under due to possible faulty swings, posture, instability or weakness.
By following these steps it will allow for a detailed specific conditioning program to be drawn up to address any possible problem areas, helping you stay injury free and striving towards being that golf pro.

What to incorporate into a golf prehabilitation program:

The exercises need to be golf specific, therefore incorporating the demands of varying golf swings. No one person has an identical swing and therefore the program needs to be tailored towards the individual’s needs. All individual’s will identify different areas in need of attention however there are some common focus areas that should be addressed in all golfers. These areas involve increasing one’s trunk, hip and shoulder mobility and strengthening the hips and core. One exercise to improve trunk and shoulder mobility while addressing core and hip stability is:
Thoracic mobility and hip stability

  1. Sitting on a chair with the hips and knees at 90 degrees and back upright.
  2. Place a golf club/pole behind the shoulders, opening up the chest and externally rotating the shoulders.
  3. Squeezing the knees together, make sure the hips do not shift and displace the knees.
  4. Squeeze from the abdominal muscles and rotate the trunk, shoulders and head to one side. Return back to center and repeat on the other side.

To progress this exercise:

  1. Assume your golf swing position, knees slightly bent and back straight.
  2. Place a golf club/pole behind the shoulders, opening up the chest and externally rotating the shoulders, maintaining a straight back.
  3. Squeeze from the abdominal muscles and rotate the trunk, shoulders and head to one side.
  4. Return back to center and repeat on the other side.
Keeping that “professional golfer” image in mind, consider your swing and think about how we could potentially help you be the golfer you’ve always desired. For more information or to book a one on one assessment don’t hesitate to contact us here.

The Importance of Prehabilitation

Posted on January 22nd, 2019 by Andries Lodder

By Jennifer Steele Rehabilitation, the word alone sends chills down most athlete’s spines. Why, because it means the worst has happened and a dreaded injury has crept up and is getting in the way of normal training or competition. Rehabilitation is therefore the approach taken to recover from injury and return to full function. However, did you know that the word rehabilitation has an antonym. ‘Prehabilitation’ is taking over from rehab. Why is this you may ask? Well, Prehabilitation can be used to prevent injuries from even occurring. The best part, prehab can be used by everyone as it is an individually tailored program. Therefore Olympians, weekend warriors and even individuals about to undergo surgery can benefit from it.

There are 3 phases of a Prehabilitation:

  1. The assessment:
    1. Analysing uninjured individual’s biomechanics, posture, stability, joint alignment, muscle balance, core strength and primary movement patterns. Using this, areas of weakness, such as poor stability or biomechanics, can be identified.
  2. Sport/Exercise demands:
    1. Identifying the requirements of the sport or exercise and the demands that will be placed on the individual’s body
  3. Specific risks:
    1. Identifying if there are any specific risks to the individual due to the position they play, the surface they train on or any previous injuries.
Once these steps have been followed and areas of risk and weakness have been identified then a specific program can be drawn up that focuses on improving these areas and improving stability, strength and biomechanics.

What to include in a Prehabilitation program:

The best exercises to include in a prehab program are sport specific exercises. This means they take the movement patterns and demands of the specific sport into account. They should also be athlete specific, especially if the athlete takes part in a team sport, as different positions will involve different muscle groups and movement patterns. For those individuals who are about to undergo specific surgical procedures, prehabilitation is also incredible important. Ensuring correct muscle strength, balance and stability can help improve post operative results, decrease pain and speed up recovery and return to sport.

The benefits of Prehabilitation:

  • Reduces risk of injury
  • Improves both static and dynamic posture
  • Improves biomechanics, movement patterns and alignment
  • Improves stability, strength and endurance
  • Improves athletic performance
  • Improves recovery time after surgery

Examples:

Like with rehabiltation there is no program that will work for everyone. All individuals will have different areas of risk and weakness that need focusing on and so for a prehabilitation program to be effective a one on one assessment should ideally take place first. However, there are one or two areas that most people will need to focus on at some stage. This being stability or the core and hips as well as stretching of the glutes and hamstrings. Here is one simple example of a core exercise to improve overall core stability:

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
So if you are an Olympic hopeful, a weekend warrior, or just a normal gym goer prehab is the way forward. For more information or to book a one on one assessment don’t hesitate to contact us here.    
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