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Arthritis: A pain in my Joints!

Posted on May 3rd, 2022 by Andries Lodder

By Daniel Sauer

Have you been experiencing joint pain and discomfort as you get older? Are you noticing swelling in your knees, wrists, shoulders or ankle? Maybe you have arthritis…

But what is arthritis? Arthritis is the swelling and tenderness of one or more joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis is more common in people over 65 years old, however it can occur at any age.

Osteoarthritis causes cartilage — the hard, slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they form a joint — to break down. Additionally, rheumatoid arthritis is a disease in which the immune system attacks the joints, beginning with the lining of joints. There are many types of arthritis, but these are the most common 2 that one may be suffering with.

What are the main risk factors and causes?

The cause of many types of arthritis is unknown. As a result, researchers have been looking into the role of genetics (heredity) and lifestyle in the development of arthritis for many years. They have established several things that may raise your risk for arthritis, including:

How do I know if I have arthritis, or I’m starting to get it?

Joint discomfort might come and go, or it could stay constant. Common symptoms include:

How do I prevent and treat Arthritis?

As biokineticists, we can help you carry out your daily activities by reducing your pain, increasing your Range of Motion (ROM) and strengthening your muscles and bones! Furthermore, Research shows that continued physical activity is an effective way to reduce symptoms long-term, as a result individuals will experience less discomfort. Despite initially feeling a slight increase when starting with exercise.

A couple of the factors we can assist you with:

If you are experiencing any joint pain or discomfort, any muscular problems, and for all injuries and chronic disease management, contact us and we will help you, be the best you!

Exercise and Mental Health

Posted on May 3rd, 2022 by Andries Lodder

May is seen as mental health awareness month, so what better time for us to talk about the impact exercise can have on mental health issues, especially depression and anxiety. 

We all know how exercise keeps us physically healthy, but research has shown that people who exercise regularly heave improved mental wellbeing and decreased rates of mental illness.
Physical activity has been seen to be as effective as antidepressants or other psychological interventions when treating mild-moderate depression.

But why does exercise help us feel better mentally?

Most of the time, people exercise simply because it makes them feel good. Physical activity can boost your mood and concentration.
There is a complicated link between exercise and mental health because inactivity can be both a cause and a consequence of mental health.

Here are some of the ways your mental health can be benefited through exercise: 

  • Changes in chemicals like serotonin and endorphins
  • Exercise can improve sleep which can improve your mood
  • Exercise is a good outlet for frustration as well as a form of distraction for other issues
  • It offers social opportunities with other people
  • Exercise can reduce overall muscle tension and helps you feel more relaxed

The physical health benefits of exercise like increased cardiovascular health and overall physical health are just as important for people suffering with mental illness. This is because people suffering from mental health issues are at a higher risk for chronic conditions like diabetes, asthma, and heart disease. 

People often think that exercise must be intense for it to have an effect, but this is not always the case. Research shows that even low or moderate intensity exercise is enough to improve mood and thinking patterns. It is recommended that individuals should do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise per week to keep fit and healthy. This being said, any exercise is better than none, going for a slow walk, doing yoga or even cleaning your house can count as small workouts. 

If you haven’t exercised in a long time, it can be very intimidating to start. Coming up with a plan before you start can help you get going and help you stick with it. 

  • Do an activity you enjoy
  • Start slowly and progress gradually
  • Revisit your workouts and make sure you are always doing something new
  • Change it if it’s not working for you

Exercising outdoor can add even more positive changes to your mental and physical wellbeing. Studies have shown that people who exercise outside show higher levels of self-esteem and enthusiasm and a lower level of depression, tension, and fatigue. People that exercise outside also tend to exercise for longer and more often than those exercising indoors. 

Making exercise a part of your everyday life is crucial. Try walking or cycling to places when taking a car is not really needed, walk with your kids or your dogs, wash your car, do the gardening, or even just clean the house. As long as your body is moving around every day, you will start seeing amazing effects on your wellbeing. 

If anyone needs help starting an exercise program again or anyone is struggling with their mental health, do not hesitate to contact us or anyone around you. Don’t be silent.

Muscle Tone: High vs Low

Posted on April 5th, 2022 by Andries Lodder

By Daniel Sauer

What is “Muscle Tone”?

A term you may have heard alot is “muscle tone”. But what actually is muscle tone? Why is muscle tone important? These are the most common questions one usually asks around the topic.

Muscle tone is the amount of tension or resistance to movement in muscles. Our muscle tone helps us to hold our bodies upright when we are sitting and standing. Changes in muscle tone are what enable us to move. Muscle tone also contributes to the control, speed and amount of movement we can achieve. This then splits into high muscle tone, which is known as hypertonicity, and low muscle tone, which is called hypotonicity.

Hypotonicity (Low muscle tone) is used to describe muscles that are “floppy” and stretched. People with low muscle tone may need to put in more effort to get their muscles moving properly when they are doing an activity. They may also have difficulty maintaining good posture when sitting or standing. Many children with low muscle tone have delays in their gross motor development. On the other hand, hypertonicity (High muscle tone) describes muscles that are overly tight and require more effort to stretch and lengthen. This also affects one’s movement during regular activities of daily living, one’s posture and can lead to different degrees of spasticity.

Why is Muscle Tone Important?

There are three main functions for muscle tone:

It is important to recognize that muscle groups are all connected. The way we maintain balance and the ways in which we compensate for uneven stress on the body is largely dependent upon muscle tone. By having a basic tension in the muscles, our bodies are able to move and exert without running the risk of injury or undue strain. 

Muscle tone contributes to physiological function over the entire body. Some of the key areas that make muscle tone important are:

Hypertonicity

Hypertonia is a condition in which there is too much muscle tone. This means that one’s arms or legs, for example, are stiff and difficult to move.  Muscle tone is regulated by signals that travel from the brain to the nerves and tell the muscle to contract or relax. The main cause of hypertonia is when the regions of the brain or spinal cord that control these signals are damaged.

This can occur for many reasons:

Hypertonia often limits how easily the joints can move.  Symptoms include:

Hypotonicity

Hypotonia is a medical term used to describe decreased muscle tone.  Normally, even when relaxed, muscles have a very small amount of contraction that gives them a “springy” feel and provides some resistance to passive movement. It is not the same as muscle weakness, although the two conditions can co-exist.

Hypotonia can happen from damage to the brain, spinal cord, nerves, or muscles.  The damage can be the result of:

Hypotonia is more commonly seen in:

The most common symptoms of Hypotonia include:

There are a few differences in the treatment of both, hypertonia and hypotonia. However, many of the treatment protocols do overlap. Your biokineticist will know when to apply each protocol.

Treatment for Hypertonicity:

Treatment for Hypotonicity:

If you, or anyone you may know has either of these conditions. We are here to assist! Call and book an appointment with us for all of your injury rehabilitation and chronic disease management needs!

The role of stress on recovery

Posted on April 5th, 2022 by Andries Lodder

One of the most important aspects when it comes to seeing results after training, is recovery. Some of the most well-known recovery methods include: 

  • Active recovery workouts
  • Correct nutrition before and after workouts
  • Enough rest days

If we all only focus on how well we recover from physical exercise, we may forget that both physical and mental stress plays a major role in total recovery and affects how soon we are able to exercise again.

We have all experienced stiffness after intense exercise, and we often think that we are ready to go again the second that stiffness is gone. There is however, that possibility that exercising at high intensities can take a toll on your body if you are experiencing high stress levels even if you don’t feel tired or sore physically.

When our bodies experience stress, your brain sends a signal through your autonomic nervous system to tell your body to either deal with the event or run away, the so-called fight or flight response. Our sympathetic nervous system then provides a burst of energy to deal with the event while our parasympathetic nervous system promotes the rest response to calm the body down. Psychological stress can cause physical changes in the body such as increasing blood pressure, heart and breathing rate.

These responses are useful when we are in actual danger but can cause issues when the physical danger is not real. Repeated activation of this stress response can lead to chronic stress with frequent illnesses, fatigue, sleeping issues, anxiety, and depression.

Exercise does have benefits with regards to stress. Tough workouts can be used to help reduce mental stress and take the mind off whatever is causing the stress. Feel good hormones released when exercising helps increase your mood and distract your mind from any stress.

On the other hand, exercise can also add to the stress and strain on your body. Even if your body is feeling physically fine, accumulative, and continuous high intensity exercise can add to the stress you are already experiencing. Continuing training at high levels when you are already stressed will lead to a decrease in recovery and will just increase stress levels even more after each session. Prolonged stress will decrease your tolerance for exercise which will lead to poor adaptation to training and poor performance.

Fitness and wellbeing are dependent on three things:

  • Exercise
  • Nutrition
  • Rest & Recovery

If you are stressed about work, family and working out, your autonomic nervous system is in overdrive. This prolonged stress will lead to poor recovery and performance.

The three best ways to boost recovery are as follows:

  1. Exercise: Exercise is a great way to relieve stress. When training, your body uses the energy rush from the stress response to start breaking down stress hormones and release endorphins. Regular exercise also improves fitness and well-being which can also decrease stress. To gain maximum benefits and achieve fitness results, you must balance training with recovery.
  2. Sleep: Sleep quality is an indicator of stress and recovery. It is essential for recovery from exercise and daily stress as restorative functions like muscle growth, tissue repair and protein synthesis, all take place mostly during sleep. 
    Poor sleep can affect cognitive function, mood, and motivation. It can affect training directly through fatigue, or indirectly through increased anxiety levels. Poor sleep can also increase your overall risk of illness and injury. 
  3. Breathe: Deep breathing can help boost recovery. There are several breathing techniques to help trigger the relaxation response and relive stress, but these all take practice. Mindful breathing done for 10-20 minutes a day can help build resilience and reduce overall effects of stress in the body. This helps the body recover more effectively, achieve better results, and be better prepared for exercise. 

If you need any more assistance on how to train when stressed and what recovery techniques you can look at, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Tendonitis and Overuse Injuries

Posted on March 1st, 2022 by Andries Lodder

By Daniel Sauer

Tendonitis is an inflammation or irritation of a tendon, a thick cord that attaches bone to muscle. Tendonitis is most often caused by repetitive, minor impact on the affected area, or from a sudden more serious injury.

There are many activities/movements that can cause tendinitis, such as:

  • Gardening
  • Painting
  • Scrubbing
  • Tennis
  • Golf
  • Throwing
  • Beginning exercise too quickly and over-loading your muscles

Other risk factors for tendonitis include:

  • Incorrect posture at work or home or poor conditioning before exercise or playing sports.
  • An abnormal or poorly placed bone or joint that stresses soft-tissue structures.
  • Stresses from other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritisgoutpsoriatic arthritisthyroid disorders, or unusual medication reactions.
  • Overuse or doing too much too soon when the tendons aren’t used to making a movement or doing the task taken on.

Tendinitis can occur in almost any area of the body where a tendon connects a bone to a muscle. The most common types are:

Common Symptoms of Tendonitis or Other Overuse injuries

  • tenderness or pain in the affected muscle or joint
  • a throbbing or pulsating sensation in the affected area
  • tingling in the limb
  • temporary loss of sensation
  • loss of strength
  • reduced range of motion as a result of pain/discomfort

Rehabilitating and Preventing a tendonitis or overuse injury:

If you feel you have any symptoms of a possible tendonitis, pain, or limited range of motion, Contact us and we will help you rehabilitate your injury and return to your exercise safely, and better equipped to prevent further injury!

Postural Awareness

Posted on March 1st, 2022 by Andries Lodder

By Sean Pickup

Many of us believe that our posture is very good, but the truth is that our brain has adapted to feeling balanced and straight when we’re not. 


Posture refers to a person’s body in space and the alignment of different body parts in relation to one another. The human skeleton is designed to hold our bodies up, but bad posture means that different muscles are forced to do the job of the skeleton. When our muscles take over, it means they are burning unnecessary energy and not doing what they are meant to do. Constant bad posture can lead to musculoskeletal pain and to correct this, we need postural awareness.

Postural awareness is the subjective conscious awareness of body posture and is associated with pain intensity, physical and mental impairments in patients who experience chronic pain. Understanding one’s posture patterns is crucial due to its many benefits to maintain on optimal state of health.’ 

A relationship has been observed between spinal pain and posture which means that improving one’s posture can lead a decrease in musculoskeletal pain. Good posture can also lead to other benefits such as improved oxygenation and reduced pressure on intervertebral discs. 

Posture can also be divided into either dynamic or static posture.

  • Dynamic posture refers to how we hold ourselves when walking, running or lifting things. Muscles and other structures must keep working to adapt to changing circumstances.
  • Static posture is how we hold ourselves when we are not moving like when sitting or standing. Our bodies are held in a static position by various muscle groups working together to counteract gravity.

The spine has three natural curves – neck, upper back and lower back – and good posture means maintaining these curves. In an ideal posture, a line should be passed through the lobe of the ear, the shoulder joint, the hip, the knee and the ankle. 

If posture is poor for prolonged periods of time, it can start affecting your health. Increased spinal pressure, neck and back pain, decreased flexibility, make breathing more difficult and affect joint movement are just a few of the issues that could arise. 

With over two years of many of us working from in front of our computers at our homemade workstations, our postures have gotten worse and worse. Therefore, is so important now to focus on correcting these imbalances and make our skeletons do the work instead of our muscles.

Work on your postural awareness during everyday activities, stay active, strengthen your core, maintain a healthy weight and make sure your work surfaces are at a comfortable height, so you are not slouching when working.

For any assistance in correcting your posture, contact us and book an assessment.

Heart Awareness Month

Posted on February 1st, 2022 by Andries Lodder

By Daniel Sauer

February is Heart Awareness Month!

Here is some information on getting a stronger, healthier heart! 

Over the past 4 decades, numerous scientific reports have examined the relationships between physical activity, physical fitness, and cardiovascular health. Expert panels, convened by organizations such as the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), and the American Heart Association (AHA) have established that approximately 1 in 4 deaths annually is a result of heart disease every year. The most common heart diseases are: Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack), Stroke and Coronary Artery Disease.

Some of the main risk factors for heart diseases are: High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Stress, Smoking, Hereditary factors, and Sedentary lifestyles. So, you may ask: How do I combat this and live a healthier lifestyle? 

Exercise. Exercise is how one can manage and prevent heart conditions from developing or getting worse. We know regular exercise strengthens muscles, but it also helps the heart do a better job of pumping blood throughout the body. After all, your heart is a muscle! 

  1. Lower blood pressure. A healthy heart pushes out more blood with each beat, enabling it to function more efficiently. This decreases stress on the heart and surrounding arteries, potentially reducing blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, cardiovascular exercise may help lower it. If you don’t have high blood pressure, exercise may help prevent it from rising as you age.
  2. Improve blood flow. Regular cardio-based physical activity enables the heart to achieve improved blood flow in the small vessels around it, where blockages of fatty deposits can build over time. Better circulation in these areas may prevent heart attacks. Evidence even shows that exercise can cause the body to create more physical connections between these small blood vessels, meaning the blood has more ways to travel to where it needs to go.
  3. Improve workout efficiency. As you begin a new workout routine that includes cardio activity, it may take a while for your body to adjust to the faster pace. But the more routine exercise becomes, the quicker your body pulls needed oxygen from your blood during workouts. Regular cardiovascular training also allows your body to recover quicker after exercise.
  4. Lower cholesterol. Many studies show that exercise is linked to healthy improvements in cholesterol, such as increasing the amount of healthy HDL cholesterol and lowering bad LDL cholesterol by as much as 10 percent. 
  5. Decrease risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Studies show regular exercise helps reduce the risk of coronary heart disease as much as 21 percent for men and 29 percent for women. Additionally, active people have 20 percent less chance of stroke. Regular exercise also helps keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range and, in turn, helps lower risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
  6. Promote other heart-healthy habits. According to the American Heart Association, regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, and make better nutritional choices. 
  7. Reduce Stress. Exercise has proven to release hormones and lower one’s level of stress. This in turn, better manages several other risk factors that the average individual experiences, as well as improves one’s sleep and productivity. 

For any questions, or tips, or assistance in improving your healthier and better lifestyle, Contact us and book your appointment with our biokineticists. 

Benefits of Cardio

Posted on February 1st, 2022 by Andries Lodder

By Sean Pickup

Cardiovascular exercise is one of the most important forms of exercise that exists for us. It is also one of the easiest forms of exercise to do since you don’t often need any form of equipment to do it. 

Cardiovascular exercise includes running, hiking, cycling, swimming, dancing, or any form of exercise that elevates your heart rate and keeps it elevated for a prolonged amount of time. This form of exercise has endless possibilities, and they all lead to an improvement in your quality of life.

This form of exercise has numerous benefits when done regularly, including the lowering of resting heart rate and blood pressure. This takes pressure off your heart by ensuring that it does not have to work as hard all the time to pump blood throughout your body. 
The American Heart Association recommends doing 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise (50-70% max heart rate) or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise (70-85% max heart rate) spread throughout the week. This exercise can be split into 30-minute sessions each day or 3 10-minute sessions each day.

It’s not just your heart that benefits from cardio exercise, here’s a list of some of the other benefits you can expect: 

  • Brain and joints: Cardio exercise improves blood flow thus decreasing stroke risk.
    Improvements in memory and thinking ability. 
    Fights of osteoporosis, manages arthritis and maintains joint range of motion.
  • Skin, muscles, and weight: Increased circulation leads to healthier skin. 
    Working your muscles leads to increased oxygen supply which allows your muscles to work harder. Over time, those muscles adapt to the increased workload, making exercise seem easier.
    Pairing regular exercise with good nutrition can lead to weight loss. The increased number of calories burnt during exercise can lead to an overall decrease in weight. Losing weight will also decrease risk of developing diabetes, some cancers and heart disease. 
  • Pancreas, lungs, and blood: Your pancreas helps your body convert food into energy. Regular exercise improves blood sugar levels and decreases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
    This type of exercise also leads to an increase in blood flow to the lungs and reduces feelings of breathlessness in people with chronic lung conditions.
  • Sexual function: Regular exercise helps decrease the risk of erectile dysfunction while the positive body image and improved psychological health increases sexual well-being in women.
  • Mood: Regular exercise helps decrease stress by releasing feel good hormones like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. The regular exercise also helps combat depression and increase self-esteem. 
  • Sleep and energy: Regular cardiovascular exercise helps your fall asleep faster and promotes REM sleep. More sleep also means more energy for the days following.

Now that we have seen all the benefits cardiovascular exercise has on your body and wellbeing, we will now look at various types and exercises you can do to get yourself going.

Moderate intensity exercise can be maintained for long periods of time before the body becomes fatigued. This is because at 50-70% maximum heart rate, the heart is not working at its maximum capacity so our breathing is still calm, and we can continue for longer.

Examples of moderate intensity exercise are:

  • Walking
  • Cycling on a low resistance 
  • Light jogging
  • Slow swimming
  • Hiking
  • Skipping

Vigorous intensity exercise cannot be maintained as long as moderate intensity exercise. This is because at 70-85% maximum heart rate, our hearts are working much harder to deliver oxygenated blood to our working muscles. This results in our breathing being much more labored and fatigue setting in much sooner. Regular vigorous exercise sessions will cause adaptations that will make the exercise feel easier such as improved blood flow to working muscles, a decreased need for highly oxygenated blood in working muscles and increased cardiac output which leads to greater cardiac pumping ability. 

Examples of vigorous intensity exercises are:

  • Crossfit type workouts (lifting weight fast with other sprints included)
  • Fast jogging
  • Sprinting (Running, cycling and swimming)
  • Fast dancing

If you need any assistance with your current cardiovascular exercise programs or are wanting to start on of your own, do not hesitate to contact us.

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