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Spring Reminder

Now that the weather is warming up, we see a lot more people outdoors tending to their garden, going for a walk in the sunshine, playing a game of golf or even braving the not so warm ocean water for a swim.

While it is fantastic to see people moving, the sudden increase in activity can sometimes leave us feeling sore and stiff, as we rediscover muscles that have been in an almost ‘hibernation’ during the cooler months.

Below are a few stretches that can help loosen up those muscles for preparation and also recovery from the increased activity.

 

Gardening:

 

LOWER BACK ROTATION STRETCH

· Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat.

· Lengthen arms out to your sides, palms facing up to the sky.

· Straighten your left leg.

· Use your left hand to gently pull your right knee across your body, as if trying to touch the bent knee to the floor.

· Keep your right shoulder in contact with the floor.

· Feel a stretch across your lower back.

· Hold the stretch for 20sec and breathe normally.

· Repeat x 2 each side.

 

SQUATS to warmup the legs and hips.

· Stand in front of a chair.

· Feet hip width apart.

· Shift weight back into your heels and bend at the hips to touch buttocks to the chair lightly.

· Keep back straight.

· Squeeze buttocks and push through heels to stand tall.

· Repeat x 10.

Walking:

 

QUAD STRETCH

· Stand tall behind a chair or near a wall for balance.

· Lift your right heel towards your buttocks and take hold of your ankle with your right hand.

· Keeping your back straight, and knees aligned pull your right heel towards your buttocks, as close as you can manage without pain.

· Feel a stretch in the front of your thigh.

· Be careful not to arch your lower back.

· Hold stretch for 30seconds and repeat x 2 on each leg.

NOTE: If you cannot reach your heel to your buttocks, try placing your back foot on a chair instead and push your hips towards the wall to feel the stretch. (picture 2)

 

 

CALF STRETCH

· Stand facing a wall.

· Place both hands on the wall in front of you.

· Take a large step backwards with your right foot.

· Keeping your right knee straight and the heel on the ground, bend your left knee and lean into the wall.

· Feel a stretch in the calf muscles of the back leg. Hold the stretch for 30seconds to 1minute and breathe normally.

· Repeat on each leg x 2.

Golf:

 

UPPER BACK

· Sit tall at the front of a chair.

· Spread legs wide with feet flat on the floor.

· Place hands across your chest.

· Rotate your torso as far as you can in one direction and take 3 deep breaths.

· Rotate torso back the other way and take 3 deep breaths.

·         Repeat x 3 each direction.

 

HAMSTRING STRETCH

· Sitting at the front of your chair.

· Straighten one leg with your heel on the floor and toes flexed back towards you.

· Place hands on top of one another.

· Keeping back straight, exhale and hinge at your hips to reach your hands towards your toes.

· Feel a stretch in the back of your leg. Hold for 30sec while breathing normally.

· Repeat x 2 on each leg.

Swimming:

 

CHEST STRETCH

· Standing in a doorway.

· Rest forwards on either side of the doorway, elbows at shoulder height.

· Step one foot forwards.

· Gently lean forwards to feel a stretch in the front of your shoulders and chest.

· Hold stretch for 20sec.

 

TRICEPS STRETCH

· Sitting at the front of a chair.

· Place your right hand behind your neck, elbow pointing up towards the ceiling.

· Place the left hand on top of your right elbow and gently apply pressure as if to reach your right hand further down your back.

· Feel a stretch in the back of your right arm.

·Keep neck straight.

·Hold for 20 sec while breathing normally. Repeat x 2 each arm.

Want more exercises? Book an appointment with Patricia Zurutuza. Patricia can build you a program specifically for your needs which you can access directly on your mobile phone of tablet device.

Images of exercises sourced from simpleset software. https://simpleset.net
Other activity images from;
http://ionaphysio.com/golf-physiotherapy-tpi/
http://www.gardens-springshadows.com/physical-and-mental-benefits-of-gardening-for-seniors/
http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/2032487/woonona-ocean-pool-shines-in-the-limelight/

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Movement

arent or sibling), then we start to get rudimentary use of our upper limbs, then we learn to lift our head and role onto our stomach, and now we can use our arms to push ourselves up and our neck muscles to support our head. Then we start to get stability in our trunk muscles so that we can sit and start to reach out, and then we are crawling, toddling and eventually running.

In other words we go through a sequence of learning where we move with increasing complexity, from simple reflexes to the ability to stabilise ourselves against gravity and then the ability to perform complex volitional activity such as eating or running.

This means that if we need to restore movement, say after an injury or an illness, we need to think in terms of this hierarchy, reflexes - stability - complex movement.

Humans are unique in that we have a complex postural system that enables us to stand upright on two unstable pins, that's why it takes us three years to learn to walk efficiently.  But it is under constant stress and it's ability to perform this task starts to deteriorate as we age unless we take steps to keep it in top condition.

In research published in Queensland:  Falling is not just for older women: support for pre-emptive prevention intervention before 60 (J.C Nitz and N.L Low Choy 2008), the researchers assessed women between the ages of 40 and 80 for the risk of falling. 8% of women in their forties, 14% in their 50s, 25% in their 60s and 40% in their 70s had fallen in the previous 12 months. In addition, the risk of falling increased significantly if the woman had other health problems.

Their conclusions was that for women over 40 years old, the number of illnesses increase the risk of falling and the risks increased still further if they were over 60. Preventative program participation aimed at maintaining good health appears vital to prevent falls.

To put it another way, our stability starts to drop in our 40's.  Falls are a natural consequence of reduced stability but they are not the only consequence. The early consequences are less efficient use of posture which leads to stiffness and back pain. 

So, in order to perform any meaningful activity, we must first be stable. Stability is really the ability to maintain balance while we shift our weight. When it starts to drop it means that we have less ability to generate momentum to move forwards. And if we are unable to generate as much momentum, then our step gets shorter, and if our step gets really short we require a stick to help support ourselves. Thus our ability to move becomes compromised.

So as we get older we get stiffer and less stable, which leads to weight bearing changes. It also leads to restriction in movement.  It's important therefore to not only keep mobile but also work on keeping yourself stable. Exercise that can help this includes dance, yoga and Tai Chi. It is also important to work on your posture. Posture is basically how well you control your relationship to the ground and how efficiently you are able to shift your weight in order to generate momentum.

 

Perfect Posture Program

If you want to lean more about posture and how to keep yourself mobile and pain free, then we have an educational program that maybe for you. Our Perfect Posture Program has been developed from 25 years of rehabilitation of chronic back pain, and 10 years of measuring balance and analysing posture with computerised posturography. The purpose of the program is to teach you how your postural system works, so that you can use it in any situation, whether you are standing at a meeting, sitting at your desk or putting your child in the back of the car.  This six week program is suitable for anyone who wishes to improve their posture from children aged eight and above, right through to seniors.

 

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Beaches Osteopathic Centre Pty Ltd
ABN:  48 105 006 728

21/20 Wellington Street
NARRABEEN NSW 2101
AUSTRALIA
​​​​​​​02 9913 7900

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