There are many ways to help increase the amount you walk and to get more steps in. But normally people focus on small ways to do this for example parking further away from work so instead, we will help name some bigger-picture ways of improving your step score.
Walking the Walk
Taking a 10-minute walk after each meal is not only a good way to ensure the numbers on your pedometer rise, but it will also improve your digestion. A recent study published in Sports Medicine found that even 2 to 5 minutes of walking after a meal improved insulin and blood sugar levels which will help with your heart health. Although it is worth adding if you are going to walk 2 minutes, why not walk 10 or 15?
Post-workout walks. If you add on a 15 to 30-minute walk after your workout it can be a great way of increasing your step count. As you have already set aside time to work out you might as well take it a little bit further. Along with helping you raise your step count, walking after exercise helps you clear lactic acid so you feel less stiff the next day.
Overall if you are working out consistently and staying active you may not need to worry ahout your step count. Because whatever the activity is you’re doing for example hiking or running or Crossfit, your workout may contribute to your steps-per-day count. So overall being on your feet and moving many times a day is a good way to stay on top of your health.
Walking and talking is a great way of helping to gain an incentive to walk more. Taking the opportunity to socialise on a walk instead of for example a coffee date will help you achieve your goals quicker. Over the last couple of years people have begun to walk and talk more with gyms being shut so keeping these habits is much easier than building them. These habits resulted in great conversations, closer relationships, and more familiarity with the people in the community. And these hidden benefits are just as important for good health as the steps you’re taking.
Some athletic teams prescribe players 800 meters of walking as part of their workouts. It was shown to help players bond and enhance their playing as a result. So adding this as part of your routine or going for a post-sports training walk with some of the team can help performance and health.
If you need the incentive to walk, it is important to know it is one of the best ways to ensure that you’ll sleep well at night. Walking, even if you’re not doing it at a fast pace, is fatiguing and also being outside exposes you to light, which helps with the circadian rhythm so you sleep more routinely and better as a result.
When all else fails, get a dog. Or borrow from your friend or family members. If you’re committed to an animal, you’ll have no choice but to walk. All dogs as well as humans need to get their steps in.
If you need help with your pains or just want some advice feel free to contact the clinic today on 0578678904 or book now.
Laser therapy is a medical treatment that uses focused light to trigger a series of events in the body that leads to an increase in cellular metabolism. This can decrease pain and inflammation so the healing process can take place faster.
Laser therapy is used to treat short and long term conditions as well as post-activity recovery.
For injuries that have just occurred it is particularly effective if it is administered as quickly as possible.
With long term conditions, laser therapy is most commonly used to help persistent pain and inflammation.
To aid in post-activity recovery the laser is used by 250 pro, college, and Olympic sports teams across the United States and many parts of Europe.
What Does It Feel Like?
Laser therapy treatments is administered directly to skin, as clothing or topical dressings interfere with delivering light to tissues beneath the skin.
Patients will feel a soothing warmth feeling as the therapy is administered.
Patients receiving treatments with higher-power lasers also frequently report a rapid decrease in pain. For someone suffering from chronic pain, this effect can be particularly pronounced.How long do treatments last?
With LightForce lasers, treatments usually 4-7 minutes long, depending on the size of the area being treated.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
Patients generally see results after 3 to 5 treatments.
If you need help with your tightness, pains or just want some advice feel free to contact the clinic today on 0578678904 or book now.
The foam roller is something most people have in their gym bag but is commonly used ineffectively.
Soft tissue work, including foam rolling, trigger point work, and even hands-on self myofascial release needs to be a focused process on an area. If you find that you are rolling the same muscles and areas every day or before workouts it most likely is not causing any long term benefits.
Also when using it if you are rolling on it without any feeling of mild discomfort then you won’t be performing it correctly.
If you put yourself into some serious pain for the hope of breaking down tissue to loosen your muscles out, it is not the way to create long lasting and effective results.
Do This Instead
There are a few key things you can do to manage your muscles and improve your health and performance. Prioritise your foam rolling on just a few targeted areas on the days you are training or recovery days until you feel some relief. Big muscles for example the quads and lats can be worked very well with the roller, so don’t get rid of your roller quite yet.
Overall the foam roller may not enhance your overall performance but research shows that working through your muscles yourself can temporarily reduce muscle shortness and increase your flexibility. Also if done correctly and specifically to your tight areas you can have long term reductions in tightness. So you improve your recovery.
Although if you are dealing with specific soft tissue restriction that are not being relieved long term then a hands on approach is much better as the fingertips provide a much smaller surface area that are similar to the size of the small muscles and tendons.
If you need help with your tightness, pains or just want some advice feel free to contact the clinic today on 0578678904 or book now.
As winters arrives and summer sport starts slow down it can be hard to stay motivated to keep training or exercising regularly. But continuing to do regular exercise over winter can have significant benefits for your health and will get your body prepared for when sport starts up again.
Physical activity and training in the senior population on a consistent basis can have great impacts to someone’s way of life. These benefits include that people have fewer falls with injury, improved muscular strength and endurance, a decreased incidence of coronary artery disease, and a lower risk of cardiovascular related mortality for example heart attacks
There are a number of sports to pick from that can be found locally including running, walking, swimming, golfing, lifting weights, cycling and tennis.
Based on the activity you are training for, the training regimen should be specifically designed to produce both metabolic and physical adaptations aimed to improve health and performance. But in general here are some goals and targets you can aim for to help stay active over winter.
•Train 3-5 days per week
•20 to 60 minutes aerobic activity. For example walking or running.
•Choose an activity that engages the large muscle groups. This can be walking, jogging, running, cycling, rowing, stair climbing.
•Perform resistance training: One set of 10-15 repetitions for major muscle groups, two to three days per week. This will help develop muscle strength and help you perform better at your chosen activity.
•Perform flexibility training: stretch major muscle groups at least four times each for a minimum of two to three days per week
If you need help with planning a physical activity routine or have any pains when exercising feel free to contact the clinic today on 0578678904 or book now.
When dealing with back pain a common relief strategy people use is to stretch for the back. In this weeks blog post we are going to discuss why stretching your lower back may not be an effective long term way of dealing with your pain. For a long time it was common for people to prescribe certain stretches for example pulling your knees to your chest while lying on your back as an exercise for people suffering with lower back pain.
Short term the exercise makes sense. If people had trouble standing for long periods of time or if they were in pain lying on their back then they would feel better in a flexed position. Many who complained of feeling stiff and painful in their low back had instant relief of their symptoms after performing a few of these stretches.
However, this relief is only temporary for most people. When you stretch your low back, you are stimulating the stretch receptors deep inside the muscles that give the perception of pain relief and the feeling of less stiffness.
But muscle pain and stiffness you may feel in your back is caused because of a chemical reaction called inflammation. Inflammation occurs from the real injury located deeper in the spine. This can from a bulging disc, facet irritation or other injuries. The underlying injury is what causes the secondary contraction or spasm of the surrounding muscles. This then causes pain.
So because of this when you are rehabbing a back injury the majority of people should have their focus on stabilising their core and fixing any faulty movements. This is why increasing the mobility of the surrounding muscles and joints will help fix the cause of the lower back pain rather than just focusing on the symptoms.
If you do suffer from back pain and would like us to have a look at your problem and run through advice to get you out of pain contact the clinic today on 0578678904 or book now.
Squatting is one of the most common exercises to perform in the gym but often is done incorrectly. A good place to start is if we look at it as a movement rather than an exercise.
If we can fix the problems in a bodyweight squat you can create a greater capability to carry the load with the barbell.
The importance of the squat:
Squatting is a functional movement. This is because if you look at most sports for example a tennis player waiting for the serve or a goalkeeper at a penalty. The starting stance of the squatting movement is a universal position that carries over into many other movement patterns.
Different people have different mobility limitations and anatomical differences will impact the width of your stance. The goal is to place your feet in a position that will allow for a full depth squat while still feeling comfortable. Although overall placing your feet at shoulder width apart is a good starting position for most people.
When it comes to the feet for a bodyweight squat it is best to have a near straight foot position with a very slight 5 degree outwards rotation for your feet to be pointing. If you have difficulty performing the movement to full range with this foot position, it may indicate you have certain issues in mobility that need addressing.
In the clinic we can assess you to see where you are not getting the correct movement from and then treat the affected area. This will gain range of motion and mobility so you can perform better when squatting.
A solid foot tripod:
When we create a good arch in our foot, you form what we call a tripod foot. The three points of the tripod is the heel, the base of the 1st toe and the base of the 5th toe. Th goal when squatting should be to maintain the arch of our feet and have our weight distributed evenly.
Creating hip external rotation:
The last thing to think about before starting the descent for the bodyweight squat is to create external rotational with your hips. Creating this movement creates a tightness in our hips that will ensure our knees track with ideal alignment during the entire squat. This will help produce power and speed to your squat.
To create this power at the hips think about squeezing your glutes and driving your knees out. When you do this you will feel the outside muscles of your hips engage.
Point your feet as straightforward as possible. 5 degree toe-out angle.
Maintain three points of contact with your feet in relation to the floor establishing the tripod foot.
Create external rotational forces at the hips by squeezing your glutes while maintaining the tripod foot.
Always remember that the squat is a movement first and an exercise second.
I hope this helps, but if you do suffer from tightness when squatting and would like us to have a look at your problem and run through advice to get you out of pain contact the clinic today on 0578678904 or book now.
It is likely that you or someone you know has had low back pain in the past. It is a common problem but often it can be tackled by simply changing how you are moving or changing a couple of key habits in the day. This blog will cover ways to help the office worker and people working lifting boxes and machinery.
If you sit with bad posture during the day then it will put more stress on certain areas of your back.
Some key movement tips:
Don’t bend and round your back when getting out of bed
When brushing your teeth, unloading the dishwasher or other simple movements you want to avoid too much spinal movement. To help try and hinge from the hips. You should feel like you’re gliding your bottom backwards in order to lean forwards. It’s fine to lean one hand on the sink for support.
Try not to be hunched over when putting on shoes and socks, instead put a foot up on a chair to help bring your hips into play like in the point above.
Sometimes fixing your posture can help but often peoples jobs require lifting or moving in the day. For this a proper core brace should be implemented. Not with a physical one you can buy but rather with your abdominal muscles.
But how do you do it? If you create pressure in your abdominal cavity you will help to create extra stability for your back. So as you are about to lift the object off the ground take a breath and brace your core (to brace your core if you were to cough you will feel some muscles contract. Tense these muscles as you lift). Doing both of these things will increase the pressure inside your abdominal cavity against the structures surrounding it so your back will be protected as you lift to help you stay injury free.
I hope this helps, but if you do suffer from back pain and would like us to have a look at your problem and run through advice to get you out of pain contact the clinic today on 0578678904 or book now.
Osteoarthritis is a common condition that people develop and can cause issues preventing people from doing the activities they want especially at a good intensity. Often people jump to surgery or have a surgery planned for a few years down the line. But there are things you can do to help manage the condition and if you do have surgery for example your knee then you will be in a better position to recover from it. So below is a list of easy things to try to help manage your pain.
Exercise is an easy option to improve symptoms and function in people with osteoarthritis. A great place to start is 5-10 minutes on a bike as this will strengthen your quadricep muscles which has been shown to greatly help with pre operation or post knee operation knee health. Also in a 20 minute cycle you will do around 1000 knee mobilisations! This means the knee will be loose and mobile to help you do the activities you want.
You can also do repeated knee extensions and repeated knee flexions called knee CARs which you can see in the video below.
As with the bike, sometimes warming up the knee and getting it moving can help a lot.
A common problem people have is squatting so practising squatting with a reduced range of motion and then to slowly increase it is a great way of getting more confident with the movement.
A box squat to an elevated surface for example a chair with a cushion on it and then once you are comfortable with this you remove the cushion and then again lower the chair as you get more and more comfortable squatting.
A key tip is when you do the exercise do the muscle lengthening phase of the exercise slowly (count to at least 3 seconds for example doing a squat, the descent into the squat should be around 3-5 seconds and then when you are standing back up take about a second. This will help with muscle development and increase day to day function.
If you suffer from arthritis or achy joints and want to get some treatment for them feel free to contact the clinic today on 0578678904 or book now.
It is common for cyclists to complain about having a sore or achy back. Commonly this can be easily avoided and is due to people rushing out on their bike or not getting the bike fitted to them correctly. Because bikes are not a one size fits all, you can get fitted for your bike cheaply and easily and it can make a big difference to back pain.
But apart from poor bike fit what are some other reasons for people getting back pain cycling?
The seat is too high so your knee has a less than 25% bend at the end of the stroke. This will force you to rock your pelvis from side to side to get enough power at bottom of your pedal stroke.
The handlebars are too far forward causing you to overstretch which will increase tension in your lower back.
Flexing the lower back and causing core abdominal muscles to be in a poor position and so won’t work effectively. This means you won’t be in a stable position when you’re cycling.
Using BIG gears. You should aim for a cadence of around 90 RPM. If you are getting lower than this then it will put extra stress on your back.
Being tight! For example tight hamstrings can reduce your movement so will pull on your pelvis and rotate your spine into a more rounded position.
Weak core muscles.
If you are riding on bumpy ground. This increases jarring and compression to the spine while you cycle and can cause your back to get aggravated.
Length of cycling done weekly. Cyclists who ride an average of 160 km or more per week are significantly more likely to report back pain than those who rode less km per week.
It is not just your lower back that can be affected, sometimes your neck and upper back can be achy or painful. Especially if you extend your neck for long periods causing irritation in your neck
You can also hurt your neck and upper back by bending your neck too far upwards. This will increase the strain in your neck and you could also hurt it going over unexpected bumps.
But overall we would recommend 3 main things to do:
Check your bike fit.
See if you are cycling at around 90 RPM as a low cadence puts more strain on your back so may need to be increased.
Strengthen your core and back muscles. Your core can protect your back if you cycle often or for long periods so is a key area to work on.
If you suffer from back pain when cycling and would like a full functional assessment or to see where you can strengthen up your body feel free to contact the clinic today on 0578678904 or book now.
A common question we get in clinic is what to do before warming up and more importantly what not to do. Sometimes people can be doing a warm up that will last as long as their actual workout because it contains a number of different elements to it. These might be an aerobic phase, self-myofascial release, mobility drills, activation drills and movement patterning. Then by the time they workout you are tired and fatigued.
But something that is always important and to always be thought of before warming up on your workout days is some days you will need certain exercises and some days others, depending if you wake up stiff or if you are feeling good.
Any exercise that does not directly contribute to making your workout better is not worth doing. An overly extensive warm up can actually decrease your effectiveness to workout causing some central fatigue.
Central fatigue is not to do with how you are feeling on a certain day, but rather the weakening of your central nervous system to send signals to your muscles.
For example a 20 minute cycle before you start deadlifting is not the most effective way to prepare your body for this but rather will cause you to be tired and also not have prepared the right areas in order to perform.
A good start in general is some mobility work for certain areas that are weak. A common area is the Thoracic spine and below are 2 links for exercises to prepare your Thoracic spine for working out.
Cat Camel: Aim for 15-20 slow and controlled reps making sure you are getting the movement through your upper back.
Reachbacks: Aim for 1-2 sets of 10 reps on each side depending on how you are feeling on the day of your workout.
Then as well as this you can do some assistance exercises before you workout for example a patient pull down or dumbbell row prior to deadlifting will help set the correct muscles for when you start the exercise.
Overall, having an intense stretching and mobility work can actually increase the risk of injuries when done before lifting. This is because you can create changes that can reduce the force you can create in your lift and therefore making it less able to resist force from an external load such as a barbell. So the risk of injury increases.
So if you have a pain or find out more contact the clinic today on 0578678904, direct message us on Facebook or book now.
Yours in Health
The Lawlor Clinic: Spine & Sport, Portlaoise, Laois