10 Exercises To Do In The Pool
Pool (aquatic) exercise provides many benefits, including an ideal environment to exercise throughout the year. The buoyancy of the water supports a portion of your body weight making it easier to move in the water and improve your flexibility. The water also provides resistance to movements, which helps to strengthen muscles. Pool exercises can also improve agility, balance, and cardiovascular fitness. Many types of conditions greatly benefit from pool exercise, including arthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, joint replacements, neurological, and balance conditions. The pool environment also reduces the risk of falls when compared to exercise on land.
Preparing for the Pool
Before starting any pool exercise program, always check with your physical therapist or physician to make sure pool exercises are right for you. Here are some tips to get you started:
10 Excellent Exercises for the Pool
1. Water walking or jogging: Start with forward and backward walking in chest or waist high water. Walk about 10-20 steps forward, and then walk backward. Increase speed to make it more difficult. Also, increase intensity by jogging gently in place. Alternate jogging for 30 seconds with walking in place for 30 seconds. Continue for 5 minutes.
2. Forward and side lunges: Standing near a pool wall for support, if necessary, take an oversized lunge step in a forward direction. Do not let the forward knee advance past the toes. Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg. For a side lunge, face the pool wall and take an oversized step to the side. Keep toes facing forward. Repeat on the other side. Try 3 sets of 10 lunge steps. For variation, lunge walk in a forward or sideways direction instead of staying in place.
3. One leg balance: Stand on 1 leg while raising the other knee to hip level. Place a pool noodle under the raised leg, so the noodle forms a “U” with your foot in the center of the U. Hold as long as you can up to 30 seconds and switch legs. Try 1-2 sets of 5 on each leg.
4. Sidestepping Face the pool wall. Take sideways steps with your body and toes facing the wall. Take 10-20 steps in 1 direction and then return. Repeat twice in each direction.
5. Hip kickers at pool wall: Stand with the pool wall to one side of your body for support. Move 1 leg in a forward direction with the knee straight, like you are kicking. Return to start. Then move the same leg to the side, and return to the start position. Lastly, move that same leg behind you. Repeat 3 sets of 10 and switch the kicking leg.
6. Pool planks: Hold the noodle in front of you. Lean forward into a plank position. The noodle will be submerged under the water, and your elbows should be straight downward toward the pool floor. Your feet should still be on the pool floor. Hold as long as comfortable, 15-60 seconds depending on your core strength. Repeat 3-5 times.
7. Deep water bicycle: In deeper water, loop 1-2 noodles around the back of your body and rest your arms on top of the noodle for support in the water. Move your legs as if you are riding a bicycle. Continue for 3-5 minutes.
8. Arm raises: Using arm paddles or webbed gloves for added resistance, hold arms at your sides. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees. Raise and lower elbows and arms toward the water surface, while the elbows remain bent to 90 degrees. Repeat for 3 sets of 10.
9. Push ups: While standing in the pool by the pool side, place arms shoulder width apart on pool edge. Press weight through your hands and raise your body up and half way out of the water, keeping elbows slightly bent. Hold 3 seconds and slowly lower back into pool. (Easier variation: Wall push up on side of pool: place hands on edge of pool shoulder width apart, bend elbows, and lean chest toward the pool wall.)
10. Standing knee lift: Stand against the pool wall with both feet on the floor. Lift 1 knee up like you are marching in place. While the knee is lifted even with your hip, straighten your knee. Continue to bend and straighten your knee 10 times, and then repeat on the other leg. Complete 3 sets of 10 on each leg. For more of a challenge, try this exercise without standing against the pool wall.
Credit: American Physical Therapy Association
Are You Living Life To The Fullest?
I was recently on a return leg to California after spending the week in Washington, DC on a business trip. Since most of the business related to the way physical therapists can help people return to doing the things they love is in a low-cost, non-invasive way, I was still seeing through that lens while flying over the Potomac River and back home. To kill some time, I thumbed through the Southwest Airlines magazine and was struck by the contrasting messages of the articles and the ads of the magazine.
Naturally, the articles promote traveling for sports events, exotic cuisines, and relaxing vacations. Each weaves a story of adventure and paints a picture of experiences that can only be had in specific locations around the globe. These ads feature magical destinations aimed at exceeding expectations and encourage readers to be active thrill-seekers and explorers of the world and it’s many cultures. Simply put, the articles focused on our ability, when healthy, to live life to the fullest.
Maybe it was because we were thousands of feet above the ground, but I found it easy to keep my head in the clouds and picture my family and I discovering ancient Aztec ruins, walking on a beach in the Caribbean, and skiing Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Then, with the turn of the page, my head snapped back to reality with whiplash like force. I had spotted a reminder of why my parents and millions of others around the country would have to settle for dreams rather than authentic experiences. I spotted a medical advertisement.
You know the ones I’m talking about. It’s those ads using the smiles and confusing credentials of the surgeons to sell invasive, expensive, and generally unnecessary surgical ‘cures’ for chronic low back pain, joint pain, and rotator cuff tears. There’s no mention of success rates or the months of rehab required following the surgery, and all seem to be the ‘best’ or ‘only’ choice in dealing with your pain. Unfortunately, these ads redirect the focus from dreams to disability. To those with pain, they say ‘remember that your pain will prevent you from living life.’ To those who have already had a surgical procedure, they say ‘after paying the insurance deductibles, you can’t afford to take such a vacation’. However, among the disappointing medical ads, there was one ray of hope that offered a meaningful, low cost, and non-surgical solution to all of this. It came from the unified message of the California Physical Therapy Association- “Physical Therapists Improve the Way You Move.”
Physical Therapy Improves The Way You Move
Research shows that receiving physical therapist services have the same (if not better) success rates compared to surgical options for neck, shoulder, low back, and knee pain. And it does all this with significant cost savings to you in a shorter amount of time! Seeing a physical therapist should be the first option to get rid of pains related to nerves, muscles, and bones. In all 50 states, consumers are able to access physical therapists directly, meaning that you don’t have to see a doctor for a referral to physical therapy.
With the help of a physical therapist, you’ll be able to manage your pain in less time and less cost to you. Keep dreaming of those vacations!
Post Courtesy of Matt DeBole, an Outpatient Orthopedic Doctor of Physical Therapy at Palo Alto Medical Foundation.
Sleep makes you feel better, but its importance goes way beyond just boosting your mood or banishing under-eye circles. Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, and can benefit your heart, weight, mind, and more.
3 Factors That Could Be Keeping You Awake:
Back pain, headaches, and TMJ (problems with the jaw muscles) are the main causes of pain-related sleep loss. Try taking control of your thoughts before bed, or during the night if you awake. If you lie in bed worrying about how you will be able to function in the morning or cope with increased symptoms and pain in the day, or if you become anxious before trying to sleep, both of these reactions can lead to increased insomnia.
Another tip is to go to bed and get up at the same time each day – yes, that means weekends and vacations too. This helps to maintain a regular sleep cycle in your brain.
Some stop caffeine after about 2pm, others can have a cup at 4pm and still manage to sleep. Find what works for you and stick to it.
Try to spend the last hour before sleep doing entirely passive, non-stimulating activity. So for example, reading by a low light is ideal.
Meditation is a wonderful way to wind-down and relax before sleep. Often simply changing the habits that are reinforcing, or indeed worsening your already challenging situation may be enough to lessen your insomnia, even when pain is high. It may take a few days for your body to adjust but you will sleep better when it does.
Insomnia is both a symptom and a cause of depression and anxiety. Since the brain uses the same neurotransmitters for sleep and mood, it's often hard to know which starts first. Stressful situations or events, such as money or marital problems, often kick off insomnia that can become a long-term problem.
Shortly before bedtime, try a relaxation strategy that incorporates mindfulness, such as yoga, deep breathing, or meditation, all of which boost sleep time and quality.
Sip Chamomile Tea. This herb can help lower anxiety, making it easier to fall asleep.
Take a Hot Bath or Shower. A pre-bedtime soak is relaxing. Plus, going from warm water into a cooler bedroom will cause your body temperature to drop, naturally making you feel sleepy.
Worry Earlier in the Day. When your mind is racing with concerns while you’re trying to fall asleep, that can make it nearly impossible to drift off. Instead, dedicate 15 minutes during the day to process these thoughts. Writing a to-do list or thinking about solutions can be a healthy way to deal with stress and prevent it from interfering with sleep later.
An estimated 30% to 50% of Americans snore, most without consequence. But in some cases snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea, a disorder linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. There are several factors that facilitate snoring:
First, the normal aging process leads to the relaxation of the throat muscles, thus resulting in snoring. Anatomical abnormalities of the nose and throat, such as enlarged tonsils or adenoids, nasal polyps, or deviated nasal septum cause exaggerated narrowing of the throat during sleep and thus lead to snoring. Functional abnormalities (e.g. inflammation of the nose and/or throat as may occur during respiratory infection or during allergy season) will result in snoring. Sleep position, such as sleeping on your back, may lead to snoring in some people.
If your snoring is keeping you awake at night (or keeping your spouse awake!) then talk with your doctor so that they can help you find the right solution to this common but also treatable condition.
Physical Therapy Can Help You Be Your Best At Any Age
Ageism is defined as stereotyping or discriminating a person or group because of their age. Here’s a quick test: What comes to mind when you think of an elderly person? How do you define the word old?
How you answer that question is very important as it guides how you interact with and care for someone that is elderly.
For example, if I associate old with frail, I may not let my grandmother carry her own groceries because I’m afraid she may hurt herself. In my mind, I’m caring for her. Yet, in reality, I may be robbing my grandmother of an opportunity to physically challenge herself and maintain (or even gain) strength.
What comes to mind when a physical therapist thinks of an elderly person? How do we define old?
Let’s use the grocery store example again. If I associate old with strength, I won’t stop my grandmother from carrying her groceries. As rude as that may seem to some, I may actually be caring for her by encouraging her to be independent. She may be old, but doesn’t have to be weak!
Physical Therapists are in the business of redefining the word old. Physical therapy is the perfect profession for this task as we understand the changes that happen to the body as we age. Physical Therapists see elderly people and think of opportunity, not limitations. We work to get people strong, mobile, and able to do the things they want to do – regardless of their age.
I challenge you to consider how you define old. Do you associate being “old” with opportunity or limitations? Weakness or strength? Hope or despair?
As you or your loved ones age, consider physical therapy as your first stop to redefine what it means to be old. Seek the counsel of a physical therapist at The Smith Clinic for Physical Therapy to ensure you or your loved ones get “old” in the most desirable way possible.
Courtesy of getpt1st.com
Don't Give Up!
Perhaps your doctor has referred you to physical therapy to help you regain strength, endurance, range of motion, and functional mobility. Or maybe you have contacted us directly to start physical therapy because of some pain or movement issues you are having.
You start with hope and excitement as you begin your treatments. You feel encouraged after hearing success stories of past physical therapy patients, and you feel good after talking to other patients at The Smith Clinic for Physical Therapy. Your physical therapist has laid our your recovery plan after a thorough evaluation, and it is comforting to know there is an end goal to your pain.
But then you may realize that physical therapy is a lot of work, and sometimes exercises and treatments used in physical therapy can cause a little bit of pain. It can be easy to lose motivation, especially if your condition requires a longer course of rehabilitation. At first going to physical therapy was something you wanted to do, even enjoyable (we hope a lot of that has to do with our awesome staff!); but after a while it may be difficult to comply with your physical therapy regimen. Going to the clinic 2-3 times a week and completing your assigned at home exercises may get pushed to the end of your priority list.
In our society we are accustomed to quick fixes for most problems. We don’t have to wait for many things that we want or need. Physical therapy does not fit into that “quick fix” category. By design the therapy process is aimed at making you stronger and more flexible by taking the proper amount of time needed to help you heal, without rushing and causing further damage. When you are completely committed to your treatment plan, you hit this thing out of the park.
Here are a few tips:
Find A Purpose:
Maybe you want to play golf again, or pickup your grandchildren, or ride a horse. Associating your physical therapy with your purpose keeps you motivated. Our physical therapists will help you realize how certain exercises or treatments will benefit you, and eliminate certain negative things. Then we can show you how once you get better you will be able to do the things you love to do. Stick with that purpose and remind yourself why you are doing this in the first place.
Tape it to your fridge, put a post-it-note in your car. Whatever you have to do to remind yourself not to give up and keep going forward to reach your goal - because going backwards should never be an option.
Find the Right Place:
We hope that you will find the right place in The Smith Clinic For Physical Therapy. Since you work with your physical therapist and physical therapist assistants and techs often 2-3 times a week, it is crucial for there to be a trusting and comfortable relationship. When you enjoy coming into a facility that is uplifting and encouraging and not intimidating, it makes you want to go even on days when you might be tempted to skip your treatment. We focus on making The Smith Clinic for Physical Therapy have a familiar and friendly environment.
If you are struggling to stay motivated, or perhaps you are having concerns about your treatments, please talk to your physical therapist. We want to know what you are thinking and how you are feeling about your progress, because we at times might need to make some changes. We have been doing this for a long time, so we know some important things to do to help you get motivated again. Don’t just stop coming or give in to discouragement! We can help you get back on track! And in the end when you are doing those things that you wanted to do when you first started therapy, it will all be worth it.
Hip Fracture Prevention
Making healthy lifestyle choices in early adulthood can build a higher peak bone mass, and reduce your risk of osteoporosis in later years. These choices may lower your risk of falls and improve your overall health if you adopt them at any age. Keeping physically active helps your reflexes stay sharp and your muscles stay strong, and that can help with coordination and lower your risk of falling. If you're fit, your balance is better, and that makes you much less likely to take a fall than someone who has become bedridden and infirm.
Aside from improving your balance and strength, exercise also has a direct impact on the strength of your bones. Bone is a living tissue. Like muscle, it weakens if you don't exercise it. By staying fit, you can make your bones stronger and less likely to break during a fall. Experts generally recommend a combination of weight-bearing exercise (like walking), resistance exercise (like lifting weights), and flexibility and balance exercises (like yoga or tai chi). However, a note of caution: always talk to your doctor before starting up an exercise routine.
These exercises include activities that make you move against gravity while staying upright. Weight-bearing exercises can be high-impact or low-impact.
High-impact weight-bearing exercises help build bones and keep them strong. If you have broken a bone due to osteoporosis or are at risk of breaking a bone, you may need to avoid high-impact exercises. If you’re not sure, you should check with your healthcare provider.
Examples of high-impact weight-bearing exercises are:
These exercises include activities where you move your body, a weight or some other resistance against gravity. They are also known as resistance exercises and include:
Flexibility and Balancing Exercises
These moves don't directly strengthen your bones. They can, though, improve your coordination, flexibility, and muscle strength. That will lower the chance that you'll fall and break a bone. You can do these every day.
Balance exercises such as Tai Chi can strengthen your leg muscles and help you stay steadier on your feet. Posture exercises can help you work against the "sloping" shoulders that can happen with osteoporosis and lower your chances of spine fractures.
Routines such as yoga and Pilates can improve strength, balance, and flexibility in people with osteoporosis. But some of the moves you do in these programs -- including forward-bending exercises -- can make you more likely to get a fracture. If you're interested in these workouts, talk to us at The Smith Clinic and we can tell you the moves that are safe and those you should avoid.
Make an appointment today for an evaluation so we can recommend the best treatment plan for you! 901-756-1650.
Simple Office, Car or Airplane Stretches
Whether you are stuck in the office or traveling this week, these easy stretches are great for helping to ease muscle tightness and stiffness. Sitting for longer periods of time, or sitting in different positions than normal, can often cause you to have pain in areas that you might have not had in the past. Incorporate these into your day, and help avoid the pain!
1 - Neck & Shoulder Rolls With Closed Eyes
Benefits: Rests the eyes which prevents eye strain; lubricates and stretches the neck joints; relieves tension in the neck, shoulders, and upper back
The Pose: Begin by sitting on the edge of your seat with feet hip width apart and flat on the ground. Extend the crown of the head toward the ceiling creating an elongated spine. Inhale deeply. Exhale and allow the eyes to close. Inhale, lengthen the spine and slowly lower the right ear to the right shoulder. Exhale, lowering the chin to the chest. Inhale, lifting the left ear to the left shoulder. Exhale, lowering the chin to the chest. Repeat five times with the eyes closed. Inhale, roll the shoulders forward and up to your ears. Exhale, rolling the shoulders back and towards the floor, allowing the shoulder blades to slide down the back. Repeat five times in both directions.
2 - Chair Twists
Benefits: Whittles the waist by trimming inches; stretches the spine, shoulders and hips; relieves lower back, neck and sciatica pain; aids in digestion; massages internal organs which pushes out toxins and allows the organs to refill with fresh blood.
The Pose: Begin by sitting on the edge of your seat with feet hip width apart and flat on the ground. Inhale, lengthen the head towards the ceiling. Exhale, twist to the right side bringing the left hand to the outside of your right leg. Place the right hand on the left side of the upright seat back. Allow the head to follow the twist of the spine and allow the eyes to gaze beyond the chair back. Inhale, coming back to center and repeat on the other side.
3. Seated Child’s Pose
Benefits: Rejuvenates the body; stretches the spine; massages the abdominal area
The Pose: Inhale, lengthen the spine toward the ceiling. Exhale, fold forward placing the chest on the thighs. Allow the arms to drop to the floor. Breathe deeply and relax for 30 seconds. Inhale, engage the abs and raise the upper body to a sitting position.
Variations: (1) Turtle pose: While in child’s pose, open the legs to hip distance. Thread arms between the legs and around the calves. Attempt to grasp the outside of the foot with the hand. (2) Hands Clasped Behind the Back Pose: While in child’s pose, reach the arms behind the back and clasp the fingers together. Lower the hands toward the head.
4. Eagle arms
Benefits: Work your upper body and release shoulder tension.
How to do it: Stretch your arms forward, parallel to the floor, and spread your shoulders wide. Cross your arms in front of your torso, so your right arm is above the left, and then bend your elbows. Snug the right elbow into the crook of the left, and raise the forearm perpendicular to the floor. The backs of your hands should face each other, and your right thumb should pass in front of the left hand’s little finger. Press your palms together, lift your elbows, and stretch your fingers toward the ceiling. After 15 to 30 seconds, unwind your arms, and repeat for the same amount of time with your arms reversed.
Exercises That Help Strengthen Your Ankle
Ankles are often neglected when it comes to your strength-training routine; but they shouldn't be. Strong, flexible ankles are an important foundation, helping prevent injury whether you're running back and forth on the tennis court or playing a game of chase with your kids. The good news is just a few minutes a day can help keep the sprains away.
THE MONOPOLY GAME:
Put 10 small objects on the floor--like marbles or Monopoly pieces--and place a small cup nearby. Using your toes, pick up the pieces one at a time and put them in the cup. Do two sets of 10 with each foot.
Sit down barefoot and cross your right leg so that your ankle rests on your left thigh. Hold your toes and bend them back toward your shin, stretching the plantar fascia. A study showed that people suffering from plantar fasciitis had a 77 percent chance of returning to full activity within three to six months after performing this stretch. Researchers suggest that you do the stretch 10 times at least three times a day (once or twice a day doesn't produce as strong of an effect).
Strengthens the calf muscles and tendons near the heel.To Do: Stand on a step with forefeet on the edge. Push up with both feet into a calf raise. Lift one leg off the step and lower your other leg so that your heel drops below the step. Take up to 10 seconds to lower it. Return to start; repeat 10 times on each foot. Do three times a week.
This works the range of motion in your ankle. While sitting, spell out the alphabet with your foot. This exercise doesn’t just help your ankles. It also helps to activate smaller muscles in your shins and calves, because those legs muscles are helping to turn your ankles in all kinds of directions.
If you would like more information, or would like to make an appointment, please call us at 901-756-1650. We can design a treatment plan just for you, that will get you back to where you want to be!
We Sit Way Too Much
Unfortunately for most of us, the majority of our day involves sitting. When you drive – you sit. When you watch TV – you sit. When you have a desk job – you sit for eight hours straight. You would never guess it, but Many studies have shown that sitting for long periods of time can lead to some serious health effects. In fact, it has lead to the creation of the phrase, “sitting is the new smoking”.
Negative Impact Of Sitting:
What can you do to combat these effects?
* Use a standing workstation.
It is the same every time. You are convinced you are too obese and it is too late to do anything to control your weight…what’s done, can’t be undone. And you are firmly convinced that you will look positively weird while you workout and people will STARE!!
But to tell you the truth, all it takes is one determined step. And gradually, you will find yourself not only comfortably getting fitter, but also happier than you were! And you will look forward to the workout classes.
But before you start working out, there are a couple of things you should consider:
1. Consult your physician
Your physician can tell you whether you can work out safely without hurting yourself. You also need to find out how you can monitor your workout sessions, if you are taking any medications which can actually adversely affect your blood pressure or your heart rate. Also, ask your doctor what kind of exercises you can do and what you should avoid.
2. Decide what to wear during the session
It is difficult, but not impossible to find the right workout clothes for plus-size men and woman.
Whatever you choose, comfort and quality should be your goal. And if money is tight, then just wear whatever you are comfortable in, and you can reward yourself with better workout clothes later. The most important thing is to not wait until you feel better about yourself to workout, now is the time.
3. Start Easy
Walking is the least-intimidating and low impact, and all you need is a pair of comfortable shoes. Walk at your own pace and gradually increase the time, starting with 5 minutes at a time. Also, you can increase your speed after a few days. Make consistency your goal.
Biking is also a good option for someone who is just starting to exercise. Start out slowly and with smaller time sessions. Gradually increase the durations of these sessions and you will actually feel good about this exercise session.
Group exercise classes are another good option. One of the best ways to stick to an exercise program is to develop a social support system. Group exercise classes at The Smith Clinic For Physical Therapy are a perfect place to find friends. Our instructors understand that it takes an overweight exerciser more time to move through certain movements, so they give options for beginner and accelerated, so people can go at their own pace. Our instructors give plenty of advance warning for movement or direction changes.
4. Strength Training
There are many good reasons to start a strength training program. But for an overweight exerciser, there are special benefits. Strength training can correct postural issues that may arise from carrying extra weight. Strength training can also increase the range of motion in all of your joints. Finally, when you build muscle, you boost your metabolism when your body is at rest.
You can start lifting weights at home, but this is one instance where joining The Smith Clinic For Physical Therapy as a fitness member or hiring a trainer may be especially helpful. You can use a single session with a personal trainer to learn simple exercises to get you started and show you technique cues that will help you to keep your form in good shape.
Remember to start slowly and don't do too much too soon. Consistency is the most important element of your new workout program, so the worst thing you can do is to overdo it on your first day so that you have to take a week off.