Gardening is a great outdoor activity that can be both meditative as well as physically active. Unfortunately, many avoid gardening since it can aggravate the back, hips and knees. Gardening does not have to be an impossible task, simply follow these tips listed, and gardening can be an enjoyable hobby once again.
Preparation is an important part to keeping your body happy and healthy. Make sure to do the following before doing any gardening.
Have the Proper Tools Ready:
Do your body a favor and get tools with longer, adjustable handles. This will allow your body to maintain a more neutral position.
For heavy lifting, use a wheelbarrow so your muscles are able to do less work.
For kneeling, get knee pads to lessen the impact on the knee joint.
PLAN YOUR GARDEN
Create a more manageable garden: think high, think small. Consider a standing garden that is raised high enough so you don’t have to bend at all. Also, having a smaller garden means less weeding and maintenance which can save the wear and tear of the joints.
Now that the preparations have been made, it’s time to start gardening! Please keep these tips in mind the entire time you garden.
Learn and Practice Safe Posture: When gardening it is important to try to stay upright as much as possible. Constant bending can create strain in the lower back and can seriously aggravate the muscles and joints of the back.
Perform Proper Lifting Techniques:
1. Keep a wide base of support
2. Squat down bending at the knees and hips only.
3. Maintain a straight back
4. Keeping the load close to your body, slowly lift by straightening your legs
5. When travelling with a load, be sure to keep your back neutral, not twisting to either side.
Alternate Hands and Feet: Share the work equally with right side and left side. This will allow your body to work longer with less strain.
Take Frequent Breaks: Focus on time, not task. Start with taking a break every 15 minutes for the first few days of gardening, if your joints are not irritated then you can increase the time to every 30 minutes.
Stretching is very important to joint and muscle care. Give yourself about 10-15 minutes to warm up your muscles and relax your joints prior to gardening. It is also imperative to stretch during breaks and after gardening as well.
The following are a few stretches that will help maintain a healthy body.
Stretch your Neck…
- Bring your chin down toward your chest to stretch the back of your neck.
- Hold the stretch for 20 seconds, then return to the neutral position.
- Keep your shoulders stable and tilt your right ear toward your right shoulder, looking straight ahead.
- Hold the stretch for up to 20 seconds, then tilt your left ear to your left shoulder and hold for another 20 seconds.
Stretch your Shoulders…
- Stand upright and cross one arm across your body
- Using the opposite arm, pull the elbow of the arm being stretched towards the opposite shoulder
- Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds
Stretch your Wrists….
- Hold one arm straight out in front.
- Use the other hand to bend the wrist and point the fingers towards the floor, applying gentle pressure.
- Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds.
Stretch your Lower Back…
- Begin to lean backward slowly – It may help to maintain your balance if you bend your knees slightly.
- Gently bend backward with your hands on your hips. As always, do not bend to the point of feeling pain.
- Hold this position for ten seconds. You should feel a slight stretch in your lower back and/or the front of your hips.
- Gently return to standing erect. Repeat these stretches 2-3 more times or as needed.
Stretch your Calfs…
- Stand about three feet from a wall. Place your hands on the wall
- Put your right foot behind you ensuring your toes are facing forward.
- Keep your heel on the ground and lean forward with your right knee straight until you feel the stretch.
- Hold this for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat on the other leg.
…adding years to your golfing life, and life to your golfing years!
Believe it or not, golf season is almost here! So it’s time to start thinking about what can be done to help improve your game and get your body fit for golf this year.
The one thing most golf enthusiasts agree on is that they are striving for a better swing. There are those lucky few who are born with natural abilities, but fortunately for the rest of us a great swing is also something that can be developed and cultivated.
Building a strong core, and conditioning your obliques, back and shoulders is one of the best ways to help build golf specific strength and mobility, and optimize your rotational power. A physiotherapist can help you build an exercise program that focuses on strengthening your core.
As it pertains to golf – spine and abdominal fitness not only improves performance and controlled motion, but decreases the risk of injury as golfers execute the repetitively hazardous action of the swing. A warm-up is also very important as we prepare our muscular engines for several hours of activity.
Physiotherapists are frequently involved with numerous clients experiencing stiffness, weakness, and/or pain in their spines, shoulders, elbows, knees and ankles. There are many exercises, manual techniques, and modalities that our therapists use to improve the physical health of these areas of concern. Strength and mobility in these areas is extremely important for a healthy and happy golf season.
Registered massage therapy for golfers may be used as a corrective, preventative and rehabilitative therapy. It helps in the return of soft tissue to a pain-free and improved functional range of motion. Massage can also assist the lymphatic system by eradicating toxins such as lactic acid. This hands on therapy can reduce tightness that may lead or cause postural imbalances, reduce muscle spasm and scar tissue, and create body awareness and a general feeling of well-being.
For more detailed information about treatments contact our clinic.
- Back and neck pain are among the most widespread reasons patients seek treatments such as physiotherapy, massage therapy and chiropractic care.
- Back pain in particular is one of the most common medical problems, affecting 80% of people at some point during their lives.
Physical therapy for back and neck conditions focuses on the structures that support the spine and its joints including muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
VARY YOUR POSITION: Sitting at computers all day puts increased pressure on your spine. After 30 minutes of sitting make sure you walk around to keep the flow of blood and fluids to your spine. If you work primarily at a desk, make sure your work station is set up properly to encourage optimal posture. Your physiotherapist will prescribe suitable and safe stretches and provide tips on how to correctly position yourself in front of your computer.
STAY FLEXIBLE: Optimal spinal health means having flexibility in all directions. If your thorax (upper-mid back and ribcage) has limited rotation movement, more load and stress can be transferred to your low back, neck or other body parts. Check your rotations by sitting in a chair with your arms crossed across your stomach; you should be able to run equally to the right and left and see behind you easily. If you have an asymmetry between the right and left directions, or reduced motion, your physiotherapist can assess the reason why, mobilize your spinal joint, and give you exercises to maintain your thoracic mobility – essential for a healthy low back and neck.
CHECK YOUR CORE: You need to have optimal control of your deep spinal muscles (core). If you’ve had an episode and are experiencing neck or back pain, your therapist will provide a thorough examination of your spine, provide manual therapy and other treatment techniques to help you regain any lost mobility and relieve your pain. They will instruct you on how to achieve ideal postural alignment and prescribe exercises that will support your spine.
CORRECT YOUR POSTURE: Be aware of habitual postures and positions (such as always sitting on one side of the couch, slouching with your feet on the coffee table, carrying your bag/purse always over the same shoulder, sitting cross legged, or with one foot underneath your bum, and leaning usually on the same elbow et.) Habitually poor postures may indicate weaknesses in certain muscle groups or stiffness with the body. Your therapist can assess reasons why you may adopt these positions and how to correct them.
Here are some Ergonomic tips to help keep your back & neck healthy!
- Chest out, chin in, stomach tight with standing, walking, lifting and bending
- Standing: Keep one foot in front of and more elevated than the other
- Sitting: Use lumbar support – and sit up straight.
- Sleeping: while lying on side: keep the bottom leg straight; top leg can be bent or rested on a pillow
- Bending: use a ½ kneeling position when putting dishes in dishwasher, getting laundry out of washer and/or putting items into trunk/cart etc.
- Lifting: Keep the object being lifted close to you; get down under it
If you are suffering from neck or back pain, schedule a visit with one of our therapists to assist in your recovery. Early attention to mobility issues, injury prevention, and injury treatment will help ensure long term physical health.
Although we’ve been experiencing milder winters with less snow and ice, it’s still important to be cautious of the changing weather conditions in order to avoid slips and trips.
Here are some physiotherapy tips for reducing the risk of slipping or falling at any time of year.
- Wear the right shoes.We see plenty of broken or sprained ankles from women walking in heels on a warm summer day, so in the winter heels would probably be your worst option. Men are not off the hook here either. Men’s dress shoes typically have flat bottoms with no tread. You might as well be walking on sleds. The right footwear should, and is, your best defense against slipping and falling. Try to find something with rubber bottoms with a good thick tread that will grip the snow and ice better.
- Walk like a penguin.When walking on snow and ice take shorter slower steps. You want as much surface area of your feet to be in contact with the ground as possible. If you come across a patch of solid ice, shuffling your feet can be your best option as it will give you the most stability.
- Know how to fall.When carrying a briefcase, lunch bag, or your children you are just asking for trouble. If you were to fall this now eliminates one or both arms from helping absorb the impact. Most deaths from falling on ice occur when the person hits their head on the ice. This also means keep your hands out of your pockets and gloves on. While you may injure your arm or shoulder you will protect your head.
- Be cautious everywhere.Walk near something you can hold on to like handrails or a fence. Grab sturdy objects when possible… and your friend or child IS NOT a sturdy object. You will likely pull them down with you. When getting out of a car, hold on to the door until you find out just how icy it is. Test the ground before you hop right out.
- Stay to the right. When you’re in the mall, or in office hallways, or on the sidewalks – stay to the right, same as you would in vehicular traffic. You may be able to avoid collisions with other people who are talking, texting or any other unforeseen distractions.
- Keep an eye on the floor. Carpet and floor mats can help create a slip-resistant surface. However, marble or tile floors can be extremely slippery, especially when wet. Be careful!
- Let there be light. Be certain stairwells both inside and out, are well-lit and equipped with anti-skid strips and handrails.
- Beware of pets! Your feet can get caught in leashes, dogs can knock you down or you can trip over a sleeping pet.
Even if you follow all these tips and precautions we still cannot guarantee that you won’t have an encounter with the ground! However, the better you prepare and the more cautious you are, the less likely you are to slip and fall.
For those of you with balance issues, your job is harder still. If you have not yet had physiotherapy to help you with your balance concerns, or if you’d like a therapist to assess your balance, please call to book an evaluation.
If you have already taken a hard fall, let one of our therapists help you recover and get you back on solid ground.
The risk of falling can be reduced dramatically when specific exercises are prescribed by a physiotherapist. An individualized treatment program can help regain strength, flexibility and endurance in a way that still feels safe and secure.
To make an appointment or for a physio assessment, give us a call. We can help.
Movember is Men’s Health Month
The state of men’s health is in crisis. Men experience worse long-term health than women and die on average six years earlier.
- 1 in 6 men may be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and 1 in 2 men may be diagnosed with some form of cancer by the age of 85.
- Prostate cancer rates will double in the next 15 years.
- Testicular cancer rates have already doubled in the last 50 years.
- Obesity has taken centre stage as a major risk factor for chronic disease and almost 2/3 of Canadians are considered to be overweight or obese.
- 1 in 8 men experience depression and three quarters of suicides are men.
- Poor mental health leads to half a million men taking their own life every year. That’s one every minute.
Why is men’s health in such bad shape?
- Most men do not like to openly discuss their health and how they are feeling.
- Men can be reluctant to take-action when they don’t feel physically or mentally well.
- Men engage in risky activities that threaten their health.
- Stigmas surrounding mental health.
- Men are less likely than women to seek help for health concerns.
5 ways exercise can help men live longer and better.
- Have a healthier heart. Regular exercise can lower unhealthy cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
- Keep your brain sharp. Exercise helps keep blood vessels throughout the body healthy and helps reduce the risk of stroke. Several studies suggest that exercise may also help ward off Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
- Control blood sugar levels. Regular exercise helps to maintain a healthy weight, and boosts sensitivity to insulin, reducing blood sugar levels. One study found that only 2 ½ hours of brisk walking a week cut the risk of diabetes by 30%.
- Possibly lower cancer risks. Evidence suggests that regular physical activity reduces risk for colon cancer by 24% in men. There is no proof that exercise lowers the risk of developing prostate cancer, but once a man is diagnosed, physical activity can reduce the chances that it will spread.
- Beat depression. 1 in 8 men can experience depression. Not just a rough patch, or bad mood – but an emotional disturbance that affects overall health. Regular exercise such as walking, weight training, swimming, or any form of exercise moving both arms and legs can help with depression for men.
Pelvic Health for Men
Being a guy with pelvic health problems can be a challenge. As men age there can be a number of different issues that can result in pain and dysfunction.
Although the prostate is often blamed for many male pelvic problems, there can be many other reasons for bladder, bowel and sexual problems. Pelvic floor muscles, connective tissue and lower lumbar nerves can all be potential culprits in male pelvic pain. In addition, joint and muscle problems such as chronic groin strains, un-resolving hip and low back problems can all contribute to chronic pelvic pain.
Although hidden from view, your pelvic floor muscles can be consciously controlled and therefore trained, much like your arm, leg or abdominal muscles. Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles will help you to actively support your bladder and bowel. Like other muscles in your body, your pelvic floor will become stronger with a regular exercise program. This is important for both men and women.
With so many different potential sources of pelvic pain, it’s important to work with a health professional that understands the pelvis. Contact our clinic and we can connect you with a pelvic floor health specialist.
Let’s help the men we know to talk about their health, and take action when needed.