This week’s edition of Workout Wednesdays shows you some basic stretches you can perform using a foam roller! Watch our YouTube video to find great stretches you can perform at home for the Upper back, Chest and Calves
The national physical activity guidelines for Australians recommends that adults should participate in at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise most days of the week, with participation in more vigorous exercise on top of this for further improvements in health and fitness. But for many people, fitting this amount of exercise into their busy schedules proves to be too difficult of a task. In recent times more time efficient, high intensity forms of exercise such as spin bike classes and boxing have increased in popularity. These forms of exercise fall into the category of exercise called high intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT has been shown to result in similar or even greater benefits for health and fitness than exercise for longer durations at lower intensity, making it a more time efficient and effective form of exercise for improving health and fitness.
HIIT incorporates short bursts of high intensity exercise periods, with rest or low intensity exercise periods in between; rather than just maintaining constant exercise intensity. These intervals can vary in terms of the work to rest valium 10 mg ratio depending on an individual’s fitness levels and goals. For example, a highly trained athlete may complete a 1:1 work to rest ratio of 30 seconds high intensity exercise followed by 30 seconds of low intensity exercise. A less fit individual starting out with HIIT may use a 1:4 work to rest ratio with 10 seconds of high intensity exercise followed by 40 seconds of lower intensity exercise to allow for greater recovery between efforts. This means that HIIT can be specifically tailored to each individual’s health and fitness goals, rather than just a one size fits all approach.
Long duration steady state exercise is often prescribed for fat loss as the longer an individual exercises for, the greater percentage of energy from fat is utilised, where as more high intensity exercise uses a greater percentage of carbohydrates for energy. Although this is true, HIIT can actually utilise more fat for energy compared to steady state exercise, as the overall amount of energy used in high intensity exercise is much higher. Therefore by participating in specifically designed HIIT, you can achieve greater health and fitness results with only a short duration of exercise compared to long duration low intensity exercise, making it a highly economical form of exercise for people living increasingly busy lives.
By Jack Hickey Exercise Physiologist at MD Health Pilates
We have been running Clinical and Personalised Pilates since 2003.
The easy answer to who is Pilates for and when is the best time to start Pilates is everyone and as soon as you can.
However, this probably doesn’t help you decide if Pilates is for you, so in the next few blogs, I am going to illustrate how and what type of Pilates will help with different clients and different scenarios…
Pilates for Liz, 45 year old lady, wanting to get some more muscle tone and core strength.Liz is a typical client that comes to see us to start Pilates. As always, we start with a Full Body Assessment to find out what her aims are of her Pilates program. Liz wants to
Improve muscle tone
Reduce her lower back pain
Long Term Aim: Go Travelling through Europe with family at the end of the year, but is worried that her back pain will stop her from travelling
Liz’s full body assessment reveals that she has a lumbar disc bulge as the major cause of her lower back pain. This is very common and the most typical cause of lower back pain. Liz has had disc related lower back pain for the last 5 years, on and off, but just coped with it, with occasional visits to the chiropractor. She has accepted her back pain as “normal” and that it will just happen every so often. Other findings include pelvic instability, which is due mainly to gluteal muscle weakness and slow activation of the gluteal muscles. Overall, Liz is very weak, she has very poor muscle tone and poor core stability.
Liz started our 13 week Pilates program and on her first session, we assess her core stability on ultrasound, which determines her core stability as 3 out of 12. This means she struggles to take her leg out to the side and maintain core stability, very typical for pelvic instability. We start training her core stabilisers on the Pilates reformer, to make sure Liz walks away on the first day with a good idea of core stability. We also worked on improving gluteal activation and shoulder blade control to start to improve pelvic stability and upper body posture. We add a couple of treatments to start to manage the disc bulge. It seems to Liz, such as simple session, but she walks away feeling more tired than she expected for such simple exercises. On her second session, we begin where we left off, re-enforcing her core stability, especially where Liz struggles to control her core stability, taking the leg out to the side. We reinforce the gluteal and shoulder blade control exercises. We start to work on the other muscle groups as well. In addition, we work on reducing the lower back pain with McKenzie extension exercises to help minimise the lumbar disc bulge.
Over the next few weeks, we continue to work on Liz’s buy tadalafil online overall muscle tone, with special focus on the core stabilisers and the gluteals to help manage the pelvic instability. Liz’s lower back pain has begun to fell a bit better, but flared up on the 5th week after doing work extra gardening on the weekend. Although the pain was present, it settled after 1 week, which is a bit faster than usual and it didn’t affect her as much as she expected.
When we performed Liz’s re-assessment at week 7, there was a moderate improvement in Liz’s muscle tone and her core stability was now 7 out of 12 on both sides. Although the back pain was occasionally present, it seems that it doesn’t affect her as much as it used to. Liz has been surprised how her sessions have gotten harder over the last few weeks and sometimes she’s sore the next day, usually in the front of the thighs. The lumbar disc bulge signs are present on assessment, however not as prominent as on the initial assessment. Pelvic instability is also still present, however, gluteal activation has improved, however gluteal muscle strength is still not where we would like to see it. We modify Liz’s program. The back pain and pelvic instability are still a major focus of her program, but we can now push Liz a bit more during her sessions and be a bit tougher on her.
Liz enjoys the challenge of the second 6 weeks of her program. She is pushed a lot more during her sessions, and the staff find new ways to make her exercise more challenging. Sometimes there is no muscle soreness the next day ( the good kind) and sometimes she struggles to walk up the stairs because her legs are so sore (Depends on how mean we decide to be on the day 🙂 ). When Liz has her 13 week re-assessment, she is substantially stronger and her core stability is very good (8 out of 12). Her back pain due to the disc bulge is minimal and barely affects her life. The pelvic instability is minimal, due to improved gluteal strength and activation. He overall muscle tone has nearly doubled and her life is different. She finds her everyday things to do are just easier, she can go shopping, look after the kids, do the house work, go to work and these tasks are not as much of a chore anymore.
Liz decided to continue her Pilates program and is now on our level 5 (4 on 1) Pilates sessions. When she goes to Europe at the end of the year (4 months later), she found that she could participate in all the tours, spend all day walking through Paris and climb around the ancient ruins in Greece without limits. Liz re-commenced her Pilates with us as soon as she got back from Europe. Now her husband attends our Pilates as well so he can keep up with his wife
(Although this is a fictional example, this is a very typical example of our Pilates clients)
Lower back pain explained – Pathologies of the lumbar spine
Back pain, in particular lower back pain is a condition which affects many people every day. However, the term lower back pain is very general and does not specify the underlying cause of pain or pathology. Lower back pain generally refers to pathologies of the lumbar spine but is also often used to describe pathologies of the pelvis and sacro-illiac-joint. For the purpose of this article we will be focussing on the main pathologies of the lumbar spine. The lumbar spine is made up of the five largest vertebrae in the spine, each separated by intervertebral discs, which are subjected to the greatest compressive loads in the spine. The orientation of the facet joints in the lumbar spine allow for mainly flexion and extension based movements with a limited amount of rotation, particularly the lower lumbar vertebrae.
Back Pain – Lumbar Disc bulge
The most common pathology of the lumbar spine is lumbar disc bulge. This refers to a tear in the annulus fibrosis (outer fibrous layer of intervertebral disc) allowing the nucleus pulposus (inner liquid portion of the disc) to bulge, most commonly posteriorly and anteriorly in very rare cases. This disc bulging can cause compression of the nerve roots, resulting in radiating pain and distal weakness of the corresponding areas of the body which those nerves innervate. People with posterior lumbar spine disc bulges will typically present with pain on flexion based (forward bending) movements of the lumbar spine and will generally find extension based (backward bending) movements relieving. In the rare case of anterior disc bulge, people will present with the opposite pattern, however imaging such as MRI is often required to confirm this. Risk of lumbar disc bulge is often associated with increasing age, participation in activities which involve repeated flexion and rotation movements and heavy lifting.
Back Pain – Lumbar Facet Joint irritation
Lumbar facet joint irritation is the other main pathology of the lumbar spine. The facet joints are the posterior synovial joints between vertebrae and can be irritated or damaged by activities which put too much load on them. This includes activities that involve repeated lumbar extension and rotation such as fast bowling in cricket. People with lumbar facet joint irritation will generally present with stiffness and discomfort with extension based movements of the lumbar spine and flexion based movements and stretches will often relieve pain to some degree. Activities such as prolonged standing or lying down on the back will often reproduce pain with lumbar facet joint irritation.
Back Pain – Other Causes of Back Pain
Two of the other main pathologies of the lumbar spine include spondylolisthesis and spinal canal stenosis. Spondylolisthesis refers to the forward slipping of one lumbar vertebra on the segment below, often as a result of repetitive extension based activities. This condition will often present similarly to facet joint irritation when symptomatic, however a step deformity (due to the forward slippage of the effected segment) will often be felt, with significant instability at that segment. Spinal canal stenosis refers to the narrowing of the spinal canal which may cause compression of the spinal cord and exiting nerve roots. This often occurs with increasing age as a result of degeneration; however it can also be caused from disc bulge, osteophyte formation, spondylolysthesis or calcification of the intervertebral ligaments. People with lumbar spinal canal stenosis will often present with pain when walking (claudication), weakness and a loss of deep tendon reflexes.
In any case, thorough assessment of the lumbar spine is required to determine the underlying pathology which is causing lower back pain. Thorough and accurate assessment and diagnosis of lower back pain will allow for more specific treatment, resulting in greater clinical outcomes.