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Is Pilates a good substitute for strength training?

In general, clinical and reformer based Pilates is strength training.  The wonderful thing about reformer based Pilates is that it not only works on the obvious power muscles that you generally tend to work in the gym, but you also target the stabilising muscles, the muscles that control movement, which makes training more efficient and effective.

The main elements of Pilates which makes it a great strength training program are:

  1. Reformer Pilates is resistance based – when using the reformer, a good instructor will set the weight of the reformer a little bit heavier than you are comfortable pushing or pulling.  This gives the muscles a stimulus to grow and strengthen overtime.
  2. The exercises have a purpose – the great thing about Pilates is that it is not like lifting a random weight in a random direction.  The movements and exercises that you perform match what you would do in everyday life, so your body and mind learn movements that they will use outside of the gym or studio, which makes them much more useful and improve your “functional” strength.
  3. The Pilates exercises have a balance component of training – Pilates exercises on the reformer, if instructed properly, are never one dimensional.  They will also work on your balance as well as your strength, to make then even more useful in real life and in any kind of sport you pursue.

For more information about this article, please email:michael.dermansky@mdhealth.com.au

To book for your FREE full body assessment, call us on 03 9857 0644. We are open Mondays to Thursdays from m7am to 9pm; & Fridays & Saturdays from 7am-2pm. Parking is easy. We are located at 737 High Street, East Kew.

Preventing Knee Injuries in the Workplace

Preventing Knee Injuries in the Workplace

There are two main types of knee injuries:

Acute injuries, which result from a sudden trauma, such as an awkward fall, collision or twist of the knee joint, and overuse injuries, which result from continuous activity or overload, such as running, jumping and cycling. These types of injuries start gradually and usually relate to a range of factors such as structural or bio mechanical problems, training methods, incorrect footwear, incorrect techniques in the workplace and incorrect exercise style.

The tips below are to help you move well, stay well and assist in reducing the risk and severity of knee injuries in the workplace.

Footwear

  • With every step, shock is absorbed by the feet, knees, hips and spine to decrease the force of impact. Wearing the correct footwear will help to reduce these forces further whilst not affecting the normal function of the foot.
  • Wearing the right footwear for the job protects you from stress-related injury to the ankles, knees, hips and spine.

Surfaces

  • Avoid activities on slippery or uneven surfaces and in areas with poor lighting.
  • Remove all potential trip hazards before conducting activity in that area.

Exercise

  • Simple exercise such as walking or swimming is the best.
  • Make sure you warm up before and cool down after exercise with gentle stretches.
  • Build up your exercise program gradually increasing the frequency, duration and intensity, but don’t work through pain (see your physio if you are experiencing pain).
  • Maintain good general fitness and lower body strength and flexibility (especially quadriceps muscles).
  • Practice standing on one leg to improve your balance and leg muscle strength.

 

Article by the Australian Physiotherapy Association as a part of Tradies National Health Month.
For more information visit http://www.tradieshealth.com.au/

Preventing Neck Pain

Preventing Neck Pain

As the neck is so mobile and balances a heavy head on top of it, it can be easily strained. The most common causes of neck pain include:

Injury, resulting from motor vehicle, sports or occupational accidents. Examples include ‘whiplash’ and muscle strains.

Postural problems, such as slouching your shoulders, sleeping with your head in an awkward position, or working with your head in an awkward position (most commonly down) for long periods.

Below is some useful advice to help you control and prevent neck pain:

 

Posture

  • Think tall, chest lifted, shoulders relaxed, chin tucked in and head level.
  • Posture should be stable, balanced and relaxed

Sleeping

  • If you are a side sleeper, a pillow with adequate support is important and a contour under the neck is advised.
  • If you are a back sleeper, a small pillow is recommended to focus the support under your neck area as feels comfortable.
  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach.

Relaxation

  • Recognise when you are tense. You may be hunching your shoulders or clenching your teeth without realising it.
  • Only when we are aware of tension can we work to release it. Mindfulness meditation can help.

Work

  • Avoid working with your head down or to one side for long periods. Frequently stretch and change position.

 

Article by the Australian Physiotherapy Association as a part of Tradies National Health Month.
For more information visit http://www.tradieshealth.com.au/

Preventing Back Pain in the Workplace

Preventing Back Pain in the Workplace

As a large proportion of life is spent at work, the tips below are to help you move well, stay well and assist in preventing back pain in the workplace.

 

 

Lifting

  • Prior to any lift ask yourself if there is an easier way to do this. Could I use a crane, forklift, wheelbarrow or other device to do the hard work for me?
  • For those heavy lifts, asking for help doesn’t make you any less.
  • Do a quick safety check of the area and what you plan to lift.
  • Prepare your body by warming up BEFORE you lift and carry.
  • If you do have to lift, then use a sound lifting technique with your fee comfortably apart and in a stable position. List using your hips and knees, not your back.
  • Avoid twisting-turn by using your feet, not your back.

Standing Posture

  • Think tall, chest lifted, shoulders relaxed, chin tucked in and head level.
  • Posture should be stable, balanced and relaxed.

Sitting

  • Don’t stay seated for too long.
  • Regularly stand up, stretch and walk around.
  • If you work in an office ensure that your workstation and computer are correctly positioned.

Driving

  • Adjust your seat to sit comfortably. Adjust the lumbar support if available.
  • Take regular breaks on long journeys
  • Don’t sit with your wallet in your back pocket.
  • Be careful what you do after a long journey, take a few seconds to straighten up before lifting things out of the car.

Footwear

  • With every step, shock is absorbed by the feet, knees, hips and spine to decrease the force of impact. Wearing the correct footwear helps reduce these forces further whilst not affecting the normal function of the foot.

Exercise

  • Simple exercise such as walking or swimming is the best
  • Before and after exercise, make sure you warm up and cool down with gentle stretches.

General

  • If your back hurts, don’t ignore the pain! See a physiotherapist

 

Article by the Australian Physiotherapy Association as a part of Tradies National Health Month.
For more information visit http://www.tradieshealth.com.au/

Why We Need Strong Buttocks to Prevent and Fix Back Pain

Why We Need Strong Buttocks to Prevent and Fix Back Pain

The gluteals (buttocks muscles) are a very important muscle group; they serve many functions in the stability of the lower back and pelvis. However, nowadays we spend more time sitting on our buttocks than actually using it.

In fact, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, on average we are sitting at least 4 hours a day (usually watching television) and spending only 30 minutes doing some form of physical activity. That’s a total of 13 hours of watching TV per week!

One in three workers spend at least three-quarters of their time sitting. Office workers sit up to 23 hours per week compared to less than 4 for labourers.

Is it no wonder we see many people with back pain coming into our clinic. If we are all sitting for most of our day our bottoms are probably asleep!

To help you understand a little more, there are 3 layers of buttocks muscles. The smallest (Gluteus Minimus), medium (Gluteus Medius) and biggest (Gluteus Maximus).
The three muscles are all intertwined and yet have different roles to play, overall they help support and stabilise your pelvis, hips and of course your spine.

Without proper use of these muscles we tend to be more inclined to injuries such as back pain, pelvic pain, hip pain and much more.

When we conduct our Full Body Assessment, we look at the entire human body and how one area affects another. One very common thing we see is poor gluteal strength and activation. This can be caused by many things such as previous injury, but the biggest contributing factor is our lifestyle.

In today’s society, we are sitting more then ever and when we are seated; our glutes (particularly Gluteus Maximus) is on constant stretch and not being used. This results in poor gluteal activation which leads to weakness and eventually injury.

If there is weakness throughout the gluteal muscles, we lose significant support for the lower back, pelvis and hips, causing increased loading on passive support structures such as bones and ligaments. Increased loading of these structures is the major cause for spinal injury. One such example is picking up a heavy object off the floor with poor technique. When you do this there is more compressive loading on your back and you are more likely to experience back pain.

One of our main focuses is to improve the strength of our glutes to prevent an injury. If you already have back pain, done worry it is never to late to strengthen your bottom, in fact it will be a major part of your rehabilitation.

Strong glutes should be the main focus for many people, but as always, you should be properly assessed by a qualified health professional such as a Physiotherapist, Exercise Physiologist or Sports Doctor for a tailored and specific strengthening program.

By Nick Adkins
Exercise Physiologist