Walk more, be healthier

Technology has made a lot of things easier. If you need to buy something, order it online. If you need to get somewhere, just drive your car.

What this also means is that Americans are walking and moving less. This is one of many factors leading to the ever-increasing waistlines in our country. And even if you haven’t been gaining weight, moving less can contribute to heart disease and other health issues.

If you want to add some more activity into your daily schedule, walking is one of the easiest things to do.If you want to add some more activity into your daily schedule, walking is one of the easiest things to do. As the American Heart Association points out, it’s easy, safe, and absolutely free! If walking 30 minutes a day seems daunting, set smaller goals and work toward that 30 minutes gradually. Find a way that motivates you, whether it’s in the morning on your own, walking with a friend on your lunch break, or taking the dog on a walk every night.

If you have questions about starting a walking program, talk to your physical therapist. She can create a walking program to help you get moving. Use our locator to find a Physiquality therapist in your neighborhood.

Walking after meals is particularly beneficial, says Libbie Chen. A physical therapist at Coury and Buehler Physical Therapy (a Physiquality member in California), Libbie explains that a postprandial walk can boost your metabolism and encourage digestion by increasing the rate at which food moves through your stomach. This can lower your blood sugars and triglicerides, leading to a healthier heart and weight loss.

The Mayo Clinic has some tips that can maximize your daily walk.

  • Keep your focus forward and your head up, rather than looking at the ground.
  • Relax your upper body and avoid stiffening your back, but be sure to keep your back straight rather than hunched over or arched backward. (This should also activate your ab muscles, which will help strengthen them.)
  • Walk smoothly, making sure to place each foot from heel to toe.
  • Don’t jump to your fastest pace – warm up by walking slowly at the beginning, and cool down by slowing your pace as you wrap up your walk.

There are plenty of ways to add variety to your walking routine.One of the best things about walking for exercise is that there are plenty of ways to add variety to your routine or to increase the level of exertion, notes Polar, a Physiquality partner vendor. Choosing a walking route that includes hills will challenge your legs and stamina; choosing one with a beautiful view may help you extend the walk and stick to it.

You can also up the ante by adding some variety to your walk. If you walk in the park and there are benches, Polar suggests doing tricep dips or step-ups to add resistance. Or simply quicken your pace for 30 seconds, then slow down to your regular pace for two minutes. If you have a heart rate or calorie monitor like those from Polar, or a pedometer, you can use those to set goals for calories burned or steps taken, increasing your goals every two weeks to improve your fitness.

 

Libbie Chen, PT, DPT Libbie Chen, PT, DPT, is a physical therapist at Coury and Buehler Physical Therapy, a Physiquality member with six locations in Orange County, California. A basketball player, she is fascinated by the intricacies of the human body and enjoys the art and science of physical therapy and its effects of helping others. She believes that the combination of providing individualized therapy, patient education, and communication are essentials to improving functional outcome and quality of life.
Polar Polar is the innovator in heart rate monitoring, activity and sleep tracking, and GPS sports training solutions for elite athletes, coaches and active fitness enthusiasts. For over 40 years, Polar has helped athletes understand, track and improve their performance. Polar’s award-winning product range includes pioneering sports wearables that work elegantly with Polar training apps and cloud services.Headquartered in Finland, Polar is a privately held company that operates in more than 80 countries. Polar products are sold through over 35,000 retailers globally. For more information on Polar, a Physiquality partner, please visit polar.com.

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Running away from injury

Running is a common way to stay fit — in theory, all you require is a good pair of running shoes. But running can also lead to a variety of injuries. Our experts talked to us about the most common running injuries and how to avoid them.

According to Jeff Rothstein, the Director of Sports Enhancement for the PT Center for Sports Medicine, a Physiquality clinic in Akron, Ohio, the most common running injuries are to the foot, knee and back. Jeff notes that having the right running shoes is essential for avoiding injury.

Lori Francoeur, a physical therapist at Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy Center in Arizona, agrees. She explains that runners should wear a “good supportive shoe that will provide adequate support and cushioning for your arch and heel.”

For runners, back and knee injuries are often a result of weak muscles.Back and knee injuries are often a result of weak muscles, says Jeff, as many runners focus on running without strength training. He advises that runners strengthen their glutes, hamstrings and core to support the body while running. Otherwise, runners can be prone to imbalanced muscles, which can lead to a poor gait and possibly injury. (If you’re worried about your gait, many physical therapists do gait evaluations to help runners improve their form.)

A running coach and marathoner, Lori cautions runners to take a slow and steady approach to progressing distance. She advises any new runners to not start with more than 1 – 2 miles at a time, not necessarily running the entire time – just plan to be moving the entire time, whether you are walking or running at a slow pace. Keep track of each run’s distance, and don’t increase your mileage by more than 10% per week. There are plenty of ways to measure your distance these days, whether by using an iPhone or Apple watch, or a sports-specific monitor like those from Physiquality partner Polar.

Most runners don't stretch enough.Jeff also points out that most runners don’t stretch enough. “This will lead to progressive shortening of the major muscles involved in running,” he says, which can limit your joint’s range of motion and put you at a greater risk for injury. While stretching can be done before or after your run, Lori notes that stretching should be done when your muscles are already warm, making it better to stretch afterwards. This post-run stretch regimen from Polar lengthens your glutes, hamstrings and calves, and opens your hip flexors, all key muscles for running.

And don’t forget the importance of rest. Rest allows our muscles and joints time to recover from the pounding we endure from running, says Lori. As we’ve previously noted here, It is only after your workout, when you are resting and replenishing your body with protein and other nutrients, when the body heals and gets stronger.

Finally, any runner should listen to his body. While starting a new activity typically comes with muscle soreness and some aches and pains, notes Lori, an intense pain, or a pain persisting for multiple days that does not subside with rest, is one you should have checked out. Physical therapists are a great resource; many outpatient orthopedic physical therapy clinics offer free injury evaluations. A PT will be able to listen to your complaints and complete an assessment to determine what the problem is. Then she can create a strengthening and/or stretching program for you to perform to resolve the problem.

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Working out while on the road

with advice from Richard Baudry, PT, DPT, OCS,
Yousef Ghandour, PT, MOMT, FAAOMPT, and Brian Klaus

Working out while on the road

With Memorial Day behind us and Independence Day quickly approaching, many of us have plans to travel in the next couple of months. If you’ve been trying to stick to an exercise regimen, here are some ideas for how to continue working out when you leave your regular routine behind.

“Exercise that doesn’t require bulky equipment or a lot of space is best while traveling,” advises Brian Klaus, the Vice President of Stretchwell, Inc. (a PTPN preferred vendor that offers a variety of progressive resistance products). Why take up space in your luggage with heavy weights or bulky equipment?

Physical therapist Richard Baudry, the founder and CEO of Baudry Therapy Center (a Physiquality member in New Orleans), agrees. Richard reminds readers that walking is the easiest exercise to do while traveling. “Make a point to stand tall, take long strides and swing your arms,” he adds.

Make exercise a daily family activity.If you’re worried about taking time away from other activities, says Richard, get up an hour earlier to go for a walk or jog – the fresh air will give you almost as much boost as a cup of coffee. You can also make it a daily family activity. If you’ve traveled to a scenic site, walking is a great way to explore your vacation location; you can plan a different walk for each day you’re there. Or if you’re traveling with a little one and he or she goes to bed early, plan your workouts for after bedtime; check out our post on working out while baby is sleeping for a sample workout that will get your heart pumping quickly (and quietly).

If you prefer using resistance when you work out, think about bringing resistance tubing, a set of bands that include a door anchor, or a portable weighted pulley system. A set like this one from QTEK Products (a Physiquality partner), created by physical therapist Yousef Ghandour, is easy to pack and won’t take up a lot of room in your bags. Yousef notes that you can use any hotel or household items to add weight to the system, which allows for shoulder, back, hip and knee exercises by attaching the system to your hotel room door.

Richard suggests weight lifting using items you’re already planning to bring, like your purse or a backpack, for arm curls or overhead presses. (Just make sure to securely close your bag first.) Or book your stay at a hotel that includes a gym with workout equipment that you normally use at home; look at the list of amenities when making your reservation to see what types of equipment is available. Some may even offer fitness classes like yoga or Pilates.

Use technology to remind yourself to work out.Lastly, Brian reminds readers to take advantage of the technology many of us already own. Use the reminders or calendar on your phone to set times for those daily walks or your gym time. Pay attention to your watch or FitBit when it notes that you’ve been sitting too long. Or have Siri remind you that a body in motion stays in motion!

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Exercise trends: Rucking

Have you heard about rucking? The word “ruck” is short for “rucksack,” a military backpack that soldiers use to carry supplies on their back. Rucking, or ruck marching, refers to walking over paved or unpaved terrain with a loaded rucksack for the purpose ofimproving your fitness.

The military often uses rucking to measure physical fitness. Many units require a soldier to complete a timed ruck march in order to qualify for the unit. For instance, the U.S. Army Special Forces requires potential recruits to be able to ruck 12 miles in 2 hours with a pack that weighs 65 pounds in order to be eligible for Special Forces Selection. Even after leaving the armed services, some veterans continue to use rucking as a way to remain strong and build social ties while exercising.

Rucking with even a modest pack strengthens the legs, back and core muscles, while improving your cardiovascular health.For most everyone else, rucking is a great way to add diversity to your training, regardless of whether you’re in or planning to join the military. Rucking with even a modest pack strengthens the legs, back and core muscles, while improving your cardiovascular health. And because you’re walking, it’s usually considered lower impact than running. Those who backpack or hunt in the wilderness can also benefit from rucking, as it provides a very functional way to train for such activities.

So how do you ruck? It’s pretty simple: Load a backpack up with some weight (not too much!) and go for a walk. It can be down the sidewalk or along the trails at the local park. Start with short trips — less than 30 minutes — and work up to about an hour. Then slowly increase the weight in your pack until you can do about 30% of your body weight.

The number one concern regarding these types of workouts is overexertion. Even with a lightweight pack and a short workout, this is still a very tough form of exercise.Dehydration can be a factor, as much of the time these workouts are performed in thewarmer months. Lower body injuries are also common with rucking, including such ailments as shin splints, knee pain, plantar fasciitis and ankle sprains. And don’t be surprised to you feel soreness in the shoulders and neck, as these muscles aren’t used to carrying a heavy load.

West Point rucking. Photo by Mike Strasser, West Point Public AffairsAs with any form of exercise, it is important to listen to your body. Start slow and build up your “ruck” stamina over time. Add weight and time gradually, and spread out the workouts with other activities — and rest. And if those aches and pains don’t go away within 48 hours of your rucking workout, talk to your physical therapist to discuss your exercise regimen and whether you may have an injury that needs to be treated.

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5 resolutions to make for 2017

We all get into bad habits in our life, in one way or another. Perhaps you don’t talk to your grandmother enough. Or you eat too much fast food. Or you stopped working out. Setting resolutions for the new year is a good way to try to work on these bad habits.

There are many habits that can be damaging to your health, but here are five resolutions you can make for the new year to improve your health.

  1. Evaluate your eating habits.

Evaluate your eating habits.Have you been skipping breakfast? Snacking constantly instead of sitting down to dinner? Picking up food on the go instead of cooking at home? These are all habits that can cause us to gain weight and damage our health. Take a look at the latest guidelines recommended by the Department of Agriculture and Health to compare to your eating habits.

If you feel that a complete overhaul is too challenging, change one habit at a time, like making sure to eat breakfast, even if it’s a smoothie or a cup of yogurt. Or pledging to not buy any afternoon snacks for the pantry. Or cooking at least one healthy, sit-down dinner per week; you can always find a recipe that will make leftovers to cover your family for another dinner or two.

  1. Calculate how much television you watch.

A study published last year found that watching more than three hours of television a day correlates with lower levels of mental acuity. Other studies have found that extended hours in front of screens can lead to heart disease and high blood pressure. And if you’re watching with your kids, it’s been shown that children who watch more television at a younger age develop language more slowly and have more problems connecting socially with their peers. If you want to escape into another world, consider picking up a book.

A study found that reading stimulates the brain over time — the excitement you feel when sympathizing with a character lingers for days. Samantha Olson at Medical Daily notes, “Researchers believe this prolonged and measurable brain boost, which was found in the region associated with language and sensory motor skills, could improve brain connectivity over time. It brings using books as an escape to a whole new level.”

Of course, both reading and television are sedentary activities, which leads us to resolution number three:

  1. Increase your daily activity.

Increase your daily activity.We all know the benefits of activity: Being more activereduces our risk for a variety of diseases, keeps our weight lower and makes us feel better. The CDC recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, or 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

It might sound like a lot, but they do point out that if you went to see a movie, it would take the same amount of time. And you don’t need to do it all at once; even 10 minutes at a time is better than nothing. If you’re trying to start a new habit, find a friend to do it with you — it’s been shown that if you schedule a class or walk with a friend, you’re much more likely to stick with it. And you get the added benefit of social activity, which improves your mental health. It’s a win-win!

If you’re anxious about starting to work out after a long drought or injury, consult with your physical therapist. A PT can do a wellness evaluation to determine if you’d need to adapt any physical activity, and some even offer fitness programs within their own clinics. Look for a Physiquality member near you with our clinic locator.

  1. Take care of your teeth.

The American Dental Association recommends visiting the dentist for a cleaning and check-up at least once a year, if not twice. You should brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily in between those appointments.

So you’re brushing your teeth and flossing regularly. You don’t have any pain. Why should you go for a check-up? Because dentists can catch problems before they turn into something painful, both as physical pain and economic pain. Look at it this way: Filling a cavity is much less expensive than a root canal.

  1. Get more sleep.

Get seven to eight hours of sleep each night.Most adults need between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a night, but many people don’t get nearly that much. A lack of sleepcan affect your mental and physical health. It is associated with increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and system-wide inflammation. Lack of sleep can also affect our immune system, our cognitive abilities (i.e., our mental capacity), and our mood and mental health. By getting a good night’s rest, your body can recuperate from a hard day’s work, giving you more energy to get up and get going in the morning.

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Challenge your office to be healthy

Did you know that May is Global Employee Health and Fitness Month? Created by the National Association for Health & Fitness (NAHF), a network of state-based councils and groups that promote healthy living, the group encourages daily physical activity and quality physical education in our schools. Through Global Employee Health and Fitness Month, the NAHF asks employers to create a workplace environment that promotes healthier living.

There are a variety of reasons to do this as a business owner or manager, or for employees to suggest it to their bosses. For a start, the CDC points out that healthier employees take fewer sick days, incur lower healthcare costs and are more productive; in fact, one study found that by promoting physical fitness and regular check-ups, employer healthcare costs could be cut in half. In addition, wellness programs can be seen by some prospective employees as a great benefit. It shows that the company is willing to invest in its employees, leading to a more positive work environment, better morale and higher retention.

“When it comes to encouraging employees to be active,” says Stefania Della Pia, “the key is to make exercise easily accessible.” Stefania is the senior program director of education and a master instructor trainer for MERRITHEW™, one of Physiquality’s partners. She encourages employers to remember the many commitments employees will have outside of work hours. She suggests incorporating activities into lunch hours, or offering after- or before-work activities on a schedule so that people have time to plan for them.

Here are some of the activities she suggests:

  • Bring in an instructor for on-site express workouts like yoga or Pilates.Bring in an instructor for on-site express workouts during the lunch hour in whatever modality best suits the office environment, whether it be Pilates, yoga, or another form of exercise.
  • Organize a team sport that everyone can get involved in, such as ultimate Frisbee, soccer or scavenger hunts.
  • Sign up an office team for a local charity walk or run.
  • Encourage employees to walk, bike or jog to work by providing parking spaces for bikes, and provide access to showers for those who choose the sweatier route.
  • Partner with a local gym or Pilates studio to offer employees a discount to work out on their own time.

Another resource for office fitness challenges is your local physical therapist. As musculoskeletal experts, physical therapists are experts in how the body moves. Many PTs do fitness and wellness assessments. Why not partner with a local therapist to challenge your office to make healthier choices? The PT can come in on the first and last days of the month to assess each team member before and after the challenge, as well as weekly on-site visits for coaching or wellness presentations. “Using a health and wellness expert like a physical therapist might encourage employees or fellow workers to see how healthier choices can affect how they feel in and out of the office,” says Mitch Kaye, PT, PTPN‘s director of quality assurance.

These healthy competitions are a great way to encourage employees to support each other create a health-centered atmosphere.If your office challenge is made of up activities outside of the office, be sure to find ways to track people’s progress so it can be celebrated and rewarded. Fitness trackers from companies like Polar, another Physiquality partner, can be used to count numbers of steps or active minutes, calories burned or distance traveled. If everyone in the office has a Polar device, they can even create in-office challenges, where Polar works with the team leader to determine the challenge and teams. Or the entire office can sign up at the GEHFM website to compete against each other and raise money for charities. These healthy competitions are a great way to encourage employees to support each other in achieving fitness goals, and they create a health-centered atmosphere, notes Stefania.

Employers can offer a wide range of rewards to encourage these healthy competitions. Simple rewards can be gift cards (to a juice bar or sports equipment store) for the most steps in a month, or the most active team in the office. Stefania suggests recognizing the month’s winner by highlighting her accomplishment in a company newsletter or on social media, or host an appreciation breakfast or lunch at the end of the challenge to acknowledge everyone that participated. If you really want to underscore your company’s commitment to healthy and active living, she says, “every quarter, or every year, offer a substantially larger reward, such as a trip or a piece of fitness equipment, to keep employees interested in ongoing health and fitness initiatives.”

 

Why are younger athletes burning out of sports?

Why are younger athletes burning out of sports?

There are many reasons to sign your kids up for sports teams. They’ll build strong muscles and bones by being active, make friends and learn how to get along with others, and become more confident as they improve on the field. But many kids burn out and quit playing before they graduate from high school. Why?

“Parents and coaches need to remember that the primary goals of playing sports when younger are to improve motor skills while learning how to be a part of a team,” says Mark Salandra. A certified strength and conditioning coach who works with many student athletes as the founder of StrengthCondition.com (a Physiquality partner vendor), Mark often sees parents (and coaches) that emphasize competition over fun.

Constant practice and competition can cause both mental and physical burnout.These parents will see that a child has a talent for baseball or tennis and start encouraging the child to sign up for multiple leagues for the same sport. Or the coaches will suggest that Noah or Ashley won’t be able to get an athletic scholarship if he or she doesn’t start practicing the same sport year round. Mark explains that this constant practice and competition can cause two types of burnout: physical and mental.

Jeff Rothstein, an exercise physiologist and the Director of Sports Enhancement at the PT Center for Sports Medicine in Akron, Ohio, equates physical burnout with increased risk of injury. Jeff encourages parents to think about the repetitive motion many sports require — repeated kicks of a soccer ball with one leg, the constant swinging of a bat in baseball, or the motion required to serve in tennis. If athletes have off seasons or play multiple sports throughout the year, he says, they will strengthen multiple muscle groups and let other muscles recuperate. But add up two to three leagues a year in one sport and the athlete’s muscles never get a chance to recover, leading to overuse injuries.

Mark and Jeff agree that mental burnout can be just as detrimental. Ask any eight-year-old what his favorite color or cartoon character is, and he won’t hesitate to answer. But if you ask him again a week later, his answer may be completely different. So why should he choose which sport to do at such a young age? In reality, Jeff says, by the time that boy reaches high school, the sport he loved as an eight-year-old has become a chore. Weekend fun with friends is passed over for tournaments played out of state. Holiday breaks are spent refining techniques with specialized coaches. Athletes who burn out like this may quit playing all sports, leading to a sedentary lifestyle and the health risks that come into play when one is overweight.

Many of our most revered professional athletes excelled in multiple sports.The irony in all of this is that kids (and the parents who encourage them) who specialize at such a young age usually think that this will help them to succeed in the sport, leading to scholarships or even a professional career. But Jeff points out that many of our most revered professional athletes excelled in multiple sports. Basketball star LeBron James was an all-state receiver on his high school football team. Tom Brady was drafted by the Montreal Expos baseball team before playing football at the University of Michigan and for the New England Patriots. And this goes for successful collegiate teams as well: At Ohio State University, 42 of the 47 football players on the team that won the 2015 college football national championship were multi-sport athletes.

Aside from reducing the risk of overuse injuries and mental burnout, these multi-sport players gain more athleticism. The skills gained in one sport can enhance those for another. And best of all, each sport feels fresher on the field when not played every week, and the athlete can enjoy the sport for what it is — a game.

 

– See more at: http://www.physiquality.com/blog/?p=8379#sthash.S5hWqdq9.dpuf

The pros and cons of working out with your partner

The pros and cons of working out with your partner

There are many benefits to working out with another person: Motivation. Accountability. Group support. Combining exercise with a social activity. But should you work out with your significant other?

Sharing a common activity with your partner has been shown to lead to better relationships. This doesn’t have to be a physical activity, but playing sports together, or taking a dance class together, can improve your relationship. And if you’re learning together, it can help increase your confidence in both the activity and your relationship.

Running with a partner can help keep you accountable.Randy Gustafson, a physical therapist and the owner and clinical director of Mesa Physical Therapy (a Physiquality member in San Diego, California), points out that working out with a partner can keep you accountable and improve results for both people. (And sometimes that partner isn’t even human — research has shown that people with dogs and those that use virtual partners are often more active than those who work out solo.) But research shows this correlation is strengthened within a relationship: A 2013 study found that “when partners care about fitness — their own and their partner’s — it becomes easier to achieve fitness goals. … Average-weight husbands who care about fitness engage in more physical activity when their wives offer more supportive health-related comments.”

If you’re working out at the gym, working out with your partner can help to make your time there more effective, for a couple of reasons. Having someone to spot you on the weights and to watch your form can ensure that your technique is correct. And trainers — and our own experts — will tell you that rest is essential to building muscle, even during your workout. Taking turns on equipment or with free weights will build periods of rest into your regimen, improving your pace and making your workout more efficient.

Randy notes that when you exercise, you release endorphins, which makes you happier and can improve your relationships and mood. And Psychology Today adds that exercise induces the symptoms of physiological arousal — sweaty hands, a racing pulse, shortness of breath. These symptoms mirror, in many ways, the thrill of romantic attraction, and might lead to more private activities when you get home from the gym.

If your fitness personalities clash, it will be difficult to find activities that please both people.Not all couples are compatible for couples workouts. If your fitness personalities clash — one into intense, sweat-dripping workouts, while the other prefers low-impact yoga or Pilates — it will be difficult to find activities that please both people. And if an agreement to work out isn’t working out, it can lead to nagging or more negative encounters than positive feedback.

The number one danger? Competition. If one of the people is highly driven to succeed on the court or in the gym, it could easily lead to pulled muscles and sore feelings. It’s probably better for those individuals to go their separate ways, in the fitness realm, at least. Maybe it’s better to join a fitness program, like the exercise and nutrition program offered at Mesa Physical Therapy. Or perhaps it’s time to get a dog.

 

How to do the perfect squat

The perfect squat is different for every body:

  • A power lifter may utilize a low bar position to maximize hip torque and minimize anterior knee displacement, both of which will result in a slightly heavier one-repetition maximum (1RM).
  • A collegiate athlete may utilize a front squat to minimize forward torso lean, which will maximize range of motion and anterior core activation.
  • A pre-adolescent trainee may utilize a goblet squat to encourage proper squat form, as well as those benefits associated with a front squat, but without the significant spinal loading.

Regardless of which squat you choose, there are a few technique guidelines and cues that should be followed to ensure safety and maximize results. Keep in mind that while the following guidelines are for those working with weights, the points about engaging muscles and proper form remain the same for anyone doing squats with or without weights. And, for best results, consult with your fitness professional or physical therapist about exercise techniques that are right for your fitness level.

 

  • Engage your core.

 

Before un-racking the bar, brace your abs as if somebody were going to punch you in the stomach. This core activation will help you avoid losing the neutral spine alignment which is so paramount to a perfect squat.

 

  • Use your latissimus muscles (in the upper/middle back, below the shoulders) to stabilize your body.

 

The lats are an incredibly powerful muscle group which insert all along the spine. Once the bar has been un-racked, fully engage them to add even more stabilization. Think about pulling the bar down as you would in an old-school, behind-the-neck lat pulldown.

Perfect squat cropped

 

  • Balance your weight over your heels.

 

To minimize stress to the knee and maximize posterior chain recruitment, think about sitting back on your heels. Your heels should be glued to the floor, and you should be able to slightly wiggle your toes at the bottom position of a squat. Obviously, if you take this cue too far to the extreme, you risk falling backwards, so perfecting technique with bodyweight or a light external load is highly recommended.

 

  • Downward movement should be slow and controlled.

 

Always lower down with control. Although the squat is an excellent choice for developing power, the eccentric portion of the lift should be done slowly to minimize injury.

 

  • Pay attention to upper leg alignment.

 

Squat - Excel PT Ideally, the bottom position of the squat will be slightly below parallel or lower. However, some individuals may find that flexibility issues in the hamstrings and hip flexors and/or mobility issues in the hip and ankle may limit their abilities to reach that depth safely. If this is the case, dedicate several weeks to improving these limitations before adding any significant weight to the bar.

 

  • Push with a quick burst of energy for your upward movement.

 

Once proper depth has been achieved, explosively push away from the floor. This portion of the exercise improves your power and strength, so maximizing bar speed is the primary objective. The more explosive the lift, the greater the use of type II muscle fibers in your legs, and the greater the potential for improvements in muscle size.

 

  • Use that booty.

 

Squeeze your glutes as you complete the lift. This encourages full hip extension.
Squats are an excellent tool for improving lower body strength and power. Whether you’re a weekend warrior, a figure competitor or a professional athlete, learn how to perform the Perfect Squat and enjoy the results!

Jeff Rothstein, MS, CSCS, CES Jeff Rothstein, MS, CSCS, CES, is an exercise physiologist and the Director of Strength and Conditioning at the PT Center for Sports Medicine, a Physiquality network physical therapy clinic in Akron, Ohio. A certified strength and conditioning specialist, he is particularly interested in sport-specific strength and conditioning and ACL injury screening and prevention.

 

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What is the difference between reactive and preventive healthcare?

Many Americans take a reactive approach to their healthcare needs: They only seek care once they have an injury or fall ill. This approach, says physical therapist Kathy Blair, often involves a costly progression of doctor visits, tests, medications, and procedures, in order to diagnose and treat conditions that might have been prevented. In addition, she points out, this type of care accounts for more than 75% of healthcare spending in the U.S.

Preventive or proactive care, on the other hand, means taking responsibility for your healthcare and well being before something happens. This includes taking simple actions, like exercising more and eating better, which can help you avoid unnecessary procedures and costly ER visits. Preventive healthcare, says Kathy, “stresses personal responsibility for staying well, and keeps healthcare spending in check as a result.”

Raj Thangamuthu  opened Empower Physical Therapy and Fitness with the express purpose of integrating physical therapy and fitness in one facility.Raj Thangamuthu, a physical therapist, opened Empower Physical Therapy and Fitness (a Physiquality member in Michigan) with the express purpose of integrating physical therapy and fitness in one facility. His goal was to encourage clients to improve their overall health and actually spend less time in his clinic as healthcare patients. Raj gives several reasons why it is better to have a preventive approach to healthcare:

  • In preventive care, pain is often not a limiting factor in making progress.
  • Muscle imbalances identified in preventive care often respond to treatment more quickly than when an injury is present.
  • Preventive care can help identify imbalances within your body and ultimately make you function much more efficiently when addressed. Read More

 

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