5 Leg Stretches You Don’t Want To Miss

5 leg stretches you don't want to missWhether you’re an athlete or just someone who wants to stay limber, stretching is a great way to keep your body moving. It’s also key as a preventative measure, should an accident occur. The more flexible your body is, the more it is able to withstand the day to day impacts that are thrown its way. If you’re not sure what the best leg stretches are to do, we can help.

Hamstring Stretch

The muscles above your knee, at the back of your leg, are your hamstrings. These are the powerhouse of your body. Without strong, flexible hamstrings, it can be hard to walk or carry items. To perform a hamstring stretch, begin by placing your knees on the floor. Then, stretch one leg out in front and place it between your hands. Your arms should be shoulder-length apart. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then switch sides.

Hip Opener Stretch

Our hips get used a lot, but they are often overlooked when it comes to stretching. But, for better balance and core strength, it’s important to open up the hips. Start in a lunge position where one leg is at a right angle and the other leg is stretched out. Then, lift your leg up so only your toes are touching the floor. Gently twist your body so that it is open in the opposite direction. Keep one hand on the ground and lift the other hand towards the ceiling Hold for 30 seconds and make sure your core is engaged.

Butterfly Stretch

This is one of the best leg stretches because it engages your leg muscles, core, and back, all at the same time. Start by sitting on the ground and bring your feet together. Gently lean forward so that your chest comes down to touch your feet, or as close as you can. Your back should be straight, and you should be able to feel your ab muscles tighten. Take a breath and shake out your legs before completing the stretch for a second time.

Forward Fold

Place your legs shoulder-width apart and stand up straight. Then, bend over at the waist and lower your head to the ground. Your shoulders and neck should be relaxed but continue to bend over as far as possible. Pause and hang for 30 seconds, allowing gravity to work with you. Slowly bend your knees and gently return to a standing position. At the end, you should feel not only stretched out, but also a bit more energized thanks to the increase in blood flow.

Reclining Position

Taking its name from a yoga pose, this is a great leg stretch that helps to loosen hip joints. Lie on your back on the floor. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground. Then, take one leg, still bent, and bring it over to rest on the other knee. Hold on to this leg and gently pull your leg into your chest until you can feel the muscles tighten. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.

3 Secrets To Running Longer And Faster

3 secrets to running faster and longerRunning is a great workout to engage in. Not only does it get your body moving and burn a lot of calories, but it is a relatively simple workout that is very low cost. There are very few barriers to running. No matter what your physical fitness level is, you can start running at any speed for any distance. As you get into the sport, you’ll want to start running faster and longer. Enjoy these simple tips to help you reach your goal of running longer and faster.

Interval Training

When most people think of running, they imagine a long stretch of a path and tiredly running along it at the same pace. While this is the goal, to reach it, you need to vary your training. Speed interval training involves alternating between a very fast run and a recovery run. For example, run as fast as you can for 20 to 50 meters. Then, slow down to a lighter jog. After you have recovered your breath, sprint for another 20 to 50 meters. Repeat for your workout.

When you start interval training, you might not be able to run very fast or for very long during your sprinting times. However, if you keep going, you will start to notice both an increase in your speed and in your stamina. By training your muscles to learn how to spring, it will strengthen them so that they can withstand much longer distances.

Keep Running Longer

The key to running longer and faster is practice, practice, practice. This is where having an end goal comes in handy as it provides you with a schedule to keep. If your goal is to run a 10 kilometer race, you can start backwards. Each week you should be adding on 1 kilometer to your longest run. So, if you are an absolute beginner, start 10 weeks before your race day with just a 1 kilometer run. Then, each week tack on an extra kilometer.

If you find running quite difficult, you might want to look at it in terms of time. Start by trying to run for 1 or 2 minute stretches, followed by walking to recover. Then, the next session, try to increase your run time to 2 or 3 minute stretches, and so on. This is a bit like interval training, although not as intense.

Train Your Muscles

To really get into the groove of running longer and faster, you need to develop your leg muscles. Pick at least one day a week where you work on strength training. This can involve leg muscle machines at the gym, or similar exercises at home. Easy stretches such as lunges and squats can even be done for short sessions in your free time. The point is to build up your leg muscles so that they can withstand the wear and tear of running faster and longer. And afterwards, go for a soothing massage to work out the tension in your muscles.

5 Ways Swimming Can Help With Rehab

5 ways swimming can help with rehabGetting back to where you used to be after an injury can be hard work. Physically, you just don’t have the strength or endurance. And mentally, it can be frustrating to know that so much hard work will be involved. Thankfully there are many tools that can get you back to where you want to be. Swimming can help with rehab and should be used when possible.

Low-Impact

You’ve probably familiar with the adage that swimming is a low-impact activity. But what does this really mean? Basically, swimming allows you to be active and get your body moving, without putting additional stain on your muscles and joints. After an injury, it’s important to get your body moving so that your muscles are able to stretch and heal themselves. But even simple exercises such as walking can still put too much strain on your body.

Swimming can help with rehab because you can keep your whole body active. You don’t have to worry about strains on your joints or muscles and you can have a better range of motions.

Not Weight-Bearing

If you have a foot or leg injury, it can be hard to exercise it. But, it’s important to keep it stretched and flexible so that your muscles can move and heal. Once you’re in the water, the weight is taken off of a foot. You can then move it without worrying about additional pain. The same goes for back injuries. Once you are in the water you are weightless. Pressure is instantly relieved from your injured spot. As a result, you can move better and help to strengthen your body. Just be careful as too much movement can be felt at a later date through strains.

Keep Moving

If you don’t use your muscles, you will start to lose them. After an injury it’s important to rest. But if you rest too long, the road to recovery can be longer than necessary. This is why swimming can help with rehab. Once you enter the pool, you give your body a much needed opportunity to move. You can slowly stretch your muscles and allow them the opportunity to work again. Start with gentle stretches to keep muscles loose and flexible. You can them work up to a more vigorous routine.

Keep In Shape

After an injury you will want to take things slow. However, once your doctor has signed off on more activity, swimming is a great way to stay in shape. There are many water aerobic exercise classes that can help you stay active and keep fit. Even if you have an injury, swimming can allow you to moderate your movements and still get a good workout in.

Stay Positive

Recovering after an injury is as much about physical shape as it is mental fitness. The more your move, the more energy you will have. Your mood will lift, and you will become more motivated to reach your rehab goals. Swimming can help with rehab because it can give you a sense of purpose. It can allow you to feel like yourself again.

4 Best Stretches You Don’t Want To Forget

4 best stretches you don't want to forgetWe’ve all been there. Stretching dutifully before a workout. Wondering if this is actually going to help or not. But, not knowing an alternative, we keep doing them. Well, as research into athletics becomes more in-depth, the science behind stretches has evolved. Stretches fall into two main categories: static and dynamic. Static stretches are what we’re primarily used to. Staying still while stretching individual parts of our body and holding for a few seconds. Dynamic stretches help move joints so that they can go through their full range of motions. Both types of stretching have their place, but if you want to focus on getting ready for a workout, be sure to incorporate dynamic stretching into your routine.

Walking Lunge

Lunges help to target your legs, glutes, and your core. Start by standing tall and place your feet shoulder-length apart. Lift your chest and put your shoulders back. Then, step forward with your right foot and lower your body until your right thigh is parallel to the floor. Both knees should be bent at 90 degree angles. After holding for a few seconds, bring your left food forward into a standing position. Repeat with the opposite leg. You can keep doing a row of lunges.

Hip Circles

Opening up your hip flexers is a great way to increase flexibility. This is a nice and simple dynamic stretch. Stand up with your legs shoulder-length apart. Place your hands on your hips. Then, move your hips making a clockwise circle. You can start with small circles and increase to larger circles. Move in one direction for 30 seconds and then repeat in the opposite direction.

Leg Swings

To help get your legs warmed up, this is a great, flexible stretch. It targets your hamstrings and glutes, while also working your hip muscles and joints. Stand up and extend your arms out from your side to keep your balance. If you struggle with balance, you can also hold on to a wall or chair with one arm. Raise your right leg to your side and then swing it back and forth in front of your body. Be sure to lift your chest and engage your core. Your back should also be straight. Swing your leg for 30 seconds before alternating to the other leg.

You can swing each leg from side to side and then switch to back to front for a whole range of motions.

Shoulder Roll

Shoulders are often forgotten about in stretching. But not only is important to warm them up for any arm movements, by relaxing our shoulders we can also eliminate tension caused by daily stresses. Start with your feet apart and your shoulders relaxed with your arms by your side. Then, slowly move your shoulders in a circle. Continue for 30 seconds before switching directions. This is actually a great stretch to do any time of the day.

How To Keep Fit In The Winter

how to keep fit in winter Bears hibernate in winter, and humans are often sorely tempted to do so as well. Instead of settling into the couch, though, do your best to keep fit in the winter. Here are some easy ways to keep moving, even when it’s freezing outside.

Join a Group

It’s surprising just how many free outdoor clubs there are that you can join, even in the winter. Groups like the November Project are free to join and meet weekly, usually in the morning. All ages and abilities are welcome, so you don’t need to feel self conscious about anything. What’s best is that if you work out with a group, it helps to really motivate yourself. The energy is contagious and will help you power through the frozen weather.

Set up a Home Gym

If you can clear a bit of space in a garage, basement, or rec room, try to set up a space that lets you move in the comfort of a heated area. You don’t actually need a lot of room for a proper exercise routine. Even 10 feet by 10 feet is plenty to move. Look online for exercise videos that will motivate you and set up a TV or computer screen to follow along with. Then, set aside 30 minutes every day to work out. Whether it’s early in the morning or after work, be sure to take this time for yourself to boost your energy and keep fit.

Eat Healthy

It can be hard to find fresh produce in the winter and fruit and vegetables that are available can be very expensive. As a result, eating healthy can be hard in winter. However, if you want to keep fit, you need to have a balanced diet to fill you with enough energy to keep moving. Look for frozen vegetables as these are still nutritious but often cheaper than fresh items in the winter. Beans and lentils are a great source of protein and are also part of comforting recipes.

We often overindulge over Christmas, and December is a good time to get back on track. Strive for balance, though. If you cut out all the treats in your diet, you aren’t going to stick to it. Instead, meal plan and track your food so that all food groups are included. Food diaries are an easy way to see just what you are consuming and help you to see patterns about your food choices.

Set a Target

Springtime is full of running races, so sign up for one in the winter so that you have a goal to work towards. Whether it’s 5 kilometers, 10 kilometers, a half marathon, or even a full marathon, find a race that has an inspiring location and sign up for it. By committing yourself, you feel obligated to keep fit. Work backwards from your goal so that you know just what type of training is involved. There are many sample running and workout schedules that will help you determine what weekly targets you need to reach to be able to meet your end goal.

What Does A Chiropractor Do?

what does a chiropractor do Chances are you have a friend that regularly visits the chiropractor. Or maybe you’ve complained about a sore back, only to have a co-worked suggest seeing a chiropractor. You vaguely know what this medicine is about but haven’t yet figured out just what a chiropractor does. Well, you’re at the right place now.

Benefits of a Chiropractor

Let’s start at the end. Or rather, the end results of visiting a chiropractor. For starters, you can expect improved movement and posture in your back, torso, shoulders, and neck. Usually, a bad back can wreak havoc on other parts of the body, so a chiropractor will work in conjunction with these areas to make sure they are all working properly together.

The symptoms of headaches may manifest in your head, but the cause could actually be coming from a different place. Neck and back pain may cause headaches, and after seeing a chiropractor, you will hopefully see some relief from the annoyance and pain of headaches.

For athletes, keeping a body well-tuned and properly aligned is key. Chiropractors can help with athletic performance by strengthening your spinal alignment. Motions become more fluid and your muscles don’t have to work so hard to compensate poor movements.

The same goes with flexibility. If you have tight muscles or a back that isn’t sitting right, it can be too difficult to achieve proper flexibility. Thankfully, a few sessions with a chiropractor can help set your body straight and help with future yoga poses.

Prevention

If you work in a physically-demanding job, it may be a good idea to visit a chiropractor before any injuries or stress begin to happen. Prevention is often overlooked because if there is no problem, it can seem like a time waster to seek help. But professionals such as chiropractors can ensure that major problems don’t happen. It’s far better to have a few regularly scheduled appointments with a chiropractor than to seek major medical help after a workplace injury or sprain.

Treatment Plan

Chiropractors, like all medically trained professionals, won’t just jump in and start working on you. Instead, they will execute a series of tests and analyses to see just what is going on with your body. They want to have the proper diagnosis first. Then, they will consult with you to make sure you fully understand what is happening. It is, after all, your body. Finally, a treatment plan will be discussed. This will include the number of sessions that are recommended and their length.

Throughout the treatment plan, which will include a series of spinal adjustments, you will still have a say in your own health. If treatments become too intense, speak up and your chiropractor will listen to you. Remember that this is your body and your health, so be sure to take ownership of it.

5 Important Benefits Of Massage Therapy

5 important benefits of massage therapy Massage therapy is more than just a visit to the spa. It is a science that uses advanced knowledge of the body that treats a whole number of ailments. Massage therapy often works best as a series of treatments. While there may be come initial progress after one session, the body needs time to heal itself, which is why it’s recommended to come back on a regular basis. Here are five important benefits of massage therapy. If you feel like this refers to yourself, be sure to book your next appointment.

Eases muscle pain

Muscle pain is one of the most widely used reasons to seek massage therapy. Whether it is chronic back pain or the result of a sports injury, massage therapy can do wonders to aid your muscles. The muscles in your body can sometimes be deep below the surface and it takes a trained professional to know the muscular system and how to help them. With massage therapy, your muscles can find the relief necessary to begin to heal themselves so that you can continue unencumbered in your life.

Improves sleep

It’s impossible to sleep if you are restless. The stressful moments of the day keep replaying in your mind, and your brain just won’t fall asleep. Massage therapy helps to relax both the body and the mind, allowing you a better night sleep.

Relieves headaches

Headaches may manifest in your head, but they are often the results of pressures on other parts of your body. Massage therapy selects these trigger points and helps to eliminate the tension in your body. Chronic tension headaches can easily be alleviated through massage therapy. If you find yourself reaching for the bottle of ibuprofen too often, book a massage instead to reap the rewards.

Reduces stress

Massage therapy is meant to relax as much as to heal you. A calming atmosphere, soothing music, and essential oils help to wipe away the stresses of the day. It is a chance for you to be one with your body. There are no distractions. Instead, massage therapy helps with mindfulness. You are compelled to focus on your body and your thoughts and not your actions.

Improves posture

After sitting all day at the office, our spine can become compressed. Furthermore, the typing on a computer usually entails hunched shoulders, no matter how much we try to remain sitting upright. Massage therapy helps to remove the pressure from the spine and realign the muscles that have been affected all day long. Massage will loosen muscles and help relieve pressure points so that the body can retain its natural positioning.

How Does Laser Therapy Help With Rehab?

how does laser therapy help with rehab Any athlete knows the agony of dealing with an injury. You go from the top of your game to sitting on the bench, and the pain can be overwhelming. You might try a lot of therapies, but one revolutionary idea is laser therapy. Here we will discus what laser therapy is and how it can help with rehab.

What is Laser Therapy?

The innovations in the science of laser has revolutionized the rehab world. Damaged cells in your body need a catalyst to heal themselves. Time can begin to heal, but sometimes a bit more help is needed. A handheld laser is used on the affected area of the body. It doesn’t take long, lasting up to seven minutes at a time, depending on the type of injury. A trained professional will monitor the effectiveness of the laser and make any adjustments as needed.

The science behind laser therapy works on a molecular level. Inside cells of the body are mitochondrion which have light receptors. The laser emits energy which is absorbed by the mitochondrion. This energy then helps the cells receive higher levels of oxygen and glucose, which allows them to work harder.

Why Choose Laser Therapy

There are many ways to go through rehabilitation, but among them all, laser therapy is an easy, practical solution. Surgery is intensive and creates a long recover time. Often, multiple surgeries are needed as the injury keeps rebounding. Instead, laser therapy has no recovery period. You don’t have to rest after a treatment.

As well, there are no side effects with laser therapy. It is pain free and there are no issues afterwards. Medications often come with a litany of side effects, some more painful than the initial injury.

Who Should Use Laser Therapy

There are many types of injuries that can be aided with laser therapy. Sports injuries that involve soft tissue damage, bursitis, and tendonitis, can all be remedied. For those with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, you can also take advantage of laser therapy.

As you get older, joints can become inflamed, or previous injuries can wreak havoc with your body. You can turn to laser therapy for help with back pain, neck pain, and knee pain. Headaches and migraines might also benefit from this method.

If you feel like your body overall needs a bit of help, you can also look into laser therapy to improve your blood circulation. This, in turn, can help with nerve and muscles function.

Ask an Expert

If you’re still not sure about laser therapy for rehab purposes, it’s best to speak with a professional. They can look at your body more closely and recommend a course of treatment for you so that you can start to feel like your healthy self again.

Chiropractic care: beyond the appointment

Many tend to think chiropractic is a place for quick pain relief, but the truth goes much further. Many practitioners have multiple areas of study, and can give care that extends far beyond the borders of the clinic. In this article I’ll be going over just that, Chiropractic care: beyond the appointment.

Lack of medication:

Since chiropractors don’t prescribe medicine, we have to use other means to achieve the same results; especially since we’re trying to treat the root cause of the issue and not only its effects. There are many things people can do to increase their health and recovery rates that don’t need a prescription, and we go to great lengths to learn about them. One example is health supplements. These can be bought at a local shop and can offer a wide range of benefits for many conditions while being safe to use. These goods come in the form of tea, capsules, plant extracts, hot/cold compresses, etc… which are easy to find and often overlooked by other health practitioners.

Diet:

Many conditions have consequences on other parts of the body, or can be exacerbated by dietary choices. Chiropractors can’t give nutritional advice the way a nutritionist can, because we focus more specifically on how food affects certain conditions. Obviously a chiropractor can give good advice on losing weight, but our focus is for example is teaching someone with joint pain how to avoid foods that may make the pain worse. Another thing chiropractors can help with is telling someone if their current weight is unhealthy for their musculoskeletal system, regardless of aesthetics. Diet plays an important role in sleep, energy, exercise, and many other factors that could play a role in the development of your condition.

Posture / Habits:

Sitting awkwardly on a small chair on a night out with friends might be uncomfortable, but is highly unlikely to leave long-lasting effects, however a lifetime of bad habits is another story. Many ailments that crop up in someone’s middle or later years are results of their lifestyle, conscious or not we each move in particular ways and some of these may have consequences. Since the primary area of expertise for a chiropractor is the muscoskeletal system,  we can easily spot bad posture, or the results of bad habits on our patients. It’s not a fun lesson having to change the way you sit, for example, but this can have very good results down the line.

Exercise:

Exercise is a two sided coin since it can be both extremely beneficial, or extremely prejudicial. It may not be immediately noticeable, but many sports put a lot of strain on specific parts of the body, and being able to make the line between cause and effect may not be very simple. A chiropractor can easily tell you if you need to take a break from a sport, or if continuing could aggravate an injury. Another thing a chiropractor can do is recommend different ways someone could get some exercise done depending on what ailments they have. Many athletes are used to minor injuries, and this makes them susceptible to attempt to force through an injury, and greatly aggravating it, instead of getting proper treatment.

Chiropractors focus on treatments though the musculoskeletal system, but are versed in treating all manner of ailments. Since throughout the session there is lots of conversation, we can often glean insights into the patients life and give advice another type of practitioner may not have considered. Personal care means personalized treatments, dealing directly with the body it’s very clear how different we all are, which is why we strive to offer case-by-case advice for changes in lifestyle, rather than a simple prescription.

How physiotherapy can help you get fit

Many think getting fit involves nothing more than running and lifting a few weights, but this is far from the truth. When you decide to get your body in shape there are many things you should take into account, which is why we took the time to explain How physiotherapy can help you get fit.

1. General preparation

Going from sedentary to 5k with no preparation usually ends in injuries and frustration. People tend to forget they no longer possess the body of a teenager, and attempt feats their bodies aren’t ready to handle. A Physiotherapist can help anyone who wants to get fit do “regular maintenance” on their body, making sure all the different muscle groups are ready to handle whatever you want to do. During regular life, many of the body’s muscle groups are unused, and deteriorate over time, making them extremely weak; this is how the body optimizes itself. A great example are the “core” abdominal muscles, specifically the lateral ones, which are rarely used during everyday life, but play a critical role in exercise. When we start doing exercise, however, those weak muscles come under a lot of stress.

2. Specific preparation

A physiotherapist can diagnose your musculature and body, and from there come up with a plan to get you in shape to…get in shape! Usually this work involves strengthening specific muscle groups in the back, lower abdomen, etc… so that when the time comes to put real stress on your body you won’t have any part giving out on you. Since this is very specific training for specific muscle groups it’s not practical to self-diagnose and come up with a way to train, which is why professional help can be so helpful. A Physiotherapist will also help you optimize the way you walk, run, and move, to be more healthy. For the strengthening stage, there are a variety of exercises that can be done using large rubber bands, exercise balls, and other tools to get those muscles into a workable state. This kind of work is very rewarding since it’ll go a long way in making the “getting into shape” phase much more pain-free and enjoyable.

3. Healthy exercise

Physiotherapists can help beyond initial prep though. Many practitioners are versed in different types of physical training techniques which are extremely healthy and focus on working the body as a whole. Many sports focus on specific muscle groups, and many gym workouts do this as well. This can be unhealthy because it disproportionately strengthens different parts of the body. Physiotherapy can work on the body as a whole, and never leave any muscles vulnerable. This is excellent for preparing the body for any eventuality, or to prepare the body for an active lifestyle that is always ready for anything. This kind of exercise is especially helpful in the day-to-day because this type of training doesn’t “wear” at the body like most sports, and leaves the body prepared for a much wider range of activities.

Physiotherapy is far from being something that is only good for rehabilitating injuries. Many don’t realize until old age, but taking care of all of your muscles and body has consequences that reach far into the future, and can have a large impact on daily life.