Weightlifting or Cardio: How To Know Which One Is Best For You

Cardio exercise and weightlifting hold equally important places when it comes to physical therapy and exercising for good health. The only way to know which of the two is the better choice is to know what your end goal is. If building up stamina and endurance is your end goal, the best choice would definitely be cardio exercise. If building mass or regaining physical strength is your end goal, the best choice for you would be weightlifting.

However, just because you choose one doesn’t mean you should totally ditch the other! Even though your primary focus may revolve around one type of exercise, it is extremely important to include the other in your daily workout plan as well.

Read on to learn more about cardio and weightlifting exercises, and how a physical therapist can help you figure out how to get a good balance in between the two for your daily workout schedule.

Why Is Cardio Important?

Cardio exercises, or “aerobic exercise” as it’s also commonly referred to as, involves any kind of physical activity that increases your blood flow and gets your heart rate up. It’s recommended to get at least two and a half hours of cardio exercise per week. Some examples of cardio activities are as follows.

  • Speed walking
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Running

According to Healthline, “Aerobic exercise is recommended by the American Heart Association and by most doctors to people with, or at risk for, heart disease. That’s because exercise strengthens your heart and helps it more efficiently pump blood throughout the body. Cardiovascular exercise can also help lower blood pressure, and keep your arteries clear by raising “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and lowering “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels in the blood.”

There are tons of benefits to cardiovascular exercise as well! A few are listed below.

  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Helps regulate blood sugar
  • Reduces chronic pain symptoms
  • Regulates sleep
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight
  • Strengthens immune system
  • Improves mood

If you want to learn more about cardiovascular exercise and how to safely incorporate them into your daily routine, contact our office today. One of our skilled physical therapists will be able to assess your body, strength and goals, and help create the most effective, efficient workout routine possible.

Why Is Weightlifting Important?

It is a good idea for a person who is focusing on endurance to work a few weightlifting exercises into their routine. The same is true for people who are weightlifting. You will only go so far with your progress without some degree of endurance. The key is to create a healthy balance between the two, and remember to constantly change your workouts so your body does not fall into a routine!

One common misconception people have about weightlifting is that it’s only meant for those who are trying to build bigger, bulky muscles. This isn’t true at all. In fact, according to Forbes, “weightlifting can create non-bulky muscles that have stronger thicker fibers, which with power training have shown to enhance performance in endurance sports.” You don’t have to be a wrestler or professional athlete to lift weights!

Just like cardio exercise, there is a whole list of benefits that come with weight training! A few are as follows:

  • Building muscles combat the buildup of fat
  • Improves mood
  • Lowers risk of developing diseases such as diabetes
  • Improves heart health
  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Speeds up metabolism
  • Stimulates bone tissue growth

If you want to learn more about weightlifting and how to make sure you’re lifting the right amount for your body, a physical therapist can help you out!

Contact Our Office Today

When it comes to setting fitness goals, changing things up and keeping them interesting is key! Make sure that you’re trying out new exercises to challenge yourself. Push your limits on occasion to find out just how well you are doing. A physical therapist can assess your current abilities and help you figure out the correct and safest plan of action when it comes to your fitness goals.

You may be surprised at your progress once you determine what type of exercises will best fit your needs, whether your workout ends up being more cardio heavy, or more oriented around lifting weights. Be sure to decide on a few goals first, such as “I want to lose weight and build muscle!” or “I want to improve my overall health.” Once you have those answers, you’re off to a great start!

Contact TheraFit offices in Hazel Green, AL and Fayetteville, TN today for more information. We’re here to help make your fitness journey a successful one!

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Should You Be Wearing Weightlifting Shoes In The Gym?

If you’re an athlete or someone who enjoys copious amounts of exercise, you need to maintain a high fitness level. This requires relying on strong core muscles to stabilize our bodies so that we can perform to the best of our ability. One of the primary exercises to strengthen the core is the squat.

This seems like a pretty typical and easy exercise, but in order to perfect it, athletes must improve their form. For squats, this means reducing forward lean, getting the thighs as close to a horizontal position as they can, and keeping the hips at or below knee level. What happens to the feet during this exercise is a matter of debate. Some people think the feet should be flat on the ground. Others believe the heel should be slightly elevated. Those who believe in elevating the heel often choose running or weightlifting shoes.

Read on to learn more about the effects of using weightlifting shoes while squatting!

What Are The Differences Between Weightlifting Shoes and Running Shoes?

Running shoes and weightlifting shoes are two different things. At first glance, weightlifting shoes appear to be the better choice. Most weightlifting shoes come with a lateral stability that running shoes don’t offer, thanks to a wider base and differences in construction, like a less flexible midsole. Running shoes are also cushioned, and absorb energy when exercising. If you lift weights, you want to redirect as much energy as possible during the movement vertically.

Don’t use your running or other athletic shoes for lifting purposes. The ideal lifting shoe should be hard with a raised heel, as this comes in handy with exercises such as squats and deadlifts. You don’t need as much arch support when weightlifting, either.

The differences in cushioning, shape, and construction between weightlifting shoes and other kinds of footwear produce a different result when wearing the weightlifting shoes. Scientific studies can show exactly what kinematic differences will manifest when wearing either type of shoe.

What Happens When You Wear Weightlifting Shoes During Squats?

A study conducted by three researchers at the University of Northern Colorado observed the differences when fit, college-aged males performed repetitions of squats at 60% of their maximum ability. The study participants randomly switched between running shoes and an unnamed brand of weightlifting shoes. The researchers observed the range of motion (ROM), trunk displacement and ankle flexibility.

The weightlifting shoes made a difference with ankle flexion, which was expected due to the lifted position of the heel in weightlifting shoes. This meant it was easier for the study participants to maintain proper squat form during the exercise. Their thighs and hips remained vertical and there was less leaning forward. The knees moved over the toes more easily, which also promoted better form and performance.

The weightlifting shoes also produced less displacement in the torso region than the running shoes did. The athletes exhibited much less forward lean during the exercise and were able to redirect the energy upward. The researchers surmised this was due to less stress on the lower back.

The participants in the study stated they thought it was easier to perform squats in the weightlifting shoes than in the running shoes as well. This may have been due to the reduced stress on the lower back or through some other factors, such as the mental conditioning of being told they were using shoes specifically for weightlifting rather than for running.

To Wear Weightlifting Shoes Or Not….

Weightlifting shoes may not be for you if you’re a runner, but if you spend a lot of time in the gym with barbells and the like, it’s probably a good idea to consider getting a pair! If you’re just starting out, it may be even more beneficial to wear shoes with less heel lift so you can focus on proper form. For strength athletes or powerlifters, weightlifting shoes may help maintain form during heavy lifting or competition.

Proper form when executing squats will help prevent injury. The study results suggest that the weightlifting shoes promote better form, and should then help prevent injury. Athletes at any level of experience can benefit from this aspect of wearing weightlifting shoes while performing squats.

If you aren’t quite sure what kind of shoes would be best for your level of physical activity, no problem. Contact TheraFit today. One of our experts in physical therapy will be able to assess your form, ask questions about the kinds of sports or athletic activity you participate in and make an educated suggestion about what type of footwear would be best suited to your needs!

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4 Ways To Lead a Healthier Lifestyle

It’s not always easy to know the first place you can begin when it comes to making adjustments in your life for your health and wellbeing. Some people tell you exercise, some say diet, and some even suggest making little changes in all areas all at once! It can be a little overwhelming, and often, instead of making any changes, people give up and make absolutely zero. This isn’t a good idea, and will do nothing but set you back in the long run when it comes to your overall health!

Physical therapy at TheraFit Physical Therapy & Fitness Center offers a way to stay fit and active while being closely monitored by a professional. However, if you’re looking for a few small suggestions that will leave you feeling healthy, energized, and much more fit at home, keep on reading!

Stretch Your Body!

Before getting out of bed, stretch your arms to the ceiling. Move your hands, wrists, and flex your fingers. Take a deep breath. Fill your lungs and stretch your stomach. Tighten and release your legs, calves, ankles, feet, and toes. You can end this little routine by sitting up, putting your legs over the edge of your bed, and stretching your neck and back. In doing this, you loosen each muscle and increase the flow of oxygen. This healthy approach to your morning routine will leave you much more energized!

Some people like to do yoga for their daily morning stretches. If that’s something that interests you, below are 7 suggested yoga stretches to do in the morning.

  • Child’s Pose:
  • Downward-Facing Dog
  • One-Legged Dog
  • Warrior 1 Post:
  • Mountain Pose
  • Standing Bending Forward Pose

Doing these stretches loosens up your limbs as well as the muscles and tissues that might become stiff overnight as you’re asleep, unmoving. This is a great way to start the day and get you feeling a little bit more awake.

Drink Enough Water

Healthline states, “Water plays many roles in your body, including maintaining electrolyte balance and blood pressure, lubricating joints, regulating body temperature, and promoting cell health.” Staying hydrated throughout the day is critical if you want to remain healthy and keep health problems at bay! There are many ways you can incorporate more water intake into your routine.

  • Set a daily water intake goal for yourself.
  • Keep a reusable water bottle on hand.
  • Replace caffeinated drinks (sodas, coffee, energy drinks) with water.
  • Drink one glass of water before eating.
  • Invest in a quality water filtration system to make sure your water actually tastes good.

Get Daily Exercise

Exercising may not be your thing, however, it’s important to have some sort of physical activity in your routine. Whether it is a 2-minute jog in place or a 15-minute yoga session, find a way to get physical activity in!

It not only helps your body to be healthier from a physical standpoint, it also helps your mental health as well. If you’re struggling to figure out good ways to fit more physical activity into your everyday routine, physical therapy could be a great option for you as well. Contact our office to speak with one of our therapists about incorporating

If pain is holding you back, our physical therapists can help. Give us a call; we’ll help make every morning a better one!

Maintain a Healthy Diet

There are many benefits to healthy eating, including increased energy, and lower amounts of inflammation. Certain foods have been known to alleviate inflammation, where some foods can aggravate it. According to Harvard Health Publishing, “A lot of chronic pain is the result of chronic inflammation, and the evidence is quite strong that your diet can contribute to increased systemic inflammation.” So, eating healthy can decrease pain symptoms!

Have you ever noticed how the colors of recommended fruits and vegetables create a rainbow? This “rainbow” of fruits and vegetables is excellent for heart health and boosted immunity. Eating colorful foods also fights inflammation. Try to fit more colorful fruits and vegetables into your diet. Dark green veggies like spinach and kale, orange veggies such as sweet potatoes and carrots, red and purple foods like tomatoes and beets, and yellow ones like corn and sweet peppers are excellent choices to slip into your meals and snack dishes.

Questions? Contact Our Office!

Through stretching, staying hydrated, exercising, and eating balanced meals, you should start feeling a whole lot better! If these suggestions don’t offer enough variety for you in leading a healthier lifestyle, no worries. Contact TheraFit Physical Therapy & Fitness Center any time to schedule an appointment to see a physical therapist. He or she will be more than happy to assess your physical needs and teach you more ways to lead a more active lifestyle.

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How Can Physical Therapy Can Give You Relief From Hip and Knee Pain?

Do you find yourself saying “no” to certain activities because of your hip or knee pain? Physical therapy may be a great option for you, whether your pain is experienced when you’re sitting or moving. We want to help you get back to your regular routine, so be sure to call our office for a consultation with a licensed physical therapist, and learn how we can help relieve your pain.

Why Is Hip and Knee Pain A Serious Problem?

The hips and knees are the largest joints in your body. They work closely with each other for optimum mobility and to support your body’s weight. Needless to say, they have a pretty big job to do, so it’s important they’re performing at their best.

What Are Hips and Knees Made Of?

Your knee is comprised of several ligaments and muscles Knee pain is actually the second most common cause of chronic pain. Failing to address this kind of pain can cause huge issues in your life.

Your hip joint consists of two parts: the femoral head and the acetabulum. The femoral head is the round, “ball-shaped” piece of a bone, and the acetabulum is the socket the femoral head fits into. Ligaments connect the femoral head to the acetabulum.

Just like the knees, hips are complex, and both types of pain can affect people at any age.

What Kinds of Knee Pain Are There?

Knee pain can be a direct side effect of any number of injuries or diseases. It can also come about as a result of a car accident, a bad fall, or a sports related injury. Some of the most commonly experienced types of knee pain include:

  • Gout
  • Ligament strains and sprains
  • Overuse (example: too much running on rough, hard ground)
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Anterior injuries
  • Fractures around the knee

Knee pain can affect your overall mobility as well as reduce your strength and affect muscle control.

What Kinds of Hip Pain Are There?

You might have pain in your groin area or right inside your hip if there are issues with your hip joint. If the pain is on the outside of your hip, it probably is due to issues with your tendons, muscles, and ligaments. It might even be hard for you to stand up if you experience hip pain. Hip pain can also be a result of the following conditions:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Bursitis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sprains
  • Hip fracture
  • Sciatica

Physical Therapy Can Help Alleviate Your Knee and Hip Pain

If any of the conditions or symptoms above apply to you, it’s a good idea for you to see a physical therapist. Your therapist can do an in-depth evaluation of your gait, palpate, range of motion measurements, and run a series of mobility tests to form a custom treatment plan for your hip or knee pain.

Not all treatment plans are created quite the same. Different issues might require other kinds of therapy, such as heat or ice therapy, exercises, and ultrasound therapy. Research shows that joint mobilization techniques can help with long and short-term ailments involving the hip. Even better — there is usually improvement with overall mobility as well!

If you’re suffering from hip or knee pain, make sure you call us to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced physical therapists. They can help reduce or even eliminate your pain, so that you can go back to living a pain-free lifestyle.

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How to Improve Your Balance By Increasing Your Core Strength

The relationship between core strength and balance is something that has been widely discussed within the physical therapy field for several years. Your trunk contains multiple core muscles that work to prevent physically limiting conditions, such injuries, lower back pain, or balance and gait disorders. When your core is strong, it helps keep you upright and decreases your risk of falling. If you are interested in learning more about how our services can improve your balance, contact us today!

How are core and balance related?

There are three systems in your body that help to control your balance: The visual system, the vestibular system, and the proprioceptive system.

The visual system refers to the messages that your brain and eyes send to each other, in order to help you see. Your eyes send signals to your brain about your position in relation to the world around you.

The vestibular system refers to the liquid in your inner ear that functions as a sort of “carpenter’s balance,” in order to keep you level. If you’ve ever felt dizzy, it generally means that the liquid in the vestibular system is a little bit off-balance.

The proprioceptive system is the one that involves your core. Proprioception nerves are sensory nerves that situate throughout the body. They make you aware of your posture and aware of spatial things around you.

In order to stay balanced, one must have equilibrium in all three systems. A weak core is one element that can make you feel off-balance and cause you to fall down.

The impact of core muscles on stability:

When many people think of core muscles, they immediately picture the abs – but there are so much more! In fact, there are two separate groups of core muscles: the inner core and the outer core.

The inner core muscles are attached to your spine and they help to stabilize your core. The outer core muscles work in conjunction with the inner core muscles whenever you need to move your body from point A to point B – or, essentially to do most physical activities.

When we think of “core stability,” we are thinking of the inner core muscles. When we think of “core strength,” we are thinking of the outer core muscles. Engaging in physical therapy will help you to train both your inner and outer core muscles, in order to achieve better balance and movement.

PT treatments for core building and improved balance:

Core strength can be improved upon without pricy gym equipment. Many physical therapists will recommend a simple and quick exercise known as the “drawing in maneuver.”

To accomplish this exercise, begin by standing up straight with your hips in line with the rest of your body. Suck in your stomach, as if you were drawing your belly button in toward your spine. Then, walk around with your belly button still drawn in.

Ideally, your core muscles should be strong enough to hold that position for at least 30 seconds. However, if you are out of shape, you may have to build up to this time. This should be a painless exercise, so if you notice any pain while performing it, make sure you stop immediately. Once your core begins to build more muscle, your physical therapist will move you on to more difficult exercises, such as yoga, planks, or bridges.

If you have been struggling with your balance, we can help. Contact us today to learn how our core strengthening services can improve your balance and get you back on your feet!

Staying Healthy As We Age: The Importance of Physical Activity

It’s pretty common to be less active the older we get, but if we want to remain as healthy as possible, we must incorporate as much physical activity into our daily lives as we can! Thankfully there are many easy ways to increase your levels of activity that most people can include in their every day routine. Call Therafit today for more information about how you can increase your physical activity and lead a healthier life.

How Can I Increase My Physical Activity?

Below are seven great ways to add more physical activity into your routine.

  1. Bike Rides – Do you live in a rural area? If so, great! This is a wonderful opportunity to get your bike out of the garage and go for a spin. Even if you don’t live in a rural area, no worries. Lots of suburban/urban areas have bike trails and paths. Bike riding is a fun and easy way to get a good workout into your day.
  2. Adopt a Furry Pal – Getting a dog can keep you active and provide numerous health benefits, (especially if it’s a puppy, they have lots of energy and encourage you to get out and exercise with them!) If you own a dog already, make sure you’re walking your pet every day. The Mayo Clinic even suggests borrowing a dog if you don’t have one, so ask your friends if you can spend some time with Fido when they’re busy!
  3. Stairs Instead of Elevator – If you live in an apartment building or work in a high-rise building with tons of floors, you definitely have a good opportunity to get a work out in. Even if you only have a few flights to go, over time it’ll make a noticeable difference.If you’re coming back from lunch with a friend, tell them you’ll meet them at the top and then take the stairs!
  4. Park Farther Away – Do you run a lot of errands every week? Although it might seem like a great idea to find a spot as close to the front of the store as possible, parking in a spot far away provides an extra opportunity to get some walking in for the day.
  5. Sitting on the Floor – This is a great option for when you’re folding laundry, watching TV, or enjoying a book. Sitting on the floor isn’t just for kids! It can increase your activity level even as an adult, because you’ll find that you naturally stretch your limbs and move more to reach things while sitting on the floor.
  6. Swap Out Your Riding Lawn Mower – Using a push mower to cut your grass is a great way to get this chore accomplished while also getting in some daily activity. Strengthen those muscles!
  7. Stand Up – If you work sitting in front of a computer for most of the day, you should consider getting a standing desk that lets you stand up while you work. If you don’t have a standing desk, getting up and walking around every half hour to hour or so will really improve your overall level of physical activity.

How Do We Become Inactive?

There are few causes of inactivity, which can include everything from a busy schedule to a physical condition that prevents you from being as active as you should be. If you don’t engage in enough physical activity, you might struggle with weak muscle tone or aching joints. According to the Arthritis Foundation, the more inactive you’re being, the easier it is for you to become tired. There are lots of other physical ailments that come with inactivity, such as:

  • Weakened Bones
  • Hormonal Imbalance
  • Poor Blood Circulation
  • Increased Inflammation/Swelling

Make sure you’re getting enough activity in every day to avoid these issues!

Physical Therapy Can Help You Lead a More Active Lifestyle!

If you’re suffering from side effects of an inactive lifestyle, physical therapy could be the answer. A physical therapist can provide manual therapies that will not only increase your flexibility, but also improve your range of motion. They can also give you at-home exercises to do as well! Most likely, you will have a physical therapy program created especially for you and your needs.

If you want to lead a life without pain and stiffness, then it’s important to stay as active as possible. You want to keep your muscles, tendons, and joints flexible! Try adding a couple of the ways to exercise (listed above) to your daily routine to keep moving. Don’t forget, working with a licensed physical therapist can also help you stay fit and healthy! Contact Therafit today to find out how we can help you get back to an active lifestyle.

Get Your Hip and Knee Joints Moving Again with These 5 At-Home Exercises

Are your hips and knees feeling stiff, achy, or even painful? Noticing more discomfort in your joints when standing up and moving around? If so, you’re not alone.

This quarantine has taken a toll on many people’s bodies, as it has become much more difficult to maintain the same levels of physical activity at home. However, getting exercise is still very important – especially for your hips and knees!

Your hips and knees were made to move, and when we sit around without exercising them, they can lock up, become tight, and result in discomfort. You may be wondering how you can get the same workouts in your lower extremities without gym equipment – well, we’ve got you covered! Follow the exercises below for both relief and prevention for hip and knee pains – and, as always, if you have any questions about these exercises, don’t hesitate to call or message us.

5 exercises to stretch and strengthen the lower extremities

  • Hip Circles Hips bothering you while stuck at home? Try some Hip Circles! This easy-to-do exercise is exactly what it sounds like – simply lie on your side, raise your top leg and rotate your hip in a circular motion. Then, switch to the opposite direction. Begin by doing 3 reps of 10 with both legs – your hips will be feeling better in no time!

Here is a video for your reference: https://vimeo.com/354635534/ed456c310a 

  • Straight Leg Raise. When stuck at home, sedentary tendencies can cause the knees and hips to lock up, resulting in pain. Get those joints moving again with a Straight Leg Raise. Simply lay flat on the ground and lift your legs until they are straight in the air at a 90 degree angle with the rest of your body. Repeat 3 reps of 10 for both legs. Bonus – this also works your abs!

Here is a video for your reference: https://vimeo.com/253319361/385e6397da 

  • Hip External Rotation Stretch. This is a great stretch for targeting both your hip and knee joints. Begin by sitting on the floor with your feet straight out in front of you. Then, bend one knee across the opposite leg and push down on said knee with your hand – you should feel this stretch in both your hips and knees! Repeat these directions on both sides to get a full stretch.

Here is a video for your reference: https://vimeo.com/396686977/03443a1dcc

  • Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch. If you are looking for a deep stretch, this is the one for you. Kneel on a mat or soft surface. Make sure you’re positioned so your right knee is straight up and the bottom of your right foot is flat on the floor. Extend your left leg behind you so the top of your left foot is flat on the floor. Begin to shift your weight forward and stop when you begin to feel the stretch in your hip. Hold for 30-45 seconds, then switch legs.

Here is a video for your reference: https://vimeo.com/313249747/fc2b99416b 

  • Standing Hip Flex. This one will surely get your blood pumping! Begin by standing up straight and then lift your right knee up in a 90 degree angle in front of you. Then, rotate your leg sideways while keeping that same position by shifting your hip muscles. Hold this position and then slowly rotate your hips back to the front and place your foot back down, flat on the ground. Repeat these same instructions with your left knee, completing 3 reps of 10 on each side. 

Here is a video for your reference: https://vimeo.com/398211318/e408af2c5c

Questions?

Looking for more assistance with these exercises? No problem! If you have any questions about how to perform these exercises or add more into your daily routine, call or message Therafit at any time. We are here to help you remain active, safe, and healthy at home!

Get Back to Comfort with These Back Exercises – All of Which You Can Do at Home!

Are you feeling back pain after being quarantined to your home? You may be wondering, “Why is this? I’ve barely left the couch!” Well, therein lies the issue.

The sedentary lifestyle that I’m sure many people have experienced since being quarantined to their homes can actually lead to more aches, pains, and discomfort than one may think – especially in the back.

Your body, quite simply, was made to move! With gyms and exercise classes closing down for the time being, it can be difficult to find the motivation to get your daily physical activity while sitting at home. Luckily, there are several easy exercises you can do on your own to relieve your back pain and get moving! 

Always exercise and stretch within your comfort zone. Never push into pain and if you are unsure of doing any of the exercises below, simply consult your physical therapist first.

6 exercises to stretch those back muscles:

  • Lumbar Rotation Stretch in Lying. Back giving you troubles? Try a Lumbar Rotation Stretch in Lying. Lying sideways with your top knee bent and bottom knee straight, gently rotate your torso so your head is facing the opposite direction of your legs. Hold the stretch and then switch sides. This will stretch out your back and get you feeling comfortable once again!

Here is a video for your reference: https://vimeo.com/333092920/1dbb30daae

  • Bird Dog (Leg Slide). With major businesses shutting down, we know how disappointing it is to not be able to attend the weekly yoga classes you enjoy so much. Fortunately, you can bring the same yoga stretches to your own home. Begin on the floor with your knees bent beneath you and your hands flat in front of you, so your back is flat toward the ceiling. Stretch your left arm out in front of you and your right leg out behind you, so your toes are pointing down at the ground. Hold this stretch and then repeat on the opposite side, with your right arm and your left leg. The Bird Dog (Leg Slide) exercise is great at targeting the back muscles to give you that relieving stretch you’re looking for! 

Here is a video for your reference: https://vimeo.com/371130374/85ad5de4ee

  • Hip Bias Lunges (Back Heel Down). Who doesn’t love a good lunge? This is a great exercise to get you moving. As a bonus, it not only targets your back but also focuses on your knee muscles. Begin standing in a slight lunge position with one leg slightly bent out in front of you and the other leg straight behind you. Lean your torso forward so it is almost in a 90 degree angle with the floor (this will cause your back leg to bend, as well). Hold this stretch and continue reps on the side you are on, then switch sides repeating the same steps.

Here is a video for your reference: https://vimeo.com/391227766/dc90917bdc 

  • Standing Hip Abduction 45 Degree Angle Back Arom. This exercise may have a lengthy name, but we promise it’s not that difficult! For this exercise, you will need a chair or something else to steady yourself. Stand with your left hand on the back of the chair and place your right hand on your hip. Keeping your back straight and face forward, slowly kick your back leg out behind you until you feel the stretch in your back. Continue a few reps and then switch sides, placing your left hand on your hip and kicking your left leg out behind you. Make sure to always keep the opposite hand on the chair to steady yourself. 

Here is a video for your reference: https://vimeo.com/285854056/0165cea4f4

  • Standing Shoulder Flex/Hip Extension With Back Arch (Wall). Another exercise that has a lengthy name but is very easy to do! For this exercise, you will begin standing with your hands outstretched directly in front of you on a wall. In a fluid “swinging” motion, extend your right arm and left leg behind you so your back is arched, then bring them both toward the wall. Continue doing this in fluid motions. After a few reps, repeat this exercise on the other side of your body, with your left arm and right leg.

Here is a video for your reference: https://vimeo.com/394420569/71808708d0

  • Neural Mobility SLR (Outward Turn). Looking for a great way to stretch your back, legs, and glutes at the same time? This exercise is for you! Begin by laying down on your back with both arms clasped around your right hamstring. Raise that leg in the air, keeping the left one bent with your feet flat on the ground. Flex your right foot that is in the air so that the bottom of your foot is flat facing the ceiling, then point that foot so that your toes are straight up toward the ceiling. Then, slowly bring that leg back down to a bent position between your hands. Continue for a few reps and then switch legs, repeating the same steps.

Here is a video for your reference: https://vimeo.com/370059225/1087fe3a40

Questions?

If you have any questions about any of these exercises or if you are looking for more ways to relieve back pain during the quarantine, call or message Therafit at any time. We want to make sure you are as comfortable as possible while also staying active at home!

What’s the Difference Between Sprains and Strains?

It is a common misconception that “sprains” and “strains” are interchangeable terms. In reality, there are some key differences between the two. In order to understand how they differ, it is important to first understand what ligaments and tendons are.

Ligaments connect bones to bones within a joint, while tendons connect bones to muscles. When you experience a sprain, you are tearing or overstretching a ligament. Conversely, when you experience a strain, you are tearing or overstretching a tendon.

If you have recently sustained a sprain or strain, or you believe you may have, don’t hesitate to contact us to consult with a physical therapist. We’ll determine the best course of treatment for your needs and get you started on the road to recovery!

Treating sprains and strains:

Mild sprains and strains are often treated with the RICE technique: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. However, when the RICE technique doesn’t work, or if pain is unbearable and/or constant, it is in your best interest to visit a doctor. A doctor may take an X-ray to see if there are any breaks in the bone. If there are no breaks found, the diagnosis is usually a strain or sprain.

Physical therapy is an effective method for treating sprains and strains. No matter how you incurred your injury, our dedicated physical therapists can play a major role in your comeback. One of our licensed physical therapists will use a mix of passive and active treatments to reduce pain, improve strength, and increase coordination. Passive treatments may include massage, ice and heat therapies, electrical stimulation, or ultrasound. Active treatments include targeted stretches and exercises.

A very common type of ligament sprain is an ACL tear, which physical therapy has been proven successful in treating. It has also been proven successful in treating various other types of tears, such as those to the Achilles tendon or hamstring.

Common causes of sprains and strains:

The symptoms of a sprain and strain are much alike, due to the fact that the injuries are very similar in nature. You may experience swelling, muscle spasm, difficulty with range of motion, limited flexibility, or pain around the affected joint. However, there is one main difference in symptoms: with a sprain, you will usually present bruising around the affected joint, whereas this is not always the case with a sprain. Some of the most common causes of sustaining a sprain or strain include:

  • Prolonged repetitive motion.
  • Overexerting yourself.
  • Lifting heavy objects.
  • Slipping and falling.
  • Athletic activities.

There are also certain risk factors that may increase your chances of sustaining a sprain or strain, such as neglecting to warm up before exercising, using improper equipment, practicing improper techniques, being out of shape, or general fatigue.

Find relief for your sprain or strain today!

WebMD states, “Ankle injuries can happen to anyone at any age. However, men between 15 and 24 years old have higher rates of ankle sprain, compared to women older than age 30 who have higher rates than men. Half of all ankle sprains occur during an athletic activity. Every day in the U.S., 25,000 people sprain their ankle. And more than 1 million people visit emergency rooms each year because of ankle injuries. The most common ankle injuries are sprains and fractures, which involve ligaments and bones in the ankle. But you can also tear or strain a tendon.”

Is your sprain or strain limiting your daily life? Find relief with us. Our licensed physical therapists will conduct a comprehensive assessment to determine what the best course of treatment will be for you. Say goodbye to your pain today with physical therapy!

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sprains-and-strains/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20377943

https://medlineplus.gov/sprainsandstrains.html

Relieving Your Pain the Natural Way – Physical Therapy as the Safer Relief Alternative

It is no secret that the United States is a country with very high levels of medication. With countless over-the-counter drugs for pain management, it can seem simple to turn to drugs for pain relief. It is also a common practice for physicians to prescribe heavier pain relievers, such as the opioids that have resulted in a country-wide epidemic.

While the effects of these drugs can be frightening, there is a safer solution available: physical therapy. Physical therapy is a healthy, safe, and effective way to relieve your pain the natural way. If you are looking for pain relief without the risk of side effects, contact us today to schedule a consultation!

What does physical therapy do?

Our dedicated physical therapists create individualized treatment plans based on the specific needs of each patient. Your treatment plan will vary based on the nature of your condition; for example, if you are suffering from a recent acute injury, we may use massage therapy, ice and heat therapies, ultrasound, and other techniques to ease your pain and jump-start the healing process.

Once you’re safely able to move to exercises without pain, your physical therapist will prescribe gentle stretches, walking, cycling, swimming, or other motions, in order to help mobilize your body. This is done to help your soft tissues move around easier and with more comfort, in addition to helping stiff or arthritic joints stay mobile and lubricated. Strengthening exercises can rehabilitate damaged muscles so they can perform without pain, and they can also help you maintain a straighter posture in order to ease pain from spinal nerve compression.

Physical therapy methods and modalities have been proven to work. In fact, an 11-year study of chronic pain sufferers demonstrated that regular exercise resulted in decreased pain. Effective physical therapy isn’t just the work of the physical therapist — it also depends on the efforts of the patient. We will take the time to educate you about the nature of your pain and the importance of strictly following your routine. All of this will give you the resources you need to live a pain-free life and prevent future injuries from occurring.

The safest pain relief strategy:

We’ve all seen it broadcasted over the media: the serious dangers of opioid medications. These narcotics, which include both prescription medicines and illicit drugs, take the lives of approximately 115 American every day via overdose. Opioids are not only tremendously powerful, but they also have the potential for dangerous interactions with other drugs and they are commonly known for their addictive nature.

Steroids, which are another class of prescription painkillers, also pose serious risks and dangers. Epidural steroid injections are used to relieve pain, but they can also lead to undesirable conditions, such as cataracts, arthritis in the hips, elevated blood sugar, stomach ulcers, and nerve damage. Even ordinary NSAIDs such as ibuprofen can cause stomach bleeding and liver problems. Additionally, pain management drugs only allow for temporary pain relief – meaning you’ll have to take larger amounts for longer periods of time, if you don’t get sufficient treatment for your condition.

With physical therapy treatments, you can sweep all of those risks, worries, and unpleasant side effects aside. While some cases of severe pain might still require some pharmaceutical intervention, physical therapy can help many patients greatly reduce their reliance on painkilling medications, and in many cases, the need for these drugs may be eliminated altogether.

Our highly-trained physical therapists use a combination of techniques to treat a wide range of painful problems, from acute injuries and post-operative wounds to chronic pain syndromes and conditions. Whatever the case may be, you can find relief through physical therapy.

Schedule an appointment for relief!

Pain-management drugs are not the only solution when it comes to relief. Try physical therapy for a safer and natural approach, which will provide you with the relief you need! Confirm your appointment today by calling our office, and get started on your journey toward long-lasting and risk-free relief!

Sources:

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