Need to exercise but short on time? Let us help you with some top tips!

I used to find exercising really easy as I had a lovely, lively, young Springer Spaniel who had bags of energy and was a struggle to keep up with! But sadly she is now 12 years old and, except on really good days or when she sees a unsuspecting squirrel, she is trailing several feet behind me! I realise that my old workout is no longer the aerobic fix I need….

I wonder if any of you watched the ‘Trust me I’m a doctor‘ programme on BBC 1 on Thursday 13th September? I love watching it when I’m around and that episode was particularly interesting.

The affects of ageing on our muscles

The programme explained how over the age of 50 we start to lose muscle mass at a rate of about 1% per year and muscle power at a rate of about 2% per year. This in part explains why older people become more ‘frail’ and are more susceptible to falls.

1% or 2% per year may not sound much but if you think about it that adds up to 30% loss of power by the time you are 80. This can have a significant effect on your ability to walk distances, climb stairs and even such simple things as getting up out of a chair. Muscle weakness can also affect your balance and increase your chances of having a fall.

So keeping up our exercise when we are over 50 is absolutely essential if we want to maintain our muscle mass and independence.

The shocking statistic is that 40% of middle aged adults take less than 10 minutes continuous brisk walking per month!

So what can you do to reverse this affect?

weight liftingThe programme also explains how important it is to do resistance exercise such as weight lifting at the gym, to combat this effect. They recommend you do this twice a week. They also demonstrated some simple body weight exercises (ones that we frequently prescribe to clients) that can be done without the need to go to the gym.

Common excuses for not exercising!

The most common excuse for not exercising is a lack of time. So some scientists at Bath university carried out an experiment looking at blood sugar levels and blood fat levels at intervals after a block of 30 minutes brisk walking and compared this to 6 x 5 mins of simple exercises and taking no exercise at all. The simple exercises included sitting to standing, going up on your toes in standing, squats and marching on the spot.

They chose blood sugar and blood fat levels as these can be harmful in the extremes. If not kept under control they can lead to Diabetes and heart disease.

The team of doctors were all surprised to find that both exercise groups benefited equally with a 40% drop in both blood sugar and fat levels following the experiment. Not surprisingly the control group who took no exercise had no drop in blood sugar or fat levels at all.

This is a really useful finding as it means that those who are time poor but can squeeze in 5 mins here and there into their daily schedule can still do something really worthwhile for their health!

Top tips for sticking to an exercise regime!

  • Exercise snacking! Remember that 5 mins brisk walking performed 6 times a day is just as good as 30 minutes of continuous brisk walking. So move regularly and take lots of mini breaks of exercise if you don’t have time to take it all in one go.
  • Find a gym buddy! Remember that weight training for the over 50’s has lots of benefits to health including preventing that decline in muscle power and helping bone density. A good way to increase your chances of sticking to it is to find a gym buddy. This extra bit of commitment and the thought you might be letting someone else down is a great way to motivate yourself. My gym buddy (my son, Sam) has been away in New Zealand for the last 5 years so I’m looking forward to his return a week today and his help in motivating me to go to the gym more often!
  • Joining a class can be a really helpful way to stick to exercise. The social aspect helps to make it fun and more than just exercise. We run 34 classes of Pilates, Yoga  and Dance,Tone and Stretch classes each week so there’s something here for everyone!
  • Diarising your exercise – simply popping a regular time in your diary can help to prevent other things taking over that time.
  • Get it done early! Its so easy to put things off as the day progresses so try and get your exercise done early in the day before you get too busy and distracted by other things.
  • Work exercise into your daily life – personally I walk to work (15 minutes) and on the way home I take a circuitous route for 50 minutes. It’s a great opportunity to listen to a book on audible or a podcast and I get home feeling refreshed and no longer thinking about the clinic! I know other people who cycle to work or walk their children to school and work exercise into their day that way.
  • Personal training – some people just like the one to one attention and motivation of a personal trainer to keep them on track. The advantage to this is that the trainer can tailor the exercises specially to you and your physical needs. We have two physios (Richard and Dave) who both have a background of sports science degrees before training as physiotherapists and they offer personal training in our studio at the clinic. Using a doubly qualified Physio for your training means their in depth knowledge of the body will keep you exercising safely!
  • Sign up for a charity event. There’s nothing like a good cause to spur you on! And it’s nice to share the experience with others.
  • Share your exercise resolutions with friends. Telling people your intentions makes it much more likely you will stick to it. They say it can take 21 days of doing something regularly to form a habit so persevere!

Here at Physio on the River we aim to support you by getting you better and more healthy and keeping you that way through appropriate exercise.

Next steps…..

If you’d like to join one of our classes or arrange for a personal training session with Richard or Dave just:

  • call us on 0203 916 0286 and speak to one of our receptionists
  • email us here
  • or pop in for a chat! We are always happy to talk things through first

If you have a physical health issue that is stopping you from exercising then one of our team of physios may be able to help you back to fitness. Or if you have an elderly relative who is becoming frail and is at risk of falling – find out more about our falls prevention programme.

Read how Physio helps experienced runners improve performance and manage injury risk

If you are an experienced runner, it’s highly likely you’ve trained and competed whilst injured.

Indeed, research shows that runners often carry old “niggles” that have never been properly sorted out.

If you are a seasonal runner, or tend to aim for certain events, you may find that you are susceptible to injuries at certain times of the year, or points in your annual training cycle.

We asked Dave Burnett, who heads up our Running Clinic, to explain the common causes of injury and how we can help you reduce your risk and manage ongoing issues whilst at the same time improve your performance!

What caused my injury?

This is a commonly asked question at the clinic!

In the absence of an acute trauma or a specific isolated event, “overuse” is a common cause of injury.

To be more specific overuse usually means “training load errors”.  Simply put, if your training load (i.e. the frequency, intensity, time & type of training) is higher than what your tissues (e.g Achilles Tendon or Knee-cap Joint) can tolerate, you’ll get injured.

And why hasn’t my injury resolved yet?

Tissue tolerance is related to to several different factors and all of these can affect your ability to get over an injury:

  • your age – we all recognise that we become less elastic and quick to recover as we get older
  • our genetics – some people just have good genes
  • our general health and level of fitness
  • previous injuries we have suffered
  • our strength & flexibility
  • our biomechanics – the way we are built or the way we move
  • and finally our recovery, sleep, nutrition & lifestyle!

Runners that are at a higher risk of injury

Certain sub-groups of runners are at higher-risk of injury including

  • Beginners with less than 1 year’s experience
  • Runners with previous injuries (particularly in the first 3 months following the injury)
  • Marathon runners who run more than 40 miles/ 65km per week
  • Runners who rapidly increase their  speed or distance
  • Women with a low BMI or reduced bone density (Osteopenia or Osteoporosis)

(JAMA, 2014)

How can training load affect injury?

Various factors influence training load including:

  • The nature of your weekly running programme  – i.e. the frequency, intensity, time and duration)
  • Any other exercise or strength and conditioning you may do on top of your running
  • The nature of your running training is also a factor and some injuries are more commonly “volume-related” versus “pace-related”.

 

How can I improve my tissue tolerance?

Improving your tissue tolerance will reduce injury risk and can be achieved in several ways:

  • Cross-Training – using a variety of types of exercise in your training e.g. using swimming/cycling/cross-trainer
  • Optimising or adapting your running style– your running style will change the forces placed on your joints and muscles- small adaptations are often effective to help solve ongoing niggles and can help improve your economy and performance.
  • Optimising your footwear for your specific running biomechanics– this will help reduce load on the system
  • Taping can help offload your tissues so they have more tolerance to exercise
  • Running Specific Strength and Conditioning – it is now widely accepted that running performance can be improved by combining endurance training with explosive strength training. Adapting common gym-style strength work to make your programme specific to your running demands will help you improve your tissue tolerance more quickly
  • Maximise nutrition, hydration and sleep– these will undoubtedly help performance, recovery and tissue repair.

How Physio can help

At Physio on the River, we can help you both:

  • recover from injuries which are stopping you from running
  • help those ongoing niggles you are carrying whist continuing to run and
  • help reduce the risk of re-injury

Our physios are specialists at assessing the way you move and identifying the causes of injury. Combining our clinical skills and video gait analysis we can give you a really thorough screening and a baseline of information to create a tailor-made plan of action.

Our Standard 60 minute Running Assessment includes:

  • Establishing the specific details of your running history by exploring your training programme, coaching advice and goals for up and coming competitions
  • A physical screening to identify important biomechanical factors related to running (e.g joint and muscle flexibility tests and lower limb strength and muscle control measurements)
  • Treadmill analysis of your running with Hi-Speed video
  • A report of your video analysis findings
  • An exercise programme to help facilitate your rehabilitation

NB- if your Screening Assessment and/or running analysis identifies a specific injury requiring treatment then a course of physiotherapy can be provided.

How to book a Running Assessment with Dave or one of our team of Physios:

Call 0203 916 0286

Book online here

Email the clinic here

Or just pop in and speak to one of our Receptionists

If you found this useful and would like to read our other running related blogs just click here.

Do you want to hit the ski slopes in peak fitness this year?

Skiing is for some a serious sport, for others an adrenaline rush, and for most of us a much needed winter break from the routine.

Skiing is a demanding activity and places high demands on our bodies, especially the legs.

Injuries can occur for many reasons, but what we know for sure is that when you are more conditioned for an activity, you are able to significantly reduce the level of risk you are exposed to.

With this in mind, we are running a 6 week program of strength and conditioning in preparation for your ski trip. In this blog we will be explaining the various knee injuries that can occur and offering some useful preventative advice.

40% of skiing injuries are to the knee. The binding release mechanism on skis has caused a successful reduction in broken bones, but there is no protection for the knee ligaments or cartilages. The 3 most frequently injured structures are the medial collateral ligament – at risk in the snow plough position, the anterior cruciate ligament and the meniscus or cartilage usually injured when bending and twisting. When you injure all three this is called the ‘unhappy triad’!

People particularly at risk are unfit recreational skiers taking their annual ski holiday and fatigue is one of the biggest factors. Does this sound familiar?

As with all sports, just playing that sport is not really enough to optimise performance or manage the risk of injury well. Participating in conditioning exercises that incorporate many different areas of fitness – aerobic, strength, balance, co-ordination and flexibility for example, will give you the necessary all round skills to ski well and stay injury free.

After all PREVENTION IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN CURE!

How can I prevent these injuries?

We strongly recommend attending a Get Fit to Ski program and we have designed a six week course to help you prepare in time for the coming season.

Here are some other hints and tips we have put together:

  • Pre-season quadriceps strengthening:  we recommend building up the thigh muscles using the stepper or bike and weights machines. To improve endurance keep the number of reps per set quite high (about 20).
  • image from www.fitnowtraining.com

    Core stability and balance exercises:  it’s essential to have good control of your trunk, pelvis and hip muscles and Pilates exercises are excellent for this – we run Pilates classes in our studio here. Having quick reactions and good balance will help you cope with that unsuspecting mogul! Swiss ball exercises are a great way of improving balance.

  • Recognising dangerous situations: don’t try to get up until you have stopped sliding. Don’t jump unless you know how to land! Keep knees soft when you fall to cushion the impact.
  • Preventing fatigue: pacing yourself during the day’s skiing will help prevent fatigue. For example, warm up on an easy slope and take short regular breaks for refreshments. Remember, injuries are most likely to happen first thing in the morning when you’re cold and in the afternoon when you’re tired.
  • Après ski: no, not the drink at the end of the day! We recommend carrying out a thorough stretching routine to help the muscles relax and recover. Important muscles to stretch are quadriceps, calves, hamstrings, gluteals, lower back and hip flexors.
  • Equipment: it is very important not to ‘make do’ with loose or ill fitting bindings or the wrong type of ski for your experience and skill level. A bit of time spent hiring or buying the right equipment is a must.

Should the worst occur – how do I quickly access treatment?

Accurate diagnosis and treatment is essential in ensuring that any injury recovers as quickly and successfully as possible.

sourced from milfordphysio.co.nz

Many injuries are not severe enough to require surgery and will get better with Physiotherapy. We can help reduce the swelling, restore the normal movement of the knee and strengthen the surrounding muscles so that some stability is restored. However, some injuries will require surgery and, here at Physio on the River, we have excellent links to specialist ski Consultants for fast referral.

If you need any help with this or you’d be interested in booking yourself onto our Fit to Ski class before the season starts,  please contact us here. Our Physios are always happy to chat about a problem on the phone before booking an appointment and you can reach us on 0203 916 0286 or pop by in person.

If you enjoyed this blog then take a look at our other skiing blogs.

How Pilates is helping the over 50’s achieve a strong and flexible body – without sweating it out in the gym!

 

As we get older we all lose some of our youthful flexibility, strength and posture through the natural ageing process, unless of course we work to maintain it.

 

Not everyone enjoys sweating it out in the gym. That’s why Pilates is a great alternative for those who prefer something more sedate but just as effective.

How does Pilates work?

image sourced from www.ftpilates.ca

image sourced from www.ftpilates.ca

Pilates is a wonderful form of exercise that focuses mainly on strength and flexibility of the trunk muscles – your ‘core’. Your deep stomach muscles, back muscles, diaphragm and pelvic floor make up the walls of the cylinder of your trunk which we refer to as the ‘core’.

We call it the core because it provides the firm centre from which our arm and leg muscles can work. These muscles protect our backs and make our movements in sport and everyday life more efficient and effective.

They are also the muscles that by supporting our back give us a good upright posture – something that often deteriorates as we get older when we perhaps become a bit more sedentary.

Why Pilates is good for the over 50’s

The Pilates exercises incorporate stretches for all parts of the body, helping to keep you supple and prevent stiffness.

As we age we generally lose muscle bulk and strength and Pilates is a great way to build strength back up again.

Time is spent working on a good upright posture – strengthening the muscles to achieve that and building awareness of how to hold yourself correctly.

Maturer people often have problems with their joints – like arthritis. Here at Physio on the River some of our Pilates teachers are also Physiotherapists. This means that we have the knowledge to tailor the exercise to take into account any other conditions or weaknesses you may have.

We run three Rehab Pilates classes which are designed for those with a back or neck problem or after someone has had a joint replacement. The pace is slightly slower and the exercises modified where necessary.

Pilates classes near you in Barnes

4At Physio on the River we have a beautiful, light airy Pilates studio at our clinic in Barnes. Many of our clients describe our studio as a welcome relief in comparison to a sweaty gym, or church hall that may be ‘space’ – but has no ambience for comfortable exercise:

 

A few welcoming facts!

  • We run around 25 weekly Pilates  classes Monday to Sunday, throughout the day and evening
  • Never more than 8 in the class so lots of individual attention
  • Classes are divided into levels of difficulty– so you are always with people of the same standard and always progressing
  • Where capacity allows we offer catch up classes for any classes missed within a term
  • Classes are run in terms like school terms
  • We also offer individual lessons, duets and trios which can be arranged at a time suited to you

To book a Pilates class:

If you are unsure which class to opt for, Angela Ranger, our class co-ordinator, can help you make the right choice. Why not give us a call on 0203 916 0286 or click here to contact us.

If you have enjoyed this have a look at our other Pilates blogs!

 

How Pilates is helping skiers to achieve fitness in just 6 weeks!

 

Many families will be looking forward to their half term and Easter skiing holidays. But did you know that there are just 7 weeks from now until Easter?!

That’s not much time to get fit for the slopes and cut down your risk of injury.

Here I explain why skiers are choosing a new 6 week Pilates course that we hold at Physio on the River – tailor-made for skiers to get prepared in time.

What does skiing require?

Most of us sit behind a desk all day and then head for the slopes expecting to ski for a week with no preparation. Unfortunately, that is one sure-fire way to find yourself suffering from muscle soreness and stiffness that inevitably can impact on your confidence skiing – you don’t want to get hurt.

The physical demands of skiing require a fit and healthy body and in particular:
images

Good posture: being able to hold the correct skiing posture for long periods of time.

Body awareness: knowing how your body is positioned is vital especially in a white out.

 

 

sourced gsmtweet.com

sourced gsmtweet.com

Good balance: the ability to keep your balance whilst moving down the slope and at the same time avoiding others!

Good core stability: by this I mean strength in the postural muscles around your pelvis, trunk and shoulder blades so your arms and legs can work efficiently around this stable centre.

Muscle strength: we’ve all felt that soreness at the end of day one and the difficulty getting down the stairs the next day. Sound familiar? Good strength in your arms and legs is a must.

Flexibility: if you are a bit stiff and tight you are not going to move freely on the slopes and you’ll risk injuring yourself.

Cardiovascular endurance: you want to be able to enjoy your holiday to the full without flaking out early on the first day!

sourced from www.spiritvoyage.com

sourced from www.spiritvoyage.com

 

How can Pilates help prepare you for these demands?

Pilates is a mind-body technique that aims to increase your kinaesthetic awareness of moving from a central stable core. If you can keep your centre firm then your legs and arms can work efficiently to power you along.

In a nutshell:

  • Pilates strengthens the postural muscles of your body which will help you to maintain the correct skiing posture
  • By making you aware of your posture and where your centre of gravity falls Pilates increases your body awareness when skiing

 

What happens at the Pilates for skiers class?

www.ausphysio.com

www.ausphysio.com

The focus will be on stretching all the essential muscles and joints you’ll be using in skiing- including improving ankle flexibility.

What makes this course different is that you get to balance and perform exercises on half foam rollers designed to mimic the balance demands of skiing.

Learning to maintain the correct and most efficient posture will also be covered.

You will learn leg exercises specifically for strengthening your thigh, buttock, calf and upper arm muscles – those that have to work hardest in skiing.

The class will help increase your cardiovascular fitness.

Preparation is so important if you want to enjoy every day of your skiing holiday and limit your risk of injury.

Interested?

Our 6 weeks Pilates for Skiers course starts Wednesday  February 25th at 8.15pm.

It could make for an appreciative Valentine present for a family member or friend going skiing. And is a great way to meet with other skiers – enjoying some fun but very worthwhile preparation.

Sign up now by calling reception on 0203 916 0286 or click here to contact us.

If you enjoyed this then do take a look at our other Pilates blogs.

 

  • Physio on the River

    The Old Ticket Office
    Barnes Bridge
    Barnes
    SW13 0NP
  • 020 8876 6152

  • Opening Hours

    Mon: 7am – 9pm
    Tues: 8am – 9pm
    Wed: 7am – 9pm
    Thurs: 8am – 9pm
    Fri: 7.30am – 7pm
    Sat: 8am – 2.30pm
    Sun: Closed

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