Even short activity sessions can have health benefits!

Are you doing enough to look after your future health?

As we get older we tend to lose flexibility and from the age of 50 we can lose up to 2% strength a year unless we are actively working to combat this. Not only does a lack of exercise have consequences on our physical capabilities but as we all know – on things such as maintaining a healthy weight, preventing diabetes, preventing falls in older age, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Exercise is also excellent for our mental health and often prescribed for those suffering with depression.

New physical activity guidelines were published by the UK’s Chief Medical Officers last month

They stated that in order to maintain good physical and mental health, adults should aim to be physically active every day. They suggest that taking part in any type of regular physical activity is better than doing none at all and even short bouts of activity can be beneficial.

The updated guidance also takes account of new scientific evidence showing that people can experience health benefits from lower volumes, intensities and frequencies of activity than had previously been thought.

Please refer to my earlier blog about ‘exercise snacking’ that was featured on the BBC’s ‘Trust me I’m a doctor’ programme. They demonstrated how lots of short bursts of activity can add up and provide real health benefits for time-strapped people.

The guidelines advise that adults should take part in activities that increase or maintain their muscle strength, and involve the use of major muscle groups in the upper and lower body, at least twice a week.

The challenge now is, of course, finding innovative and appealing ways for people to meet these guidelines in their daily life. At Physio on the River we try to help and support our clients in this endeavour so they can lead long, fit and healthy lives.

On a weekly basis the guidelines advise:

  • at least two and a half hours (150 minutes) of a moderate intensity activity, such as cycling or brisk walking
  • or 75 minutes of a vigorous intensity activity such as running
  • or shorter durations of very vigorous intensity activity, such as sprinting or stair climbing
  • or a combination of moderate, vigorous and very vigorous activity

Classes

Our Pilates, Yoga and Dance, Tone and Stretch classes are a great way to meet the first guideline. To really feel the maximum benefit we advise attending a class twice a week.

Our classes are small (never more than 7) and friendly. Our teachers are experienced.

If you are a group of friends and would like us to tailor a class to your needs please get in touch. We can also cater for teams – like Pilates for tennis teams, hockey teams, running groups etc. The exercises are chosen to be specific to the needs of your particular sport or activity.

osteoporosisIf you are suffering with osteoporosis or osteopoenia then our Pilates for Osteoporosis is for you. The exercises are mainly performed in a weight bearing position and small weights are also used in order to help combat loss of bone density. These classes are taken by Fiona – our Physio and Pilates trained therapist.

Personal training

Dave Burnett and Richard Game are two of our physio team who are both trained as physios but started their careers by being trained in sports and exercise medicine. They help many of our clients who don’t want to sweat it out at the gym and don’t fancy joining a class but would like to do some Personal Training.

They can tailor an exercise and fitness programme specifically to you and should you have any physical issues they can take care of those too! They can offer treatment but can also work your programme around your physical difficulties. Their in depth knowledge means you can exercise safely under their guidance.

Managing chronic pain

If you are experiencing ongoing pain in your life and are finding that a barrier to exercise, Richard also specialises in treating chronic pain. He has a master’s degree in pain management. He can help you with a ‘paced’ return to exercise, carried out very gradually to allow the body to get used to exercising again and at the same time managing the pain.

Exercise tips

Running buddies!

If you like to cycle we now have a Bike Fitting service. So come and get your bike properly fitted to you, and let Richard see if you have any physical issues that you need to work on, alongside your riding.

If running is more your thing then Dave runs our Running Clinic. He can assess your running style on the treadmill with video gait analysis. He can then produce a programme of exercises to help you work on any areas of weakness or tightness or help you change your running style if need be.

Picture of nordic walking sourced from www.visitgarda.com

Image sourced from www.visitgarda.com

If you like walking have you considered using Nordic walking poles? They may look a bit nerdy but can give you a really good aerobic workout at the same time as reducing the work your legs have to do. So if you have an arthritic hip, knee or ankle they can really help you exercise more comfortably.

And if all that exercise leaves you aching a little then our lovely team of three massage therapists can help you recover with a sports or deep tissue massage!

Next steps….

If you would like to:

  • book a Pilates, Yoga or Dance Tone and Stretch class or just find out more
  • book a Bike Fitting Assessment
  • find out more about our Running Clinic packages
  • book a Personal Training session
  • book a Massage
  • or book a Physio appointment

give us a call on 020 8876 5690. If you are not sure which class would be best, our Class coordinator, Angela Ranger, can help advise you. You can also email us here or simply pop in for a chat. Physio and massage can be booked online here.

 

Rugby World Cup – be as fit as the world’s best!

The 3rd biggest sporting event in the world is upon us!  20 Nations representing the best Rugby union players on the planet, coming together to challenge for the title of the World Champions and lift the Webb Ellis Cup.  It promises to be a thrilling spectacle showcasing the epitome of human performance – combining strength, speed, skill and teamwork.

In this blog Richard Game talks about how the game has changed and how this has increased the demand for excellent rehab and strength and conditioning training allowing players to be pro-active in their injury prevention.

How has the game changed?

The incredible physicality of the modern professional game has completely changed the way professional players train and this has, in turn, changed the way amateur players train – from seasoned veterans playing social rugby, to aspiring school boys and girls and youth club players.

As training methods have developed and become more sophisticated so the players have become faster and stronger so the demands of the game have heightened.

How does this affect our Physiotherapy treatment approach?

rugby tackle

Rugby players doing warm up exercises before game.

This also changes the way we, as physiotherapists, work. We must ensure players are in the best condition to avoid injuries. Should they be unlucky enough to sustain an injury we need to rehabilitate them to a high standard and get them back to the game quickly.

Injuries are an almost inevitable aspect of the modern game but we can play our part in minimising the risks and helping with recovery.

What can be done to prevent injuries?

Being prepared physically and mentally is essential to optimise performance AND to minimise injuries.

Rugby’s demands on the body are significant. As well as perfecting the technical aspects of the game such as tackling, passing, rucking, scrummaging and line-outs, training should focus on all other aspects such as strength, speed, skill, co-ordination and teamwork.

What can you do to help with your preparation?

To encourage this, we present here some rugby specific exercises. These can be done in the gym, at a park or in your own home and can be done with very little equipment.

Warming up is essential – jogging, step ups, shoulder circles, cycling, jumping jacks are all good movements to warm up and this should be for about 10 minutes. Following a warm up, do a circuit of the exercises below, aiming for 1 minute of each exercise with a 15 second rest. Build up to 2 circuits when the 1 circuit is readily achievable.

Bear Crawl

Embrace that inner grizzly. Starting on your hands and knees, rise up onto your toes, tighten your core by drawing in your lower abdominals, and slowly reach forward with the right arm and right knee, followed by the left side. Continue the crawl for 8-10 reps. This is great for core and shoulder strength.

Lying Prone to standing up exercise

Getting off the floor at speed is imperative in rugby. Lying face down with hands off the floor, move to a standing position as quickly as you can. Lay down again at an easy pace and repeat the rapid move to standing.

Alternate leg lunge and twist

rugby exerciseHolding a rugby ball out in front at chest height, lunge one foot forwards at the same time twisting to the same side as the front leg. Alternate this movement to each side.

Twisting jump with rugby ball

Hold a rugby ball in both hands and jog on the spot with high knees. Jump and twist 90 degrees, planting feet in a squat, then jump again twisting to start position and continue to jog with high knees before repeating to the other side.

Press up to side plank

rugby training exercisesThis exercise makes you work on pushing and twisting – movements essential for rucking, running and effective hand offs.

Sumo Squat

Squatting is a ‘go to’ exercise to work the engine room for rugby which is the lower limb muscles.

Sumo squats are with the legs wider than normal and feet at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock. Squat down as low as possible keeping the knees wide and in line with the feet whilst pushing the bottom back.

Horizontal pull ups

Using a table edge, banister ends or breakfast bar, lay face up in an inverted press up position. Grasp the bar or table end and, pivoting on your feet, pull your chest up towards your hands.

This is fantastic for upper body strength.

Pistol squat

rugby exerciseWorking strength and balance, this is a controlled exercise. Stand on 1 leg and squat low, getting your bottom towards your heel with the other leg staying straight out in front and the foot just above the floor throughout.

Resistance band 1 arm row

Face a solid safe object like a tree, heavy table leg or strong door handle. Secure a resistance band to the object at waist height. Hold the other end of the band and starting with your arm straight and the band just taut, pull your hand back to level with your chest, twisting your hips as you do so to extend the range of movement.

Crab walking

rugby exercisesWith a resistance band tied around your lower thighs, lower to a ¼ squat with feet shoulder width apart and side step to one side, keeping feet shoulder width apart or wider at all times.

How we can help you further

These exercises are not intended to be a solution to any injury you have sustained. They are intended to help you increase your fitness and strength for rugby to do alongside your normal training.

Here at Physio on the River, we have highly skilled clinicians with a wealth of experience in all sports. If you are unlucky enough to become injured come and see one of our team.

The boundaries between rehabilitation, prehabilitation and strength and conditioning are becoming less marked with time and today, the players going into this World cup are all involved in significant amounts of conditioning as well as Rugby specific training.

Richard Game and Dave Burnett, two of our Physio team, both have experience and skills to help you with your strength and conditioning needs. If you would like more help getting fit for the game, come and do a one to one session of personal training with either one or if you are not sure it’s right for you give us a call and we can advise you.

Prevention is always better than cure!

Our Physios can assess your particular needs and put together a properly tailored programme of exercises specifically for you. The advantage of seeing one of our physios is that if you have had previous injuries, they will have an in depth knowledge of your condition and will be able to include exercises to prevent against re-injury.

Next steps

If you would like an appointment for Physiotherapy or Personal Training with one of our physios:

Call the clinic on 020 8876 5690

Email us here

Book online

Or just simply pop in for a chat!

 

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 020 8876 5690 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.

Find out more about our small group Pilates Classes

Our articles on Pilates

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Because of our great transport links and free on-street parking we have regular patients and exercise class participants from:
Barnes, Mortlake, East Sheen, Putney and Roehampton