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Exercise

Why Young People Should Stretch

Whether you are an athlete or have an average level of physical activity, I believe stretching should be an integral part of your daily life. Often, young people focus on building muscle and developing aerobic fitness, but flexibility is equally important. Why Stretch? Stretching is necessary - it helps keep muscles and fascia flexible, strong and healthy, thus maintaining range of motion in the joints. A short tight muscle is a weak muscle. For example, young people who are office based or in full-time education sit in a chair for a large part of the day. This tightens the hip flexors and hamstrings making it more difficult to extend the legs and knees fully, which affects walking. Now imagine what could happen when more stress is placed on...

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Benefits of Stretching at Work/Workstation Stretches

Benefits of Stretching at Work/Workstation Stretches In previous blogs I have mentioned how sitting creates compression in the spine, increasing pressure on the discs and shortening the pelvic muscles. Stretching throughout your work day will help you avoid injury to your low back, shoulders, knees, elbows and wrists, reduce your stress levels and potentially increase your productivity. Often clients are self-conscious about stretching at work, but consider the importance of maintaining blood flow and nutrient supply maintaining elasticity and energy levels of your tissues, to enhance your flexibility joint mobility reduce muscle tightness and discomfort improve muscular balance posture muscle co-ordination and you just might feel the odd side-glance is worth it. Who knows you might start a new wave of body awareness in your office. Although the main areas to...

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Understanding Your Spine & How to Keep It Healthy Part 3 – Lumbar Spine

The lumbar spine refers to the lower back, it starts about 5-6 inches below the shoulder blades and connects the thoracic spine to the sacral spine. Consisting of 5 vertebrae (L1 - L5) the lumbar spine is designed for power and flexibility - lifting, twisting and bending. The lower the vertebra the more weight it must bear, therefore the two lowest spinal segments L4 - L5 bear the most weight and are most prone to degeneration and injury. The lumbar spine meets the sacrum at the lumbosacral joint L5 - S1. This joint allows for considerable rotation so that the pelvis can swing when walking and running. The spinal cord travels from the skull through the spinal column to where the thoracic spine meets the lumbar spine at...

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Understanding Your Spine & How to Keep it Healthy – Part 2 (Sacroiliac Joint)

The sacroiliac joints (SI) connect the sacrum, the triangular shaped bone at the base of the lumbar spine to the left and right iliac bones, the large bones that form your pelvis. The SI joints have several functions They support the weight of your torso when you are upright They help maintain balance as you walk They act as shock absorbers for your spine They act as a hub for the transfer of force between your legs and your torso They are designed as a stable joint with limited mobility. Movement includes Nutation or anterior tilt (flexion) of the sacrum between the ilia Counter-nutation or posterior tilt (extension) of the sacrum between the ilia Small movements of the ilia themselves Stability of an SI joint depends primarily on the stout...

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Foot Anatomy, Problems and Top Tips for Functional Feet

As summer approaches I often teach a series of classes dedicated to “unloved body parts” as we prepare to peel off extra layers and get ready for the holiday season. For many, feet fall into this category, yet as the foundation of our bodies they are a really important part of our natural balance-keeping systems. Humans have a unique foot shape that allows us to walk, run, climb and do many other activities. Although hands have a similar structure, feet, because they bear more weight, are stronger and less mobile. The bones of the foot are organised in rows, named tarsal bones, metatarsal bones and phalanges. These make up the toes and blade of the foot. The largest bone of the foot is the heel (calcaneus), it...

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Big Toe Injury and Back pain

A year ago I partially severed and crushed the big toe of my left foot and had surgery to pin and stitch it. I was told full recovery would take a year and that my big toe would be stiff, but otherwise not to expect any long-term problems. Having done extensive bodywork, I felt my body was in a good place and wouldn’t be significantly affected by this injury – how wrong could I be? Following a successful surgical outcome and returning to work four weeks after the incident, it soon became apparent that all was not well. I was experiencing knee pain, my pelvis had become rotated and lower back pain followed. The road to full recovery has been long and slow but my salvation has...

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Free to Move – Fit to Shoot

Free to Move – Fit to Shoot ( A Unique Programme for Shooters) [embed]https://youtu.be/8qBAY9e07D4[/embed]   As a shooter I am very aware of the demands our sport places on the body. I have met shooters so afflicted with neck and shoulder damage that they require surgery or worse have to give up the sport they love. Although tales of being unable to put on shooting stockings without assistance due to lower back stiffness or struggling to remove a sweater because recoil has rendered the wearer unable to lift their arms are a humorous part of shoot day chatter, they are also indicative of the chronic effects of our one sided sport. Jokes aside, the effects of recoil are cumulative and cannot be underestimated. This video clip of John Heagren...

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3 Reason to Stretch – Flexibility, Range of Movement & Strength

Many people struggle with inflexibility and diminished range of movement in their joints, especially as they age*. It is generally accepted that stretching is an important part of any fitness and exercise program, so why is it often the most overlooked or poorly executed part of such a program? Recent conflicting studies about the benefits of stretching have confused the 'to-stretch or not-to-stretch and when-to-stretch” debate, but as somebody who teaches Method Putkisto, an exercise method which incorporates several types of stretching and strengthening, I think it is important to highlight the positive results that I see in the large variety of bodies and their owners’ lifestyles until more research is done. Your focus may be on building strength, or you may prefer to regularly change your...

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Ankle Flexibility – Crucial to Body Positioning and Injury Prevention

Today we spent a whole class working on ankle flexibility; 75 minutes and nobody noticed the time passing. Why? As often happens the catalyst was somebody arriving fresh from a visit to the podiatrist, with a new pair of orthotics, and sharing the news of their diagnosis. Our ankles are often ignored or taken for granted, but their flexibility is key to body positioning, athletic performance and injury prevention. As stability joints, they must absorb force, transfer and stabilise weight as you walk, run, or simply get up out of a chair. This must happen quickly, and if you consider the average person takes 5,000 – 10,000 steps per day, you begin to realise the potential impact of learned movement patterns. The ankle is a hinge joint and on it’s...

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Movement is Medicine

 When most of us think of medicine, we conjure images of pills, potions, tests or worse, surgery. However, one of the most potent forms of medicine is movement - pure and simple physical activity. I have just returned from a weeklong workshop dedicated to movement under the direction of MP founder Marja Putkisto. I arrived with a sore back and returned uplifted, relaxed and energised.  Slogans abound among health and fitness professionals, and everyday column inches are devoted to a new superfood that will lower your blood pressure, increase your metabolism, ward off type 2 diabetes or some other scary ailment. What we in our remote control culture often fail to recognise is that inactivity/sitting is the 'disease” of modern times, and no number of green smoothies will...

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