Challenge your office to be healthy
with advice from Mitch Kaye, PT,
Stefania Della Pia and Polar
Did you know that May is Global Employee Health and Fitness Month? Created by the National Association for Health & Fitness (NAHF), a network of state-based councils and groups that promote healthy living, the group encourages daily physical activity and quality physical education in our schools. Through Global Employee Health and Fitness Month, the NAHF asks employers to create a workplace environment that promotes healthier living.
There are a variety of reasons to do this as a business owner or manager, or for employees to suggest it to their bosses. For a start, the CDC points out that healthier employees take fewer sick days, incur lower healthcare costs and are more productive; in fact, one study found that by promoting physical fitness and regular check-ups, employer healthcare costs could be cut in half. In addition, wellness programs can be seen by some prospective employees as a great benefit. It shows that the company is willing to invest in its employees, leading to a more positive work environment, better morale and higher retention.
The benefits of cold and compression therapy
with advice from PowerPlay
If you’ve ever sprained your ankle or injured your elbow, you probably know that it’s been standard practice for decades to apply ice after injury to decrease swelling and pain. Dr. Gabe Mirkin coined the acronym “R.I.C.E.” in 1978 (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), and this concept became the standard in treatment of acute injuries and post-surgical patients.
While there has been some debate about whether cold therapy should be used for all musculoskeletal injuries, most healthcare practitioners would agree that proper use of ice or cold therapy can reduce swelling and pain. Here are a few reminders about using cold therapy:
Aerobic exercise is essential for pregnant women
with advice from Ann Cowlin, MA, CSM, CCE
It used to be that women were told to rest and relax during pregnancy. Kick her feet up while she can. There were fears that too much movement could hurt the baby — or the mother. Now, says Ann Cowlin, the creator of Dancing Thru Pregnancy, a fitness program for expectant mothers (and a Physiquality partner), “it is the sedentary or low-activity mother and her children who are at risk.”
In our current world, Ann points out, we are not as active as previous generations. Think about what most of our grandmothers and grandfathers did during the day — manual labor in fields or factories. Even housework required a great deal more physical strength without the variety of machines thought essential in our houses today. “Few women exercise enough today to build the strength necessary for childbirth,” says Ann. “It’s no surprise that some women are afraid of birth and don’t have confidence in their ability to withstand it.”
Why are younger athletes burning out of sports?
with advice from Jeff Rothstein, MS, CSCS
and Mark Salandra, CSCS
There are many reasons to sign your kids up for sports teams. They’ll build strong muscles and bones by being active, make friends and learn how to get along with others, and become more confident as they improve on the field. But many kids burn out and quit playing before they graduate from high school. Why?
“Parents and coaches need to remember that the primary goals of playing sports when younger are to improve motor skills while learning how to be a part of a team,” says Mark Salandra. A certified strength and conditioning coach who works with many student athletes as the founder of StrengthCondition.com (a Physiquality partner vendor), Mark often sees parents (and coaches) that emphasize competition over fun.
The pros and cons of working out with your partner
with advice from Randy Gustafson, PT, MPT, MOMT, OCS
There are many benefits to working out with another person: Motivation. Accountability. Group support. Combining exercise with a social activity. But should you work out with your significant other?
Sharing a common activity with your partner has been shown to lead to better relationships. This doesn’t have to be a physical activity, but playing sports together, or taking a dance class together, can improve your relationship. And if you’re learning together, it can help increase your confidence in both the activity and your relationship.
What is minimalist running? Is it safe?
with advice from
Lee Couret, PT, MSPT, CSCS
Trends come and go in fitness, and running is no exception. Minimalist running has been growing in popularity over the last decade, but some runners still question its safety. Barefoot or minimalist running is running that occurs either WITHOUT footwear, or with footwear that lacks high cushioned heels, stiff soles and arch support, a.k.a. minimalist footwear.
Lee Couret, a physical therapist and the owner of Southshore Physical Therapy in Louisiana, says there are many benefits to barefoot running. For example, he says, running barefoot can reduce the impact of the footfall when running. This is because most barefoot runners avoid landing on their heels, because it hurts! Landing with a heel strike is believed to be a potential cause of injury. A study published by the Skeletal Biology Laboratory at Harvard Medical School found that those runners that land on their heels while running were much more likely to suffer injury than those who land on the forefoot, or the ball of the foot. And Lee explains that reducing the impact can reduce running injures, as studies have found that people who run with greater impact often have more injuries.
How to do the perfect squat
by Jeff Rothstein, MS, CSCS, CES
Director of Strength and Conditioning, PT Center for Sports Medicine
The perfect squat is different for every body:
- A power lifter may utilize a low bar position to maximize hip torque and minimize anterior knee displacement, both of which will result in a slightly heavier one-repetition maximum (1RM).
- A collegiate athlete may utilize a front squat to minimize forward torso lean, which will maximize range of motion and anterior core activation.
- A pre-adolescent trainee may utilize a goblet squat to encourage proper squat form, as well as those benefits associated with a front squat, but without the significant spinal loading.
Regardless of which squat you choose, there are a few technique guidelines and cues that should be followed to ensure safety and maximize results. Keep in mind that while the following guidelines are for those working with weights, the points about engaging muscles and proper form remain the same for anyone doing squats with or without weights. And, for best results, consult with your physical therapist about exercise techniques that are right for your fitness level.
Injury prevention for dancers
with advice from Elisabeth Wheeler, PT, DPT
Ann Cowlin, MA, CSM, CCE,
Mark Salandra, CSCS,
and Wayne Seeto, OT, MSPT
Most dancers know that one of the challenges of the performing arts is to make it look easy, effortless – and painless. According to Elisabeth Wheeler, a physical therapist who works with dancers at Allegheny Chesapeake Physical Therapy in Pennsylvania, up to 90% of dancers will have an injury at some point during their training. So whether you are a professional dancer in a company, or one who takes classes for physical (and mental) activity, it is important to pay attention to your body in order to avoid injury.
Elisabeth notes that dancers can have a variety of injuries throughout the body: