Yoga for Everybody

By: Kayla Malmgren, SPTA


Yoga originated thousands of years ago and has become increasingly common in recent years. The practice of yoga, which in Sanskrit means “to unite,” balances the mind, body, and soul as it is said to unite the body with the universe. The diversity within the practice allows anyone  – regardless of age and lifestyle – to become an active participant and lead a more active, healthy lifestyle.


Most yoga practices combine breathing techniques (pranayama), physical postures (asanas), and meditation. With a variety of yoga styles, there are different routines for each skill level and always room for improvement, whether you are a beginner or have been practicing for years. This multidimensional practice has something for everyone, and a growing body of scientific research supports its benefits, including:


  • Improved balance and flexibility
  • Increased muscle tone and strength
  • Improved athletic performance with a decreased risk for injury
  • Reduced back pain and improved function


Yoga has been shown to have a down-regulating effect on the sympathetic nervous system, which helps to lower stress/depression and anxiety symptoms. Practicing yoga daily has been shown to lower blood sugar in patients with diabetes by physiologically affecting the uptake of insulin. Cardiopulmonary benefits include improved lung capacity, increased oxygen delivery, as well as decreased respiration rate and resting heart rate. All of these factors lead to improved endurance and cardiovascular fitness, which can reduce the risk of heart attack, heart disease, and stroke. Yoga also has significant effects on subjective measures of pain, fatigue, and sleep in both health and ill populations. A comprehensive review of the effects of yoga compared to other forms of exercise concluded that yoga might be as effective as, or better than, other types of exercise with respect to improving a variety of health-related outcomes.


With so many benefits, each and every person has something to gain from giving this practice a try. A simple way to get started is to learn the Sun Salutation. This is a common yoga technique that anyone can practice and is a great way to get energized and start your day. Click here for a video to learn the basic Sun Salutation. You can also incorporate yoga into your daily routine at the office. Click this link to learn 15 simple and quick yoga moves that will take less than two minutes but can improve your posture and be used to help you de-stress during your workday.


Additionally, Sports PT Physical Therapists Amy Barbasch and Allison Scannapieco are now trained to instruct and assist patients with yoga poses. They are excited to announce that they will be offering safe and effective yoga classes in fall 2014 at Sports PT! Stay tuned for more information!


Sports PT is proud to invest in teaching and mentoring students of physical therapy throughout New York State. To learn more about the student experience, visit here.



Thomas, S., & Ross, A. The Health Benefits of Yoga and Exercise: A Review of Comparison Studies. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 16, 3-12

Different Types of Yoga. (n.d.). MindBodyGreen. Retrieved April 28, 2014, from

Yoga Journal: Office Yoga – Stress relief you can do at your desk.. (n.d.). Yoga Journal: Office Yoga. Retrieved April 28, 2014, from

Sun Salutation. (n.d.). Fitness Magazine. Retrieved April 28, 2014, from

Health Benefits of Yoga Explain. (n.d.). Yoga Health Foundation. Retrieved April 28, 2014, from

Yoga for Health: Get the Facts. (2013, July 1). National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine. Retrieved April 28, 2014, from


Why Is Core Training Important for Runners?

By: Alanna Pokorski, PT


Training your core is critical for proper form and endurance. It also reduces the risk of injury when running. The core is more than just your abdominals. The core consists of abdominals, hamstrings and quadriceps (which are the front and back of your thighs), gluteal muscles (which are the buttock muscles) and low back muscles.


If you are training for a race this summer, check out these exercises to help improve your core strength:


1.)   Bridge:


Lift your buttocks up off the ground with knees about shoulder-width apart. Squeeze buttocks while pushing toes into the ground. Begin holding for 10 seconds, and repeat the exercise 6 times. It is also recommended to place a belt or strap around the knees and push out while lifting the buttocks up.

















2.)   Sidebridge:


Laying on your side, lift your hips up towards the ceiling keeping your torso straight and leaning slightly forward. Keep one hand on your hip and your elbow on the table. Begin by holding for 10 seconds, and repeat the exercise 6 times.

















3.)   Plank:


Keeping your elbows bent, push your toes into the table and elevate your body in order to keep your spine in a straight line. Squeeze the buttocks and keep the abdominals tight. Be careful not to lift only the buttocks on the air. Maintain breathing and begin by holding for 10 seconds, repeating the exercise 6 times.















One training philosophy is to work on increments of 60 to build up endurance, which is critical to successful running. Try the following increment schedule:


  • Do 6 reps in 10 seconds
  • Progress to 3 reps in 20 seconds
  • Continue with 3 reps in 30 seconds
  • Conclude with 1 rep, held for 60 seconds


A physical therapist can help you with your exercises as well as help you improve your running mechanics. For more information, please visit us at or contact us at


Diabetes and Physical Therapy

By: Kate Saccocci, PT, DPT


Diabetes is one of the most prevalent diseases in the United States. According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million people are living with either Type I or Type II diabetes. There are several different treatment options that are used to help people manage their diabetes; however, exercise and diet are the most common. Physical therapy plays a critical role in the treatment of diabetes and can promote positive outcomes from an injury.


Exercise has a positive effect on how our bodies utilize insulin. Exercise also decreases the negative effects of high blood sugar. Excessively high or low blood sugar can be detrimental to a person with diabetes. Modulation of blood sugar is critical, and exercise can help play a role in that.


With the astounding number of people living in the US with diabetes, it is likely that you, a friend, or a family member is somehow affected by the disease. While our ultimate goal in physical therapy is to help rehab a person from an injury, we also have a great opportunity to inspire a regular exercise routine and encourage patients to continue to live a healthy lifestyle.


You can now seek medical advice from a Physical Therapist directly without a referral from a doctor. Please visit us at if we can help support you with a consultation for your injury.


Kate Saccocci is a licensed physical therapist at Sports Physical Therapy of New York who has personally dealt with diabetes much of her life. Contact Kate or any of our other licensed therapists at We have a clinic near you!


Understanding Pain

By Rachel Laufer, SPT


When you’re in pain, it is hard to think about much else. It can prevent you from living a full life, so it’s important to seek help.


The first step to feeling better is to understand what pain is. Pain is a sensation created by your brain when it concludes that you are injured or are in danger of injury because of “threat” signals it receives from your muscles, joints, ligaments, and organs. This makes pain one of your body’s protective mechanisms, so you should not follow the saying “no pain, no gain” because pain may indicate that something is wrong. The trick to relieving pain is to determine what the actual or potential damage is and then fix it.


Pain often does not match the amount of tissue damage. For example, many people describe feeling no pain when they have a limb severed from their body, while paper cuts are excruciating. Similarly, X-rays and MRIs do not always correlate with what a person feels. Those with herniated intervertebral discs may have no pain, while others with no findings on imaging are in horrible pain.


Although usually protective, the pain system can be inaccurate. Pain can be persistent or increased from a vicious cycle that you can stop. For many, pain remains not because there is continuing tissue damage but because of negative thoughts, seeing countless health professionals without improvement, or doing nothing about your pain. Also, fear is a powerful element behind chronic pain that can increase pain, whether it is fear of re-injury, disability, or pain itself.


If you are in pain, seek help!

  • Pain is different for every person. Therefore, it is important that your treatment be specific to you.
  • After injury, your tissues are weaker and damaged so they are more sensitive to physical stress. Therefore, you need to pace yourself and be persistent in rebuilding your tissue’s health. And be patient – it takes time for your tissues to heal.
  • “Motion is lotion!” Your body is designed for movement, which may help reduce your pain. However, pain can also affect how you move, causing you to develop poor movement patterns that may cause more problems.
  • Don’t chase or focus on the pain but take control of it. It is important to understand why you are experiencing pain and how you can help yourself get better.
  • Physical therapists are experts in pain related to movement. We can help evaluate the source of pain and design an efficient plan to help with pain and function.


For more information on how a physical therapist can help with your pain, visit us at or contact us at


Sports PT is proud to invest in teaching and mentoring students of physical therapy throughout New York State. To learn more about the student experience, visit here.