By: Alicia Lavelle, SPT, CWC (Student Physical therapist and Certified Wellness Coach)
You may recognize signs like this from public service announcements about the hazards of smoking. Physical inactivity is a risk factor for: heart disease, type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancer, and many chronic (lasting greater than 6 months) conditions. Most Americans know they should, “exercise more and eat better”, but a good majority of Americans many not know what this means exactly. Do you know the recommended amount of physical activity for improving overall health and quality of life?
To gauge how you close you are to the guidelines you should ask yourself these 2 simple questions:
- “On average, how many days/week do you engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity (like brisk walking)?” _________ days/week
- “On average, how many minutes do you engage in physical activity at this level?” ____________ minutes/day
Get your total activity by multiplying the responses = days/week x minutes/day = to get minutes per week. The recommended prescription is:
150 hours of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week (Example: 30 minute brisk walk 5 days of the week), in addition to strength training for major muscle groups 2 times per week.
In order to protect unnecessary stress to your heart and joints; if you are not currently engaged in regular physical activity you should:
- Avoid unaccustomed, vigorous physical exertion and high risk activities (e.g. Racquet sports, water or cross-country skiing, highly competitive sports, deer hunting, snow shoveling).
- Always start any moderate/vigorous activity with warm-up and follow-up with cool-down procedures.
- If experience chest pain or pressure, lightheadedness, or heart palpations/arrhythmias consider this a warning sign and stop exercise until cleared by your doctor.
- Exertion level should range “fairly light” to “somewhat hard” to know that you are at a training heart rate.
- Reduce the intensity of exercise in hot weather or at altitudes of >1500m until acclimatized.
Other physical activity tips:
Children and adolescents should obtain up to 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day.
Regular exercise substantially reduces adverse health risks, even in the absence of weight loss. If fact, it has been proven that obese/over-weight persons who are at least moderately fit, have death rate of approximately half those of people within a normal weight range who are not fit.
It is important to find a physical activity you enjoy and set realistic goals by exploring what you are willing and able to do to increase your physical activity levels. A great way to increase your daily activity is to keep track of it on a calendar or through a smart phone app.
- National Physical Activity Plan. Physical Activity Plan Web Site. http://www.physicalactivityplan.org/docs/2016NPAP_Finalforwebsite.pdf. Accessed September 17,2016
- Sallis, Robert E., Baggish, Aaron L., Franklin, Barry A., Whitehead, James R.,. The call for a physical activity vital sign in clinical practice. AJM the American Journal of Medicine 2016;129(9):903-5.
- Myers, Jonathan, McAuley, Paul, Lavie, Carl J., Despres, Jean-Pierre, Arena, Ross,Kokkinos, Peter,. Physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness as major markers of cardiovascular risk: Their independent and interwoven importance to health status. YPCAD Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases 2015;57(4):306-14.
Written by: Dr. Aimee Alexander, PT, DPT, OCS
Have you or someone you know have a fall that caused injury? Perhaps a loved one seems to be at a risk for falls…
The good news: Licensed physical therapists are the experts at identifying and helping to reduce the risk of falling in older adults by creating an individualized program for each person.
Did you know?
- Falls are the #1 reason why older individuals lose their independence!
- 1/3 of adults over the age of 65 fall each year – and less than half of these people tell anyone about it.
- Over 2 million older adults
- Every 29 minutes an older adult dies from a fall
- 1 out of 5 falls causes serious injury (fracture/head trauma)
- Direct medical costs for injuries related to falls is over $28 billion annually.
Falls Risk Factors:
Most falls occur due to a combination of risk factors, and a risk for falling increases with each fall. Fall risk can be reduced! Falls risk factors are categorized as extrinsic (environmental factors) and intrinsic (those that relate specifically to the individual)
Intrinsic Risk Factors may include:
- Advanced age
- History of falls
- Weakness in the lower body
- Gait abnormalities/difficulties
- Generalized muscle weakness
- Vision deficits
- Postural blood pressure changes with position changes (postural hypotension)
- Balance deficits
- Conditions such as: stroke, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, arthritis, incontinence (in a hurry to get to the bathroom), dementia
- A persons fear of falling actually increases the risk
Extrinsic risk factors may include:
- Home environment: stairs, lack of grab bars in bathroom, throw rugs, pets, dim lighting
- Slippery surfaces
- Polypharmacy: the more medications you take daily, the more likely your risk of falling.
- Certain types of medications create more risk than others (psychoactive meds-aka benzodiazepines, “sedatives” and sedating meds-tylenol PM, benadryl, and any medications having anticholinergic side effects-ex: blurred vision)
- Improper use of assistive device or improper device for level of weakness/function.
What can you do to reduce your risk?
- Begin an individualized exercise program designed by a physical therapist to improve your strength and balance
- Review your entire medication list with your physician or pharmacist
- Annual eye examinations – update eyewear
- Reduce extrinsic risk factors at home: remove tripping hazards such as clutter/throw rugs, put railings or grab bars on all stairs and in bathrooms, improve lighting in all rooms
**Sports PT is committed to reducing Falls in the community and September 22rd is Falls Prevention Day. Each Sports PT location is serving their community with a Falls Risk Assessment that week. For more information on Falls Risk Assessment in your area, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
By: Greg Lowe, SPT, Daemen College
Throughout my clinical internship here at Sports PT, a common theme continued to present itself: injured patients generally do not realize the importance of their hip muscles! While patients may even test strong in the gluteal muscles with traditional testing, functional movements, such as a squat, often demonstrate that the muscles do not turn on or activate when needed most. The two main muscles of the hip are the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius, and both of the gluteal muscles play an important role in preventing injuries to the legs and the low back. In regards to walking or running, weak or inactive gluteal muscles can eventually lead to patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), a general term for knee pain.1 Likewise, weak or inactive gluteal muscles can predispose patients to ankle injuries due to decreased force absorption and redistribution by the muscles around the hip.2 Researchers even determined that inactive gluteal muscles are associated with increased hamstring muscle group cramping.3 Low back pain can also develop when the muscles around the hips are not strong and stable because of the overcompensation that must occur from the low back muscles.
Research shows that a reflex mechanism resulting from tightness in the ligaments that surround the hip sends a signal that causes the gluteal muscles to shut down.4,5 This tightness commonly occurs when patients are not moving as much or change their normal movement patterns due to pain. While physical therapists can prescribe exercises intended to train the activation of the gluteal muscles, researchers demonstrated that a manual pressure down into the hip can actually reverse the reflex mechanism and additionally assist in activating the muscle group.4,5 Yerys et al. determined that the use of a hands-on mobilization to the front of the hip joint could increase the maximal force output of hip extension by 14% in patients immediately after receiving treatment.4 Makofsky et al. similarly determined that the use of a hands-on mobilization to the bottom of the hip joint could increase the maximal force output of hip abduction by 17% in patients 15 minutes after receiving treatment.5 If you are scheduled for a physical therapy examination for pain anywhere from your low back down to your feet, you should expect a physical therapist to assess gluteal muscle strength and activation due to all of the potential benefits associated with hip strength and stability. Treatment will likely include mobilizations to get the hip muscles active again, showing the benefit of hands-on treatment from your PT. The glutes hold the key to less pain!
- Fukuda T, Rossetto F, Magalhã E, Bryk F, Lucareli P, Carvalho N. Short-term effects of hip abductors and lateral rotators strengthening in females with patellofemoral pain syndrome: A randomized controlled clinical trial. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2010;40(11):736-742. doi:10.2519/jospt.2010.3246.
- Hughes P, Hsu Jim, Matava M. Hip anatomy and biomechanics in the athlete. Sports Med Arthro Rev. 2002;10(2):103.114. doi:10.1097/01.JSA.0000017305.66476.DA.
- Wagner T, Behnia N, Ancheta W, Shen R, Farrokhi S, Powers C. Strengthening and neuromuscular reeducation of the gluteus maximus in a tirathlete with exercise-associated cramping of the hamstrings. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2010;40(2):112-119. doi:10.2159/jospt.2010.3110.
- Yerys S, Makofsky H, Byrd C, Pennachio J, Cinkay J. Effect of mobilization of the anterior hip capsule on gluteus maximus strength. J Manual Manipulative Ther. 2002;10(4):218-224 7p. pmid:19066650.
- Makofsky H, Panicker S, Sileo R, et al. Immediate Effect of Grade IV Inferior Hip Joint Mobilization on Hip Abductor Torque: A Pilot Study. J Manual Manipulative Ther. 2007;15(2):103-110. an:106704406.
By: Sports PT Clinical Team
The time has come! Back to school morning madness when we race to get our children out the door and to the bus stop on time!
This year take a minute and make sure that your child’s backpack is not too heavy. The percentage of childhood neck and back pain has significantly increased over the past decade as a result of heavy poor fitting backpacks. This can affect posture and muscle imbalances for the long term.
If your child is complaining of back and neck pain, check to see if they are following these simple backpack safety guidelines:
- If your child’s backpack is forcing them to bend forward, then they are carrying too much weight. The maximum weight of a loaded backpack should not weigh more than 10% of the carrier’s bodyweight. Have your child eliminate any unnecessary items from their backpack.
- Be selective when purchasing a backpack, take size into consideration, a kindergartner should not be wearing the same size backpack as a teenager.
- Make sure that your child doesn’t sling their backpack over one shoulder as this causes uneven weight distribution to the spine creating muscle imbalances and tightness.
- Many children are carrying a large backpack and instrument. Our PT’s educate their adolescent patients to lift with their legs, not their back, and to avoid twisting when lifting.
If you have made sure that your child is using their backpack properly, and they continue to have neck or back pain, contact us for a Physical Therapy evaluation at www.sptny.com.