Our Barefooter Kate Mendel loves her rock climbing.
Kayaking – recreational paddling from a Physio’s perspective
Getting into Exercise
It’s all happened to us, even from the most innocuous of activities: picking up my keys. Does our body really start to fall apart as we age?
I just jumped in my car, and as I went to grab the door handle with keys in hand, I dropped my keys. While seated, I twisted and bent over to pick them up – then I felt it – a tiny twinge in my lower spine. Not enough to hurt, but just enough to let me know I’d done something bad down there.
Not thinking anything of it, I drove away, the twinge becoming pain and then acute pain. I drove myself to a physio. By the time I got there, I couldn’t get out of the car without assistance. I had ruptured a lumbar disc.
I’m not alone. Lots of friends have told me similar stories – doing something simple, and then twang – something happens. Generally it’s shrugged off with the statement “this is what happens at our age. Your body starts to fall apart.”
“The age” is mid-30s. The thing is, I heard the same when I turned 40. And I’m sure I’ll hear it again when I turn 50.
There is some truth to it. Your muscles do start to change in your 30s, says Professor Alan Hayes, a muscle and exercise physiologist at Victoria University.
“You have … peak muscle mass in mid-20s and certainly after that point, by about your mid-30s, they start to decline.
“But if you’re that age and just blaming your body, that’s a bit of a cop out.”
James Fell, a sports scientist at the University of Tasmania, says there’s probably no reason to attribute such muscular niggles to age until your 50s.
Professor Hayes thinks it’s even higher: “I don’t think you should do that until you’re in your 70s.”
So if I can’t blame my age, why does it feel like my body is about to fall apart?
Life stage and lifestyle
In short, a lot of it is due to activity — or lack thereof.
“There’s no doubt that the sedentary lifestyle aspect is a major contributor to the injuries that we’re going to sustain,” Professor Hayes says.
When you sit at a desk for hours on end, for instance, your hip flexor muscles, which connect your spine, pelvis and upper legs, remain constantly shortened, Dr Fell says.
“And then you get up out of your chair and expect them to function normally, and you injure them or other associated structures.”
With being sedentary comes a greater risk of obesity. Fat can work its way between muscle fibres, further decreasing strength, and into bone.
The “your body falls apart in your 30s” idea probably also has something to do with that particular life stage, Bond University sports scientist Peter Reaburn says.
Are you over the age of 40 and feel like your body is telling you something? What do you do to keep fit and moving? Do you incorporate resistance training? We’d love to know!
If you’re unsure about what to do, or whether your body is ready to start something knew like lifting weights – then feel free to give us a call or book in for an assessment. You can book on-line HERE, or call us on 1300 842 850. We’ll make sure you don’t fall apart.
Anyone can, and does fall at some point throughout their lives, for most of us it is multiple times. Unfortunately, the older you get the more impact these falls can have. As we get older we need to take further precautions in order to stay safe. We can do this by putting in place some falls prevention techniques.
Here are some falls prevention quick tips for either at home or in the community.
- Stay active and participate in group activities such as Tai Chi, Yoga or Walking.
- Making sure you have good fitting shoes with good gripping soles, and avoid wearing loose fitting shoes (slippers) or socks, especially when walking on a slippery surface.
- Make sure there is enough light for you to see well, especially when walking at night. This does include turning on the lights when getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.
- Using a walking aid, such as walking stick or frame, when you need to.
- At your house, you can consider putting grip tape on the edge of your stairs.
Physiotherapy’s role in falls prevention can be somewhat underestimated, so how do we help?
Well firstly we are able to fully assess not only your body, but your balance to help determine the level of risk you have to fall. Then once we have determined this, we are able to come up with individualised programs to help decrease this risk. These programs are things that will work on your muscle strength (not necessarily lifting heavy weights), and your balance. For example, standing on one leg in a yoga pose can go a long way to correcting and ensuring good balance.
Along with coming up with this program, we are also experts in the adjustment and maintenance or your walking sticks or frames, making sure they are as safe for you as possible. This may mean that we either adjust a frame or stick that you already have, or we may suggest to you that you get one, in order to help prevent any future falls.
We hope you’ve found these tips, tricks for Falls Prevention helpful. We’d love to hear from you if you have further ideas on how to prevent a fall.
If you feel you would love some help from us, you can give us a call, or book on-line for an appointment today!
Dan Ludgater recently moved to Medellin, Colombia to pursue the Digital Nomad lifestyle. His Colombian Adventure so far is something most of us would love to do.
So you’ve been living in Medillin, Colombia for the last 2 months. How does it compare to life in Brisbane?
Well, everyone speaks Spanish… except for me lol. It’s actually been fun learning a new language and doing our best to navigate situations. My “food ordering Espanol” is pretty good now, and as far as we know, no one has ordered any mystery meats.
It’s also FAR more dangerous here. Kidding. When you mention a Colombian Adventure to most people, they think Cartels and Cocaine… Which would be accurate if it was 25 years ago. Though, to be fair, it wasn’t safe to travel outside the cities until about ten years ago.
Another big difference was living in an apartment with several friends and colleagues. The first month there were 6 of us sharing. Pros and cons to that, of course, but overall it was a lot of fun. As I write this, my girlfriend and I are in our own place here with a magnificent view.
What made you want to go and try out the digital nomad lifestyle?
We always wanted to try living abroad, but it’s been challenging since my girlfriend has a full-time position back in Brissy (currently on leave). We almost moved here a couple years back on the recommendation of a friend (so that I could pursue an opportunity with a company that needed me on US time). Didn’t make sense to me at the time though. So when I was talking with some colleagues at an event in Florida in October last year, spending some time in Colombia came up. And since we wanted to do a trip around the same time anyway, we finally pulled the trigger.
What have been your favorite things about working in Colombia?
It’s been fantastic getting to spend time with my friends and colleagues. With 5 from all across the States and 1 from Ireland, it’s not often we’re in the same place. I also love getting to immerse myself in the culture and go do fun things in my down time. We went paragliding, climbed the rock at Guatape/El Penol, went through one of Escobar‘s mansions that was bombed by the Cali Cartel, and plenty more. Being on a US timezone has been a nice bonus for me, too.
Tell us about the type of work you do while you’re abroad?
I help my clients grow their businesses with more effective marketing and copy. Fortunately, that means that I can work from anywhere as long as I have a laptop, wifi and a head set.
Have you had any serious or interesting problems on your travels?
Nothing too scary. We’ve had some times where debit/credit cards were rejected. Which can be stressful if you don’t have cash on you. But that was mostly when trying to do transactions online or through apps.
Another thing comes to mind. Not really a “problem”, and kind of funny… We had a couple occasions where we did a tour and were told by our driver, “If we get pulled over at a police checkpoint, we’re friends from when I visited Florida a couple years back.” The driver still had paperwork going through for that, and seeing as Uber is essentially illegal here (though everyone uses it anyway), they don’t want to look like that’s what’s going on.
Though their driving, on the other hand, WAS terrifying.
Are you going to be continuing your digital nomad lifestyle longer term? If so where is your next destination?
Absolutely. We’ll be coming back here again at some stage and no doubt will tour more of South America. Also want to check out Spain, Portugal and some other spots in Europe. As well as Thailand and Vietnam.
Do you have any advice for people wanting to trial the laptop lifestyle and work abroad?
A lot of people still have this fantasy of sitting on a beach with their laptop. Obviously it’s nothing like that. In fact, it’s hard work. That said, there are some professions where remote work is now viable. For me, as a freelancer, I’m responsible for making sure I have clients that can keep the money flowing. But, if you work hard during the day, that leaves the nights and weekends open for adventure. And there’s plenty of that to be had.
We hope you enjoyed Dan’s Colombian Adventure? If you’re currently on an excellent adventure, or about to take one, why not drop us a line so we can feature you here. Just click right here to send us some information.
We also know that while Dan’s is on this Colombian Adventure, he is watching this BLOG, so if you have any questions for us or Dan, please feel free to ask in the comments section below.
Whatever sport you do you’re no doubt putting in endless hours of specific training, along with maybe some alternative recovery and rehab sessions like yoga and stretching. However, like most people, there’s even one more activity you’re probably doing more of than even sleeping – sitting! It’s the new epidemic.
We all spend too much time sitting. Whether it’s in the car, at work, at home or at the dinner table – you always find yourself sitting. This situation gets even worse if your job involves a computer. If you do have a job where a computer is an essential part of your day, chances are you spend more time sitting in front of a screen than you do exercising.
If sitting were a sport, we’d probably all be World Champions. How many hours a week do you think you sit for? A full-time desk job could have you sitting for 40 hours a week. I bet if you checked your Strava, your training hours would be around 6 to 8 for the above average athlete – way less than the time you spend sitting.
It’s obvious that when we sit for most of our week, slouching hours at a time in front of a computer, problems are inevitably going to occur. Muscular imbalances, lower back pain, tightness, all of which can carry across into our training causing more pain, stresses and even injuries. You probably end up looking like this for most of your day:
Sitting is the new epidemic. Not so much the act of sitting, but how we sit – slouching, neck forward, shoulders internally rotated, lower back collapsing. Core muscles disengaged. Glutes asleep. Hip-flexors and hamstrings shortened. Just like the image here.
Those that train for many hours and then hold an office job can tell you how bad this recipe is. What you think is a training issue stems from prolonged sitting after your workouts. Added to this could be RSI from your computer mouse, screen and a bad office chair. Your workouts may not be enough to counteract prolonged sitting. In fact, even a yoga class during the week may still not be enough to wake up sleepy glutes, undo tight hamstrings and wound up iliotibial bands.
So what can you do? The solution is to treat your sitting, as an extension of your overall training. Seek ways to cultivate healthy postural habits throughout the day that will positively transfer to your sport.
What’s key is to be as disciplined in the way you sit, as that you give your training sessions. Correct posture is key and a big part of this is how you set up your sitting spaces [like your office desk]. Click here for more info.
You need to sit up in that chair, keeping your back straight with a slight forward pelvic tilt to maintain the lordosis of your lower back. Your head should be in a neutral position – meaning that you might have to lift your computer screen right up. Roll your shoulders back and let your scapula’s move down your back. Your ears should be aligned over your shoulders, and your shoulders over your hips to avoid that forward slouch.
Stand up desks are gaining popularity – as it’s said it will be better posture for you, however you still need to be very careful. You can still ‘slouch’ while standing – and in fact contribute to sitting issues.
Caitlin, one of our Senior Physiotherapists here at Barefoot Physiotherapy, reminds me all the time that “the best position, is the next position”. So, at the least, incorporate frequent breaks into your workday to break up extended hours of sitting or standing at a desk. Lunch break walks, having to move to get to the printer will all assist your body. In fact a friend of mine ensures that they drink water all day, not to just stay hydrated, but to get you walking to the toilet.
There’s so many things you can do at your desk, in your chair or while standing in your office cubicle. Muscle activation exercises and stretching is always available to you, and don’t make you look too stupid to your work colleagues. In fact, when you begin to stretch, it’s infectious – anyone watching will usually start to do the same and comment, “oh yeah, I need to do some of that”. Here’s 10 ideas to get you moving:
- Nod your head as you would say yes, then increase the range of movement so that your chin touches your chest and then look raise your head and look at the ceiling above you. Then gently tilt the head from side to side, ears to shoulders.
- Roll your shoulders, forward and backwards – feel how awesome that is.
- Interlock your fingers behind your back, straighten your arms and stretch the front body. Look up, look down while you do this.
- Just stand up! Do number 3. Above while standing in a gentle lunge – oh yeah.
- While standing, you can do a forward bend and stretch the hamstrings and calves. For the more adventurous, stand on one leg as you bend the raised foot to your glutes for a lovely quadricep stretch. Push that hip forward to stretch the hip flexors. Change legs.
- While standing, place a hand on your desk, stretch your fingers wide, as far apart as they can go. Straighten your arm and then do some arm rotations – internal and external. Great for the rotator cuff and your wrist. Change arms. Do both arms. Do it against a wall. Have fun.
- Put a heel on your chair, straighten that leg and stretch your hamstring. For the more flexible, use your desk [you might have to take your shoes off].
- While the leg is on your chair or desk, rotate your torso over the leg, trying to get your shoulders parallel with the leg – your ITB, piriformis and glutes will thank you.
- Do some calf raises, both legs, then one leg with the raised foot locked behind your grounded foot. Hold on to something if you can’t balance.
- Get to that in-office corporate yoga program that HR has been beating on about.
Of course if you’re doing a lot of these exercises during your day and still can’t get rid of that niggle in your back or legs, feel free to click here to make a booking with us.
So your spending more time sitting at a desk or in a car during the week – undoing all that fantastic training and potentially hurting your body more than you know. The key is to focus on good posture and breaking up hours in a chair with movement –whether it’s light activities, stretching, walking or anything that supports your overall health and fitness goals.
We’d love to hear back from you around your thoughts on sitting. How long do you sit during your day? What do you do to counteract the effects of sitting? Feel free to comment below, or email us here.