Our Barefooter Kate Mendel loves her rock climbing.
Kayaking – recreational paddling from a Physio’s perspective
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.
It won’t surprise you that Barefooters love getting out and about, moving everyday in a way they enjoy. Women’s soccer has really taken off in the past decade, with teams sprouting up all over Brisbane with quite a competitive Brisbane Premier League as a result. If you’ve ever watched a game, you’ll see how competitive and skilful these ladies are. Our Physio Kirsten recently sat down with Charlotte to find out why she has such a passion for soccer.
How did your passion for soccer develop?
I’ve always had a keen interest for all things sport, and kind of just fell into playing soccer when I was young. I guess over time I’ve developed a real passion for soccer, mainly because I love the skill, athleticism and having a great time with other girls on the field.
Sports can have some pretty crazy traditions or pre game routines, do you have anything you do to get ready for a big game?
Definitely nothing too crazy. If I have the time, on the day of a game I like to go out and have a kick of the ball to get some touch. And I always put on my left sock and left boot on first, but I think that’s more just out of a habit. [ha, ha, we definitely think that’s a good-luck superstition! ed.]
What is your favourite pre game meal?
Something with bread usually haha, avocado on Turkish bread is probably my real favourite.
You recently went on a trip to New Zealand, where is your next trip going to be and why?
The next big trip on the bucket list is Canada because it looks so beautiful. Closer to home, I’d also really like to go to Tasmania and do some of the hikes down there.
Rapid fire, 5 Fun facts about you
– I’m a massive Newcastle Knights fan
– I love travelling but I absolutely hate flying
– My sporting idols are Andrew Johns and Roger Federer
– I love dogs and have a black Labrador named Ari who hunts bush turkeys
– I love the beach and in an alternate life would have loved to be a professional surfer
We love hearing about Barefooters and what they get up to in their spare time. Whether you have a passion for soccer or some other sport, we’d love to hear from you. If you’d like to let us know about what you get up to, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can arrange a quick chat and some photos – email us. Also, after seeing Charlotte’s pictures and reading her story, if you’d like to get into soccer, you can click this link to Football Brisbane.
…and of course, if you’re injured or just feeling a bit sore and tired from your Barefoot adventures, you can always come and see us: I need an appointment
Here’s a great article from our Industry Body explaining the current situation with Codeine becoming prescription only, and how Physiotherapy for Pain Management can be an effective treatment option.
With codeine becoming a prescription only drug from February, a large number of Australians will be seeking alternative ways to manage their pain.
National President of the Australian Physiotherapy Association, Phil Calvert said, ‘The good news is that physiotherapy is proven to provide effective pain relief, which treats rather than simply masks the underlying cause of pain.’
‘We appreciate that restricting access to codeine may cause anxiety for people who suffer an injury. So we want them to know that physiotherapists help people to manage their pain and recover movement with great success, without the use of addictive drugs.’
Research has shown that the relative level of pain that is experienced by someone can be influenced by a range of factors including their emotions and social environment. This means that pain can be a very complex issue to successfully treat.
‘There is no one size fits all approach in assessing and treating someone’s pain. So physiotherapists are practiced in considering a range of factors that may be contributing to the pain. We’ll talk with patients about their lifestyle goals and introduce an appropriate treatment including exercise programs, joint manipulation and mobilisation,’ said Mr Calvert.
What to expect from a physiotherapy consultation:
- Your physiotherapist will perform a physical examination and find out more about your history and any other factors that may be contributing to the pain.
- In most cases of acute pain (the period in which an injury is expected to heal), the pain will settle as the tissue heals. Your physiotherapist will explain the nature of the injury and normal healing times. They may provide early treatment, but in many cases advice regarding self-management strategies, including gentle exercise, will be enough to help resolve the pain and return you to full function.
- In situations where the pain has become chronic (generally more than three months – longer than normal healing times), assessment and management may be more complex. Things other than tissue damage may be contributing to your pain, which your physiotherapist will investigate. In complex situations other specialists may also form part of a wider treatment team.
- At all stages of pain management, physiotherapists will work with you to encourage self-management, remaining active as appropriate and avoiding a reliance on medication.
If you’re experience pain or difficulty with movement that may cause pain, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Here’s a BLOG of ours to read, If you’d like some simple exercises to assist with pain management: http://www.barefootphysiotherapy.com.au/easy-exercises-keep-healthy-active-age/
Putting her diving ability to good use while she studies for a Masters Degree in the Environment, Kirsten recently landed her Dream Job studying and caring for Turtles in Malaysia. Turtle Conservation is her passion and her journey is amazing. We’re excited to share her story:
You have just scored your dream job, working in turtle conservation in Malaysia for 8 months. Tell us more about what the job entails and why you are so passionate about this work
I have worked on a few turtle conservation projects in the past, which have involved patrolling the beaches at night for nesting mothers. When you come across one there is often a procedure of measuring, tagging and observing the nest and its parameters which are crucial to understand their mortality rates. The work also involves tracking hatched nests, their success rate and causes of depredation among the eggs.
Turtles are the most magnificent animals to work with and I’ve never felt more peaceful than sitting with a mum as she’s laying. Sometimes it isn’t the most glamorous work (scrambled turtle eggs and vultures is not an uncommon combination) and walking anywhere up to 8km throughout the night can be tough but being around these prehistoric creatures make it all worth it in a heartbeat.
The programme I’ll be looking after in Malaysia will cover all these things, where I’ll be working to coordinate volunteers from all over the map. I’ll have some big shoes to fill but having the beach as an office has been my dream for some time!
A few projects I’ve worked on have also involved surveying the beaches for poachers. Luckily this isn’t a problem in Australia, however is still a reality in many countries where sea turtles lay their eggs. I fell in love with sea turtles on a project in Costa Rica in 2012 with an amazing crew of local conservationists who were dedicating their lives to protecting them. Only a few months after I came home in 2013 one of my mentors, Jairo Mora Sandoval was brutally murdered by poachers. Its hard to believe, but this is how serious animal trades have become in some parts. I’ve never met someone as passionate for conservation as him, and I promised myself that Jairo’s death would not be in vain.
One of your big passions in life is scuba diving – tell us what it is you love so much about diving and where are some of your favourite dives?
The feeling I get when I’m underwater is indescribable. It’s one thing to sit on the beach and marvel at the view but knowing what lies beneath makes me appreciate what I’m looking at a whole lot more. I feel so lucky to live in a world where such exquisite life exists. And even better is how us humans have worked out how to breathe underwater!
Every dive is different, but my most memorable ones have been throughout Central America. I dived in a cenoté in Mexico which is an underwater limestone cave that you enter through a hole that may only be a few metres wide but would open up to a range of huge caverns underneath. It was extremely challenging both mentally and physically, knowing that you had to conserve enough air to be able to follow a line throughout the cavern. At one point we surfaced into ’The Bat Cave’, which as the name suggests, was full of bats hanging from the stalactites (those formations that hang eerily from the roof). I don’t know if I’d do that bit again!
Nothing compares to exploring your own backyard and diving over at Stradbroke Island during Grey Nurse Shark season is truly amazing. They are gentle sharks who nurse their young in the waters off Straddie, and I’ve been lucky enough to see a manta rays, turtles, nudibranchs and so much more on the same dive!