How to do a REAL Crunch!!! (Always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program)
The area of the body that may be the most overlooked when dealing with the strength of the core is the pelvic floor region; the layer of muscles that support the bowel and bladder in men, and the uterus in women. Think of all those muscles that help you start and stop the flow of going to the bathroom. These muscles are the BASE OF THE CORE, and they work with the stomach (lower abs), diaphragm (upper abs) and back muscles to support the spine and therefore, the entire core.
Weakness in the pelvic floor can lead to all kinds of embarrassing issues: Loss of bladder and bowel control is a big one; sexual dysfunction is another. In some cases, even organ prolapse can occur with a lack of strength in the pelvic floor.
One problem that people don’t necessarily equate with a weak pelvic floor is low back and hip pain. Back and hip muscles must take up the slack for puny pelvic floors, and here in lies the tie to core strength. When you combine a weak pelvic floor to a weak or over-worked back, and weak abdominals---well, there are going to be some issues to deal with sooner or later—and none of them are pleasant.
If you would like to learn more about how to strengthen the pelvic floor for a stronger core, call me at 502-321-0557 for a schedule of class times and days.
SPECIAL SERIES: THE WHAT, WHY, AND HOW OF CORE STRENGTH-3 REASONS CORE STRENGTH IS VITAL
What picture comes to mind when you think of core strength? Is it the signature “6-pack” you see splashed across the latest fitness magazine or commercials? Core strength is more than just the pretty “washboard abs”. It is the strength necessary to stabilize the trunk of the body.
Why is stabilizing the trunk of the body so important? Because an imbalanced core can and does show itself up and down the body. The core consists of the abdominals, as well as the muscles of the back and the pelvic floor. Poor core strength affects virtually all joints (shoulders, hips, knees, etc.) because when the core is not doing its share of the work, the joints and surrounding muscles have to work twice as hard, leading to wear and tear issues in those joints. Knee, shoulder, and hip replacements are commonplace these days.
There is still very little education out there about how important having a strong core (and therefore proper posture) is to maintaining joint health into middle and old age. Most people don’t know just how important it is until they are in a physical therapist’s office doing rehab. There is almost always some core strengthening involved in rehab.
The ability to stabilize the core also becomes more important as we age because proper strength in the core alleviates many issues that older populations face; namely issues of balance. Poor core strength leads to more falls. A hunched forward posture means the person may not be able to see an obstacle in their path. It can also lead to shuffling, which can lead to tripping and falling.
The third reason core strength is important is for all issues relating to the pelvic floor; bladder and bowel incontinence, as well as organ prolapse and sexual dysfunction are the four biggies. For more information on this, please look for my next article which delves a little deeper into the why the pelvic floor is so connected to core strength. You can find more information on how to strengthen the core by calling me at 502-321-0557.
2 Things You Can Do at Work To Help Shoulder & Upper Back Pain
Several weeks ago, I posted an article and photos of some modified yoga poses for low back pain for those who sit for long periods of time at work. Then I posted a video encouraging viewers to drink more water during the day, which not only helps mental clarity, but also digestion, less congestion, muscle pain, etc. Drinking more water also makes you need the bathroom more, which forces you to get up and move around more! This is actually a good thing; more movement means less stiffness and soreness that comes from sitting too long.
Many people can also suffer from shoulder and upper back pain from the hunched-over posture we adopt as we work at a desk or at a computer. Here are 2 ways that are really effective with helping the pain that comes from bad sitting posture:
These 2 simple movements can provide very effective relief for shoulder and upper back pain. If you need more ideas for ways to combat shoulder and upper back pain, go to www.lightworkdyogaandtherapeutics.com, or call me at 502-321-0557.
We may have just survived Halloween, but there are still some vampires around, lurking in the shadows. Not the blood-sucking, trance-inducing kind, but energetic vampires; the ones who drain us of our life force energy in order to feed their own. If you know anyone who leaves you dreading being in their presence, they may be an energy vampire. Or if they leave you feeling exhausted, depressed, angry or defensive, chances are they are draining your energy.
WHO ARE THEY?
These people can be co-workers, friends, parents, spouses, or even children. Listed below is a basic list of the types of energy vampires you may encounter:
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
Once you have identified the issue, you can create a plan for how to deal with these Energy Nosferatus:
Set Very Clear Boundaries-
If you want to learn more about how energy affects your physical and mental well-being and how to protect yourself further, contact me at 502-321-0557
It is believed that as many as 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Ironically, dehydration is considered one of the most preventable medical conditions in the world.
Although most folks drink about 8 servings of hydrating liquid a day, the caffeine, alcohol and sodium laden foods offset the positive effects of the hydrating liquid consumed. By the time we feel thirsty, dehydration has already been established. But thirst is not the only symptom of dehydration.
Symptoms can affect every area of the body, especially the brain, the muscles and joints, and the skin. Did you know that the brain is comprised of 85% water? Being hydrated is crucial for proper brain function. Even mild dehydration has been shown to cause lack of focus and short-term memory loss, as well as irritability and even anxiety.
Even though some health practitioners still commonly recommend eight 8-ounce glasses of water, many health experts are now saying that those guidelines may not be sufficient. Recent recommendations are based more on the weight and activity level. Some suggest that you take your weight and divide it by two and that gives you a starting place of how many ounces of water you need a day. So a 150 pound person would need to drink at least 75 ounces a day; even more (10-20 ounces) if the person is active.
The muscles are 75% water. Drinking water helps make your muscles less prone to fatigue and cramping, which contributes to proper muscle building. Water also lubricates the joints. Happy joints are essential to pain free movement!
Skin, which is 64% water, is one place where the lack of water is quite visible. A quick look at our fingers can point to dehydration: wrinkly fingertips (like after you’ve been swimming) can indicate a lack of enough water. Dry, itchy, cracked skin, even WRINKLES, can be traced straight to the lack of sufficient water.
This one habit can be a game changer in a very short amount of time. These are just a few issues helped by more water in your life. If you would like to learn more ways to help you feel better fast, call me at 502-321-0557. I can teach you some other great tools for feeling better in your mind and body, with yoga, Jin Shin Jyutsu and massage therapy.
If you have ever had to sit for more than a few hours at a time for work, whether behind a desk or behind a wheel, you probably know a thing or two about an achy back. Prolonged sitting is one of the main contributors to low back pain because it usually means your low back is rounded. Sitting too far back from your desk or the wheel can also cause rounding of the spine. Another thing we tend to do when sitting for long periods is to sit slumped to one side.
Yoga is one of the techniques most widely prescribed by health care professionals for dealing with low back pain. That is because it offers not only the poses which help stretch those specific muscles which get stressed from too much sitting, but yoga also addresses the strengthening the muscles which are needed to support a healthy low back and hip region.
You don’t always need a mat to do yoga. You can give your low back some relief by modifying certain poses right at your desk or even next to your vehicle.
These poses are very effective and can bring relief right away. That, coupled with the fact that they can be done in as little as 5-7 minutes makes doing them a no-brainer for addressing low back pain at work.
If you would like to learn more ways to combat low back pain, call me at 502-321-0557. I would like to teach you even more useful poses, along with helping you to strengthen your core so you can have a much happier back!
STAYING INJURY FREE: 2 THINGS YOU CAN DO AFTER REHAB TO MAINTAIN STRENGTH AND FLEXIBILITY
HEALING SHOULDN’T END WHEN YOU WALK
OUT THE DOOR AFTER PHYSICAL THERAPY
If you or someone you know has ever had to visit a physical therapist after an injury or physical impairment of some kind, you know how much work goes into the rehabilitation process. When patients graduate rehab, physical therapists (PTs) will encourage their patients to stay active and continue to stretch and strengthen the injured area.
If you, as a patient were already doing those things prior to your physical therapy, then you may have a pretty good idea what to focus on to improve fitness once you have been released from the care of your PT. If you were not too physically active before the injury, you may not really know what to do, or even if you are doing it correctly.
It’s important to receive the best possible care AFTER you have been released from the PT so that the injury doesn’t reoccur. Did you know it takes a sprained ankle nine months to completely heal? That’s well after you have been released from physical therapy. Therefore, finding some ways to keep moving ahead with your recovery is really all up to you!
Here are two ways to regain your strength and flexibility:
1. YOGA. One form of after-care which is highly recommended by many PTs and other licensed health care professionals is yoga. With a qualified instructor who can show you how to practice safely, yoga can be a wonderful choice because it addresses both mobility and strength, which are so important to remaining injury-free.
Another distinctive aspect of yoga that other forms of exercise don’t offer is an increase in blood flow and circulation throughout the body, which is crucial for healing to continue.
2. MASSAGE THERAPY. Another great adjunct to PT after-care is massage therapy.
Massage can address not only pain and tenderness in the soft tissue surrounding the
injured area, but also the scar tissue which may have formed as a result of the injury.
Scar tissue is the body’s rendition of a Band-Aid, and it forms anywhere there is an
injury, whether it is from a surgical incision, a tear in a muscle, tendon or ligament, or even on a bone after a fracture. Scar tissue, like a Band-Aid is not intended to be
The body lays down this emergency tissue quickly and randomly near the injury, so the healing process can begin immediately. However, if the tissue is not realigned soon after healing, that area tends to be vulnerable to re-injury, as well as loss of range of motion due to decreased flexibility and strength. Certain massage
techniques can specifically attend to injured tissue to help restore its original stability.
These are just a couple of ways to continue to heal the injured or impaired area so that healthy range of motion, along with strength and flexibility can be maintained. Be proactive and take the time to keep caring for your injury even after you leave your initial rehab. Just be sure to always consult your health care provider before starting any new wellness program.
If you’ve had an injury and are finished with physical therapy but are not healing as quickly as you’d hoped, call me today. I will assess your strength and flexibility, create a customized treatment plan AND teach you how to do specific techniques that you can do at home to speed our healing process.