If you wake up with stiff, sore back; these exercises are for you
Q: My doctor says my elbow pain is due to tennis elbow. But I don’t play tennis. Could you explain how this has come about and what I can do about it?
A: “Tennis elbow” is a common term for a condition doctors call lateral epicondylitis. It’s caused by inflammation of the tendon that connects the extensor muscles of the wrist to the outside of the elbow.
Probably fewer than 10 percent of people get this by playing tennis. The usual causes are recreational activities such as gardening, job-related lifting, using a screwdriver or wrist overuse.
The medial epicondyle can also get inflamed. In this condition, called medial epicondylitis, the affected tendons connect the flexor muscles of the wrist to the inside of the elbow. It’s commonly called “golfer’s elbow” or “pitchers elbow.” Tightening and twisting the wrist from activities such as golfing or throwing a baseball can cause it.
Most people with medial or lateral epicondylitis feel pain when their doctor applies direct pressure to the inflamed area. He or she might ask you to push your wrist against resistance, which could also cause pain. You might also feel pain with handshaking, lifting a briefcase or heavy pot or similar activities.
The treatment is similar for both conditions.
If you’ve lived in Canada, you’ve heard of and probably used one of the greatest winter ‘do everything’ boots on the market; the Sorel’s. Or maybe just those felt lined Rubber Boots, rated for -35 and especially used in this transition season; wet, slush, even rain, but not too cold; typically found at Canadian Tire or Princess Auto (two great Canadian stores). Or do you snowmobile? you probably have some very large, -100 boots; that are not made for walking or even standing too long at the fire.
Sore feet? here’s your answer…an insulated (400 gm 3M Thinsulate) insole, that we can customize for your size and foot biomechanics.
Check out this video from an Aussie Physiotherapist; I’d rather not re-invent the wheel, but I will followup with you if you questions about the time parameters, location and best deal in Winnipeg!
Check out this video from BackPainHelp.com in the UK
yourPhysio is offering ‘tele-rehabilitation’; a virtual therapy session to compliment the treatment or lack thereof due to these viral circumstances. Scroll down for more information.
But there are exceptions, that I can still assess in-clinic:
Under Order (changing day-to-day), the new public health order issued by the Government of Manitoba states that “any authorized health professional may provide urgent or emergent care.”
Given the lack of specific definition of what constitutes urgent and emergent care, I am going to adopt these criteria, used at several private practices:
1) In the absence of physiotherapy services, the patient will require services in an emergency department setting (i.e. severe pain).
2) The patient is an essential service provider (i.e. health care worker, first responder) who is unable to work due to an acute injury or exacerbation of a pre-existing injury.
3) The patient is seeking services related to a recent surgery or removal of a cast/immobilizer.
4) In the absence of physiotherapy services, the patient’s functional status will deteriorate to the point of requiring hospitalization in the foreseeable future.
If you feel you meet the above criteria, please give us a call at:
204- 9 4 3 8 4 1 1 or
text 204- 2 9 1 8 4 1 2 to discuss your options.
Each physiotherapist must assess whether the risk of not providing services outweighs the risks of exposing the physiotherapist, staff and/or the patient to COVID-19.
Safety Protocols for In-Person Physiotherapy:
1) Patients are screened upon arrival for risk factors related to COVID-19.
2) No visitors are allowed to accompany a patient unless it is the parent of a minor or an escort for a person with a disability.
3) Masks and gloves will be provided upon request, for the safety of the therapist. Patients who feel they require a mask should stay at home.
4) Physical distancing should be maintained as much as possible between therapist and patient, and between other patients or staff.
5) Full sanitation of treatment space will be performed after the treatment session finishes with facility approved cleaners and wet contact times observed.
6) We discourage payments by cash.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) What is telerehabilitation?
See our Easy Connect Virtual Services
2) Am I a candidate for telerehab?
Review the above criteria, and if you are unsure, please call us. We will connect you with your therapist who will help determine if you are a suitable candidate for this service or in-clinic services.
3) How does it work?
I will be using a combination of either Apple FaceTime, Zoom, Facebook Messenger video-call or Microsoft Teams. Upon virtual assessment, home pain management ergonomic assessment of your home and exercise prescription shall follow, along with physician/work letters, specialist referrals, etc.
4) What equipment do I need?
You can use your mobile device or computer for your Easy Connect Virtual Physic sessions. Please make sure your device is charged, you have a secure internet connection and/or download the appropriate app to enable quick connection at the time of your call and enable camera access.
5) How do I book?
I encourage you to use the email form (scroll down for New Patient form pdf) or
call 204- 9 4 3 8 4 1 1
text 204- 2 9 1 8 4 1 2
to setup an online session
6) How much does it cost?
Treatment $79 (save at least 45 minutes)
7) Is it covered by insurance?
As of April 16, we have confirmed that these services are covered by:
Canada Life (Great West Life), Green Shield
Manitoba Blue Cross, Sun Life
Johnston Group, Chambers of Commerce
Maximum Benefit, Manulife
Johnson Inc., Industrial Alliance
Blue Cross Federal Programs: CAF for existing claims to a max of 4 sessions
If you are a MPI or WCB client; please confirm with your adjuster if such services will be covered
8) How do I pay?
Either by an interact email (online etransfer) or in some cases we can direct bill to your private insurance and/or company benefit program (with your written consent)
9) Can I receive virtual services if I am in another province or country?
Only those Ergonomic Assessments not conducted as part of a physiotherapy treatment plan
10) I just want to talk to my physio with a few quick questions. Do I need to book an official session?
Yes, your physiotherapist is operating under their professional licensure requirements and cannot provide medical advice unless done so under a mutually agreed, and signed consent contract. If you have specific medical questions for your therapist book an Easy Connect session.
11) How do I send my consent forms back to you?
If you have the ability to print and sign the forms, please do. Then you can scan or take a photo of them and send them back to us via the secure email. Otherwise your Physio will obtain your verbal consent and review the consent to treatment forms with you. If direct billing is requested, specific insurance forms must be signed.
12) What if I have further questions or feedback?
Please call us
204- 9 4 3 8 4 1 1
and we will be more than happy to answer your questions. Given this is a new service, we also welcome suggestions for improvement as well. Your feedback is important to us!
Did you know that more Canadians participate in golf than any other sport? 5.7 million Canadian golfers play over 60 million rounds of golf annually. Golf is especially popular with middle-aged and older Canadians. (PT Alberta)
In Canada, golf is generally considered an outdoor, spring or summer activity, but the opening of indoor golf domes, smaller golf centers and golf enthusiasts travelling to warmer climates to play has made it possible for Canadians to enjoy golf year-round. While this means Canadians can take advantage of the health benefits associated with golf all year, more time on the course may also increase the risk for injuries associated with the sport.
Golf is good for you?
Canadian physical activity guidelines recommend adults over 18 should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity per week in bouts of at least 10 minutes.3
Many people assume golf is a leisure activity and that golfers do not reach a high enough level of intensity to be counted toward their weekly activity goals. However, although not as intense as some sports, a golfer who walks a nine or 18 hole course expends enough energy to classify golf in the moderate intensity group, meeting the physical activity guidelines.4
Walking 18 holes carrying or pushing your clubs takes around four hours, requires 11,000 to 17,000 steps, covers 4-8 miles and expends 500 to 2,400 calories.4 If you add in a few hills, take more strokes, cover more ground between shots or are a little less fit, the numbers are more likely to be in the higher ranges. Using a cart decreases the overall numbers by 50% but it’s still better than sitting at home.4
What are some of the benefits of golfing?
Evidence suggests that golfing can have beneficial effects on:4
- Cardiovascular health: Golfing may be associated with improvements in known risk factors associated with heart disease by increasing physical activity levels, improving blood lipid and insulin-glucose levels, reducing overall body fat, and improving aerobic fitness.4
- Respiratory health: Regular participation in golf may improve and maintain lung function in older adults.4
- Musculoskeletal health: Older golfers may show improvement in balance, muscle function and strength, and golfing may be associated with better bone health in women.4
- Mental health: Golf has been associated with positive impacts on overall mental wellness.4
What injuries may result from golfing?
Studies suggest that between 40% to 60% of golfers sustain a golf-related injury each year. Although approximately 25% of participants are aged 65 and over and may have pre-existing conditions that predispose them to injury, injuries are seen among golfers of all ages.
The most common golf-related injuries affect the low back, shoulders, elbows or wrists. Nearly all injuries relate to poor technique or faulty swing mechanics. Many of these injuries are caused by the unique twisting forces and the combination of movements that a golf swing applies to the body. Most fall into the category of overuse or repetitive strain injuries.
What can I do to prevent getting injured?
Tips to make your next round injury-free include:
- Warm-up: Start with some general aerobic activity such as walking for 10 minutes, then hit a few balls at the practice range. On the practice tee start with your short irons, then the long irons, the woods and finally your driver.6 Practice using gentle swings and focus on good technique. Warming up in this sequence lets your body get used to the combined movements of a golf swing before you add the resistance of a heavier golf club. If you have the opportunity, practice on natural turf. The natural golf swing involves some degree of contact between the club and the ground so practicing on artificial surfaces may increase stress to the wrists and elbows, leading to injury.6
- Stretch: There are mixed opinions as to whether stretching should be included in warm-up routines to prevent injury. However, stretching on a regular basis does help to increase your range of motion and flexibility.7 Both are important to ensure you have the physical ability to produce a full, easy swing and to ensure you are not putting too much stress on your back while twisting. Be sure to include stretches for your upper body and back as well as your wrists, shoulders and low back. Remember that stretching should not be painful. Focus on gradually increasing your range of movement and holding each stretch for 10 to 20 seconds without bouncing.
- Build up your golf endurance: When the sun is shining, and the opportunity arises, you may just want to play those 18 holes whether you’re prepared or not. Acting on that impulse without being prepared may increase your chance of getting injured. You will get more out of golf season if you gradually build up your time spent on the course. Consider starting on the driving range and then gradually increasing your game from 9 to 18 holes.
Preparing for the next golf season or winter golf getaway
- Rest: A four to six week break from golfing allows your body to recover from the last season and prepare for the next one. Canadian winters allow for a natural break from golf; however, if you travel to warm destinations during the winter months and make golfing part of those travels, you may want to schedule in a break from golf as part of your yearly travel plans.
- Strengthening: A strengthening program for your core muscles and upper body will decrease your risk of injury and lead to better results on the golf course. Exercises should focus on the shoulders, wrists/forearms, back and core.6 If you are unsure how to start, contact a physiotherapist for some recommendations.
- Aerobic fitness: Working on your general physical fitness in both the regular and offseason will improve your cardiovascular strength and fitness and allow you to transition between the off season and golf season with greater ease. Good exercises for aerobic fitness include walking, jogging, swimming and cycling; anything that gets your pulse rate up. This too will help you meet the activity recommendations set out by the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults.
What do I do if I have a golf-related injury?
Whether you are a golf enthusiast or an occasional weekend player, getting back to the game safely is important.
Staying on top of injuries and preventing new problems from becoming chronic will help you to enjoy the game for years to come. If you are injured, investing in rest and physiotherapy treatment will help. Consulting a professional golf instructor in conjunction with physiotherapy may also help you to modify your swing, prevent injury and be able to participate for years to come. Being able to enjoy a pain-free game of golf without worrying about an injury is a goal that physiotherapists can help with.
Whether you’re pregnant, experiencing back pain or just feel weak through to your core, this exercise plan is for you.
Guys, is that ‘beer belly, combined with a loss of bum muscles’ causing you back concerns?
One client, months after having a baby noticed some pelvic floor weakness. What the heck? I’m an athlete, so she expected her body to be strong, everywhere!
So, that got my professional gears turning and I turned all my focus to the pelvic floor. I found that doing kegels did not make any real difference in my pelvic floor strength, so I had to dig deeper.
The more I focused on how the rest of the body either encouraged the pelvic floor to work or discouraged I got stronger, fast. Then, I applied everything at work! The feedback I got from my clients was amazing. It even amazed me.
This story really makes me want to spread this information! A client mentioned to me at the end of the session that she felt like she had to pee frequently and could barely make it to the bathroom. I gave her one exercise and she emailed me later that evening to say her pelvic floor issue was 100% fixed.
Wow! It’s stories like that, that make me want to scream from the hilltops “pelvic floor strength is more than kegels!” So, I’m not stopping until every woman has heard this great information.
Below I’ve listed 5 really great areas for building pelvic floor strength, beyond kegels!
Please keep in mind, these are for people suffering from mild sneeze-pee issues or simply don’t trust their pelvic floor to hold when placed under stress, like running or jumping. Those with back pain and core weakness, whether you notice it at work, rest or play; these are key exercises to your core biomechanics.
If you have severe prolapse or pelvic pain, please see a pelvic floor PT.
Let’s dig a little deeper…
Your pelvic floor is the base of function for your body. Literally, your base! Think about it as a sling of muscles that your torso sits in. You don’t have to be having incontinence issues to need pelvic floor strength. A weak pelvic floor can cause SI joint pain, low back and hip pain.
Ready to strengthen your pelvic floor by doing something other than kegels?
Doing a kegel (consciously drawing up your pelvic floor) works when you are thinking about it, but most pelvic floor issues happen when you’re not thinking about it. How do you prepare for an unexpected sneeze, a spontaneous laugh, or that sudden lunge for a tennis ball?
Ready for a stronger pelvic floor, a stronger core and better posture?
Top 5 Pelvic Floor Exercises
Beyond the Basics
#1. Hip Alignment: Perfect Posture for the Pelvic Floor
Somewhere along the way I read that great posture burns around 300 calories a day (the same as a 3 mile run). I’m not surprised; it’s hard work! So, that’s why I’m calling alignment an exercise for the pelvic floor. Great alignment places the pelvis at the best angle to support the entire abdominal wall and pelvic floor. This angle makes it easier for the pelvic floor to fire naturally and thus get stronger.
The Two Biggest Posture Mistakes that Hinder Pelvic Floor Strength
1. Clenching your glutes (butt muscles) while standing. A strong Glute Max is important for everything, but in order to be strong it cannot be clenched all day. Clenching the glutes can make them weaker and harder for your pelvic floor to respond when you really need it!
You know when you are in an elevator and oh no, you had beans last night for dinner and you squeeze your bottom to hold in gas? Oh, so embarrassing! For a short elevator ride holding those glutes clenched is ok but holding them clenched all day creates a real problem, especially for sneeze pee. When you clench, it tucks your butt under. This makes it hard for the front of the pelvic floor to contract and it’s the front of the pelvic floor that we need to stop the leak of urine! Clenching your glutes will often make you clench your pelvic floor as well, which makes it inefective at dealing with stresses, such as sneezing, it forces the pelvic floor muscles into a shortened, tightened position. My last ditch argument against clenching is it makes your butt look super flat and no woman wants flat butt syndrome.
Usually, glute clenching is unconscious and you don’t even realize you are doing it.
2. Too much junk in the trunk. Big, strong glutes are awesome, but sometimes a large pelvic anterior tilt (sticking your butt out too much) makes you look like you have glutes when you really don’t. I call these fake glutes, like those jeans with built in padding. Hanging into an anterior tilt can decrease abdominal strength and make you look like you have a belly, when you don’t. This is bad because the pelvic floor works in sync with the abdominals to fire correctly.
Both of these mistakes make it difficult for the pelvic floor to fire correctly. They also make traditional pelvic floor strengthening exercises less effective.
Perfect Posture is the Best Exercise to Strengthen the Pelvic Floor All Day Long! So, they can be effective all night long. (Can’t believe I just said that out-loud, but the truth is we all want to be more than moms, we want to be sexy women too! Nothing wrong with that.)
To strengthen your pelvic floor be sure your head is back in line with your body. Those with forward head posture are more likely to have pelvic floor issues. (Crazy to think your head alignment can have an effect on incontinence.)
Take a look at the picture. When my head is forward, my shoulders are slouched and it looks bad. When my chin is tucked, it looks awesome! When you tuck your chin, it aligns your entire spine, this includes your pelvic floor since it’s the base of your spine. Proper alignment promotes strength! I’m not even going to get started about how tucking your chin can alleviate neck, shoulder, midback and lower back pain.
Alignment Check: Get someone to take a picture of you from the side. If you hang a plumb line down from your ear, does it hit your ankle or toes? Your head should be in line with your ankles. Tuck your chin to help your pelvic floor, and as an added bonus, you will look confident and radiant in all your pictures!
#3. Make Breathing Part of Your Pelvic Floor
To make breathing a pelvic floor exercise, make sure the diaphragm and pelvic floor are coordinating with each other. The biggest issue I see is flared ribs that don’t move with each breath.
More on this in the pelvic floor workout series, but for a simple quick check, have a seat, preferably on an exercise ball. Now take a deep breath in and let it relax out. Repeat until you feel pressure in your pelvic floor created by your diaphragm functioning properly. The more you expand your ribcage on each deep breath, the more likely you are to have a fully functioning diaphragm. Can’t feel it? Don’t worry! This is fixable.
All you need to remember is that when the diaphragm expands, it pushes pressure down into the pelvic floor. This is a good thing! When you slip into a shallow breathing pattern, hello forward head, you lose your diaphragm and therefore your natural strengthening of the pelvic floor.
Balloons = Diaphragm Weight Lifting
Try this simple exercise. Lying on your side slightly round your back into a C shape and tuck your chin. (This makes sure your paraspinals don’t do all the work.) Keeping your chin tucked, blow up the balloon. In through your nose and out through your mouth. (You do not need to take the balloon out for each breath or pinch it with your fingers.)
**If you have prolapse, do not blow up a balloon unless you’re 100% sure your diaphragm is coordinating with your pelvic floor and you have learned how to regulate intra-abdominal pressure.
The diaphragm is a huge muscle that expands up and down to help fill the lungs with air. Think of the abdominal wall again as a canister of pressure. This pressure helps the diaphragm work. The pelvic floor is the bottom of the pressure canister. When you inhale, your diaphragm should drop or descend, and your ribs should expand like an umbrella to allow room for air to fill your lungs. This should also cause your pelvic floor to relax or expand down, making room for the downward pressure of the diaphragm. Then, as you exhale, the diaphragm ascends back up. Think of it as a recoil from all the pressure going down and your pelvic floor should follow by contracting. That’s why proper alignment is so important, it sets up this system to work efficiently!
Check for Diastasis Here.
Start on your hands and knees. Engaging your core, lift up to your toes. Without dropping your head or letting your back arch, come forward and try to blow up the balloon.
It will be the hardest core exercise ever! Just make sure you don’t let your lower back arch (drop).
#4 Exercise Your Core
Get your deep abdominal muscles to fire properly to support the pelvic floor. This includes starting with the basics, then building up in a safe, progressive manner. It’s important to make sure all the right muscles are firing before advancing to harder exercises. Also, make sure your core program includes hip rotational exercises that link the abdominal wall. Tapping into this chain of muscles builds optimal strength in the core and pelvic floor. (This, too, will be in the pelvic floor workout series.)
Key mistake: Overworking the outside core muscles (rectus abdominis and obliques) without creating proper pelvic floor strength to back it up.
#5. Kyphosis Exercises
Studies show that an increase in the curve of the midback (kyphosis) and decrease of the lumbar curve is a risk factor for incontinence and pelvic floor dysfunction. When we think of Depends, we think of a hunched over old person, but I actually see tons of young people with poor posture. Having that increased midback slouch and decreased lumbar curve is not something we can get rid of overnight, which is why it’s important to start preventing it today (or maybe I should say prevent the purchase of depends…).
My favorite kyphosis prevention exercise: stretch over a foam roller. Try this exercise now to help decrease kyphosis (humpback posture) and improve your pelvic floor. Plus, it feels great after a long day at the office!
My favorite lumbar curve correction exercise is a squat. Check that out in the video below. One final hip discussion is that the pelvic floor needs hip rotation and glute strength to function properly. Check out the 3 min pelvic floor challenge to learn my favorite hip rotation exercise for the pelvic floor and no, it’s not clams, it’s way more functional than that!
Like some, if you can’t handle getting older…don’t read further.
Now, on to Kegels.
Yes, you do need a strong pelvic floor! BUT, Kegels alone do not build a strong system. What does a kegel look like? A common explanation is a tightening of the pelvic floor like you are stopping the flow of urine.
The most important part of doing a kegel is the relaxing after the contracting. Fully letting go your pelvic floor is critical for getting a great contraction. If you hold a low level of contraction all the time, you get weaker and can never fully contract your pelvic floor. This is what causes leaks. Focus on both the contraction phase and the releasing phase, but your best bet is to incorporate them into other exercises focusing on diaphragm timing.
As I mentioned above, kegels by themselves may not fix your pelvic floor issues, nor do I thnk they are the best line of defense for building optimal pelvic floor strength but you do need these muscles strong. A great example of this is needing a strong dynamic shoulder to put luggage in the overhead bin and you only work on your grip strength. Sure you need to be able to grip the luggage but then what? You need to work your arm, shoulder and upper back muscles to be able to get that heavy bag all the way over your head. The pelvic floor is no different. Working on kegels is like working on grip strength. You need some grip strength, sure — but you also need a whole lot more!
On the flip side. Some people have too much gripping strength (or tone as we call it in the PT world) and their pelvic floors are tight all the time. This is bad because if a muscle cannot relax or lengthen properly, it cannot properly contract. Think of winding up to throw a ball. If you never had the wind-up, you wouldn’t be able to throw it very hard. The bottom line is the pelvic floor needs to be able to relax and contract in timing with the structures around it.
How can the rest of the body affect the pelvic floor?
Our body is an integrated system, with everything working in response to everything else. One of the big ways I’ve seen this chain reaction is ankle injuries. A stiffness in the ankle, preventing proper ankle rotation, keeps the hip from rotating properly. Hip rotation is key for pelvic floor function because the hip muscles help tell the pelvic floor to fire. Have you seen a pregnant woman walk from the back? Yep, they waddle. This waddle has almost no hip rotation. Coincidence? I think not. Our bodies are more dynamic and complicated than we often give them credit for, and if it were as simple as just doing a kegel, there would be a lot of women and men right now without incontinence issues.
Don’t understand??? see your Physio today
The feet are an important link in the kinetic chain that we sometimes forget about. The foot is a dynamic structure that needs to be strong and stable while also being soft and malleable. Thanks to its design and muscular attachments, it can store and utilize elastic energy with each footstrike. The strength and stability of the arch, referred to as the “foot core,” are required for proper foot function.
Both local and global muscles control the shape and function of the arch. The local muscles are primarily stabilizers known as the intrinsic foot muscles and are smaller in cross-sectional area. The global muscles are primarily prime movers of the foot and are larger in cross-sectional area. With each footstep and running stride, the local foot stabilizers function to control the amount and speed of arch deformation. Dysfunction of these muscles can result in an unstable arch and abnormal foot movement. Excessive deformation of the foot has been linked to plantar fasciitis and other lower limb injuries.
Traditional foot strengthening exercises usually involve curling the toes to pull a towel toward you or picking up marbles with your toes. These types of exercises will target the local foot muscles but will also involve the global muscles. Ideally “foot core” training should only target the local foot stabilizer muscles.
Enter the short foot exercise.
The goal of the short foot exercise is to “shorten” the foot by contracting the intrinsic muscles to raise the medial longitudinal arch, or in science-speak, pulling the first metatarsophalangeal joint toward the calcaneus (heel bone). Care should be taken to ensure the foot is in neutral alignment and that the toes are not flexed or extended.Pain, and your shoes will dictate foot posture, or alignment. Check for arch support, heel cups, external support foams, plastics…those transitional, seasonal shoes can be dangerous!
The short foot exercise is best learned seated and can be progressed to bilateral standing, single-leg standing then to functional activities such as squats, deadlift, lunges and hops. It should also be noted that being completely barefoot would enhance sensory input detection from the plantar surface of the foot and help you develop the sense of creating the short foot posture.
Your Arch Strengthening Routine
This routine consists of some exercises that can be performed daily (e.g. short foot, toe splaying and big toe presses) and exercises that can be performed 2-3 times per week (e.g. leg swings and calf raise to big toe press).
Short Foot Exercise
Sit in a chair in your bare feet. Form a 90-degree angle at your knees and ankles. Without crunching your toes, try to shorten your foot by doming the arches in your feet. You can focus on one foot at a time or do both at once. Try not to curl or extend your toes and keep your foot neutral. It’s harder than you think! Practice this throughout the day. You can even practice while sitting at your desk. Once you become competent in performing the short foot sitting, attempt the exercise standing on two legs then on one leg.
Try moving your toes away from each other but be careful not to curl or extend them. Practice throughout the day. Remember your Grandmother pinching you with her toes? Some just have the primordial gene.
Big Toe Presses
Press your big toe into the floor while extending your other four toes. Hold each press for 8 seconds and perform 12-15 reps per foot. Then, try to remember to encorporate your ‘big toe push’ into every step; train for a new gait.
Dissimilar to dynamic leg swings that are commonly performed with a large amplitude, these legs swings are performed with a small amplitude to challenge your balance and hip and ankle stability. Stand on one leg in your bare feet and attempt to create the short foot posture. Swing the non-stance leg forward and backward 15 times. Without rest, swing the same leg left and right in front of your stance leg, also 15 times. Repeat this sequence without resting, then repeat on your opposite leg.
Calf Raise to Big Toe Press
Stand on the edge of a stair in your bare feet. Let your heels drop below the level of the stair. Then perform a traditional calf raise, but then proceed and press onto your big toe. This part is difficult for most. Feel free to hang on to something for balance. Perform 12-15 reps.
You might think that just because you’re still in college, you don’t have to worry about the physical stresses and strains that 8-plus-hour work days put on your body. But as a student, you put in a lot of hours studying and working, too. Besides getting regular exercise and trying to eat as healthfully as you can, you need to monitor your posture, especially at the computer and when you study. This is especially important for students enrolled in online graphic design programs or online IT programs as they will spend even more hours staring at the screen. Here are 50 tips and tricks for serious students. Think of it as your ultimate guide to ergonomics.
Make sure you adopt these good posture habits whether you’re sitting in the cafeteria or at your desk.
Fill in the space between your back and the back of the chair: When sitting in a chair, sit straight so that the space between your lower back and the chair is no longer existent.
Keep your tummy relaxed: Don’t contract all of your muscles when you sit down. You can rely on the chair to help you with your posture without tightening your tummy.
Keep your neck, back and heels aligned: If you draw an imaginary vertical line down your back, your neck and heels should hit in the same spot, too.
Keep your feet flat on the floor: Make sure you keep your feet flat on the floor when you’re sitting at your desk.
Sit down: Instead of sitting up, sit down, letting your chest relax down, but not over.
Tuck in your chin: When standing, keep your head straight but your chin tucked in to keep your neck stable but not overexerted.
Keep your knees at a 90-degree angle when sitting: Remember to keep everything aligned. Don’t tuck your knees in, which can make you start to hover and hunch over your keyboard.
Draw your shoulders back and relax: Draw your right shoulder, then your left shoulder back and then down, and then take a deep breath and relax. After working for several minutes, monitor the position of your shoulders, and make sure you’re not hunched over.
Align your hips with the base of your chair: Tuck your tummy in and sit so that your hips are touching the base of your chair back.
Evenly distribute your weight: You shouldn’t lean over to one side when you sit: you should distribute your body weight evenly between both hips.
Computer and Keyboard
When you’re researching, writing papers, or playing on Facebook, be aware of how your body should be aligned to prevent injury and strain.
Use a chair with a flat surface and straight back: This type of chair will support your back while you work at the computer.
Place your ankles underneath your knees: When you sit, make sure your ankles line up underneath your knees for proper posture and balance.
Your monitor should be at eye level: This is one of the most important tips to keep your posture in order. Adjust your chair and get the right desk so that the top of your monitor is at eye level.
Align your wrists with your forearms: Keep your wrists in line with your forearms instead of bending them up or down, which causes great stress on the muscles and tendons.
Bend your head slightly forward: Keep your head bent slightly forward and aligned so that you’re looking at your monitor straight on.
Use a document holder: To prevent twisting your neck and body, use a document holder next to your monitor if you’re making a transcription.
Keep your elbows close to the body: Experts recommend that elbows should be bent between 90 and 120 degrees.
Turn your whole body, not just your neck or mid-section: When you are sitting in a swivel chair, it’s best to turn your whole body instead of just straining your neck or mid-section.
Take advantage of armrests: Armrests will help you relax your shoulders and keep elbows close to the body.
Use a wrist rest: Use a wrist rest on your keyboard and on your mouse pad to make sure your wrists are supported and in line with your forearms.
Bring your keyboard down: It’s best to avoid reaching up to type, so use an adjuster that allows you to type at a more relaxed level.
Consider a slightly reclined position: A good ergonomic chair will allow you to lean back slightly, which relaxes your back muscles and decreases pressure on your lower back.
Believe it or not, sleeping in the correct position also benefits your health, can prevent injury and will help you maintain good posture habits when you’re awake, too. Check out this list for sleep-related ergonomics.
Keep your pillow under your head: It sounds obvious, but pillows are meant to support your head and neck, so don’t sleep without ample support under them.
Don’t sleep on your stomach: This rule is especially important if your mattress is weak, as sleeping on your stomach causes back strain.
Get up correctly: Don’t just roll out of bed. Avoid cricks and muscle cramps by first turning on your side and pulling up your knees, swinging your legs over the side of the bed. Push yourself up from the sitting position by pushing down on the bed.
Libraries, study centers and your dorm couch aren’t necessarily designed with ergonomics in mind, so you’ll have to make some adjustments. Here are tips for DIY ergonomics.
Bring a pillow or bolster: A small pillow, cushion or bolster will do wonders for your sitting or reclining position and will keep you comfortable for longer periods of time.
Watch the weight of your backpack or messenger bag: A purse or book bag that’s too heavy will cause great strain and even injury to your shoulder, neck, and/or back. Try switching the way you carry your bag every once in a while, and only carrying what you really need.
Don’t bring your laptop to bed: Balancing your laptop on your bed will cause you to hunch over and strain your neck, so leave it at your desk.
Choose the right ebook: If you’re lucky enough to use an ebook in college, choose the edition that has the best ergonomic improvements and that won’t cause eye strain.
Try out these exercises and stretches to give your body a break and work out some of the tension.
Shoulder blade squeeze: Lift your arms straight out in front of you, then swing them out towards your back as far as you can go, without over-straining yourself. Bring them forward again and repeat a few times.
Crunches: Anything that works out your core — including crunches — will help support your back.
Stretch everything: Take little breaks to stretch everything, including your facial muscles and fingers.
Work out your hands and palms: Fold your hands together, face your palms away from your body, and stretch your arms in front of you. Repeat up to eight times.
Knee Kiss: As you pull one leg at a time up to your chest (or lips), hold it with both hands and hold for five.
Superman: To do the Superman, lie face down on the floor, and lift your right arm and left leg off the floor. Hold for a few seconds, and then switch arms and legs.
Quadricep stretch: Scoot your chair back so that you can stretch out your legs in front of you, and hold for five.
Neck and shoulder stretch: Roll your shoulders back, and then drop your head so that your chin nearly rests on your chest. Move your head to the right, then to the left.
Identifying Risks and Injury
Here you will learn some potential risks for injury like carpal tunnel.
The scrolling wheel: Overusing the scrolling wheel on your mouse can actually lead to pain and discomfort, so choose to click instead.
Don’t cradle your phone with your neck: If you spend time on the phone while you work or study, hold it properly with your hand, and not by cradling it with your neck.
Monitor your B12 intake: Ergoblog reports that B-12 deficiencies, which can be common among college students who aren’t vigilant about their diet, can lead to tingling feelings in muscles and hands, which is similar to carpal tunnel symptoms.
Understand the difference between cumulative trauma and repetitive stress injuries: Visit a doctor so that he or she can help you correctly identify your injury and a rehab solution.
From using a footrest to taking frequent breaks, here are more ergonomics tips for students like yourself.
Take breaks: Ease eye strain and repeated muscle movement by getting up to walk around the room and stretch a couple of times every hour, at least.
Test your posture: You can test your standing posture by standing with your head, rear end, and shoulder blades pressed against a wall. You should have one hand’s thickness between your back and the wall.
Know how to lift your laundry: If you like to go weeks without doing laundry, don’t try to pick up the entire heavy load at once. Try lifting a few loads, and make sure you bend at the knees, not at the waist, and use your leg muscles to stand up.
Use a checklist: Use this checklist to make sure your workstation has all the right components for promoting good posture.
Check out our Ergonomic Services link about the onsite assessment and education services provided by yourPhysio.