Physiotherapy Toronto Blog

What should you drink during exercise?

By ADMIN on October 20, 2017

Sports drinks tend to offer a lot of promises, and it’s one of the topics our Toronto physiotherapists and sports medicine specialists are asked about the most frequently. Should you use specialty sports drinks when you exercise, and how much is enough? The answer isn’t a simple yes or no.

Toronto Dietitian

First: Stay Hydrated!

The first step happens before you exercise. You should be well hydrated all the time, in other words. That means making sure you drink enough fluids on a daily basis. With many variables at play, our Toronto physiotherapy and chiropractic specialists can advise you on your specific needs.


Water is still the best solution to hydration when it comes to exercise, and it’s all you’ll need unless your workout lasts longer than 60 minutes. After an hour or so, your body will need more than water; it will need carbohydrates and electrolytes to function at optimum levels.

  • Coconut water contains high levels of potassium and sodium – giving it more electrolytes than Gatorade. That makes it a great alternative to water for longer workouts.
  • Fruit juices – freshly squeezed, they are carb-rich but can be used in moderation. They contain sugars that are easily digested and will therefore be used as additional fuel by your body, and add vitamins and antioxidants.
  • Veggie juices – these are typically high in sodium for electrolytes.


You don’t need an elaborate schedule in order to stay hydrated when you exercise. Just keep a few points in mind.

  • Pre-run: Drinking 20 ounces of water, 2-3 hours before a run puts you at optimal levels of hydration to begin with.
  • Coffee: Fun fact – coffee has been shown to boost endurance when ingested as a pre-run beverage.
  • During exercise – about 8 ounces every half hour, starting 30 minutes before your workout, is a general guideline. Drink more if it’s hot and humid, or simply if you are thirsty. That’s your body telling you it needs more.
  • After exercise – continue to hydrate with 8 ounces during the first half hour after you finish.

DIY Sports Drinks

Rather than relying on manufacturers to mass produce your sports drink, why not make your own? These DIY sports drinks are delicious, and will help hydrate you as they replenish vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes.

Citrus Sports Drink

3-4 cups water

3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons raw honey or maple syrup

Coconut Citrus Sports Drink

3 cups coconut water

1 cup water

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons raw honey or maple syrup

  • Combine all the ingredients thoroughly and store in a clean pitcher.
  • Will keep in the fridge for 5-7 days.

It’s Individual

Exactly how much hydration you need will always be dependent on a variety of factors. The weather can be a factor, and when it’s hot and humid, you will need more hydration no matter what you do. Your physical condition and the type of sports or activities you engage in may also affect your hydration needs.

At Athletescare, our Toronto physiotherapists and sports medicine doctors can advise you about your specific hydration needs, based on your situation. Don’t hesitate to call us or come to one of our Toronto clinics today to make an appointment if you have any questions.

... more

Hamilton PhysiotherapyFascia is a network of layered connective tissue that is present throughout the body and helps keep tissues supported and in place.

The diagram pictured at the side gives you a general idea of what it looks like. The white areas represent fascia where it is thickened, but in reality, fascia is everywhere. It helps keep muscles, tendons and ligaments in place and weaves into structures such as ligaments and joint capsules, supporting the joints. It also hosts the nerves and blood vessels that supply muscle, ligament and tendon.  This becomes critical in rehabilitation when the fascia becomes adhesed to its surrounding tissue due to acute or overuse injury and limits its function. This could manifest in decreased joint or muscle mobility, muscle fatigue, a reduction in nerve signal or even painful impingment of nerves, prolonging recovery from many types of injury.

Fascial Stretch Therapy or FST (TM) uses multi-planar and multi joint stretches to target the fascia. They are bed and anchor based stretches. For a more detailed idea of what this is about check out the Stretch to Win website. This treatment aims to do the following by "unsticking" that fascia:

• Relieve chronic muscles tightness and tension
• Improve joint mobility and overall flexibility; often reducing stress on other structures
• Improve posture
• Improve circulation, relaxation and sleep - thus maximize rehabilitation and sports recovery

It is a great compliment to other forms of rehabilitation and soft tissue therapies, including ART, massage, acupuncture, and of course, exercise therapy.

We are proud to offer Fascial Stretch Therapy (FST) at various locations throughout Toronto as well as our Hamilton location. If you think FST(TM) would be of benefit to you please contact our Athlete's Care Hamilton location at 905-528-5847

Hamilton PhysiotherapistRegistered Physiotherapist, Rebecca Chambers, is a Fascial Stretch Therapist. She loves treating clients of all ages and believes in goal oriented rehabilitation, whether the goal is high level competition, completing your first 10k or getting back to playing with your kids.  

Photos courtesy of Google Images


... more

Our Toronto physiotherapy clinics treat professional and amateur athletes, but they aren’t the only people to experience injuries and conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system. Even people who sit at a desk all day can experience such injuries and conditions and the most common is lower back strain.

Chronic back strain affects many people and can be extremely debilitating, affecting not only your work day but your life and activities overall. It can contribute to many other health issues including difficulty in sleeping.

Here are some tips on how to ease and help prevent back pain at work.

Know the causes

Our Toronto physiotherapy clinics see many clients with back issues and some of them aren’t aware of what has caused the problem. Knowing what causes back pain can help you to prevent it before it happens as well as ease an existing condition.

  • Slouching and other issues related to bad posture put undue strain on your lower back;
  • Immobility – staying in the same position for long periods of time causes over-strain;
  • Phone habits – holding the phone with your shoulder against your ear while you type on the screen.

Your Work Environment

Your desk and chair play a crucial role in back strain and how it may develop. When you sit at an unnatural posture over long periods of time, it results in stress, strain and injury.

  • Leaning forward causes back strain, so you want to support the natural curve of your back with a chair that has proper lumbar support. A pillow behind your back can add additional support.
  • You want your feet to be flat on the floor with your knees bent at about a 90-degree angle. A footrest or other prop can help your to achieve a better alignment.
  • Arms should also be at a roughly 90-degree angle so that your shoulders aren’t hunched over, which can cause significant upper back pain. Adjusting your armrests to an optimal angle can make a big difference. Your upper arms should be parallel to your spine. An armrest at the proper alignment takes the strain of your shoulders and upper back.
  • Your monitor should be slightly below eye level and about an arm’s length away so that you aren’t leaning forward.
  • Thighs should not rest on or press down on the edge of your chair. You want to be able to slip your finger underneath to avoid reducing circulation.

 Nowadays, there are also options other than the traditional office chair, including a Swedish kneeling chair or a Swiss exercise ball. These two options encourage you to use your muscles for balance rather than slumping back into the chair.

The Phone

If you are on the phone all day, how you use it can contribute significantly to upper back pain, as well as problems with your neck and shoulders.

  • A headset or speaker phone leaves your hands free to take notes so you won’t be tempted to slip it between your ear and shoulder.
  • Switch the phone between your left and right hand to avoid over straining either side.

Sit, stand, move

Sitting the same position for hours at a time can contribute to many other issues, including heart disease, as well as weakening lower back muscles.

  • Take mini-breaks during the day at least once every hour. This can involve something as simple as going for a glass of water or cup of coffee or stretching for about 60 seconds.
  • A sit-stand work station lets you alter your position over the course of the day. Recent research suggests that at least half your day should be spent standing rather than sitting.
  • Good stretches can improve flexibility and keep pain at bay.
  • Exercise to strengthen your core muscles and encourage proper posture.
  • Taking a 15 to 20 minute walk at lunch time will help to keep muscles and joints looser.

Our Toronto based physiotherapists would be happy to discuss any back pain issues that you may be experiencing and help you determine a work day solution that is tailored for your situation. Call us today to make an appointment.



... more

How do Orthotics work?

By ADMIN on August 21, 2017

Toronto Physiotherapy

Orthotics are just one of the many devices that our Toronto physiotherapy, chiropractors and sports medicine specialists have at their disposal to create individualized treatment plans. They seem like a simple device and solution, yet there's a lot of misinformation about orthotics, and many "one size fits all" solutions being sold in the marketplace. If you understand how orthotics can work, then you'll know why that's a bad idea.

What Are Orthotics?

Orthotics are assistive devices worn inside your shoes that help to correct imbalances and other issues that arise in the feet and ankles. That's the short version of the story.

In terms of basic mechanics, orthotics are made to fit a specific pair of shoes. When your feet sit on top of the orthotic foot bed, over time, it basically directs your feet into a balanced position when you stand, walk or move. By correcting foot posture, it corrects the balance of your whole musculo-skeletal structure. When your feet and ankles are not in proper alignment and the mechanics are out of balance, it can result in a number of problems, including,

  • Bunions,
  • Hammer toes,
  • Pain in the heels and foot arch,
  • Painful knees and legs,
  • Pain in the hips,
  • Back pain.

Unfortunately, orthotics have been marketed as a universal panacea for anyone, with cookie cutter devices that amount to an insole or at best, a poorly prescribed support. The fact of the matter is, the body’s biomechanics are complex and unique to each individual. It takes an expert like one of our Toronto physiotherapists or sports medicine professionals to properly evaluate a client and decide first, whether orthotics will help, and second devise custom made orthotics tailored to your situation.


The benefits of properly fitted and prescribed orthotics are many,

  • It should reduce fatigue as it facilitates normal movements;
  • It should reduce pain associated with normal movements;
  • The orthotic can help compensate for muscles and structures that have been compromised by injury or disease, reducing strain.

It takes time for your body to adjust and the full benefit to be felt, often four to eight weeks. But, there may be some trial and error involved, so you should be monitored by a physiotherapist, chiropractor or other medical professional during the breaking in period.

Orthotics are commonly used to treat a variety of specific conditions, including,

  • plantar fasciitis,
  • arthritis,
  • diabetes – which can affect blood circulation to the feet,
  • metatarsalgia, which affects the ball of the foot,
  • among many others.

The feet and ankles absorb the shock of the body’s weight against the ground. It’s only natural that problems in these areas are among the most common that our Toronto physiotherapists, chiropractors and other specialists encounter among their clients. If you are experiencing pain or any other issues with your feet and ankles, don’t hesitate to contact one of or Toronto clinics today to make an appointment.



... more

Toronto Physiotherapy 

Aside from the rigors of sports or specific rehabilitative physical training, our Toronto physiotherapy and sports medicine experts encourage anyone to participate in as much physical activity as they can during the course of a regular day. The benefits of cumulative, consistent physical activity over time have been documented by research studies. The longer you exercise, consistently, over the years, the more mobile and fit you will be in middle and old age. That's important.

Just Do It

It doesn’t matter what your current level of fitness is. You will benefit from every 15-minute block of physical activity you add to your day. That comes from solid research. With improved fitness levels comes the reduced risk of lifestyle diseases like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Now, it’s understood that any physical exercise program should be approved by your medical practitioner, but for most people, adding some walking or stair climbing shouldn’t pose any concerns. If you do have questions about physical activity and your own individual needs, our Toronto physiotherapists are ready with advice and suggestions on how much and what types of activities to emphasize in your case.

At Home

  • Do you have exercise equipment that’s gathering dust? Next time you Netflix and chill, take a half hour or so out of the chilling part and pedal or row while you watch.
  • Go old school – using a push mower is not only environmentally friendly, it’s the kind of moderately vigorous exercise where a mere 15 minutes can bring fitness benefits.

At Work

  • If you have a choice where to park, it can be an ideal way of adding 10 minutes or more of exercise to your day, five days a week. Simply park at a distance of at least a brisk, 10 minute walk and then you’ll already have 20 minutes of exercise under your belt by the time you get home from work. Be sure to bring good walking shoes!
  • Add another moderately vigorous 10 minute walk at lunch time, and you’ll notice the boost in energy levels over the afternoon, along with fitness, over time. Meet in person when you can rather than electronically, when it’s within walking distance.

On The Go

  • Park farther away. When you go to work, grocery shopping, out to the shopping mall, park about ten minutes’ walk from your destination. Now, cover that ground in a brisk walk and you’re already one-third of the way towards your daily 30 minute goal.

Our Toronto physiotherapists, chiropractors, and other medical professionals are ready to give you any advice you may need on your current physical condition and fitness needs, along with giving suggestions as to the specific exercises that would benefit you most. Don’t hesitate to call or come by one of our Toronto clinics today to make an appointment.

... more

Blog Archives