Physiotherapy Toronto Blog 

Six Exercises You Can Do On Your Stairs At Home

By Athlete's Care on August 31, 2021

Our Toronto physiotherapists and sports medicine specialists field a lot of questions about exercise and how to stay in shape. Our clients include professional athletes, but they also include people whose work life involves many hours sitting at a computer.

The question becomes: how can I stay fit with limited time and resources?

The answer is easy: work out at home, using stairs to add to the impact.

The Stair Advantage

Stairs give you a way of adding variations and more challenging levels to your home workout routine. Here’s why.

  • Taking a flight of stairs (10-12 steps), up and down, at a brisk pace, burns 2 to 5 calories.
  • For a person weighing about 55kg, climbing stairs for 30 minutes will burn about 235 calories.
  • Climbing up and down a 10-storey building five times burns about 500 calories.

When it comes to form, remember to:

  • Keep your eyes ahead, not down at your feet;
  • Lean a little forward;
  • Pump your arms to add momentum;
  • Drive your knees up.

Note: It’s probably best to do stairs at the beginning of your workout rather than at the end.

Exercising With Stairs

Running or walking the stairs is one simple way to use them in your workouts. Alternating 2 to 5 minutes of stair running with 30 to 60 second rest periods for five to ten iterations will give you a great workout. 

Note: Before you begin any new exercise regimen, it’s a good idea to check with your Toronto physiotherapist or other medical practitioner to ask about how it might affect any existing conditions.

Here are some other stair exercises you can try:

1. Stair Push-up

  • Take a plank position with your hands on one of the stairs. Your hands should be placed right under your shoulders.
  • Inhale as you bend your elbows and lower your body down.
  • Exhale while straightening your arms until your body is back at the start position.

2. Stair Crawl

  • Start in a crawl position with your arms under your shoulders and knees below the hips, with your hands and feet on the ground.
  • Crawl up the stairs by moving your opposite arm and leg forward at the same time.

3. Side Steps

  • Stand parallel to the stairs, with the right side of your body closest to the staircase.
  • Keeping your core muscles taut, slightly bend your knees and hips.
  • Step up the stairs sideways, one foot at a time, starting with the right.
  • Avoid crossing your feet.

4. Crab Walk

  • Sit on the top stair with both feet two steps below you and slightly apart.
  • Place your hands behind you on the step.
  • Raise your hips off the step by tightening your glutes.
  • Crawl down the steps, moving opposite arm and leg at the same time.
  • Avoid raising your shoulders.

5. Stair Hops

  • Stand on the lowest step, and lower your hips into a squat position.
  • Jump forward off the step and onto the ground.
  • Control your landing by bending your knees.

If you have any questions about exercise or getting in shape, our Toronto physiotherapists, chiropractors and other sports medicine specialists are available with answers. Don’t hesitate to contact one of our Toronto physiotherapy clinics for a consultation.

 

Get In Shape For Summer Fun: A Beginner's Quick Guide

By Athlete's Care on July 29, 2021

Our Toronto physiotherapists, chiropractors, and other sports medicine specialists treat everyone from professional athletes to 9-to-5 desk jockeys. Many people at the latter end of the scale still enjoy sports and activities, but it’s very easy to get overwhelmed by the demands on your time, and leave that me-time for workouts for free time you never seem to have. Even if you work at a sedentary job, though, it’s still possible to get fit. The question is: where to start?

Here’s a look at some good first steps, and information you should know before you start.

NOTE: If you have a medical condition, or you’d like personalized advice on exercises that would benefit you, our Toronto sports medicine specialists are ready with advice.

When you start out exercising, the general rule of thumb is: start low and go slow.

Warm Ups Are Important

  • Warm up stretches get the blood flowing to the muscles you will be exercising.
  • Include loose running on the spot or jumping jacks to build up the level of activity.
  • They also reduce the risk of lactic acid build up, which causes cramping.
  • 5 to 10 minutes is generally recommended to start out.

Other Notes Before You Start

  • The right equipment is crucial to getting the most out of any fitness regimen, and it can help reduce injury.
  • Be sure you have shoes that adequately support your feet and ankles.
  • Wear comfortable clothing made of technical fabric that wicks away moisture so you can work out in comfort.
  • Don’t forget to hydrate – about a cup of water for every 20 minutes of exercise.

Three Types Of Exercises

Exercises fall under three general headings.

Cardio

As the name implies, these exercises are designed to benefit the heart and cardiovascular system.

  • 20 to 30 minutes of walking or running, four to five times a week, is a great way to start.
  • The test of how fast you should go is, can you still speak? You should be able to talk at a normal level, without getting out of breath.

Strength

These exercises work the various muscle groups of your body. Strength conditioning aids balance, and helps to prevent falls and injuries.

  • Begin with small dumbbells or resistance bands. Use only the weight that you can move with comfortably to start—you'll build strength as you go along.
  • Note: Get advice on how to exercise with weight using correct form, so that you're getting the most benefit, and avoiding injury.
  • Start with one set of eight to twelve repetitions for each of the major muscle groups: arms, shoulders, chest, back, abdominals, legs.

Flexibility

Improving flexibility, and maintaining it as you age, has so many benefits – improved balance, posture, reduced risk of back and neck pain, and much more.

  • Stretches should include upper and lower body, and back.
  • Think slow and sustained – reach the maximum position you can hold for at least 10 seconds to begin with, working up to 30 seconds.

Don't Be Afraid Of The Gym

It's always beneficial to be able to work out at home, especially when the weather is terrible or you're pressed for time. Still, working out at the gym and at home gives you the best of both worlds, and the most options.

  • The gym lets you try out different exercises and equipment.
  • You can get guidance by a fitness professional on correct form.
  • Working out with other people is fun, and can motivate you to work out even more.

 

If you have any questions about exercise or how to improve your fitness level, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Toronto physiotherapy and sports medicine clinics for a consultation.

Five Exercises To Improve Your Golf Game

By Athlete's Care on July 28, 2021

Clients at our Toronto physiotherapy and sports medicine clinics who are also avid golfers often ask for advice on the mechanics of their swing. Proper form is certainly important for playing any sport. It's your protection against injury and overuse, as well as making sure you have the opportunity to perform at your best.

However, pain and other signs of discomfort, however mild, can point to another common root cause: lack of specific physical conditioning.

The nature of golf

Golf is what physical therapists call "ballistic", and entails some unique characteristics and challenges.

  • It involves sudden bursts of concentrated effort.
  • It involves one side of the body much more than the other when it comes to your swing.
  • It is as much about strength as it is flexibility and coordination.

Various muscle groups come into play, and working on strength and flexibility in those areas can give your game an edge.

Five Exercises

When it comes to exercises, it's useful to think about the mechanics of the game.

  • The core is crucial to your golf swing – it must be strong, yet flexible.
  • The connecting muscles and structures in your stomach, hips, lower back and butt need to be equally strong and work together seamlessly.
  • Shoulder and arm strength is another area that will help to improve your swing.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget your stretches too.

1. Medicine ball parallel & perpendicular throws (1 set of each, 10 throws, each side)

Your swing speed should improve with this exercise, as well as your core strength and flexibility.

  • In parallel mode, you'll stand facing a solid wall.
  • Holding the medicine ball at waist level, rotate your trunk away from the wall.
  • Throw the ball at the wall with your hips first, then trunk, then arms.
  • Let the ball bounce once and catch it with one hand underneath, one hand behind, and repeat.
  • In perpendicular mode, you'll stand at a 90-degree angle to the wall
  • Rotate your torso 90-degrees away from the wall.
  • Then, you'll rotate a full 180-degrees to throw the ball at the wall.
  • Catch it on the rebound and repeat.

2. T-hip rotations (1 set, 6 rotations, each side)

Being able to separate your hip movements from your upper body at the start of the downswing is something that will set your swing free. This exercise also stretches the torso muscles.

  • In this exercise, you'll start by standing on one leg (the right let's say).
  • Holding on to a chair or the back of a couch with the right hand, place the left hand behind your head, with the elbow pushed back.
  • Bend forward at the hip until you are in a T position, with your torso and left leg in a straight line parallel to the floor.
  • Now, turn your hip and shoulder towards the left, pushing your left elbow towards the ceiling. You should feel a stretch through your hip.
  • Hold for 1 second, then go back to the T position.

3. Drop step lunge (1 set, 6 reps, each leg)

This exercise helps to build strength as well as stability across your body, particularly in the hamstrings and glutes.

  • You'll start standing with your feet together and your arms loosely at your sides.
  • Step forward and to the right with your left foot, over your right leg, and bending your knee at a 90-degree angle while keeping your shin straight.
  • Your right leg is stretched behind you.
  • Hold for 1 second and return to your starting position.

4. Weights for arm & shoulder strength (2 sets, 12-20 reps each)

Naturally, arm and shoulder strength is crucial to being an effective and successful golfer. If you need any advice on form or an exercise program tailored to your condition, our Toronto physiotherapists or chiropractors have the answers.

  • Lateral raises – these work the middle shoulder
  • Shoulder flexion – to strengthen the front of the shoulder
  • Reverse fly – to work the muscles in the rear portion of the shoulder
  • Bicep curls – this basic exercise strengthens the muscles along the front of your arm
  • Tricep kickbacks – to strengthen the muscles at the back of your upper arm

5. Glute bridges (1 set, 10 reps)

This is a great way to work the glutes, and is especially helpful if you spend your workday largely sitting down.

  • Lie on the floor face up, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Roll up a towel, and squeeze it between your raised knees.
  • Push your hips and glutes up off the ground.
  • Only your shoulders and feet should be left on the floor.
  • Lower your hips back to the ground and repeat.

Physical conditioning may not be emphasized as much in golfing, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. Improving your strength and flexibility can certainly give your game a boost.

If you have questions about sports conditioning, or want to talk about exercising in your situation, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Toronto physiotherapy and chiropractic clinics for a consultation.

Why Do I Hurt More When It Rains?

By Athlete's Care on July 06, 2021

Many of the clients at our Toronto physiotherapy and sports medicine clinics live with arthritis. It may occur as a result of damage to joints due to injury, over use, or over time.

In a climate like that of the GTA, with its ups and downs in temperature and humidity, many people, and arthritis sufferers in particular, say that their aches and pains get worse when it rains. Even without arthritis per se, some people report a flare up of pain or discomfort at the site of old injuries.

But, do they really?

As it turns out, the research and experts don’t entirely agree on how it works. Some, in fact, don’t believe that the connection has been proven at all. Still, all those people can’t be entirely wrong. It’s also possible that some people’s bodies are more attuned to those changes in the weather than others.

Arthritis isn’t one single disease – it’s a term that describes joint disorders. Experts, and the research, tend to believe that one of two reactions comes into play. As the barometric pressure drops when it begins to rain, either:

  • the fluid around the joints thickens, or
  • the soft tissues swell slightly.

In either case, it results in increased pain and stiffness in the joints.

  • Humidity affects the joints, and can cause pain. However, temperature also plays a role.
  • That means summer weather, even though it can be humid, generally offers relief from the worst aches and pains.
  • When cartilage is worn down, as it can be in arthritis, it exposes the nerves, which also respond to changes in barometric pressure.
  • Scar tissues may also expand and contract.

Bad weather can also influence how much exercise you get, and walking, cycling, and other joint friendly exercises relieve pain due to arthritis.

Making it better

There are various steps that you can take to help alleviate weather-related arthritis pain.

  • Stay warm – even if you are indoors, the temperature will affect pain levels. A warm or hot shower or bath can help, an extra layer of clothing, or an electric blanket at night will all help.
  • Low impact exercises are crucial to maintaining joint health, and will help manage pain. Ask your Toronto physiotherapist or sports medicine specialist for suggestions.
  • When you exercise or do any strenuous activities, start slow, and add extra stretches first.
  • Remember to stay hydrated.
  • Compression socks or gloves can ease joint swelling.
  • Avoid air conditioning and moisture.
  • You can also ask an orthopaedic specialist about taking anti-inflammatory medications.

If you are living with arthritis, our Toronto physiotherapists, massage therapists, and other sports medicine specialists are ready with answers to your questions. Don’t hesitate to contact one of our Toronto physiotherapy and chiropractic clinics today.