Five Tips for Rebooting Your Workouts this Spring .pdf
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Title: Are you Ready to Rock?
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FIVE TIPS FOR REBOOTING YOUR
WORKOUTS THIS SPRING
It’s that time of year when we throw out the old, acquire some new, clean
up what exists and organize what remains. Historically, the concept of spring
cleaning has been applied to our houses, but moving forward it should also
include our bodies.
The winter months can wreak havoc on our physical structure – often
encouraging inactivity, muscular imbalance, overall weakness and the
accumulation of “possessions” (yes, fat cells) that we may want to shed as the
It’s time to nurture ourselves by cleaning up our fleshy soul temples in
preparation for the sun and fun that lies ahead. Use these five tips to focus on
a new ritual that caters to your genetic code instead of just your postal code.
Shut down your Netflix
Winter blues can often lead to binge watching your favourite TV series. It
seems as though this could negatively affect your health – even if you are
active. A 2008 study from the Journal of Medical Science and
SportsEXERCISE found that in a population of healthy Australian adults who
met the public health guideline of 150 minutes of physical activity a week,
television-viewing time was still positively associated with a number of
metabolic risk variables.
The fix: The take-away message is not necessarily to increase the top
end of your physical activity, but instead to replace TV time with
other low-intensity activities that are less passive and avoid sitting for
Balance the hips
For those of us who avoided the slopes and rinks this winter
in favour of a warm drink and a good book, prolonged hibernation
can lead to muscular atrophy, pelvic misalignment and a weaker
midsection. In fact, according to a 2007 study in the journal Spine, the
deep muscles in the lower back began to atrophy after just 14 days of
bed rest. Associated weakness combined with a hiked or twisted
pelvis can throw off the balance of the surrounding muscles and,
according to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, has been
linked to lower back pain in some studies.
The fix: Stand in front of a mirror and place your thumbs on top of your hip
bones. Compare left to right and determine if one side is significantly
higher than the other. Now stand next to a wall with the higher hip and leg
pressed against it.
Reach up to the sky with your arm overhead and then gently lean away
from the wall while maintaining hip contact. Hold for 30 seconds and check
the hips again. Repeat as needed.
Restore the core
A 2011 study from the European Spine Journal found that bridging the hips
up while relying on one leg at a time led to more one-sided activation of
the core muscles than doing bridges off both feet at once.
The fix: This is a great way to make sure that your core and hips build
balanced strength after a winter of decreased activity. Lay on your back
with your knees bent and feet hip-width apart. Draw your belly button in
toward your spine, push your heels into the floor and slowly lift your hips
without excessively arching the low back. Squeeze your butt at the top and
slowly shift 30 per cent more weight to one leg without dropping or
twisting the hips. Hold 10 seconds and switch. Repeat three to six times.
Before hitting the ground running
Spring arrives and the streets suddenly become filled with masses of neonclad runners sprinting back into activity with the best of intention. The
problem is most of them didn’t prepare their ankles and feet for the
impact on hard asphalt. According to a review article in the Sports
Medicine Journal, medial tibia stress syndrome, Achilles tendinopathy and
plantar fasciitis are the main running-related musculoskeletal injuries. All
of these injuries have associations to a running foot position that lands
either all on the outside, excessively dumps in or both actions in rapid
succession of each other.
The fix: Shift the weight to the outside of the heel and put pressure down
on the outer edge while standing. Next, try to keep heel pressure while
pressing the big toe down into the floor as well. Hold this position for 30
seconds. Build up endurance to 90 seconds and then apply this crosspattern foot position to balance work.
Kick-start your glutes
After a prolonged period of sitting and overall inactivity, the hips and
quads can become tight as the supporting glute muscles become weak.
Walking and running without proper glute activation can lead to pain. In a
study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, researchers
found that activity of the gluteus medius muscle was significantly higher
during use of an ankle weight representing 1 per cent of body-weight
compared with 0 per cent. The muscle activity during gait with the 2 per
cent of body-weight load was higher than during gait with the 0 per cent
vertical load, but lower than during the gait with the 1 per cent vertical
The fix: Add an ankle weight with 1 per cent of body weight and start
slowly with 15-20 minute walks twice a week to get a baseline.
Physiotherapy Clinic Downtown Toronto
Sports Medicine Physician Bloor West Toronto