Staying Active & Healthy at Home
The Healthy View
Don’t let the latest stay-at-home order keep you from staying active. Whether you tune in to a virtual class from your living room, get in a quick HIIT workout in your backyard, take a break from your desk to get in a 15 minute stretch, or go on a nice long bike ride around your neighbourhood, you need to keep moving to stay healthy. But you have to do so correctly to ensure you don’t suffer from injuries.
COVID-19 & Exercise
With gyms remaining closed, it’s easy to make excuses for not being physically active. What if I told you that regular physical activity has been shown to reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms? Is that a good enough reason to get you up off the couch?
Regular physical activity not only helps you to look and feel great, but a recent article published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, showed its benefit in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. They showed that a lack of physical activity was the third strongest risk factor for severe COVID-19 outcomes, behind advanced age and a history of organ transplant. Patients diagnosed with COVID-19 who were consistently inactive during the 2 years before the pandemic were more likely to be hospitalized, admitted to the intensive care unit, and die than patients who were consistently meeting physical activity guidelines.
This reduction in serious COVID-19 symptoms is not only beneficial to you, on an individual basis, but helps take some of the burden off our hospitals and healthcare system as a whole. Doesn’t this make you want to attend a virtual class, go for a run, or do a HIIT workout at a park? Stay active. Stay healthy. Stay safe.
Sallis R, Young DR, Tartof SY, et al. Physical inactivity is associated with a higher risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes: a study in 48 440 adult patients. British Journal of Sports Medicine Published Online First: 13 April 2021. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2021-104080
Dr. Paul Glancey
How to Keep Your Back Healthy
There are many misconceptions on low back health that have been perpetuated by popular media and by popular body building techniques. We will touch on two simple things that you can do to promote a healthy low back in the workplace.
1. There is no “correct” sitting posture! Ergonomic chairs are not meant to be set in one position. They have a variety of settings for the exact opposite purpose; change the settings around in your chair on a regular basis. Play with the settings until you find 4 or 5 comfortable positions that will allow you to be productive. Make sure to change those comfort settings every 30 minutes so that you are shifting the load that the tissues of your back are experiencing. In this way, no one structure is bearing the entire load for too long. The key here is changing your position constantly and sharing the load!
2. Get out of the chair and stretch! You sit at your desk for the majority of the 8, 10, 12 hours that you are at work! During this time, your back becomes accustomed to the hunched over, modern caveman position that computers force us to assume. The tissues in our back (discs, muscles, ligaments, and even bone) become accustomed to this posture and load and begin to stretch. Then the pencil drops on the floor and you go to pick it up and all of a sudden, you’re flat on your back and cannot move! The pencil obviously did not cause the problem; the tissues were already stretched beyond a safe point and all it took was the action of picking up a pencil to place the back in the injury range. This phenomenon is called tissue hysteresis. It is a property of all human body tissue including muscles, ligaments, and bone. You do not feel any discomfort during this slow progressive stretch, until the tissue is asked to do something like simply picking up a pencil. The pencil that broke the caveman’s back!
The obvious question becomes how do I prevent this from happening?
Well, stretching can help that for sure!
Every 20-30 minutes, or when you’re changing the settings on your chair, get up and slowly, reach for the ceiling… NOT YOUR TOES!! This will help reverse the negative effects of prolonged poor posture and the resultant tissue changes that have been accumulating in your back.
So, in following these two simple tips, you can avoid some potentially detrimental effects of prolonged postures, at work and at home.
If you have any questions about this article or other topics related to the musculoskeletal system, feel free to email the Clinic or call the Clinic to speak to a therapist.
McGill, S. (2002). Low Back Disorders: Evidence-Based Prevention and Rehabilitation. Windsor: Human Kinetics.
How to Avoid Knee Pain with Biking
Lately, we’ve been seeing more and more people out on their bikes – which is great. Biking is one of the least strenuous activities on our joints. However, if done improperly over time, it can still lead to injury and pain. Here are a few considerations to take when biking.
Seat Height: When adjusting the seat height, most people know that you should have a slight bend in the knee when you have your foot on the pedal sitting on the bike. The normal angle at the knee is between 25-35 degrees. To achieve this angle, while sitting on the seat, have the leg completely extended (straight) and ensure that the heel is resting on the pedal. Once you replace the ball of the foot to the pedal, the knee should be at the proper angle. Having the seat too high can cause problems in the hips, pelvis, and back while having the seat too low can increase the pressure at the knees.
Knee Alignment: Throughout the full revolution of each pedal stroke, the knees must remain in midline (straight ahead) position. Some cyclists may be unaware or incorrectly assume that the knees are supposed to move toward the top tube (inside) of the bike. This leads to faulty tracking of the knee cap and potentially anterior knee pain and patellar tendon irritation.
Gear Ratio: Many people tend to push a high gear ratio (resistance) to get what seems to be a better workout. They increase the workload (higher resistance level) and pedal slower. This results in increased pressure in the knee and again potential knee pain. The same volume of work can be achieved by reducing the workload and increasing the cadence (ie rpm). It has been suggested that the optimal cycling cadence is between 80-100 rpm.
If you have any questions about this article feel free to email the Clinic or call the Clinic to speak to a therapist.
Bob has been a massage therapist for almost 40 years, providing therapies for amateur and professional athletes around the world.
Depending upon your injury or area of discomfort, Bob may use a variety of treatments to help you return to your best state including (but not limited to) shockwave therapy and Theragun. He specializes in sport and deep tissue massage.
His hours are Monday and Thursday between 11:00am – 6:00pm. To book an appointment with Bob, reach out to the reception team or by phone at (416) 865-0903.