What physical therapists want you to know — and do
This article takes advice from physical therapists to make sure you never need to see one of them! Heed their top 10 tips to ward off aches and pains.
When its comes to maintaining good posture, for example, spending 30 mins at the gym each week dosent compensate for the 40 hours + spent at your PC each week. The article includes tips from Robert Forster Los Angeles-based physical therapist to 38 Olympic medalists and member of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness.
Good posture starts from maintaining activation of your transverse abdominals (the deepest layer of your abs). If you have a sedentary lifestyle — or a typical 9-to-5 job — these muscles become less activated as you age, so your lower back loses its main support. That allows the rest of your upper body to slouch forward, applying more pressure through the lower discs of your spine. Eventually, you overload your tissue, which can lead to system overload and failure — or a herniated disc, arthritis or muscle strain. So keep your shoulders back over your hips to maintain the alignment
Pull, don’t push
In the gym, you should do more pulling exercises than pushing exercises. Most injuries and painful conditions are caused by weakness of the muscles in the back of the body. That’s because the typical gym program focuses on stretching the “glamour” muscles in the front of your body and those you see in the mirror. Pulling exercises include lateral pull-downs, low rows and hamstring curls. Pushing exercises include bench presses, biceps curls and leg extensions.
You need to stretch daily. The connective tissue structures of your body — the tendons, ligaments and fascia — will shorten naturally every day if you don’t stretch. Stretching is important in the morning to get your body ready for the ergonomic stress related to daily activities. You should also stretch before and after all workouts to prepare your body for exertion and recovery. Finally, stretching at night will reduce stress and improve rest.
For optimum fitness, include posture and stretching exercises in your program.