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.

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Pre-ski Fitness Tips

But fitness experts say proper conditioning can make the difference between a fun weekend on the slopes and one waylaid by injury.

To minimize fatigue and risk of injury, Forster, physical therapist to 42 Olympic medalists, suggests getting in ski-shape before hitting the slopes.

“All fitness begins with an aerobic base,” he said. “So six weeks before, start training with an elliptical trainer or stationary bike, or running or walking. Build up to 20 to 30 minutes three times a week.”

Aerobic training also strengthens muscles, Forster said, so any subsequent agility drills, such as running sideways or skipping, will be even more effective if you’ve established an aerobic base.

Stretch before skiing to protect against injury and enhance freedom of motion; stretch afterward to return the muscles to their normal length, said Forster.

He calls stretching the single most important thing people can do for body health maintenance.

“Connective tissue shortens with time,” he explained. “We stretch to maintain good alignment of the bones.”

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Stretching Is A Key Component In Keeping Your Joints and Muscles Healthy

Too much time sitting in the office or travelling, shortens the connective tissues that link your muscles to your bones, leaving the body tense and stiff. Fortunately, stretching can loosen you back up by lengthening the muscles and connective tissues, says Robert Forster, physical therapist and founder of Phase IV Health and Performance Center in Santa Monica, CA. “Stretching is something to do every day,” he says. It helps you relax, maintain posture and joint health, and prepare for better workouts—and after a long day  in the office or traveling, it can help you work out the kinks.

Incorporating flexibility training in your fitness program will help avoid injury, improve recovery, eliminate knots and improve postural alignment creating a healthy body that is resilient to injury & primed for great performances. 

Stretching Is A Key Component In Keeping Your Joints and Muscles Healthy, Strong and Resilient To Injury

The need for increased flexibility is vital for the young and the aging. During the adolescent growth spurt when the bones grow faster than the connective tissue elements of the body can adapt, the resulting tightness leads to decreased coordination, agility and performance and often results in injury and various growth related conditions.

During exercise our muscles shorten and the connective tissue must be stretched to maintain full range of motion and good posture.

As we age, connective tissue naturally tightens and begins to lead to functional limitations. These limitations lead to altered mechanics of the joint and eventually joint wearing (Arthritis).  It is the one aspect of aging we can reverse; with regular stretching we can maintain flexibility.

Flexibility Exercises

Forsters stretching program has been honed over 30 years of experience with athletes ranging form 7 to 70 years old.  Discover the safest and most effective stretching techniques to help you perform better, prevent injury, improve your range of motion, and aid in your recovery from exercise.

– The safest and most effective stretches for each part of your body
– How to incorporate a safe and effective stretching routine into your active lifestyle
– The importance of stretching in developing healthy joints and muscles for life
– How stretching aids in the recovery process and helps to prevent injury
– The performance benefits of a proper stretching routine as it pertains to sport and exercise
– How stretching improves your range of motion, resulting in improved athletic performance

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