By WIN Contributor: Karen Evers, PTA, Kinesiologist
I recently attend a workshop in Toronto on exercise prescription in rehabilitation. I took away some very key points, that are important to consider in physiotherapy, and everyday life, to share with our readers.
IS YOUR BODY CHEATING?
In Physiotherapy, we see a lot of “cheaters”. This is because the body has the tendency to ‘like to cheat’. These patterns, usually the result of repetition or trauma, cause certain muscles to become lengthened and weak, while opposite muscles become short and tight.
An example would be, forward head posture with rounded shoulders and back that is often seen with individuals who work with computers. In physiotherapy we call this compensatory patterns.
In the example above, the back muscles are weak and lengthened and the chest muscles are tight and over worked. In your physiotherapy treatments, we help you identify and recognize your body’s ways of cheating, modify it and correct it.
Current research has also identified the importance of muscular control of movement patterns, along with flexibility and strength. If the body can move well with optimal movement patterns, you’re more able to generate strength and be resistant to injury.
BACK TO BASICS
In physiotherapy we like to take it back to the basics. This is essential after an injury where the muscles can go “quite” or when joints were immobilized, like in a cast or a brace.
We work specifically on proprioception which is the body’s awareness of where it is in space. To do this, we break down functional activities. We want every movement to be done correctly. Over time, with repetitive movements the brain learns, and when required, can correctly recreate the action accurately. Practice makes permanent, so it is imperative we are not practicing with faulty movement patterns.
One of my favourite things to do with clients as a Kinesiologist is educate on our core stabilizers, which are muscles many patients tend not to focus on or don’t even know exist. When I’m at the gym I see a lot of focus on strengthening the “sexy” muscles like the biceps, chest, deltoids, rectus abdominus, traps and so on. Well, what about the deep stabilizer muscles that need to be recruited and activated during our everyday tasks?
It’s these important muscles that prevent injuries and faulty movement patterns. These are muscles like the transverse abdominis, multifidus, gluteus medius, the rotator cuff muscles, etc. In Physiotherapy we teach you how to recruit and activate these deep muscles.
SMALL STRATEGIES – BIG RESULTS
It may seem unnecessary, but starting patients off with basic exercises is important because it challenge you to do them correctly. If done correctly, they can be a lot more difficult then they seem.
Use this insight I’ve shared to find new way of analyzing the exercises you may partake in. Don’t forget to activate and strengthening those deep muscles that are often forgotten. In addition, in Physio we love the “little guys”… the muscles that help support us, keep us strong and prevent injuries.
If you would like more targeted recommendations based on your specific health and/or fitness goals, contact the clinic and visit with a Physiotherapy team member. It is our passion to help others use exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle and it would be our pleasure to assist in helping you learn how to effectively exercise.