WHAT YOUR PHYSICAL THERAPIST WANTS YOU TO KNOW
by Robert Forster, PTYour body is mechanical structure that needs some maintenance everyday. The average person spends more time each day taking care of their teeth than they do for rest of their body. You need to stretch daily. The connective tissue structures of your body [tendons, ligaments, and fascia] will shorten naturally every day if you do not stretch daily. Stretching is important in the morning to ready ones body for the ergonomic stress related to daily activities, then before and after all workouts, to prepare the body for exertion and recovery after. Stretching at night will reduce stress and improve rest overnight. Grandma was right. Posture is important! But good posture is not just about how you stand. More important than standing straight are the postures you assume sitting and laying down, which is how you spend most of your day. Sitting with good back support that maintains the natural curves in your spine is the most critical thing you can do to protect your joints from the stress that builds up and damages joints and ligaments. Likewise, laying on the sofa or propped up in bed will damage the ligaments and discs in your spine. The way to best position to avoid damaging pressure on the spine in sitting or lying to watch TV or read is the recliner. Although the butt of many jokes, the recliner that maintains your spine’s natural curves is the best position to relax and recreate. Pillows help support the natural spinal curves, but the problem with propping up in bed is the buttocks slide forward on the soft surface and this causes the spine to round out backwards and thus the natural curve, called the lumbar lordosis is lost or reversed, in spite of the pillow in the low back, thus placing the spinal discs under great stress. Sofas are not at all like a coiled spring mattress that comes up to support the parts of the spine not weight bearing on the cushion surface. Pillows are not helpful and lying on the sofa should be avoided at all costs. The resulting postural stress does not hurt while in the bad position but the next day the stress presents in aches and pains, knots and muscle spasm. We fix lots of back by just getting people off the sofa and having them lay on their sides to read or watch TV in bed, or even on the floor is better than the sofa! The stress associated with cell phone use is only eliminated with the use of an ear piece. Shy of that, its best to hold the phone so your head maintains a neutral position, i.e. your head is not side-bent to the side of the phone. If possible one would prop the elbow on a surface like the arm rest to achieve this position. "Phone finger” tendonitis, are becoming more & more typical with increasing smart phone use, this is best avoided by warming up and stretching the thumb flexor tendons before you get started each day and during breaks from heavy use. That tendon lives the large fleshy tissue at the base of the thumb, i.e. outer aspect of the palm. Rub there as a warm up and pull the thumb across the back of your hand towards the pinky finger to stretch it. Living a healthy lifestyle and getting fit is not difficult and does not need to be strenuous. Simple stretching and walking is a complete fitness program and low intensity exercise produces the best results for protection against disease. In the gym you should do more pulling exercises than pushing exercise. Most injuries and painful conditions suffered by humans are caused by weakness of the muscles in the back of the body. The typical gym program focuses instead on strengthening the “Glamour Muscles” in the front of your body and those you see in the mirror. Pull more than push in the gym! Pulling exercises include: Lat Pull Downs, Low Rows, Reverse Flys, and Hamstring Curls. Pushing exercises include Bench Press, Biceps Curls, and Leg Extensions.
Periodized Strength Training
Periodization strength training breaks the training program into cycles (or periods) where fitness is developed in a scientifically rational sequence. After about six-to-eight weeks of the same activity the body becomes stronger and can handle the load without experiencing stress; performance will then fade if the exercise stimulus is not altered in such a way as to create new stress on the body, and peak hormone production again. Your PHASE IV team is using state-of-the-science training methods to set up your plan of Periodized Strength Training. Matching the requirements of your sport, you will be educated in proper strength development, stretching, warm up, cool down, and aggressive recovery techniques. Pictured here is PHASE IV athlete World Racing Champion Rebecca Ruysch, who credits Forster for "teaching her body how to ride her bike."