The Importance of Strength Training

Over the years much has been documented about the importance of cardiovascular fitness. Until recently, however, little attention has been given to strength training, which is a very important component to a balanced fitness program. The misconception is that strength training will “bulk” you up and lead to decreased flexibility, this is simply not true. … Continue reading “The Importance of Strength Training”

Over the years much has been documented about the importance of cardiovascular fitness. Until recently, however, little attention has been given to strength training, which is a very important component to a balanced fitness program. The misconception is that strength training will “bulk” you up and lead to decreased flexibility, this is simply not true. Yes, one can train for muscle hypertrophy, or increased muscle mass, however that is only if you train that way. Given the correct program designed to reach your personal goals, strength training has many benefits to your overall physical and mental health such as:

  • Increased strength of bones, muscles, and connective tissues (tendons and ligaments), which can decrease risk for injury, decrease risk for developing certain diseases (osteoporosis), and improve overall function.
  • Increased muscle mass, again not necessarily bulking up. Most adults lose approximately ½ pound of muscle per year after the age of 20. This is largely due to decreased activity levels. Lean muscle mass is a big component of metabolism, the more lean muscle we have the higher our Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) that directly correlates with number of calories burned throughout the day regardless of activity levels. As muscle mass increases, RMR increases, making it easier to maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Enhanced quality of life. As strength increases, the effort required to perform daily tasks will be less taxing on your body. Additionally, strength training can improve sleep quality, decrease stress levels, and improve body image.

These are just a few of the benefits of strength training and why it is important that you add resistance training to your exercise routine. Some good basic starting exercises can be found in the box below. Aim for 8-12 repetitions per set, with 2-3 sets as a starting goal per exercise. The 12th repetition should be difficult, but without compensating. Try to add strength training 2-3x a week, allow for at least one rest day in between especially if you are inexperienced or getting back into it. Alternate muscle groups, legs one day and upper body the next time. Remember to breathe and have fun.

Exercise Muscle Group
Leg Press Quadriceps, Gluteals
Leg Curl Hamstrings
Chest Press Pectorals
Pull Down Latissimus Dorsi
Lateral Raise Deltoid
Triceps Press Triceps
Biceps Curl Biceps
Sit up Abdominals
Heel Raise Gastrocnemius/Soleus

 

Celebrating Recovery – Ryan’s Story

On December 31, 2017 Ryan, an active 29-year-old was months away from his wedding when he saw his life flash before his eyes. He got into a severe auto accident in the desert and was rushed via helicopter to a nearby hospital. He suffered a brain bleed (subarachnoid hemorrhage), multiple fractures to his left eye … Continue reading “Celebrating Recovery – Ryan’s Story”

On December 31, 2017 Ryan, an active 29-year-old was months away from his wedding when he saw his life flash before his eyes. He got into a severe auto accident in the desert and was rushed via helicopter to a nearby hospital. He suffered a brain bleed (subarachnoid hemorrhage), multiple fractures to his left eye and facial bones, and a fracture to his lower neck. He was in critical condition – unable to breathe, move his neck or walk.

Watch the short video to see his inspiring journey!

In the following weeks, he had multiple surgeries to reconstruct his face and broken jaw. After surgery, Ryan was unable to open his mouth to eat, drink or smile. That’s when he was referred by his Doctor to Lindy First, DPT to improve his neck and jaw mobility.

At the start of physical therapy, Ryan was unable to fit one finger in his mouth, smile or turn his head more than a few degrees to the side. Imagine only being able to turn your head two inches.  He was determined to get better in anticipation of his summer wedding. After months of focused manual therapy and reeducation of his muscles, Ryan is now fully functional, has full mobility of his neck and can eat anything he pleases, including a nice juicy burger. He is now happily married and can smile at his beautiful bride.  

Congrats to Ryan and his amazing progress and determination to get well!

 

Run Forrest Run!

Running 101 – A Beginner’s Guide Running it seems simple enough right? Stand up, move your legs and just go as far as you can. WRONG! While it looks easy, running involves preparation that requires gradual mileage advancement to safely become a healthy runner. Running Prep: 1. Plan a Running Schedule – It will not be enough if you only run … Continue reading “Run Forrest Run!”

Running 101 – A Beginner’s Guide

Running it seems simple enough right? Stand up, move your legs and just go as far as you can. WRONG!

While it looks easy, running involves preparation that requires gradual mileage advancement to safely become a healthy runner.

Running Prep:

1. Plan a Running ScheduleIt will not be enough if you only run once a week if you are really trying to get into it.  Twenty minutes, 3 times a week is recommended.

2. Think about minutes, NOT miles – do not focus on the miles when starting out, focus on the length of time you run and intermittently plan longer slower runs and shorter quicker runs to progress your speed and power.

3. Invest in the right pair of shoes – this is one of the most, if not the most, important prep step. Go to your nearest sports store or running shoe store and get properly fitted for a pair of running shoes. Make sure to walk around in them before you buy to get the right fit. If needed ask your Physical Therapist for recommendations on types of running shoes and on custom or over the counter sole inserts for additional comfort.

4. Invest in appropriate workout gear – moisture-wicking fabric for tops and bottoms will keep you cooler and drier as your running increases.

5. Perfect your form – proper form is vital in running to prevent injury. keep your head straight, hands relaxed, shoulders back, hips stable, lean forward, don’t lift your knees too high, aim for a mid-foot strike and light steps, breathe deeply (inhale through nose and exhale out your mouth)

 

Healthy Ways to Incorporate Running into Your Exercise Routine

As mentioned above, running burns about 100 calories per mile. If losing weight is your top priority, then running is a great cardio calorie burning activity to add to your routine.

Take your time easing into the sport. Your legs will be sore, if you feel acute pain anywhere, stop running for a few days and let your legs recover. This will help to prevent injuries. As Physical therapists we recommend Foam Rolling before and after each run – purchase a foam roller from us next time you visit!

Learn the difference between soreness and fatigue. This is a major factor in building your running routine. Your Physical Therapist can help explain the difference.

Cross-training can help. Swimming, biking or total body workouts are great activities that will not wear out your running muscles.

STRETCH! Pre and post run stretching is important for overall skeletal health. Warm up your muscles with some easy hamstring/calf/quad/hip stretches and finish off any run with stretching to break up any tightness that may occur after your run.

Here are some great key exercises we at IPT recommend when running:

Use a Foam Roller – pre and post run this is great to do on your calves and quads. Purchase a foam roller from us during your next visit! 

Use a lacrosse ball or similar type of ball for IT band discomfort– The TFL (tensor fascia latae) is the muscle attached to your IT band which is really where the discomfort lies. Using a lacrosse ball you can dig into the muscle and release the tension

Stretch your Hip Flexors with Lunges– This is where a lot of tension lies for runners. Your hip flexors act as a rubber band to spring your legs forward and back. Doing front, side and rotating lunges will warm up your hip flexors and legs and mobility

Squat – doing squats will work your quads, glutes and hamstrings. This will build a strong foundation for your running

The American Physical Therapy Association has a great guidebook on training, racing and building a strong running regime, written and approved by Physical Therapists worldwide. For more information on running and some helpful tips/tricks read  HERE and reach out to your local Physical Therapist.