The Importance of Stretching – Whether You’re Active Or Not!

Do you know that stretching, even when you’re not consistently exercising, is largely important? Many believe that stretching is an activity reserved for pre and post workout – not true! Incorporating a daily stretching routine can be more beneficial than most would like to believe.

Both body and mind benefit greatly from a daily dose of stretches. Moving our muscles promotes everything from maintained flexibility to relieving stress after a long day at work or school. Through routine stretching, our bodies can perform better not only during our workouts, but our day-to-day activities as well. By getting proper nutrients and oxygen to the muscles through stretching, typical tasks such as yard work or carrying groceries can be performed without the potential threat of injury. Stretching throughout the work day can promote better posture by loosening muscles in the back. It’s even proven that a simple, five minute stretch of the major muscle groups can provide one with a quick boost of natural energy to power through the rest of the day. Stretching can also help relieve our minds of the everyday stresses — when our mind is stressed, it is reflected in our bodies.

One does not have to participate in athletics or exercise to experience the benefits of a consistent stretching regimen. Relieving stress through stretching has been found to incite instant relaxation of the muscles and increased blood flow throughout extremities. Maintaining mobility of our muscles promotes happy bodies and minds. Go ahead — take a break and stretch it out!

Top 10 Health Benefits of Stretching. (2016, March 21). Retrieved September 08, 2016

Making Fitness Stick!

How can you seamlessly incorporate fitness into your lifestyle? Good question, and one we’d all like to answer.  One way is to shift your perception of what fitness involves. “Fitness” doesn’t have to involve intricate workouts and tricky moves if that’s not your thing. Maybe fitness for you is walking for 20min each night, or making a conscious effort to get out of the office and walk throughout the day. Making it happen can be as easy as finding a goal to train for, or just something that makes you happy.

Fitbit has put together a list of some other science-approved ways to keep fitness simple, so it sticks:

Get Outside

Stepping outdoors has been proven to boost happiness and even cause positive thinking. Researchers at Stanford University recently found 90 minutes of walking in a natural environment can reduce repetitive, negative self-thoughts. In other words, taking a hike in a park-like setting can make you feel better about yourself—which can be pretty motivating!

Buddy Up

Solo exercise can help relieve stress, but for some, a partner makes workouts more fun. Research shows it can help keep you accountable, and one study published in the Journal of Sport and Exercise revealed that exercise adherence is related to perceived support—so knowing your friend has your back can help you stick to your plan. The same study showed the buddy effect can make you feel more positive about your routine, too.

Be Efficient

If a long run seems daunting, get outside for three brisk, 10-minute strolls during the day (and get your steps in). Research has long shown three shorter bouts can have similar calorie-burning benefits as one 30-minute session.

So get out there and enjoy the Seattle sun before it’s gone, and bring a friend with you!

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“Athlete Tested, Science Approved: 3 Simple Ways to Make Fitness Stick.” Fitbit.com. Ed. Laura Rosenbaum. Fitbit, 26 Apr. 2016. Web. 23 Aug. 2016.

Shredded about Stress Fractures?!

A stress fracture is a common injury among runners, and can set back your running schedule by an average of 6 weeks! But what exactly is a stress fracture, and how can it be prevented? Well, never fear were here to answer some questions you may have!

What is a stress fracture?

A stress fracture is a small crack in any of the weight bearing bones of the body.  The most commonly injured areas of runners are the tibia, or shinbone, and foot.

 When am you most likely to get a stress fracture?

Stress fractures happen most often when runners increase their intensity and mileage over several weeks to a few months.

 What does a stress fracture feel like?

A stress fracture typically feels like a dull ache along the bone.  The pain usually feels localized to the specific spot of the fracture.  Typically, it will hurt it you press on it. The pain will get progressively worse as you run on the injury, and it may even hurt if you jump on it.

 What is the treatment for a stress fracture?

There is no real treatment other than rest.  A physician may prescribe a boot or crutches to help keep the pressure off the affected area. This allows for complete healing of the fracture. If you continue to run and put pressure on a stress fracture it can lead to a bone fracture that could set you back months, and may result in surgery.

 How can you prevent a stress fracture?

Check in with your training program and make sure you are not pushing too hard – make sure you’re not making dramatic increases in distance. Strength trying is key to keeping your body up to the increased needs of distance running. Strengthening of your hips, core, quads, and calves can help prevent a stress fractures. 

There are so many running activities coming up this summer, so get out there and enjoy them! Just be sure to take care of yourself along the way and listen to what your body is telling you.

Soreness Vs. Pain- The Battle!

There are endless benefits of exercise; staying active supports our physical and mental wellbeing. To gain strength and make physical improvements, our bodies need to be pushed to an appropriate level where gains can occur. That bring said, every person is different – age, baseline strength, and participation level all factor into what is appropriate for your body.

It’s important to be realistic about your activity threshold and to be able to differentiate between moderate muscle soreness and pain. our friends over at the American Physical Therapy Association are a wealth of knowledge on the topic of soreness vs. pain, and have provided the following table to help you navigate what your personal activity threshold.

Muscular soreness typically peaks 24-72 hours after activity. This is the result of small, safe damage to muscle fibers and is called Delayed Onset Muscular Soreness. Your muscles may be tender to touch and feel tight and achy. In contrast to soreness, you may experience pain during or after performing exercise. This may feel sharp and be located in your muscles or joints. This pain may linger without fully going away, perhaps even after a period of rest. This may indicate an injury – If you feel that your pain is extreme or is not resolving after 7-10 days you should consult with a medical professional. This person will diagnose your injury and direct you to the appropriate road to recovery.

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“Soreness vs. Pain: What’s the difference?.” Move Forward PT. American Physical therapy Association, n.d. Web. 23 Aug. 2016.

Halloween 2016 Safety Tips!

Halloween Safety 2.0!

It’s that time of year again, Halloween is here    which means candy, costumes, and potentially injuries! We want to make sure your Halloween is full of of fun so we’ve attached a list from Safety Kids Worldwide full of helpful reminders to make your Halloween a sheer delight!

Walk Safely

  • Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
  • Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross. 
  • Put electronic devices down and keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
  • Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
  • Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. 
  • Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.

Keep Costumes Both Creative and Safe

  • Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors.
  • Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.
  • Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers. 
  • When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls. 

Drive Extra Safely on Halloween

  • Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods.
  • Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
  • Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.

Miles for Midwives | Saturday, October 1, 2016

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Miles for Midwives 2.5 mile Family-Friendly Fun Run/Walk takes place in the autumn to raise awareness around the benefits of midwifery and the important work of Washington midwives! Your participation helps to ensure that families in Washington State have greater access to quality women’s healthcare and the lower healthcare costs associated with utilization of midwives.

Event Info:
Location – Lincoln Park in West Seattle

8:00 am: Day of Event Registration/Packet Pick Up

9:45 am: Kids’ Lollipop Run

10:00 am: Fun Run/Walk starts promptly!

  • Event starts at Shelters 1-2 (near tables 1-43) in the SOUTH END of the park.

The 2.5 mile loop will take you along the perimeter of gorgeous Lincoln Park, down along the water, around Colman Pool, and back up into the park. The path is stroller and pet friendly, along walking paths or sidewalks.

Proceeds from Miles for Midwives benefit the Washington Affiliate of the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) and the Midwives’ Association of Washington State (MAWS). For more information and to register check out www.milesformidwives.org

Raking Leaves: The Do’s and Dont’s

Teen girls raking the leaves in backyard

It’s that time of year again –  pumpkin spice latte’s, visits to the pumpkin patch, and hoodies galore! It’s also time for beautiful fall foliage and raking leaves. Raking leaves can provide good aerobic exercise, but it also can everything from blisters to back pain. Check out these handy tips brought to you by Health News Digest to stay enjoying the Autumn leaves this fall!

• Use a rake which is the right size for you. The handle should be chin height and hands should be able to hold the rake 18″ to 24″ apart. A rake that is too short can hurt the back; one that is too heavy can strain shoulders and neck.

• Wear appropriate layers of lightweight clothing.

• Wear gloves to prevent blisters.

• Wear skid resistant shoes – leaves can be wet and cause a fall.

Get it done!

• Warm up muscles with light stretches of the arms, back and legs.

• Alternate hands with raking, and stagger feet to help shift weight.

• Make short strokes, so you don’t overextend muscles.

• Rake to the side, keeping the back straight.

• Bend at the knees, instead of at the back.

• Don’t twist. It’s better to move the legs and pivot the body to shift your weight.

• Be careful not to overstuff the bags. Remember that wet leaves weigh more, so pack less leaves in the bags when they’re wet.

• When moving the bags, make sure to lift with the legs – bend the knees and keep your back straight and stomach tight. If a bag is large and awkward to lift, walk backwards pulling the bag, or use a handcart or dolly to move it.

• Pace yourself and take breaks.

• Remember to stretch after you finish.

Most importantly, listen to what your body is telling you. If you feel intense pain or tingling in your arms, stop immediately and seek medical attention. If you aren’t used to that level of activity, expect to be sore for the first 24 hours after raking. Soreness should improve after that point. Anyone who does not feel better, or feels an increase in soreness, should seek medical attention immediately.

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Aliani, Michele. “Raking Leaves This Fall – Tips to Prevent Injury.” HealthNewsDigest. N.p., 29 Oct. 2014. Web. 24 Aug. 2016.

Golf Giving You Pain?

Golf lovers play rain or shine out her in the Pacific Northwest, but regardless of the weather pain can really slow down your golf game. Especially if that pain isn in your lower back. However, there are ways to play safe and smart that will support your game. Our friends over at Sports PT have put together a list of Tips to keep you and your golf game strong!

1: Reduce your backswing. In the modern golf swing, when we take our backswing, our hips and shoulders rotate away from the target.  When our hips naturally stop rotating, our shoulders and trunk rotate even further to coil up the body and get ready to unleash that energy toward the golf ball.  This extra trunk rotation can be a vulnerable position for the lumbar spine and often contributes to pain.

 

2: Walk smart: If you like to walk the course for exercise that’s great, but don’t do it at the expense of your low back.  If you like to carry your clubs, make sure you have a bag with two shoulder straps.  If you like to use a cart, make sure you push it in front of you, don’t pull it behind you.  This will preserve strength in your core muscles to help last the entire round.

 

3. Don’t’ spend a lot of time on the practice green: The typical putting stroke requires you to bend forward a considerable amount. If you are practicing your putting for a long time, you have already begun to fatigue these important muscles that support good spine posture, and they might not be able to do their job during the actual round of golf.

 

4. Watch your posture when you are not golfing: If you are a seated professional, keep an eye on your posture during the day when at your desk. Sitting places 2.5 times your body weight on the low back, so it’s important to avoid slouching during the work day.

 

5. Train your body to succeed at golf: While golf isn’t considered an intense activity by a lot of people, you need specific strength and flexibility to reduce the stress on your spine. You also need good muscular endurance to maintain a consistent swing for up to 5 hours.  Seek professional advice and training from a physical therapist that has golf specific knowledge.

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Abel, Tim. “Reducing Low Back Pain In Your Golf Game.” Sports PT | Care in Motion. American Red Cross, July 2016. Web. 26 Aug. 2016.

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