Become a better runner with my top 13 tips! I’ve got you covered with training, racing, running technique and race recovery tips to help you become a better runner.
I’ve never really been one to be nervous about anything, so the weird sensation I felt as I was driving to the airport to fly from Canberra to Townsville on 2nd November 2014 caught me by surprise. I was heading north to Palm Island, 65km north-west of Townsville, to spend a week volunteering as part of a Health Outreach Mission with the SOS foundation, helping to bring physiotherapy to those who maybe wouldn’t be able to readily access healthcare services. I was really unsure what I would be experiencing, so I decided I was going with an open-mind, no pre-conceived ideas, and this was reinforced on Sunday night [Read more…]
Incontinence affects many people in Australia, both male and female, and can significantly alter an individual’s quality of life. Although the definition of incontinence may vary from source to source, universally it is acceptable to base incontinence on the presence of involuntary leakage of urine or faecal matter.
Incontinence can be seen as a major burden on ones life as it can affect the ability to engage in education, employment and social interactions. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, a staggering 316, 500 people experience severe incontinence with the majority of individuals being female.
There are many types of incontinence. Incontinence classification is made depending on:
– The volume of matter loss
– The cause of incontinence, i.e. sudden irresistible urge or result of stress or increase in pressure (coughing, laughing, lifting heavy objects), or a combination of both
– The frequency of episodes
– Other factors such as mobility impairment
The severity of incontinence takes into account the frequency of urination or defecation and the volume or amount of loss. Qualitative measures can also be used to calculate and assist health professionals in understanding the severity of this condition, as incontinence can be an inconvenience, embarrassing and can prevent an individual from participating in daily activities.
Urinary and faecal incontinence can be prevented. Through the adoption of a healthy diet and lifestyle habits as part of your daily routine all cases can be treated and managed.
If you have recently been diagnosed with incontinence, you may feel embarrassed, overwhelmed and concerned. The physiotherapists at our Gungahlin and Canberra City West practices can help you with any questions you may have. In addition, we have noted that there is a significant misconception that only pregnancy will cause incontinence. This is a common misconception prominent throughout Australia.
The following life events and health conditions can put you at risk of developing incontinence. These include:
– Pregnancy (pre & post natal women)
– Children with poor bladder and bowel habits
– Those who have undergone prostatectomy and hysterectomy surgeries
– Urinary tract infections
– Reduced mobility
– Some neurological and musculoskeletal conditions
– Some medications
If affected by incontinence it is beneficial to do pelvic floor exercises as it increases the strength of the pelvic floor muscles and thereby decreases the risk of bladder and bowel leakage, and reduces the risk of prolapse of internal organs (bladder, uterus, bowel).
It is recommended to exercise pelvic floor muscles consistently everyday throughout life to prevent weakness and improve strength. Exercising weak muscles regularly over a period of time can strengthen them and help them to work more efficiently.
To activate your pelvic floor muscles:
1. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat. (Also try in sitting or standing tall)
2. Take a breath in and as you exhale, concentrate on gently drawing up the muscles between your legs, tightening and lifting them as if you were trying to stop the flow of urine mid stream.
3. When you feel the muscles working, continue to hold and tighten the front passage and back passage. Try not to hold your breath but continue to breath as normal. Your goal is to gently squeeze these muscles for 6- 10 seconds. Find your baseline and gradually build it up.
4. By doing this exercise, you should feel a definite lift up inside of you and definite let go when you relax the muscle.
5. For power, it is also recommended to do short quick squeezes. To do these, just squeeze your pelvic floor muscles and let go. Rest for a few seconds in between and repeat the exercise until you feel your muscles fatiguing.
If you are having trouble feeling this sensation of activating your pelvic floor, then physiotherapy with one of our physios especially trained to deal with women’s health issues can help you get back on track. We will be able to assist you with education and cues to get the right muscles working. Real Time Ultrasound is also an effective tool that the physios in our practices use to assist in checking if you are doing your muscle contractions correctly and at the right level for you.
If you or someone you know is affected by incontinence, it is important to remember you can seek help and consult with a physiotherapist at Sport & Spinal Physiotherapy Canberra. Your women’s health physiotherapist will discuss with you your concerns and also establish your dietary habits, bladder and bowel habits and lifestyle. Your physiotherapist will also assess any underlying musculoskeletal issues that may be related to your problem. From the assessment, your physiotherapist will guide you through an appropriate management plan to help treat and manage your concerns. If you are pregnant or just had your baby and you also suffer from incontinence, then our pre & post natal exercise classes can help get your pelvic floor muscles back to optimum fast!
Call us on 02 6262 4464 now and our physios will help get your pelvic floor working correctly to stop this annoying and common problem.
There is overwhelming evidence showing that moderate and regular amounts of exercise during pregnancy are both safe and beneficial for mother and unborn baby. It has been shown that women who exercise during pregnancy have better health outcomes for themselves and their babies compared to women who do not exercise.
The benefits of exercise during pregnancy are:
• reduced risk of low-back and pelvic girdle pain
• reduced risk of gestational diabetes, Caesarean delivery and pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure)
• reduced birth weight of newborns
• improved mood and reduced levels of fatigue helping reduce the risk of post natal depression
• more likely to give up smoking during pregnancy
• prepares women for the physical demands of the end stage of pregnancy and labour
The benefits babies receive from their mother’s exercise are:
• greater nourishment as exercise helps the placenta grow faster and function better
• leaner babies
• babies will cope better with disturbances or fluctuations in their environment
• babies at one year of age perform better in standardised mental and physical performance tests.
Many women want to exercise but do not know where to start. This is where womens health physiotherapy at Sport & Spinal Physiotherapy Gungahlin, Canberra can help but we recommend you first check with your GP/Obstetrician that it is OK for you to exercise. Here at Sport & Spinal Physiotherapy a Womens Health physiotherapist will complete a thorough assessment and provide you with tailored exercises to do at home or in the gym. This will include general advice on cardio/weight training exercises as well as stretches and core stability exercises. If you are currently exercising we will go over what modifications may be necessary depending on your needs.
Furthermore, if you have low back and/or pelvic girdle pain the right exercises can help you. Research published in the British Medical Journal shows that specific stability exercises and acupuncture/dry needling as an adjunct to standard physiotherapy are more effective at reducing pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy than standard treatment alone. At Sport & Spinal Physiotherapy we will go over the specific stabilising exercises for low back pain and/or pelvic girdle pain along with pelvic floor (Kegel) exercises.
During pregnancy it is beneficial to do your pelvic floor exercises as it reduces tearing during delivery, decreases the risk of bladder leakage/haemorrhoids; and reduces the strain on your ligaments that support your uterus (prevents prolapse). Using the Real Time Ultrasound our physios can check your muscle contraction technique is correct and make sure you are doing the exercise at the right level of difficulty for you. Real time Ultrasound carries no risk to you or your baby.
You can still perform core exercises during pregnancy but they will need to be adapted to suit your changing body. Specific core exercises are an essential component in managing low back and pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy.
To maximise the benefits of exercise during pregnancy it needs to be carried out past the 32 week mark. It can be tough but it is possible and can be safely managed with your Doctor/Midwife if necessary.
Remember: ‘Healthy kids come from healthy mums’. If you are pregnant it is a great idea to come in and see one of our Womens Health physios at Sport & Spinal Physio, to make sure you have a safe and effective exercise program that will be best for you and your baby. A great way to get in shape during pregnancy safely is to join our pre & post natal exercise classes – call 6262 4464 now!
We are pretty spoilt in Canberra with great bike paths and world class mountain bike facilities. Many cyclists are happy to pick up a new bike fresh from the store and ride it blissfully unaware whether or not they are in the optimum position to maximise efficiency and minimising injury. There are many factors that in combination, will help you to find the best bike position for cycling.
There have been many studies into optimal seat height to increase pedaling efficiency, most based on oxygen consumption with little regard to the biomechanical features of the cyclist. These studies typically do not consider the cleat position nor the pedaling technique of the rider in determining pedalling efficiency. There is also no regard to saddle compression which can make a difference to optimal seat height by a few millimetres, a small amount indeed but by no means insignificant in terms of the optimal bike position.
Such things as leg length differences (anatomical and functional), muscle shortness, foot and leg alignment, upper leg (femur) versus lower leg (tibia) length, pelvic alignment (especially rotations) and hip flexibility can all influence the optimal seat height position achieved by the rider.
What tends to work best is achieving as close to the optimal seat height with respect to the biomechanics of the rider – in short fitting the bike to the biomechanics of the rider. Having the seat too high can lead to low back and sciatic pain, too low can bring on knee issues.
One of the easiest ways to make you faster on a bike is to become more aerodynamic. It has been shown that as you increase in speed, wind resistance increases exponentially whilst rolling resistance remains constant. Consequently, at 30 km/h wind resistance is approximately 90% of the total resistance a rider must overcome to move forward. This doesn’t mean you need find a helmet that was designed by NASA, or lycra that would look less tight if it was painted on, but it would be helpful to get your body position right.
I recently attended a conference on cycling biomechanics. A physiotherapist that spent several years working with the Australian Olympic Cycling Team presented that the optimal body angle to decrease wind resistance without compromising pedalling efficiency was found to be 20 degrees to the horizontal whilst keeping the spine in neutral. Sadly, unless you are Tony Martin or Fabian Cancellara this will be hard to maintain. Often we need to alter this position to look after achy backs or tight hamstrings. I certainly wouldn’t be able to adopt this position on my bike for long without previously undertaking a year’s worth of yoga. If a cyclist is too tight through their hamstrings then they will not have the flexibility to get into a more aerodynamic position with a neutral spine. Also, as Craig Honeybrook from Sport & Spinal Physiotherapy outlined on 12 February 2014 in his article “Core Stability and Cycling” there is a considerable amount of strength and core control required to hold this position.
One of the tools we use at Sport & Spinal Physiotherapy during our bike fittings is a sizing stem which allows us to adjust head stem angle and length. This means we can easily figure out how close to the ideal upper body position a cyclist can tolerate.
An essential part of bike fitting is also fitting the rider to the bike. Thus, I always look at prescribing exercises to the rider that will allow them to develop the strength and/or flexibility to attain the ideal position on the bike and maintain an efficient and safe pedalling technique.
The best advice I could give regarding bike setup is if you want to be happy and healthy on your bike is to get yourself a thorough assessment by a physiotherapist. Whilst your local bike shop may have a thorough understanding of bikes, they will not be able to assess and diagnose biomechanical issues in the rider that could significantly affect the overall position. Most bike shops will get you in an acceptable range and if you don’t have any biomechanical issues then it may in fact it may be very close. However, in my experience nearly all the riders I see have some biomechanical problems (even professional cyclists). Indeed, I would estimate that about 9 out of 10 cyclists we fit to bikes require a shim for an anatomical or a functional leg length difference. Also a physio can help prescribe exercises to help the cyclist achieve that ideal position. At Sport & Spinal Physiotherapy, we not only fit the bike to you, but we also fit you to your bike.
Call Sport and Spinal Physiotherapy on 62624464 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org to enquire about a full bike assessment or a cycling related injury.