Category Archives: Exercise and Fitness

5 Warm Up Stretches for Golfers

Here are 5 warm up stretches to help with your golf game and prevent injury. As with any stretch, it should be comfortable to hold for at least 20 seconds and not cause pain! Should you have any questions ask a health professional.

Wrist Extensor and Flexor Stretch

  • Start by keeping your elbow straight. Then pull your hand down towards the ground to feel a pulling sensation in the back of your forearm. Apply some over pressure from your other hand. Hold 20 seconds and repeat 5 times on each arm.
  • Start by keeping your elbow straight. Then pull your hand up towards the sky to feel a pulling sensation underneath your forearm. Apply some over pressure under your knuckles and pull towards you using the other hand. Hold 20 seconds and repeat 5 times on each arm.

Wrist Extensor

Hamstring and Shoulder Stretch

  • Grab the longest club in your bag. Take the end of your grip and put it against the ground. Holding onto the club head with both hands, slowly walk backwards and lean forward. A pulling sensation should be felt in the back of the shoulders and in the back of your legs. Hold 20 seconds and repeat up to 5 times.

Hamstring Stretch

Trunk Rotational Stretch

  • Take an iron and place it on the back of your shoulders. Grab the club with both hands and turn all the way to the left. Use your hands to give you leverage and hold a stretch for 20 seconds. Repeat 5 times to the right and left.

Trunk Rotational

Trunk Side Bending Stretch

  • Take a golf club and hold it slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Raise the club overhead as far as comfortable and then tilt your body to the left. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat 5 times to the left and right.

Trunk Side

Calf and Achilles Stretch

  • Place your palms on the golf cart. Stand with 1 foot back keeping your knee straight and heel on the ground. Bend your front knee and lean forward onto the cart until a stretch is felt in the calf. Hold 20 seconds and repeat 5 times on each leg.

Calf Stretch

 

 

Written by Chris Athos MPT, COMT

Preferred Orthopedics of the Palm Beaches

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Surviving Your Summer Program

Summer Dance Program

Even though school and studio classes are still in full swing, it’s never too early to start preparing for the summer dance season. Many dancers have already chosen a dance program for the summer. Summer dance programs come in many shapes and sizes in terms of intensity, duration, location (close to home vs. out of state), style(s) of dance, hours, and teachers. However, every summer program has one thing in common – it’s a change from your normal routine.

Whenever you have a change in your routine, your body is always at an increased risk for injury. The body adapts amazingly well, but when there is change there is also opportunity for injury. Not to discourage summer program participation, on the contrary. Summer programs can be valuable in so many ways, in meeting new people, trying new styles of dance, advancing technique, promoting your career, and so much more. There are many reasons to participate in a program this summer. However while you are dancing at a summer program, stay aware of your body and do your best to decrease your risk of injury.

The most important part of surviving your summer program is to warm up appropriately. Make sure to avoid the extremes of warm up – either not warming enough, or overdoing your warm up. This is important for both the dancers and the teachers in summer programs. Warm up is essential in dancing and is even more important when you’re asking your body to perform new movements. You might need to tailor your warm up for each different style, but it is also good to remind your body of some basics. Also, we all have a tendency to want to “show off,” especially around a new group. Make sure you’re not pushing your extension or movement too far before you are really warm.

While cross training is essential for longevity in dance, it needs to be tailored for your summer program. If your summer program is more intense, or more hours, than you usually dance, choose a few cross training items (planks, pushups, therapy exercises, etc) and focus on those. Alternatively, if your summer program is shorter in duration, or at a more relaxed pace, then it might be the best time to try some new cross training activities (swimming, elliptical, Pilates, barre work out, etc). Of course, if you are taking the summer off of dancing, this is the perfect time to try out some new movements and activities. However, just because you are a good dancer, doesn’t mean your body automatically knows how to do Pilates (or any other new activity). Be patient and enjoy learning a new movement pattern. Planning ahead is key for surviving a summer program, so know your summer dance schedule and plan your cross training ahead of time.

Don’t forget to get enough sleep! Summer is almost always a time where your sleep changes schedule. Whether you are participating in a summer program near home or far away, it’s important to get enough sleep at night. Sometimes getting enough sleep is easier over the summer without some of the school demands, but often it can be harder because you are in a different routine. Injuries are much more common when you are fatigued. This can happen at the end of a long day of dancing and/or because of lack of sleep. Balance pushing yourself with attending to your body’s fatigue level.

Most of all, have fun! Dance is supposed to be fun, and your summer program should challenge you as well as give you a new perspective on your art.

Summer Program Do’s and Don’ts:

  • DO push yourself / DON’T forget to rest your body
  • DO cross-training / DON’T over-extend your body before you are warmed up
  • DO drink plenty of water / DON’T eat too much junk food
  • DO make new friends / DON’T hurt someone’s feelings
  • DO try new things / DON’T neglect your technique
  • DO have fun!

 

by: Dr. Kathleen L. Davenport, M.D.

The Price of Pointe

The Price of Pointe

I am writing this article at the request of one of my “dance moms.” She mentioned that she did not have a clear idea of everything involved with her daughter starting pointe. Like many dance parents, she learned how to navigate this step in her daughter’s dancing through other parents, teachers, dance stores, and blogs. While all these resources are essential to the dance community, she asked if I could write an article from my experience, while including her insight from a parent perspective. My dance parents are some of the most generous people with sharing their insights, tips, and struggles, so it is with a special thanks to them that I write this article.

[As an aside, I have written this article using “she” to refer to the dancer en pointe with continuing the gender trend that women and girls are frequently placed en pointe, whereas this is not as common for male dancers. However, male dancers do participate in pointe work, as it builds balance and strength, and this article is equally applicable to their pointe process.]

Know before you go

Before you make your shoe fitting appointment, make sure the teacher and/or studio has cleared your daughter to advance en pointe. Each studio/teacher has different requirements for advancement, so just because a dancer was en pointe at one studio, does not necessarily mean she will be placed en pointe at another studio. Additionally, there may be many steps, such as a doctor’s evaluation, prior to your studio allowing her to progress to pointe.

Also, studios have different ideas about specific pointe shoes. Some teachers prefer certain brands, shank hardness, etc. Other teachers have no preference as long as the shoe fits well. Make sure you have asked ahead of time, as some stores will not allow you to return the shoe if the teacher does not approve.

If the shoe fits…

A pointe shoe fitting takes about an hour. This may be longer or shorter depending on the dancer’s foot shape, experience, and strength. A pointe shoe fitting is often made by appointment only, so call the dance store and plan ahead accordingly. Pointe shoes should be re-fitted a minimum of every 6 months while the dancer is still growing and every 2 years after growth has completed.

A pair of pointe shoes typically costs around $60-$100 per pair, not including the ribbons, toe pads, etc. New shoes need to be purchased whenever the old pair has worn out (known as “dead” as in, “Dad, I need new shoes because these are dead!”). The timing on new shoes is entirely dependent on how much she is dancing, the strength of her foot, and how well she cares for her shoes (see below). If she is just starting en pointe, the shoes may last several months since her foot is not as strong yet and she is likely not en pointe for much time. However, as she advances, new pointe shoes will need to be purchased more often. Some professional dancers will require a new pair of shoes for each performance. I cannot stress how important it is to avoid dancing on a dead pair of pointe shoes. Injuries, such as stress fractures, are more common while dancing in an unsupportive shoe, and can take a long time for recovery.

Shoe Care

Now that you have the shoe, how do you care for it? Dancers should be responsible for sewing their own ribbons. It should be the dancer’s expectation that if she is mature enough to be placed en pointe, that she is also ready for the responsibility of sewing her own ribbons. Most dancers sew ribbons on in a square with an “X” through the square to avoid the ribbons fraying, but there are many ways to sew ribbons on. Many dancers either place an anti-fraying material on the end of the ribbon or burn the ends (obviously, with parent supervision) to prevent fraying.

After dancing, it is normal for the feet to sweat and the shoe to become sweaty as well. It is important to allow the shoe to dry completely before wearing again. This will help the shoe last longer and remain strong to support the foot. In the Florida humidity, drying can take longer. Therefore, dancers may have two pairs of the same shoe and alternate pairs between days.

Similarly, pointe shoes should not be left in the Florida heat for any length of time. The Florida heat can wear them out more quickly and cause them to be less supportive, so pay attention to the dance bag being left in the car.

Final Thoughts

Pointe work can be rewarding and fun, but it’s not for every dancer. The price of pointe can be high, and it is important to remember that a dancer can advance her career, including as a professional, without ever going en pointe. Follow your dreams, in whatever shoes (or lack thereof!) you need to get there.

 

by: Dr. Kathleen L. Davenport, M.D.

Keeping Up while Sitting Out

Keeping Up While Sitting Out

I often write about injury prevention because my goal is to keep dancers dancing. However, injuries happen and sometimes even the best-prepared dancers get injured. Dancers are trained to dance, not to sit on the sidelines. So when a dancer gets injured, it is natural to feel a little lost. While I hope you’re never in this situation, here are some tips of how to keep up if you have to sit out.

Physically

Even though you are not dancing, now is the best time to address some weakness that may have put you at risk for injury. Assess your other body areas – core (abdominals, back muscles, hip muscles), legs, upper body, and ankles. Is everything as strong as it possibly can be? This is also a time to focus on your whole body strength. Some dance teachers will let you do your cross training or physical therapy exercises on the side during class, but you have to ask each teacher.

Mentally

Having an injury and being out of dance can take its toll on your mood. It is normal to feel left out, sad, or down when you have an injury. Many dancers worry they will be left behind with class or technique. They worry they may not get large roles, or may not be moved up a level. These worries are generally just that – worries. Most dancers get back to dancing at their same level, or higher, after an injury. Staying positive can be hard, but it is key. Keeping a good attitude helps healing and can help you return earlier and stronger. Focus on this time as a rebuilding period where you are becoming stronger and taking the time to improve your technique. Then, you will be back stronger than before.

Staying involved

For many dancers, their lives are at the studio. Being out of dancing does not necessarily mean being out of the studio. Each dancer is different, but many dancers need time in the studio to keep up with the choreography, technique, and friends. Every studio and teacher has different rules; so make sure to ask permission before trying out any suggestions. Some dancers video or film rehearsals so they can learn the choreography later. There are teachers who include sideline dancers in assistive teaching, but not every class works well with this method. If you are not able to attend your studio, take the time to read about dance history or watch historical dances or dancers.

Observation

Journaling or answering questions about a class can help you improve your own technique in new ways. It may not be appropriate to share the answers, but the most important part of the exercise is improving your dance and artistry. Here are some suggestions:

  • Write 3 corrections you would make if you were the teacher. How would those apply to you and your dancing?
  • Write 3 positives the dancers should continue doing well. What are things you are doing well for your dancing and your health from the sidelines?
  • Choose one dancer and watch her/him. What do you see? Make sure you are looking critically for both positives and areas for improvement.
  • Who in this class inspires you? Why?
  • Listen to the music playing. How does this influence the dancers? Comment about musicality.
  • What do you see in this class that you are planning to apply to yourself in future classes?

 

Even if you are not sitting out of class for an injury, these are tips that can improve your dancing and your artistry. Dance happy, dance healthy!

 

by: Dr. Kathleen L. Davenport, M.D.

Get That Stability Ball Out of the Closet

Too many people tell me that they have an exercise ball and never use it or don’t know what to do with it. Here are five core exercises to put that ball to good use. These are general exercises, and should only be performed without causing back pain. Should you have any questions, please consult a physician or health professional.

Exercise #1: Oblique/Latissimus Dorsi Ball Isometric
Lay on your back with the exercise ball on your stomach. Tighten abdominal muscles and raise 1 knee to make contact with the ball. Take the opposite forearm and push through the ball towards your knee. Push for 10 seconds for a total of 10 repetitions. Repeat this on the opposite side.

Exercise #2: Bridge Exercise
Sit on the ball. Walk your feet forward rolling your body down the ball until your buttock is on the ground and the ball is in contact with you upper shoulders and head. From this position, push through your feet trying to keep the pelvis level. Repeat 10 times and perform 2-3 sets working on control in a pain free range.

Exercise #3: Ball Roll Planks
Start on your hands and knees with the ball in front of you. Place your forearms on the ball and tighten your abdominals. Walk the ball forward with your forearms as far as you feel comfortable that you can hold for 20 seconds. Focus should be on your abdominal contraction and after your 20 second hold, roll the ball back towards you. Repeat 3-5 times and increase your hold time as you improve your core strength.

Exercise #4: Quadruped Arm and Leg Raises
With the ball on the ground, place your stomach on the ball in an all 4’s position. From this position you should focus on keeping your back flat and hips on the ball. Lift one arm upwards and kick the opposite leg backwards keeping your balance on the ball. Repeat 10 times alternating each arm and opposite leg.

Exercise #5: Torso Twist
Sit on the ball. Walk your feet outward so that the ball is in contact with your mid back. Keep your torso flat and your butt up in the air away from the floor. Raise your arms to point straight up towards the ceiling and interlock your fingers. Bring your arms to the right as far as you can without rotating your hips and pelvis. The idea is to try and keep flat your torso flat using your core musculature as the arms move from right to left in front of the body. Rotate hands each direction 5 times slowly and repeat for 3 sets. Add a weight between your hands as you build core strength.

Chris Athos MPT, COMT

One Movement, Many Muscles

By Rocco Ferraiolo PTA, NASM-CPT,PES, USA L1SPC

Our body is a complex system made up of bones, muscles, nerves and other soft tissue structures that work together to provide us with virtually seamless movements and support. When one of these structures is limited or affected at some point, this could affect all the others; If not immediately, at some point in the near future. Example:

Your Psoas Major, one of two “hip flexors” in our body (Iliacus being the other and together can be called the Iliopsoas), is one of those muscles that goes over looked but can lead to multiple issues if not kept conditioned.

A quick little anatomy and physiology lesson; the psoas major is a deep hip muscle that connects the lumbar spine to the upper part of the femur. The lower half of the psoas is joined together with the iliacus muscle—which is why the two muscle groups are often referred to as the iliopsoas. A major network of nerves, which connect the lower spinal cord to the deep abdominal, oblique, hip and quad muscles, travels directly through the psoas in most individuals. The psoas is generally considered a hip flexor muscle—it shortens the distance between the thighs and torso. Hip flexion occurs when you drive your knees up when running.

When the Psoas is tight or lacking flexibility or maybe weak, this could lead to lower back pain, poor posture, increased curvature of the lumbar spine and of course poor overall performance whether it be in everyday life or athletics.

So when going through your stretching and strengthening programs, be sure to include the “hip flexors” and if you sit at a desk or in a car the majority of your work week, get up and walk around to keep your hip flexors stretched.

 

References:

  • Kirchmair, L., et al. (2008) “Lumbar plexus and psoas major muscle: not always as expected.” Regional Anesthia and Pain Medicine. Mar-Apr;33(2):109-14.
  • Sutherland W., (1990). Teachings in the Science of Osteopathy. Portland, Oregon: Rudra Press, 279-281.
  • Michele A., (1962). Iliopsoas. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas.
  • Tufo, A., et al. (2012). “Psoas Syndrome: A Frequently Missed Diagnosis.” The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

How Much Water Do You Drink Per Day?

ID-100166700The earth is covered by 70% water and the human body is made up of 50-75% water. The human brain is made up of 95% water, the blood 90%, and lungs around 70%. Just like planet Earth, our bodies would not survive without water. Water is a necessity. Hydration is vital for the human body to perform properly. The standard recommendation is to drink  at least eight 8 ounces glasses of water a day.

Some of the benefits of keeping the body hydrated are:

1) Water adds bulk to stool and fluid to the colon and prevents constipation.

2) Detoxification is aided by water. Drinking water naturally helps remove toxins that build up in our lymphatic system, kidneys, and intestinal tract.

3) Blood is made up of 80 percent water and bones 50 percent water. To assure that you are creating new blood and bone cells it is important to hydrate.

4) Water helps lubricate your joints and protect against wear and tear

5) The brain is made up of 85 percent water and staying hydrated can help prevent headaches, improve concentration, decrease irritability, and improve fatigue level.

6) The elasticity of the skin improves with the consumption of water. It can help keep you looking younger by moisturizing your skin.

7) Research has shown that mild dehydration has been associated with feelings of depression, anger, and confusion.

In order to insure that you are successful in drinking enough water throughout the day here are ways you may want to consider some of the following.

You may want flavor your water by adding a slice of lemon, lime, cucumber, or orange. It’s a natural way of enhancing the taste which can make you more prone to drink more without adding calories.

Eating more fruits and vegetables which contain a high water content and will help keep you hydrated. Some of the fruits and vegetables are watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, lettuce, spinach, zucchini, cabbage, and peppers.

You can develop a reminder on your cell phone or PC to alert you when or how many glasses of water you should have had in a day.

Instead of soda you may want to drink something healthier,  try seltzer water with a splash of 100% natural juices.

Try to keep a large bottle or glass by you at all times.

When exercising it is important to hydrate, but the amount varies with the the type of activity and in what climate you are exercising.

Water is necessary in order for our bodies to work efficiently and  helps us be more energetic.

A healthier body means a happier life, so go to your nearest water cooler and pour yourself 8 ounce glass of water, remember that the daily amount recommended by the medical profession is 64 ounces of water per day for best results.

 

Written by Rita Zimmerman, LPTA/CLT
Photo courtesy of artzenter/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net