Winter Ski Slopes StrategiesThere’s no doubt about it, snow sports are fun. Whether you’re hurtling down the side of a mountain at 40 mph, or exploring backcountry terrain; snow sports always involve excitement, adventure and exhilaration. But snow sports are much more fun when you’re physically fit. There is nothing worse than having to limp in early from the slopes because you’re tired or sore (or even worse, injured). Snow sports are major workouts and if you’re not fully prepared physically for your holiday, not only will you be exhausted for most of it, but you’re also at a much higher risk of injury, let’s face it, nobody wants to come home in a plaster cast. So, the goal of this guide is to get you as fit as possible, in the shortest time possible, and give you the best chance to have an awesome, injury-free holiday. Snow sports demand a combination of both technique as well as muscle strength and flexibility to keep stay safe on the slopes, run after run. Decent stamina (aerobic fitness) is key if you’re going to have enough energy to last the day, and anaerobic fitness is needed for the downhill bursts of activity. So, if you’re spending your hard-earned cash on a trip to the mountains, it’s just a waste if you don’t prepare. Any preparation you can do in the weeks leading up to your holiday will improve your performance and enjoyment, as well as reduce your chance of suffering an injury. Here are our top six strategies for reducing the risk of injury while on the slopes.
Strategy 1 - HealthAnything that gets you out of breath will be strengthening your heart, and improving your lung capacity. Walking, running, stair climber, rowing, cycling and swimming are all great ways to work your cardiovascular system. Because snow sports involve stamina as well as short-burst aerobics, the most effective preparation is a combination of high-intensity training and longer, more sustained efforts called interval training. Interval training is the best way to build cardiovascular endurance; the key to the training is to maintain a high heart rate, concentrating on short sprints. Aim for two to three, 20-30 minute interval training sessions a week, working harder to increase the heart rate for one or two minutes, then working less hard to drop it right down for 2 – 4 minutes before repeating the same sequence, throughout the session. This routine can be incorporated into any of your favourite cardio workouts from running to swimming. Remember to build up the exercise slowly and incrementally. So, if you’re starting from a relatively low fitness level, have longer rest periods in between the sprints, and shorter sprint periods, and slowly build these up. If you’re not sure where to start, a physical therapist or personal trainer will be able to help you find a training schedule that will suit you. The other reason that good fitness is a major advantage is because ski resorts are usually found at higher altitudes than where you would normally live. This means there’s less oxygen in the air, meaning you need to breathe harder to get the same oxygen levels as you would at sea level and it can take a few days to acclimatise. Being physically fit can help combat side effects of a high altitude. A SESSION MIGHT LOOK SOMETHING LIKE THIS: 5 MINUTE WARM UP 1-2 MINUTES SPRINT (high heart rate) 2-4 MINUTES INTERVAL (lower heart rate) 1-2 MINUTES SPRINT (high heart rate) 2-4 MINUTES INTERVAL (lower heart rate) 1-2 MINUTES SPRINT (high heart rate) 2-4 MINUTES INTERVAL (lower heart rate) 5 MINUTE WARM DOWN
Strategy 2 - StrengthSkiing and snowboarding require a strong abdomen, and powerful legs, and in the case of snowboarding, good upper body strength too. The stronger you are, the less likely you are to get tired. If fatigue creeps in, your form can start to deteriorate, making it difficult to last the day as well as increasing your risk of a fall. Stronger muscles better support your joints, and absorb the forces from impacts and vibrations, and this can also help prevent injury. The quadriceps muscles (front of thigh) work in two ways on the slopes, helping as you both bend and straighten the knees. The controlled lengthening of the quadriceps from straight to bent is called eccentric training and is fundamental to snow sports. Squats, lunges, deadlifts and plyometric jumps are all good exercises to specifically strengthen your quadriceps and hamstrings (back of thighs) and glute (buttocks) muscles essential for snow sports. Good core strength (your deep abdominal muscles) is required to sustain postures for prolonged periods, maintain balance and control and support your back from injury. Planking exercises, bridging, using a Swiss ball, mountain climber and Pilates are all excellent exercises to improve core strength. Your physical therapist can give you specific skiing or snowboarding exercises to strengthen your legs and core
Strategy 3 - BalanceBalance is important in all aspects of snowboarding and skiing. Good balance will ensure better technique and efficiency when on the slopes but also help prevent falls and possible injury. Yoga and Pilates are two great forms of exercise for developing balance. Simple balancing home drills include: Stand on one leg with eyes closed for two minutes twice a day. When this gets easy, add some small movements, such as little knee bends or brushing your teeth. You can advance this by standing on something wobbly or uneven (a Bosu ball at gym or a soft pillow at home). Stand on one leg whilst swinging the other leg around with your eyes closed; or practice picking up small objects off the floor whilst balancing on one leg.
Strategy 4 - Warm upWarming up increases blood flow through your muscles, preparing them to respond to the demands of snow sports, and reducing your risk of injury. Stretching as part of warm up also helps improve flexibility in your joints and muscles. Walking briskly, a jog, swinging your legs doing some walking lunges will all help. Warm up again following a lunch break or long wait at a ski lift when you’re out on the slopes. A cool down and light stretch helps remove lactic acid from your muscles and keeps them subtle, which will make getting out of bed the next day easier! Once you come off the slopes, before sitting at your favourite après ski spot, walk around for 5-15 minutes, and do some stretches.
Strategy 5 - EquipmentApart from physically preparing your body to cope with the demands of snow sports, some equipment can help protect it from injury. Helmets are designed to resist impact and absorb energy to minimize damage to the brain. Helmets have been shown to decrease head injury risk and severity by 2260%. Wearing a helmet really is a no brainer (pun intended!). Badly fitting bindings and rented equipment have been associated with increased injury risk. Make sure you have your bindings fitted and adjusted (even if you own your own equipment) by a certified technician. Ensure you also rent skis according to your skill level. Be realistic and don’t over estimate your ability as this may increase your risk of injury. The use of hip pads and wrist guards whilst snowboarding have been shown to be beneficial in lowering overall injury risk too.
Strategy 6 - SafteyExperience and education are key. People with low skill levels are more likely to be injured but don’t assume that experience and skill level go hand in hand. If you’re inexperienced, lack confidence or feel a bit rusty – it’s worth taking the time to attend ski/snowboarding school or get some private instruction for the first few days of your holiday. Take time to re-familarise yourself with the snow, easing onto the green and blue runs before heading off to anything more challenging. A higher proportion of people are injured in the afternoon. This may be due to a wide range of factors, including fatigue, business on the slopes, heavy lunches, or alcohol intake, as well as changes in snow conditions. Take regular breaks through the day or carry snacks to keep your energy levels up. Ensure you stay hydrated. Just because its cold doesn’t mean you aren’t sweating from physical exertion. Dehydration can result in mental and physical fatigue. Staying hydrated can help combat the effects of high altitude. Finally, it’s your responsibility and behavior that can keep you safe on the Applying these six strategies will significantly increase your chances of returning from your snow sports holiday uninjured and intact. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more snow sports fun and advice. And have a great holiday! slopes. Most injuries can be prevented, know the snow responsibility code and follow it: the snow responsibility code and follow it: 1.STAY IN CONTROL AT ALL TIMES 2.PEOPLE BELOW YOU HAVE RIGHT OF WAY 3.OBEY THE SIGNS LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP 4.STOP WHERE ITS SAFE (ON THE SIDE OF THE PISTE),AND WHERE YOU CAN BE SEEN 5.STAY ON THE SCENE AFTER AN ACCIDENT Credit - Co -Kinetic Journal
Epigenetics and Lifestyle Modifications to Prevent DiseaseEver since researchers mastered the human genome some 15 years ago, the importance of genetics in relation to some certain diseases and disorders have been greatly emphasized. However, evidence from researchers has proved how environmental factors and lifestyle can affect the mechanisms of epigenetics. Epigenetic mechanisms are flexible parameters that can change the genetic information under the influence of some external factors. It activates the state of the activity of genes from one generation of cells to the next generation. More so, recent studies have proven that alteration in epigenetics can lead to the development of some health problems such as cancer, depression, obesity, Alzheimer's disease, neurodegenerative and respiratory diseases. Nevertheless, our lifestyle can at times affect our genes either positively or negatively. Smoking is a familiar example of how our behavior can affect our genes. Everyone knows that smoking usually results into poor health. But how do we relate smoking with our body's health molecularly? In this case, the carcinogens in cigarette directly affect the molecules in our bodies causing the mutation of our anti-cancer genes which triggers the growth of cancer in the body. Interestingly, environmental and lifestyle factors also play a significant role in our genetic makeup. For instance, what we eat, how often and the kind of exercise we engage, environmental conditions that you are exposed to, all to an extent affect our genetic makeup. The term lifestyle is generally used to describe the typical way of life of living characteristic individuals or group. This concept includes numerous factors such as diet, behavior, stress, physical activity, working habits, smoking and alcohol consumption.
Below are some highlighted lifestyle modifications you can adopt to prevent diseases caused as a result of epigenetics;
- Foods and Proper Nutrition
- Exercise and Health
- Folate and Vitamin B12 Intake
Final ThoughtsApparently, we cannot change our DNA but we can always change and control our lifestyle. These changes are capable of causing changes to that which affects us genetically. Obviously, we all know that exercise is essential for our health, but now we know it might even extend beyond just health benefits. Research is still ongoing in the field of epigenetics and hopefully we get to have information about it soon. Scientists are at the beginning when it comes to understanding genetics and lifestyle. However, it seems that the more we nurture the essence of lifestyle, the more we seem to discover its importance in determining the characteristics of an individual. Lastly, lifestyle habits such as diet and exercise, have a deeper role in health and fitness and may probably offer even more benefits to the cells.
Chronic PainPain is NORMAL. It is the body’s way of alerting us to what it thinks is DANGER. The interesting thing about pain is that we don’t actually experience pain until our brain interprets a signal from the body as being pain. It is important to accept that YOUR PAIN IS REAL – IT IS NOT IN YOUR HEAD!! There are many things that contribute toward the brain signalling pain: Thoughts Fears Past experiences Family issues; My mother has cancer could this be what is happening to me?, Who will look after the family? Work issues; Will I have to have time off? , How much money will I lose? Anxiety/stress can increase the sensitivity of the nervous system Exercise can help turn down pain signals by releasing chemicals that help to quieten the nervous system. All of these things make a difference as to whether or not your brain will interpret the signals from the body as pain. The important thing to understand is that the brain can still signal pain long after the original injury in the tissues has healed. When you initially have an injury, signals are sent to the brain to alert it to danger. The brain then interprets the signal, remember factors mentioned above will play a role in the brain interpreting the signal, and this is where the pain experience starts. This is all necessary so that you don’t go and do anything which may injure you further. However these messages can persist and lead to chronic pain.
Chronic pain is when you continue to experience pain long after the original injury has healedThis is due to central sensitisation. This is when the brain sends chemicals to the spinal cord to meet the signals coming from the tissues. These chemicals can be excitatory, which means they multiply the signals coming from the tissues and therefore send a much stronger signal to the brain then the original signal from the tissues. The brain can also send messages to the tissues to release more inflammatory substances – the body thinks it can heals faster this way, but doesn’t know when to turn off this inflammatory process. This type of inflammation is not helped by medication and explains why there can still be inflammation present many months later. This causes the nerves to become hypersensitive and send earlier and more signals to the brain, again this is an over sensitivity of the nervous system. Over time, the cycle continues which results in increasing sensitivity of the brain and therefore more and more pain. Pain can become a habit – your body anticipates and remembers it and it takes very little to trigger it, sometimes when things are really bad even thinking about moving can trigger the pain. The brain has lost its ability to differentiate between painful and non painful input, so just to be safe it triggers everything as pain. The brain has also lost its ability to distinguish between body parts so you may find your pain spreading or moving. The good news here is there is no damage in the tissues causing the pain, it is just that the brain is so used to feeling the pain that it continues to signal even though the damage has healed. It is the sensitivity of the nervous system that is causing this. The important things to understand is that PAIN DOES NOT EQUAL DAMAGE!! The solution is to make the brain understand that there is no longer any damage in the tissues and it is time to desensitise. We can do this through a graduated return to normal activity.
TAKE CONTROL1. Any new injury or disease requires a prompt medical examination. 2. Understand any prescribed help. Ask for appropriate scientific evidence supporting what is offered to you. 3. Make goals that both you and your clinician understand. Aim for physical, social and work goals, which allow your progress to be measured.
Smile: you are less likely to catch a cold if you are happy and relaxedLet it go: anger creates a stress response that affects your hormones, neurotransmitters and gut flora (where 80% of your immune cells live)
Walk in the park, bush or beach: spending time in a green space boosts immunity by switching on the para sympathetic nervous system (rest and repair state)
Yoga or Pilates: bending and twisting is a natural immunity booster
Bounce: get on the trampoline or rebounded to flush the lymphatic system
Massage: even a self massage 5 minutes per day prior
Breathe: slowly and gently. Your breathing should be silent and invisible.
Spend some time in the sunshine
Move: don’t sit for more than 1-2 hours at a time
Patello-femoral Knee PainAching knees affect 25 % of the population and are commonly caused by dysfunction at the patella-femoral joint (under the kneecap). It is typically aggravated by bending movements such as sitting, walking up and down stairs or hills, jumping and running. It is also common during adolescence as the long bones are growing faster than the muscles, tendons and ligaments putting abnormal stress on the joints.
- Unfortunately genetics have a part to play and this can’t be changes
- Faulty bio mechanics due to muscle imbalances
TreatmentTreatment is very successful and we will look at correcting muscle imbalances throughout your lower back, hip, pelvis and leg. This is done by manual techniques to the knee cap, massage, acupuncture, exercise and taping.
Falls Prevention – Balance
What is a fall?
- The World Health Organisation defines a fall as "inadvertently coming to rest on the ground, floor or lower level, excluding intentional change in position to rest in furniture, wall or other objects". Falls in older people cover a wide range of events, including:
- trips on raised obstacles (eg. loose rugs, cords, mats) or uneven surfaces (eg. footpaths, roads)
- slipping on wet or highly polished surfaces
- tumbles and stumbles down steps or stairs
- falling off a ladder or stepladder
- falling over in a shopping centre or while using public transport.
What a fall is not:
- Falls in older people are not accidents. Similarly, falls are not an inevitable or unavoidable part of life. The causes of a fall can usually be identified and the sequence of events leading up to the fall can be predicted and therefore can be prevented.
- Unintentional falls continue to be the leading cause of injuries requiring hospitalisation in Australia.
Risk factors for falls
- Physical activity has been shown to be the most promising falls prevention strategy, both as a single intervention and as a part of a multi-factorial approach.
- Research shows that specific exercises such as Tai Chi, balance, gait training and strength building group classes or individualised in-home programs reduce falls risk by 12% and the number of falls by 19%.
- These interventions can also increase the time before a person falls for the first time. A physical activity program should be specific for individuals and include exercise that challenges balance at a moderate to high extent with a attendance twice weekly.
What you can do to prevent thisPhysical activity is key to preventing falls and improving well being! A holistic program including:
- Proprioceptive retraining – challenging your body on unstable surfaces such as wobble discs and bosu balls helps to retrain your ability to recognise where your body is in space.
- Strengthening – a full body strength program including lower limb, upper limb and core strengthening will help to mitigate the loss of muscle mass common in the older population. Exercises such as squats, bridges, push ups and calf raises are useful examples of this.
Other modifiable risk factors for fallsIncontinence
- Problems with bowel and bladder control can impact on an older person's ability to stay active, healthy and independent.
- Incontinence, urinary frequency and assisted toileting have been identified as falls risk factors for residents in residential aged care facilities.
- Physiotherapy can assist with incontinence.
- Sore, aching or tired feet make it difficult for an older person to stay active and independent, and can affect the way they walk.
- Some types of footwear such as slippers, thongs or scuffs, and wearing socks without shoes can increase the risk of falls.
- Low vision, impaired vision, a change to vision or vision affected by medication can increase the risk of an older person falling. Vision impairment ranks sixth in the world's major causes of loss of wellbeing, and the prevalence of vision loss increases with age.
- There is strong evidence that falls risk is increased by medications which act on the central nervous system, such as those used to treat depression, sleep disorders and anxiety.
- For those using these medications to assist with sleep disorders and anxiety related health issues, there is a need for longer term support and use of non-pharmacological alternatives such as relaxation, reducing caffeine intake, increasing physical activity and meditation in the first instance.
- The relative risk of falls can be reduced by 20% in those with a history of falling by an occupational therapist conducting a thorough home risk assessment and arranging the recommended modifications.
- Tidying up behind you and not leaving objects on the floor can also help to prevent falls.
- Nutrition is an important factor in falls prevention, as frailty results from a loss of muscle mass and strength, neuromuscular impairment, immobilisation and malnutrition.
- Older Australians are at risk of developing nutritional health problems due to reduced energy needs and a decreased ability to absorb nutrients.
Falls can be prevented! Staying healthy and active, maintaining strength and balance, identifying falls risk factors and improving home safety will help to minimise the risk of falling.
Talk to your physiotherapist today about minimising your falls risk factors or join our fit for life program.
With the return to school one of the things I here parents complain about the most is packing lunch boxes.Here are some tips on packing a healthy lunchbox from Fresh for Kids Top tips for a healthy lunch box
- Always include fresh fruit and vegetables. Vary the selection to keep it interesting.
- Offer a variety of whole grain breads, rolls, pita bread and flat breads.
- Use avocado as a spread instead of butter or margarine.
- Use reduced fat dairy foods. Cheese and yoghurt are ideal.
- Kids need a serve of protein at lunchtime. Ensure you include lean meat, egg, peanut butter, chickpeas or tuna.
- Add a chilled bottle of water and limit juice.
- Kids like fresh fruit cut and ready to eat. Fruit salad is the ideal lunch box solution; it’s colourful, easy to eat and bursting with vitamins.
- Offer different seasonal fruits each day for a change in flavour, colour and texture.
- Freeze fruits in the summer or for sport days. Simply pop the frozen fruit into a small sealable plastic bag or airtight container.
- If including whole fruit in the lunchbox, select fruit that is a suitable size for a child to easily hold in their hand and eat (this is particulary important for younger children).
- Peel and slice or cut fruit if possible and choose seedless varieties of grapes, watermelon and Imperial mandarins.
- If you’re added tomato to sandwiches, place the tomato between fillings and not directly onto the bread. This prevents the bread becoming soggy.
- When using avocado, mash or drizzle with a little lemon or lime juice to prevent the avocado from discolouring.
- Mild tasting and crunchy lettuce varieties like Iceberg and Oak leaf and Lebanese cucumbers are ideal for kids.
- Add leftover (or cook extra) roast pumpkin or sweet potato to sandwiches, wraps and roll fillings. Naturally sweet and loaded with beneficial antioxidants, roast vegetables team well with a range of fillings.
- Make salads or salad sandwich fillings interesting by using a range of vegetables like grated carrot, snow pea sprouts, lettuce or rocket or baby spinach, sliced celery, tomatoes, avocado and cucumber.
- Use a vegetable peeler to slice cucumber or carrots into thin ribbons for sandwich fillings.
Water is the basis of all life, in fact we can only survive for 3 days without water.• We are made up of 75 % water: the brain is 80% water and the blood which transports all the nutrients around the body is 82% water • This water gets rationed differently to various parts of the body with the brain getting absolute priority. The brain is 1/50th of your total body weight but receives 20% of the blood circulation. • Our health is entirely dependent on the quality and quantity of water we drink • If the water supply is running low the brain will cry out for help. What is the body’s warning signal? – PAIN! • Water is essential for all the chemical reactions that occur in our body ALL OF THEM – nothing works properly if we don’t have enough water! Water is our primary source of energy, it is essential for life.
There are so many great ideas that can be used to infuse water.How about trying one of these?
The Juvo board is transforming fitnessJuvo (Latin for help or assist) Deliberately designed with settings to benefit people of every fitness level, Juvo Board lets you safely reach new heights of health through a near-endless array of uniquely exhilarating workouts — all on one elegant apparatus. We have been enjoying the benefits at our Pottsville and Cabarita Clinics, and in Pilates Classes at our Cabarita studio.
The Juvo board as 3 positions;
Form The juvo board is shaped to safely support good form in all your exercise movements and positions
BalanceInstability workouts are remarkably beneficial for the body. Fully engage your core, enhance your balance and make the healthy mind body connection
ElevateLow impact functional strength training with Juvo elevate is great even for people who struggle with light workouts and can also be used to help you progress to more advanced exercises.
It's time to discover exactly how Juvo Board will transform your approach to fitness and health.
7 benefits of the great outdoors: • Clear your mind and increase brain function • Boost your happiness • Decrease stress levels • Turn on your creative flow • Fresh air and sunlight is great for your health • Exercising outdoors feels easier due to distraction and fresh air • Boost your confidence and self esteem Sounds like some great reasons to get outside for a walk today!