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Tips For Increasing The Amount Of Movement You Are Doing

Posted by on Jan 11, 2021 | 0 comments

So January is typically the time of New Year’s resolutions, so what I want to suggest to you is to start doing a little bit more movement this year. Even if you’ve got to stay home, there’s plenty of things that can be done at home, but movement is always the best healer. Movement is what keeps our bodies younger and functioning better.

So there’s a lot of different things we can do at home. Make a resolution just to do a little bit movement every day. Doesn’t have to take long. I think a lot of people fail on programs because they think they have to work out for an hour or so. You can get a good workout in in five minutes if you do the right things, but at least you’re moving.

So, there are a couple of things I’d like you to pay attention to this year. One thing is, start working on keeping your feet straight when you walk, run, or if you stair climb. That’s one problem that I see a lot in this clinic- people walk with their feet angled out. It causes problems from the bottom of their foot to the top of their head.  A lot of times people don’t even realize they are doing it, and that it is the cause of their knee pain. If you corrected your feet, a lot of times that will take care of the pain. So, practice this year keeping your feet straight when you walk. Toes pointed in the direction you’re walking, heel strike, then toe off through the first and second toes as you’re pushing off. Practice that.

Ideally, spend some time barefoot. That helps strengthen the bottom of your feet better. Your feet communicate with your brain. They help fire muscles reflexively up and down the whole chain because your foot is telling your brain where things are in space. So spend some time barefoot, focus on your feet. Focus on movement, commit yourself to five, six, 10 minutes a day, whatever it is, but take the time.

People tell me, “Well, I don’t have time to work out.” And if I was a smart Alec, I would say, “Well, do you shower?” “Yeah.” “Well, you make time for that, so…” People make time to do what they find as important. So, use your body, it’s the only one you got, start moving. In our videos this month, I’m going to show you a few easy-to-do, at-home exercises. If you have further questions, contact us at fitness4lifept.com.

Why Your Sitting Posture Is So Important

Posted by on Dec 14, 2020 | 0 comments


I want to give a special congratulations to Mason Lewis, a 13 year old golfer. He placed 20th out of 125 golfers in Florida last week and is in the nationals. He’s got a great future ahead of him. He comes in here and trains and he’s doing great. So congratulations to you, Mason!

Without further ado, let’s talk about something that people are having problems with nowadays. Why? Well, you’ve got the workforce where the biggest majority of them are sitting at desks working on computers. Now you’ve got the kids who are not getting up either. They are online doing their schoolwork. So they’re sitting in front of computers all day long also. Unfortunately, this is leading to poor sitting posture, poor posture when using computers, and poor posture when they’re on their phones. So what is happening is that people are starting to break down. I’m seeing more people in the clinic, not because of injuries, but because of mechanical breakdown, overuse, overstress, muscles getting tight, and people’s joints aren’t working and moving like they’re supposed to. We are seeing different types of pain, a lot of neck pain, upper shoulder, upper back pain, lower back pain. All of these things are affected by how you sit.

What you need to keep in mind is that there are ways that you can help yourself and minimize your chances of breaking down. Simple little rules. One rule I always recommend to people, never sit longer than 30 minutes at a time, even if that means you only stand up for five or 10 seconds to just get out of that posture. It is important to straighten yourself up a little bit and sit right back down. Some of the kids tell me that they’re not allowed to leave the area during a Zoom call.  This is why I recommend to simply stand at your desk or wherever you’re sitting,  take five or 10 seconds to stretch, they’ll still be able to see you there, but you changed that posture technique.

Staying in the same position too long can break you down. Office workers, they tell me, “I sat down at eight before I knew it, six hours had passed and I hadn’t moved from my desk.” You got to get up. If you could move around, even better. If you can’t, then then just stand in place, do a couple of stretches. Stay tuned to our YouTube channel where I’m going to show you three different exercises that you could do while you’re sitting.  If you’ve got any further questions, contact us by visiting our website!

How Breathing Affects Your Thoracic Spine

Posted by on Nov 15, 2020 | 0 comments

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Hi, Mark at Fitness 4 Life coming to you live on tape. What I want to talk about this month is the importance of breathing when it comes to the thoracic spine rib cage area. Your thoracic spine is basically the middle back starting approximately here, coming down to approximately here. The thoracic spine is what the ribs are attached to, so it’s protective. The ribs help to protect the internal organs, but what a lot of people don’t realize, your thoracic spine is designed to move also. A lot of people lose mobility in the thoracic spine, which lends itself to all kinds of problem for the neck, to shoulder problem, to breathing problems, to postural problems where you got the hump in the back, or your head is forward.

Some of the causes of this are shallow breathing because you’ve got muscles that are attached at the neck and then attach to your first and second rib. If you’re shallow breathing, and you’re constantly working these muscles, and you’re just getting the upper chest to move up and down, then these muscles get overworked. This results in pain, tightness in the neck, and that’s simply because you not breathing correctly. These muscles start getting tight, then they can start pulling your head forward. They can start increasing the curve in your upper back, so then you start standing like this. I wish I would’ve known this 78 year ago, but I’m still working on it now.

You have to have mobility in the thoracic spine. You have to learn to breathe through your nose, inhaling and exhaling because you want to take air all the way down into your diaphragm. You want to see all of your chest cavity slightly expand and contract like a balloon. If you’re breathing incorrectly, you can put your hand on your chest and as you’re breathing, you may notice you are taking much more shallow breaths. Your hand is going to rise and fall slightly. When you’re breathing correctly, air goes into the nose, and out through the nose. It’s what it’s designed for. You should breathe light. You should breathe deep and make sure that you pull enough air in that you feel it moving down here, enough air that when you exhale that it’s like deflating a balloon here. That can help mobilize and work the spine because your ribs actually move also. They’re like bucket handles. When you take air in, they rise and fall slightly. If you’re not working that correctly, like we’ve said, other areas take a hit.

Two take home messages today: One is start learning as much as possible to breathe in and out through your nose, light breaths but all the way down into your lower abdomen. Part two is you want to maintain and work on thoracic mobility. When you’re sitting, your thoracic spine bends back approximately 25 degrees. It bends forward approximately 30 degrees. It bends to the side about 25 degrees, but it rotates about 50 degrees. A lot of the rotation is what we lose, so in our next series of videos we’re going to show you three different ways to help to mobilize and get some mobility back in your thoracic spine. If you have further questions, contact us at Fitness4LifePT.com.

What Is Stability?

Posted by on Oct 19, 2020 | 0 comments

I want to talk to you about is stability. Your body, to protect yourself, always seeks stability, meaning you have to be stable when you do things. You can’t let the joints move in ways that aren’t going to be safe for them. So putting it simply, the muscles are going to control the joints, which is going to help them stay stable, but you have to have good mechanics to do that also. The type of exercise or the type of muscle work that you’re going to use for that primarily is isometric contractions. What is an isometric contraction?  If you’re old enough like I am to remember the old comic books where they sold these exercise courses in the back pages, they were isometrics.

Charles Atlas had a program and it consisted if you creating a force without muscle movement. So one of the most popular ones is just putting your hand together, pushing in towards each other for as hard as you could for six to 10 seconds then relaxing, and doing several sets of those. You can do that with all the joints, but it’s a very safe way to build muscle. It builds strength and stability around the joints. It’s called an isometric.

What I’d like to go over are some easy to do, at home isometrics for the lower half that you could do and incorporate into any other exercises you are doing, which can help you with functional activities like walking, running or stair climbing. Anything you’re going to be out doing, then this can help you for that and help give you a better chance of preventing injuries.

Check out our YouTube page where I will demonstrate three different exercises you can do at home to help improve your stability using isometric exercises.  If you have further questions, contact us at Fitness4LifePT.com.

Neck And Shoulder Health

Posted by on Sep 20, 2020 | 0 comments

Today, I’d like to talk to you  about neck and shoulder health. One reason for this is because a lot of people are working from home. The kids are on their computers a lot more because they’re not in classrooms, so we spend so much time, unfortunately in forward positions. Our neck is in a forward position, shoulders in a forward position, and more and more of our lives are being spent rounded forward. It’s not good for the neck, it’s not good for the back, it’s not good for the shoulders. Because of this, if you want to give yourself the best chance of working for longer into your life and not having the kind of issues that a lot of people are dealing with, then you need to start focusing on working on your posture’s a little bit better. There are a few easy exercises you can also do to help back that up.

However, the first thing I want to tell you on this is that you have to get rid of this posture: the cell phone posture where everything is going forward. You’re putting anywhere from 20 to 40 pounds more stress against your head when you are in this position.  So putting that much more stress to your neck muscles will result in everything back there getting to tight. Your shoulders are forward. To sum it up, nothing good is happening from that. What I’m telling people is, you need to start to elongate yourself. Act and walk like you own the place, stand like you own the place. Make yourself tall and pull your spine long. Let your shoulders just settle from there and tuck your chin back a little bit.

Then when you’re looking at computers or phones, just do a little head nod, and bring it up closer to you. This position is more where you need to be using your head from, not this. So working here, sitting at a desk, getting your back more upright. Using more of a nod, not reaching out for your computers. So keeping everything in tighter. Everything in a line, okay? No matter how much exercise you do or anything else, gravity will always beat you. You can exercise your rear off, then you can go and sit for two hours in a bad position, you’ve undone everything. So what I’d like to caution you to do is to start paying a little bit more attention to your postures. You could go a long way towards avoiding aches and pains so that you can work as long as you want or be able to do the things you wanted to do. Keep watching –  we’re going to go over a few shoulder exercises that are very good for posture. If you have further questions, contact us at fitness4lifept.com.

Check out our YouTube page where I will demonstrate three different exercises you can do at home to help with neck and shoulder pain.  If you have further questions, contact us at Fitness4LifePT.com.

Why Walking Correctly Is So Important

Posted by on Aug 17, 2020 | 0 comments

George Harrison had to say: “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” So along that line, the last time we were I did videos, we were talking about walking and dealing with various foot issues. We’re going to continue that theme, because if you lose your ability to walk, you aren’t going to get anywhere.

If you’re not walking correctly, chances are you going to break something down somewhere. So proper walking, proper gait patterns, are very important. You’ve got to keep moving and if too much time is spent sitting, it will affect the way you move.

I’d like to go over a few more exercises that will help you with your walking. When you are walking, you’re essentially on a single leg for part of that time. You have to be able to control that single leg. A lot of people I see in the clinic can’t, and so because of that, they need to train that and get their stability and strength back.

So what I want to do in the next three exercise videos that we’re going to go over exercises that you can do to help with your gait pattern.

Check out our YouTube page where I will demonstrate three different exercises you can do at home to help with walking and your gait pattern.  If you have further questions, contact us at Fitness4LifePT.com.