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The Importance of Shoulder Mobility

Posted by on Apr 12, 2021 | 0 comments


Hi, Mark and Brian here at Fitness For Life, and what we want to talk about is shoulder mobility, stability and strength.

What happens a lot of times now, especially during these times of people working at home, spending a lot of time sitting, a lot of time at computers, a lot of times they get so involved in their work they aren’t moving hardly at all. Muscles get tight, joints gets stiff, muscles get weak. People are starting to lose range of motion, simply because they’re not using their muscles or joints like they’re supposed to, or like they normally would.

One big key to help maintain your health is shoulder mobility. We need the shoulders for reaching, for grabbing, for driving. Basically anything you do, you’re going to use your arms. So we want to keep them loose. A lot of people are having shoulder pain, neck pain, neck issues, simply from sitting at their computers, being on your cell phones with their head down, or just not moving enough.

So what we want is not just flexibility, so not just stretching the muscle, we also want stability. You want to strive for control over that joint and that muscle, and build strength from there so that the muscle can control the range of motion.

What we would like to show you today are three good shoulder movements that you could do at home. These do not take long, just a few minutes to do. But if you do them spread out throughout the day, as you take a break from your work at your computer, that can go a long way towards helping your shoulders, helping your neck, helping your posture, and just general feeling good all over. If you have further questions, contact us at fitness4lifept.com.

What Is The Most Important Exercise You Could Do?

Posted by on Mar 15, 2021 | 0 comments

We’re going to interview Brian today. So Brian, if somebody asked you, what is the best exercise, what would you say?

Squatting or sleeping. One of those two. Yeah.

All right. So if you look on the internet or if you read magazines or anything, everybody has an opinion on what is the best exercise out there. 

So what is the best exercise out there? Brian picked one that a lot of people would answer is correct. Some people would say dead lifts. My answer to this though, is I think the best exercise, and this is just my opinion, is the exercise that you’ll do. So if you won’t do it, it doesn’t matter how good people say it is because you’re not going to get any benefit from it anyway. People always come in here and ask us, what’s the best exercise? What should I do? My answer is, what will you do? Riding a bike. People like that. But if you won’t ride it, it’s not going to be a good for you. The next person it may be.

So what we’re going to talk about this week is taking a particular exercise and showing you the best way to do it. But there’s different ways to do it. So you’re going to pick an exercise and bottom line is you do an exercise, or exercises, that you’ll stay with and do.

Because more important than the exercise you pick is the consistency of doing it. So this means staying with something over and over. Not just doing something one time or taking somebody’s advice and saying, well, a squat is the best exercise and then you do it three times and then you never do it again. Be consistent. Pick something that you’ll do. To me, that’s the best exercise you can do.

The exercise we will focus on in our next group of videos will be talking about three different ways of working the glute muscles, specifically the muscles on the side of the glute, which are responsible for keeping you stable when you walk. So we’re going to talk about what research has shown to be three of the better exercises for those. If you have further questions, contact us at fitnessforlifept.com. Also make sure to subscribe to our YouTube page so you don’t miss a thing.

The Difference Between Stability & Mobility

Posted by on Feb 15, 2021 | 0 comments


Today we are talking about stability and mobility. There’s a couple of things that your body wants to do and is extremely good at. Your brain is going to want your body to remain stable because your brain knows that if your joints aren’t stable, they’re going to get injured. So your body, or your brain is going to try to create stability when you move or are doing any activities, because that’s what protects you. The problem that can become of that is that if you’re not using good mechanics, it’s going to try to stabilize you in positions that aren’t optimal for the joints or the muscles. So consequently, you would get joint pain and/or muscle pain. 

So that’s why it’s very important that you train the body in good mechanics. Train it so that your brain is stabilizing you in positions that are safe, so you’re not wearing joints or your muscles out. I always tell people, consider it like your car. If you’re driving your car around with the tires misaligned, they’re going to wear out. You drive half a mile a day, it may take you a couple of years. You drive 100 miles a day, it’s going to be faster. But unless you’re the exception to the rule, at some point in time, you’re going to be dealing with this. Then one day you wake up and say, “I didn’t do anything different, but I moved this way and my back went out,” or, “my knee started hurting.” It wasn’t that particular movement. At that point in time, it’s just that their body had had enough.

So your body’s always going to try to seek stability. To seek stability, you need to start from the ground up, because your feet are the only two things in contact with the ground. If they’re not stable, there’s nothing above you that can be stable. Therefore, your joints are at risk.

The second thing your body/brain does, is it tries to conserve energy. Why? Because your brain uses 25% of your energy and it’s going to spare energy to make sure your brain gets its food. With that in mind, every motion that you do, your brain tries to figure out the easiest way to do it. The problem is, if your mechanics aren’t good, your brain is trying to conserve energy with poor mechanics.

So, this month we’re going to talk about stabilizing the feet with different, easy things you can do at home to work on stabilizing yourself while you move. We’re going to address that in three different videos. Subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss any of them, and contact us at Fitness4Life Physical Therapy if you have any questions.

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.