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Why we should Exercise

Adults should do some type of physical activity every day. Any type of activity is good for you. The more you do the better. The following advice is from NHS England.

Adults should:

  • aim to be physically active every day. Any activity is better than none, and more is better still
  • do strengthening activities that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) on at least 2 days a week
  • do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week
  • reduce time spent sitting or lying down and break up long periods of not moving with some activity

What counts as moderate aerobic activity?

exercisingModerate activity will raise your heart rate, and make you breathe faster and feel warmer. One way to tell if you’re working at a moderate intensity level is if you can still talk, but not sing. Examples of moderate intensity activities include brisk walking, water aerobics, riding a bike, dancing, doubles tennis, pushing a lawn mower, hiking.

What counts as vigorous activity?

Vigorous intensity activity makes you breathe hard and fast. If you’re working at this level, you will not be able to say more than a few words without pausing for breath. In general, 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity can give similar health benefits to 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity.

riding-a-bikeMost moderate activities can become vigorous if you increase your effort.

Examples of vigorous activities include jogging or running, swimming fast, riding a bike fast or on hills, sports, skipping, aerobics, martial arts.

 

What activities strengthen muscles?

muscle-trainingTo get health benefits from strength exercises, you should do them to the point where you need a short rest before repeating the activity. It is best to get a chartered physiotherapist or qualified personal trainer to advice you on this.

There are many ways you can strengthen your muscles, whether you’re at home or in a gym and this includes lifting weights, using resistance bands and body weight exercises (such as press ups).

Always gain advice from a qualified professional before starting a new exercise programme or if there is a change in your health status.

How we can help

lisa
Stay Healthy
Lisa

Blog post by Lisa
Senior Physiotherapist
MSc MACP MHCPC MCSP 

Emma James Physio

Pilates for Men

It is 2020, and we know people now realise that Pilates isn’t just for women. You can almost hear the collective sigh of relief from us physios – partly because we can finally (almost) move on from the long-overplayed “so you think Pilates is a girls’ thing? well then let me tell you about Joseph Pilates…” rhetoric, but mainly because we are finally seeing the benefits of Pilates being recognised by the wider public and how it is becoming increasingly common across different demographics.

While Pilates is hardly a gender-specific/focused exercise routine, it is worthwhile mentioning how its application can benefit men nonetheless. From the amateur weekend warrior to professional athletes, principles of Pilates have been firmly incorporated in their weekly schedules, training, and recovery sessions; here are some of the reasons why.

kelvin-on-reformerFlexibility

Reformer Pilates involves various three dimensional movements, working the length and elasticity of your muscles and encourages your joints to be able to move through the biggest possible range, thus reducing your likeliness of injury.

Improving Posture

The origin of most aches and pains is bad posture. Every Pilates exercise you do will have a postural benefit due to the combination of challenging your strength and flexibility. Pilates will develop muscular balance in your joints which will improve your posture.

Core Strength

Your core is the combination of muscles that support your spine and torso, forming the foundation for all movements. A weak core causes instability and reliance on dominant muscles, which over time inhibits flexibility, reduce range of movement and ultimately cause injury. Pilates promotes core activation and engages all of your postural muscles leading to more stable and powerful movements. Consider a tennis player who has to return a powerful serve while moving and contorting their bodies: for them to be able to generate the adequate force on their return they must have good core strength.

Addressing Muscular Imbalances

Some of your muscles, like those that dominate your daily movements, are stronger than others, and a huge emphasis of Pilates is focusing on those muscles that don’t typically get a lot of attention. Pilates requires you to consciously move in certain ways to challenge muscles that you don’t hit while lifting heavy weights in the gym, running or in your daily life.

Awareness, Concentration and Focus

mens-health-pilatesPilates forces you to pay attention to your body, you’ve got to focus on your breath while working through each movement and concentrating on proper form and activating the correct muscles. This significantly enhances your body control and awareness (Thus improving your balance as well) which are both fundamental skills to maintaining sporting performance.

The reason that Pilates is fundamentally such an all-encompassing, well-rounded approach to exercise and body movement is precisely the reason why it could – and should – be incorporated in most people’s routine. Its minimal requirement of equipment and space makes it a very versatile option for a quick, mobile workout, and the gains from Pilates almost always translate across to other aspects of one’s wellbeing as well. More and more men are slowly realising its benefit and the conversations with their physios are certainly a lot different to what it was a few years ago.

It is 2020. It is no longer a misunderstanding, and it is no longer just a trend.

kelvinKelvin

Blog post by Kelvin
Senior Physiotherapist at Emma James Physio

More Information:

Exercises you can do at your desk!

Following my post about the benefits of Pilates, heres some useful exercises you can do at your desk!

Note: With all sitting exercises you must be sitting up tall on your sit bones. Keep your core engaged (almost feel like you are pulling your belly button in towards your spine) and shoulders relaxed and down.

desk-exercises-1

Dumb waiter

Sit with your elbows bent at 90 degrees. Keep them tucked into your waist while you open out your forearms and keep your back straight. Keep pressing your shoulders down while you repeatedly open and close your forearms.

Spine twist

Hold your hands on the back of your head. Keep elbows out to the side. Hips facing forward. Inhale through the nose and as you exhale through the mouth twist though the mid-point in your back to one side. Inhale and on exhale come back to center repeat on the other side. Do as many as you want but make sure you keep an even count.

desk-exercises-2

Spine stretch forward

Sitting nice and tall, resting your hands on your lap. Breath in through your nose as you exhale tuck your chin to your chest and start rolling down through from the top of you back, only to half way down your back. Breath in and then on the exhale use your abdominals to pull your torso back up to sitting tall. Rolling through your spine bone by bone.

Lateral/side bend

Sitting up nice and tall, arms by your side as you breath out reach your right arm down one side of your chair with out leaning forward or backwards. Repeat on the other side.

desk-exercises-3

Hip opener/Hip flexors

Cross one leg over the other (ankle on the knee) and bend forward over your legs with a flat back.

Single Leg raises

Sitting nice and tall with feet flat on the floor, extend one leg at a time focusing on activating the quadricep muscles and then slowly lower down. Alternate each leg.

Why not try a Pilates Class?

We offer a wide range of Pilates and Yoga Classes at our Hemel Hempstead Clinic, with our experienced and qualified instructors.

pippaPippa
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Blog Post by Pippa
FCO Gym Manager & Personal Trainer
Emma James Physio

 

Pilates – gain a balanced body and mind

Pilates practice can help you gain a balanced body and mind. … A balanced body is one in which each part of the body works with one another to create and maintain a stable person. A balanced body is one that is mentally, emotionally, and physically stable.
The beauty of Pilates is that anyone, at any age can get started. Through the controlled and progressive movements, you can totally reshape your body.

Improved posture

By strengthening your core and improving your alignment of your spine.
Desk jobs encourage bad posture which can lead to kyphosis (rounding of the upper back) by working on muscular imbalances this can be reversed. Most Pilate moves help with scapula, shoulder and spine stability.

Improve flexibility

flexibilityWith longer hours of sitting we get tight hip flexors and generally stiff. Pilates encourages you to lengthen and expand your muscles.

Strengthen core

All Pilate moves require you to hold your core. Core muscles are not just your abdominals but the deep muscles running from the bottom of your head to your pelvis. They help support the trunk. Having a strong core will help support your back, which will help with pain and injury prevention.

Improve your balance

As you get older your balance becomes worse over time, this can then cause falls and injury. Pilates exercises require a more holistic approach and require activation and coordination of several muscle groups at the same time, which in turn improves your balance reducing the risk of falls.

Mental Health

pilates-classes

In Pilates you are told to regulate your breathing. Breathing is one of Joseph Pilates key principals. Pilates breathing directs your focus inward for the duration of the class, focusing on the present, feeling the muscles work and reconnecting with your body.

Exercising even if low impact helps produce endorphins in the body, which are also known as the happy hormones. It is natural drug to help boost your mood.

 

Pilates Classes

We offer a wide range of Pilates and Yoga Classes at our Hemel Hempstead Clinic, with our experienced and qualified instructors.

Look out for my next pilates post coming soon!
pippaPippa
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Blog Post by Pippa
FCO Gym Manager & Personal Trainer
Emma James Physio

 

Mat Pilates improves strength, balance & flexibility in older adults

Some of this information is taken from an article in the most recent edition of Physiotherapy Frontline magazine.

In the UK, 11.8 million people are aged 65 or older, with numbers increasing each year. Maintaining physical fitness in this age group is of paramount importance for the prevention of falls and cardiovascular disease but also to ensure mental wellbeing.
Mat Pilates, offered at Emma James physiotherapy on a one to one basis or small group class, is a form of exercise that only requires a mat. It aims to strengthen the abdominal and core muscles, as well as many other muscles. It also focuses on increased flexibility and balance. Though, in theory, Pilates should be beneficial for older adults, there has been limited objective evidence.

What did this study do?

This systematic review (the highest quality research which can be conducted) included nine randomised controlled trials comparing mat Pilates with no exercise. Studies included 415 adults aged over 60 years with no recorded health concerns.

What did it find?

Mat Pilates gave a large improvement in all the following elements compared to no exercise:

  • Dynamic balance
  • Lower limb muscle strength
  • Lower body flexibility
  • Cardiorespiratory fitness

What does current guidance say on this issue?

Department of Health 2011 guidelines recommend adults aged 65 or more complete at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. They also recommend strength training on at least two days a week.

NICE 2008 guidelines on mental wellbeing in the over 65s recommends tailored physical activity programmes, delivered by physiotherapists, fitness instructors and the voluntary sector. This includes strength, resistance, toning and stretching exercises, dancing, walking and swimming.

What are the implications?

The evidence has some limitations, as is often the case with physiotherapy research design, but the conclusion was that Pilates is beneficial for for strength, balance and flexibility.

Mat Pilates Classes in Hemel Hempstead

At Emma James Physio we offer customised 1-1/ 1-2 sessions or small group classes run by highly qualified clinical pilates instructors who are also therapists.
See our Pilates Class Timetable and Pilates section for more information and how to book.

lisa

Lisa
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Blog post by Lisa
Senior Physiotherapist
MSc MACP MHCPC MCSP 

Emma James Physio

Source: de Souza ROB, de Faria Marcon, de Arruda ASF, et al. Effects of Mat Pilates on Physical Functional Performance of Older Adults: a Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2017. [Epub ahead of print].

Pilates in pregnancy

PREGNANT? Sleepless nights? Tense?

Why Pilates? How will Pilates help in pregnancy?. Here is the answer.

 

Pilates is a slow but effective form of exercise.

pregnancy-exerciseThere are many benefits to joining a class:

  1. Relaxation: Pilates exercise helps to reduce stress and relieves unwanted tension, aiding sleep
  2. Concentration: It allows you to put your day worries aside and concentrate on your baby
  3. Co-ordination: Utilising moves that coordinate different muscle groups, ensuring there is a functional focus on exercises allowing you to benefit not only in pregnancy and labour, but also beyond
  4. Posture: It improves posture and body alignment to relieve pain and aches
  5. Strengthening and stretching: Pilates helps in stretching tired achy muscles and strengthening muscles helps stabilise your pelvis during pregnancy
  6. Breathing: Breathlessness and shortness of breath is one of the most common problems in pregnancy. Pilates exercises improves efficiency of breathing and oxygen delivery to your baby, breathing techniques learned can help contribute to a smoother delivery
  7. Core-strength: strengthens muscles which create a solid protective base, to stabilise the spine and support your back

More Information:

 

No reason to delay. Join our friendly classes at Emma James Physio
emma-james-2014Emma
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Blog Post by Emma
MD, Owner & Senior Clinical Director
Emma James Physio

Back Pain – signs, symptoms & treatments

Back pain is a very common musculoskeletal complaint affecting 80% of adults at some point in their lifetime, although the symptoms and severity will vary greatly. Many factors may contribute to your condition including injury and diseases, but for some cases there is no specific cause and clinicians refer to this type of pain as ‘non-specific’ or ‘mechanical low back pain’.

There are some signs and symptoms that must not be ignored. You should always seek urgent medical advice if you have back pain and:

  • A loss of control of your bladder or bowel
  • Numbness around your genitals, buttocks or surrounding area
  • Chest pain
  • Unexplained weight loss

How can I lower my risk of developing back pain?

  • Carrying extra weight, especially around your belly, puts added stress on the muscles in the lower back and can affect your posture and position of your pelvis; in turn leading to lower back pain

    back-pain

  • Weak muscles and abdominals are unable to support your posture and trunk when you move, which can lead to overloading the small muscles in the back which are not designed to do this job and lead to injury
  • Your occupation could also affect your back. Those with manual jobs are at risk due to heavy lifting and repetitive bending, whilst those with sedentary jobs are at risk due to the amount of time they sit, particularly if they tend to slouch

 

How can I treat my back pain?

Try to keep mobile
It may be tempting to remain on bed rest until the pain subsides however evidence suggests that remaining mobile may actually help reduce the intensity and duration of your back pain as well as prevent it from returning. Start off with low impact exercise first such as walking or swimming

Take pain relief
People often worry that taking painkillers will make the symptoms worse by masking the pain, however by taking painkillers while you are in pain it will allow usually you to continue with your daily routine which in turn will often speed up your recovery

Try Physiotherapy
A physiotherapist can help identify the root cause of your back pain and use a variety of techniques including massage, acupuncture and home exercises to reduce your pain and prevent it recurring

Pilates
There is lots of evidence to support the idea that a weakened core puts pressure on the little muscles and supporting structures in the lower back. Therefore by strengthening the muscles which support our trunk and core, it will minimise your risk of developing back pain as well as help to ease the pain if you are already suffering.

Useful Info:

Dont suffer in silence, contact our friendly team to see how we can help you.
Main Clinic: 01442 870686  reception@ejphysio.co.uk

Blog Post by Jade
Emma James Physio

What is Pilates?

Pilates is a low impact form of exercise aimed at strengthening the whole body, especially the core. Whether a beginner or an elite athlete and regardless of age and gender, Pilates could be beneficial for you. Practioners argue there is a wide array of benefits to practicing Pilates including improving muscles strength, balance, joint mobility and even stress relief.

Here at Emma James Physio, we offer a range of different classes including Clinical Pilates which are led by highly qualified instructors. If you have back pain and would like to see how we can help, please call us 01442870686 or visit our website www.ejphysio.co.uk

shutterstock_76433809NEW PILATES CLASSES – 2019

Our latest Studio Timetable and all Pilates & Yoga Classes for January onwards are now up on the website so check out a time that suits you, grab a friend and start the new year as you mean to go on!

Blog post by Jade
Emma James Physio

How to keep your brain young – Just keep moving!

Hiya,

I found this informative article by Celia Dodd about the cognitive benefits of exercise. Researchers at the University of Canberra in Australia found that regular aerobic exercise dramatically improved cognitive abilities such as thinking, reading, learning and reasoning.

Muscle strengthening, meanwhile, had a significant impact on memory and the brain’s ability to plan and organise.

All this is an excellent reason to re-think the exercise you do, with research showing that even those who have done little exercise before the age of 60 can see cognitive benefits almost immediately.

Increasing your walking speed to brisk, carrying the shopping home rather than getting the car out, and digging the garden can make a huge difference.  Consider signing up to a regular exercise class (strength and conditioning, spinning, pilates) to increase the motivation to complete regular exercise and enjoyment exercising in a group.

You can read the full article here:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6178025/How-brain-young-just-moving-says-Celia-Dodd.html

Keen to try something new? check out details of all our Exercise Classes on our Website or you can ring Reception for more information.

lisa

Right… Im off to my Pilates Class! 🙂
Lisa
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Blog Post by Lisa
Senior Physiotherapist
Emma James Physio

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