Try This Quick Test for Balance

A quick test for balance: how long are you able to stand on one leg without arm support? 

To set up: keep a chair or something you can hold if needed nearby and stand in front of a mirror with your feet hip width apart, shoes and socks off. Place your hands on your hips, shift your weight to one side and pick your opposite foot off the floor. How long can you hold this position?

An adult around age 30 should be able to comfortably hold this position for 30 seconds. In adults over age 65, an inability to hold this for at least 5 seconds indicates a greater risk of falls. Were you surprised by your results? 

We often get asked why we spend so much time practicing single leg standing in therapy. This skill is important because this is the position we spend the most amount of time in while walking! In order to take a step forward, you have to stand on one leg to allow the other leg to swing forward. If you are having difficulty with single leg standing, it is likely your walking...

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Movement Tips to Avoid Back Pain During Pregnancy

More than two-thirds of pregnant women report low back pain and up to one-fifth report pelvic pain during pregnancy. Reports of pain tend to increase later in pregnancy and interfere with daily activities, sleep, and work. About 20% of women who experience low back or pelvic pain during pregnancy report persistent pain for up to 3 years following pregnancy.

Chronic pain is complicated and much research in recent years has revolved around the term “pain catastrophizing”. Catastrophizing is a process of becoming fixated on pain, magnifying the effects of it, feeling helpless, and expecting negative outcomes associated with pain.

Research shows that those who catastrophize are more likely to develop persistent chronic pain and disability. Women who demonstrated pain catastrophizing during their pregnancy were found to be less likely to have been active throughout their pregnancy and more likely to develop persistent pain after.

The recommendation of daily physical activity...

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When Body Alignment Matters: Function v. Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is the leading cause of disability in the United States, with an annual cost estimated to be about $100 billion. These costs are associated with healthcare expenses, lost income, and lost productivity. A majority of adults experience acute pain at least once in their lives with about 28% later developing chronic pain.

With the nation’s growing opioid epidemic, there's been considerable emphasis on understanding the sources of chronic pain. Many mistakenly believe that tissue damage is directly correlated with a person’s risk of developing chronic pain. Statements from medical professionals to their patients which include “Your MRI shows that you have the spine of an 80 year old and you can expect to be in pain for the rest of your life” or “just avoid stairs or squatting entirely if your knees are hurting” just further exacerbate the myths surrounding chronic pain.

There is much confusion regarding body alignment, movement, and pain...

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5 Lessons Learned From Studying My Own Movement

Last month I attended a Move Your DNA weekend workshop at Boomerang Pilates in Toronto hosted by a Nutritious Movement Certified RES. If you aren't familiar, this workshop is for anyone who has read Move Your DNA by Katy Bowman, MS to refine the exercises covered in the book.

The book uses biomechanics as a lens to explore how our environment has shaped our movement and vice versa, encouraging the reader to take ownership of their health. We spent the weekend exploring the use of corrective exercise and body alignment work to move toward more natural movement. 

For me, this weekend was a small part of a 2 year long process to become a certified RES, which involves nearly 350 hours of movement training. The program heavily emphasizes understanding of your own movement in order to help others improve theirs... which makes a lot of sense. 

My background is in physical therapy, meaning I spent the better part of the last 10 years extensively studying the human body,...

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Should I Get an MRI for Low Back Pain?

 

Have you considered getting an MRI as the missing piece of the puzzle in finally living a life without back pain?

Unfortunately, this is the sentiment we hear far too often from our clients living with chronic low back pain. The longer the pain continues, the more strongly you might consider an MRI as the best option. 

Imaging is recommended so often for a variety of medical conditions that we've become conditioned to believe imaging findings will finally give us an idea of what is going on and what we should do about it.

But, what if we told you all of this imaging has the potential to cause more harm than good?

Don't get us wrong, there is most definitely a time and a place where imaging is critical, but for general chronic low back pain research found starting with an MRI is often more harmful than it is helpful.

Surprised? So were the researchers who were discovering the potential harm in our healthcare system's practice of ordering imaging for every...

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Are You Doomed to Be Inflexible Forever?

Do you wake up feeling stiff every morning?

Does it take an hour or two after waking up for that feeling to go away?

Or does that feeling linger all day?

One of the most common questions we get asked is if this is a natural part of aging. Our clients wonder if this is just inevitable or if there is something that can be done to prevent this. 

We're here to tell you this DOES NOT have to be a natural part of aging, and that yes, there is plenty you can to avoid waking up with that feeling every morning! 

Let's Talk About Flexibility...

Flexibility, also known as range of motion, can be improved and maintained at any age. Our tissues get stiff because we stop using them, not just because of old age. 

We need to take a closer look though, because only working on flexibility is not a great solution either. It's vital to keep a good range of motion of all of our joints as we age, but to function at our best we must also have the strength to control our...

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Want the Secret to Living Your Best Life?

 

Want the secret to living your best life?

We have to admit, this is a bit of a trick question because there truly is no one secret to being your best self. Though the answer to this question is in reality quite simple, it might not be easy.  

A common theme we hear from our clients is that there is some key to living a healthy life that they just haven't found yet... some deep, dark secret that holds all the answers to living a life of energy, vitality, and abundance.

Chronic disease is becoming more rampant by the day, so we must be missing something, right? Some unknown, mysterious secret that will change our health in an instant if only we could find it.

The true answer is that there is no secret. There is no "one-size-fits-all" approach. And certainly no magic bullet. Instead, the answer involves being mindful along the journey toward finding our best self! This is probably much more boring than any of us want to admit.

The answer...

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Osteoporosis: What You Need to Know

 

One of the most common topics we address with our clients is osteoporosis. Lifestyle changes to build healthier bones should start at any age! There is no right time to start to worry about developing osteoporosis, but with the right movement it doesn't have to be a concern. 

This may or may not come as a surprise, but building bone density starts decades before osteoporosis is a concern. The good news is it's never too late to start building bone density even if you've already been diagnosed with osteoporosis.

How Bone Growth Works

Fun fact: Bone cells take about 10 years to completely turn over, so every 10 years your skeleton looks completely different!

Bone, just like any other tissue in the body, continuously undergoes a process of new cell growth and old cell breakdown. Different factors, generally lifestyle choices, change this process and may start to cause problems with healthy bone formation.

Osteoporosis doesn't impact all bones equally, which...

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Hate Exercise? Try Movement Instead.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you we will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

With our society becoming more unhealthy as a whole each year, movement professionals find ourselves pressed to reframe the discussion around health, wellness, and movement. We all understand the benefits of exercise, yet adhering to an exercise routine tends to be a completely different story. The most important conversation we have with new clients is discussing their physical activity history. This gives us a clear picture on how set our clients up for success in their health and wellness goals. One of the most common reasons we hear for a history of not sticking to an exercise routine is lack of time. The guilt and shame associated with not going to the gym creates a further aversion to exercise, becoming a vicious cycle. 

But what if we told you there is a way to get healthier that does not involve...

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Mindful Movement 101: How to Move Mindfully

At the core of our approach in helping our clients along their journey toward better health is building a mindful movement practice. 

A mindful movement practice is different from a typical exercise or fitness routine. Mindful movement is one of the most overlooked components of health habits! Mindful movement is for everyone, from those who consider themselves elite athletes to those who would describe themselves as couch potatoes. 

Over our years of practice in the medical field, we have noted much of the messaging thrown at us by the fitness industry can be more of a detriment to health than a help... So, we set out on a mission to change the thought patterns around movement to encourage emphasis on the many positive health benefits of exploring your mobility! 

One of our first step with new clients is guiding them through establishing what we call a "movement practice". A movement practice is individualized based on the health goals of the...

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