Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Those With Osteoarthritis Are Often Too Inactive

For years now health professionals have been advising those with osteoarthritis (OA) to stay active to avoid further stiffness and pain.  Even with these warnings a recent study in the journal, Arthritis and Rheumatism, found that only 10% of people with knee OA follow through with recommendations of physical activity. The researchers also found that many of the people in the study did not participate in any form of physical activity beyond their normal essential daily activities.  

Recent research has shown that physical activity can increase mobility, reduce pain, and prevent disability in those with OA.  Exercise has also shown many other health benefits including improving one's mood. 
The researchers in this most recent study placed accelerometers on over 1000 participants to analyze how much people moved throughout the day.  They took x-rays of all the participants and found that those with arthritis moved much less throughout the day when compared to those without OA.  Some may argue that maybe they did less movement because they were in pain.  This is an understandable argument since decades ago people with OA were told to rest but we now know that movement and exercise is more beneficial.   

So if you have ever been told by a healthcare professional that you have OA you should begin an exercise program.  Exercise programs should start with low-intensity exercises such as small walks or working around the house or yard.  Once acclimated to new activities you can increase to more vigorous exercise such as cycling or swimming.  "Although it seems counterintuitive to exercise a stiff and painful joint, the evidence shows that moving a joint today is one of the best ways to ensure that it will keep moving tomorrow."1

Be sure to visit your local physical therapist for an individualized exercise prescription in order to avoid injury.

Reference: http://arthritisselfmanagement.com

Monday, August 15, 2011

Be Prepared for Your Next Round of Golf

If you were to poll 100 people I would bet that 90 of them would say that golf is an easy sport that does not require a great deal of athleticism or physical conditioning.  If golf does not take a great deal of conditioning why is the common trend of current professional golfers to be leaner and stronger?  Also, why are there so many golf conditioning classes and books out on the market?   The misconception that golf is an easy, leisurely sport has lead many people to injuries; these players are not ready for the sport of golf.  If as an amateur golfer, you would spend some time improving your flexibility, core and extremity strength, endurance, and balance you would not only avoid injury but also improve your game.

Flexibility: The key to a golf swing is the smoothness and fluidity of the swing; flexibility of your trunk, arms, and legs will help achieve this.  If your hips, back, or trunk are stiff you will compensate with other muscles altering your swing.

Core Strength: After achieving flexibility of your core you need to be able to control it or you can torque your back with each swing and end up with pain before the round of golf is over. Core strength, along with decreasing the chance of injury, will increase your power during your swing.

Extremity Strength:  Power also comes for your legs.  If your legs are weak you lose stability from the ground up which will make it even harder for you to activate your core.    Arm strength, especially in the shoulder, elbow, and wrist is important to drive the ball, generate rotational power, and follow-through at impact.

Endurance: Not many people understand that a round of golf can take more than 5 hours at times.  Between walking from hole to hole, swinging every time you approach the ball, and dealing with adverse weather conditions, your overall endurance will dictate how well you play.  This is one of the main reasons participation in a conditioning program to increase not only your strength but your endurance is essential.

Balance: This may be an easy thing to deal with when you are on flat ground but there are many times where you will be swinging while standing on uneven surfaces.  Having good balance during these times can help prevent hooking or slicing the ball.

As you can see your next round of golf is not just a walk in the park.  You must prepare for it in many different ways.  Visit your local physical therapist or personal trainer at Hayashida and Associates Physical Therapy.  There are many personnel at Hayashida who are TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) Certified Golf Fitness Instructors.

Reference: http://www.allaccesspt.com/patient-education/item/prepare-your-body-for-the-rigors-of-golf