Exercise During Pregnancy

If like me you are stuck at home and pregnant during this isolation period, you may be looking for pregnancy-appropriate exercise to keep you busy, fit and healthy. Exercise during pregnancy can help with:

  • Promoting muscle strength, tone and endurance.
  • Back pain, constipation, bloating and swelling.
  • Improving mood and energy levels.
  • Improving sleep.
  • Prevention of excess weight.
  • Reduction of gestational diabetes risk.
  • Shortened labor and reduced C-section risk.

As a rule, research suggests that if you are pregnant and have no contraindications to exercise, you should be aiming to meet the general physical activity guidelines for adults aged 18-64 years, which are:

  • 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity per week, OR
  • 75-100 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise per week, OR
  • A combination of the two above.

If, however, you were previously inactive or you are in the higher BMI weight range, you should be starting with 15-20-minutes of moderate exercise 3-4 times per week and building up to 30-minutes as able.

It was previously thought that if you are pregnant you should not be exceeding a heart rate of 140 beats per minute, however specific heart rate limitations are no longer recommended.

When it comes to the type of exercise, there are plenty of great options, including:

  • Walking, swimming, or stationary cycling.
  • Pregnancy-specific yoga and Pilates.
  • Strength-based gym classes or home-based strength workouts.

If you were a regular runner or participated in impact sports pre-pregnancy, you can also continue this as comfort allows. However, running is not something I would recommend starting during pregnancy.

Specifically, it is also super important to work on lower abdominal and pelvic floor strengthening during and post-pregnancy. Exercises such as kegels and transversus abdominis strengthening are a fantastic start, and as physiotherapists we can prescribe a home-based program for you specific to your fitness level and needs.

There are also certain exercises that should be avoided, particularly after the first trimester, which include sit-ups or other abdominal exercises that compress the abdomen or stress the rectus diastisis. Further, if you are experiencing aches and pains resultant from your pregnancy, exercise is a fantastic tool to help increase strength and stability and reduce pain.

For specific assessment and prescription of appropriate home based exercises, get in touch with one of our physiotherapists on 07 576 1860 or email reception@buretaphysio.co.nz.

 

Is your ‘new work office’ a pain in the neck?

Is your ‘new work office’  a pain in the neck?- Quick Tips to Avoid Back & Neck Pain Whilst Working From Home during Covid-19.

With the unprecedented times we currently face, many of us find we are working in a different environment at the moment- One not designed for sitting eight hours a day….

Quick Tips from your friendly Physio:

  1. Comfort is key! Set up your workspace well- invest in a wireless/plug in keyboard & mouse. And even treat yourself to a laptop stand (or a stack of books works just as well).
  2. Take regular breaks- AWAY from your workspace; grab a glass of water, check on the kids or you could even do one of those stretches your physio prescribed you!
  3. Sit less!- be creative with cardboard boxes to make a standing desk, stand during online meetings or webinars, walk during phone calls.
  4. Use your Lunch Break to get MOVING! Even if you can’t spare half an hour to hit your daily activity quota, get creative- Walk Up & Down the Stairs, March on the Spot, or grab a ball and head outside with the kids.
  5. Whenever you feel uncomfortable- get up and stretch! Some examples below to try.

Levator Scapulae Stretch:

Gently take your nose towards your right armpit. Place your right hand on top of your head and apply slight over pressure into the stretch.
Hold here maintaining a gentle stretch for 10-20 seconds.
Repeat to the other side

image00001

Mid-Back Rotation:
Cross your left leg over your right leg, placing your right hand on the top knee.
Rotate the body to the left, looking over your left shoulder.
Hold here for 10-20 seconds
image00002

If you’re doing these things and still struggling with pain, KEEP CALM AND CALL YOUR PHYSIO! We are open for Online Video Consultations.

Call 075761860 OR email: kim@buretaphysio.co.nz to book your appointment TODAY.

Written by Kimberley Pilbrow

Safe Running Practices

 

With the potential of more time in your day the opportunity to get outside and go for a run may be tempting, to keep you active and help keep the boredom at bay. So, with many of us looking for ways to make the time pass by keeping active now is a great time to increase our knowledge around safe running practices to help keep us active without the injuries.

Important points to keep in mind when venturing out for your run:

Good Shoes:

While the type of equipment needed to be a runner is relatively limited, this is a great place to start especially if you are just starting out on your running journey. Whether your workout involves running, walking, sports or gym equipment, a shoe is a must. Good shoes are those that provide good shock absorption, cushioning and structured support and overall must be comfortable for you – COMFORT IS KING!

Form:

Don’t over stride, keep your leading leg as close to under your hips as possible. With a shorter and faster stride, you can help reduce the stress associated with the impact from longer strides and become more efficient in your running. When looking into specifics around strides it can be said that a cadence (this is the number of times your feet hit the ground) between 170-180 steps per minute could correlate with more ideal running form, with an increase in cadence found to reduce the loading through the hip and knee joints. This is easily measurable with free aps on your phone or simply counting foot landings in 15 seconds and multiplying by 4. Everyone has their own natural cadence but if you are having issues or are unsure about yours and want more information let us know – janelle@buretaphysio.co.nz.

 

Ensure you are maintaining good relaxed posture through your upper body. Your shoulders should be relaxed, loose, and low, not high and tight. Your head is heavy, and where it’s positioned will dictate how hard your neck and back muscles will have to work to support it, therefore it is important to keep your eyes focused on the track ahead.

 

Strength….

As a runner it is important to mix up those km’s by incorporating alternative training styles, in particular strength training. Although this may not be your method of choice for training the benefits this will have on your overall performance and injury risk will surely get you interested.

To start with we have the glutes… a.k.a buns of steel! Strong glutes = more powerful stride, running itself has minimal activation of your glutes so alternate forms of strength training is an important way to build your glutes. This aids in stabilisation of your pelvis, minimises the compensation of other muscles and helps reduce your risk of injury. Other areas of focus to aid in injury prevention and to enhance performance are everything from your core to your big toe.

 

Load

This is individual to everyone whether you are a veteran marathon runner or just starting out.  We all need to be conscious of our running load, as up to 80% of running injuries are related to tissue overload. This is due to rapid changes in training load, whether this be terrain based, distance or frequency. Therefore, showing the importance of load management in your training, through focusing on consistency and only increasing your running mileage when your ready and comfortable (and pain free!). If you are new to running, ensure you start with walking and walk/runs to help recondition your body to prepare for the higher demands of running and ideally start with alternate days only.

Running and Covid19….

No virus can stop a runner from running…. This being said we must all be adherent to sticking within our bubbles, only running within a close proximity to your home and ensuring you keep your distance from the other people out and about in your area. With the current uncertainty and changes to our daily routines it is an important time to remember to keep active through incorporating 30-60 minutes of varied exercise into our daily lives and looking out for one another.

And remember a healthy runner beats an injured runner every time.

 

If you want any more information on above or how we can help you achieve your running goals give us a call on 5761860 or email me on janelle@buretaphysio.co.nz.

Sleep Hygiene

SLEEP

 

If there is one thing I could say to our community right now in order to stay or get healthy is to prioritise SLEEP. The World Health Organisation deems sleep the foundational of the three pillars of health, with diet and exercise being the other two. Studies show that between a third and two thirds of the Western World do not get enough hours of sleep per night.

Sleep has a significant impact on the reduction of both illness and injury and is one of the few interventions that can help prevent both contact and non-contact injuries. Performance research shows us that adequate sleep improves our accuracy, sprint and reaction times as well as the perception of strength and effort. It also has a huge impact on mental health. The brain recalibrates during sleep. It is no surprise then to find out that mood swings, paranoia, depression, anxiety and dementia are all linked to poor sleep.

 

Now back to current times and COVID 19 where prioritizing sleep is important in strengthening our immune system in order to fight off illness particularly when our body is under stress – which currently is more likely to be mental than physical but the body doesn’t have the ability to alter its responses to this.

 

In order to ensure you have a good night’s sleep both sleep rhythm and sleep drive is needed. Sleep drive is the need for sleep ie how tired you are. This can be challenging in the current situation if you aren’t getting as much physical exertion into your day as normal but for many this drive is increased simply from the mental stress of the lockdown and the uncertainties surrounding this. Sleep rhythm is ensuring you have regular sleep and wake times. This is why when you have a night out or stay up late to watch that extra movie even though you feel exhausted you don’t sleep as well.

In an ideal world the majority of adults get around 7.5 hours sleep as a minimum as each sleep cycle is approximately 90 minutes and we need 5 of them for a full night’s sleep. This does vary with age. Our children should be getting more as their requirements are greater, given they are growing and the elderly may need less.

Genetics play a part. Early birds or lions make up only 15% of the population. Usually those that are list makers, many CEO’s and those in management make up the large proportion of this group. They are asleep early and up early.

Wolves or night owls on the other hand are categorised as generally being creative personalities, high risk takers, often introverted even if they are extroverted in public life i.e. actors’ musicians authors. Ideally sleep to your rhythm, this gives you the best chance to achieve a good night’s sleep.

 

 

But its not all about quantity.

Sleep is about quantity and quality. Poor sleep is linked with a large number of physical conditions and diseases including increased blood pressure, heart disease, reduced immune function, diabetes, ncreased intensity of pain when pain is felt, weight gain, poor decision making, lower testosterone and lower libido in females.

Most likely it is the relationship between sleep and decision making and reaction times that are likely where the link to injury prevention comes in – more sleep better reaction time and decision making.

 

Food, Vitamins and sleep

Metabolism is affected negatively by sleep deprivation as metabolism slows down. Increased stress results in increased cortisol release which results in increased appetite BUT slower metabolism and therefore fat deposition. We are also more likely to overeat when we are sleep deprived as leptin decreases and this is hormone that tells us we are full.

 

People who are sleep deprived lack vitamin C and Selenium which affects immune function. Things you can try and do to help with this are to put citrus in your water and eat mushrooms or Brazil nuts to boost these vitamins.  B vitamins are essential for good sleep and serotonin levels so eat food rich in B vitamins such as broccoli.

Magnesium helps boost the quality of sleep as it helps regulate your circadian rhythm.. Ensure meals and snacks contain greens, nuts, brown rice and other grains. Bananas are loaded with magnesium so are awesome for sleep.

A lack of vitamin D can cause poor sleep quality. Getting out and about in the sunshine particularly at this time of the year when the sun isn’t too hot(whilst staying within your bubble!) is the most useful way of ensuring adequate Vitamin D.

Salmon is one of the best foods for sleep as it helps melatonin production.

For those that suffer with restless legs – ensure iron intake is sufficient as this is often a cause or part of the picture– eat plenty of spinach, red meat and other iron sources at the same time as consuming vitamin C (ie orange juice) as this increases your iron absorption. Ensure you don’t consume tea or coffee near these meals as these both affect your body’s ability to absorb iron.

 

Supplements and sleep

Melatonin is not good for insomnia; it is for jet lag. It affects the rhythm. It’s a sleep regulator not initiator so really useful for shifting sleep rhythm where appropriate. A lack of melatonin causes shallow sleep, insomnia or regular awakenings so is the other time where it is useful. 1-1.5mg is ideal amount – many are taking far too much/too higher dose. It takes 90 minutes to work so needs to be taken 90 minutes before sleep or blood plasma levels aren’t sufficient to work. Take for right reason, at right time in right amount!

 

On return to normal life

If post lockdown you continue to struggle with sleep go see your GP for an assessment of this. You may require some blood tests to check your levels of Vitamin D, melatonin, iron and magnesium. If this doesn’t give you any answers we can help. Learning strategies to deal with poor sleep can be really useful and one of the most effective with this is correct breathing patterns and breathing exercises to ensure your parasympathetic nervous system is engaged and your body and mind is therefore able to wind down and sleep.

 

 

For those who struggle with sleep if you are going to stress about sleep and your lack of it you aren’t likely to get a good night’s sleep so it’s somewhat of a “catch 22”. So where do you start?

Number 1 – PRIORITISE SLEEP – do you really need to watch that movie? Watch one more episode on tv? Play around on your phone when it’s just before bed time?

Know that one nights poor sleep won’t cause you significant issues in the long term. Changing your sleep patterns is a process like any other aspect of improving health and wellness. It takes a plan and the implementation of it.

Sleep hygiene is where to start! If you have any questions on this please send us an email on reception@buretaphysio.co.nz or give us a call on 5761860.

 

IN THE MEANTIME SORT OUT TONIGHTS PLAN!!