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A Balancing Act

As children, we never thought twice about balance; playing all sorts of games that challenged and actually improved our balance; it was just fun. Who could hop on one leg the longest or walk the furthest on a curb without falling are a couple that come to mind. Unfortunately, as we age our motor functions decrease, our sense of limb movement and position lessens and we experience changes in our vision and vestibular system that together affect our sense of stability and steadiness. Unless you’re consistently involved in an activity or sport where your balance is stressed, you are more at risk for injuries and falls in your elder years. So, this is a case of use it or lose it!

Senior woman balancing on one leg on the beach.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 18,000 deaths and 450,000 hospitalizations among those over 65 are due to falls. Many are the result of diminishing balance. Fortunately, even as we age, balance can be improved with proper training. Evidence has shown the fall rate may be reduced by 50% when strength and balance activities are part of an exercise program.

With loss of balance, there is an increased fear that a fall will occur and this can lead to greater inactivity. Physical Therapy can help address this by progressively challenging an individual with specific activities to improve balance. Initially, the therapist will conduct an assessment of one’s balance with specific tests. A program is then specifically designed based on the results of these tests and an individual’s precise needs. A strengthening program is always included and the combination will help increase the patient’s confidence and lessen the fear of falling. A Physical Therapist is specifically trained to create and progress someone through a program like this and will monitor and modify the routine as improvements occur.

There are many ways to maintain and even improve your balance without equipment. You can start at home by standing with your feet side-by-side. If this is too easy, stand on one leg. Incorporate this position into exercises, brushing your teeth, doing the dishes, etc. When starting, make sure you have something to grab onto if you become unsteady. Remember; consult with your doctor or physical therapist if you have concerns about your balance.

 

 

A Guide for Women Who Run

Running definitely holds many great benefits for the body and mind; such as aiding in weight loss or with weight management and it’s a great source to help alleviate stress. But, just like anything else, too much of a good thing, may not actually be all that good for you. Overtraining or doing too much can lead to injuries that can impact your progression or halt your running all together.

Being a woman adds several risk factors that you need to be more aware of so you can take the proper precautions and reduce your risk for injury. Having wider hips than men opens the door for hip and knee pain or not having the right sports bra may cause issues. Females are also more likely to have asthma or GI issues that can affect a running regimen. Click the photo below for tips on how to prevent problems due to these and other female traits that may slow you down.

 

The Owner’s Manual For The Female Runner

Wider hips, smaller feet, and a host of other traits make women more susceptible to injuries. Here’s what to do about it.
By Martha Schindler

Another Great Success Story!

Gary EverettWhat a wonderful note to our PT, Gary Everett, at our Apex Royersford location! Woohoo, Gary! Great job.

Hello,

I just wanted to tell you what a great experience I had at Apex in Royersford, PA. I worked with Gary Everett, whom is an excellent Physical Therapist. He was able to help me through a very rough healing process. Because of him, I am walking, biking and on my way to a very active life again! Gary goes above and beyond to make sure you heal properly. You have a high quality employee and I will be forever grateful. I hand out his cards to all my friends.

P.S. Loading my kayak now and heading to Florida for the winter!

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

Winter is upon us and with it comes a whole new array of sports and activities to keep us moving through these colder months. As we start to pull out the skis, snowboards, sleds and ice skates, let’s not forget that there are still precautions that need to be followed to help prevent injuries. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, winter sports-related injuries accounted for over 440,000 visits to the ER, hospitals and doctors’ offices in 2010. These included 58,500 injuries from ice skating, 91,000 from tobogganing and sledding, 144,000 injuries due to skiing and 148,000 from snowboarding.

The most common impairments include fractures, sprains, strains and dislocations. Following some simple guidelines, proper preparation and listening to your body can keep you moving right into warm-weather sports without missing a beat!

If you are active throughout the year, you’re off to a great start! Being well conditioned and in shape will certainly reduce your risk for harm. As always, just as with any activity, a good warm-up is necessary to help loosen up cold-tight muscles, ligaments and tendons. If you haven’t been on an exercise program, it would be good to start one prior to partaking in these sports to help build your strength, balance, flexibility and endurance. And, don’t forget even in cold weather you need to stay well hydrated and use sunblock throughout the day.

If you’re new to the winter sport arena, taking lessons are a great way to get started. Something as simple as learning how to fall properly can decrease the risk of injury. Make sure all the equipment you need for your sport is in proper working condition before getting out there and participating, as well as wearing suitable clothing and footwear. Having layers of loose fitting-water and wind resistant clothes will help with temperature changes in your body. You also want footwear that will offer sufficient ankle support with warmth and dryness.

Be aware of the rules for your activity and follow them closely. Also be sure to check weather conditions and listen to warnings regarding upcoming storms or drastic temperature drops.

Lastly, make sure you know the procedures at the facility for getting help if someone is hurt and never participate alone in these cold weather sports. If you are in pain or become exhausted, listen to your body! Continuing under those circumstances only put you more at risk for an injury.

Now it’s time to go show Mother Nature that she can’t stop us from being active and having fun just because it’s cold! Enjoy.

 

 

 

Time to Get Moving!

The holidays have come and gone, decorations are down and we’re back on track with our regular routines. But, there are those who have committed themselves to a better and healthier lifestyle for 2014 and have added working out to their schedules. The great thing is that once you begin a training regimen and stick with it, the benefits will take you way beyond 2014!

If you are new to exercising, you want to be sure you are shown the proper form for exercises, as well as the correct way to use the machines in the gym which can look very intimidating for a newbie. If you just joined a gym, most will offer a session with one of their trainers to show you the ropes. Some will even offer to set you up with a program to follow. If not and you’re not sure what to do, it is worth the investment for at least one session to get you started properly. The last thing you want is to injure yourself at the start and not only delay your progress, but possibly discourage yourself from moving forward and continuing with the commitment you made to yourself.

Dr. Hooman Melamed, an orthopedic spine surgeon and Director of Scoliosis at Marina del Rey Hospital in California, offers some helpful tips on common exercises to help keep you injury-free and on the move! Something as simple as proper breathing will keep you in control. Click the photo below for more of Dr. Melamed’s guidelines for staying injury-free.