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September 2019

woman walking i'move low impact

Low Impact Exercise Options to Bounce Back from Injury

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It is difficult to build up your confidence after an injury. Fear of re-injury is a very real and valid concern. There are many simple and functional exercises that you can do prior to jumping back into your regular exercise routine that are both practical and safe. Three very simple low impact exercise options include walking, squatting and reaching.

  1. Walking is an exercise that is often overlooked, but it helps build your endurance and functional strength back up. Adding different “tweaks” to your walk is a great way to increase demands on various parts of your body while walking. These “tweaks” can include walking with your feet wider or narrower than normal, toes turned in or out, or simply trying to take a longer stride.
  2. Squatting is something many people are afraid of, but it makes its way into our lives when we lift young kids, pick up groceries, do yard work, etc. If you are not comfortable squatting, try holding onto your sink at home to take some of the strain off of your knees and core. As this becomes easier, you can progress to free squatting. You can change the demands on different body parts by changing your foot position during squats. Foot positions can include having one foot slightly in front of the other, having your stance be wider or narrower than shoulder width, or have your toes slightly pointed in or out.
  3. Core strengthening is a buzzword in our society. Core strengthening is very important, but functional core strengthening looks a little bit different than most people think. The core gets “activated” by lengthening the core muscles. A great way to get the spine moving in a functional way while loading the core is reaching. And similar to the squatting and gait tweaks, reaching at various angles will activate different parts of your core. Reaches can include reaching up or down, side to side, or rotating. These reaches can also be completed in a stride stance where one foot is in front of the other.

These are 3 very simple but very effective ways to start exercising after an injury. For best results, always listen to your body. Pain is a protective mechanism that should not be ignored. If any of the movements or positions are painful, avoid those until your body has further healed.

As these get easier and you feel more comfortable, you can add load or increase the amount of time/repetitions to any of these exercises.

Once you feel confident with all/most of these exercises, you may consider joining an exercise class with a trained fitness professional. Some classes to start with could be gentle yoga, Pilates, aquatic exercise classes, beginner spin classes, or low impact fitness classes.

Find what exercises and activities you enjoy doing. The options are endless! The worst thing you can do for yourself after an injury is nothing. Don’t let yourself stop moving. Find things that feel good and do them so that you can get back to moving with confidence.

i'move physical therapist helping patient with equipment

Gravity and a Few Cool Tools

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i'move physical therapist helping patient with equipment

The most important benefit of physical therapy is that it gets people moving again. Often, after physical therapy, patients are able to enjoy aspects of their life that they were afraid they might not get to enjoy anymore. The key to success all relies on the method physical therapists use to treat their patients. 

There are many different philosophies of physical therapy, each stemming from how they incorporate functional movement. Functional movement involves using real-world scenarios and biomechanics to treat the root cause of the issue, not just the symptoms. Functional movement has the patient move their whole body in all planes, or directions, to work the core and replicate everyday movements. One of the key founding principles of i’move is to do more with less. All we need to successfully treat patients is gravity and a few cool tools.  

A plus of training one on one with a physical therapist is getting access to the variety of cool toys, tools and equipment around the i’move clinic and gym that also help replicate real world movements. From state-of-the-art workout machines to resistance bands and Bosu balls, we utilize these tools to accelerate your recovery. In addition to your customized treatment plan, here are a few more tools and equipment used in physical therapy.

Anti-Gravity Treadmill
A favorite of the Cove location, the AlterG is an anti-gravity treadmill that enables the body to move from low to high function. Patients of any size can unweight themselves to move better and farther than before. 

Exercise Balls
While kids love to use these for fun, they can be a ton of help if used the right way. When used as a chair or for sit-ups, exercise balls become a massive strength training tool. Sitting on one forces the body not to slouch, tightening the core and improving posture. There are plenty of creative exercises available with an exercise ball. Ask your physical therapist about them!

Resistance Bands
They may look simple, but these oversized rubber bands can pack a punch. What’s great about resistance bands is that they can be customized for all levels of physical ability. Bands are mostly used for muscle strengthening and retraining, making them perfect to build muscles during recovery.

Foam rollers are the massage-esque part of physical therapy. They do so much more than just providing pain relief. Foam rollers excel at reaching deep muscle tissue in the body, like tissue that may be affected during an injury. Hitting certain “trigger points” or tight spots, the pressure helps relax and stretch the muscles, increases blood flow, and breaks down scar tissue that can accumulate during an injury.

Jade Tools
Therapists utilize jade tools to loosen tight muscles, relieve pain and sometimes break up scar tissue. These are soft tissue tools that are similar in function to Graston or Astym therapy – both soft tissue techniques.

Dry Needling
To get to the root of pain and mobility issues, some therapists use dry needling as a way to reach trigger points around the body. When these knotted-up trigger points are released, they can help alleviate pain as part of a larger treatment plan. 

Patients come to i’move to get them moving again and enjoying more aspects of their lives. In the process, they often get to utilize one or more of our cool tools or pieces of equipment. Want to know more? We’re experts on our equipment, but more importantly, on your body. Learn about the science behind your healing during an appointment or fitness class.

i'move woman exercising

Do Your Homework: Keeping Up with Physical Therapy

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i'move woman exercising

Physical therapy is truly a gift. Not are you receiving personalized pain relief, but you get to learn customized exercises that will keep you healthy and at peak performance for many years to come. Who would want to turn down an opportunity like that? It does sound great on paper, but even the best of us need a reminder to do our physical therapy exercises off the clock. If you’re looking for some inspiration, this is it. Learn how and why to keep up with your physical therapy and know that you can do it! 

Stick With Your Exercises
There’s a reason we recommend doing your exercises outside of appointments. Like anything in life, you can’t get perfection without practice. Your body is constantly changing, and it doesn’t stop after you leave the gym for the day. What happens to your health is up to you, and continuing your recommended physical therapy exercises daily or weekly between appointments is what’s going to help you heal faster and fully recover.

Get Into a Routine
Like riding a bicycle (a great exercise, by the way!), doing your at-home exercises over and over makes them impossible to forget. Your physical therapy appointment may be on a consistent day or at a consistent time each week. It’s the same for our exercises. When your therapist gives you a set of exercises to do at home, you’re most likely to remember them if you have a set schedule. Pick a time each day to work on yourself until it becomes a routine. It can be in the morning before breakfast, or after the kids go to bed. Either way, committing 15 minutes a day will make your physical therapist proud, and your body happy!

Have Accountability
Pro tip: routines get easier when a friend’s involved! An accountability partner keeps you focused and makes it twice as hard to get out of exercising. Find a friend or practice your exercises with the whole family. 

Adapt to the Circumstances
Your physical therapist will be more than happy to suggest modified exercises you can do at work or on the go. Even if you can’t do push-ups at your desk, you still might be able to do some stretches and leg lifts while writing that email. Ask your physical therapist how to incorporate your physical therapy exercises while out and about. Maybe you can do calf exercises while sitting down, or practice balancing while your oatmeal is in the microwave. These little things add up. Just remember that every little bit counts.

Take advantage of your time at i’move. We’re here to offer flexible appointments or exercises that fit your fitness. Whatever level you’re at, we want to help you grow.