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3 Healthy Habits to Improve Athletic Performance

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kids playing soccerSports seem to be more popular than ever with many kids striving to make a high school team or earn a college scholarship. Parents spend large amounts of money to pay for their child to be a part of the best travel teams or receive individual instruction. Keeping kids healthy and performing at their best is key to their success. Here are three healthy habits to focus on to improve athletic performance:

1. Improve your sleep! Middle school and high school kids require 8-10 hours of sleep to function at their best. While at sleep, our bodies recover and rebuild. This is extremely important for athletes who are building muscle. In order to optimize sleep, a consistent schedule should be set. For example, trying to be in bed by 9:30pm and sleeping until 6:30am. Weekends or a late night of studying during the week can often throw this schedule off. Electronics before bed also can disrupt sleep.

2. Eat real food! With crazy schedules, planned meals are often an afterthought. Quick stops at the local fast food restaurant can become regular with nights full of practices and games. Work to plan ahead and have healthy alternatives available. The food we eat is what powers our bodies throughout the day. If we continue to provide our body poor nutrition, our performance will suffer.

3. Drink enough water! A good rule of thumb is drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. For a 150-pound person, this would mean drinking approximately 75 ounces of water daily. Even being slightly dehydrated during activity can impair both cognitive and physical performance! If you wait until you feel thirsty, you are already behind. It can be very easy to lose track of how much water you have consumed throughout the day. One solution can be to carry a water bottle around and mark down each time it’s empty.

While these three things may seem simple, very few middle school and high school athletes are able to consistently complete them. Completed consistently over time, these habits can fuel athletic performance improvement while also setting up great healthy habits for a lifetime.

personal trainer

The Benefits of One-on-One Personal Training

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personal trainerA personal trainer is someone who is knowledgeable about fitness and has the ability to effectively coach clients through workouts. Oftentimes, trainers will have an educational background from a university in a health-related field or have completed a variety of available certifications. But, with exercise videos all over the internet for free, why would you spend your money on a personal trainer? Here are the top 5 reasons.

1. A personal trainer will assess your movement patterns and create an exercise program that is designed for you. He or she will work with you to strengthen weaknesses which may have caused pain or discomfort in the past. Not every exercise is good for every person. A personal trainer will make sure you are doing the exercises that will get you the best results.

2. A personal trainer will work with you to set specific measurable goals that are important to you. Some people want six pack abs and bulging biceps while others want to be able to run and play with their kids. Each scenario requires a specific plan. A personal trainer will measure and track your progress to make sure you’re making progress towards your goal.

3. A personal trainer will help keep you safe while you exercise. Often, injuries can occur due to using equipment incorrectly, trying to use too much weight, or choosing an exercise that is not correct for your ability level. A personal trainer will monitor your workouts and teach you proper form to lower your risk of injury.

4. A personal trainer can provide motivation and accountability. Many people struggle to challenge themselves appropriately or stick with a current plan. Take a look at how many people give up New Year’s resolutions in the month of January! A personal trainer can motivate you in an appropriate and professional way to keep you going when you want to stop.

5. A personal trainer can often work around your busy schedule to make sure you still get in your workouts. Group fitness classes are often on a rigid schedule that may not fit with your life.

Hiring a personal trainer is an investment in yourself. What is your health and future worth? If you have struggled with not getting the results you want, hurt yourself exercising, or simply do not know where to start, a personal trainer may be perfect for you.

The Month of Moustache Wisdom Part 2: Magnum PI

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i’move continues to celebrate men’s health month by getting advice from guys with great moustaches. Entry number two in this series is perhaps the most famous tv moustache of all time: Tom Selleck.

In a 2014 interview with GQ Magazine, Tom Selleck complained that his body would let him down at times when he had to do his own stunts on the set. Typically, he would spend a lot of time sitting around between takes and then would have to immediately get up and do something athletic like sliding across the hood of a Ferrari or tackling a bad guy. He realized that not taking the time for a proper warm up was the main cause of his aches and pains.

So here are a few components of a proper warm up that you can use before starting an activity.

  • Your warm up should look like your activity. A weight lifter and a marathoner should warm up differently; they are using the same muscles, but they are using them in a very different way.
  • Your warm up should be dynamic, not static. Numerous studies have shown that static stretching (sitting still and holding stretch for 30 seconds) can limit performance and possibly cause injury. Dynamic movements that take your joints through a full range of motion are much preferred. Save the static stretching for the end of your activity where it is still appropriate.
  • Your warm up should get entire body moving. If you look at a runner, there is significant arm motion and rotation through the entire spine. Don’t just focus on the calves and hamstrings and assume you’re ready to go for a run.
  • The goal of the warm up is to get the heart pumping to get the blood flowing and to wake up the joints and the nervous system. Don’t go so aggressively that you can’t talk to your running partner or sing along with Abba on your Spotify mix. If you’re going to go for a run, do a couple minutes of walking. If you’re going to do so lifting on a squat rack, go through a few reps with just the bar before adding weight.

I recall going to a Detroit Tigers game several years ago where before the game started, three Tigers were laying by 3rd base on their backs as they waited for the trainer to stretch out their hamstrings. While that may look like the way the 2018 Tigers performed (sorry, Tom), that’s not how baseball should look. Compare that to Curtis Granderson who was the center fielder at that time. His warm up was getting into the position of winding up to throw the ball into the infield and then doing various motions to get the spine and hips moving. Granderson was also a base stealer, and to prepare for this activity he would get into a small crouch, take a couple big steps to his right and then turn his hips and trunk to the right as if he was making a break for 2nd base.

Proper warm up practices deserve some of the credit for Curtis Granderson lasting 14 years in Major League Baseball, allowing him to function at a high level even at “advanced age” of 37.

And at the end of the workout, don’t forget about a cool down, unless you’re Tom Selleck who couldn’t possibly be any cooler.

The Month of Moustache Wisdom: Hercule Poirot

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The Month of Moustache Wisdom: Hercule Poirot

November is Men’s Health Month, and it is sometimes celebrated by men around the globe who draw attention to their health by not shaving for the month (“No Shave November”) or by growing a moustache (“Movember”). Here at i’move we’re celebrating men’s health by focusing on the wisdom of dudes with great moustaches.

First up is Hercule Poirot.

I love mystery novels. Something bad happens, and it typically involves blood, a pistol or a candlestick , and sometimes the butler. Thankfully there is a detective who can make sense of the clues, wade through the lies, the motives, and the alibis, and solve the case.

Recently I watched the latest version of Murder on the Orient Express. This remake of Agatha Christie’s 1934 novel of the same name starred Kenneth Branagh as the Belgian detective who is trapped on a train with thirteen others, one of whom was murdered in his room during the night. Poirot begins interviewing the other passengers, analyzing the clues to determine who is guilty.

There is a scene near the end of the movie when Poirot confronts all the passengers as a group, and he presents his theory of what happened. ***WARNING! I AM ABOUT TO GIVE AWAY THE ENDING OF THIS MOVIE. IF YOU WANT TO DISCOVER WHO DONE IT ON YOUR OWN, STOP READING, GO TO YOUR NETFLIX CUE AND REQUEST THIS MOVIE. THEN RETURN TO THIS BLOG***

Poirot has discovered that all 12 passengers had a connection to the deceased, and all had a motive to kill him. The only solution to the murder that made sense of all the clues is that they all participated in the murder; each of them stabbed the victim one time. They all are guilty.

My initial response to this twist was disappointment as I was sure that Michelle Pfeifer’s character was to blame. But then I realized the similarities between the conclusion of this movie and how our bodies and our medical system works.

Patients come to see us with a diagnosis. Sometimes they are told they have a rotator cuff tear, a sprained ankle, or a herniated disk. All of our medical system is set up to blame one culprit, and doctors rely on fancy, expensive machines to help with this diagnosis. Patients expect us to focus on the part that is guilty in making them hurt, but the reality is that the accused party has accomplices, and sometimes all of the body is guilty.

We see this pattern a lot with the knee which is in a dysfunctional, co-dependent relationship with the hip and the foot. The knee hurts, but the blame often lies with its neighbors. Imagine that those living on either side of your house don’t believe in raking their yards. You prefer a nice and tidy yard though, so you rake your own leaves plus all the leaves from next door that blow into your yard. Who is going to get sore, tired, and start to break down, you or your neighbors? To fix this imbalance, we should not just focus on telling you to ignore the leaves or that you need to get stronger. We need to get the neighbors doing what they’re supposed to do, so that you don’t have to do more than you can tolerate.

The morale of the story is, you need a musculoskeletal detective to solve your case.  Humans are amazingly complex machines with several parts that are either over-working or under-working (the guilty ones).  Once this is discovered, the correct treatment can be initiated, and the body works together like it’s supposed to. Case closed.

i'move Injury Screen

What is Physical Therapy? Empowerment though Listening, Learning and Collaboration.

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What is Physical Therapy? Empowerment through Listening, Learning and Collaboration.
by Andrew Young, DPT, Physical Therapist

Despite previous experiences that might quickly come to mind, Physical Therapy is more than a combination of stretching, strengthening and hands on treatment.

Physical therapy is empowerment.

When someone is empowered, it means they are confident regarding their situation. This concept can and should apply across the healthcare  spectrum and Physical Therapy is no exception.  The way we see it, there are three aspects of Physical Therapy that lead to empowerment.

Listening is the first aspect of Physical Therapy leading to empowerment. Listening is more involved than simply hearing a description of symptoms. It includes learning who you are as a unique individual. It includes learning your likes, your dislikes, and what activities enrich your life. The importance of this point cannot be overstated. Often, the expectation of Physical Therapy is that you will be told to stop participating in activities that you love. When these activities are the ones providing joy or meaning to your life, this request can be downright depressing. Occasionally limiting painful activities is part of the healing process, but, whenever possible, the goal of Physical Therapy is  to keep you active.  It is our responsibility to identify strategies which allow you keep participating in the activities you love. So breathe easy – you can keep moving!

The second aspect of Empowerment is Learning. There are many things to learn in Physical Therapy, most of which are unique to you and your situation. No individual, and therefore no individual ache or pain, is like any other. You are unique and your situation is unique. This is why step one -being heard- is so important. In Physical Therapy you will learn about the strength and resilience of the human body. You’ll learn that our bodies are made for movement. You will learn that pain, although frustrating, might be better described as “sensitivity” to certain movements, positions or activities. Most importantly, you will learn how to provide your body with the environment it needs to achieve your unique goals, and not anyone else’s.

The third aspect of Empowerment is Collaboration. Throughout your sessions, there will be collaboration between you and your Physical Therapist while designing a unique treatment plan. Muscles will not be stretched, and home exercise programs will not be assigned without your input. Your Physical Therapist will bring knowledge and experience to the table – but you will also have a say in the formation of a treatment strategy. Your input is invaluable because treatment plans are most effective when you believe in them.

In summary, a trip to your Physical Therapist can be described by the word empowerment because of the listening, learning and collaboration that will happen during your sessions. Such empowerment has the ability not only to improve your current quality of life, but also give you the tools to better manage future pain or movement limitations – without further reliance on the healthcare system to intervene. In Physical Therapy we don’t want to foster dependence on our services, but instead we want you to be more independent – and empowered – in the management of the aches and pains that life will inevitably throw your way.

“How much do I have to do my home exercises?”

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“How much do I have to do my home exercises?”
by Mike Klobucher, DPT, FAFS

This might be one of the most common questions we hear on a daily basis as physical therapists, and it is undoubtedly an important question to answer. It is important because we most effectively make lasting changes in our bodies through repeated movement. The body responding to this cumulative stimulus is what allows us to get stronger, become less sensitive (i.e. painful), improve flexibility, and refine our movement patterns. It would be lovely if a therapist could lay their hands on you and produce these same outcomes, but unfortunately, that simply isn’t the truth. Now, manual therapy (i.e. hands-on treatment) certainly has a large role in most of our treatment strategies at i’move, but it is typically in an effort to help the patient be more successful with what they ultimately do to change their situation…that being exercise. So, if exercise or movement training is important, how much do you we have to do to reach our goals? Three sets of ten reps sound familiar? How about three sets of nine or eleven reps? Why not eight sets of five or one set of fifty? The most honest answer to this conundrum is: we don’t know for sure. Now that you have ultimate confidence in us, let’s explore a few things surrounding this issue.

First, we can’t know for sure at the outset because it depends what the goal is. If it’s increased power or strength, you’re probably looking at lower reps and higher loads. If it’s increased endurance, you’re probably looking at higher reps and lower loads. If it’s more mobility you’re after, it’s probably going to take even more repetition. And if it’s changing, refining, or improving a certain movement pattern, research would suggest it’s probably going to take thousands, if not tens or hundreds of thousands of reps.

Second, there is plenty of evidence now that no two people will respond exactly the same to any particular exercise regimen. Therefore, the individual and all that makes them unique is going to play a role in determining the right amount of exercise including their personal schedule, pain sensitivity, current fitness level, and past experiences. We prioritize the individual , not a protocol.

Finally, we are usually seeing people in pain, and this needs to be taken into account as well when determining what the right amount of exercise is. It is important to “poke the bear,” so to speak, but crucial not to make it too angry. For example, we don’t consider it effective if someone recovering from an injury grits their teeth to finish their arbitrary three sets of ten but cannot walk normally for the rest of day due to increased pain. Is that effective exercise?

In the end, at i’move we use the general principles that have been researched regarding exercise volume but then really aim to come alongside the individual to test and experiment to find unique strategies that help you reach your functional goals without entering the pain cave. We are patient and committed to taking this journey with you because your goals are our goals, and no one, including us, can honestly say they know the right amount of exercise for you without investing in you and experimenting to find success. We abide in one-on-one individualized care because we believe that only by making this effort can one really discover their movement potential.

Ask a Physical Therapist To “Screen” Your Movements This Spring

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Ask a Physical Therapist To “Screen” Your Movements This Spring

Let’s talk about the last time you—or someone close to you—interviewed for a new job. Chances are that the first step was a phone screen with your potential employer, and when you passed that portion of the process with flying colors, you were then invited for an in-person interview. At that stage, the employer probably asked you to answer a series of questions and to demonstrate your skills through a test or two. The process is set up in a way that narrows down the options until the most suitable candidate is found. Makes sense, right?

Just as job recruiters screen applicants to find the best fit for an open position, your PT will ask you to perform a series of exercises so that she can observe and understand your body mechanics to uncover any issues or limitations. Used in combination with a full evaluation and assessment, these so-called movement screens are just one tool in identifying the most appropriate treatment or prevention program for you. But unlike that test you may have taken during a job interview, the screen is not testing your skills or abilities, it’s simply a way of identifying how your body functions during a variety of movements.

Now that spring is in full swing, it’s the perfect time of year to make an appointment with your physical therapist for a movement screen. The warmer weather means more time spent outdoors participating in sports and other recreational activities that may be physically demanding. A PT checkup that includes a movement screen will ensure that you’re physically able to engage in popular spring and summer adventures, whether it’s exploring in the woods, tending to your garden, or swimming at your family’s lake house.

Physical therapists perform movement screens for a variety of reasons, including:

• To identify areas of strength and weakness
• To uncover issues or rule them out
• To determine readiness to begin a safe exercise program
• To improve sport performance (for both novice and elite athletes)

A movement screen is something that you can have done whether you have a nagging injury or are simply ready to kickstart your activity level after a long hiatus. Gaining an understanding of how your body performs during basic exercises such as squats and lunges helps your PT ensure that you can safely jump on a bike or into a pool this summer. And just like an employer screens candidates to identify the one individual who is likely to thrive on the job for many years to come, a movement screen can help you develop a lasting and fulfilling relationship with the activities you enjoy most.

How Physical Therapy Helps Retirees Keep Dreams Alive During the Golden Years

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How Physical Therapy Helps Retirees Keep Dreams Alive During the Golden Years

Are you among the millions of Americans who have high aspirations for how you’ll spend the extra time during your post-retirement years? Whether you plan to travel the world, pick up fly fishing, spend more time woodworking or sign up for a golf league, your physical fitness level will be a factor.

One study suggests that the fitness declines we typically attribute to advancing age are largely caused by living sedentary lifestyles—which are on the rise due to the prominence of desk jobs in the workplace and activity-limiting personal technologies including smart phones and voice-activated remote controls in the home. Still, this runs contrary to the widely held belief that any declines in our physical abilities are caused solely by biological aging. Do we really have control over how active we’ll be in our “golden years”?

In a word, absolutely. The study—which examined 900,000 running times of marathon and half-marathon participants aged 20 to 79—found no significant age-related performance declines in those younger than 55 years old, and only moderate declines among the older cohorts. In fact, more than one-quarter of runners aged 65 to 69 were faster than half of the runners aged 20 to 54.

And for those thinking that these runners must have been lifelong enthusiasts of the sport, the study revealed that 25% of runners aged 50 to 69 were relative newcomers—and had started marathon training within the previous 5 years. The researchers concluded that even at an advanced age, people in the “non-athlete” category who engage in regular training can reach high performance levels.

If this revelation is intriguing, then perhaps it’s time for you to get moving! If you aren’t currently active, then you likely have questions and concerns about where to start. And if you regularly engage in physical activities, then you’ve probably set goals that you’d like to achieve. Either way, there’s no shortage of tools and resources to help you live a more active lifestyle but one reliable place to start is with a physical therapist.

The benefits of beginning with a physical therapist consultation are many: PTs are trained to assess your abilities and limitations, consider your health concerns, demonstrate safe exercises and build a plan to increase strength, function and mobility. Whatever your passion is, physical therapy will help you be fit and injury-free so you may enjoy life’s many pursuits.

Matt Chandler works with MSA athlete

Open Gym Saturdays

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Open Gym Saturdays Start January 20th

Beginning Saturday, January 20, 2018 i’move is hosting Open Gym Saturdays at the MSA Fieldhouse in Grand Rapids. This is a time for athletes to come in and work on strength straining or any one of the prescribed workouts by the attending trainer.

9am-11am
$10
MSA Fieldhouse
5435 28th St Ct SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546