Compiled by our Masters trained Physiotherapist Chris Smith. To book an appointment with Chris, or read his Meet the Team profile CLICK HERE


Foam rollers have grown in popularity over the last decade as a key piece of kit in gyms and home exercise settings. Their uses may vary from warm up prior to exercise, to for recovery afterwards, or simply to increase flexibility to aid in an exercise program. But what benefits do foam rollers provide us with and how might these be achieved in practice?

Research

A recent research review looking at the efficacy of foam rollers found they were better for some things that others (see here). For example, there may be a benefit in sprint performance following pre-foam rolling prior to sports activity. However, in recreational athletes, up to 62% of the population are likely to experience benefits in flexibility from pre-foam rolling as a warm-up prior to sport. Furthermore, this increased flexibility has been shown to be produced from as little as 30 seconds on a foam roller in the hamstring muscles. It has been suggested that these benefits may be due to increase in intramuscular temperature and blood flow. Also, foam rolling may stimulate pressure cells in our muscles which relay information to our brain to reduce pain sensation. This in turn may increase our stretch response to enable us to get a little more range in our downward dog!

When it comes to recovery, the main finding was that post-exercise foam rolling can help with reducing muscle pain sensation or soreness. This is important as muscle soreness has the potential to reduce performance in relation to sprinting, jumping and strength training. Therefore, if we can reduce soreness through foam rolling then this may provide some benefit to further athletic performance. However, this should not be used as an alternative to appropriate physical and mental rest, sleep and nutrition in your training to allow appropriate muscle and soft tissue recovery.

Application

Foam rollers can be likened to a form of self massage, providing some of the health benefits of manual therapy applied by a physiotherapist or massage therapist, although without that human connection and therapeutic relationship, which has a large role to play in positive outcomes. However, multiple lockdowns this year have left us working from home without the option of visiting our favorite therapists.Therefore, a foam roller provides a great self-management option during lockdown, holidays or when away on business and you can't see your therapist.

Take home message

A foam roller can be a great addition to your warm up routine. Only spend 30-60 seconds on each area and then perform a dynamic warm up and stretch routine after to increase flexibility and blood flow prior to exercise. There is no need to spend 10 minutes rolling an area. If you’re going to roll for recovery 2 x 45-60 seconds on each major muscle group to reduce muscle soreness as part of a cool down, which should include adequate physical and mental rest, sleep and nutrition.

If you don't yet have a foam roller as part of your exercise equipment visit our online store to see our range on offer.

Compiled by our Masters trained Physiotherapist Kirsten Rose. To book an appointment with Kirsten, or read her Meet the Team profile CLICK HERE

What is a Health Coach?

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. - WHO (1948)

Most people want to be healthy and well, but there is an enormous gap between those thoughts and the everyday reality of actually making it happen. Nearly all of us can probably identify with a time in our lives where we wanted to get healthier, be more active, lose weight, be less stressed, be happier….the list can be endless. Also most of us can probably reflect on how making the required changes was much harder than we might have initially thought it would be. We start off with a hiss and a roar, but then our motivation wanes, our old habits creep back in, and we give up on our new way of life. Sound familiar?

If your answer is yes, then don’t beat yourself up too much. Inside every one of us is the urge to stay with the status quo, resisting change or challenges outside of our comfort zone. There’s another part, deep inside, that whispers to us that maybe we could change, maybe we could actually achieve those health goals and live the healthy lifestyle we dream of. But change is hard so those whispers often don’t get the chance to grow louder. The reality is that most of us need to build new life skills in order to create a truly sustainable plan for our well-being. We need to learn to believe in our own ability to take charge of our health and to implement the necessary changes. Our day-to-day lives are full of small choices that could help us inch our way to the life we want to create, however, in the modern day world there appears to be an overwhelming amount of choice so often we don’t know which ones are right for us.

Health Coaching encompasses the sciences of positive psychology, behaviour change, nutrition, exercise science and lifestyle medicine with the dynamic art of relationships, teamwork and community. As a Health Coach, I am a behavior change specialist who supports you to make sustainable diet, lifestyle, and habit changes that will actually work for you.  I help you optimise your health and well-being by enhancing your resourcefulness, self-regulation, and self-motivation, so that you can successfully navigate the journey of change. 

Some common areas that clients wish to work on include:

If you think that Health Coaching could help you on your journey to better health and wellness then take advantage of the 30 minute free sample consultation. These are available in the clinic or online. 

When you consider it takes up to 40 weeks or more to create a tiny human, you would think mothers would relax and give their bodies time to restore. Instead, according to a 2014 survey of 1,500 women in the United Kingdom, 40 per cent of new mums feel pressured into losing weight quickly. A 2015 study by the American journal Obstetrics & Gynecology found that 75 per cent of women don't achieve their pre-baby weight one year post-birth, while UK-based research revealed it takes an average of 19 months to get close to pre-pregnancy weight.

In my experience I see a huge number of women who have returned to exercise too soon, and too intensively - meaning they've come to see me with aches and strains on their pelvic floor function. Mothers must remember that you have just performed one of the most incredible things – developing and giving birth to a tiny human. Time and patience are vital.

Respect for the healing process is key. If you had an uncomplicated, natural delivery, you might feel tender for five weeks or more, and it is advisable to wait until your six-week, post-partum check-up before returning to gentle exercise. A caesarean section can require six to 12 weeks' recovery, depending on your body, and you should always wait for the green light from your doctor before starting any physical activity.

After six weeks for a natural delivery or eight to 10 weeks for caesarean section, you can start gentle low-impact exercise, such as cycling, cross trainer, Pilates, yoga and light weights. Avoid high-impact exercise such as running and aerobics until four to six months after giving birth. Exercise on your hands and knees or in bridge position should also wait until after six weeks.

Consider the first three months after birth as the 'fourth trimester' – a time of rest, recovery and irreplaceable moments with your newborn. Eat to nourish your body rather than trying to lose weight and under no circumstances try diet pills, liquid diets or other weight-loss products, which can be harmful to you and your baby if you are breastfeeding.

Blood lost during and after delivery can also lead to iron deficiency, which exacerbates the chronic fatigue that new mothers often experience. Fill up on iron-rich food such as free-range, grass-fed organic beef, dark green, leafy vegetables and dark beans such as kidney or aduki beans, and avoid too many raw foods (unless in easily digestible green juice or smoothie form) as these require more energy to process.

Breastfeeding mums who are tempted to cut calories to lose weight should also be aware that you need, in general, up to 500 more calories a day to support the process. Lactogenic foods can help with milk supply issues, try consuming things like moringa [add to smoothies to help mask the taste], oatmeal, brewer's yeast, salmon and fenugreek seeds.

I recommend booking in for a Women's Health physio appointment after your six week check-up. At this appointment we can check your pelvic floor function, discuss any developing aches and pains, discuss specific exercises for you to do/avoid, and give you some general piece of mind over your body changes.

We also have a number of specialty pre / post natal pilates classes. These group sessions are tailored for individual abilities and allow you to exercise safely and encourage movement through your body. To join a pregnancy, or mums & bubs class we do require you to have a 1-1 prep session first just to make sure you're not in any pain, and to identify any potential complications.

Our reception team is happy to discuss with you your best options and to assist with booking. 093664480 or admin@aucklandphysiotherapy.co.nz

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