Physiotherapy Clinic in Ville-Saint-Laurent

Back to School Safety Tips

It’s that time of year again, and despite the extra focus right now on the health and safety of students, it can be easy to overlook the more traditional injuries that kids face. Going back to school means changing lifestyle, and it’s important to prepare young kids and teenagers alike with proper equipment and habits.

Let’s take a look at the major ways you can keep your youngsters safe:

Issue #1: Backpacks

It’s no secret that carrying heavy backpacks can cause back issues – everything from mild discomfort, to headaches, to chronic back pain. Over half of children face these problems at some point. So choosing the appropriate backpack for your child and educating them on how to use it properly is crucial.

When shopping for a backpack, look for:

  • Proportionality. A backpack should be the appropriate size for your child – essentially covering the width of their back and spanning from their shoulders to the tops of their hips.
  • Straps. A good backpack should have two adjustable, wide and padded straps that cushion weight, and that can be tightened to ensure proper weight distribution. Single strap backpacks or backpacks with narrow straps concentrate weight and can interfere with circulation.
  • Additional support. Many good backpacks come with sternum or chest straps to help secure the bag, prevent it from swinging around and alleviate some of the pressure on the back.

When packing and wearing a backpack, it’s important to:

  • Respect weight limits. A child should not carry more than 10% of their body weight in a backpack. Exceeding this can affect posture and cause spinal compression. Planning ahead will help avoid the need to carry a lot on the same day.
  • Pack carefully. Heavier items should be closer to the body and near the bottom of the pack. Empty out the backpack frequently to eliminate unnecessary weight.
  • Wear it tightly. Tightening straps and using all available straps – even on short walks – will help prevent injury. Low and loose puts more stress on the spine and discs. Aim for high and tight.
  • Remember posture. When wearing a backpack, stand tall with shoulders down and head and neck aligned. It’s important not to hunch over to compensate for too heavy a load.

Issue #2: Posture

Sitting in front of a computer all day, or hunched over a desk or books, will wreak havoc with your child’s posture and potentially cause not only back issues, but also hand and wrist problems and eye strain. To minimize risk as much as possible, encourage your kids to:

  • Sit upright, whether at a computer or a desk. Shoulders should be down and pulled back, neck and head aligned and held upright.
  • Place screens at eye level. If possible, use adjustable chairs and/or monitors to achieve this, avoiding laptops on the lap wherever possible.
  • Keep wrists in a neutral position when typing on a keyboard.
  • Take breaks every 30 minutes or so, to rest the eyes, stretch, and take a brief moment to stand and move around.

Issue #3: Activity

Movement fuels healthy bodies, but schools can be very sedentary. Luckily, there are ways to ensure your child gets enough activity, regardless of their preferences:

  • Educate them on the importance of stretching, movement breaks, and frequent vigorous exercise. Lead by example, and if possible investigate team sports or active extracurricular activities to help them get enough exercise. Walking to and from school instead of driving can be an easy way to increase their daily activity.
  • Equip them with proper footwear to prevent injury when running around – whether in the playground or when playing a sport. Good shoes can prevent slips, falls, sprains, strains, and blisters, and support good posture.
  • Encourage safe movement. For example, when picking up their backpack, they should bend their knees and lift with their legs, rather than stooping to pick it up.

It’s impossible to completely avoid all injuries, so if your child is suffering from back pain, headaches, or problems with their wrists, hands, neck, or shoulders, consult with a physician or physiotherapist to get them some relief and prevent these issues from escalating.

Injury Prevention as Gyms Reopen

For most of us it’s been months since we’ve been able to exercise at the gym, and as a result workout routines have fallen by the wayside. As Canada starts reopening its gyms, it’s important to understand how to safely reboot your exercise regime.

Injury Prevention Tips

It’s very easy to injure yourself as you begin working out – even if your body was used to intense exercise prior to the shutdown. Injuries can come in many forms, including:

  • Muscle strains
  • Joint injuries
  • Tendinopathy

At particular risk are the knees and shoulders, and high impact exercise has greater risk than low impact options. Eagerness to get started may mean you want to jump right back on that treadmill, but remember that your body is no longer used to vigorous exercise and has lost some of its elasticity. This is especially true if you have been unable to work out at all during the past few months. To ensure you’re properly taking care of your body as you return to the gym, follow these simple steps:

1. Warm Up and Cool Down

Warming up slowly increases your heart rate, while warming your muscles and joints, and properly prepares your body for exercise. Similarly, cooling down helps your body to recover after a workout, and gently reduces your heart rate in a safe manner.

2. Stretch

Stretch after your workout, as it’ll help increase flexibility and decrease the chances of delayed muscle soreness.

3. Vary Your Exercise

Overuse of one set of muscles makes repetitive strain injuries more likely; so as you return to the gym, remember to vary your routine, and do something different each day. Maybe run one day, then lift weights the next, then swim the next.

4. Quality Over Quantity

It’s likely your form has deteriorated as you have been away from the gym, so pay attention to how your body is positioned as you exercise. This is especially important when lifting weights. Make sure you are prioritizing correct form, over simply completing as many reps as you can. Use a mirror, a friend or a trainer to help you keep an eye on your posture.

5. Get Your Health Provider’s Approval

If you have any health concerns, or if you have been inactive for months, it’s a good idea to get approval from your health provider’s before restarting at the gym. If nothing has changed with your health, they will likely just advise you to go slow, but if anything has changed or if you have been sick, ensure you are safe to workout.

6. Pace Yourself

Lastly, remember to pace yourself. Keeping the same level of fitness with home workouts as you had at the gym is nearly impossible, so it’s likely you won’t be in as good a shape as you were a few months ago. Don’t beat yourself up about this; take rests as you need to, and don’t overdo it. An injury will set you back far more than simply going a little more slowly!

If Injury Occurs

If you do find something hurts after a workout, remember to:

● Ice the affected area

● If needed, Wrap the injured area in a bandage or compression wrap

● Rest it

● Take anti-inflammatory or pain killers if required, but do not take continuously without seeing your doctor

● If pain persists, see your doctor or physio

Staying Safe in Public Spaces

Lastly, it’s worth remembering that returning to the gym won’t be business as usual, for anybody. New measures will be in place at all gyms to ensure everyone’s safety. Follow all of the guidelines your gym lays out, wear face masks wherever possible (and remember that sports face masks are available for those engaged in heavy cardio), and sanitize your hands and equipment thoroughly before and after use. It is possible to stay active and healthy, with just a little extra thought!

Benefits & Risks of Alpine Skiing

Alpine skiing is one of Canada’s most popular winter sports, with about 2.6 million people taking part annually. It has the double benefit of being both incredibly exhilarating and excellent exercise. It does come with risks though, so if you’re a regular skier, or considering taking up the sport, here’s what you need to know:

Benefits of Alpine Skiing

1. A mix of exercise types

Skiing is a great way to get some exercise, in particular because it combines both endurance and resistance training. This means that, compared to other sports, it packs more punch for the time spent; and it doesn’t even feel like work!

2. Boosts healthy heart

Research by cardiologists shows that alpine skiing is equivalent to cycling or rowing in terms of its benefits to heart health. A leisurely descent on a smooth run may not have quite the same impact as a heart-thumping hop through deep powder, but in either case you are helping your body to improve insulin resistance and glucose metabolism, lower blood pressure and lipids, and improve body composition.

3. Strengthens bones and joints

Skiing means bearing your weight on your legs, and using your knees to turn and move. This strengthens the larger muscles in the lower part of the body and the bones and joints in your legs, knees and hips. This can decrease the risk of osteoporosis and knee damage in the future.

4. Improves balance and coordination

Skiing is all about balance, and learning how to remain upright by using your core strength is a great way to retain your sense of balance as you advance in years – which can help you avoid falls. You also get to practice coordination and flexibility as you ski, which allows you to avoid strains and sprains more effectively too.

5. Boosts mood and improves sleep

Spending the day outside in the sunshine, breathing in the crisp air and experiencing the thrill of alpine skiing is sure to put a smile on your face. And the natural fatigue that comes after such exercise improves sleep duration and quality. Research shows that engaging in alpine skiing is also a great indicator of a generally active, healthy lifestyle.

Risks of Alpine Skiing

There is obviously a risk of injury when engaging in any type of skiing (or indeed any sport), but the risks can be significantly ameliorated by:

 

  1. Proper use of equipment
  2. Staying within your ability levels
  3. Consideration of the conditions

 

Changing weather, uncertain snow or ice conditions, busy slopes, or the presence of obstacles all make injury more likely and potentially more severe. It’s advisable, if you are a new skier, to take things slowly, remember to warm up beforehand and to stretch afterwards, and if possible seek the help of an instructor to ensure your form is designed to protect your body. Falling need not be injurious, as long as you know how to do it safely!

Manage Your Return To Physical Activity Without Injury

Manage Your Return To Physical Activity Without Injury

A new year is here, and with it the popular desire to do more exercise. Whether it’s a New Year’s resolution, a long-delayed intention, or simply the return to normal after an indulgent holiday season, beginning to exercise after a long period of inactivity can have its dangers

Read this article to know how manage your return to physical activity without injury.

The Risks

The risk of injury to the body is highest when starting a new exercise regime. Damaged muscles, weakness, excessive tiredness, faintness, and more serious musculoskeletal injuries are all possible if you’re not careful.

Protect Yourself

Protect your body by following some simple steps:

  • Check with your doctor or physiotherapist

Always check with your physician/physiotherapist before starting any new physical fitness program, to ensure your cardiovascular system is functioning well and that physical strain and increased activity won’t cause any harm.

  • Start slow

The commonest mistake when resuming activity is to try and do too much at once. Regardless of your physical condition, remember to start gradually and build intensity slowly. This will avoid injuries that set you back by days or weeks, or that require medical intervention.

  • Warm-up properly

Warming-up is vital to preventing injury. Warming-up thoroughly before every workout. Take time to do this – it should not be an afterthought, but an essential part of your routine.

  • Listen to your body

Nothing is more important than listening to your body. Only you can determine if you’re fatigued, faint, or in pain. Ignoring these ques will result in illness or injury, which will only get worse if left ignored.

  • Set goals

Set small, realistic goals for yourself, and check against them as you go. This can help with motivation and pacing, but should not be used as an excuse to overdo it. If you meet your goals then reward yourself, perhaps with a rest day, but if you miss them perhaps it’s a sign they were too ambitious.

 

To conclude, even small injuries can become problematic. Taking care of yourself when getting back out there is the surest way to achieve your fitness goals!

Schedule an appointment with our team of physiotherapists.

Physio Proactive, 2018.

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