Getting Your Kids Ready for School Sport

With the 2024 school year already well underway and winter sports for both school and club just around the corner, it seems like a good time to discuss how to prepare our young athletes for success. With schools taking sport increasingly seriously each year, training volume and intensity are very high for most young athletes. Whilst this isn’t inherently a bad thing, it means that training needs to be smarter! In this post, we’ll outline five essential training tips to help young competitors excel in their chosen sports, while safeguarding their physical well-being.

 

    1. Structured Warm-Up Routine:
      Young athletes should begin each training session or game with a structured warm-up routine to prepare their bodies for the demands ahead. Emphasize dynamic movements like jogging, skipping, leg swings, and arm circles to increase heart rate, improve blood flow, and activate key muscle groups. Avoid static stretches (long holds) during a warm up as this will decrease muscle performance. A thorough warm-up not only enhances performance but also reduces the risk of injuries.

  1. Sport-Specific Skill Development:
    To excel in their chosen sport, school athletes must dedicate time to develop their sport-specific skills. Whether it’s mastering a jump shot in basketball, perfecting a serve in tennis, or honing tackling techniques in rugby, consistent practice is key. Encourage athletes to focus on drills and exercises that directly improve their technical proficiency and game understanding. Having good form during sport specific movements and an understanding of the game will also help prevent injury, as players are less likely to make poorly executed, reckless movements if they are thinking ahead.
  2. Strength and Conditioning Training:
    A well-rounded strength and conditioning program is essential for school athletes to improve performance and prevent injuries. Introduce athletes to foundational body weight exercises such as squats, lunges, push-ups, and core exercises to build strength, stability, and muscular endurance. Emphasize proper form and technique to ensure safe and effective training sessions. Young athletes should stick to bodyweight movements unless supervised by a qualified exercise professional.
  3. Rest and Recovery:
    A crucial part of training that should not be overlooked is rest and recovery. School athletes often juggle rigorous training schedules with academic responsibilities, leaving little time for rest. It is important to educate athletes on the significance of adequate sleep, hydration, and nutrition for optimal recovery and performance. Encourage them to listen to their bodies and incorporate rest days into their training regimen to prevent burnout and overuse injuries. Remember, it is during rest that our bodies gain muscle strength – all that strength and endurance training is for nothing if the body doesn’t have the chance to adapt to it!
  4. Injury Prevention Strategies:
    Injuries can sideline young athletes and hinder their progress on the field. Teach them proactive strategies to minimize the risk of common sports injuries, such as proper warm-up and cool-down routines, dynamic stretching, and cross-training to prevent muscle imbalances. Emphasize the importance of reporting any signs of discomfort or pain to coaches and seek professional guidance from our physiotherapists when needed.

By following these essential training tips, our young athletes can maximize their potential on the field while safeguarding their physical well-being. At Stafford Physiotherapy and Pilates, we’re committed to supporting young athletes on their journey to success. If any sports-related injuries or concerns arise, our team of experienced physiotherapists is here to provide personalized care and guidance. Together we can empower the next generation to thrive both in sports and in life!

Meet Our Team: Jody

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What motivates you?

My motivation stems from professional development. The joy of seeing substantial improvements in client health after treatment motivates me to strive for more every day.

 

What’s your favourite 3pm snack?

Salted nuts like cashews and pistachios are my favorite.  When I am in the mood for something sweet, I choose chocolate chip cookies.

 

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Improving patient outcomes through clinical decison-making and therapeutic skills.

 

What’s your favourite part of the day?

The magic hour, especially around sunset, provides a magnificent view and an opportunity to unwind because rational thinking is not necessary. There is a sense of calm and relaxation.

 

If you weren’t a physio, what would you be?

Be a psychologist, promote mental health

 

What’s your favourite restaurant/ cafe?

Brisbane has many great food options, but the newly opened Yahoo Kitchen in Westfield Mount Gravatt stands out. I highly recommend it!

 

Would you rather dance, or do karaoke?

Dancing to the song’s rhythm is my go-to, it’s more cheerful and fun.

Meet Our Team: Brad

Meet our team:

In 2024, we have welcomed new graduate Physiotherapist Brad Arthars to Stafford Physiotherapy and Pilates.

What motivates you? 

That I can make an impact on the lives of those who endure discomfort and pain in their day to day lives

What’s your favourite 3pm snack?

Pfeffernüsse – also known as peppernuts. Small spice cookies.

What do you enjoy most about your job? 

Providing relief in patient symptoms, or improvement in overall function.

What’s your favourite part of the day? 

Dawn – there’s something special about living in Eastern Australia and watching the sunrise over the water.

If you weren’t a physio, what would you be?

A prosthetist (making prosthetics).

What’s your favourite restaurant/ cafe?

Great question – I don’t have one! I am always open to suggestions!

Would you rather dance, or do karaoke? 

Do karaoke – my dancing skills are yet to develop.

Putting on the oxygen mask

“Finding the time” – a phrase that I have so often sprouted when asked about my current exercise regime. During times of study, I had intentionally exercised twenty times – for someone well educated in the benefits of regular exercise, this was not great. I had all the reasons for this downpat: from a broken tailbone that bugged me for 4 years, to moving house: I always had a response ready. When it comes to “practice what you preach,” this was not my finest moment.

Here are a handful of tips that I have found useful in my pursuit of returning to regular exercise and giving myself that time

  • Do not start with a strict hour. If you can slot 10 minutes of something in, that is better than nothing.
  • Consistency: charging at exercise like a bull at a gate, will only last for so long. Aim for consistency – 10 minutes a day is better than 1hr a week….fortnight…..month – I think you get the picture.
  • Not all exercise involves a treadmill – prefer riding a bike or taking your dog for a walk? (Me too!) Calf raises whilst waiting for your coffee/kettle to boil, or wall squats whilst planning your day – these activities can all add up!
  • Talk to your physio or exercise professional about tailoring your exercises to slot into your daily routine/s.
  • A sore arm, back, leg or neck does not mean that exercise cannot be performed.
    • Have any current or recurrent issue/pain assessed and treated.
    • Tailoring of exercises by trained professionals
    • Returning to any physical activity gradually
    • LISTEN TO YOUR BODY

In a time where “sitting is the new smoking,” regular exercise is incredibly important. Yes, everyone should have intentional down time, time to relax. Both sides of the coin are equally important.

Tips For Long Car Rides

Raine’s Top 3 for Surviving Long Car Trips

 

As we come to the busy festive season, many people set out for the long drive interstate to visit family. Just the thought of being cooped up in a car for hours on end might make you start to ache. After just returning from a driving trip to Sydney, Raine has some great ideas to help you arrive at the other in better shape, and hopefully not flare up your old neck and back issues.

 

 

1. Settle in!

Driving should be all about comfort without compromising on safety, we need to ensure that we are close enough to the wheel and pedals so that our elbows and knees are in a relaxed bend (about 30 degrees). You shouldn’t need to be reaching for things, this includes taking things out of your pockets to prevent having to get them later or making us uncomfortable by sitting on them. Don’t forget to recline that seat just a bit, we don’t need to be sitting super straight for a long drive.

 

2. Take breaks!

We want to slip, slop, slap on long drives and even if it’s not sunny, the sun is still out. Don’t forget to stop and reapply, take a load off, have a coffee and do some exercises. It doesn’t have to be a whole routine, walking around the car park a few times is good and if you can do a fast walk, that’s great. Practice some squats or sit to stand off the bench, or some push-ups if you’re feeling up for it. Stretches are great and doing some twists for the lower back or some forward bends are essential, neck stretches can come in handy as well for those who get a sore neck after a while.

 

3. Have Fun!

Play some music and do a little chair dance, moving around doesn’t just have to be when you stop the car. See if you can use some of those arm muscles and practice pressing your back into the chair for ten seconds, or use those neck muscles by pressing the head into the headrest.

 

Just the thought ‘driving’ you crazy?

Get into your nearest clinic for some advice and some treatment for those aches and pains.

Why strength training in adolescent dancers is so important

Dance is an art form that demands grace, precision and boundless creativity. Adolescent dancers, in particular, are at a critical stage of physical and artistic development. As they strive to achieve their full potential, it is essential to recognise the significant role that strength training plays in nurturing their talent. Beyond the aesthetics of dancing, comes the demands of physical strength. Strength training offers numerous benefits that can elevate a young dancer’s performance and ensure a sustainable and successful career.

 

Let’s explore the importance of strength training in adolescent dancers and how it can shape them into strong, versatile and injury-resistant performers.

 

  1. Building a solid foundation

Strength training provides adolescent dancers with a solid physical foundation, which is crucial for mastering the demanding skills required. Focused exercises help to develop overall strength, stability and balance muscle development. As adolescent dancers grow, this foundation becomes the backbone of their dance practice, allowing them to execute complex movements with ease and elegance.

 

 

  1. Enhancing flexibility and range of motion

Contrary to common misconceptions, strength training complements flexibility training. Strengthening muscles around the joints enhances a dancer’s range of motion while reducing the risk of injury. By supporting their flexibility with strength, adolescent dancers can achieve more extensive movements safely allowing them to reach their full potential as performers.

 

  1. Injury prevention

Dancers are susceptible to injuries due to the unique physical demands placed on them. Incorporating strength training into their routine can significantly reduce the risk of common dance-related injuries. Strengthening the muscles also helps stabilise the joints, providing additional protection during challenging skills and dance routines.

 

  1. Improving endurance and stamina

Dancing requires substantial physical endurance and stamina. Strength training helps increase muscle endurance, allowing dancers to sustain high intensity performances without fatigue. As their cardiovascular fitness improves, they can better maintain their energy levels throughout the intensive rehearsals, auditions and performances.

 

  1. Boosting Confidence

Physical strength is intrinsically linked to mental fortitude. As adolescent dancers witness their bodies becoming more capable and resilient through strength training, their confidence grows both inside and outside the studio. This new-found confidence extends to their dance performance, allowing them to take risks and push boundaries, ultimately elevating their artistic expression and performance.

 

  1. How to motivate a young dancer to perform strength training

Perhaps the most important question, how? The simple answer is strength training in whichever way the performer enjoys the most whether it be strength training at the gym, gym classes, a personalised program from a physiotherapist, barre or reformer Pilates. It can often be challenging to encourage even the most dedicated performer to comply with a strength training program but there is one way to always make it more fun, do it with friends, in a group class or a with a team- a way that makes it more social and enjoyable for everyone.

 

The significance of strength training in adolescent dancers cannot be overstated. As they embark of their journey as performers, building a solid physical foundation, preventing injuries and enhancing flexibility are paramount. The fusion of strength and grace elevates their artistry, enabling them to become well-rounded, versatile and confident dancers. Dance is not just about movement; it’s a harmonious interplay of strength, and beauty that comes alive when nurtured with passion, determination, dedication and discipline.

5 Tips for returning to sport

Follow what Greg has learned on returning to soccer at 30

This year, amidst my ongoing quarter life crisis, I decided to return to playing soccer again. Now that I am in my thirties and don’t allocate as much time as I would like to exercise, a team sport that required me to train and play weekly seemed like a good way to force the issue. In any case, it had been seven years since I last played a full game, and two years since I ran for longer than 20 minutes at a time. It was safe to say that training for two hours and playing a 90 minute competitive game every week would represent a dramatic increase in soft tissue and joint loading – loading that my body was in no way ready for.

 

This large spike in activity level dramatically increases the risk of injury. With this in mind, I am writing this so that you can learn from my mistakes. Here are five simple tips that anyone can use to return to sport (or any other activity) as injury free and optimistically as possible:

 

  1. Steady increase in workload

Planning is important! In the weeks, or ideally months, leading up to the start of the activity you should gradually increase your workload. Think of where you are now, where you need to be, then gradually start bridging this gap. Incremental increases will allow your joints and soft tissue to adapt to load as it increases. Increasing load too rapidly will overload your soft tissue and result in tendon and/or joint inflammation.

  1. Warm up and cool down

Make sure to spend at least 15 minutes warming up before vigorous activity. This might include a light jog, some stretching and some activity specific drills. When warming up, stretches should always be dynamic – these stretches are moved in and out of, rather than held, and will improve muscle elasticity without decreasing strength performance. Cooling down is the best time to increase general flexibility – static (or held) stretches are best at this stage to increase muscle length while you are warm from activity.

  1. Optimise recovery

Rest and recovery are a vital part of any training. The use of foam rollers, spiky balls, ice baths and massage are often overlooked. This should be built into your routine and should be done on rest days to prepare the body for upcoming activity. Adequate sleep and a balanced diet are also an important factor in the way our soft tissue recovers after activity as the body needs an array of nutrients to repair and recover effectively.

  1. Listen to your body

Pain is sometimes a helpful friend – it is your brain’s way of warning you that you might be causing damage. Of course, this is not always the case. Pain of around 2-3/10 is usually acceptable when increasing training load. If you begin to feel a bit more fatigued or sore than usual, it is likely because your body is struggling to keep up the demands your activity is placing on it. This might be a good indication to either give yourself an extra day for recovery or to reduce your current workload to a more suitable amount.

  1. Get your niggles sorted

If you have been struggling with pain that is beyond normal soreness, is limiting your activity or has not fully resolved over a 3-4 day period, this is the best time to see your physiotherapist for an assessment and treatment. The longer these issues are left, the worse the outcome usually is – the ‘just push through it’ approach has never worked for anyone. Seeing us early will allow us to create a rehab plan, address any predisposing risk factors, and get you back to activity as soon as possible.

Top 5 Exercises To Keep Your Shoulder Healthy

In the shoulder, the higher the mobility, the lower the stability. However, this theory is not applied on a healthy shoulder. The shoulder is a complex joint that allows the arm moving in a circular motion, also, the joint has four muscles formed as a group called the rotator cuff muscles, which work in a balanced way to stabilise our shoulder.

The rotator cuff muscles
Let’s figure out the locations and the primary functions.

Refer to the diagram below, the rotator cuff muscles include the Supraspinatus (initiates the abduction), Infraspinatus (with the action of external rotation), Teres minor (helping the action of external rotation) and Subscapularis (with the action of internal rotation).

The rotator cuff muscles are important to us.
How can we protect it?
There are few tips to keep the shoulder healthy.

1. Keep a good posture
Chest open, engage core muscles by elongating the spine. Avoid ‘poking out the chin’ and ‘rounded shoulders’, so that the rotator cuff muscles work with proper biomechanics.

2. Avoid repetitive and heavy overhead activities
These are the predisposing factors to develop the rotator cuff tears or tendinopathy (previously known as tendinitis).

3. Regular exercises
Strengthening can prevent rotator cuff tendinopathy or impingement syndrome with age or degenerative changes.

4. Consultation
If you have any shoulder pain, stiffness or weakness, always seek the guidance of your physiotherapist. We can refer on if we think you need investigations or a medical consultation.

 

Top 5 Exercises for Healthy Shoulders

Here are some of the shoulder exercises which can train our shoulder stay strong and healthy. If any of these give you pain, see your physiotherapists for some easier exercises.

 

1. Wall Angels
Good to warm up your shoulder. Do it slowly and with control.

Start standing with shoulders and head touching the wall.
Draw the shoulder blade inward and downward.
Bend your elbow. Keep the forearm touching the wall.
Bring your arms up as high as you can get them, then return and repeat.

 

2 Scapular Retraction – putting arms in position ‘L’, ‘M’, ‘Y’, ‘T’
Improve the upper back and shoulder blade muscles strength. Too easy? Add some light weights!

Lie on your front with your forehead rested on a small towel.
Move your arms out to your sides then bend your UL in ‘L’, ‘M’, ‘Y’, or ‘T’
Keeping your chest and head in contact with the floor throughout, squeeze your shoulder blades together, and then arms off the floor.
Hold this position for 5 seconds. Relax and repeat.

 

3 Shoulder Elevation with Thera band
Shoulder elevation with shoulder stabilization.

Stand up straight facing a wall.
Loop a resistance band around both of your wrists.
Keeping this control with your shoulder blades, brings the arm up and down.

 

4 Gym Ball Wall Bounces

Raise the gym ball to shoulder height in one hand.
When ready, bounce the ball against the wall whilst keeping your elbow at shoulder height.

 

5 Arm Lift on Foam Roller
Arm strengthening exercise with cores muscle engagement.

Lie on top of a foam roller supporting head and buttock, draw shoulder blade inward and downward, flatten the lower back, feet on the floor.
Hold a pair of dumbbell and lift arms up and down.

Common Myths About Back Pain

Low back pain is one of the most common conditions treated by physiotherapists and if you are unlucky enough t

o have been a sufferer, you know that severe back pain can take over your life. With improved understanding, health professionals have come to identify some common myths about back pain that are inaccurate, misleading or even counterproductive.

Myth #1 – Discs can ‘slip’ out of place

Sitting between the vertebrae of the spine are soft discs that provide flexibility and shock absorption to the spine. In the past, many health professionals including doctors and physiotherapists told patients that these discs had ‘slipped’ as a way of explaining their pain to them. While this was helpful to some extent, it is not entirely accurate, as these discs are actually very secure and rarely, if ever ‘slip’ out of place. Discs may bulge slightly or in some cases tear, however more often than not these injuries will heal without any permanent damage and exist in many people without causing any pain at all. Thinking that a part of your spine has permanently ‘slipped’ out of place can cause you to move differently, which can create more pain and dysfunction in itself.

Myth #2 – If you have low back pain, you should stay in bed

When back pain strikes, our natural instinct is to rest, avoid movement and wait for the pain to pass. However, studies have shown that being active and performing targeted, gentle exercises can help improve low back pain. In fact, our impulse to stop moving and protect our spines can actually cause abnormal movement patterns and stress, leading to ongoing pain after the original injury has healed. If you are unsure of what kind of exercises you should be doing, your physiotherapist can help guide you with a targeted exercise program.

Pain that is severe, and strikes suddenly, without warning can be a very scary experience. If this happens to you, you could be forgiven for assuming you must have sustained a very serious injury. The fact is, however, that the spine, being surrounded by nerves is a particularly sensitive area of the body and pain in this area can be very strong without significant damage. A small ligament sprain or muscle tear can actually cause a large amount of pain and it is common for severe pain to settle down quickly, even disappearing within a few days. In many cases, symptoms that last for longer than 2-3 weeks are caused by changes to your movement patterns in response to this pain and not the original injury itself.

If you are suffering from back pain, the best person to see is your physiotherapist. They can help you to recover without any complications or side effects and help you safely return to your usual activities while also ruling out any serious damage that might need further investigation.

None of the information in this article is a replacement for proper medical advice. Always see a medical professional for advice on your individual injury.

What Does a Physiotherapist Do?

 

Many people know the value that physiotherapy brings to their life and some have even been visiting their physiotherapist since childhood. However, for those who have never been to see a physiotherapist before, there can be a question mark over exactly what it is that physiotherapists do. In fact, this is one of the most common questions physiotherapists are asked.

What is the main job of a physiotherapist?

The answer is tricky, because physiotherapists do so much. Primarily, we might be described as pain management experts, as we work to reduce the pain of our patients, from those who have suffered a new injury, to those who have had pain for several years. We first identify the cause of the pain and then provide manual therapy techniques, education and management strategies to help our patient understand, manage and reduce their pain.

While pain is usually the first thing that brings patients to see a physiotherapist, this pain has often caused patients to give up activities that they love and can even be getting in the way of everyday tasks. Many of us reduce our activity levels to reduce pain without even realizing it. Physiotherapists are able to identify which areas you are struggling in and why this is occurring.

By identifying the cause of your symptoms, we can help to get you back to full function. Physiotherapists are able to do this for everyone including elite athletes and those dealing with serious disabilities. In fact, physiotherapists have a role to play at practically every stage of life.

We can assess infants to monitor their motor skills development and as they grow we help them deal with the pains and vulnerabilities of a growing body. Among other things, we can help improve the function of athletes, assist in preventing injuries, help those with pelvic floor dysfunction and work to prevent falls in the elderly.

Not just exercises and massage.

Physiotherapists offer a range of treatments, from targeted stretches, manual therapies, dry needling, exercises and massage. Physiotherapists are also committed educators and take our role as such seriously.

A huge part of recovering from pain and injury comes from understanding what is happening and how to best manage these issues. Rather than create a dependency on their therapist, we aim to empower our patients to improve their health independently as much as possible.

Physiotherapists aim, to improve your quality of life and remove any barriers to full participation, whether these barriers are due to pain, weakness or stiffness.

None of the information in this article is a replacement for proper medical advice. Always see a medical professional for advice on your individual condition.