I was previously invited to speak to the NFL Players Association. The NFL players specifically asked me to speak about Astym therapy, which has increased the performance and extended the careers of NFL players.
The NFL players who receive Astym treatment agree that they perform at significantly higher levels and recover more quickly and fully from injuries that would sideline an athlete who is not receiving Astym treatment. Even though Astym therapy has a very good reputation for quality and effectiveness, some players have not tried it. Why? Some are unaware of significant improvements it can make in their game. Others are a bit skeptical. NFL players are fortunate in that they have access to all of the latest and greatest approaches to injury management and performance enhancement. However, the downside is that they often try many highly touted treatments that don’t live up to their “hype”. Naturally, the players then become wary of whether they will see the real results they expect.
After my presentation on Astym treatment, there was intense interest from the players who had not yet tried it. I was talking to these players about how their performance would improve, how their old nagging injuries could disappear, and how their bodies could be made stronger and better adapted to their sport. Just then, an NFL player who said he tried everything before finally becoming a devote Astym treatment fan, chimed in: “This isn’t Voodoo man, it’s the real deal!” I couldn’t have said it better.
Written by: Dr. Tom Sevier, Medical Director of the Astym Program
Desk jobs can be hard. You may get fidgety or restless, or the sedentary work might have you feeling lethargic by the time you leave for the night. It can be hard to feel motivated or accomplished. But sitting for long hours at a computer isn’t just draining; it can actually be bad for you. In addition to the risks of poor posture or sub-par chairs leading to back pain, sitting for eight hours a day can reduce your lifespan and increase your risk for certain diseases. But having a desk job doesn’t have to mean sitting all day.
Here are 15 exercises you can perform at your desk (or at least nearby) to get you active at work*.
Desk Pushups– Place your hands on your desk and walk your feet backwards to put your body at a 45 degree angle. Complete a set of 10-15 pushups in this position.
Shoulder Blade Squeeze– Press your shoulders back to pull your shoulder blades in as close to each other as possible, like you’re trying to hold something between them. This will also help alleviate poor posture.
Office Yoga– Basic yoga positions can be accomplished in relatively open spaces, such as an office if you have your own or a break room. Simple positions are a quick form of stress relief and light exercise. This one might be a little rough in a cubicle, though. Try making arrangements with supervisors to allow for 15-minute group yoga sessions for the whole team a few times a week.
Squats– You can do standard squats and complete a set of 15 in front of your desk, or you can modify the squat to use your desk chair. Lower your body in a squat position until your butt just bumps the edge of the chair, then rise back up.
Wall Sits– Stand a few inches away from a wall and lower into a squat position, with your back pressed against the wall. Lower your body until your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle and hold this position for a few seconds before standing back up. Repeat.
Calf Raises– Stand with your feet together and raise up your heels and calves so you’re standing on your toes. Hold this position for 10 seconds then gently lower down. Repeat. If you need the extra support, hold onto your chair back while you’re on your toes for stability.
Seated Leg Lifts– Sitting on the edge of your chair, extend one leg to stick straight out and hold it out for 10 seconds. Slowly lower the leg, nearly to the floor but not quite, then lift again and hold for 10 seconds. Complete a few repetitions and then switch to the other leg.
Standing Stretches– Just the simple act of standing is enough to see some health benefits during the day, but you can make this even more valuable by throwing in some quick stretches. Bend over and attempt to touch your toes. If you can’t, just go as far as is comfortable and each day try to bend just a little bit further. Standing upright bend your neck side to side slowly, trying to press your ear into our shoulder. Move your right arm across your body and use your left arm to press it into your chest, and then swap sides. Raise your arms above you, then grip your hands together and lower them behind your head. Place your legs shoulder width apart and your arms to the side, slowly rotate your body to one side, then the other. Do a couple hops and shakes to get rid of any extra stiffness.
Desk dips– Place your hands on the desk behind you and walk your feet out a little bit. Lower your body down with your arms, hold for a second, then raise yourself back up. Complete 10-15 of these motions.
Bicep Curls– You don’t need dumbbells when you’ve got a water bottle, a stapler, or pretty much any small object of weight that you can fit in your hand. When you’re watching a video or reading an email, use your arms to get in some simple bicep curls, holding your object in your hand and curling it in towards your shoulder.
Overhead Presses– Use that handy water bottle again and this time start with your elbow bent to the side and raise up like you’re pushing the water bottle to the ceiling. Lower your arm back to a 90 degree bend and then repeat. Slow and steady is the key to feeling these exercises working.
Table Press and Leg Lift– If you’ve got the space under your desk or conference table, press both hands down on the top of the desk while lifting both legs to be fully straight under the table. Hold for 10 seconds, release, then repeat.
Hand Strengthening– With or without a stress ball, you can exercise your hands and help relieve pain from typing by making a fist, squeezing tightly for a few seconds, then releasing and stretch your fingers. Repeat this exercise periodically during the day to help prevent carpal tunnel pain.
Toe Raises– While seated, keep your heels firmly on the ground and lift your toes. You’ll feel the stretch in your shins and calves. Repeat periodically throughout the day. A perk of this one is it can be done subtly under your desk at any time.
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift– Placing your right hand on your desk for balance stand on your right leg. Slowly lower your torso and arm in front of you while raising your left leg behind you, with your right knee just slightly bent. Hold this position for a few seconds then straighten back up and switch legs.
But desk exercises aren’t the only way to counteract long hours sitting. In addition to these exercises, there are other work changes that can have great benefits for both your mental and physical health.
Instead of emailing your coworkers walk to their desk or office. It’ll get you walking and the face to face interaction can help humanize the work space and make a friendlier environment.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator if you are physically able to, and if you’re really trying to get an early workout take the steps two at a time (carefully!).
When you find yourself getting restless, stand up. Even without exercises, the act of standing gets your blood flowing and your mood boosted.
Making these changes in the workplace will not only be reflected in your health, but in higher energy levels at work, less lethargy when you come home, reduced stress, and an overall better mood. Remember, small changes can make a big difference!
*The content above is for informational purposes only, and before starting any exercise program, you should consult your physician or other qualified healthcare provider to make sure it is right for you and to answer any questions you may have. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Autumn is upon us! The temperature is getting chiller and the days are getting shorter so it’s time to get out and take advantage of the mild weather before the winter cold comes knocking. Here are 8 activities to keep you moving this fall!
Trail Runs: Running the same old routes is made a little prettier by the changing of the leaves. But nothing compared to a run on a trail through the woods during autumn. The leaves make a soft barrier on the ground and a satisfying crunch under your feet with every step. Canopies of yellow, orange, and red make every step a little bit more exciting. The sounds and smells of autumn can bring your run to a new level of satisfaction and the natural terrain can make your run a more challenging and varied journey.
Hiking: If running isn’t your thing, natural trails are still a treasure trove of joy in the autumn months. The beautiful scenery and the canopy of colorful leaves make autumn the best season to hike. The chillier temperatures also help to reduce the risk of picking up creepy-crawlies like ticks. You can suit up with a backpack of supplies like water and healthy snacks and set out on day hikes, or even hike to camp sites and make the trip a multi-day experience. You have to take care to pack warm for those cold autumn nights and evenings, and make sure you’ve got plenty of supplies. A night under the stars in the clean autumn air can make for great stargazing.
Cycling: It’s too cold for swimming and when cold weather exacerbates joint pain it can make high impact exercises like running too painful to enjoy. Bicycling is a nice, low impact option to take advantage of the cool weather and scenery without putting undue stress on your body. Make sure to outfit your bike with appropriate reflectors or lights, and to wear reflective clothing as the shorter days and scenic routes might have you out past sunset.
Rock Climbing: Early fall is a good time to squeeze in some late adventures and exploration. Rock climbing is a great exercise for upper and lower body strength, as well as core strength, making it a full body workout every time. The cooler temperatures can help you go farther and higher in your journey, but make sure you’re still staying hydrated.
Fishing: Fishing isn’t always considered an exercise but it is a great way to get outside and enjoy the fresh autumn air. If you want a bigger impact on your fishing trip, consider walking or hiking to a new fishing spot. This combines the value of a hike with the relaxation of fishing for a truly satisfying day trip. Make it an outing and invite friends for a full trip of hiking, fishing, and camping to get the most bang for your buck out of the activity.
Join a “Fun-Run”: Holidays are a great time to sign up for 5Ks, mini-marathons, and full marathons. While the spring and summer offer their own events, these themed runs are some of the most fun opportunities in the holiday season. Halloween costumes, wacky outfits, and all sorts of fun activities belong to the autumn season of running events and it’s a great way to motivate yourself to run farther or faster.
Organize a Neighborhood Sporting Event: The holidays are about family and friends, and some of the activities that take place should be too. A fun idea to get to know your neighbors and to help create a close knit community is to organize a neighborhood event or block party, themed around athletics. A community soccer game or a friendly touch football game, or even capture the flag for kids or adults. Community sports are a great way to take advantage of the beautiful weather while getting to know the people around you.
Autumn is a beautiful time of year to be outside. The leaves are changing. The air is crisp and cool. The smell of autumn is intoxicating. And it’s the perfect running temperature for an early evening jog.
Autumn is upon us and here are 5 reasons to go running during fall!
1. The Beautiful Scenery: Especially in the northern part of the United States, Autumn is an unbelievably beautiful season. All the colors of the trees changing make a beautiful backdrop to a run along a wooded trail or along a river front. If you’re looking for reasons to run during fall, this is a great one. A run is made much easier when you can distract yourself with beautiful scenery. The change in colors can also help old running paths feel fresh again and rejuvenate your run.
2. Perfect Running Temperatures: The cool, crisp air of autumn is perfect for a nice brisk run. The chill in the air gives you just the right motivation to get moving and it keeps you feeling comfortable as your body heats up from the exercise. Your blood gets flowing but your sweat doesn’t. You feel better and more hydrated all through your run, and at the end you feel nice and warm without overheating.
3. Reduce Your Holiday Food Guilt: The holidays are a time of year when we collectively overindulge on food and sweets that normally are consumed in moderation. That’s definitely a good reason to run during the fall season. Getting out and being active this autumn has the added perk of being able to stave off the guilt of too many indulgent dinners and the extra pounds that come with them.
4. Holiday Themed Runs: It’s the holiday season and everyone is just looking to have fun, and that extends to the group runs that are organized this time of year. There are themes, costumes, and all kinds of fun setups to make that 5K seem a little less ominous and that half marathon more tolerable. It isn’t just a race; it’s a great time to have fun.
5. It’s a Great Time to Raise Your Goals: Your scenery is new, the air is perfect, the temperatures are cool enough to feel good. Now is the time many set new personal records and become better runners.
So fall is here and going fast. It’s time to get out there and enjoy it. Soon enough, it’ll be winter. Happy Running!
From sport to sport, the age of “peak performance” varies, but for most of us the effects of aging really sink in in the early to mid-30s. You start waking up with new aches and that morning run gets a little shorter and little slower each time. While Astym therapy can help keep your body feeling young longer, you can’t outrun time and you shouldn’t try. So here are some tips on how to age well as an athlete.
Accept your age, your body, and your limitations.
You’re getting older, so don’t hold yourself to the standards of your younger self. You are never too old to exercise (as proven by now 91-year-old gymnast Johanna Quaas) but you should adjust your activities and goals to something reasonable for you, and only you can determine what that means.
Look into low impact alternatives
Consider modifying exercises that are damaging your body. If running becomes too painful or you experience an impact injury, try cycling or swimming for a while to reduce the impact on your body. If you find certain exercises are causing you more pain than they used to, adjust the exercises to reduce soft tissue damage so you can keep active without injury. There are a number of low impact alternatives out there.
Sleep More, Eat Better, Drink Water.
While these actions are important for athletes of any age, they are especially important as you age. Most healing occurs during the REM sleep cycle, so it is especially important to get that rest to allow your body to recover. Consuming water, electrolytes, carbohydrates, and protein after exercise is conducive to body hydration, restoring muscle glycogen levels, and repairing soft tissue damage.
Don’t skip out on strength training.
One of the most crippling aspects of aging for athletes is the loss of muscle mass and strength with age. Resistance training and bodyweight exercises like pushups and squats can help to maintain and build muscle mass and prevent loss of strength.
Give yourself more time between workouts,
Especially if you push yourself to do the high intensity training of your younger years, you need to take longer rest periods in between. Even though you may be able to accomplish those workouts, it’s better to give yourself a little extra time between them for your body to recover. Rest or active recovery are both options in between high intensity training.
Listen to your body when it hurts.
Reduce workout intensity, take additional time to rest, or seek out medical care when necessary. Physical therapy and especially Astym Therapy can help keep you healthy and help you exercise better, longer.
Age does provide you some advantages. In your years, you’ve gained knowledge and experience. Over time, you’ve come to know your body better than anyone else and what works best for you. You can feel when you’ve accomplished a good workout, even if that workout didn’t beat your personal records. And as long as you feel like you’ve accomplished something in your body, you’re moving toward your goals.