Hypermobility: Are you a one trick wonder?

Hypermobility: Are you a one trick wonder?

The fringe festival is now in full swing, bringing the weird, wonderful and sometimes unimaginable acts. Perhaps you have seen the ‘Cowboy’ who now holds the world record for sword swallowing after having magnets implanted in his chest, behind the sternum… The human body is sometimes altered according to our desires but sometimes it just presents itself structurally different to the ‘norm’.

You may have heard the phrase ‘it’s as impossible as licking your elbow’… Well for some of us that is not true…

Karla licking elbow

Perhaps you or someone you know has a similar trick up their sleeve. Hypermobility is common in the general population and may be present in one or more joints. It is the term used to describe the ability to move joints beyond the normal range of movement. It’s necessarily not as cool as it may look… In many people joint hypermobility may not cause any symptoms, however, for others it is associated with joint and ligament injuries, pain, fatigue and other symptoms.

A hypermobile joint is lax as a result of a gene mutation affecting the body’s connective tissue proteins. The looser connective tissue, particularly ligaments and tendons, gives rise to an increased risk of soft tissue injuries and dislocations as the joint can over extend or twist easily.

It has been found that individuals with hypermobile joints have impaired proprioception compared with that of matched control groups. Although you can’t change the structure of the lax tissues, research has shown that appropriate exercise can increase the control and stability of the muscles around the joints.

So how do you prevent an injury?
The key is to strengthen the stabilising muscles around the joint through guided resistance training. Knowing your limits and how to control movement patterns is essential. Try to avoid loading the joint past its normal range. The idea is to develop protective reflex actions when a joint is being pushed past it’s normal range.

For example, if you are known to have knees which hyperextend and play a sport which involves jumping, knowing how to control your landing without allowing the knee to move into hyperextension is essential in preventing knee injuries or muscle tears. In addition, it is important to strengthen the muscles around the knee, hip and ankle to better stabilise the joint.

If you have any concerns or questions regarding your joints, feel free to ask any one of our qualified staff members.

Enjoy the fringe festivities!

Get That Monkey Off Your Back!

It’s 2016, the year of the Fire Monkey in regards to the Chinese Zodiac. People born in the year of the Fire Monkey are characterised as being ambitious and adventurous, but irritable. In Australia, we see the monkey as being cheeky and mischievous. What can we take from this Chinese Zodiac that could help our health and fitness? Read on….

Being ambitious and adventurous are superb characteristics and I feel they can help lead to a healthy and active lifestyle. Being adventurous might mean you like to try new things, like mountain biking, going on walking holidays or buying a new plastic kayak for the summer. Being ambitious will only help to drive you to succeed in these new pursuits. Being irritable? Well, we all get irritable from time to time, what better way to cure irritability than to get out on an adventure!

“Research has shown that increased sedentary time is associated with a decline in health”

In Western culture we have a common term, ‘get the monkey off your back’. This can be used in relation to many scenarios where there is an issue or situation that continues to be problematic. One that comes to mind is barriers that prevent people from getting their daily and weekly exercise.

Why is this important?
Research has shown that increased sedentary time is associated with a decline in health. You may have heard the term ‘Sitting is the new smoking’.

There are many excuses that are often used in place of regular exercise. Common examples are a lack of time or being too tired, needing new shoes or new equipment. Whatever it is that is preventing you from getting into a regular exercise program is a barrier, and that barrier is a monkey on your back! Find a solution, break down the barriers and give the monkey a flick. Don’t let it weigh you down, let it drive your ambition and sense of adventure.

Get out there, enjoy nature, enjoy life.


Exercise and Pregnancy: Should you train for Labour?

Would you run in a marathon without preparing and training?

It’s a question I ask my pregnant clients. A majority of marathoners wouldn’t dream of it. They would focus on preggers 2their preparation, strengthen their bodies and minds so they can remain injury free in the lead up, perform the race of their life and recover well afterwards.

So if that’s the case with an endurance event like running, why don’t we think about natural childbirth in a similar light? The body begins changing as soon as conception occurs with changes in hormones like oestrogen and relaxin, blood volume. Then, as the pregnancy develops, the centre of gravity changes, body weight increases, ligaments increase in laxity and even the feet change. This means the body needs to be able to be strong, fit and mobile to prevent occurrences of lower back pain, acute injuries, gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. We then turn our heads to labour would be physically harder and require more endurance and strength than a marathon. The body needs to deal with strong muscular contractions for 6 to 14 hours (on average). Vast amounts of oxygen are required for the working muscles and it becomes a long distance cardiovascular workout. What’s more, unlike a marathon, there is no set finish line. Quitting isn’t an option. We just have to keep working until we receive our ultimate prize (which is also way cooler than a medal).

Just like strong fit marathon runners, mothers with a good cardiovascular and muscular strength background also have been shown to recover from the childbirth event quicker. Physiologically, muscles which are constantly put under the strain of a work out become efficient at recovering through increased blood circulation and the cellular repair response to trauma is heightened.

But isn’t exercising risky?
Now before you start thinking that exercise is risky for both you are your baby, it’s important to recognise that researchers have busted many myths about exercise and pregnancy. Rather than becoming sedentary (never a good option), the evidence shows that both aerobic and resistance training can help increase the health of your baby and manage pregnancy issues such as weight gain, lower back pain, muscular cramps and fatigue.  Now, if you weren’t squatting 60kg prior to becoming pregnant, you would never start lifting heavy. Resisted exercise can include different body weight or weighted actions, an increased focus on endurance and quality of muscle contraction.

Are you unsure where to even start?
Exercise should be individualised to your goals, body type, conditions, previous fitness levels and experience by a qualified trainer. There are certain changes in prescription, which should be taken into account when it comes to exercise and they change over the course of the pregnancy. It is best to start this discussion with a women’s health exercise physiologist, physiotherapist and general practitioner.

Here is the big take home message….
You must realise it won’t be easy. There are days where you will feel tired, heavy, & nauseous. However, in the long run, just like in marathons, prior preparation will deliver a better performance.

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