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3 Simple Balance Exercises You Can Try at Home


Working on your balance doesn’t need to involve any fancy equipment and can be as simple as putting a 2x4 on a stack of books or yoga blocks to create a simple beam! Or if you aren’t so confident with your balance, try the 2x4 on the floor by itself first. Then give these 3 moves a try:

Pelvic listing on the beam is a great way to work on single leg standing and get your lateral hip muscles doing their job again. Stand on he beam on one foot and focus on pulling your hip inward to keep it stacked above your ankle.

Heel-to-toe standing and walking on the beam. If you have to move quickly along the beam it’s an indicator you don’t have good balance control. The slower you move here the better.

And the trickiest one for me: walking sideways along the beam. Try it both directions!

Some tips to get more out of your balance work:

Try this in front of a mirror for feedback and motor learning. This helps integrate your brain and your body.

Try your balance...

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The Health Implications of Kyphosis

 

Kyphosis is an excessive forward curvature of the upper spine, and in today's video, we discuss the health implications of developing kyphosis. 

Kyphosis is most often thought of as an aesthetic issue, but it goes far beyond appearance. Kyphosis impacts how your ribcage and the vital organs it holds function. It can also limit the functionality of the muscles and joints surrounding the ribcage. It can also impact the bone density of the vertebrae. 

Kyphosis is caused by a combination of forces throughout the upper back. Muscle imbalances that pull the spine in this position are created by our movement habits, including excessive time spent sitting in front of computers and on cell phones. 

The great news is that this problem is reversible and preventable! 

 

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Movement Tips to Avoid Back Pain During Pregnancy

More than two-thirds of pregnant women report low back pain and up to one-fifth report pelvic pain during pregnancy. Reports of pain tend to increase later in pregnancy and interfere with daily activities, sleep, and work. About 20% of women who experience low back or pelvic pain during pregnancy report persistent pain for up to 3 years following pregnancy.

Chronic pain is complicated and much research in recent years has revolved around the term “pain catastrophizing”. Catastrophizing is a process of becoming fixated on pain, magnifying the effects of it, feeling helpless, and expecting negative outcomes associated with pain.

Research shows that those who catastrophize are more likely to develop persistent chronic pain and disability. Women who demonstrated pain catastrophizing during their pregnancy were found to be less likely to have been active throughout their pregnancy and more likely to develop persistent pain after.

The recommendation of daily physical activity...

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We’re All Old People in Training, So Train Wisely

 

“Becoming an Old Person in Training makes it easier to think critically about what age means in this society and the forces at work behind depictions of older people as useless and pathetic.” -Ashton Applewhite

When most people talk about aging, they portray this picture of decline. Hold onto this misguided belief the best years are behind them. Sadly the anti-aging message is pervasive in our society. And the increasing rates of social isolation among older adults speaks volumes about our views on aging.

But what if instead, we looked at aging as a time of growth? How drastically does that change this image?

There isn’t something specific about aging that causes a state of decline. Your beliefs are what cause change with age. Nothing more. By telling ourselves we've gotten "too old to..." we initiate the process of decline. If we'd just admit that yes, we are in fact getting older, embrace this fact, and view aging as an opportunity for further growth we’d...

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5 Natural Movements You Should Be Able to Do at Any Age

In recent years, research continues to find that physical mobility is one of the strongest indicators of the risk of chronic disease as we age. In hospitals around the country, staff members at all levels are being trained to help screen patients for mobility upon admission and before their return to home. Walking is now considered a 6th vital sign and physicians are increasingly encouraged to screen their patients for their walking ability. 

In the clinic, we often aren’t seeing clients until they’re having a problem with their mobility. It’s our mission to make sure everyone has an awareness of subtle warning signs before there’s a problem. Upon every initial assessment, we screen our clients for 5 natural movements that give us a comprehensive picture of their mobility and help them guide their course of action. 

Below is the list of movements we perform at every initial assessment. If you can perform the 5 below movements AND maintain your...

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Video: How and Why to Do the Forward Bend

 

One of the keys to core stability, minimizing low back pain, and powerful walking is being able to maintain a neutral pelvis throughout the day. If you're dealing with tight and/or weak hamstrings though, it's impossible to get yourself into a neutral pelvis position.

Due to excessive time spent in chairs, most of us have developed BOTH tight and weak hamstrings. The hamstrings are a large muscle group that runs up the back of the thigh, attaching just below the knee and to the base of the pelvis. This tightness of the hamstrings pulls your pelvis into a tucked position, rendering your core useless and putting excessive compression on your low back. Not a happy situation for your back or pelvic floor!

Our favorite way to lengthen the hamstrings is to do a standing forward bend. This is a stretch we've all seen before, but also has a lot of potential for some compensations we want to avoid. Most mistakenly believe the goal of this stretch is to touch the toes... However, as we...

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The Story of Steroid Knee Injections and Healthcare in America

As a physical therapist, I’m often asked by patients about steroid injections for knee arthritis pain. I’ve worked with many who’ve received them, only to find mixed results. For some individuals they’ve been a lifesaver, the pain-relieving effects lasted for months. Others may have noticed improvement for several days, only to have the same pain return within a week. And for others, they noticed absolutely no difference. So what gives? Why such mixed results?

Research on steroid injections for chronic pain due to arthritis reveals less than stellar results. One study even found the use of injections accelerated the breakdown of healthy cartilage in the knee and had no impact on reported pain levels in those who received the injections.

Interpreting the Results

Understanding what’s happening here requires us to take a step back and look at the big picture of the human body. And the way our medical system views the body and the healing...

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Alignment 101: Why We Teach Alignment

At Advanced Balance Clinic, we teach body alignment to help get people moving better. But there tends to be confusion around the term alignment.
 
When we refer to alignment, we mean the positioning of each of your body parts relative to each other. For example, if you are standing and you look down, where is your foot pointed relative to your hip? Is it angled out, angled in, or pointed straight forward?
 
And for most people, the first question is, "why does this matter?" It seems silly to spend so much time exploring these subtle variations of your body.
 
But it is important. And there are several reasons why.
 
The human body is complicated. When we focus on alignment, we also realize this is far from the whole picture. Take chronic pain, for example. Alignment work might be a good start for some people, but pain is more complex than meets the eye. As we've discussed in the past, research shows that chronic pain has nothing to...
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Are You an Abstainer or a Moderator?

In an earlier post, we discussed the importance of finding your why and changing your mindset for better health. But this is only the first step of the process.

 
Finding better health and living life to the fullest is a journey, one which is full of layers. Knowing why you want to live a better life and changing your mindset to one of growth is the base layer. The next step is to learn more about yourself and how you form habits make meaningful change. And for that, we need to explore the difference in habit tendencies.
 
Ever wonder why some people do fine quitting a bad habit cold turkey, while others who try that approach fail within a matter of days and go right back to what they were doing? This is the difference between an abstainer and a moderator.
 
As author Gretchen Rubin outlines in her book Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, there are major differences in how individuals form strong habits.
 
She caught...
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The Whole Picture of Chronic Pain Isn't What You Think

As the chronic pain epidemic continues to pour over into the opioid epidemic, new research continues to break down the complexity of chronic pain. Just a few short years ago, chronic pain was viewed completely from a biomechanical perspective. When the medical community realized that treating only the injury was not only not working, but the epidemic of chronic pain continued to worsen they realized they needed to take a step back and look at the whole person. What has been discovered has been an eye-opening look at how chronic pain involves factors beyond what is happening within body tissue. Now, we take a broader look at the whole person and understand chronic pain has a multitude of origins.

The Actual Risk Factors for Chronic Pain

Over time, physicians and other professionals realized the amount of tissue damage being seen on an MRI and the amount of pain a person was experiencing just weren't matching up. Beyond that, those who underwent surgical procedures were showing...

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