last month

“Take a Break” Technology That You Need to Download

It can happen to anyone.  You’re working away and totally into what you’re doing, suddenly 3 hours has passed and your body is aching, your mouth is dry, and your bladder is screaming at you.

Who has time to stretch, stand, drink and hit the bathroom when you’re under deadline?!

The side effects of this “work till you drop” lifestyle are simple: heart disease, weight gain, herniated discs, diabetes, chronic fatigue, low back pain, neck pain and diabetes… just to name a few.

No big deal.  Sitting is only considered the new “smoking”.

Yes I’m trying to scare you.  Is it working?

We all know we should take breaks from our technology on a regular basis.  What better way to take a break from technology, than to use technology to force us to take a break.  There are tons of companies trying to capitalize on this need, and a variety for formats that provide “take a break” applications.

First, I tried some applications designed to be used on my smartphone.  Right away I realized the flaw in using that platform.  When a notification went off I barely looked at it.  It was far too easy to ignore.

So I explored Google Chrome extensions. With Chrome being one of the most often used browsers across all platforms (over 60% or online surfers use Chrome), this seemed like the best tool.  Especially since you most often need to take breaks when you are actually at your computer, most likely sitting in a posture compromising position.

For those of you who don’t know what a Chrome extension is, it’s a application you can download into your browser. They are usually free and very easy to download and plug in.  You can visit the Chrome web store here.

Choosing the right application  can be  overwhelming, so luckily I did the work for you.  An awesome site called WomenLoveTech featured my article on this topic, and now I can share it with you.

Hold on I’ll be right back…..

And…. I am just back from taking a break forced upon me by Break Timer application.

Anyway check it out.  It will take 3 minutes to read and 2 minutes to pick one, download and get your work breaks automatically set.

Take a break!  Your body will thank you.

last month

It’s time to RELAX

I was working with a client yesterday, and we identified a problem in her workouts that was preventing her from being successful in achieving her goals.

One of the first things she always does during her VerticAlign customized home based workout, is SMR (Self Myofascial Release).  If you don’t know what SMR is read more about it here.  I’ve been writing about it a lot lately! It’s a critical part of her daily routine and has helped her in the past with decreasing back and knee pain.

The problem is, she would tense up while doing her rolling and so she wasn’t actually getting into the muscle and doing the work that was needed to affect change.

The idea of SMR is to place pressure on the adhesion in the muscle and force it to break up.  However, if your muscle is tensing up and contracting against the roller, you cannot get deep in enough to actually start breaking up the adhesion.

Now if you’ve ever done SMR work, you know that some of the positions are difficult to hold and may force you to tense up in order to hold the position properly. This is why for certain body parts, I recommend a tennis ball, or even better, my favorite, a beastie ball.  In other positions, a ball will be too intense and the roller is a better option.  Either way, the goal is to RELAX into the device you are using for your SMR work.

You may ask: How can I do this when it’s extremely painful?  I know it’s tough.  All I can say is to follow the 2 B’s: breathe and baby steps.  If it’s too intense, just hold for 10 seconds and take a few days to work up to longer periods of time.

SMR requires daily consistency to see results.  Here is a new video of SMR for the lats.  This one is super important to the function of the shoulder joint.

I’ve helped several clients eliminate debilitating shoulder pain with this simple exercise.  It works and it only takes 5 minutes. The foam roller usually works for this one but sometimes a ball is better:

My right lat is always more painful than my left.  What about yours?  How does this exercise feel for you?

a couple of months ago

Fun with Foam Rollers

I promised a few weeks back that I would post some more ideas on what to do with you handy dandy foam roller.  It is my favorite piece of fitness equipment after all.  My dog tends to like it too!

Let’s start with a few more examples of SMR.  If you don’t remember what that is, reference this article.

First, the calves.  These muscles are at the base of your leg and important to the alignment of your ankles, knees and hips. I’ve had numerous examples of clients with knee twinges and pain during knee flexion motion (squats, lunges) whose pain dissipated when we stretched and rolled the calf muscles. It’s powerful stuff.

Here is the video for SMR for the calves:

If you want more excitement in your lives (ok what I really mean is a product that can go deeper into your muscle- but this is exciting stuff for this posture geek) take a look at this beastie ball which deepens the effect of SMR.  Yes it’s scary looking but it works really well in certain areas of the body like the calves .

Back to the foam roller. This exercise is AMAZING for working the back muscles. The roller helps you get a bit higher in the exercise and also helps you engage the underarm” muscles when you lift your body.  These “underarm muscles” are good to train as they take the pressure off the neck muscles because they “depress” the scapula (nope, your scapula is not depressed).

Just be very careful that you don’t round the shoulders more when you lift by pushing too hard into the roller.  This is an easy mistake.

Finally, the roller can be used as a simple balance tool.  One of my favorite exercises is the single leg deadlift since it works the glutes, hamstrings, and intrinsic balance muscles.  However if you balance is way off, you’ll need something or someone to hold on to.  Try a roller!  They are not much stability but they provide minimal physical but maximal emotional support for those hard to balance exercises:

That’s is for this week’s episode of “Fun with Foam Rollers” (if you watch Big Bang Theory and get this reference you are on the correct posture list and can geek out with me anytime).

See you on your roller!