Patient education is an important aspect of our profession. Every now and then, we will feature lifestyle tips for our clients (and for us as well).
Here are some of the valuable tips from the Australian Physiotherapy Association.
- Begin your gardening session with a few stretches and exercises to warm up the muscles and joints you will be using. This helps prevent injury and reduces soreness at the end of the day.
- Make sure the area in which you are working is free of obstacles such as gardening tools, bags and seedling trays. This helps prevent slips and falls.
- Vary your activities so that you are not in the one position for more than 30 minutes at a time.
- When doing tasks at ground level, like weeding or planting, kneel rather than bend from the waist. Where possible, keep one hand on the ground for support as you lean forward.
- If your garden beds are wired up, step into the bed to work rather than lean in from the edge.
- Sit so you’re well supported – avoid spending prolonged periods on soft couches or bean bags.
- Change your position regularly – if you’re watching for long periods, take turns sitting on the couch, chair, or floor.
- Use a lumbar roll, or rolled towel, behind your lower back (about belt line) to provide support whilst sitting.
- “Half positions” can be worst on your neck and back – avoid sitting with your low back unsupported or lying with your head crooked up on one side.
- Position your TV well – try to have the set directly in front of you, at mid vision height.
How you use your computer can be a major cause of back, neck and shoulder pain. Poor posture while sitting at the computer, lack of regular breaks and exercise all contribute to the problem.
- Always sit in a good quality, adjustable and comfortable office chair. Pull your chair close to the desk and adjust the seat height so that your elbows, hips and knees are bent at approximately 90 degrees. Your forearms should be parallel to or sloping down toward the desktop. Your feet should rest flat on the floor – use a footrest if necessary.
- Adjust the backrest of your chair to support the curve in your lower back and to help keep you upright when typing. Relax your shoulders.
- Keep your inspiration in check – if you’ve been inactive for some time it’s important to start slowly and gradually build up.
- Take into account your medical history or any problematic areas which may affect your choice of activity.
- The best activities to start with, are the low impact activities, such as walking, swimming or using an exercise bike.
- Don’t forget the benefits of incidental exercise – take the stairs, walk to the train station or local shops.
- It’s never too late to start exercising! – balance is a skill you can keep or recapture at any age.
- Exercise regularly – this keeps the balance ‘tuned up’ and bones and muscles strong.
- Exercise within your limits – problems such as diabetes, arthritis or asthma should not stop you exercising. Your physiotherapist can tailor a specific exercise program for you.
- Maintain good posture – good spinal care throughout your life will assist your balance.
- Walking aids such as sticks and frames should be correctly prescribed and fitted – not borrowed from other people.