Northern Ireland's Leading Specialist Back Pain Clinic
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gavin@gavnoble.com

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Gav Noble Physiotherapy

By G NOBLE 14 Aug, 2017

The first time you take any new fitness class can be a little intimidating. Meeting new people, wondering if you will be able to do the exercises, or wondering what everyone else is like at the exercises in the class. Maybe it’s the exercise names that you’ve never heard before.  FEAR NOT! We all have to start somewhere.  

If you’ve wanted to try Pilates classes but something has been holding you back, now’s your time to sign up for your first one. Pilates offers plenty of benefits to your body, no matter your fitness background. You’ll improve your posture, focus on bodily alignment, and get a great workout.

Whether you're on the mat or a reformer, you can snag the same benefits. A 2016 study  found that eight weeks of Pilates classes improved abdominal endurance, flexibility, and balance. Other studies have shown that when doing Pilates for chronic low back pain, it was able to show greater improvements in pain and functional ability compared to usual care and physical activity.  Plus, Pilates has become popular with top professional athletes from all over the world, and A-list famous people.

Want to know what the hype is all about? Here's everything a Pilates newbie needs to know to enjoy their first class.

1. There are two different kinds of Pilates classes: mat classes and reformer classes.

You'll be tackling a class that's based on either a mat, to cushion pressure points, or a machine called a reformer, which is a sliding platform complete with stationary foot bar, springs, and pulleys that provide resistance to help tone the body. Know which one you're getting into before you commit to your workout, which is typically 45 minutes to an hour long.

Both options focus on the concept of control rather than cranking out endless reps or muscle exhaustion. In Pilates, your muscles are working to lift against gravity and (in the case of the reformer) the resistance of the springs or bands, with the ultimate goal of strengthening and isolating the right muscles. Your goal should be to take your time with the exercises, focus on the task at hand, and connect your mind with your body and your breath.

Regardless of what class you choose, make sure to let your instructor know you’re a beginner. This way, they’ll be able to keep an eye on you throughout the class and offer modifications, adjustments, progressions or regressions.

2. You'll feel your muscles burn during class, and you'll probably be sore the next day.

While you may not be crushing high-intensity exercises like crossfit or lifting heavy dumbbells, the mostly bodyweight routines that Pilates classes offer can be pretty intense. If we look at the Hundreds exercise for example, a abdominal focused movement that involves less than two inches of constant movement, it will make your abs burn. You can bee given modifications so that you can perform each movement with good form and with differing levels of difficulty (another reason to introduce yourself as a beginner before class starts).

Being able to focus on small movements means that you’ll work on the muscles that each exercise intends. That means you may be dealing with muscle soreness after your workout. Being sore the next day doesn’t mean you’re out of shape; it just means you’re challenging your muscles in new ways or working muscle groups that don't usually get much attention. This is common!

3. Wear comfortable clothes

Even if you typically prefer loose-fitting workout wear, you're going to want to wear comfortable clothes for Pilates classes, that allow your body to move. Tighter clothes can be better, so that the instructor can see your movements. You can wear legging with a tank top or fitted long-sleeved shirt.

As for footwear, you can either be barefoot or wear socks for your session. If you're going to go for socks, find yourself a pair with rubber detailing on the soles so you don't slip on the mat or machine. A barefoot or socks-only approach will also help you navigate in and out of the straps on a standard reformer with ease.

4. Every studio has different lingo they use in class. Look to regulars for form help when you're not up with the terms.

Every exercise class from aerobics to CrossFit has its own set of terminology, Pilates included. For Pilates, know that your "powerhouse" refers to the centre of your body, where all of your power comes from to execute movement. "Peel through your spine" means slow movement from vertebra to vertebra. Don't worry: You'll get used to it with time.

In the meantime, look to regulars who catch on to the instructions quickly. The best way to do this? Put yourself in the middle of the room. Whether it's on a reformer or a mat, planting yourself in the centre allows you an optimal view of all of the action. It is generally easier to see and follow the instructor from the middle of the studio. You can also try to follow the other regular participants. A good instructor will be watching the room intently and getting up from their mat to make adjustments with people. This is how you can learn moreeffectively.

5. Pilates should be a part of a well-rounded fitness plan.

As with any fitness programme, your body needs time to adapt and change to new movements. Hence, it is always good to take a day or two off from Pilates to allow your body to recover. In that time you can still exercise, but by doing something different.

Pilates stretches, strengthens, tones and aligns your body all at the same time. It also complements other exercise/sport/fitness programmes because it prepares your body to move better in every way. Adding it into your routine will help you lift heavier weights, run faster, swim with better form, achieve a better golf swing or even help you recover from back pain.

By G NOBLE 23 Jul, 2017

So as some of you may know, I have been away in New Zealand for three weeks at the start of July, leaving Chris in control of the clinic, and he’s done a smashing job too.

I have been away with RBAI school rugby team U15 and U16 teams touring both north and south Islands of New Zealand providing, physiotherapy/medical cover, plus a little bit of craic for our time there. The boys played 10 matches in total and won nine of these matches against top New Zealand rugby schools, which is just an amazing feat.

I have been Physiotherapist to RBAI school 1st XV since 2002. A role I stumbled upon, having some free time on a Saturday morning. I have never looked back. With trips to Barcelona, Japan, England, and Scotland, I always enjoy a good tour. The opportunity to meet new people, visit new places, spend time with great people, be part of good rugby and most important for me is to have fun whilst doing it. It has been a pleasure to work with some of the top coaches in Ireland and some great rugby players/pupils.

When the tour to New Zealand was first mentioned to me I agreed and said no problems, after all it was a few years away. Well it came around fairly quickly! There was lots of fundraising, such a superb effort put in by all the parents, boys and staff. Without them all, the tour would never have happened.

Prior to the tour I have to say that it did feel slightly daunting, being the medical cover for 45 boys. So off we went, the boys having completed SCAT tests before leaving. Whilst away, we had to do a few more SCAT tests after some of the games for those boys who suffered knocks to the head. Thankfully no one seriously concussed. It’s the safety of players which is always at the forefront of our minds. Match days were busy, helping both teams prep for each match.

So what kind of injuries did we pick up whilst away? We had some usual rugby knocks and bumps – nothing too serious, a few mild concussions (ruling boys out of playing), cellulitis, quads strain, back strain, shoulder impingement, ankle sprain, knee pain and finally some mild cold symptoms. Thankfully nothing too serious and only two visits to medical centres for the entire three weeks, which I think was pretty good all round. After all, it was winter in New Zealand and cold!

The entire tour has just been an incredible experience for all those involved, and one for which I will be eternally grateful.

There have been many highlights on the tour for me:-

·        Skyline tower in Auckland

·        Going to the Super 14 match between the Highlanders and the Reds in Dunedin

·        Watching the match between the British and Irish Lions in the Auckland fan zone, beat the All Blacks

·        Seeing the Crusaders and the Chiefs at their respective training grounds

·        Queenstown – Fergburger (best burger in the world), Luge racing, white water rafting, helicopter ride through the snowy valley, jet boat on the Shotover river, The views of the wintery countryside/mountains.

·        Maori village, Rotorua – experiencing the culture, the food, the games, the lifestyle.

·        Mini team competition, fines and court session, were always a laugh. My own mini team of Robin, Tom, Michael, PC, Stuarty Mc, Alex and Sam, were unfortunate to miss out on the top team prize but definitely a top group of lads. PC and Sam were our winners for top tourists as voted by the boys and the management.

·        The most important one for me in the list here is the way in which our two inexperienced teams played their rugby. They gelled well and played good rugby and beat some good, hard opposition. You have to remember that this is our summertime, and our boys haven’t played much rugby for a few months.

·        Beating all the boys at table tennis at Otago Boys HS with Jonny Peak, winning 10 pin bowling

·        Kyle, our bus driver was a fountain of knowledge (except rivers) and couldn’t do enough to help out.

·        The New Zealand people in general were so friendly, kind, social and brilliant.

The boys have been incredible ambassadors for our country with everyone they met and for all the families that they got to spend time with out there. They, their parents and the school should be very proud how they have conducted themselves both on and off the pitch. I certainly am! Each boy on the trip will have their own story to tell and highlight (even shooting possum). If you ever get the chance to ask them about it, then ask them. It’s hard to put down on paper just how incredible the whole tour was.

I personally would like to thank Dan Soper and the school for the opportunity to be part of the experience. I’d also really like to thank every one of the boys for being such great craic, banter and overall just being all-round ‘good’. I can’t believe the time passed so quickly. There was never a dull moment. There have been a lot of memories created for everyone on the tour and will surely not be forgotten. Thank you too, to all the staff, great memories!!

I have added a couple of photos just to remind myself of New Zealand but also, all the people who made the trip so great.

Sweet as bro!

Gavin

By G NOBLE 27 Jun, 2017

When you sleep at night, do you find yourself sleeping on your stomach? Or with more than one pillow in a twisted position?

When you’re relaxing at home, do you find yourself looking up at the TV screen with your chin poking up and forward?

When you’re out and about do you carry your bag on one shoulder? Or hold your heavy brief case in one hand?

Do you ever suffer from stress or anxiety?

Chances are, you’ve answered ‘yes’ to at least one of these questions.

I may be wrong, your bag might not be heavy, and you might sleep with just the one pillow, but the reason why I guessed you’d answered ‘yes’ to one of these questions is because over the years, almost every patient that walks into my clinic who has been suffering with neck pain, has been doing one of these things.

So it’s no surprise that during my time as a Physio that one of the most regular injuries I see is  ‘neck pain’.

And without even realising it, things that we do every day can cause it.

So let’s take a look 4 of the most common everyday mistakes I’ve found my patients doing that cause their ‘neck pain’…

1. Watching TV

Watching TV is a habit – not saying it’s good or bad! But the real issue with watching TV, is HOW you watch it!

Are you doing it the way I see most of my friends and family watch it… With the TV hung above the fire place high on the wall, kicked back with your feet up (and neck!), while watching your favourite TV soap opera?

Even though you might think it’s comfortable and relaxing, truth is, there could be a problem waiting for you! If you’re watching TV like this it can be strenuous for your neck and head.

A lot of people make the same mistake, they don’t realise that the position they have it in, can actually affect their body and health.

Anyway, how to fix it? There’s a reason why TV stands are almost always the same height, and any decent one will mean that if you’re sitting on the sofa watching TV, the TV will be at eye level.

Watch TV so your head isn’t looking upwards, or reaching out, and this should help you avoid headaches, eye trouble and muscle tension.

2. Your Bag

Carrying your bag on one shoulder, or holding a heavy brief case in one hand is something most of us are guilty of doing, but did you know that’s also one of the main causes of aches and pains in your neck and shoulders?

You see, since all of the weight of your bag is on one shoulder, or on one side of the body, it can throw your muscles and posture off balance, which is why you sometimes see people with one shoulder higher than the other!

Another thing, the way we carry our bags can cause our muscles to become stiff too.

So the way to solve this problem is reduce the weight of your bag, and to switch up the side you carry it on periodically.

Switching your bag over to the opposite side will help to balance out the way your body carries the weight, relieving any tension built up in your muscles, and solving any posture problems too! Switch it up every 10 minutes, or every time you walk past two streets.

3. How We Sleep

Another daily habit that brings on neck pain is the way we sleep.

You see if you sleep with your head propped up on more than one pillow, your neck, and back aren’t going to be nicely in-line – meaning more pressure on your muscles and spine.

And if you find yourself sleeping on your stomach, your head is most likely going to be turned on its side – meaning your body is in a twisted position all night for hours!

Although your neck is built to rotate from side to side, it’s not designed to stay in that position for hours on end. So if you choose to sleep on your side, use a pillow that doesn’t prop your head too high up, but in-line with your shoulder instead. And if you choose to sleep on your back, sleep with one thin pillow so your neck and spine are nicely straight.

 

4. Breathing

Check out the way you breathe.

If you use the muscles on your upper chest and shoulders to breathe, you may be causing them to overwork, and in turn cause increased tension in them plus the muscles at the back of the neck. This tension can progress on to cause pain!

So what can we do about that?

Well, we can start to use our main breathing muscle – the diaphragm, in a better way by letting our tummy rise as we breathe in. This will help ease the work our shoulder and neck muscles do on each breath.

 

Now can you see why you might wake up with a bit of a sore neck?…

For more ways and advice to ease neck and shoulder pain, go here next to collect your free tips report:

http://www.gavnoble.com/neck-shoulder-pain

By G NOBLE 23 Jun, 2017

It can happen!

You’re going about your day nicely, you feel great and don’t think twice about any ‘health problems’ because they’re way off in the future anyway, but then all of a sudden you feel a twinge in your lower-back…

And immediately you know   something’s not right.

Maybe you think that it’s nothing, that after a good nights sleep it will go away on it’s own. But the thing is when lower back pain strikes,   (and if you don’t do anything about it quick),it can leave you suffering in pain for much longer than you should ever have to.

Which is exactly what happened to one of my patients, Janice, last month…

Janice came in to see me in a great deal of pain – her pain was so bad that she could hardly get out of bed by herself in the morning, (not without struggling for anyway!).

Here’s what happened…  three months ago Janice was simply bending down to empty her dishwasher and put it away when all of a sudden ‘PING!’,  something in her back went. And like most people who come to see me with low-back pain, she brushed it off hoping she’d wake up the next day as if it never even happened.

But the following day, her pain was still there.

Janice’s back was still bad, but she decided to leave it a little longer as she didn’t want to bother the GP and thought if she just rested for a few more days, the pain would ease off.

But those days turned into weeks, and her back pain grew worse and worse – and the problem was, all of the sitting and resting she was doing to make it ‘better’, was adding pressure to her back causing a shooting pain to run down her leg, which meant very little to no walking, and even time off work…

…Also known as Sciatica.

Sciatica is when a disc at the base of your spine is put under too much pressure… and it irritates a nerve that runs down your leg – often causing numbness even pins and needles, as well as pain.

The pain from Sciatica is often so excruciating it makes it almost impossible to get out of the house, drive to the shops and even sleep comfortably – and nearly always gets worse when you sit.

To put it simply –  it’s a painful and life-limiting condition that can happen as a result of not getting your back pain seen to as soon as pain strikes.

But there are things you CAN do, such as specific exercises to help you get back to feeling healthy and on your feet again without worrying that your back is going to put you out.

Here’s Three Tips:

1. Avoid sitting  for any longer than is absolutely necessary

2. As an exercise – stand up, put your hands on your bum and lean back –  hold for 10 seconds.  It will be painful, but you’re helping it the long run

3. When the pain is bad – go to bed and lie flat  – avoid the temptation to curl up in the foetal position… this only makes it worse in the long run even though it feels nice at the time

Also,

If you want more information to recover from Back pain and Sciatica, I have created an educational workshop event live at my clinic. It’s a FREE “Low-Back Pain workshop” event hosted myself and Chris for all past patients, their family and friends…

It’ll last 60 minutes and it’s FREE for you to come along and discover exactly how you, or a loved one, can finally unlock the agonising mystery of low-back pain, and how to get back the life that you deserve, for good!

To make sure you secure your seat in time, give us a call on:   028 9266 6959.  I f you know anyone who is suffering at the moment and they could benefit from this, pass our number their way to help put an end to it, quick.

Our upcoming dates can be found here :

http://www.gavnoble.com/workshops

or, You can find more useful tips in our special back pain report. Please feel free to take a look at our FREE back pain report which can be found here :-

http://www.gavnoble.com/back-pain

By G NOBLE 18 Jun, 2017

Lisburn is a great place to live, with numerous amazing attractions that people from all over the region come to see. Unfortunately, many people right here in the Lagan Valley area are unable to fully enjoy these attractions due to suffering from low back pain.

 

Not only are they not enjoying life to its fullest, playing with their children or grandchildren, and just getting through the day without nagging aches, but  worry about doing too much and paying for it later . The Lisburn area is full of amazing things to do and see, but back pain can significantly limit you from enjoying them.

 

Of all these great things to do, here is our top 7:-

1.   Wallace Park

Located in the heart of Lisburn and covering 25 acres of mature parkland, Wallace Park is ideal for families, with an excellent children's play area and a variety of gentle walks. There are football matches played regularly, tennis courts/club and Lisburn Cricket Club have their ground in the centre of the park. There is even has a Parkrun every Saturday morning.

2.   Lisburn Bowl

Is an 18-lane bowling arena. It has state of the art, fully computerised AMF lanes with full surround sound. ‘The Warehouse’ function space and 4 private lanes holds up to 50 people for family occasions and corporate events.

3.   Lagan Valley LeisurePlex pool

Northern Ireland’s largest leisure pool, competition pool and fun pools. The interactive ‘Aqualand’ area offers water slides, a see saw, swings, bicycles and waterfalls to be enjoyed by children under 10 years of age.

4.   Hillsborough Forest park

Hillsborough Forest, set within the historic landscape of Large Park, offers the visitor 150 acres of mixed woodland in which to walk and relax with nature.

The forest is set in the picturesque village of Hillsborough and is adjacent to Hillsborough Fort. Way-marked routes provide a variety of different walks through the forest, which covers an area of almost 200 acres. The whole of the lake area is a forest wildlife sanctuary and is home to a wide variety of birds and animals.

5.   Colin Glen Forest park

Colin Glen Forest Park is a beautiful wooded glen near Dunmurry at the base of the Belfast Hills and home to the famous  Gruffalo Trail . Home to a range of wildlife, a wilderness in the heart of Belfast, our Forest Park offers beautiful walks, exhilarating runs, and some spectacular outdoor activities as well as a purpose built multisports complex. Regular fitness events happen throughout the park including Parkrun and Couch to 5k. Latest additions to the park include Northern Ireland’s first official  Gruffalo Trail  with characters from the story book located throughout the forest park.

6.   Lagan Valley towpath

The Lagan Towpath is the most popular outdoor resource in Northern Ireland with over 1.4Million users recorded annually. It provides 11 miles / 17km of continuous off-road public access linking the cities of Belfast and Lisburn. The river and canal system form the backbone of the Lagan Valley Regional Park. It has some of the most spectacular scenery along the route, and down through all the locks.

7.   Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum

The Museum  aims  to collect, safeguard and interpret artefacts and information relating to the Irish linen industry and the history of Lisburn and the Lagan Valley.

 

Are you one of those who fears getting out of the house for too long? Are you scared to go out and about and enjoy the things Lisburn offers? Can you see yourself at Lisburn leisureplex pool with your children? Does sitting cause pain which keeps you driving to the different areas of this city? Does thinking about walking around the Hillsborough Forest park cause you to fear waking up the next day? Are you NOT taking in the sites and sounds of this Great City because you are so concerned you will not enjoy it because of the nagging pain and aches you suffer with?

IF so, there is HOPE for you, or someone you love who continues to suffer.

Does getting out and about, without fear of aggravating your symptoms sound good to you? Would you like to get to see all Lisburn has to offer and NOT have nagging aches and pains to deal with? Have you put off getting the care and attention you need and deserve because you have been told you just have to live with it? Are you depending on medications and frequent visits to the doctor to deal with your back problems?

IF this describes you, or someone you love, please click here  to receive a FREE Back Pain report I put together specifically for you!! A quick easy read of some easy things you can do right now to help calm your back pain, as well as give you great information about your back!!!

It is time you get the answers you deserve and the help you need so YOU can make the best possible decisions for your health. YOU have NOTHING TO LOSE!

P.S For some back pain help and relief, please feel free to download our FREE back report  with quick and simple tips to help ease low-back pain

 

By G NOBLE 18 Jun, 2017

It is always important for us to understand why our clients come to us to do Pilates. This enables us to tailor the classes to our clients needs. You then get the most benefit from classes.

Quite often, we hear of people who are not quite sure what Pilates is all about. Sometimes they’ve been told to attend a class as they’ve been suffering from back pain. Some aren’t sure if Pilates is really for them. They don’t like going to an exercise class with other people they don’t know.

Well, let me tell you NOW, to put any fears behind you. There is no time like the present to take hold of your health and get started.

We have asked our clients why they want to do Pilates and I’ve gathered our top 5 reasons: -

1.       People Who Suffer With Back Pain

This is one of the most talked about reasons why people come to do Pilates. And rightly so! The research out there suggests that Pilates is a great form of exercise to help people recover from back pain. Our Government guidelines on treating back pain also advise on exercise to help treat back pain, so why not do Pilates as this ticks both boxes!

2.       People want to improve their flexibility and strength

Pilates is definitely an exercise form that helps with overall strength and flexibility. We work on lots of arm, leg, abdominal and back strengthening exercises as well as mobility and stretching. It’s like I always say, ‘doing something, is better than nothing’! I see this all the time at class. I hear it from my clients. After attending Pilates for a period of time, people really feel the benefit and are surprised at how far they have come. They feel more flexible and stronger. When this happens, they start to feel less back pain too. WIN, WIN!

I’d also like to stress that Pilates will help you get stronger and help tone the body, but it will certainly not build big muscle bulk as this requires a different form of training.

3.       It will help with relaxation

In Pilates we us a lot of breathing to help with the exercise. This breathing along with focusing the mind on movement helps the mind and body to relax. We focus on control of specific movements which helps the body parts not being used in that specific exercise to relax. As the mind focuses on certain movements, this helps to take our minds away from any stressful thoughts thus giving further relaxation.

4.       Some people don’t like going to a busy gym

This is true. We use a studio at the clinic, plus a community venue. The classes are private and there is no loud energy pumping music. The ambience of these venues really lends itself to a more relaxed atmosphere where you can feel at home and exercise with no pressure

5.       Pilates will help improve my core strength

Pilates is known for strengthening the core. Most of the exercises actually encourage to be aware of and engage the core muscles whilst you are moving other parts of your body. You will see significant improvement in your abdominal strength and toning of the abdomen when you have been doing Pilates for a period of time.

I’d also like to add, you may not quite see the six pack develop as again you need to be on a very specific diet to allow for this.

 

If you see yourself agreeing with any of the points above, then maybe you could be doing Pilates too. It’s also a great way to get out there have fun(most important) and meet new people.

By G NOBLE 06 Jun, 2017

Having worked with hundreds of clients at Gav Noble Physiotherapy, we have found that there are many fundamental common mistakes people are making when they have back pain.

Please read below to find out all about these common mistakes. Are you making any of them? Read on to find out which ones you are making, and how they relate to your problem, and what YOU can do about it.

C       Mistake # 1 – Ignoring the pain, thinking it will go away on its own

Just getting on with things and thinking the pain will go away, may work but this will take a lot of time, plus, that’s if the pain ever goes away anyway. This is like doing nothing. Doing nothing will not do anything. Doing something about your pain will give you a better chance to recover much more quickly.

C       Mistake # 2 – Trusting in medications, hoping issue will resolve

Yes, taking medication can help to ease pain. However, medication is not treating the real source of the problem. You need to see a Health Care Professional who can diagnose the problem and advise on a recovery plan.

C       Mistake # 3 – Listening to friends and family “advice”

What may have worked for your Auntie Jean to ease her back pain is not necessarily what is going to work for you. We are all individuals and very different in our body make up, and your back pain could be coming from an entirely different source! You need to seek professional advice that will diagnose the root cause of the problem.

C       Mistake # 4 – Performing exercises, that can make things worse

Exercise for you back should be specific for your needs. Therefore, understanding what’s actually wrong with you will help you make a much better-informed decision about what exercise will be most beneficial to you. Avoid exercise which worsens your pain!

C       Mistake # 5 – Rushing back into activities too soon

Rushing back to activities too quickly can be detrimental to your recovery. Too much stressful activity on the body, with the body in a weakened state can quickly escalate your back pain. Good advice from a health professional will set you on the right tracks.

C       Mistake # 6 – Playing it too safe and resting for too long

Current research suggests that manual therapy and exercise is the best action to take to help recover from back pain. Again remember, resting is almost like doing nothing, and you are always better trying to do something to help yourself recover.

C       Mistake # 7 – Waiting too long to ask the right person for help

The longer you wait to ask the right person, the longer you suffer with pain. You may also prolong the amount of time that it will take to recover from your back pain. My advice is to contact a health professional ASAP.

 

If you are already making any of these mistakes, you are not alone – and you should know at the outset, rarely is it ever too late to get things right.

Here is the great news: Even if you have been making ALL of these mistakes we can still help you. Schedule a FREE DISCOVERY SESSION with one of our chartered  physiotherapists today to learn how to fight your back pain the right way!

We sometimes, find that patients are “on the fence” about physiotherapy. This Discovery Session is a great way to get your questions answered, see how we can help, and learn and if we are right for each other……. all with no strings attached.

Come in NOW for your FREE 20 Minute Discovery Session. Nobody will ask you for any insurance information, cash, or ANYTHING.

By G NOBLE 23 May, 2017


Last week a Patient made a statement that got me thinking:

“I wish I could exercise more but there just isn’t enough hours in the day!

The question being are there ways in which we can perform general everyday activities, which count as good exercise?

The gym doesn’t appeal to me, and the thought of going for a run scares me!”

Sometimes life gets the better of us when trying to fit the gym in or perform any form of exercise daily. Being overhauled with things to do is one main limitation that cause people to miss a session in the gym or get a workout in.

Not only that – the appealing nature of going to the gym or going for a run or a cycle outdoors is not for everyone!

For years people have the belief that in order to perform a satisfactory level of exercise we must break a sweat or at least get our heart rate racing.

But that isn’t the case!

Short periods of high intensity exercise have been proven to provide individuals with significant health benefits, which is perfect when we are limited by time. This being said

there are plenty of opportunities during your day to day activities to perform specific bouts of activity

.

So if you find yourself struggling to get a daily workout in –

here’s some everyday activities that you can contribute towards your overall activity when life gets in the way!

 

Walking

The most obvious but also the most underrated form of exercise.

Walking at a decent pace is still considered a form of cardiovascular exercise.

By increasing your pace and distance at some point during your day, walking will be a considerable form of daily exercise.

Going for walks with friends or walking in nice areas such as parks or toe paths can prevent you feeling bored while walking, and if that fails try listening to music or walk with a treat at the end such as a nice coffee shop.

Knowing I have a nice chocolatey mocha waiting for me at the end of my walk makes it that much better!


Taking The Stairs

Taking the stair is another great activity to get more exercise into your daily life. Another one that people tend to shy away from due to the feeling we get after performing a few flights –That’s why we invented escalators and lifts.

Although it is tough walking up the stairs is a great cardiovascular exercise to perform as it incorporates increased activity in all those leg muscles.

So next time your put in the predicament between taking the lift or the stairs – stop, think about it, and take the stairs instead.

The benefits you will get while doing so are overwhelming as you will begin to feel more energetic, help fight any underlying sickness and even lower your risk of cardiovascular diseases.

 

Cleaning

I’m sure when we perform are daily chores like scrubbing a floor or cleaning a bathroom we begin to feel out of puff and a bit hot!

That’s because although it doesn’t seem to be but cleaning is a good form of workout where we are constantly engaged in performing a specific activity with an end goal and is also a great calorie burner.

Our bodies will raise our heart rate while doing tasks like cleaning windows, cleaning the bathroom, the kitchen head to toe and running the vacuum around.

So now there’s a reason to do the housework more often

 

Shopping

Every woman’s favourite thing to do!

One thing we are obligated to do while out shopping is walk therefore if we are out buying nice new cloths or a general food shop walking is must in doing so we will burn up to 200 calories per hour walking at a good pace.

Things to consider while out shopping to improve activity:

·        Take the stairs instead of lifts or escalators.

·        Park car further away from the entrance.

·        Increase your step count by taking a longer route going round your favourite shops.

 

Gardening

 

Gardening a form of exercise which is very rewarding in terms of aesthetic value and physical value in terms of our bodies. Performing tasks within the gardening whether it be cutting the grass, planting shrubs, raking the lawn… the body will feel like it has been put through its paces, that’s because while perform such activities the body is forced to engage all our muscles throughout are bodies.

Gardening has other added benefits as it exposes you to delightful fresh air and of course a dose of well needed vitamin D which is great for your body’s immune system.

So don’t waste the next sunny day you have and perform some therapeutic goal rewarding activities in the garden- Its even classed as a moderate to high intensity exercise!

So all in all the more activites you are able to fit in within your hectic lives, the more physically active you are. So no excuse to incorporate everyday activities into your life.

By G NOBLE 12 May, 2017

So, this week I had a question from one of our clients.

Is it ok to do exercise if I have a bad back?

It is a question that we get asked a lot here in the clinic.

Some people have just got into a really good routine of going to the gym or getting out running and don’t want to stop. On the other hand, they are scared of making things worse. They still want to be able to get out of bed in the morning without feeling stiff and sore.

I get it, and I understand that this can be one of the most frustrating things.

You shouldn’t have to feel housebound, or needing to apply creams, take painkillers, or use heat/cold packs.

If you are suffering from back pain that comes and goes, then gentle exercise such as walking plus other movement exercises which help to mobilise the body or strengthen the body, can help.

Walking is a natural movement that keeps our joints mobile and muscles working. Walking works the muscle of the legs, buttocks, abdomen and upper body, all, which play an important role in keeping the muscles in your back that hold you up right, strong.

Stretching combined with walking will   improve your backs strength, flexibility and posture,   which in turn,   can help stop back pain from creeping up on you when you least expect it.   What’s more, it can also reduce how painful it feels and how much it gets in the way of day to day life.

So here’s the important question to answer now that you know it 100% is ok to exercise even if you’ve got a bad back…

The answer is YES !

Doing something is better than nothing. You have to listen to your body as well though, if your pain increases to an unbearable point then you are probably doing too much. Therefore, the option I prefer is little and often until you feel you have built up the strength to exercise for longer.

What exercise can you actually be doing? Because of course, too much exercise, or exercise that’s strenuous could make it worse or keep it hanging around longer.

Introducing Pilates…

Pilates was an exercise form developed by Joseph Pilates during the first World War. He worked as a ward orderly in a hospital teaching exercise to injured soldiers who were injured. He moved to New York in the 1920’s and opened his first Pilates studio where he taught exercise to injured ballet dancers.

Since then the exercise form has progressed, evolved and is used widely as a form of exercise to help with back pain by Physiotherapists.

So why does Pilates work?

To break things down simply, Pilates is a form of exercise where we learn to strengthen the body through movement.

Pilates is based on nine basic principles of:-

Breathing

Concentration

Control

Centring

Flow

Postural alignment

Precision

Relaxation

Stamina

In short, it’s a controlled form of exercise. You strengthen the body with specific exercises. You stretch tight and shortened muscles. For people with lower back pain, stretching is important. Stretching the muscles in your legs actually helps to increase range of movement in your hips, taking the stress off your lower back – which in addition increases blood flow, allowing nutrients to flow in, taking care of the muscles in your back

It’s also one of the best forms of exercise to maintain and improve a healthy posture. Great for your back, easing back pain in, and add to that it feels great when you can walk around confident and tall.

By G NOBLE 30 Apr, 2017

Our bodies are made up of approximately 60% water. Water is involved in pretty much all our bodily functions, including the diffusion of nutrients and flushing away toxins. Back pain is one of those many symptoms that may be caused by a lack of water in our diet and can affect our backs in the following ways.

Our spines are made up of vertebrae. In between each vertebra lies a disc which is made up of mainly water. These discs become dehydrated during the day when we are standing/sitting as the spine is in a vertical position. Then at night the discs rehydrate if we have drunk enough water. When the discs dehydrate the disc space between each vertebra narrows and in some instances, can cause pain and irritation of the spine.

With most back pain, there tends to be associated muscular pain and tightness. When you become dehydrated the harmful toxins can accumulate in and around muscle tissue. This leads to inflammation, rigidity and soreness.

Are there any common signs that you may not be drinking enough water? Yes, and it may sound simple but even just feeling thirsty is probably the first sign. Other signs of dehydration include, tiredness, dizziness, dry skin and lips, headaches, constipation and mood swings. Another more obvious sign is the colour of your urine. If your urine is dark and not a light yellow, then you really need to get more water in your system.

When your body benefits from being hydrated properly, then you should likely expect to feel less back pain, less tired, more alert, your skin will become more clear, plus being hydrated properly can help you lose weight.

So just like a car engine needs oil and fuel, your body needs water to help lubricate joints and help it run efficiently. Drinking the recommended amount of water on a daily basis will help your body function better as a whole with no negative side effects.
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By G NOBLE 14 Aug, 2017

The first time you take any new fitness class can be a little intimidating. Meeting new people, wondering if you will be able to do the exercises, or wondering what everyone else is like at the exercises in the class. Maybe it’s the exercise names that you’ve never heard before.  FEAR NOT! We all have to start somewhere.  

If you’ve wanted to try Pilates classes but something has been holding you back, now’s your time to sign up for your first one. Pilates offers plenty of benefits to your body, no matter your fitness background. You’ll improve your posture, focus on bodily alignment, and get a great workout.

Whether you're on the mat or a reformer, you can snag the same benefits. A 2016 study  found that eight weeks of Pilates classes improved abdominal endurance, flexibility, and balance. Other studies have shown that when doing Pilates for chronic low back pain, it was able to show greater improvements in pain and functional ability compared to usual care and physical activity.  Plus, Pilates has become popular with top professional athletes from all over the world, and A-list famous people.

Want to know what the hype is all about? Here's everything a Pilates newbie needs to know to enjoy their first class.

1. There are two different kinds of Pilates classes: mat classes and reformer classes.

You'll be tackling a class that's based on either a mat, to cushion pressure points, or a machine called a reformer, which is a sliding platform complete with stationary foot bar, springs, and pulleys that provide resistance to help tone the body. Know which one you're getting into before you commit to your workout, which is typically 45 minutes to an hour long.

Both options focus on the concept of control rather than cranking out endless reps or muscle exhaustion. In Pilates, your muscles are working to lift against gravity and (in the case of the reformer) the resistance of the springs or bands, with the ultimate goal of strengthening and isolating the right muscles. Your goal should be to take your time with the exercises, focus on the task at hand, and connect your mind with your body and your breath.

Regardless of what class you choose, make sure to let your instructor know you’re a beginner. This way, they’ll be able to keep an eye on you throughout the class and offer modifications, adjustments, progressions or regressions.

2. You'll feel your muscles burn during class, and you'll probably be sore the next day.

While you may not be crushing high-intensity exercises like crossfit or lifting heavy dumbbells, the mostly bodyweight routines that Pilates classes offer can be pretty intense. If we look at the Hundreds exercise for example, a abdominal focused movement that involves less than two inches of constant movement, it will make your abs burn. You can bee given modifications so that you can perform each movement with good form and with differing levels of difficulty (another reason to introduce yourself as a beginner before class starts).

Being able to focus on small movements means that you’ll work on the muscles that each exercise intends. That means you may be dealing with muscle soreness after your workout. Being sore the next day doesn’t mean you’re out of shape; it just means you’re challenging your muscles in new ways or working muscle groups that don't usually get much attention. This is common!

3. Wear comfortable clothes

Even if you typically prefer loose-fitting workout wear, you're going to want to wear comfortable clothes for Pilates classes, that allow your body to move. Tighter clothes can be better, so that the instructor can see your movements. You can wear legging with a tank top or fitted long-sleeved shirt.

As for footwear, you can either be barefoot or wear socks for your session. If you're going to go for socks, find yourself a pair with rubber detailing on the soles so you don't slip on the mat or machine. A barefoot or socks-only approach will also help you navigate in and out of the straps on a standard reformer with ease.

4. Every studio has different lingo they use in class. Look to regulars for form help when you're not up with the terms.

Every exercise class from aerobics to CrossFit has its own set of terminology, Pilates included. For Pilates, know that your "powerhouse" refers to the centre of your body, where all of your power comes from to execute movement. "Peel through your spine" means slow movement from vertebra to vertebra. Don't worry: You'll get used to it with time.

In the meantime, look to regulars who catch on to the instructions quickly. The best way to do this? Put yourself in the middle of the room. Whether it's on a reformer or a mat, planting yourself in the centre allows you an optimal view of all of the action. It is generally easier to see and follow the instructor from the middle of the studio. You can also try to follow the other regular participants. A good instructor will be watching the room intently and getting up from their mat to make adjustments with people. This is how you can learn moreeffectively.

5. Pilates should be a part of a well-rounded fitness plan.

As with any fitness programme, your body needs time to adapt and change to new movements. Hence, it is always good to take a day or two off from Pilates to allow your body to recover. In that time you can still exercise, but by doing something different.

Pilates stretches, strengthens, tones and aligns your body all at the same time. It also complements other exercise/sport/fitness programmes because it prepares your body to move better in every way. Adding it into your routine will help you lift heavier weights, run faster, swim with better form, achieve a better golf swing or even help you recover from back pain.

By G NOBLE 23 Jul, 2017

So as some of you may know, I have been away in New Zealand for three weeks at the start of July, leaving Chris in control of the clinic, and he’s done a smashing job too.

I have been away with RBAI school rugby team U15 and U16 teams touring both north and south Islands of New Zealand providing, physiotherapy/medical cover, plus a little bit of craic for our time there. The boys played 10 matches in total and won nine of these matches against top New Zealand rugby schools, which is just an amazing feat.

I have been Physiotherapist to RBAI school 1st XV since 2002. A role I stumbled upon, having some free time on a Saturday morning. I have never looked back. With trips to Barcelona, Japan, England, and Scotland, I always enjoy a good tour. The opportunity to meet new people, visit new places, spend time with great people, be part of good rugby and most important for me is to have fun whilst doing it. It has been a pleasure to work with some of the top coaches in Ireland and some great rugby players/pupils.

When the tour to New Zealand was first mentioned to me I agreed and said no problems, after all it was a few years away. Well it came around fairly quickly! There was lots of fundraising, such a superb effort put in by all the parents, boys and staff. Without them all, the tour would never have happened.

Prior to the tour I have to say that it did feel slightly daunting, being the medical cover for 45 boys. So off we went, the boys having completed SCAT tests before leaving. Whilst away, we had to do a few more SCAT tests after some of the games for those boys who suffered knocks to the head. Thankfully no one seriously concussed. It’s the safety of players which is always at the forefront of our minds. Match days were busy, helping both teams prep for each match.

So what kind of injuries did we pick up whilst away? We had some usual rugby knocks and bumps – nothing too serious, a few mild concussions (ruling boys out of playing), cellulitis, quads strain, back strain, shoulder impingement, ankle sprain, knee pain and finally some mild cold symptoms. Thankfully nothing too serious and only two visits to medical centres for the entire three weeks, which I think was pretty good all round. After all, it was winter in New Zealand and cold!

The entire tour has just been an incredible experience for all those involved, and one for which I will be eternally grateful.

There have been many highlights on the tour for me:-

·        Skyline tower in Auckland

·        Going to the Super 14 match between the Highlanders and the Reds in Dunedin

·        Watching the match between the British and Irish Lions in the Auckland fan zone, beat the All Blacks

·        Seeing the Crusaders and the Chiefs at their respective training grounds

·        Queenstown – Fergburger (best burger in the world), Luge racing, white water rafting, helicopter ride through the snowy valley, jet boat on the Shotover river, The views of the wintery countryside/mountains.

·        Maori village, Rotorua – experiencing the culture, the food, the games, the lifestyle.

·        Mini team competition, fines and court session, were always a laugh. My own mini team of Robin, Tom, Michael, PC, Stuarty Mc, Alex and Sam, were unfortunate to miss out on the top team prize but definitely a top group of lads. PC and Sam were our winners for top tourists as voted by the boys and the management.

·        The most important one for me in the list here is the way in which our two inexperienced teams played their rugby. They gelled well and played good rugby and beat some good, hard opposition. You have to remember that this is our summertime, and our boys haven’t played much rugby for a few months.

·        Beating all the boys at table tennis at Otago Boys HS with Jonny Peak, winning 10 pin bowling

·        Kyle, our bus driver was a fountain of knowledge (except rivers) and couldn’t do enough to help out.

·        The New Zealand people in general were so friendly, kind, social and brilliant.

The boys have been incredible ambassadors for our country with everyone they met and for all the families that they got to spend time with out there. They, their parents and the school should be very proud how they have conducted themselves both on and off the pitch. I certainly am! Each boy on the trip will have their own story to tell and highlight (even shooting possum). If you ever get the chance to ask them about it, then ask them. It’s hard to put down on paper just how incredible the whole tour was.

I personally would like to thank Dan Soper and the school for the opportunity to be part of the experience. I’d also really like to thank every one of the boys for being such great craic, banter and overall just being all-round ‘good’. I can’t believe the time passed so quickly. There was never a dull moment. There have been a lot of memories created for everyone on the tour and will surely not be forgotten. Thank you too, to all the staff, great memories!!

I have added a couple of photos just to remind myself of New Zealand but also, all the people who made the trip so great.

Sweet as bro!

Gavin

By G NOBLE 27 Jun, 2017

When you sleep at night, do you find yourself sleeping on your stomach? Or with more than one pillow in a twisted position?

When you’re relaxing at home, do you find yourself looking up at the TV screen with your chin poking up and forward?

When you’re out and about do you carry your bag on one shoulder? Or hold your heavy brief case in one hand?

Do you ever suffer from stress or anxiety?

Chances are, you’ve answered ‘yes’ to at least one of these questions.

I may be wrong, your bag might not be heavy, and you might sleep with just the one pillow, but the reason why I guessed you’d answered ‘yes’ to one of these questions is because over the years, almost every patient that walks into my clinic who has been suffering with neck pain, has been doing one of these things.

So it’s no surprise that during my time as a Physio that one of the most regular injuries I see is  ‘neck pain’.

And without even realising it, things that we do every day can cause it.

So let’s take a look 4 of the most common everyday mistakes I’ve found my patients doing that cause their ‘neck pain’…

1. Watching TV

Watching TV is a habit – not saying it’s good or bad! But the real issue with watching TV, is HOW you watch it!

Are you doing it the way I see most of my friends and family watch it… With the TV hung above the fire place high on the wall, kicked back with your feet up (and neck!), while watching your favourite TV soap opera?

Even though you might think it’s comfortable and relaxing, truth is, there could be a problem waiting for you! If you’re watching TV like this it can be strenuous for your neck and head.

A lot of people make the same mistake, they don’t realise that the position they have it in, can actually affect their body and health.

Anyway, how to fix it? There’s a reason why TV stands are almost always the same height, and any decent one will mean that if you’re sitting on the sofa watching TV, the TV will be at eye level.

Watch TV so your head isn’t looking upwards, or reaching out, and this should help you avoid headaches, eye trouble and muscle tension.

2. Your Bag

Carrying your bag on one shoulder, or holding a heavy brief case in one hand is something most of us are guilty of doing, but did you know that’s also one of the main causes of aches and pains in your neck and shoulders?

You see, since all of the weight of your bag is on one shoulder, or on one side of the body, it can throw your muscles and posture off balance, which is why you sometimes see people with one shoulder higher than the other!

Another thing, the way we carry our bags can cause our muscles to become stiff too.

So the way to solve this problem is reduce the weight of your bag, and to switch up the side you carry it on periodically.

Switching your bag over to the opposite side will help to balance out the way your body carries the weight, relieving any tension built up in your muscles, and solving any posture problems too! Switch it up every 10 minutes, or every time you walk past two streets.

3. How We Sleep

Another daily habit that brings on neck pain is the way we sleep.

You see if you sleep with your head propped up on more than one pillow, your neck, and back aren’t going to be nicely in-line – meaning more pressure on your muscles and spine.

And if you find yourself sleeping on your stomach, your head is most likely going to be turned on its side – meaning your body is in a twisted position all night for hours!

Although your neck is built to rotate from side to side, it’s not designed to stay in that position for hours on end. So if you choose to sleep on your side, use a pillow that doesn’t prop your head too high up, but in-line with your shoulder instead. And if you choose to sleep on your back, sleep with one thin pillow so your neck and spine are nicely straight.

 

4. Breathing

Check out the way you breathe.

If you use the muscles on your upper chest and shoulders to breathe, you may be causing them to overwork, and in turn cause increased tension in them plus the muscles at the back of the neck. This tension can progress on to cause pain!

So what can we do about that?

Well, we can start to use our main breathing muscle – the diaphragm, in a better way by letting our tummy rise as we breathe in. This will help ease the work our shoulder and neck muscles do on each breath.

 

Now can you see why you might wake up with a bit of a sore neck?…

For more ways and advice to ease neck and shoulder pain, go here next to collect your free tips report:

http://www.gavnoble.com/neck-shoulder-pain

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