July Updates – Strength & Balance

strength and balance

Strength and Balance

Did you know that over the age of 65, one third of Australians fall each year? This can result in physical injury, loss of independence, and decreased confidence, not to mention a negative impact on overall health and well being.

At Motion Health, we offer a Strength & Balance group which aims to help people improve balance and exercise tolerance, reducing ongoing risk of falling.

Through exercise we are able to improve muscular strength, balance, confidence, walking speed and the ability to continue to complete daily activities.

The group is conducted by a qualified Exercise Physiologist in a small group setting. With no more than 6 per group, this is the perfect opportunity to enhance quality of life and meet new people.

If you or anyone you know would benefit from the class, please contact our friendly reception team on your next visit or call 03 9825 2697

June Newsletter – Core Stability

core stability

It seems that lately, the term “core” is banded around by everyone in the fitness industry, from Personal trainers, to Pilates instructors, and to Physiotherapists. It has become an umbrella term for anything that works your abdominals. This can be extremely confusing and its’ use is not accurately applied. When it comes to spinal control, we need to address the body as a whole; the spine is attached to the Shoulder girdle and Pelvis, and what happens at one part influences the next. There needs to be an efficient transfer of load between one part and another as we move.

As physiotherapists, we are now more likely to use the term “Motor Control”, than “core stability”. Motor Control is any movement activation that the brain tries to control, and includes Posture, the pattern of movements that we adopt, the way we activate muscles and the timing of muscle recruitment. Motor Control can be normal or abnormal and if it is abnormal we can work to correct it.

Commonly, abnormal motor control can develop because of injury and pain, but also based on fear, and how people feel they should move their spines after injury. ‘Bracing’ patterns are common, and can be re-enforced by outdated concepts surrounding the pre-setting of the “core muscles”. Using a ‘more is better’ approach is not functional. By increasing the contraction of the muscles that stabilise the spine, we can restrict the spines movement, restrict breathing and ‘bear’ down on the muscles of pelvic floor, weakening them.

Good Motor Control is about employing the right muscle activation strategy at the right time. Optimal control of the body’s parts is less about contracting as hard as you can to create stiffness, but more about recruiting the right muscles at the right time with just the right amount of contraction.

At Motion Health we train spinal, hip and shoulder motion combined with the rest of the kinetic chain to share the load through the body. We try to do so in a way that promotes variability in movement to give the body options. This aims to inspire confidence and competence in movement to remove fear and allow you to ‘Move well and live well’.

If you are looking for a Physiotherapist in Toorak, South Yarra, Hawthorn, Prahran, Richmond, Malvern or surrounding suburbs then please call Motion Health on 03 9825 2697 or book online

ON THE SNOW: Stability, Conditioning & Injury Prevention

As this year’s ski season approaches it is important to be in the best physical shape to tackle the slopes. Skiing or snowboarding are whole body activities that require a combination of stability, strength and cardiovascular fitness. Here are a few tips how to reduce your risk of injury and maximize your time on the slopes.

Common Injuries:

The most common injuries associated when on the mountain are around the knees, lower back and shoulders. Knee and shoulder injuries are largely as a result of a traumatic event – crashing. Crashes can result in strains or tears of the ligaments and musculature which support the knee and shoulder joints. However, lower back injuries tend to be the result of overuse – fatigue and poor core stabilization results in increased movement of the trunk, leading to muscle imbalances and increased stress on the spine.

Pilates for Injury prevention:

While you might think that crashes on the mountain are at times unavoidable there is actually a lot you can do to minimize you risk of injury. While skill and luck are both factors in staying upright, training for strength and stability will help you get the best performance out of your body, whether that’s attacking each run, exploring some back-country territory or simply keeping you out there a few hours longer.

Muscle balance:

Skiing is a dynamic activity; your body has to adjust to sometimes subtle and at other time’s drastic changes in momentum, terrain and body direction. During this process the muscles responsible for supporting the knee are contracting and relaxing in a co-coordinated manner to respond to your environment. Strengthening of the hamstrings is particularly important to provide balance in this quad-dominant activity and provide support to the ligaments of the knee. Exercises that emphasize the adductors (muscles that bring your leg towards your body’s midline) can help a skier’s recovery from catching an edge and keep the skies under the body. Furthermore exercises which focus on the abductors and VMO improve stability and position of the patella, while the constantly changing distribution of weight between legs makes addressing strength imbalances between your left and right legs of paramount importance!

Protecting your back:

The best skiers are able to maintain a stable trunk; keeping their centre of mass over their skies maintaining their balance and letting their hips and legs do all the work. Deconditioning and poor recruitment of your abdominal muscles can make this very difficult which leads to increased movement of the upper body, increased energy expenditure and less efficient ski technique. Training these muscles appropriately so as to mimic the demands of skiing will allow you to get the most out of your body and maximize your time on the mountain