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Sports-Specific Warm up and Cool Down Advice

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Spending time on warming up and cooling down will improve an athletes level of performance and accelerate the recovery process needed before and after training or competition.   Warm up

Muscle stiffness is thought to be directly related to muscle injury and therefore the warm up should be aimed at reducing muscle stiffness, a good warm up should consist of 5-10 minutes cardio to increase blood flow followed by 10 minutes of Dynamic stretches. These are more appropriate to the warm up as they help reduce muscle stiffness. Static stretching exercises do not reduce muscle stiffness.

Benefits of an appropriate warm up will result in an:

  • Increased speed of contraction and relaxation of warmed muscles
  • Dynamic exercises reduce muscle stiffness
  • Greater economy of movement because of lowered viscous resistance within warmed muscles
  • Facilitated oxygen utilization by warmed muscles because haemoglobin releases oxygen more readily at higher muscle temperatures
  • Facilitated nerve transmission and muscle metabolism at higher temperatures; a specific warm up can facilitate motor unit recruitment required in subsequent all out activity
  • Increased blood flow through active tissues as local vascular beds dilate, increasing metabolism and muscle temperatures
  • Allows the heart rate get to a workable rate for beginning exercise
  • Mentally focused on the training or competition

Cool Down Cooling down after your workout allows for a gradual recovery of heart rate and blood pressure. Cooling down should consist of 5 to 10 minutes jogging/walking to decrease the body temperature and remove waste products from the working muscles. Followed by 10 minutes of static stretching. Static stretches are appropriate to the cool down as they help muscles to relax, realign muscle fibres and re-establish their normal range of movement. These stretches should be held for approximately 10 seconds. An appropriate cool down will

  • Aid in the dissipation of waste products – including lactic acid
  • Reduce the potential for Daily onset of muscle soreness ( DOMS)
  • Reduce the chances of dizziness or fainting caused by the pooling of venous blood at the extremities
  • Reduce the level of adrenaline in the blood
  • Allows the heart rate to return to its resting rate


Low Back Pain and Pregnancy

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Low back pain is common during pregnancy and can occur in about 50% of pregnant woman. Low back pain includes pelvic girdle pain as well as lumbar pain. All too often, women are told that this is a normal part of pregnancy, but common and normal are not the same thing. Although it occurs frequently, women are not supposed to have back pain while pregnant or after delivery. Typically, this happens because pregnant women release hormones that cause their ligaments to become more lax. Ligaments are the soft tissue structures that connect bone to bone, so it is beneficial for these to become more pliable to aid in the delivery of the baby.  Relaxation of soft tissue allows for the bones to move apart with less difficulty so the baby can pass through.
The downside of this is if the mother has underlying instabilities, lack of core strength, or mobility restrictions in her back or hips. Then, an advantageous hormonal response can cause unnecessary pain. A pregnant woman’s pelvis can shift into abnormal alignment, preventing her from being able to walk or function without pelvic or low back pain.
When this happens, women often complain of:

  •  Sharp, stabbing or dull pain localized to one side of the pelvis, low back, groin, or tailbone
  • Pain that may radiate down to the knee
  • Pain with movements, such as standing up from sitting, rolling over in bed, or bending or twisting
  • Muscle tightness or tenderness in the hip or buttock
  • Pain with walking, standing, or prolonged sitting
  • Pain that is worse with walking or standing and eases with sitting or lying down

When pain occurs, a physiotherapist can help to resolve the problems. A tailored treatment approach should be devised depending on the woman’s symptoms, her trimester or post-partum status, and her current mobility or motor control limitations.
This treatment might include:

  • Manual therapy, which might involve massage of tight muscles, mobilization of stiff joints, or muscle energy technique to improve the alignment of the pelvis, tailbone, or lumbar spine
  • Flexibility exercises to decrease the chance that any one muscle group puts undue stress on the pelvis, tailbone, or lumbar spin.
  • Strengthening exercises to improve the stability of the pelvic and spinal joints and targets abdominal, pelvic floor, and buttocks muscles
  • Education to help the woman understand how she can alter her daily activities to reduce stresses on her low back or pelvis. This may include body mechanics training focusing on proper form with standing, sitting, lifting, or carrying. It may also encompass educating a woman on compensations that she has learned to avoid pain and how to stop making those compensations after her pain is relieved so that these compensations do not cause further problems.

Low back or pelvic pain should never be described as something a woman just needs to endure during pregnancy or after delivery. The earlier a problem is treated, the easier it is to resolve; but it is never too late to address problems that arose due to pregnancy or childbirth. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Managing Stress at work

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Some pressure at work is normal. Pressure isn’t always negative; it can help motivate us and make changes in our daily lives. But too much pressure can create stress and sustained exposure to stress is linked to mental health conditions, like anxiety and depression, and to physical problems. Physios know that back and neck muscles are particularly sensitive to the effects of stress. This can cause pain and sometimes headache too. All this can prevent us enjoying work and doing our jobs effectively. It also costs employers millions of pounds each year in sickness absence.
Physical activity – good for mind & body! Physiotherapists know that exercise can do more than just help manage body weight and prevent disease. Evidence shows that being physically active promotes mental well-being and reduces or wards off stress by:

  • Causing your body to release chemicals which help lift your mood and make you feel more relaxed.
  • Focusing your attention away from issues that make you feel stressed and onto what your body needs to do to run, kick a ball, or swing a racket.
  • Helping you release pent-up stress and tension and making you more resilient to pressure.

Getting started Almost any form of physical activity can provide relief from tension or stress. The smallest steps can go a long way to improving your mental well-being, while also helping you look and feel better physically.
~ Good posture Whatever your occupation, it’s important to practice good posture for the tasks you’re expected to do. Bad habits, such as slouching, along with stress and anxiety can affect posture – causing you to hunch your shoulders, for example.
Active travel Travel actively by walking or cycling as part of your journey: •Get off the bus or train one stop earlier and walk the final part of your journey. If you drive, park further away than usual • At train stations and car parks, take the stairs instead of lifts or escalators •Cycling is great for fitness and a good stress reliever – it can also save you money on fares or fuel.
Easy exercise at work Too much time spent sitting at a desk or doing repetitive tasks can contribute to the development of back, neck and arm pain and other health problems. Breaking up your day so that you rotate your time spent doing other tasks, and moving and stretching regularly can help you think more clearly and be more efficient.
✔ Raise concerns with your employers early about any pressures you think are affecting your health. With their support, you might be able to address problems before they have a chance to build up.


Repetitive Strain Injuries

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Work-relevant upper limb disorders, such as repetitive strain injury (RSI), are a leading cause of work-related ill health. They can impact on all forms of industry. The good news is that most work-related illness or injury can be avoided if staff and employers put health concerns at the top of their ‘to do’ lists.

Office workers

• A change can be as good as a rest – vary your tasks, stand up to take a phone call, move around every 20 minutes or so.
• Move your neck, arms and shoulders periodically while seated at your desk.
• Sit facing straight ahead, feet flat on the floor (or on a sturdy footrest) and with legs uncrossed.
• Adjust your chair and monitor to find the most comfortable position for your work. As a broad guide, your forearms should be approximately horizontal and your eyes the same height as the top of the monitor.
• Adjust the backrest of your chair so that you can lean back against it comfortably. Make sure your lower back is supported.
• Place your mouse within easy reach and support your forearms on the desk. Keep your wrists in a relaxed, neutral position. Drive the mouse from your shoulder, not your wrist.
• Don’t wedge your phone between your ear and your shoulder. Use a lightweight headset if necessary
• Make sure that at breaks you leave your desk and walk around. At lunchtime try to go out of the office for a walk. This will relax your muscles, stretch your joints and get fresh air into your lungs helping you to work better in the afternoon.
• Use a copy holder if you work from documents.

Manual workers

• Make good use of any equipment designed to help you with strenuous tasks.
• Try splitting loads into manageable sizes, so that you can move them more easily. Minimise the distance you need to carry items by using handling aids, such as a trolley or lift if possible.
• Avoid prolonged or repetitive tasks. If on a production line, ask your supervisor if job rotation is possible, for example, so that you work on a different side or position on the line and use different muscles.
• Use both hands – pick one item with your left hand then one with your right.
• Don’t over stretch to perform a task – move closer.
• Avoid adopting a stooped or flexed posture when working at a bench or table by adjusting its height so that it is level with your waist.
• Make sure your clothes fit well so you can move freely and keep warm – cold muscles don’t extend properly.
• Check machinery regularly. If your equipment works well, it will save you from putting in extra physical effort or improvising technique.
• Take more short breaks rather than one long one – use the time to stretch your arms and legs.
The most important thing you can do to prevent work relevant musculoskeletal disorders is to maintain a good level of physical fitness. Aim to take 30 minutes of exercise outside work at least five days out of seven.


Do you sit at your desk all day?

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Staying healthy at work is easier than you might think: Try building the following desk–based exercises into your working day.
Current UK exercise guidelines recommend adults aged 19-64 take at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity each week (aiming to be active every day).
These simple stretches can help ease the aches and pains associated with sitting for long periods, but it’s important to combine them with regular physical activity. Moving more throughout the day can help keep your weight at a healthy level and limit your chances of developing a number of serious illnesses.
Good posture is important for keeping your back, neck and other joints healthy. Try the following tips to improve your posture – especially if slouching at your desk has become a habit. • Sit with your bottom right at the back of your seat and rest against the back of your chair for support • Rest your forearms on your desk with your elbows at a 90o angle • Relax your shoulders, don’t allow them to elevate or round • Make sure both of your feet are flat on the floor, and your knees are level with your hips • Adjust your chair and use a footstool or other support if needed • Imagine there is a piece of string coming through your body and out of the top of your head to the ceiling. This will prevent slumping and help keep you upright.
Wall Press ups. Press-ups are a great way to build some fitness training into your workday. All you need is a flat surface – and it doesn’t have to be the office floor: • Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Stretch out your arms and rest your palms against the wall at shoulder-height and slightly wider than shoulder-width apart • Take a couple of tiny steps back, engage your tummy muscles, and slowly bend your arms at the elbows. Keep your back and neck straight and look at the wall in front of you • Lower yourself until you are a couple of inches away from the wall, then push yourself back up to your starting position • Make sure you lead with your chest so your arms are doing the work. Do not allow your back to arch • Aim for three sets of ten press-ups. To make this exercise more challenging, move your legs further back
Stretch whilst sitting Long periods of sitting with your knees and hips flexed can cause the muscles at the back of your legs (hamstrings) to shorten and become tight. Address this problem with the following stretch: • Perch on the edge of your seat and stretch your right leg out in front of you • Rest your heel on the floor with your foot pointing up • Lean forward slightly from your hips and look straight ahead. You should feel a gentle stretch but no pain along the back of your right leg • Hold the stretch for 20 seconds, repeat three times and then swap legs.
Lower back stretch. Regular movement can help ease back problems and other aches and pains. Nothing beats getting away from your desk for a walk, but when that’s not possible mobilise your spine and reduce feelings of stiffness in your back with this simple stretch: • Sit slightly forward in your chair and rotate your head and upper body to the right • Take your left arm and cross it over your body so that it meets your chair’s right armrest. If this feels difficult, rest your left hand on the side of your right knee • Rest your right hand on the top of the back of your chair and keep your feet flat on the ground while performing this stretch • Hold this position for 20 seconds, repeat three times and then switch sides.
Chest stretch. Working on a keyboard with arms and hands outstretched can lead to rounded shoulders and a slumped posture. Your chest muscles can become tight and the muscles between your shoulder blades might be underused. The following stretch will help correct this muscle imbalance: • Sit forward from the back of your chair • With your thumbs pointing towards the ceiling, open your arms out to the side until you feel a stretch in the front of your chest. Ensure your shoulders are back and down • Aim to switch on the muscles between your shoulder blades by gently drawing them together. You should not feel pain or tingling in your arms • Hold the stretch for 20 seconds and repeat three times.
Ergonomic Advice for Motorists

Drive Clear Of Pain

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Professional and commercial drivers can experience a range of musculoskeletal problems, including back, neck, shoulder and leg pain. Poor ergonomics and sitting in the same position behind the wheel for a long time are key factors in driver discomfort. So let’s make driving more comfortable. Here’s a step-by-step guide to correct car set-up, plus some simple stretches for when you take a break from the wheel.
If you share a vehicle, where your set-up position could be changed, follow these tips each time you get behind the wheel.

  • Raise the seat as high as is comfortable to ensure maximum vision of the road
  • Check you have adequate clearance from the roof
  • Move the seat forwards until you can fully depress the clutch and accelerator pedals
  • Adjust the seat height as necessary for good pedal control
  • Adjust cushion tilt angle so that the thighs are supported along the length of the cushion Avoid pressure

A correctly adjusted head restraint is important to reduce the severity of a whiplash injury (caused by the head being thrown forwards and back or sideways, as can happen in car accidents). Further comfort can be made by making these changes:

  • Adjust angle of the back rest so it provides continuous support along the length of the back to shoulder height
  • Avoid reclining the seat too far as this will cause excessive forward bending of the head and neck, and you may feel yourself sliding forwards on the cushion
  • Adjust steering wheel rearwards and downwards for easy reach
  • Check for clearance for thighs/knees when using pedals
  • Ensure display panel is in full view and not obstructed
  • Adjust lumbar support for even pressure along the length of the back rest
  • Make sure lumbar support ‘fits’ your back, is comfortable with no pressure points or gaps
  • Adjust head restraint to reduce the risk of injury in the event of an accident.

It is also important to take regular breaks to prevent neck, shoulder back injuries occurring; to help avoid fatigue, plan journeys to allow for regular breaks. The High Way Code recommend 15 minute breaks every 2 hours. During the break get out of the car stretch and walk around.


MSK Chartered Physiotherapist required for private practice

New Forest Physiotherapy Southampton –


Job Start Date: June / July 2016


Physiotherapy Job Summary:

We have an exciting opportunity for a full time Musculoskeletal Chartered Physiotherapist to work at our private physiotherapy clinic in Fawley, Southampton SO45 1GA.


This position will be suitable for a physiotherapist looking to develop their career in musculoskeletal physiotherapy and move into the private sector. You will need to be a friendly people person with a can do attitude. Initiative, the ability to work independently and conduct yourself with integrity are essential. The team is made up of experienced physiotherapists who will assist you with your professional development with regular in service training sessions.


The successful candidate will be expected to contribute to IST for the team, help drive the marketing plan and interact with the public at events to raise the clinic profile. This can include presenting public seminars on physio related subjects, attending sporting events and working with the gym staff.


The workload is varied, consisting of self funding clients, insurance and medico legal personal injury clients. Conditions treated include whiplash, sports injuries, back pain, strains and sprains.



Applicants must have a degree in physiotherapy (or equivalent) be HCPC and CSP registered, and have your own transport for home visits and transferring between clinics.



Qualifications in manipulation and acupuncture are desirable but not essential. Funding for CPD is available so we will put you on these courses if you do not already have these qualifications.



Salary negotiable depending on your current pay scale (we will match your current pay plus a clinic bonus scheme).


OPEN EVENING on Tues 24th May at 8pm

Location: Gang Warily Recreation Centre, Fawley SO45 1GA

We are holding an open evening for any one who may be interested in applying for this job. At the open evening you will have the opportunity to learn about the clinics strategic objectives, the clinic structure, typical patient work load and ask the Clinic Director any questions you may have about the job. Free refreshments will be provided. 



Adam on 07867 563 952 if you would like more details or to book a place at the Open Evening.

As of the 1st of April 2016 our Southampton clinic will be changing location to Easy Gym Shirley. The new address is 366 – 368 Shirley Road, Southampton SO15 3HY.