What could I do in the off season at the gym to be a better water skier?

levitt-sara-dsc_6-9-1-16-bhphoto     Sarah Levitt, MPT, PRPC, Advanced Physical Therapy Center

Here in Michigan, aka the “great lakes state”, we are home to 11,000 inland lakes.  With this much water around us, water skiing has been a well loved past time.  Unfortunately, us Michiganders are not able to water ski year round.  Snow skiing is an option during the winter months, but it is just not the same.  So, what could you do in the off season to be a better water skier?

Hit the gym!  There are three main components to include in your workout when gym training to improve your skiing skills.

  1.  Start with endurance training.   Skiing takes tremendous cardiovascular endurance,water-skiing
    so hop on that stationary bike, elliptical trainer, or treadmill throughout the winter months.
  2. Another important component is weight lifting; focusing mainly on the muscles in the back of the body to counteract the strong force of the boat pulling you forward.  Be sure to use correct posture while doing these exercises.  This will carry over to your posture on the water.  Working those hamstrings, glutes, lower back, lats, shoulder blade muscles, and of course the griping muscles in your forearms will help you stay strong while your ski (or skis) are collecting dust.
  3. Top off your routine with balance training.  Balance is also a major component to being a successful skier.  Incorporate balance training exercises with your weight lifting regimen by altering the surface that you are standing on (i.e. standing on a Bosu ball, dyna-discs, or foam pads).  Standing on a compromising surface should be done with your feet hip width apart, if you are a fan of two ski’s, or in a split stance with one foot in front of the other to mimic your slalom ski (one ski) stance.   Incorporate upper and lower extremity exercises, and even core exercises can be done while standing on an altered surface to work the balance component.

It is also good to note that these balance and weight lifting exercises can be done while maintaining a “mini squat” position to work on the quadriceps (thigh muscles).   While skiing, the quads are in a constant state of contraction, therefore incorporating some of your strengthening and/or balance exercises with a sustained mini squat will help with all aspects of your skiing.

Continue to stay active when the snow starts to fall, and the summer will be back before you know it!

If a ski injury is what is preventing you from hitting the gym this winter, give us a call at Advanced Physical Therapy Center, and we will get you  back on your feet (or skiis).  For a list of our locations, please go to http://www.AdvancedPhysicalTherapy.com.

 

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Taking Up a New Hobby Can be Good for You

healthbenefitsheader

Think knitting and crocheting are just for the older crowd? Think again. There many good reasons to take up the hobby.

Benefits of crocheting and knitting include:

  • Reduced stress
  • Better ability to cope with illness (physical or mental)
  • Decreased risk of cognitive impairment as you age

But why do knitting and crocheting help?

Relaxed, repetitive motions, such as the ones used in crochet and knitting, can help calm down the body and the brain.  It creates a relaxation response similar to meditation, but in the end, you have something tangible like a scarf or hat.

Knitting and crochet also help with fine motor skills and keeping your fingers and hands feeling good as you age. Additionally, all patterns involve some aspects of math, keeping your mind sharp and letting you practice math skills. Seeing how math operates in the “real world” is especially helpful for kids: they can see concrete examples of the skills they are learning in the classroom.

Crocheting and knitting are often done in groups, either formally or informally. Whether you take a class, have a regular monthly guild meeting, or just get together with your friends every once in a while to chat and work on projects, chances are you have first-hand experience with how well knitting and crocheting go together with social activities. Being among friends can help combat loneliness and isolation, which can contribute to health problems.

Knitting and crocheting keep your hands busy.  Studies have shown that the hobby has helped smokers quit smoking by keeping their minds occupied and the same can be applied to controlling eating for weight loss.  Keeping your hands busy while watching TV can keep you from mindless snacking and sneaking out for that cigarette.

And if those benefits weren’t enough, knitting and crocheting can help with chronic pain. Betsan Corkhill, a wellness coach in Bath, England, and author of the book Knit for Wellness established a website, Stitchlinks, to explore the value of what she calls therapeutic knitting.  In a study of 60 self-selected people with chronic pain, Ms. Corkhill and colleagues reported that knitting enabled them to redirect their focus, reducing their awareness of pain. She suggested that the brain can process just so much at once, and that activities like knitting and crocheting make it harder for the brain to register pain signals.

If you are wanting to learn how to knit or crochet, there are many good resources in the area to begin, such as your local yarn store or senior center.
If you are a person suffering from a hand injury or a condition like arthritis, you can still reap the benefits of knitting and crocheting.  There are various types of tools and needles that are available that can be less taxing on your joints and help decrease pain and fatigue.  Contact anyone of our locations to speak to our therapists at Advanced Hand Rehab.  They are the experts in hand care and know the tools necessary to make activities of daily living and hobbies easier.
Advanced Hand RehabPrint
  • Grand Blanc (810) 695-8700
  • Clio (810) 687-8700
  • Flint (810) 732-8400
  • Hartland (810) 632-8700
  • Goodrich (810) 636-8700
  • Davison (810) 412-5100
  • Clarkston (248) 620-4260

http://www.AdvancedHandRehab.com & http://www.Pinterest.com/Advanced-Hand-Rehab

Resources:  The Health Benefits of Knitting, Jane E. Brody, January 25, 2016, http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/01/25/the-health-benefits-of-knitting/?_r=0

http://www.redheart.com/articles/health-benefits-of-crocheting-and-knitting