Steve: Absolutely, it’s a movement discipline that focuses on the breath and on moving with mindfulness. So we find a lot of people feel recharged and re-energized after a session because they’re focused on what they’re doing and not thinking about lunch later that day or picking up the kids who are probably at home with them at the moment. But we find that certainly with Pilates, just bringing that mindfulness to movement means
1. You’re in tune with the movement.
2. You know what you’re feeling.
So if that left shoulder feels different to the right how can we make adjustments and what adjustments do we need to make? So we find a few are unaware of some of these things that happen and you miss them then they’re not gonna work for you in the subconscious when you just go and do the gardening or paint the fence or cook that meal for three hours. Bringing your attention consciously to a movement will then help you move better and hopefully more correctly or efficiently through the subconscious.
Steve: Yeah and again it’s just that using the physicality to connect to your mindfulness and your mindfulness to connect to your physicality.
Steve: You absolutely can do physio by yourself with a physio. I mean, you know, physio can be a number of different things, but the first point is to seek advice. See a physio so you know the physio you’re doing whether that’s applying ice, stretching, or strengthening. The physio that you’re doing has been tailored to your physical needs and once you’ve established that, then you can do physio at home. The mhealth physios will keep you accountable and will check in on you and make sure you’re doing things the right way.
Bill: There’s probably three key things which are really simple. Every straight back chair in the world is 45cm high or 18 inches if you don’t do metric. So during a two-legged squat, to touch your bottom on the seat, you should be able to lift your body weight up and down off the seat twenty times – really simple. Next would be doing push-ups off your kitchen bench.
Steve: Where are your hands when you’re getting off the chair, mate? When should your hands be?
Bill: In front of you, not holding onto anything.
Steve: No armrest? You should be able to lift your whole body twenty times with your hands on your lap?
Bill: Definitely. Good qualification, that’s the mental image I had in my head. Push-ups off the kitchen bench, which seem really easy when you do one or two, but we should all be able to do between ten and twenty of those which is great flexibility for the shoulders.
Steve: Again, just to clarify, my whole body’s on the kitchen bench doing push-ups, is that what you mean?
Bill: Just your hands and your sternum – the middle of your chest, when touching between – your hands, I would actually have your body nice and straight as you go down and come back up.
Steve: So it’s much better on the floor. Just want to clarify because I have some visions of some elderly people getting up on their bench doing push-ups with their feet on the kitchen sink.
Bill: That would be ridiculous.
Steve: People listen to you, Bill.
Bill: Your kitchen’s pretty special. Push-ups off the kitchen bench with your feet on the floor and hands on the bench. And then walking – we don’t often talk about how quickly we walk. It’s not acceptable to walk a kilometer in under 12 minutes. You should be able to walk 5 km in 60 minutes, but just to go for a short walk for 10-12 minutes, that’s a really good thing to do. The motion that happens and the things that we don’t ever consider, like shaking your bowel up so your bowel motions are more regular. Just using your legs, really important stuff. So squats, bench push-ups, walking. What would you add in there, Steve?
Steve: They’re probably my top 3 as well. If you can’t get out of the house to walk, then I’d probably sub in – get in that standing balance on one leg, have a chair or a kitchen bench near you. There’s nothing like working on your stability from the ground up. Balancing doesn’t just work your ankles or your knee or your glutes, it works the brain and all your motor pathways as well, so it’s a really good exercise to do.
Bill: If you can’t or are unable to get yourself up and out of a chair or push your body weight up off the bench, your next step really is not living at home, it’s moving into assisted care – which scares the living day out of most people. So get on it – get moving.
Bill: One of my favorite stretches is to stand in front of the kitchen bench with a tea towel in my hands and bend forward so I become a big L-shape. I’m bending at the hips and then maintaining that position while I turn my feet, I step around to the right. Gives you a fantastic stretch through arms and your back – an mhealth creation called Raging Bull. You turn your feet around to the other side and bring yourself up. That’s one of my favorite home stretches in the kitchen. Steve, what’s your favorite?
Steve: Again, I just love the kitchen. So the kitchen bench is just a great thing to hold onto and balance, so whether it’s a quad stretch or a hamstring stretch, or even a little hip flexor stretch, sort of like a lunging stretch – I think it’s a really useful way of getting a lot out of your body. You can boil an egg, stretch, do the Raging Bull, put the toaster on, stretch your quads. Try not to do those things at the same time. Let the toaster go and then you can stretch your legs.
Bill: I think what Steve raised there too is often, people will have an exercise time. One of the interesting statistics from years gone past is that a lot of particularly female people in Australia, the main complaint about not being able to exercise is they didn’t have anything appropriate to wear, which is a pretty simple thing, go buy some exercise clothes. But we also rely upon going to the gym or going outside. To bring it indoors into your kitchen, you spend so much time in your house, especially in isolation. If you’re setting off those triggersto do little things during the day, those little things add up and then get you entrained as a person to think about being more physically fit, and with physical fitness comes mental fitness as well.
Steve: In fact, I also like using the toaster talking about incidental exercise. I had a client who said, “I don’t really have a stopwatch, Steve. I can’t bother with using the phone,” and I said, “Let’s put the toaster on.” Without toast – the numbers on the toast, which a lot of you don’t know this, they equal minutes of toasting. It’s not like 1 is like a light brown, 4 is like a burnt toast. 1 on the toaster is one minute. So pop it on 1 as you walk past the toaster and stretch your leg for a minute. No excuses, especially in isolation. You’re with yourself all the time at your house, so use it or lose it.
Bill: Chair Pilates is really a program of movement designed to work with people seated in a chair, but you’re really addressing four things.
The movement or the exercise is designed to settle inflammation, you can use gentle movement to do that.
Increase flexibility – so for the back, you might bend left or bend right, which aren’t normal motions for people to go through, so chair pilates can help free up tight joints or tight muscles
Improve patterns of coordination – so raising the arms up into stopping type position isn’t a normal place for people to go but that takes quite a coordinated action through the shoulder.
Building strength and endurance – you might have someone push themselves up and down obviously to work on the strength in your arms.
By having someone guide you through chair based exercises, you’re really dealing with those 4 parameters. And then the creativity of the therapist is usually what brings that to light, makes it fun and enjoyable. Steve, you’ve been creative?
Steve: Yeah, all the time. I’d add just another parameter which you were discussing earlier. It was balance. So as you get older and become eldelry I think from 30 years old, we actually lose our balance. So having a chair next to you, especially for those elderly people who live alone, you’re gonna lose balance and would need to practice standing on one leg.
For instance, it’s good to have a chair around to lean on so you don’t fall over. We’re trying to increase your stability and not have any accidents. So that’s probably one thing I would add, that one. Yeah, we do a lot of balance and using the chair as a lean-to.
Bill: Use it or lose it.
Steve: That’s right, comes from somewhere.
Bill: Yeah, the motion is the lotion… Should we keep going? No, maybe we should stop.
Steve: It goes back to, “Get an assessment. Speak to a health professional or physiotherapist.” Get assessed on what your back is doing or not doing so we can work with you to find a solution. Then it’s a matter of like you would in the treatment in the statement rooms onsite. Give you a certain amount of exercises and help you release tight muscles, stretch tight muscles, loosen up your lower back or middle back, depending on where your problem is and working with you to an outcome that matches your goals.
Bill: Just adding to that, back pain is not just back pain, and that’s why people seek us out generally because they’re not sure what’s causing the back pain. It could be kidney stones, it could be a bulging disc, it could be a facet joint arthropathy. And so the actual interview, even if it’s by telehealth, we’re quite skilled at actually teasing out what’s happening diagnostically. Those different types of pain that I just spoke about can all present as back pain but the treatment is poles apart. So getting to the root of what the issue actually is initially and then we can get the tyres on the road with things that you can do at home for yourself.
Bill: That’s a great question but I think the underlying question is, “What are you trying to achieve through your physio?” So to do it effectively, you need to really understand whether you’re trying to work on settling that inflammation, sorting out flexibility, working on controls or patternings or strength and endurance and I suppose that means you need some guidance. Would you be up for giving some guidance remotely, Steve, through Telehealth?
Steve: Yeah, we’ve been giving guidance for many weeks now through Telehealth with great results and i think the biggest thing to note, like Bill said, is what is your issue or what is the problem? Let’s assess it and from there we can make a decision on what actually effective physio means.
Bill: There’s generic programs that you can do but you’re better off being guided and then maybe as simple as just an email to our customer service team at front of house, we might be able to give you a generic program. But ideally, get in touch. There’s lots of things you can do in your own home to keep yourself moving well.
Bill: Well there may be specific social occasions where it’s appropriate where you might have disgraced yourself, but normally speaking, no. And if you think about solitary confinement for punishment in prisons, that’s actually not a humanitarian thing to do, so it’s not a healthy thing to totally isolate yourself. You want to add something there, Steve?
Steve: Yeah we’ve found through these lockdown – lockdown 1 and lockdown 2 – that a lot of our clients who do live alone actually need a little bit of inspiration to get moving, and when you are isolated, it can be very easy to just not do those exercises that we all know we should be doing. We all know we should eat better, move more, sleep more. But times we have a little bit of accountability, and at mhealth, we’re here to support our clients as best we can and not to feel isolated. Unless you go to that party that Bill was mentioning.
Steve:Good question. Pilates is an excellent exercise regime that will help keep you moving. It focuses on stability, balance, strength, and flexibility which are all the most important things that we need to keep us healthy physically but also, it will help us mentally. Bill, did you want to add anything to that?
Bill: Well also, it’s tailored specifically to people as well as certainly tailored to your needs. Joseph Pilates, who it’s named after, he formed Pilates based on three or four original movements. He was a very sync young man and he tailored that specific program which it’s grown out of to help people help themselves so it’s an excellent form of work during isolation.
Steve: And at mhealth, we’re also specialised in Clinical Pilates so you can easily find one of our physios, have a chat with them, and we can tailor the program to your needs specifically, as Bill mentioned.
Bill: This is a question that I get asked a lot, Steve. Whether old back injuries come back to haunt you. The answer, well, sometimes they do. If you haven’t done the work after the injury to restore your body back to what it should be. However, if you’ve got some structural damage there, that might be something that you are stuck with. But nine times out of ten, I find that people are just weak where they’ve been injured twenty years ago.
Example, the people who have had a fall whilst they have been skiing at the snow.Or they slipped down the stairs 14 years ago and say that’s when my leg or my hip pain began. What do you think? Should they be sore 14 years later if they just bruised an area?
Steve: Not if they just bruised an area. But it also depends on how old they were at that time, how severe the injury which is kind of what you’re saying. And I think the biggest thing is have they done the work to restore their full health. And if they haven’t, then there’s a good chance that it will come back. And if they’ve done a little bit of work, but then their lifestyles leads to a particular position or loading — you know, someone who sits on a desk all day.
Whilst they may have restored their back ten years ago, by sitting all day and neglecting their health, there’s a good chance that their back’s more predisposed to re-injury of that spot or a spot around that area. Bottom line is we should all be looking at our bodies, day in day out, week in week out, year on year on. So, twenty years later the only injury you have is a new one.