5 Tips to Help You Keep Your Exercise Routine

5 Tips to Help You Keep Your Exercise Routine

Make no mistake about it – we are fully entrenched in the new year. After all the shopping, meal preparation, stress, and overeating, came the annual New Year’s Resolution. The most common resolution, of course, is to exercise, lose weight or get in shape. “This is the year!”

Sound familiar?

As avid exercise enthusiasts, we’ve seen the number of gym-goers in January start to dwindle by February or March. Many people fizzle out of their exercise commitment for one reason or another. An unfortunate culprit of exercise drop-outs is injuries. While the motivation to recommit to a lifestyle of healthy eating and exercise is admirable, it can also be easily forgotten, especially when pain gets in the way.

5 Tips to Help You Keep Your Exercise RoutineAvoid injury at the gym and keep working on those New Year’s fitness goals by following these 5 tips to help you keep your exercise routine:

1. Fitness vs. Health
There’s a difference between working out for fitness and working out for health. Most people work out for fitness because it’s a lot more fun than working on some of the key exercises we therapists use for restoring a person to optimal health and range of motion. However, it’s vital to know the difference, and to know that while many fitness exercise programs allow you to quickly “feel the burn,” you need to make sure you’re not causing more harm than good to your joints, muscles, and tendons. At 18 years old, we can only work out for fitness because at that point we usually 10-feet tall and bullet-proof. But as the years go by and the tires get more miles on them, we need to be more mindful of that and focus equally on exercising for our health and for fitness. If you have questions regarding fitness classes or programs, we can offer guidance.

2. Stretch
Easier said than done. But many of us are sedentary and seated most of the day, so we all need to focus on stretching our shoulders, neck, low back, hips, knees, and ankles to improve or maintain the available range of motion we have. The truth is, most injuries can be avoided by stretching our joints and muscles to maintain our freedom of movement. Here are four simple stretches you can do right at your desk.

3. Work in a pain-free range of motion
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s an important one. It also relies on your ability to know your limits and to know the difference between pain, soreness, and fatigue. Regardless of what your friend, personal trainer, or person from the Youtube video may tell you about a certain exercise, know your body and know when and how to modify an exercise to make sure it can be done pain-free.

5 Tips to Help You Keep Your Exercise Routine4. Bench-press? Think again
Follow this guide for the safest chest and shoulder exercise. Sadly, it’s become the most popular male weightlifting exercise, mostly stemming from high school. The bench is one of the worst exercises we can do for the health of our shoulders. It’s an exercise we can get away with in high school, but in our 30s and 40s, as our rotator cuff can accumulate more wear-and-tear, it’s not something we so easily tolerate. Same goes for the military press.

Here is our list of safest, to least safe basic gym chest/shoulder weight training exercises:

  1. (Most Safe) Push-ups: There’s no shortage of variation and progressions
  2. Incline bench with dumbbells
  3. Incline bench with barbell
  4. Flat bench with dumbbells
  5. Military press with barbell (in front of head)
  6. Flat bench with barbell
  7. (Least Safe) Military press with barbell (behind head)

5. Walk. Walk. Walk.
Find time to walk every day for at least 20 continuous minutes. The health benefits of daily walking are too high to list. We consider daily walking as one of the examples of exercising for health. It’s vital to find time to make this a regular activity because not only does it perfectly compliment the exercises we do for fitness, but it’s easier to stick with consistently and see regular health benefits.

5 Tips to Help You Keep Your Exercise RoutineHere’s the point…

Follow these simple guidelines and don’t let an injury keep you from your fitness or health goals.  If you want to start by just walking or running, check out our article on taking your first steps.

It’s important to listen to your body. If you feel an injury starting to arise consult with one of our physical therapists for an evaluation or free consultation. The state of Michigan allows direct access, meaning you can see a PT without a prescription.

We offer a variety of fitness classes including yoga, HIIT, RunClub, water aerobics, and SeniorFit. Our classes are easily adaptable for any fitness level and are taught by trained instructors who can help if you begin to experience any discomfort while exercising. Get details and sign up here.

If you need more tips to help you keep your exercise routine, we’re always here to help. Make 2019 your year to feel great and take control of your health!

5 Tips to Help You Keep Your Exercise Routine

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5 Tips to Help You Keep Your Exercise Routine

4 Simple Desk Stretches for the Entire Body

4 Simple Desk Stretches for the Entire Body

Do you spend a majority of your work days sitting in a chair? Many of us do, and while we know that sometimes we get back aches or sore muscles from sitting all day, we can’t always do much about it. Or can we? Read on to see our four simple desk stretches for your entire body.

Prolonged sitting can shorten your hamstrings and hip flexors, contribute to neck and low back pain, and even diminish core strength. Without frequent standing and walking breaks, we subject ourselves to a variety of postural changes and medical issues.

We’ve talked before about the negative effects that sitting can have on your body. Today we’re expanding on that and showing you four easy desk stretches to keep the body moving and feeling good throughout the day.

Here are a few tips and desk stretches for office workers

Proper Sitting Ergonomics
Your ankles should be in neutral with feet flat on the floor, knees bent at 90 degrees, hips bent at 90 degrees, trunk in neutral, shoulders in neutral, elbows bent at 90 degrees resting on armrests, wrists in neutral with keyboard directly underneath the hands, and monitor at eye level so your neck remains neutral and relaxed.

It’s recommended to take 5-10 minutes every hour to get up, stretch, and move your body.

As always, if these exercises increase your pain at all, or if they don’t improve your symptoms after a few days, you will probably benefit from a free evaluation with a physical therapist. You can request an appointment here and we’ll reach out to you to schedule.

Office Workers Guide to Stretching & Ergonomics

Video Recap with Desk Stretches
– Seated Hamstring Stretch :: To stretch legs and hamstrings
– Seated Thoracic Rotation Stretch :: To stretch mid section, spine, trunk, and core
– Upper Trapezius Stretch :: Loosen neck and shoulders
– Levator Scapulae Stretch :: Relieve and prevent neck pain

See our other workplace stretches here.

4 Simple Desk Stretches for the Entire Body

WorkFit Services For Every Industry
Our WorkFit team consults with businesses in the manufacturing, office, and manual labor setting. We offer the following services:
– Corporate Wellness :: Designed to lower employee healthcare costs and reduce sick days. Research has shown that corporate wellness ROI can average $2.71 for every $1 spent. That’s a great return on your investment.
– Functional Capacity Evaluation :: Benefiting employers and employees by assessing a person’s ability to perform their work-related activities, before or after an injury
– Rehabilitative Services :: Safely and smoothly returning to work after an injury
– Worksite Injury Prevention :: Repetitive stress injuries are the largest category of worker injuries, and they’re also the most preventable. We’ll show you how.

One Happy Ergonomic Client
“It’s been a rewarding experience partnering with Northern over the past several years. We initially started working with them to perform ergonomic assessments for employees in both the factory and office setting with great success but, we’re now expanding this program to promote overall good health. The NPT associates understand the mechanics of not only allowing the employee to function properly at work, but to take that knowledge and apply it to their home life and family members. It’s a win-win situation for us at BISSELL.” – Dave G., Manager – Safety & Security, BISSELL


Learn more about our WorkFit services and request a team training session, or schedule a free consultation with a physical therapist.

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4 Simple Desk Stretches for the Entire Body

Avoid Slipping in the Winter with Yaktrax

Avoid Slipping in the Winter with Yaktrax

Winter tasks can be a little easier, and more fun, when you wear Yaktrax. Runners, people who work outdoors, and the general population, have to walk, run and work on packed snow and ice. Whether you’re walking your dog, getting groceries, running a marathon, or taking on the slopes, you don’t want to be down and out because of a slip in snowy conditions. Yaktrax easily slip on the bottom of your shoes to help you avoid slipping on snow and ice in the winter months.

Many of our physical therapists have been using Yaktrax for years. In the winter, we find them to be a necessity to reduce the risk of slips and falls, and its not just athletes and runners who use them. We encourage our patients with limited mobility to give them a try if they worry about making it across icy parking lots or driveways.

Who needs Yaktrax?
Athletes who want to run or perform their sport outdoors, regardless of the weather
– People with limited mobility who want to lessen their risk of falls on the snow and ice
Construction workers and public service officials who work outside, no matter the conditions
Outdoorsmen who hunt, hike and fish in the winter months

Avoid Slipping in the Winter with YaktraxYaktrax Pro Now Available
Because we so strongly believe in this product we’ve become a reseller so you can purchase them right from our clinics. We’ve selected the Yaktrax Pro because of it’s instant ability give you better traction, confidence and safety on packed snow or ice. Walk, run, or work on slick surfaces with the same stability you’re accustomed to on dry surfaces. Don’t let the winter weather put a damper on your outdoor activities or athletic training.

The Yaktrax Pro is available for $30, which is the same price you’ll pay at the big box stores, only you don’t have to drive to get them – we’re close to home.
Avoid Slipping in the Winter with Yaktrax
Yaktrax Pro Benefits
– Get out and be active on snowy days, knowing you have reduced your chances of falling
– Use these on shoes that don’t have a lot of traction
– Reduce risk of slipping/falls even on compact snow and solid ice during outdoor winter activity
– They don’t significantly change gait/running mechanics on outdoor surfaces
– Easily interchangeable between all your shoes and boots
– Easily removed when you go indoors
– Keeps those with limited mobility safe and gives them confidence when walking in the winter

Call or visit the Northern Physical Therapy clinic nearest you to get your Yaktrax today!

Avoid Slipping in the Winter with Yaktrax

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Avoid Slipping in the Winter with Yaktrax



Allendale > 6173 Lake Michigan Dr.
Caledonia > 9321 Cherry Valley
Cedar Springs > 308 S. Main
Comstock Park > 4615 W. River Dr.
Coopersville > 25 Conran
Grant > 17615 W. Moore
Kalamazoo > 7119 West Q Avenue

Lowell > 2050 W. Main
Norton Shores > 6022 Harvey
Sparta > 31 Ida Red
Wayland > 709 West Superior


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