Tag Archives: cool-down

The Stick at Work!

1 Oct

If you have time to take a break at work,(and you should) then you have time to roll out and use The Stick

Original Body Stick

Original Body Stick

You can use The Stick @ your desk to loosen tight muscles in your back, shoulders and neck. You can also use The Stick to roll out your forearms to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome.

You can use The Stick to warm-up your muscles before you go for your lunch-time run.  Then when you are done, you can use The Stick for cool-down.

You can also keep a TriggerWheel in your desk to roll out the muscles in your neck and forearms.  Ease neck tension by rolling the TriggerWheel over the back of your neck from the base of your spine to the bottom of your neck.

TriggerWheel

TriggerWheel

Try keeping a FootWheel under your desk to roll out your feet while you work!

FootWheel

FootWheel

The Stick, TriggerWheel or FootWheel do not need any extra equipment like mats or plug ins.  You can get the benefits of massage therapy at any time of the day at your desk.  If you are worried about distracting your co-workers, don’t be.  The Stick virtually makes very little noise and you do not need to go to the ground to use it.

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How Speed Skaters Might Use “The Stick”

21 Sep

During the Edmonton Marathon, I met two high end speed skaters!  The first was a young up and comer who has been training at the Olympic Oval in Calgary, Alberta.  Her family has been involved in speed skating for quite a number of years.  Her dad happens to be a coach as well.  They ended up picking up a Sprinter Stick.

This made sense to me because speed skaters have large, dense muscles.  The Sprinter Stick was the perfect stick for her because it is stiff and short enough to fit it into her training bag.

The other speed skater I met was Crystal Phillips.  If her name sounds familiar it is because she is competing against the very best in the world.  Crystal is a Canadian speed skater who is not only training for Canada, but she also has Multiple Sclerosis (MS).  I did not know that she was dealing with MS until I met her for coffee.  She is a remarkable young women.  Here is a little exert from an article written about her efforts with the MS Bike Tour a couple of years ago:

“After successfully organizing a team for the MS Bike Tour for the first time last year, Crystal Phillips is looking forward to making this year’s team an even bigger success. Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis herself only a little over a year ago, the 21-year-old speed skater is determined to not let the disease get her down and hopes this Bike Tour, which is a two-day 180-km trip from Airdrie to Olds and back, will help build more awareness of MS and will help raise as much money as possible for MS research.”

To read the most up to date information on Crystal click the title – Canadian speed skaters support upcoming MS Bike Tour

Crystal is still team captain for her team called ‘Team Tazza’  for the MS Bike Tour. 

Interestingly enough, she stopped by my booth and said she uses The Stick all the time.  She told me she mainly uses it for warm-up.  Being that she is an amazing athlete, I assumed she would be using the Sprinter Stick as well.  I was wrong.

Crystal showed up the next day to compete in her race and she again stopped by my booth and showed her Travel Stick.  I was shocked to hear that she only uses the Travel Stick.  I though for sure she would be using a stiffer stick like the Sprinter Stick, Body Stick or even the Stiff Stick.  She explained to me that she and other speed skaters love to use the stick to warm-up and stimulate their muscles before they trained or raced.  So, the Travel Stick was perfect for the job.  She was not looking to do any deep soft tissue release because she would see a therapist for that. 

I think this makes a lot of sense for a person in her position.  She has access to physiotherapists and massage therapists, so she uses The Stick as a warm-up tool.  I suggested she she also use it as a cool-down tool and a tool for soft tissue work in between visits to her therapists.

Crystal is a great example of how speed skaters or other athletes can use The Stick

 Go Crystal Go.

 

I should also mention that Crystal is part of Clean Air Champions where their mission is to improve air quality by working with respected athletes to motivate and educate Canadians to adopt practices and lifestyles that enhance both environmental and personal health.

 

 

Snow Shovelling Tips

29 Mar

 

In Alberta, Canada, shovelling snow can be a daunting task at the best of times.  We got another huge dump last night in the middle of March for the second weekend in a row!

Back Deck

Our Back Deck

front door view

Front Door View

 
Here are some typical snow shovelling tips:
  • Be the last one out and have your neighbours feel sorry for you and have them do it!
  • Pay the kids down the street
  • Borrow a snow blower
  • Let it melt

Here is what we like to do:

  • Shovel as a family – everybody goes out!
  • Extend your services to your neighbours
My son and my wife working together

My son and my wife working together!

My daughter hangn' out!

My daughter hangn' out!

Here are some tips to help you in this situation:

  • Shovel small areas at a time with frequent rests
  • Push the snow, rather than lift it
  • Push downhill with gravity
  • Lift with your legs, NOT your back
  • Don’t twist when you lift
  • Use a shovel you can handle — Don’t lift too much snow @ one time
  • Use an ergonomic shovel
  • Use your skeleton as a lever, not your muscles (see picture below)
  • Most Importantley *** DO A PROPER WARM-UP and Cool-Down***
This grip allows you to lift with your skeleton and triceps.

By lifting with this grip, you are able to use your triceps and sketeton, rather than your biceps.

 

Realistically you are not going to warm up by running around and stretching too much.  That is where The Stick comes in!  Inside your house: (all these exercises can be viewed here)

  • Roll out your legs
  • Roll out you arms
  • Roll out you neck
  • Roll out your back
  • Roll out your shoulders
  • Stretch your lower back with the PostureCurve

When you are done shovelling, repeat the above steps for your cool-down!

You are now ready to tackle any snow that Mother Nature decides to dump!

Avoiding Injury With “The Stick”

16 Feb

You ask yourself, how can a massage stick help me to avoid injuries?  Here is how:

  1. By rolling over your muscles, you can feel tightness.
  2. By rolling over your tight muscles, you will loosen them up.
  3. By rolling over your muscles, you may feel knots (trigger points).  Knots lead to injuries.
  4. By rolling over your muscles, you will release those knots.
  5. By rolling over your muscles before exercise, you will warm them up.
  6. By rolling over your muscles after exercise, you will help to cool them down.
  7. By rolling over your muscles, you will increase circulation.  Poor circulation leads to muscle fatigue.
  8. By rolling over your muscles, you will segmentaly stretch each muscle.  Flexibility is good!
  9. By rolling over your muscles, you may feel soreness that you never thought you had.
  10. By rolling over your muscles, you will get to know your own body!!!

The Stick can do all this and more!!

I also found a great article that refers to avoiding fitness faux pas.  The actual title of the article is:

Don’t hurt yourself: Avoid 5 fitness faux pas

Play it safe with tips for avoiding injury on the field, in the gym

Basically the five faux pas to avoid are:

  1. Not sporting the right gear
  2. Ignoring instruction
  3. Overdoing it
  4. Not varying your routine
  5. Overexposing yourself to Mother Nature

Here is the direct link – Click Here

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness and The Stick

7 Jan

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS is the fancy name to why your muscles hurt so much after a workout or training session.  There have been many suggestions to why this happens.  Some theories include:

  • The muscle itself has been damaged and therefore is sore.  Microscopic tears and lesions form throughout the muscle.
  • Muscle soreness is the natural occurrence after a particular bout of exercise that has a high intensity or duration.
  • Muscles need to be broken down and recover in order to get bigger and stronger.
  • Muscle soreness and stiffness after exercise is most common when an exercise/training program has been implemented or altered.

Needless to say, I think anyone who has experienced a tough training session can expect some soreness over the next 24 -48 hours.  The key question is how to alleviate that muscle pain!!  The Stick can help.  I know this because new research out of Australia has suggested that simply stretching out the next day is not very effective at all.  Here are some ideas from Elizabeth Quinn who is a sports medicine expert: (I Have placed “The Stick”beside the tips that apply to using this great massage tool.)

Here are some tips for dealing with soreness after exercise:

  • Try an Ice Bath or Contrast Water Bath. Although no clear evidence proves they are effective, many pro athletes use them and claim they work to reduce soreness.
  • Use active recovery techniques. This strategy does have some support in the research. Perform some easy low-impact aerobic exercise to increase blood flow “The Stick”. This may help diminish muscle soreness.
  • Use the RICE method of treating injuries. Rest,Ice,Compression,Elevation
  • Although research doesn’t find gentle stretching reduces soreness, some people find it simply feels good.
  • Gently massage the affected muscles. Some research has found that massage was effective in alleviating DOMS by approximately 30% and reducing swelling, but it had no effects on muscle function. “The Stick”
  • Try using a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (aspirin or ibuprofen) to reduce the soreness temporarily, though they won’t actually speed healing.
  • There is some evidence that performing Yoga may reduce DOMS.
  • Avoid any vigorous activity that increases pain. “The Stick”
  • Allow the soreness to subside thoroughly before performing any vigorous exercise.
  • Don’t forget to warm up completely before your next exercise session. There is some research that supports that a warm-up performed immediately prior to unaccustomed eccentric exercise produces small reductions in delayed-onset muscle soreness (but cool-down performed after exercise does not). “The Stick”
  • If your pain persists longer than about 7 days or increases despite these measures, consult your physician.
  • Learn something from the experience! Use prevention first. 

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness – Prevention
While DOMS is common and annoying, it is not a necessary part of exercise. There are many things you can do to prevent, avoid and shorten the duration of DOMS:

  • Warm up thoroughly before activity and cool down completely afterward. “The Stick”
  • Cool Down with gentle stretching after exercise. “The Stick”
  • Follow the Ten Percent Rule. When beginning a new activity start gradually and build up your time and intensity no more than ten percent per week.
  • Start a new weight lifting routine with light weights and high reps (10-12) and gradually increase the amount you lift over several weeks.
  • Avoid making sudden major changes in the type of exercise you do.
  • Avoid making sudden major changes in the amount of time that you exercise.

As you can see “The Stick” can be instrumental in reducing muscle soreness.

To read the full article from Elizabeth Quinn click here.

Using The Stick in Cold Weather

1 Jan

Since I live in an area in Alberta, Canada where there has been a substantial amount of snowfall and cold weather this year, I decided to experiment a little with The Stick as a warm-up and cool-down tool in cold weather.  Here are some relevant Stick tips.

Here is what we know already about The Stick as a warm-up/cool-down tool:

  • A typical warm-up for healthy muscle tissue is about 20 progressively deeper passes over each muscle group (about 30 seconds per area).
  • By warming up muscles for exercise, the muscles are becoming stimulated and ready to perform by increasing the blood flow to that muscle group.
  • A typical cool-down for healthy muscle tissue is about 20 progressively deeper passes over each muscle group (about 30 seconds per area).
  • By cooling down muscles after exercise, muscles are permitted to slowly return to their resting state and blood pooling will be reduced.  Soreness and stiffness can be diminished with a proper cool-down, leading to  increased recovery for the next time training takes place.  Never mind allowing your heart to recover.

Here is what I have been doing:

  1. Rolling over my legs (one leg @ a time) in my house, starting with quads, then hamstrings, then calves.
  2. Switching legs
  3. Lower back/Upper Back
  4. A little on the arms.
  5. Going out for a run in the cold/snow.
  6. Light stretching on thet front step of my house.
  7. Repeating steps 1-4 in my house.
  8. Stretching my lower back with the Posture Curve!

My findings have been very impressive.  I feel fantastic!  Due to the fact that I warm-up with The Stick, my muscles are prepared for exercise without expending energy.  This is a real benefit since the cold and snow already zap a lot of energy to begin with.  I can start my run right away without spending extra time outside “warming-up”.  My muscles are primed and ready to go.

You may notice that when you do exercise outside that your muscles due become stiff and cold even though you are exercising.  This is really apparent when your done your workout.  Typically your legs are a little cold and stiff.  This is where The Stick is even more impressive.  By rolling over your muscles, you actually are speeding up circulation by bringing blood flow to the area you are rolling.  Your legs actually warm-up a little at the same time you are flushing out the lactic acid that has built up from your training session.

Needless to say, The Stick is amazing!!

P.S.- My wife, who is the real runner, loves using The Stick too!!

P.S.S – These same results will work for your pets and horses!!

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