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School Backpacks: Hauling Homework Safely

8/28/15 12:30 PM
By this point in the year, school children of all ages are preparing to load up their backpacks with all of those new supplies and textbooks. Study halls can help ease the overwhelming nature of being mid-school year, but what happens when those books & binders need to be hauled home?

In a recent study led by Shelley Goodgold, PT, 55% of the children surveyed carried backpack loads heavier than recommended. These overloaded & improperly fit backpacks can cause various back problems in growing children. In this same study, one third of the children reported back pain that led them to seek medical attention, miss days of school, or abstain from physical activities.



Choose the Right Backpack & Fit it Properly...

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Topics: tips, back pain, tips for children

Breathing Techniques: Maximize your Performance, Decrease Risk of Injuries

3/13/14 4:29 PM
Breathing. You do it every single day, all day long. But did you know that proper breathing makes a world of difference in your running performance? It seems so simple: inhale, exhale and then repeat. But what most people don’t know or even think about is the timing of it all. Aligning your stride and your breathing can significantly reduce your risk of injury and allow your body to perform at YOUR maximum peak level.

Budd Coates, author of "Running on Air," is an inspiring runner, instructor and coach of competitive and non-competitive runners; Olympic hopefuls and everyday recreational runners. In his book, he describes the sequencing of the inhale/exhale and foot strike to avoid injury and improve performance. Simply put, alternate which foot hits the ground with each exhale.

Let's break it down...

When you inhale, your lungs expand and your diaphragm contracts... 
When you exhale, your lungs retract and the diaphragm relaxes... 
As the diaphragm relaxes, so does the entire core...
The core is at its weakest point when it's relaxed...
Your foot hitting the ground is the point of highest impact to the body...

Sequencing your foot hitting the ground with the time of exhale will put the point of greatest impact right when your body is at its weakest point...the perfect storm!


If you tend to inhale/exhale in a pattern similar to your left foot/right foot strike, you are always landing on the same foot with every stride you take. This creates a lot of impact on one side, and none on the other side - putting you at higher risk for injury. Budd Coates touches a lot on breathing techniques. One technique in particular, he likes to call the "Rythmic Breathing Effort" (RBE), which utilizes a 5 count, or a 3:2 ratio.

5 - number of steps in the sequence. Inhale for 3 steps (left--right--left) and then exhale for 2 steps (right--left). Because of the uneven number of steps in the pattern, your first step on the exhale cycle will alternate. This will distribute the impact evenly from left to right and minimize the likelihood that one side is experiencing all of the stress.

You can try it by marching your feet while reading, or better yet...try it out on your next run and report back! Read More
Written by Mary Smith.

Mary Smith, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Baldwinsville office. She specializes in (and enjoys) treating injured runners to get them back to their craft, or simply reaching their best.

Topics: tips for children, running, exercises