Monday, July 30, 2012

Make Sitting at Your Desk a Great Core Exercise!

We all have to sit too much these days and we are seeing the effects on our bodies. Poor posture and prolonged sitting can cause neck, back, shoulder, wrist & hand, hip & knee problems. Strengthening the core - the muscles that support the spine - helps to prevent these muscular-skeletal problems and the poor posture that accelerates them.
Here are some tips on how to make sitting a dynamic exercise:
1. Practice sitting up tall, like you are being pulled by a string from the center of the top of your head and hold that position for as long as possible each hour you have to sit.
2. Set up your work station so that it promotes tall sitting, placing your computer screen at the height you would look at it when you are sitting tall.
3. Keep a ‘Swiss Ball’ -also known as a 'Theraball'- in your office to sit on for periods of the day. Use it during lunch to stretch & do a few exercises. (see pics below)

4. Drop a leg down as if in a lunge intermittently throughout the day. (see pics below)
5. Sit on your feet for short periods of time if you can tolerate this. You will know when to stop, as your feet will go numb.
6. Turn your chair around & straddle it. Every kid knows this is more comfortable!
7. Get up 2-3 times an hour, as you sit better when you first sit down.
Sitting doesn't have to ruin your body especially if you follow these tips. Don't forget to get 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week, eat right, get 7-8 hours of sleep & laugh a lot!
Here at Duffy & Bracken Physical Therapy we help our patients to stand tall & beautiful. We recommend the Theraball to our patients who are returning to work after spinal fusion, acute disc and lumbar surgery. We see a 95% success rate with patients who commit to our step-by-step back care program. Additionally, we have a Posture Training program available to all our patients. This program teaches you how to correct your posture and make the changes necessary to maintain good posture throughout your lifetime. Check out the program at
Ann Duffy, MA, PT
Owner of Duffy & Bracken Physical Therapy & Wellness

Monday, July 16, 2012

Olympic Dreams - My Snapshot Memoir!

The Olympics have always fascinated me…the glory, the prestige and most of all, the honor! I was fortunate enough to be able to live my Olympic dream four years ago during the games at Beijing.
August 2008 – I will never forget stepping out of the plane as a Physical Therapist and following the color-coded lines through immigration and customs at the airport. When you came through the doors there were people to greet you and whisk you away to the Village— YES the ‘OLYMPIC VILLAGE’ was to be home for the next 2 weeks.
I lived in a 3-bedroom apartment, which I shared with the Indian team. Across the street was the recreation area with video game arcade, soda machines and an Internet cafĂ©. The courtyards were magnificent with its stone and water features, murals, flowers, trees etc. Everywhere and anywhere you looked embodied the spirit of the Olympics—higher, stronger, faster. A 5-minute walk down the street was the cafeteria…the size of 3 football fields if not bigger. Here you we were all equals; standing in line at a food cuisine of your choice. There were stations for fruit and yogurt, desserts, fusion, Asian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Grills, BBQ and good old McDonalds.
Here you were just another Olympian --- it was here that I got to meet Kobe Bryant and the USA women’s volleyball team. One night I sat next to the Greek men’s basketball team, the next night I caught a glimpse of Usain Bolt getting dinner. I would try and guess an athletes sport based on their build as they walked by with food trays ;-))
The gym and fitness center was an absolute treat to me as I watched various sports train all under one roof, every athlete pushing themselves to their potential, reaching for the best they can be. In the evening I hung out at the players area where we played foos ball, shuffle and air hockey --- just being people
My most memorable moment would have to be the opening ceremony---walking around the birds nest stadium in my colors behind the flag, the flashing lights in the arena, the deafening sound of the crowd, the performances – the drummers ---I still feel the enthusiasm and the sheer pride of being a part of something so spectacular.
My most cherished moment would have to be the long-lived tradition of the pin exchange. You see the Olympics is about brotherhood and friendship – so one exchanges pins of one’s country with a person from another country. You got to share a story, you learnt where they were on the map, you said a greeting in a new language, whatever the exchange – a memory every single time. Some of the pins were more beautiful and ornate than others, some fun amd others were just special. I could go on and on --- what I have besides my memories – are my badge, my Olympian bag, my colors and my pins. 
 Since the 2008 Olympics I have joined a new team, here in New York at Duffy & Bracken Physical Therapy. Were I am proud to help our patients become pain free and assist them in becoming “Olympians” in their own right. If you would like to see any of my personal memorabilia and hear more tales…. head down to the clinic where they will be on display to celebrate London 2012.
Check out some pictures below of my Beijing 2008 Olympic experience:

Monday, July 2, 2012

Avoid Injury by Steering Clear of the Terrible Toos!

It is that time of the year again... The time when runners begin training for the abundance of Fall marathons all over the United States. It has been said that approximately 1/3 of all individuals training for a marathon will never cross the finish line, or for that matter, even make it to the starting line. The reason? Injury, most likely due to over training. 
Every research paper and expert agrees that —"training errors"—are the number one cause of self-inflicted running injuries. Runner and Sports Podiatrist, Stephen Pribut D.P.M., warns runners to beware the "terrible toos"—doing too much, too soon, too fast. The body needs time to adapt from training changes and jumps in mileage or intensity. Muscles and joints need recovery time so they can recover and handle more training demands. If you rush that process, you could break down rather than build up. 
Most marathon programs will build up your running mileage 10% per week for an average 16-week program. Yet, there may be times when even a modest 10% increase proves too much. Biomechanist Reed Ferber Ph.D., an assistant professor in the faculty of Kinesiology and head of the Running Injury Clinic at the University of Calgary, found that most 16-week Canadian programs push the mileage too hard. Meanwhile, his clinic's nine-month marathon training schedule for first-timers increases mileage by just 3% per week. "We have a 97 percent success rate getting people through the entire program and to the marathon finish line," Ferber says. 
Keep these few tips in mind and be injury free come race day.
Increase your weekly and monthly running totals gradually. Use the 10% rule as a general guideline, but realize that it might be too aggressive for you—especially if you are injury-prone. A 3-5% increase might be more appropriate. And remember that mileage isn't the only issue. Experts point out that an overly aggressive approach to hill running, intervals, trail running—or, any change in your training habits—can produce problems. Keeping a detailed training log can help you gauge your personal training threshold. Record your weekly mileage and how you feel after your runs. Look for patterns and listen to your body!  More is less when training for your first marathon.  
Greg Minnis, DPT