Exercise and the Outdoors

This is an image of an adult stretching on a boardwalk.

Benefits of Aerobic Exercise

Regular aerobic exercise has been shown to have significant health benefits, particularly in reducing risk of heart and lung disease, improved sleep, decreased anxiety, weight loss, and even improvement in neck and back pain.  While exercising, the nervous system releases hormones that help control pain levels.  Increased circulation to the neck and back muscles provides increased nutrition for healing, reduces postural tension, and lubricates the joints.

Tips for Getting Started

The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week; such as 30 minutes, 5 times per week.  Recent research has shown that 2, 15 minute bouts is as beneficial as 30 minutes of continuous exercise.  This is good news for people who are limited by time constraints or poor endurance!

You should begin by lightly stretching your muscles for a warm up, and build the intensity of your exercise over the fist few minutes.  Increase your intensity level, raising your heart rate and respirations to what is perceived to you as “somewhat strong to strong” effort for at least 20 minutes.  This means you should break a sweat while breathing harder; you should be able to talk, but you don’t necessarily want to.

Before finishing, cool down and decrease your intensity slowly.  Finish with light stretching after exercise.

Get out and Enjoy the Weather!

Are you bored with that same old walk around the neighborhood?  New scenery is a great way to stay motivated and enjoy our city!  There are hundreds of walking and biking trails all over the state, so find someplace new to enjoy the day.

Minneapolis Area Parks and Trails

Here are some links to parks and trails in the area.  If you’re a plant lover, check out the University of Minnesota Arboretum and walk among beautiful plants and trees.






Bicycling with Good Posture

couple riding bikes

Whether you’re an avid biker or an occasional rider, the following tips can help make your bicycling experience more safe and enjoyable, and to ensure your bike is set up for optimal posture in order to minimize neck and back strain.

Seat height: When your pedal foot is extended at the 6 o’clock position (at bottom), your knee should remain slightly bent (~ 25 – 35 degrees of bend).
Handle bar height: For the novice rider, it’s better to position them a little higher. As you become more comfortable and skilled with riding, lowering the handle bars is appropriate. Be sure to always keep a slight bend in the elbows and wrists. Locking out the arms can place extra strain on the neck.

Core/Body Positioning
1. Maintain a slight curve in your low back. This neutral position of your spine helps to decrease the stress and strain that’s placed on it.
2. Keep your lower abdominal muscles engaged (see below).
3. Keep your shoulders back and down.
4. Tuck chin in slightly to keep your neck in a neutral position.
5. Push and pull the pedal in order to use all of the muscles of the legs. When all the muscles are working together it should feel like you’re making a perfect circle.
6. Maintain the strength and stability of your whole body. A strong core will help stabilize your spine and allow you to maintain good positioning while biking.

The 3 muscle groups that make up the core include:
1. The pelvic floor, also known as the Kegel contraction: These are the muscles that you’d engage
when stopping urination midstream.
2. Lower abdominals: You can engage these muscles by pulling your belly button in toward your
spine, essentially flatting your tummy.
3. Spinal muscles: While maintaining your pelvic floor and lower abdominal contractions, squeeze
the muscles on either side of your spine in toward each other.
Practice these contractions throughout the day while sitting, standing, walking, lifting and pushing/pulling. This will help strengthen these muscles which increases stability of your spine, thus decreasing your risk of future back injuries!
• Most importantly, HAVE FUN!

Hello Mama-Part 3 of 3

Welcome to a series of educational blogs for women who may be struggling with low back and neck pain before, during, or after pregnancy. At PDR, our comprehensive spine specialty rehabilitation and pregnancy protocols can help resolve pre-, peri- & postpartum spine pain through an exercise and drug-free approach. Wherever you are on your journey, we can help!

Hello Mama Blog…. 3
Getting My Body Back after Baby

Welcome to the World Baby Girl or Boy! And Welcome Home Mom! The first 6-8 weeks after baby is born is about your body healing, connecting with baby and getting to know each other. Although you’ve been together a long time, your beautiful baby will have its own personality. It’s about listening to your body and sleeping when baby sleeps. Trust in your body, it knows how to heal. Breathe, Eat, and Drink healthy foods from Mother Nature. During pregnancy and after delivery your muscles have been stretched and strained in every possible way. All of your posture muscles are exhausted and keeping good posture is a big challenge. Many of us have to re-learn how to activate all those muscles again in order to have good posture and body mechanics to prevent injury and strain. Planning is key, when adding the new tasks of carrying baby, the diaper bag, the car seat and loading that stroller in the car.
At PDR we offer seasonal 1 hour class to all new Moms called, Getting My Body Back after Baby, that includes learning how to activate posture muscles, retraining of body mechanics to decrease strain on back when lifting baby, and the safest exercises to start with to be on your way to getting your body back. At PDR we also offer specialized treatment and exercise programs for low back pain, sciatica pain, diastasis recti, and recovery from cesarean section. If you are having post pregnancy pain, discuss it with your primary OBGYN, and see if after your 8 week check up, a specialized post pregnancy physical therapy is right for you.
Buy a BOOK??? ??? So the #1 bestselling post pregnancy book is, What to Expect the First Year, 3rd edition, revised and updated in 2014, by Heidi Murkoff and her team of medical advisors. It is a guide to the instructions that babies do not come with. It is easy to read, filled with illustrations, practical tips and realistic advice in a non-overwhelming format to take you step by step through the first year.
TIP to get you started….the first time out to the store, park next to a cart corral. The car seat is crazy heavy with baby added, so you want to grab a cart first, bring it to the side of the car and then use both hands to slide the car seat close to the front of your body then pivot at your feet to place in cart. This avoids carrying the baby all the way through the parking lot!
Congratulations on your choice to join the “Wild Life” and have a baby! It’s an amazing journey and if you need a guide to get your body back after baby, we’d love you to attend one of our free classes!
Are you ready to take next steps and learn more? Come to our FREE Educational Presentation and Q&A: Getting My Body Back on Tuesday September 18th 6:30-8pm at PDR-Coon Rapids 320 Coon Rapids Blvd Coon Rapids, MN
Register to attend here