Canadian versus American Healthcare System - Call For Opinions

In a few weeks I will be moving to New York to start a new job. I haven't worked within the American health care system - since I'm a Canadian trained in the UK. I'm interesting in seeing the difference. I'm wondering if there are any of you out there who read this blog that have an opinion. So this is a call to any physical therapists or other healthcare professionals who have worked in the Canadian and American system. I'd be interested in gathering professional opinions on whether there is a difference in the care that patients receive, quality, timeliness, etc... I'd also be interested to hear how it has affected your career. So if any of you are willing to discuss any of the challenges or successes you've had I would be happy to hear from you. Please email me at or comment below.

2014 Fitness Trends Infographic

This infograpic was sent to me a little while ago and the author was hoping I would share it with my readers. Here it is for you folks. 

Happy Holidays From Exercise Basics

Hello folks. Here's wishing you health and happiness during the new year. I hope you are all enjoying your holidays. Stay safe. Here's a little holiday greeting from me and my wife for the holiday season.

Mad Skills Exercise Encyclopedia Review

A little while back I found an indigogo campaign to support the creation and publication of the Mad Skills Exercise Encyclopedia. The creator, Ben Musholt, recently sent me a copy for review, which I am more than happy to do. I received my e-copy in October and here's what I thought.

First off, a little about the author. Ben Musholt is a licensed physical therapist and certified APEX Movement parkour and freerunning coach, who lives in Portland, Oregon. He is a lifelong martial artist, and has a background in gymnastics and board sports. Aside from writing 'Mad Skills', he also posts to the websites and

Mad Skills is about using your body. There are over 700 pages of body weight and free weight exercises within it's covers to challenge your hum-drum routine. Hell, there's an entire chapter dedicated to different types of push-ups. If you're a regular follower of my blog then you know that I love the idea of using body weight as resistance. This direct quote from the introduction sums up why this book should be a part of your collection.

Fitspiration and Media Irresponsibility

Have you ever looked at those fitspiration photos with the ridiculously thin or muscular people and some "inspirational" slogan such as, "Sweat is just fat crying," plastered over it? I don't like them. I want to explain to you why, but I'm going to let Kevin Moore of to do it for me. He recently wrote this post that I think is a must read. It calls up the fitness industry and media for it's irresponsibility. Click on the photo below to read the article. Also, go ahead and add the blog to your feed.

Guest Post: Breathing Exercises and Lower Back Pain

The following is a guest post and does not necessarily reflect the views of Exercise Basics.

Lower back pain is a common problem with most people from all walks of life. The low back pain isn’t always related to lifting heavy objects; it can be as a result of bad posture and rigorous training on the field. People with chronic low back pain breathe a little differently than those without pain. Read on to find a correlation between breathing and low back pain.

A study by Hagins and Lamberg (2011) recently revealed that patients with chronic low back pain over a period of time tend to develop a dysfunction in their respiratory ability due to weakness of low back muscles. The patients tend to suffer breathing problems more during lifting tasks and activities that need a lot of effort from the patient. While this information may sound like ‘bad news to some people, it’s indeed a way out. In this post, we’re going to discuss exactly that.

This is because when a person inhales more air, a pressure is created within the abdomen – this pressure is supported by the abdominal and lower back muscles, and when the muscles are weak the support system cannot function properly leading to problems in breathing.

Over the years, therapists have focused on evaluating a person’s breathing ability, when the latter is diagnosed with chronic back pain. The therapist want to notice the amount of disability a patient is facing in breathing because the inability to breathe properly will actually lead to more pain, lack of metal alertness and fatigue.

Breathing and Back Pain

Breathing is probably the only body function that we perform voluntarily and involuntarily. When a person breathes consciously, he gets the nervous system to react; breathing exercises can thus have an effect on the body function and reactions that are beyond conscious control of humans – such as pain. Breathing properly leads to relaxation of the body and the muscles in the mid and the lower back. So, breathing exercises can be a way to target the treatment of chronic low back pains.

With proper breathing exercises, patients with chronic low back pains will have improper breathing causing the rib cage to become stiff and restrict inhalation. Loss of elasticity and weakness of the muscles leaves stale air inside the lungs, which restricts any fresh oxygen from entering the body leading to more pain and discomfort.

Breathing Correctly

It is hard to concentrate on your breathing, but there are a few exercises that you can include in your daily lifestyle, which can help you in treatment of chronic low back pain.

Make sure you are breathing correctly:

Place one hand on the abdomen and the other on the chest, now begin by taking deep breaths and make sure that the hand on the abdomen is rising higher than the one on the chest. This is an exercise to determine that you are breathing correctly and that your diaphragm is pulling in ample air into the body.

Another exercise is to deep breathe slowly, imagining to suck up all the air, and then hold it for about 7 seconds (or as long as you possibly can) and then slowly exhale through the mouth. When all the air has been exhaled gently contract your abdomen muscles to completely exhale all the remaining air in the lungs and then repeat the process. It is vital to deepen your breathing by exhaling completely than inhaling more air (though, the latter is equally important).

Effects of Breathing Correctly

It has been observed that carrying out abdominal breathing exercises correctly can result in improvement in a person’s energy levels. There are times when patients can be in the need for quick pick up. Simulating breath exercise is the best and most effective way to relive a person of fatigue or when the person needs a pick up. The idea of Bellows breathing or simulating breath as it’s called, is to revitalize the body and mind.

This breathing exercise is opposite to abdominal breathing, herein the person is required to take short, rhythmic breaths in order to increase energy and decrease stress. It is important to note that Bellows breathing shouldn’t be used in place of abdominal breathing, instead it should be used by chronic back pain patients in addition to abdominal breathing as a tool to increase their energy levels when required.

‘Breathe’ is the life-thread and it’s indeed possible to fine-tune this life-thread by doing some simple exercises on a daily basis for a healthy life.



Hagins and Lamberg (2011). Individuals with low back pain breath differently than healthy individuals during a lifting task. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 41(3), pp. 141-148.

Author Bio

I’m Mike a Health & Fitness consultant having 15+ years of experience working in clinics, gyms and also Yoga instructor dealing with health, pain & injuries. Also, studied the usefulness of breathing exercises, Chirocare, yoga and meditation for treating back and chest pain. At present I am working with, which appoints continuous efforts in researching more on physical fitness and their impact.

Gluten-Free Schmuten-Free

A friend of mine shared this piece with me on facebook the other day.  I usually don't put much stock into this kind of stuff, but I felt like I should share this with you guys. It kinda expresses my thoughts exactly about this whole gluten free fad. Real people with celiac disease know how difficult it really is to go without eating gluten and how it's not a "cool" thing to be allergic to gluten. I am do not have celiac, but I just despise the gluten-free trend. Anyway, have a read of this little piece. It's not a scientific article or anything like that, it's just one person's opinion. Click the pic to follow through to link.

5 Signs That Your Gluten Allergy May Be Fake

College Fitness Infographic

This infographic was passed along to me a few days ago. I thought I would share it with you all. the views in the graphic do not necessarily reflect my own views. I do, however, think it is useful. Give it a look and let me know what you think. click on the image to see it full size. I couldn't figure out how to get it to fit here quite right. sorry for my technical inadequacies internet :(

infographic sourced from:

Leaving On A Jet Plane

I'm sitting in an airport right now on my way to New York to visit and friend of my from University. Since this is one of the few airports that I've been in I thought I would take advantage and write a short post. I don't really have a topic in mind, just a little ranting I suppose.

First of all let me tell you guys that the past two weeks have been the hottest that I remember in Newfoundland. I played tennis with and old pal last week and the humidity was smothering. It's really important in these situations to stay hydrated. Lots of water and/or a CHO drink such as gatorade. Dehydration not only has the effect of reducing your performance - up to a 7% decrease in VO2 max - but also puts you at an increased risk for injury and heat stroke. This is is definitely a case where the dos equis guy is wrong, don't stay thirsty my friend, get the fluids into you. This is especially important on humid (or if your a Newfoundlander, muggy) day because you sweat more, but cool less!

Since I'm about to get on a plane I thought I'd point you towards a few articles that are pretty interesting reads.

Firstly, a guest post here on my blog about preventing blood clots while flying

The second article comes from the always helpful Mike Reinold. This one is definitely for the more physio-minded of my readers about assess overhead movement in a swimmer. The curious case of the wiggles

For you golfers out there, here is an article from Lindsay at Rants and Rehab about preventing injuries. Tips for golfers

Finally, this one is not physical therapy or fitness related. I'm Canadian, I like hockey. So here's the upcoming schedule for the NHL regular season. Montreal opens the season against Toronto. GO HABS GO!

I hope you all enjoy your weekend. I know I'll enjoy mine. Cheers!

Guest Post: Yoga Isn't Just For Young Folks

The following is a guest post submitted by Felix Marsh of Heritage Live In Care and does not necessarily reflect the view of Exercise Basics. 

In later life our immune systems begin to struggle and our bodies lose their efficiency, so maintaining the best possible health and fitness through a good diet and regular gentle exercise is essential at this stage of life.

Despite many people’s belief that yoga is a form of exercise reserved for super fit (and incredibly bendy) young folk, seniors practicing yoga can also enjoy the wide variation of benefits this ancient tool for healthy living has to offer as yoga helps them to maintain their health at the same time as significantly improving their general wellbeing.

There are many different yoga poses, or ‘asanas’ to choose from, starting with the most basic and progressing to the more advanced. Yoga combines these poses with breathing techniques and meditation in order to improve physical and emotional health, clear the body of toxins and leaves the individual feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

The key benefits yoga provides for your physical health:

• A boost to the immune system
• Better quality sleeping patterns
• Reduced blood pressure
• Effective pain relief
• Better balance, mobility and flexibility

The key benefits yoga provides your psychological and emotional wellbeing:

• New friendships and social opportunities
• A calm, stress free mind
• Boosted confidence
• Relief of depression and anxiety
• Memory and concentration is improved

Let’s take a closer look at the wonderful key benefits listed above…

Immune System

A number of the yoga poses promote cleansing and help the body to release unwanted toxins and this
gives a real boost to your immune system.


Physical exercise alone can help all of us to get to sleep more easily, but yoga with its combination of exercise, relaxation and correct breathing techniques helps you to sleep longer and deeper so you wake up feeling totally refreshed.

Blood Pressure

Many seniors experience issues with high blood pressure which can have serious long term effects if it is not kept under control. Through its calming influence, exercise and breathing techniques, yoga can in many cases significantly lower your blood pressure.

Pain relief

Pain in the joints and muscles and arthritic pain usually result in the need for medication, but for a variety of different conditions, yoga can offer effective pain relief and for some people can actually eliminate the need to take any medication for pain relief.

Balance, Mobility and Flexibility

Issues with balance are a common problem for seniors and often the cause of painful falls. Through yoga, individuals learn how to distribute weight evenly across their feet, which improves their stability and balance. The majority of the asanas focus on correct posture and gentle stretching to keep the body fit and flexible.

Social Opportunities

Participating in a regular yoga class can open up new social opportunities and help seniors to form new friendships with people.

Calm Mind

Yoga helps to relieve the mind of ‘clutter’ and troubling thoughts by helping you to remain in the present. This is a valuable tool for anyone who is prone to feeling stressed and worried.


Whether it is new friends, improved strength and mobility or simply feeling fitter, yoga can improve your confidence on many different levels.

Depression and Anxiety

Stretching and deep breathing increases the body’s oxygen supply which helps to relieve tension. This, combined with all of the other physical and psychological benefits can make a positive impact on anyone who is suffering the effects of depression and anxiety.

Memory and Concentration

Yoga teaches you the tools required to change the way you think, helping you to filter out stress and negative thoughts. The reduction of stress which affects the memory and concentration helps you to maintain a healthy mind.

Experience the benefits for yourself!

Anyone of any age can enjoy the great benefits of achieved by practicing yoga. Providing you take it at your own pace and respect your body’s limits, you will soon find yourself feeling younger, fitter and happier.

Yoga isn’t just for young folks it’s for everyone!

Indiegogo Campaigns You Should Support

Hi Folks,

so by pure coincidence I came upon two indiegogo campaigns in the last couple of days that I think are fantastic. The first one is the Sensoria Smart Socks that I talked about a few days ago. The other is Mad Skills exercise encyclopedia. I think that both will be very useful products so I wanted to share them with you.

If you don't know what indiegogo then I'll give you a short explaination. Basically if a small company or individual needs money to kickstart a product, program, or fundraise for any reason then they can run a indiegogo campaign. The idea is you go to the campaign page and donate money, most people offer some incentive for different levels of donation, such as a t-shirt for a smaller donation or a free product for a higher one. It all depends on the campaign.

I'd like for you to follow these links to the campaigns of the respective products and at least give it a quick read. I've embedded the videos explaining the products below for you and here are the links to the campaigns.

Sensoria Smart Socks Campaign

Mad Skills Exercise  Encyclopedia Campaign

Guest Post: How To Guarantee The Best Results From Fitness Programs

The following is a guest post and does not necessarily reflect the view of Exercise Basics.

What is the difference between a popular star’s body and your body? A personal trainer — using one tough fitness program. The combination of these two can whip any body into shape, from previously pregnant women trying to lose the baby weight in record time for some red carpet premiere to skinny men looking to gain washboard abs and Greek god strength in a couple of months. You, too, can achieve your own personal fitness goal. Here are some recommended approaches to help you maximize results from fitness programs.

Look before you leap. First, you will want to evaluate your fitness level. Doing this will help you determine the kind of fitness routines your body can take on and let you measure your progress. You will want to assess your flexibility, aerobic fitness, and body composition. So do a practice run or walk and see how far you are able to get without running out of breath or tiring out. Also, weigh yourself or find out about your BMI (Body Mass Index), as there will be a normal weight for a specific height.

Once you figure out your fitness level, you will be able to choose the type of program you can take on.

Train by design. Every body will be different, which means not all results will be the same for everyone, even though two people might take on the same fitness program. So what you need to do is pick out a gym that offers the services of a personal trainer who can design a program aimed at delivering your fitness goals.

Your personal trainer may combine running with strength training or integrate other routines like boxing with circuit training. Tailoring a fitness program will give more variety with routines while enabling you to target areas in your body that need improvement.

Pencil it in. Sometimes you need to see what your goals are in order to work harder at achieving them. So do not just think about it in your head, write it down. Consider it as a fitness to-do list with goals. For instance, you could put down one hour of running in the morning for two weeks plus one hour of boxing thrice a week for building strength, muscle mass, and flexibility. Make sure you indicate a “deadline” so that you never falter in achieving your goals.

Creativity kills the fat. The failure of some exercise routines is they become too much of a routine that you eventually get bored out of your skull. Boredom can lead to laziness. Laziness will encourage fat build up in your body. So get creative with your personal training fitness programs.

If running has lost its appeal, try weekend trail runs instead. If aerobic classes have become droll, go salsa dancing at night. If weight training seems to put you to sleep, consider rowing at a lake every morning. New and exciting activities will prevent you from losing motivation and allow you to meet your fitness goals and help you achieve the best results.

About the Author: Chelsea Sawyer is a nurse and a certified health coach who has been helping many people in changing their behaviors to keep them focused on achieving their health and fitness goals. She has great passion for writing; hence her hobbies include writing and sharing helpful techniques on topics like losing weight, achieving a healthy lifestyle through physical activities; and living healthy through proper diet and way of eating. She recommends for the best fitness resource for achieving fitness goals.

Sensoria Smart Socks

If any of you know me at all from reading this blog, or just know me personally, you know that I'm not one for gadgets, gimmicks, or fads. I make an effort to only promote a product if I genuinely see benefit to it. If asked by friends and family about certain exercise plans and the like I will always give my honest opinion. The reason I'm telling you this now is because I'm about to talk about a product that seems like a gimmicky gadget at first glance, but if the project gets off the ground I can see huge benefits.

The product is called  Sensoria smart socks and was created by former Microsoft employee Mark Esposito. You can read more about how he came up with it and that jazz by clicking on this link:

Smart Socks

There's also this video that kind of explains the technology and production of the socks. Fair warning, it  is a promotional video and they are looking for contributions to get the project of the ground and on to the market. If it so becomes you then by all means follow through to their website and donate. This isn't a sponsored post or anything, I get no compensation for any action on the readers part.

Ok, so I understand that not all of you will want to watch the video or will have clicked the link to read the article about the socks, so I"ll just give you the skinny on them. Basically, it's a pari of sucks that gives you feedback about your running/walking performance. It tells you cadence, pattern, how your foot falls, hell it probably even cooks you breakfast.

The physical therapist in me can see huge potential in such a product. as it stands now (or at least in my experience) gait analysis with this type of feedback requires bulky equipment and a fairly short distance with force plates, mat, or an elaborate set up with a treadmill. You're also very conscious of the way that you walk when someone is watching you. Imagine if you could get your patient to don a pair of socks for a week, go about their daily routine and you receiving information about their gait during they time between appointments? I think that would be very useful. Couple this with in the clinic observation and you would be able UNSTOPPABLE. That may be a bit overzealous, but you get my point.

I tell you one thing, I would have loved to have a pair of these in my undergraduate days. Doing research with a 12inx12in force plate is difficult when you're trying to get a participant jump up and down and land directly on it every time. The socks would have eliminated that problem.

What do you think?
Can you see any other applications for the product?

Do you see it being successful?

UPDATE: if you'd like to support Sensoria and help them get off the ground then follow this link to their indiegogo kickstart campaign

The Arthritic Car Metaphor

A few days ago a friend of mine asked me the difference between rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) and I thought of a fairly novel idea to explain it.

I used a car as a metaphor for the human body and basically describe it in the following way.

source: Jr 88 Rules
OA is your basic wear and tear on the car. Over time components will wear down with use. Brake pads are the easiest way to see this. As time goes on and you use your breaks more and more then pads will eventually wear down and you'll get metal on metal when the pads are completely worn. If you want to liken this to your knee, as time goes on your cartilage will wear down and you'll eventually get a bone on bone when the cartilage is completely worn.

RA is the rust. While there will still be a wear and tear type thing going on, there's also another element at play. Rust will infiltrate a car and eat away at the components. RA is sort of like that, the body has an autoimmune response and will eat away at the cartilage.

Ok, so this is a very rudimentary analogy, but I think it gets the basic point across. Obviously there's a lot more going on with OA and RA than my simple explanation.

Do you find this explanation useful?
How do you like to explain injuries to your clients?

What Are Shin Splints - Part 3

So I've talked about nomenclature and causes of shin splints. Now it's time to get into the prevention and treatment of shin splints.


"Running Shoes" by barbourians
As always, prevention is the best medicine. Following some simple guidelines for exercise may help you stave off shin splints. For example, if you're picking up running again for the first time is months/ years or a completely new runner ease yourself into it. Don't go out on your first day and try to run 3km. You'll likely struggle to do it and your body will pay for it later. Learnt to pace yourself and have a progressive exercise routine. With that in mind, always have an adequate warm up and cool down when exercises. this will prepare your musculoskeletal and cardiovascular system for the higher-intensity as well as gradual bringing them back to a resting state. Speaking of rest. You need it. Give your muscles time to repair! I know the whole "no pain, no gain" attitude, but sometimes you just have to listen to your body. These are simple things that will help prevent any injury, not just shin splints.

bloglovin' and other thoughts

This post really has no physical therapy or fitness content. It's just a verification notice for bloglovin'. However, since I'm posting it I might as well make good use of it so here goes.

First of all, I want to give my condolences to those affect by the bombing at the Boston marathon. Tragic events indeed. I would like to say I find it hard to believe that these senseless acts happen, but it seems too commonplace nowadays. It's such a frustrating thing.

Other than that I started running again today for the first time in quite a while. I will admit that since started my masters (and completing it) I've not been as active as I have been in the past. I'm trying to take the advice that I would give my clients and ease back into things. I did a 2km run today, trying to break in some new shoes, get the feel for things. It was surprisingly cold outside today, I was ill-prepared for that.

What else? I'll be finishing part 3 of my shin splints series. you can read Part1 and Part 2 to catch up if you like. Part 1 was on the nomenclature surround the term "shin splints" and Part 2 was about the common causes. Part 3 will be on the prevention and  treatment of the condition. 

If any of you have suggestions on topics you would like to have covered than by all means contact me or write your suggestions in the comments below. I've made a little departure from writing about fitness lately. This wasn't intentional really, my interests have just been more on the physical therapy and injury side of writing lately. I'll try to give you guys a better mix in the futre. 

Ok, so now that that is covered, the link below is for the bloglovin' thing I had mentioned earlier. Cheers!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

What Are Shin Splints - Part 2

In my previous post I talked about the nomenclature surrounding shin splints. In this post I'll actually get into the nitty gritty of what shin splints are. I'll focus mainly on the most common pathologies, but if you recall from my first post, shin splints can be an all encompassing term for lower leg pain. If you have questions about anything not mentioned in this post then please comment below and I'll answer any and all questions to the best of my ability.

Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome

As I've mention in Part 1, a commonly used synonym for shin splints is Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS). As the name suggest, it's classified as a stress along the medial (and distal) third of the tibia.

There are a number of causes of MTSS, one of which is believed to be periostitis of the tibia in response to tibial strain under load. Periostitis is inflammation of the periosteum, which is the membrane that lines outer surface of the bone, and, consequently, which which muscles will connect. Other causes may include remodelling of the perisoteum, and tendinopathy - all of which can be considered a consequence of overuse.

The muscles that are mostly involved are the tibialis posterior, tibialis anterior and the soleus. This explains why pain from MTSS is typically felt along the inferior medial border of the tibia, this is where the belly of the three muscles turn into the more fibrotic tendon and therefor the area of the most stress. As I've mentioned previously, MTSS is typically a consequence of overuse, hence why the areas of greatest pull (tendons) will be the area of greatest pain.

There are also underlying biomechanical reasons why MTSS may be present, and one of the most common being overpronation of the foot. Overpronation places added stress on the tibialis posterior and the soleus because pronation of the foot stretches the soleus and tibialis posterior. This puts them in a less then optimal alignment during running activity. Another somewhat common predisposing factor for MTSS is a narrow tibial diaphyseal width - or in layterms - a teeny tiny middle bit of the shaft of the shin. Unfornately shin width can't really be altered, but overpronation can be. I'll get into this in the treatment section later.


Another cause of shin splints is simple tendinopathy. This can expalin why some people experience pain in areas other than that of MTSS. Personally, when I get pain I feel it somewhat laterally, just below the knee. To be a little more precise, I get pain at the origin of the tibialis anterior. This is one of the other more typical areas that people describe when they say they have shin splints. This is also around the area of the origin of extensor digitorum longus. Besides the commonly felt area above, tendinitis may also appear along the anterior surface of the shin where other muscles originate or in the belly of the muscles above.


Depending on the health professional you talk too there may be mother causes of shin splints, or they may classified shin splints differently depending on their personal definition. To me the above two pathologies best describe the pain of shin splints when ruling out stress fractures and compartment syndrome. inflammation of the interosseus membrane may also be a reported cause of shin splints. There are other factors that are considered to be causes or predisposing factors for shin splints. I'll simply list them.

Running downhil
Overtraining on uphill/uneven terrain
Fallen arches/overpronation
Short bursts of sprinting activity
Inappropriate footwear

The take home message from all of this is that shin splints can most often fall into the overuse category of injuries if you consider that compartment syndrome and stress fractures are their own separate pathologies.

In my next post I'll take about prevention and treatment of shin splints.

What do you guys think:

Would you consider shin splints to be predominantly an overuse injury?
Have you experienced shin splints? Tell me about it.
Can you think of any other causes for shin splints?

What Are Shin Splints - Part 1

Tell me if this sounds familiar. You run 3-4 days a week and for the first mile or so you feel fine then the front of your lower legs start to BURN! You push through the pain anyway to finish your run. By the time you get home all you can think about about lying down, or getting a hot bath, anything to sooth the pain in your legs. You've been getting this pain consistently for a while now and it's starting to get to the point where you can no longer run. Chances are you have shin splints. Ok, so not all cases of shin splints are severe enough to prevent you from activity, you may only get them once in a while or during the last leg of a run.

So, what are shin splints?

First of all, there is no splinting of the shin bone (tibia). This name probably derived as an adaption to an early description of the "spike soreness" by Dr. Hutchins in 1913. The term shin splints has been an area of debate, which I find silly, but science minded folk are all about debating terms. Some use it as a generic term for lower leg pain, others feel that it describes specific lower leg pathologies - typically medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS). There has been a push to not use the term shin splints to describe the pain because of it's non-specificity, but at least it says where the pain is right? The term is so confusing to the best and brightest of us that Batt, ME decided to write an entire review on the matter, and eventually decided that the term exercise related leg pain should be used. Oh how fickle medical professionals can be.

In my opinion, shin splints are an overuse injury, somewhat akin to a tendonitis. So that's not very specific, it doesn't change how I go about treating the issue. I'm still going to analyze your gait, look at your footwear, rule out stress fractures or compartment syndrome and develop an appropriate treatment regime.

Sorry that post was a little bit of a rant. I just don't like getting to caught up on nomenclature when it has little to no effect on treatment. In my next post I'll get into the causes of shin splints.

Stay tuned for continue to Part 2 - Causes of Shin Splints



Batt ME. Shin splints–A review of terminology. Clin J Sport Med. 1995;5:53–57

Hutchins CP. Explanation of spike soreness in runners. American Physical Education Review.1913;18:31–35

Happy Easter From Exercise Basics!

source: javcon117
Happy Easter everyone.

I'm spending Easter in my hometown and stuffing my face with an assortment of delicious food. I hope all of you get to do likewise.

A while back I had a guest post about how to follow through with your New Year's resolutions. By now you've all either done that or failed to follow through. If you were able to keep to your resolution then congrats! If you weren't why not use easter a a reset button? After all, Easter is a time of rebirth.

Also, you may have noticed the new blog layout. I'm sorry for all the changes over the last little while. I promise that all the major changes that I've wanted to make are done now. All that's left is a little tweaking, which you won't really see. I've also registered my domain name as, so if you have bookmarked, now is a good time to switch it. You'll still be redirected to the right page if you use the .blogspot domain though.

So, HAPPY EASTER. Spend some time with your family, eat good food, go to church (if that's your thing), and if you're in newfoundland have a snowball fight or something. Seriously, snowstorms be crazy.

PS. ignore the random numbers and letters below. it's for a technorati thing.


Physical Therapist Working With Personal Trainers

I read an article over at Mike Reinold's blog about collaboration between personal trainers and physical therapist today and I wanted to weigh in on it. I was just going to write a comment on the post, but I have quite a bit to say about it so I'm going to write this. First off, if you're a physical therapist or physical therapy student then you really need to start reading Mike's blog. Now, on with my thoughts.

I think I offer a bit a unique perspective on this topic because I moved from the personal training world into the physical therapy world. One thing that did separate me from most trainers is that I gained my certification through the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiologists (CSEP) as a certified personal trainer (CPT), which requires the completion of a minimum of 2 years of post-secondary studies with completion of credits in 6 core areas. At the time I was a personal trainer I had a bachelors of kinesiology with my CSEP-CPT. A lot of personal trainers have completed a weekend course to gain their certification, with no prerequisite education required. Now, even with my higher education I could not presume to take on the role of assessing a client's needs for recovery without the input of a physical therapist and here's why.

source: Neon Tommy

Even though I had the theoretical knowledge of injuries and corrective exercises I was not trained in assessing an injury and developing a treatment plan. However, if guided by a physical therapist's assessment and treatment plan I could develop a rehabilitative exercise program that suited the needs of my client. With feedback from the physical therapist and the client's progress I could adapt the program.  Without input from the physical therapist I would only be adapting the program from what I saw with the client, being mainly strength improvements or a plateau in improvement.

I will admit that when I was a trainer I thought I was better able to develop a rehabilitative program than I actually was. I based the programs on what the client's reported to me and the couple assessment tools I had gained in my undergraduate degree from some athletic therapy courses I had completed. my rudimentary assessment skills lead me to develop programs that, while not harmful to the client, were not as tailored to the individual's needs as I thought they were. I realize that more now since completing my MscPT than I like to admit.

source: Roger Mommaerts
Now, from a physical therapist standpoint I realize that we simply do not have enough time with a client to develop a truly individualized, progressive exercise program. Sure, I can give isolated exercises for a rotator cuff injury, but I can't guide your through a military press in the clinic. I can give you core stabilization exercise and simple hip extension exercises, but I haven't the resources or time to teach you how to make this functional for lifting by teaching you a deadlift. Enter the collaboration with the personal trainers. By developing a treatment plan and knowing the client's specific needs I can handle the assessment, manual therapy, modalities, and a general home exercise program and leave the progressive exercise program and fitness to the trainer.

I don't want to overstep my bounds here because Mike and Jon covered this topic in greater detail over at I encourage you to go read their post on this. I just wanted to share my opinions here on my blog.

What are your thoughts?
Are you a personal trainer, do you collaborate with physical therapists?

As a physical therapists do you collaborate with trainers?
Do you think that you've tried to take on a larger role as a trainer or therapist than you should?

Meet The Author of Exercise Basics

I've been doing this blogging thing for about a year now (consistently) and I realize that I haven't really shared a whole lot about who I am. I do have an about page, but it's pretty basic and doesn't really let you know... well it doesn't let you know a great deal about me. Yes it tells you my qualifications  where I'm from, and that I'm married  - but that's the bare bones.  I thought it was about time that I share will you fine folks on the internet a little bit more about myself.

First of my name is Brandon Goulding, and this is what I look like on a good day

This is what I look like on a bad day

I grew up in a small town in newfoundland. For those of you who don't know where Newfoundland is it's here:

It's a fantastic place to grow up. During my childhood I spent my time catching rabbits, swimming, riding my bike and playing every sport that was offered, except hockey. I know, I know. I'm Canadian so I must play hockey. I tried, I sucked, I moved on. What I did excel at though was basketball and volleyball. During high school I had a huge interest in the sciences... and gym class. This lead me down the eventual path of kinesiology.

I basically wanted to be involved in sports and the science behind it, so that's why I chose kinesiology for my undergraduate degree, which I completed at the Memorial University of Newfoundland & Labrador - more affectionately known as MUN. Let me tell you I had some great years at MUN, some very influential profs, got my spark in exercise therapy, and met my wonderful wife.

When we graduated from MUN, Sarah and I moved to Halifax where I worked as a clinical kinesiologist/trainer. It's basically here that I really became interested in physiotherapy as a career choice. The physical therapy team that I worked with was fantastic. Sarah and I moved back to St. John's after a year in Halifax and I worked for a while as a personal trainer, but my main interest was still in physical therapy. I applied to a few schools and eventually landed on Robert Gordon University. I started my masters there in January of 2011 and finished in January 2013.

So that's basically my path to physical therapy in a nutshell. Other than that here are a few things you need to know about me.

1. I'm of the belief that fitness is for function. By that I mean that I don't hold a lot of stock in spending hour upon hour in a gym working out just to get bigger and more tone. I feel that everyone should attain a level of fitness that improves their health and makes activities of daily living easier. Everything else is just a bonus really.

2. I don't particularly like isolation exercise, except for rehab and stabilization purpose (rotator cuff for example). I don't really have anything against doing them, I just like to better utilize my time exercising and be more functional, that's why I feel compound exercises are king.

3. I love my wife. This should probably be number 1. We've had ups and downs, yelled at each other and argued about little things, but we also share a love for the Montreal Canadiens, great movies, music, photography and travelling. I love her for her stubbornness  and fire, no matter how much I tell her otherwise.

4. I play guitar. I actually was planning on making this blog all about guitar  at one point, then I thought  it would be clever to name the blog Exercise BASSics and make it about exercises and music. I eventually realized that I know a great deal more about health and fitness that I do about playing the guitar, so I went with Exercise Basics.

That's about it I guess. I'm sorry if that got a little wordy. So if you like you this and like who I am then I encourage you to follow me, comment on my posts, email me, write me a poem, draw me a picture... whatever tickles your fancy. I just want you guys to understand that Exercise Basics isn't just a brand or a ploy at getting readers. I'm a real person who genuinely enjoys exercise science and physical therapy. I like writing about it and feel good about sharing information that i think is helpful to readers.

2013 March Madness Bracket - Round of 64

Hi internet world,

So it's that time again for March Madness. I filled out a bracket last year, but I didn't do too well. I'm hoping this year I can get a few more picks correct. I've signed up on epsn tournament challenge and you can see my bracket below. I encourage you all to join my group and fill out your own bracket. It's free to join. I'll also be giving the winner of the bracket a prize. So go ahead and sign up, fill out your jacket, and win yourself a little prize. Click the link to join the group.

Exercise Basics March Madness Bracket Challenge

Farewell Dr. Jacquelin Perry

A couple of days ago a prominent influence in the physical therapy world passed away. Jacquelin Perry, aged 94, passed away. Perry was world renown as an orthopaedic surgeon and physical therapist, and probably best known for her treatment of polio patients. She pioneered a spinal fusion surgery that helped polio patients regain movement. Perry was also a leading expert in the field of human movement and gait analysis.

I particularly like this quote from Dr. Perry,

"Most doctors go into medicine to save lives. I'm more interested in getting handicapped persons functioning again."

She was a visionary, a compassionate physician and therapist, and a great example for health care professionals. This article from has some interesting facts about Dr. Perry. I encourage you all to read it. Click the photo to follow the link.

Google Reader Alternatives for Exercise Basics Followers

With the announcement from google that they will be retiring google reader as of july 1 I wanted to make sure that those of you who subscribe to my rss feed had other options to continue to follow this blog. I personally use reader to follow all the blogs I read, so I'm a little disappointed with google for discontinuing the service and forcing me to find another. So without further ado, here are a few options for you lovely folks who would like to continue your subscription to exercise basics.

1. Feedly: this is the tool I'll most likely be using. It's an app which you can install on your mobile device or web browser. It's very easy to migrate to from reader, you just log in with the same account that you use for rader and it automatically pulls all the feeds.

2. The Old Reader: This rss service was created by a couple folks who like the old style of google reader. Apparently when reader update to a new interface these guys figured they'd just recreate the old google reader, hence the name.

3. Newsblur: A lot a people seem to like this service. However, I don't like the fact that you can only follow 12 blogs on a free account. For $24/year you get a pretty superior service allowing you to follow  an unlimited number of sites. The premium service also pulls feeds 10x a day, ensuring that you'll always be up-to-date.

There are numerous other options, but I like these three the best. One that I'm also interested in is blogroll. it's still in beta, so it's a little buggy, but I really like the lay out.

So, loyal followers, those are my top choices for a google reader alternative for you. If you have any other alternatives that you like please let me know in the comments below.

Also, I'm aware that not all of you use rss. There are plenty of other ways to follow me.

Twitter: I post a link for ever new article and you'll also get a few of my musings

Facebook: links to my blogposts with brief overviews. Links to other interesting web content

Google+: all my posts are shared here

email: get my blogposts emailed to you

follow with blogger: plain and simple

The Fat Burning Zone

Have you ever been on a treadmill and saw a chart that had something to do with the fat burning zone, or heard fitness professionals tell you that working at a low-moderate intensity burns more fat that working at a higher intensity? This is one of the true gimmicks of the fitness industry, and I'll explain why.

The reason that there is a "fat burning zone" is because of relativity. When you exercise at a low-moderate intensity a larger percentage of the calories you burn will come from fats than other substrates. However, working at a higher intensity will still burn more total fats than will moderate intensity because, even though a lower percentage of the calories burned will come from fats, calories are being burned at a higher rate. Still confused? let me do a little math for you. Please bear in mind that the below figures are rough estimates. you may find research out there that says moderate intensities burn 24% fat and higher intensities burn 15%. Typically, these lower numbers will be referring to free fatty acids. There is also an apparent difference in whether you're running or cycling, and also whether you're male or female, but I think that may be a topic for another post. So, without further ado, the general premise:

A moderate intensity exercise will burn approximately 50% of its calories from fats
A high intensity exercise will use approximately 40% of its calories from fats.

So let's say that you work out at a low/moderate intensity for 20mins, burning 150 calories. The math tells of that total calories from fats will be:

150 x 50% = 75calories.

Now, let's take that same 20mins at a high intensity, burning 220 calories.

220 X 40% = 88calories

There you have it. The higher intensity, while burning less calories from fat relatively actually burns more total calories from fat absolutely. 


On an unrelate note: thanks for sticking with me guys. life on this side of the blogosphere has been very busy for various reason. I had been finding it difficult to get motivated to blog, but I'm slowly brining myself out of that slump. You may have noticed some changes to the layout of the blog. I'm trying to make everything more organized so you fine folk can find the articles you want without too much difficulty. Have a look at the footer to see the main changes. Finally, please, if you're reading, leave me comments. I want to get engaged with my readers. I piloted having a forum a while ago, but it didn't get a great deal of attention. So, if you have a question please leave a comment, or email me. I'm happy to answer any and all questions, or at least point you in the right direction.

Guest Post: 10 Effective Ways to Prevent Weight Gain

The Following is a guest post and does not necessarily reflect the views of exercise basics.

Contrary to popular belief, steering clear of weight gain is really only about 50% concerted effort with the remaining 50% being simple common sense. So with this in mind, the following in a run-down of ten of the most effective and simple ways of preventing weight gain in the course of everyday life.

1. Moderation – Excess and binging are never good ideas as even if you only get carried away once every now and again, your metabolism will throw a wobbly and send the scales in the wrong direction. This is a prime example of a common sense tip for those watching their weight.

2. Consistency – A little like the above, consistency is perhaps the number-one key to weight control which means finding a routine and sticking to it. And remember – missing meals can be even worse than eating too much!

3. Little Touches – Thousands of our weekly calories come from the “crisp here” and “nibble there” way of eating as for some reason we don’t seem to think these calories count. Long story short, they really do.

4. Fibre – Without putting too fine a point on it, what goes in must come out and it demands a good amount of fibre to keep things ‘moving’ as they should. Too little fibre and things inevitably become blocked and lead to piling on of weight like there’s no tomorrow.

5. Hydration – Essential to help fibre do its job and the rest of the body besides – never underestimate the importance of drinking loads of water when looking to keep weight to a sensible level.

6. Exercise – You don’t need the best personal trainer to tell you that exercise is key when it comes to weight control, but you also don’t have to punish yourself with high-impact torture. Again, it’s just a case of common sense, consistency and keeping moving.

7. Alcohol / Tobacco – Pretty much any and all such substances of a similar nature have a detrimental effect on the way your body works and prevent it from reaching optimum efficiency. No matter which way you look at it, cigarettes and booze are bad for weight control…period.

8. Journal – An excellent tip all-too often overlooked is the keeping of a diary, which quickly becomes second nature. In short, those that actually see on paper what they are putting in their bodies are vastly more likely to control what they eat and make adjustments where necessary.

9. Supplements – The body cannot perform its natural processes with peak efficiency unless it is provided with the optimum level of vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients. If in doubt that said vitamins and minerals are being taken in every day, be sure to incorporate the necessary supplements in order to compensate.

10. Read the Label – Last but not least, the overwhelming majority of people across the UK eat and drink their chosen products having only made the vaguest of assumptions as to what they actually contain. Needless to say, the truth can often be horrifying – always read the label and find out for sure exactly what is going in!

By Frank White Frank White works with a team of the finest personal trainers in Newcastle and specialises in realistic and workable approaches to weight loss. He shares a home with his wife of seven years and his two young sons.

Freestyler Functional Cross Trainer Review

I was sent the freestyler functional cross trainer by Functional Dynamics Inc. a while back to review.

The essence of the product is simple and nothing that hasn't been done before: resistance bands. What they do that is different comes down to the Freestyler board and the videos they provide.

First off I'll talk about what you get with the freestyler. I was sent Easy, Medium, Hard, and Sport resistance bands. The bands have clips on either end made of plastic to attach the ankle cuffs and handles. The bands themselves are high-quality and, from what I can tell, are pretty durable. Other than the bands you get the freestyler board, two handles,  two ankle cuffs, and an exercise mat. The cuffs and handles are easy to attach to the resistance bands and likewise, the ankle cuffs strap on very easily. All-in-all the initial set-up is very simple. The board at first seems like a flimsy piece of plastic, but when you get the resistance bands feed through the corners and stand on the thing it's actually quite sturdy. The fact that it's so easy to store is an added bonus. It very easily tucks away in under a couch or a bed. Below is the product presentation video.

Without watching any videos I saw the potential from a physiotherapy perspective with regards to shoulder rehab, but honestly I was a little baffled by some of the claims made on the website - until I watched a few of the videos.

There are literally dozens of videos in five different categories:
Strength and Conditioning
Group Fitness

Granted, the music to the videos is a little tired - the same workout music that been around for ages - but that's more of a personal preference than a slight agains the product. The virtual trainer is very high energy, inviting, and encouraging. Below is an introduction to the virtual trainer.

Now, my interest was mostly in the rehabilitation videos. I have to say,  the makers of the videos did a good job. the movements are fairly specific, and performed well on video. I was impressed with the simplicity of the videos. The videos use the concepts of PNF, progressive resistance, flexibility, and include an appropriate warm up before starting exercise. I was happy that they also include some exercises that didn't require the exercise bands or board into the routines, especially in the spine rehab videos. Below is the shoulder rehab program intro.

The website is fairly easy to navigate and very  comprehensive. When you sign-up, which you will have to do to access the videos, you will also get access to an online personal fitness assessment, personalized nutrition report, and a starters guide, which will help you master the basics of particular movements.

The personal fitness report will give you an overview (seen below) and a detailed report outlining target heart rates, caloric intakes for weight loss, lean body mass, and a little explanation of BMI.

It will also give you a nutrition report detailing your optimal water, protein, fats, and carbohydrates intake. It's basics, but well informed.

In all, the freestyler system is a great product. I will admit that I was worried that the materials would break easily, but they proved to hold up to stress. The videos are informative and easy to follow. The most impressive thing about the whole system is the absolute bulk of videos for every body type, age, gender, fitness, and rehab level. I would recommend this product as an adjunct to your fitness routines. 

Under Construction

Apologies to any regular readers for the lack of content. Things have been a little hectic for me since the summer and I've not really been able to get into the blogging gear.

You can look forward to a review of the freeestyler fitness system as well as the Hoorag in the next couple of weeks. I've had them written, just not edited.

I aslo have a few guest posts in the mix and so original content.