Hypermobility and exercise

Safe exercises for hypermobility

Help for those with hypermobile joints

I’ve noticed recently that there’s been a rise in the number of my clients looking for help with the physical issues associated with hypermobility- an excessive flexibility meaning that the joints of the body have greater range of motion (laxity).

They do tend to be women - but not always - and although being hypermobile isn’t always a problem (for dancers it can be an advantage) for some having hypermobility means that they frequently sprain their joints just doing simple everyday activities.

Repeated re-injury of weak joints can lead to persistent (chronic) pain that can be widespread throughout the body. It’s an ‘invisible’ condition and as such there’s not always much sympathy or understanding and most of my clients have been dealing with these challenges since their childhood.

Getting back in control

There are lots of small elements - like workplace ergonomics, lifestyle modifications, pain relief treatments and pacing- that can make up a strategy for managing your condition and put you back in control.

I highly recommend Clinical Pilates with it’s focus on strengthening postural muscles, improving body awareness and maintaining normal joint positioning during movements to move the spine evenly, avoiding ‘hinging’ at the points of most natural flexibility.

Scissors

A great exercise for people with hypermobility is ‘scissors’. I’m teaching a lower level version of this exercise for beginners:


Pedal Power … how to set up your bike correctly

Setting up your bike correctly to avoid inuries

You know you’re in Cambridge when cyclists seem to outnumber the pedestrians! Cycling is a great way to get fit, stay fit and avoid the traffic … so here are my tops tips for setting up your bike correctly and avoiding bad habits that can lead to painful niggles:

1. Seat height:
Avoid knee pain by adjusting that the height of your seat so that you can straighten your knee fully with your foot flat on the pedal, when the pedal is down in the 6 ‘o’ clock position.

2. Stretching:
The more you cycle, the stronger your thigh muscles (quadriceps) become and over time these muscles will get shorter unless you stretch them out regularly … and by regularly I mean at least twice a day. Try lying on your side or your front and taking hold of your ankle and pull your foot towards your bottom. You’ll need to hold for at 30 seconds and repeat a few times on each side to see the benefit.

3. Knee alignment:
Are your knees rolling in as you peddle? Knee pain can still occur even if you have good flexibility and the correct seat height if your knees roll in when you’re on your bike. Weakness of the buttock muscles means that it can be difficult to maintain good alignment of your knees as you push down on the pedal and exercises to strengthen these muscles such as squats or lunges might be worth adding to your training.

4. Handle bars too far forward … too low … or if the bike is simply too big for you:
All of these will cause you to lean forward too much and overstretch your back muscles, which can cause low back pain. It’s really worth taking your bike to a good fitter who can take a good look at you on the bike and make the proper adjustments to suit you.

5. Core strength
Being able to keep your lower back and pelvis still while cycling means that you can put power down through the pedals. A stronger core is key to this and will help prevent overuse injuries, improve balance and stability and improve your performance by making you leaner and more efficient.