Lazy Summer or Deconditioning?

The weather is hot, the gym may be closed, and you've been relaxing - enjoying the lazy, hazy days of summer. Taking a day off here and there is no problem, but if you've been consistently missing your regular run, bike ride, or gym session and notice some aches and pains showing up, you might have the beginnings of deconditioning.

Deconditioning explained

Exercise creates many changes in your body - your heart begins to pump blood more efficiently, your muscles use oxygen more efficiently, they contract in a more coordinated manner, and your body gets more efficient turning food into fuel to name just a few. Deconditioning is the reversing of these changes. Exercise is a "use it or lose it" kind of thing, and deconditioning is the process by which we "lose it."

How long does it take to decondition?

As with most things related to a system as complex as the human body, it depends. According to the ACSM, two weeks without exercise can lead to significant loss of cardiovascular fitness. Two to eight months of detraining can erase virtually all of your gains. As you detrain, cardiovascular fitness tends to decline first, with muscle strength declining later.


Other factors are your age and your exercise history. If you're younger, you'll probably lose fitness at a slower rate than someone older. If you've been consistently exercising for a long time, or at a high intensity, your losses will probably be slower than for someone who just started.

Reversing the losses

If you're just undergoing a period of increased time commitments at work or with family, using a shortened exercise routine can help minimize your losses. Even one session a week will help you keep most of what you've gained. Other options are to use shorter but more intense interval training sessions, or breaking up your activity into multiple short chunks during the day. If your layoff was longer, it may take just as long to retrain as it did to make the gains initially. If you're having those aches and pains due to inactivity or need help designing a safe program to either maintain your fitness or gain it back after a layoff, your physical therapist can help. Injury and illness are other common reasons for detraining. Your PT can not only help you recover faster, but they can also find activities to maintain your fitness while safely working around an injury or illness.

Why You Need a Physical Therapist on Your Healthcare Team

With health in sharp focus as a result of the pandemic, now may be a good time to look at the team of experts you have in place and see if there are any improvements you could make. You probably have a family doctor, dentist, and optometrist. Maybe you have some specialist physicians, a trainer, or a massage therapist. If a physical therapist isn't a part of your healthcare team, you're missing out on taking care of a big part of your health. To understand why you need a physical therapist, you need to understand what they do.

Physical Therapists Help You Do Things
The American Physical Therapy Association defines PTs as "health care professionals who diagnose and treat individuals who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives." So physical therapists help you do things that you have trouble with. That could be going for a hike, playing with your kids, or getting through a day of work without pain.

Physical Therapists Can Help You Live Longer
It's well known that the risk of many of the leading causes of death can be reduced by exercise. Some of these conditions would include heart disease, cancer, lung disease, diabetes, and stroke. By helping you move better with less pain, finding the right exercise program, and helping you to make healthy lifestyle choices, a PT could help you live longer.
Physical therapists have a unique set of skills and expertise that can do a lot to improve your health and quality of life. If you don't have one, consider adding one to your healthcare team.

Hip injuries in young dancers

Dancing is an increasingly popular sport amongst children with some kids starting as young as 2 years old and many participating in 4-5 different types of dance 5-7 days per week. Common dance types include ballet, jazz, hip hop, tap, acro, and Irish step dancing. This repetitiveness can become very taxing on the dancer’s body with certain dances requiring a lot of jumping, extreme hip or ankle ROM, and lots of muscle activity. Hips are of particular concern since these joints transmit all the energy and forces between the upper and lower body, generate most of the force to complete the dance, and often require extreme ranges of motion. Young dancers that participate in many different types of dance are less at risk of developing pain or injuries because the forces are constantly changing, however, those that choose to concentrate in 1 or 2 types of dance are at higher risk since the forces are constant and repetitive. There are a few common hip injuries that we see in dancers; Dancer’s Hip (Snapping Hip), Bursitis, Hip Impingement and Labral Tears.

Dancer’s hip, or snapping hip syndrome, is usually more annoying than debilitating but can cause performance issues. There are 3 main areas where a muscle or tendon rubs over a bony process which may cause the snapping sound or sensation. At the front of the hip, the iliopsoas may rub over the femoral head, or the iliopectineal eminence and is often called iliopsoas syndrome which is prevalent in 13% of female dancers under the age of 18. Also in the front of the hip, the hip flexor, or rectus femoris can also slip over the head of the femur causing a snapping. On the outside of the hip, the iliotibial band may rub, or snap over the bony prominence called the greater trochanter. All of these are caused as the hip bends and straightens at various positions. Because we have bursa surrounding these bony prominences to help protect the soft tissue, bursitis, or inflammation of the bursa may also develop. Dancer’s hip is usually more annoyance than anything, but if it becomes problematic, activity modification, rest, and ice may be of benefit. Physical therapists can also help the process and prevent reoccurrence by working on soft tissue restrictions, stretching, and strengthening exercises to address muscle imbalances, core strengthening, balance and stability, and technique.

Hip impingement can occur in youth as their bones are developing. Research shows that our bones can change a little bit from the norm with repetitive forces that are constantly the same, or from forcefully trying to achieve and maintain extreme ranges of motion such as with “turn out”. While less common, this can lead to hip impingement and labral tears. Hip impingement occurs when your upper leg bone hits into your hip socket, pinching your labrum. Your labrum “seals” your hip joint and helps to provide stability. Some of the symptoms associated with these issues include feeling a “pinch” in your hip, particularly with squatting activities, clicking, and grinding. If the labrum is torn, your hip can feel “out of place” or “too loose.” Impingement is usually more debilitating than Dancer’s hip, but can still be addressed conservatively with activity modification, rest, ice, and physical therapy. Physical therapists can educate the dancer and family on positions that should be avoided and can work to further strengthen the core and legs to help provide stability, improve alignment, and prevent further impingement.


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