Declan “Half-rep” Halpin with Kelly Latimer

A trip down memory lane for Kelly Latimer and her time spent with Declan, Head Physio at the UFIT Clinic so far. In Kelly's words...

I first saw Declan a couple of years ago after he reached out to me via social media. He had heard of an issue I was having that was initially diagnosed by another physio as a hamstring problem and said he would like to take a look at it. As my last physio was utterly useless, I agreed. A proper diagnosis and a few weeks of treatment later, I was back up and functioning like before, if not even better. His multi-pronged approach of manipulation, massage and strengthening exercises was exactly what I needed.

It was at that point I decided to start training with Declan too. We assessed my goals and he came up with routines for me that kept me safe and helped me reach new levels of fitness. We trained to prep my body for pregnancy, so that I could train through pregnancy. I’m happy to say that I’ve managed to escape a lot of pregnancy issues like trapped nerves in my back, back aches and excessive weight gain. I couldn’t have done it without Declan’s assistance and guidance.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Declan’s services to anyone. He is brilliant. Open-minded and always eager to learn more to help his patients, he’s now increasingly harder to get hold of. However I also know that he has cultivated the creme de la creme of rehabilitation specialists in Singapore (and likely South East Asia) at the UFIT Clinic, so whoever you see will be sure to get you back on the road to recovery - providing you do your exercises.

Thank you, Declan. And thank you, UFIT.


For more information about the UFIT Clinic team and how they can help you find our more by visiting the website here www.ufitclinic.com

If you're looking for specific pre and post natal services please check out the latest with what's going on in our UFIT mama's corner.

The Benefits of At Home Physiotherapy by Health Comes to You

Health Comes to You is Singapore’s premium at home physiotherapy service. We offer a full range of physiotherapy interventions, provided to you by a team of specialist male and female therapists, both locally and internationally trained.

Our team includes;

  • Orthopaedic (after surgery) physiotherapists
  • Physiotherapist trained in treating pain and injury
  • Paediatric physiotherapists
  • Neurological physiotherapists
  • Osteoporosis and Parkinson's Disease physiotherapists

Why choose at home physio? Well, many people prefer at home physiotherapy because after just one session it is possible for your therapist to fully understand your needs as an individual (yes, every patient is different!) This is because performing physiotherapy in your home environment means that your therapist can witness your problems first hand.

There are many other reasons that make at home physiotherapy a great choice, here are some of them:

1. Convenience

-        To put it simply, we do all the travel so that you don’t have to! Many of us in Singapore work very long hours and are ‘time poor’, having physio at home will certainly help free up your day and reduce the need (and stress) of making additional arrangements e.g. childcare

-        If your mobility is currently an issue (for example after surgery), this removes the problem, and the expense of getting to a clinic for treatment

 

2. Flexible appointments

-        We appreciate that you may need to see a physiotherapy outside of normal working hours, this is why we offer evening and weekend appointments at no extra cost

3. Health Insurance compatible – offering the cashless method

-        The great news is that physiotherapy at home is fully claimable under insurance. In many circumstances you won’t need to pay a cent, as the company deals directly with your insurance of your behalf

4. Personalised service

-        Physiotherapy at home is highly personal and many of our patients feel more relaxed exploring pain or discussing medical complaints at home than they do behind a curtain or in a cubicle

-        Physiotherapy at home also means that you have the freedom to explore alternative treatment modalities with your physiotherapy, such as hydrotherapy (water based rehab), gym based rehab and Pilates

-        We provide equipment to be used during the session, and will assist you to source any additional equipment that you may need e.g. foam roller

Are you ready to start physio at home in Singapore? Contact us today to arrange an initial assessment with one of our specialist physios on +65 8358 2144 or email info@healthcomestoyou.com.

Benefits of Prenatal Yoga – Alana Saphin-Polchleb

I have been practicing yoga for over 12 years and have slowly transitioned from a practice focused on dynamic, sweat inducing yoga to being able to understand and appreciate the benefits of slowing down the practice and the mind. When my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our first child in August last year, the benefits of this transition really came to fruition as prenatal yoga became more than just a “yoga class”, but also a place for relaxation, mindfulness and birth preparation. 

There are many benefits of practicing yoga while you are pregnant, here are just 5; 

1. Yoga develops strength, flexibility and stamina

Pregnancy and labour is most certainly a marathon not a sprint and as your baby grows inside your belly more energy and strength is required to help carry the extra weight. Yoga helps you strengthen your hips, back, arms and shoulders. A woman who is in the best possible shape for the challenge of labour and beyond, both mentally and physically, will also most likely recover faster after the bub has arrived. 


2. Promotes emotional well being, relaxation and stress management

Through deep breathing the nervous system goes into parasympathetic mode, which promotes relaxation. Learning how to control your breath during yoga can be challenging however; this awareness and control is not only an effective tool during pregnancy to help calm and reduce anxiety, it is also a technique to help with pain management, allowing you to focus and relax during labour. 

3. Important birth muscles are toned

Prenatal yoga encourages deep toning of the pelvic floor, hip and transverse abdominal muscles.  Building and maintaining this muscle tone through out your pregnancy can not only alleviate muscle aches and pains throughout the 9 months but also facilitate a speedy postnatal recovery. 

4. Connection with your Bubba

A prenatal yoga practice at least once a week allows you to take some time out of your busy schedule to bond with your growing baby. Slowing down, breathing deeply and connecting with your baby as your pregnancy progresses allows you to focus on how your body responds differently to the changes that are happening week to week. 

5. Relief from common pregnancy complaints

A regular prenatal yoga practice can help to reduce or alleviate common pregnancy complaints such as easing heartburn, fluid retention and muscle cramps to name a few. By stretching and toning your muscles you can also help blood circulate through the body in a healthy way as well as alleviate back, neck and hip pain which is often caused by the increasing stress from the growing weight of the baby. 

You certainly don’t have to have been practicing yoga for 12 years to gain these benefits. If you have some experience in practicing yoga prior to your pregnancy, with your drs consent, you can commence prenatal practice. If you’ve had little to no yoga experience that’s also fine; following the all clear from your dr at 12 weeks. 

 

Great Quads, But Is It Any Good For Your Feet?

All high-impact workouts put strain on your feet and ankles, but Crossfit’s and Bootcamps mix of weights, jumps, and cardio can place additional types of pressure on your feet.

These types of stresses have led to misrepresentations in the media. CrossFit has a reputation of being dangerous, with stories of sprained ankles, plantar fasciitis or stress fractures, but these tend to be rare outcomes, and there’s no research based evidence that CrossFit is any more dangerous than other forms of intensive exercise. One study found that 70% of participants had been injured at some point which sounds like a lot, but researchers estimated the rate was three injuries per 1,000 hours trained.  That’s roughly the same as you’d expect to get from gymnastics, and far safer than contact sports like rugby.

Still, there are some aspects of CrossFit which make it risky.  The emphasis on high reps and heavy weights, mean you must have a good trainer.  Many trainers have only a weekend’s training in CrossFit methods, and no expertise in biomechanics, and they may be oblivious to small mistakes in technique which can lead to big problems in the long term.  The team mentality means CrossFitters encourage each other to push past the pain barrier; which is fantastic if you’re lacking motivation, but extremely dangerous if you’re on the brink of injuring yourself.

Many people have inherent imbalances, joint limitations or they may be harbouring niggling injuries which make exercise injuries more common. Niggling injuries are easier to overlook if they are in your feet or legs. For sports people it is very easy to ignore a recurring injury if it seems small, but as with most injuries the most serious often start years before as a niggle or an ache, with appropriate screening the more serious injuries can often be prevented.

Years of sedentary living and poor posture can lead to significant muscle weaknesses, leaving people much stronger on their dominant side.  Even people who are fairly active often have muscle weaknesses that leave them out of alignment: for example, if you always carry a heavy handbag on your right shoulder then it will leave you stronger on that side of your body.  It’s also very common also have one leg slightly longer than the other

In everyday life, you’re unlikely to notice that one of your legs is a little shorter or you are suffering from ankle instability.  But once you start doing intense WODs, lifting huge weights, or running long distances, the lopsided distribution of your body weight can lead to long-term problems with your ankles and knees.  Unless you drop a barbell on your foot, most injuries are caused by problems building up over time as the strain on your body exacerbates pre-existing issues. 

Eventually, though, building muscle strength through CrossFit will leave you less injury-prone, since stronger muscles are less likely to tear.  You just have to make sure you’re pushing your body safely.  Wearing well-fitted shoes is proven to reduce your risk of injuries from exercise, but since there’s such a variety of activities in a CrossFit class it can be hard to choose the right footwear. There is a large debate currently between the two most common shoes used in CrossFit, but we will broach this another time.  As with all new sports and activities, there are some ideas about health and fitness which are widespread but not really backed up by scientific evidence.  Eating paleo is one, doing multiple sets of Olympic lifts is another. There’s a widespread idea that the best shoe for CrossFit is one with a very flexible sole and zero drop – that is, a shoe that keeps your heel exactly level with your toes.

It is important to have a new shoe for each sporting activity, and with the variation of movements and activities in CrossFit, in theory, you’d need a different type of shoe for each activity – one for cardio, one for lifts, and one for jumps. Since everybody knows how to run or jump but most people have never done clean-and-jerks before starting CrossFit, it makes sense to focus on getting a good pair of weightlifting shoes. 

Weightlifting shoes are very different running shoes.  They usually have a slight wedge shape to them, because lifting the heel slightly reduces pressure on the spine while lifting and forces the quads to take more of the weight.  The raised heel also discourages you from lifting the ankle or rolling sideways into ‘duck feet.'  

Done correctly, with good form, weightlifting actually strengthens the bones in your feet and ankles, but done incorrectly it can cause nasty chronic injuries like collapsed arches.  Women should be especially careful to wear the right shoes for lifting weights.  A study found that men tended to get more ‘typical’ weightlifting injuries, like shoulder sprains or muscle tears in the arms, while women were more vulnerable to hurting their knees and ankles.

CrossFit is great for your cardiovascular fitness, it burns hundreds of calories a session, and all those squats will give you glutes that could crack a walnut. Just make sure that you’re taking good care of your feet and ankles, or you could end up ruining all your gains by getting injured. 


About the author

Tim has been working in Singapore for 6 years, he spent 2 years at Tan Tock Seng Hospital before moving to The Foot Practice. Tim recently joined the UFIT Clinic team to help support our CrossFit Tanjong Pagar and CrossFit Bukit Timah athletes.

He has previously worked at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge (UK) whilst also working under several renowned Podiatric surgeons in London. Tim has worked in Southern India, Peru and China treating a whole range of different foot types.  

He specialises in non-surgical treatment of the foot and ankle, with special interest to sports injuries and paediatric foot care. With a specialist interest in the effect of custom made orthotics and the effect on foot health. 

Hey CrossFitters and Bootcampers! Kneesy does it with those tendons…

With a rise in CrossFit and Bootcamp participation it's not uncommon for the Clinic to treat a wide range of knee conditions. Owing to the dynamic nature of these activities the stress on the knee joint can predispose one to tendon related issues in the knee, of which Patella Tendinopathy is generally the most common.

What is it?:

Jumpers knee, or Patella Tendinopathy is a clinical diagnosis of pain and dysfunction in the patella tendon. It is generally caused by repetitive high impact activities (e.g box jumps) which can result in an overload of the tendon, resulting in pain. Over time and without adequate management of the knee, the pain can become persistent and chronic. It is one of the more common conditions we see at the UFIT Clinic.

What does it look like?:

It generally presents as a specific pain at the base of the knee cap (pictured). Usually you are able to pinpoint the area of pain with one fingertip. A localised swelling may be seen during the initial painful phase, and as the condition becomes more chronic, thickening of the tendon may be noted.

 

Who Gets It?:

Generally, it is found in relatively young adults between the age of 18 and 40. Athletes who are involved in high impact jumping and landing sports (volleyball, netball, basketball), activities which place a high load on the knees (Crossfit and bootcamps) and who play sport on hard artificial surfaces may be at risk for developing Patella Tendinopathy.

How do I Test if I have it?:

The condition manifests usually after a period where training and activity have been increased (such as pre-season training). Athletes tend to have pain on the knees which usually eases with a warm up, but returns at the end of the activity. It can be especially exacerbated by jumping activities (box-jumps). If you suspect yourself of having Patella Tendinopathy, a simple test called the Singe Leg Decline Squat is very useful in determining whether or not you have Patella Tendinopathy. (pictured)

I have Patella Tendinopathy, how do I fix it?:

Patella Tendinopathy has been characterised as being a difficult condition to shift. Previously, athletes were instructed to rest a painful tendon before returning to activity. In fact, resting a tendon actually reduces its load bearing capacity and will make the situation worse.

So, if I can't rest, I can still go 100%?

Not quite. It is important that the athlete avoids any activities which will increase their pain levels. For the initial painful stages, isometric exercises have been shown to be really useful in reducing pain levels sufficiently. A Spanish Squat (picture), held for 45s x 5 reps is effective in reducing pain levels immediately. Icing of a painful tendon may have an analgesic effect, as can offload taping to help with the pain in the short term.

Once the tendon has settled, it is vital that a steady progressive strength training be commenced to improve the load bearing capacity of the tendon. Any issues which may have predisposed you to developing Patella Tendinopathy can also be addressed under the eye of a qualified physiotherapist.

5 Tips for Patella Tendon Pain:

-    Don’t ignore it: continuing through the pain will result in your quads getting weaker and will increase the load on the painful area

-    Don’t aggravate it: if your tendon is painful its your bodies warning light blinking to tell you you've done too much too soon.

-    Don’t Rest It: Commencement of early, specific rehab exercises will accelerate your return to performance

-    Ditch the knee guards: Knee guards may actually cause more issues as they can compress   the patella tendon, causing more pain.

-   Load it Up: A strong tendon is a healthy tendon. Progressive strengthening will allow you to kick this painful condition to the kerb, and allow you to maximise your potential.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As a musculoskeletal physiotherapist, Paul Doohan at the UFIT Clinic has a extensive experience within professional sport (Football Association of Singapore), private physiotherapy and in the public hospital sector (Singapore General Hospital). Having experienced the profession in a number of settings, Paul has developed a keen insight into what is required to help people of all ages and athletic levels. 

10 Minutes to 10 more yards!

How much money do you spend every year on trying to improve your golf game?

$500 on that new M2 driver, $300 on those comfortable new performance FootJoys, not to mention the multiple lesson packages over the course of year. Although well fitted clubs and apparel are important, and of course the input from a professional is invaluable, you are missing out one of the most important facets of your golf game. You! Constant changing of equipment in order to improve your game can be compared to the Ferrari F1 team trying new colour schemes, new uniforms for the drivers, without doing anything to improve the car itself. Put simply, having a better body will have you playing better golf.

You cant go onto social media these days without seeing videos of Rory, DJ, Jordan and Jason working out with their trainers. Funny how I just mentioned the top 4 players in the world at the minute? More and more professionals are waking up to the improvements they can make in their game with small changes in their physical fitness. If it works for finely tuned athletes like the pros, it works 10 fold for us amateurs.

Our daily routines do not prepare us for the game of golf. Most of us spend Monday to Fridays seated at a desk, at a steering wheel, or on the couch, with maybe an hour or two at the gym if we’re lucky. This lifestyle does not prepare us at all for the physical requirements of the game of golf. If we don’t turn or rotate our bodies at any time throughout the week, Saturday mornings first tee shot becomes even more of a challenge. Not to mention the closing three holes where our bodies have thrown in the towel.

Coaches all the time tell us the importance of turning, rotating, posture, weight shift etc. However, it can by nigh on impossible to avoid these flaws if your body is too stiff, weak or off balance to cope with the demands of what the coach wants you to do. Thats why at the UFIT Clinic, we assess your body to establish your physical abilities to efficiently swing a golf club. By performing our Titleist Performance Institute screening with our Golf Physiotherapist, you will get a picture of where you are lacking physically and where you need to improve.

Ok, so you've showed me what I am struggling with, how are you going to help me? Physical improvements can occur at home, in the gym, at the range, wherever you can find time. Also, don’t think you have to find hours in your busy schedules to make improvements. As little as 10 minutes at home can help you hit longer and more accurate.

Common Example

A lot of golfers struggle with their shoulder turns into the back swing, causing a lot of us to standup in the swing which means we will be club path on the downswing will be affected. A simple circuit for improving your shoulder turn in less than 10 minutes can be seen below.

Performing a bow and arrow movement. Open the chest for ten repetitions. You should feel the stretch in your shoulder, chest and mid back.

Performing a bow and arrow movement. Open the chest for ten repetitions. You should feel the stretch in your shoulder, chest and mid back.

With your hand behind your head, open your chest by raising your elbow up towards the ceiling. The stretch should be felt in the chest and upper back. Perform 10-12 repetitions.

With your hand behind your head, open your chest by raising your elbow up towards the ceiling. The stretch should be felt in the chest and upper back. Perform 10-12 repetitions.

Using a foam roller between the shoulder blades, mobilise the upper back by extending over the foam roller. Hold for two deep breathes and relax. Repeat eight repetitions.

Using a foam roller between the shoulder blades, mobilise the upper back by extending over the foam roller. Hold for two deep breathes and relax. Repeat eight repetitions.

Perform this circuit for 10 minutes twice a day, and watch your clubhead speed, club path and plane and your finish improve before your eyes!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As a musculoskeletal physiotherapist, Paul has a extensive experience within professional sport (Football Association of Singapore), private physiotherapy and in the public hospital sector (Singapore General Hospital). Having experienced the profession in a number of settings, Paul has developed a keen insight into what is required to help people of all ages and athletic levels. 

Runners: Your Missing Ingredient To Success!

Most runners run because they love running. They love getting out on the road or the track, they love the time to reset, to reflect, and they love the feeling of achievement after every run – from a competitive race to a slow jog around the park! But what if I told you that there was a way to make your running smoother and faster, to avoid running injuries,  and therefore to get more enjoyment out of it!

Running is essentially a series of one legged hops in a row. In order to improve this, you need to develop the strength and the stability of the movement. The best way to do this is to Squat.

Air Squats

Air Squats

Back Squats

Back Squats

There really is not a better exercise to focus on your core, hips, glutes, and leg strength. Any runner who does not squat is missing out on all the benefits this exercise brings in terms of strength and stability. It can also help to erase any muscle imbalances you have, where one side of your body is doing all the work! Start off just doing body weight squats, ensuring your knees are in line with your toes, and do not extend over your toes. If you can manage this, add a small weight like a medicine ball. Aim for a high volume of reps in order to mimic more closely the requirements of running! You will very soon start feeling the benefit in your muscles, and see the benefits in your running times!

Once you have mastered the squat you can progress to exercises on a single leg.

If you are unsure if you are doing it correctly, or if the squatting movement causes you pain, speak to a good sports trainer or physiotherapist about assessing the movement before you add weigh to it!

See your UFIT Clinic Physiotherapist to get you back to full health today!

Glutes: The Running Engine

Most runners run because they love running. They love getting out on the road or the track, they love the time to reset, to reflect, and they love the feeling of achievement after every run – from a competitive race to a slow jog around the park! But what if I told you that there was a way to make your running smoother and faster, to avoid running injuries, and therefore to get more enjoyment out of it? It’s simple: develop strength and power in your glutes! It’s free, it’s easy, and it will make a big long term difference to your health and happiness!

Running is essentially a series of one legged hops in a row. If your knee is not stable in this movement, you can cause injuries and also waste energy – very important over a long run! In order to improve this, you need to develop the strength and the stability of the movement by focusing on developing power in your glutes! See below for two exercises to introduce into your running program. Do these to become a stronger, faster runner today, and avoid injuries in your future!  

Hip Abduction:

  1. Lie on your side, with your foot in line with your hips, and both hips on top of each other.
  2. Slowly raise and lower your top leg up and down (see Photo 1), ensuring that you feel your glute muscle is activated.
  3. Repeat 20 times on on each leg, for 3 sets.

Single Leg Glute Bridge:

  1. Lie on your back with knees together, and one leg extended off the ground.
  2. Raise your bum up off the ground until there is a straight line from your knee to your hip to your shoulder. (See Photo 2).
  3. Repeat ten times on each leg, twice.

If you are unsure if you are doing it correctly, or if the movement causes you pain, speak to a good sports trainer or physiotherapist about assessing the movement! However, if you can add this in before every run you do, you will quickly find yourself running smoother, and avoiding any niggly injuries which might have been in your path!  
 

About UFIT Clinic

We are a collection of professionals from a range of different disciplines, working together to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to the treatment of our clients. 

Whilst all being experts in our own fields, we are humble enough to listen and learn, and work with each other to provide the best care for our patients. Staff professional development and further education is one of our guiding principals, and one which we are deeply committed to. Our services include; PhysiotherapyStructural IntegrationMassage TherapyMeditationPerformance PsychologyNutrition and Podiatry & Foot Care.

See your UFIT Clinic Physiotherapist to get you back to full health today!

Why should an experienced coach bring a sport psychologist into the picture?

“I know sport psychology” said the coach, the trainer, and everyone in between. We all have knowledge, experience, and thus opinions about people and what helps them to perform.

There’s no doubt that a top coach intricately understands the psychology of their sport. There are cases when an experienced coach has a stronger knowledge of the sport than the sport psychologist.  Most coaches have worked with an athlete for several years and feel they know them better than a sport psychologist ever could.

Image taken from businessinsider's online page

Image taken from businessinsider's online page

So why wouldn’t you bypass the sport psychologist and take the mental skills training with your athletes into your own hands?

Here is my rationale for why working collaboratively with a sport psychologist can lead to great outcomes for you and your athletes, even if the above scenarios are true for you.

Knowing Thy Self

While getting to know an athlete and building rapport is important, a good sport psychologist is primarily concerned with helping the athlete get to know themselves.  This knowledge will form the foundation for knowing when to use certain mental skills, in their own way, in key moments.

Mentoring vs. Awareness Building

Coaches use knowledge and expertise to advise, mentor, and encourage certain habits.  This approach is perfect for facilitating the adoption of sport specific behaviours, but what about innate perceptions, personality, or motivation in an athlete that may be blocking high performance.

I hear coaches say, “I’ve repeatedly talked about this, but nothing is changing.  I just think they don’t want to change or maybe they are just not capable.”

Sometimes change requires the athlete to work from the inside out in a way that advice alone can’t initiate.  In this case, a self-awareness building approach is required.  Contrary to popular belief, sport psychologists are not advisers, we are awareness builders.  We are trained in techniques to facilitate this process in the athlete themselves, allowing a deeper self understanding of their emotions, thoughts, and actions and independently learning how the sport environment influences these things in positive and negative ways.

In this sense, the sport psychologist can be the change agent that opens the door for coaches to elevate an athletes performance to the next level.

Knowledge vs. Adaptation

There is a distinction between understanding sport psychology concepts in the general sense and creating interventions designed to accommodate the idiosyncrasies of each and every individual.  A good sport psychologist is trained to adapt a singular concept introduced in sport psychology theories and to prescribe strategies for an athlete that best suits their needs, strengths, and limitations from a psychological stand point.

Psychologist First, Passion for Sport Second

A sport psychologist is a licensed psychologist first.  We are trained at the highest level to understand and develop interventions for suboptimal human behaviours and to promote the integration of high performing behaviours. Secondly, we are passionate about sport, understand the demands of sport, and the important role the coach plays in developing an athlete’s potential.

I’ve had the most success in achieving performance gains when working collaboratively with a coach on the mental change process in an athlete.  For example, when you can combine the awareness of a golfer’s emotional and mental response, with information from the coach about their technical defaults under pressure or focus lapses, you have a recipe for shaping a powerful intervention from all angles.  A sport psychologist will incorporate an experienced coaches knowledge of the sport and the athlete.

If coaches are serious about taking their athletes to the next level or developing the full potential of the person, it’s definitely worth considering the alliance with a sport psychologist.

About the Author

Book an appointment with Dr Jay-Lee Nair at the Singapore UFIT Clinic to learn how a Mental Notes psychologist can work with you.

ABOUT UFIT CLINIC

We are a collection of professionals from a range of different disciplines, working together to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to the treatment of our clients. 

Whilst all being experts in our own fields, we are humble enough to listen and learn, and work with each other to provide the best care for our patients. Staff professional development and further education is one of our guiding principals, and one which we are deeply committed to. Our services include; PhysiotherapyStructural IntegrationMassage TherapyMeditationPerformance PsychologyNutrition and Podiatry & Foot Care.