Welcome to the #LifeCantWait Blog, SPEAR Physical Therapy’s official stream for fitness tips, exercise advice, and healthy lifestyle inspiration. Our articles and features are written by our physical therapists and staff members with your progress in mind. Designed to educate and motivate, SPEAR’s #LifeCantWait Blog exists to share your stories and help you get back to life! Disclaimer
With everyone stationed at home during these times, at-home workouts have seen a huge boom. While staying active is essential, maintaining a proper level of safety is just as important! Ninia Agustin, PT, DPT, and Clinical Director of our Times Square location, recently contributed to The Wall Street Journal, providing her expert advice on how to exercise at home safely.
Check out all of Ninia’s expert advice below:
General At-Home Workout Tips
Hit pause when you need to—go at your own pace!
Work out in front of a full length-mirror to monitor alignment
If you live with someone, ask them to police your technique
Wear supportive shoes, especially if you are new to exercise and doing any type of jumping activity that can strain the ankles
Clear your space of any clutter for safety
Consult with your doctor before doing any workout routines!
Beginners can start by performing push-ups against a wall, then progress to a table edge
Start in a plank position, with hands shoulder-width apart
Have a bit of a chin tuck to maintain neutral cervical alignment
Form a straight line with your body from the base of the neck to the tailbone
Keep your elbows at about a 45-degree angle to your body as you bend them and lower toward the ground
Keep the core engaged to prevent hips from sinking, and lower back strain
If you feel pain in your wrists, drop to your knees or shins; use padding if needed!
For Stationary Lunges:
Starting position: feet hip-width apart, hands on hips, and step your right foot forward
Keeping your spine tall and the weight in your heel, lower your body until both your front and back legs form 90-degree angles
Your front knee should be directly over your ankle and your back knee can tap or hover above the ground.
Rise up and repeat.
If you feel wobbly, you can lightly hold on to a chair or even put a hand to the wall to help with balance
For Forward Lunges:
Once you have mastered the stationary lunge you can move up to a forward lunge:
Step forward, lower and, as you rise, bring your front foot back to starting position
If your shoulders tip forward, your back muscles have to work harder to maintain the position— think about keeping your bones stacked over each other
Don’t let your front knee collapse inward—keep it over your second or third toe
Pelvis should stay in the same plane: make fists and put them on your hip bones to help you feel if your hip hikes up as you step back to the starting position
Open to all patients, including NYC’s talented array of Broadway performers, our Times Square – Center for the Performing Arts clinic will work in close partnership with The Actors Fund’s Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts and Mount Sinai Doctors in taking patient referrals from our entertainment and performing arts community. Centered in the historic Theatre District, our newest location will be a convenient space for actors, dancers, and artists alike.
This new space is smack dab in the center of Manhattan on 7th Avenue and 49th Street. It is situated next to many of the city’s biggest employers and is in close proximity to world-famous restaurants, Broadway venues, and the best shopping around. SPEAR Times Square is accessible by many trains, including the A, C, E, B, D, F, M, N, R, W, 1, 2, 3, 7, and S lines.
Ninia Agustin, PT, DPT and Clinical Director
The clinic will be led by Ninia Agustin, PT, DPT, former clinical director of our Plaza Hotel location. A dancer herself, Ninia received her dance training and graduated Summa Cum-Laude from the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program. There, she performed works by Alvin Ailey, Ronald K. Brown, Lar Lubovitch, and Bill T. Jones, among many other esteemed choreographers. She performed “Memoria” with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at New York City Center for their 50th Anniversary Gala. She was also a member of Buglisi Dance Theatre in New York City after graduating and taught Bounding Boys I, II, and III at the Ailey School.
This newest location marks our 20th clinic! That’s more locations than ever before, which allows us to get you back to life sooner and even more conveniently.
Back in October of 2015, Whitney, an avid runner, was at her peak training for the upcoming marathon. After an injury left her unable to run for several months, Whitney longed to get back to the sport she loved. That’s when she found a passionate team of people at SPEAR’s E 84th Street clinic devoted to helping her work through her injuries.
Whitney encountered many physical and mental hurdles on her journey back to life. Through her own perseverance, and with the team supporting her along the way, she began to notice improvements in her progress. “They helped me stick to a plan, have faith in the healing process, and believe that I would be strong enough to race again,” Whitney recalls.
And run again she did! Whitney was able reach her personal goal of running once more—she participated in the Timberman Half Ironman, crossing the finish line with a personal record time of 5 minutes and 33 seconds!
Whitney went from fearing she’d be out of the game for some time, to accomplishing a personal goal. She even went on to participate in the NYC Marathon for the first time, and as she excitedly put it, “race with intention”. Whitney’s physical activity level improved, and so did her mentality. “I know now that injury is just a reminder of that which needs to be strengthened. The SPEAR team has my back and that is a great feeling.”
We’re really proud of the team we’ve cultivated and built here at SPEAR. Our teammates are truly aligned with the core mission of the organization and lead their lives with purpose and intent.
Sarah Lloyd, PT, DPT and the Clinical Education Liason at our W 44th St clinic, is a shining example of that purpose. Sarah truly enjoys treating a diverse patient population, with the goal of educating and empowering patients through functional movement. She is dedicated to the pursuits she is passionate about: helping patients get back to life, and spending time playing the sport she loves. Sarah is an active professional lacrosse player and currently plays for the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League for the WPLL Command. The team spent their summer season this year competing at games from Virginia, all the way up to Massachusetts!
Sarah started playing lacrosse at age 8 and has carried a great love for the sport ever since. Her collegiate career began at Princeton University, competing as a varsity lacrosse player and serving as Captain during her senior year. She was later drafted by her current team. “I love it because it lets me play the game at a very high level with the absolute best players in the world, but I can still be a physical therapist during the week!” she shares. Sarah has always been an athlete—her first introduction to physical therapy was actually after injuring her ankle playing soccer in high school! She has spent much of her time working with adolescent and collegiate athletes, as well as athletes training for the NFL combine.
While Sarah has a true passion for lacrosse, she also loves that the WPLL is tied to a mission—the league has a WPLL Futures division, which provides clinics and opportunities for middle school and high school lacrosse players, designed to support the growth of girls and women to excel in life. “One of the best parts of being a part of this league is that we get to help with clinics and mold the future of girls lacrosse moving forward,” Sarah says. “We are able to be role models for younger girls to look up to in our sport, something we ourselves did not have while growing up.”
It’s amazing to see our team members so passionate about helping others, through many different avenues. We believe it’s important to always remember our core values in everything we do—Sarah, keep up that incredible SPEAR-IT!
Watch Manek and Damien’s Full Inspirational Story Below:
Manek Mathur and Damien Mudge are professional squash players, top champions, and the ultimate tag team pair! Considered two of the nation’s top squash players, Damien and Manek are no strangers to pushing their bodies to the limit. The dynamic duo has been receiving physical therapy treatment from our very own Dave Endres, PT, MS—with his expert guidance, these partners have been able to get back to life (and back out on the court) quickly and safely.
Watch as Damien and Manek tell their story!
Full Transcript Below:
Manek Mathur: My name is Manek Mathur. I’m 31 years of age, and I’m a professional squash player.
Damien Mudge: I’m Damian Mudge. I’m 42 and a professional squash player. So Dave Endres, he was actually an assistant squash player at the racket tennis club where Manek works.
Manek Mathur: Dave and SPEAR, the reputation speaks for itself. I think everybody that he’s treated so far speaks very highly of him and always has significant results; and squash communities, are very small and very close knit. And when someone makes such an impact in someone’s life and in someone’s performance, everybody knows about it pretty quick. Dave is one of those guys that has a massive influence on all of us and puts us back on the court a lot quicker.
Damien Mudge: Yeah, I think, as Manek said, Dave’s so proficient and understands the bodies so well that the results that you get are much faster than I think you would normally do.
Manek Mathur: Since he is a squash player, he understands the intensity that the sport requires. He understands how these issues come about, and how to fix them, and how to work with us through them. I think this speaks highly of Dave. I think he such an approachable, friendly individual that when you come and see him for treatment, it starts off as a professional client kind of relationship. But he does such a great job about loosening you as a client to make you feel more comfortable. And like Damien, I think it started off as a very professional relationship with him, and now I can say he’s a very good friend and I just appreciate his input and his advice in my life. Whether I’m in the clinic or not, he’s always guiding me towards certain things that I’m doing with my body and what I can be doing better to enhance my performance.
Damien Mudge: There’s obviously a lot of PT places around, a lot of different clinics around, but the environment which has been created here—it’s obviously a very professional environment, but it’s also a very friendly, very open and very good-feeling environment. Plus they obviously know their work as well.
Manek Mathur: I think coming into a physical therapy clinic, a lot of people are hesitant, a lot of people are nervous. But I think when you look around in here, when you’re getting treatment or even now, everybody’s got a little bit of a smile on their face. And I think that starts from the top and starts from the PTs here. I think everybody has a great energy about themselves and what they do and they clearly have a passion for what they do. That transfers down all the way to the clients, it’s impressive.
Damien Mudge: It’s a pretty impressive thing to be starting a business and having a business going on for two decades and it continually growing as it is. It just sort of shows what kind of business they run here and just the evolution that they’re having with it. I think it’s absolutely fantastic.
Manek Mathur: It speaks very high volumes of the quality of service that is given here at SPEAR. It would be hard to survive for 20 years and constantly keep opening clinics if the practice wasn’t was as good as it is.
Damien Mudge: I think it’s kind of cool to see the evolution of SPEAR, but in particular, the evolution of people involved with squash through SPEAR. Definitely the past five years has probably been an influx of maybe five times the amount of squash people or university club members, or our team members which have come in here, which is pretty cool to see. Most times when we walk in the door we either see each other and other pros, or we see other members of the R&T or the union club. And that’s really quite cool, right? That’s all word-of-mouth stuff and it just makes it just that much more friendly, with familiar faces going on.
Manek Mathur: Yeah, I think the presence that SPEAR and Dave has in the squash community is second-to-none. Right from the pro level to our members. And then recently, SPEAR was the sponsor of the Tournament of Champions, which is pretty incredible to see Dave working with the best current players on the tour right now. And, and even these guys who travel the world and are exposed to the best PTs across the globe, speak so highly of this practice. And all the PTs that have been here, they’re constantly exposed to new technologies to work on certain things. Each one of them was very impressed by SPEAR—I think that’s commendable.