Keeping fit with Matt Fox, Physiotherapist

Fitness doesn't begin and end at the gym, according to Matt

Matt Fox is a physiotherapist with a background in elite sport who is now offering private treatment from his base at Bowdon Hockey Club. Matt has links with all the sports teams at Bowdon but also runs a private clinic there from Wednesday to Saturday. Being based at the Hockey club has many advantages for Matt and his clients. It gives them access to indoor space, including the gym, and outdoor space – the AstroTurf and the hockey pitch, allowing Matt to offer a range of activities and treatments.

Matt Fox

Matt also delivers Physiocore classes at the same venue. These classes are designed for people who have ongoing back, neck or knee issues and who find the support of a group beneficial for motivating them to carry on with their own exercise programme. The one hour class is a mixture of yoga and Pilates, emphasising exercises to strengthen core muscles. For more details go to www.physiocore.co.uk

Matt’s specialism is lower body fitness and rehabilitation. So many of us struggle with lower back pain and find it hard to remain active because of it. Matt explains that this back-pain epidemic is because modern life encourages us to use our bodies in ways that are detrimental to back health. We are designed to be active and upright but jobs and modern life make us sit down for hours at a time in front of our computer screens or the TV or in our cars. The constant presence of stress in many of our lives also has a negative effect.

According to Matt, movement is the answer and he believes that, although training at the gym is great, we should not see it as the sole focus of exercise in our lives.  His top tips for maintaining back and, indeed, general health are to increase our levels of activity throughout the day.  We should stand up to work at our computers, walk around whilst talking on our phones, take the stairs and increase the amount of walking we do – 10 000 steps a day is recommended. The graphic below shows ideal types of activity and their frequency. He also stresses the importance of resistance or strength training for everyone. Muscles are the shock absorbers of the body and if they are strong they will reduce impact and protect joints from damage.

The Activity Pyramid

Matt is a father of two and he believes that children should be encourages to be as active as possible. A great start in life is for children to practise as many different sports and activities as possible to work all different muscle groups – football for the lower body, tennis and swimming for upper, for example. This will, of course, improve fitness and help to control weight but also encourage the development of muscle memory, making it easier to pick up these activities later. Matt thinks it is a shame that school sport is so competition based as those who are ‘unsucccessful’ can be turned off exercise. Sport should be about enjoyment and for everyone whatever their level of ability.

Children as young as eight are amongst Matt’s clients and many attend for pains caused by growth. Growing pains are REAL. Bones grow faster than muscle and this can cause pain, typically in the heel for children between the ages of nine and eleven and in the knees between the ages of thirteen and fourteen. Matt advises that children’s flexibility should be encouraged before the growth spurt that occurs at puberty as rigidity becomes greater once growth has slowed down.

Matt is developing his practice with the support of the local business community including www.parentpreneurnetworking.co.uk  for networking and altrinchamhq.co.uk for social media training. For more details go to Matt’s website mattfoxphysio.co.uk or follow him on twitter @mattfoxphysio

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