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Stand up paddle boarding aka S.U.P

Stand up paddle boarding aka SUP, is fast becoming more and more popular each year. Everyone seems to know at least a small handful of people whom have tried this new trend. But in fact it isn’t that new at all, Hawaiians have been using it for years to keep fit when the waves are not adequate for surfing.

Have you tried it? Paddle boarding is a unique activity for your entire body. It is not only fun to do but and has some benefits for your physical and mental health too.

silhouette photo of people riding on paddle boards

Some benefits of paddle boarding

Below, are just some of the top benefits of stand up paddle boarding that you can take advantage of. From helping to improve your balance to providing a space for meditation, relaxing and time for yourself out in nature.


One of the greatest advantages of paddle boarding is that it gets you on your feet and helps maintain both your body and mind. Most people only focus on the physical aspects of this activity, but it’s incredibly beneficial to a variety of other health aspects as well.


Paddle boarding requires yout to balance. It takes a lot of balance to stand up on the board. This means that you’ll be practicing both your core and leg strength to keep yourself stable on the board.

If you have better physical balance you may well feel a sense of mental balance too. You may even have better focus throughout the day.

boy riding on surfboard holding black boat oats during daytime
Paddle boarding suits all ages


Paddle boarding can be a great stress reliever due to the sedative nature of the water around you and the ability to make the action all about you. Not to mention, falling off the board can give you a serious adrenaline rush to push off any stressful feelings. Plus, just breathing in the salt air and being on the water by yourself can be enough to get rid of any negative energy you’re possessing. With just your stand up paddleboard paddle in hand, it is difficult to think about any of your past worries.


Actually, contrary to what you may think, it takes your entire body to use your SUP inflatable paddle board well. This means that while you’re paddle boarding, you’ll be working lots of muscles like your core, arms, legs, shoulders, torso and back.

Your body will work hard to maintain balance. At the same time, you’ll use your arms and shoulders to move the stand up paddleboard paddle forward.

man wearing gray sweater kneeding on paddle board with holding oar during daytime


This sport is a very good alternative for people who have difficulty or fear of surfing. You may have friends that surf, and you want to join the fun, but you are unable to. With SUP, you can still get out there and catch the waves and have fun!


Its not unusual to see various yoga and pilates fans in various postures whilst on their paddleboards! Performing yoga or pilates while on a paddleboard adds an extra dimension of balance to the activity. This can be a lot of fun as well as super challenging for someone who may well be an experienced practitioner of either.

A lot of people are unsure about purchasing a stand-up paddleboard, however, once they become aware of all the benefits and joys that it has to offer, they may want to give it a try.

So,what are you waiting for? Give it a try. Have fun!

Katerina’s paddleboard on her favourite beach back home in Greece

If you wish to enquire about our yoga or pilates classes or are in need of a massage or a Physiotherapy Assessment click the following link and one of our team will be happy to help Contact – Physioflexx Ayrshire


Simplifying foot movement

Simplifying foot movement. A key part of our role as physiotherapists is to help all parts of your incredible human body move in a way that they are supposed to. This is so that your whole body can thrive in its movement and reduce pressure on

person walking on branch

the WHOLE system – and not just those areas that you perceive to be a problem.

One such area of the body that sadly a lot of us forget about is our feet! They need to move through a full range of movement like any other joint in your body does. Your feet are an important and integral part of your whole musculoskeletal system.

Did you know?

Each foot has 26 bones and 33 joints! ALL of these bones / joints need to move. When your feet don’t move so well, your body will find the necessary movement elsewhere e.g. another joint(s). Over time, this can result in anything from a slight niggle to significant pain in other areas in your body – even if your feet don’t cause you any pain.

The purpose of this blog is to introduce you to the only TWO movements that your feet need to be able to do. These foot shapes correlate with shaping further up the chain – but we’ll stick with just the feet for now.

brown and white skeleton foot
  1. PRONATION: when the arch of the foot lowers to the ground
  • Importantly, whilst maintaining 3 points of contact on the ground i.e. your tripod (the base of your big toe, the base of your little toe and your heel)
  • Pronation is when the foot lengthens and spreads to adapt to the surface beneath it
  • Pronation simplified: the foot will FLATTEN, LENGTHEN and WIDEN

(See our Footwear for Happy Feet blog to get top tips for finding footwear that allows your foot movement to move freely and uninhibited) Footwear for happy feet – Physioflexx Ayrshire

  • SUPINATION: when the arch of the foot increases in height
  • As with pronation, TRUE supination only occurs when you can maintain contact with your tripod on the ground
  • The foot will shorten, become rigid to help propel us forward when
person's right foot
  • walking
  • Supination simplified: the foot SHORTENS, NARROWS and increases in HEIGHT

Start to notice how your feet move more. Can you keep the tripod on the ground when you bear weight on that leg? Be more curious. You may notice that you aren’t aware of all 3 points – if not, we’d encourage you to learn how to utilise your feet effectively with support from one of our therapists.

Happy Feet?

If you would like to have your feet or any other niggle or pain assessed, get in touch! Book Online – Physioflexx Ayrshire

We often find that people are limited to some extent in their feet movement for a variety of reasons – but did you know that optimising how your feet and body move can have a profound impact on how good your body feels? references: About Gary – Finding Centre

Chronic Pain Workshop

Chronic Pain workshop, 30th September 2021, 5.30pm-7pm

Come join Alastair to gain an invaluable insight into factors that contribute to pain, how to manage these and improve your overall function. Alastair will guide you through an evidence-based approach with an insight into a patient journey to see how this approach really works.

We have all been taught pain in a very unhelpful way from a young age- this has left many of us in painful cycles resulting in us doing less of the things we love like: seeing friends, picking up our children, and sports, amongst others.

This workshop therefore will provide some insights into what pain really means and what we can do about it to lead a fuller life!

This workshop is aimed at those of you who have suffered from persistent/chronic pain and are doing less of the things you love. Also anyone who would like a better understanding of pain in order to cope better with future painful episodes.

Interested? Want to know more? Book Online – Physioflexx Ayrshire

This workshop costs just £20 if you book your space by Friday 17th September (£25 after this date)

Please note this is an ‘in person’ workshop, numbers will be limited, covid-19 protocols will be in place for the safety of all of our team and attendees.

‘ My daily step count story ‘ by Physiotherapist Jennifer Butler

My daily step count story gives a little insight into our therapist Jennifer’s daily goal and ‘steps addiction’

shallow focus photography of person walking on road between grass

Hello my name is Jennifer and I’m addicted to my daily step count. Also, I don’t walk 10,000 steps every day.

Phew! That’s 2 big confessions out of the way. I really do like to note how many steps I’ve taken, though. Not because there’s any evidence to say 10,000 is the goal (it’s somewhat falsely attributed to a Japanese study in the 1960’s) and truthfully, no one really knows where that number springs from. I count my steps just because I like to beat my Garmin goal (this is not an advert for Garmin, promise, other watches are available!)

If we look at how many steps a day our ancestors took as hunters and gatherers, we probably covered about 19 miles per day (for reference, 10,000 steps is roughly 5 miles). We are built to go as far as we need to find food, but to expend no more energy than is necessary. Which is one reason we are unfortunately in the midst of a pandemic of ill health due largely to obesity. We don’t move as much as we should (averaging roughly 2,500 steps per day) and we largely eat more than we need (without having to hunt for it).

Walk this way…

Walking is just one of those fantastic forms of exercise you can do to help keep healthy. Easy to access, free, companionable (or not, if you choose). Walking can be exciting or calming, energetic or relaxing. You can reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke by 31% if you go for regular walks (New Yorker, 20 May 2013, p.46). And being active for an hour or more every day can increase your life expectancy by more than 4 years (Bryson, 2019).

But how can you measure how successful you are with your walking?

Well, as the blog is entitled, you can count your daily steps. You could start by aiming for an elusive 10,000 steps a day. Alternatively, just trying to average more per week than you did the week before.

Or you could even time a short walk around your neighbourhood or your place of work. And then try to go a little farther, or finish a little faster than before. All of these ideas are a good place to start.

So, how much is enough?

How much is enough? Well, it’s recommended that adults do roughly 150 minutes per week of moderately intense exercise ( That’s about half an hour of walking where you have enough breath to talk (but not sing) on 5 days of the week.

My goal today (as I check my watch) is 9410 steps. I have a clever little gadget that increases my goal by a small percentage each time I achieve the steps set. It also decreases if I don’t make it, which is handy on days where I’m not feeling tiptop. So far, I’ve done just under 2000, and most of that has been at work and moving around the house.

So I’m off for a walk to enjoy some late summer sun!

If you’d like some help building fitness, or you have an injury or pain which is stopping you from exercising, call us on 01560 483200 to book an appointment with a physiotherapist. Or click on this link to take you to our booking page Book Online – Physioflexx Ayrshire

The Mind and Gut Connection

The mind and gut connection – could your gut microbes influence how you feel?

Anatomical, Anatomy, Body, Gut, Health, Human, Medical

Your gut is full of microbes, all hundred trillions of them are busy constantly communicating with your brain. Most of them are friendly (phew), unseen by the naked eye and living comfortably in different parts of your gut.

But what is their purpose , you may ask? Well, your gut microbiome is made up of trillions of bacteria, fungi and other microbes (sounds nice). They help control your body’s digestion system and also influence your immune system.

So where’s the connection with the mind then?

” Go with your gut “, ” I felt it in my gut ” Do these phrases sound familiar to you? The sensation of butterflies in your stomach suggest that your brain and your gut have a connection. Recent studies have shown that your brain affects your gut health and vice versa.

In addition to butterflies in your stomach, most of us have experienced a rumbling anxious belly when stressed , nervous or frightened. Maybe before a public speech, or before a first date, that little rumble in your gut you may call ‘ instinct’ or a ‘gut-wrenching experience’.

Your internal communication system is referred to as the gut-brain axis. Dr Emeran Mayer ‘s book The Mind-body Connection (copyright) is a facinating read where Dr Mayar (MD) explores “how the hidden communication within your body impacts your mood, your choices and your overall health”.

The science bit…..

Some scientists suggest we should be paying attention to our mind-gut connection as it may contribute to your anxiety and digestion problems. Some als refer to the gut as the ‘ little brain ‘ but officially it is called the enteric nervous system.

Not too little, it is two thin layers of more than 100 million nerve cells lining your gastrointestinal tract, from your esophagus to your rectum. It is believed that it is not capable of thought but can control digestion and the release of enzymes.

Your big brain however has a direct effect on your stomach and intestines. Ever thought of tasty food and automatically feel stirrings in your stomach? This is because the very thought of eating can release the stomach’s juices before food gets there. And this connection goes both ways. A troubled intestine can send signals to your brain and a troubled brain can send signals to your gut.

The belief is that because the brain and gastrointestinal system are intimately connected a person’s stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or product of anxiety, stress or depression.

Person, Guts, Organs, Monitor, Skull

Resources and Advice

There are many books and studies on the subject of the mind- gut connection and plenty of resources available. Taking care of your gut healthcare starts with eating a balanced and nutritious diet with a mix of prebiotics and probiotics.

Prebiotics are found in high fibre foods, these feed and help your good bacteria in your gut grow. Probiotics are live microorganisms that supply good bacteria to your gut.

Gastrointestinal disorders can cause real mental health distress, such as anxiety and depression. Left untreated, issues can worsen. We would always recommend seeing your GP in the first instance should you be experiencing any GI or mental health issues.

References: The Mind-Gut Connection Book – Emeran Mayer, MD The Gut-Brain Connection: How it Works and The Role of Nutrition (

Sore Shoulder?

Sore shoulder? Have you tried Physiotherapy?

A sore shoulder can occur for various reasons. It can be at the front, top or back of your shoulder and can even radiate down into the back of your shoulder blade or down your arm.

grayscale photo of naked woman

If you have had or currently suffer from shoulder pain it can be pretty debilitating.

Usual tasks like getting yourself dressed, drying your hair or doing housework/hobbies can become problematic and painful.

How can physiotherapy help?

Physiotherapy can be effective in supporting your return to full fitness. When we assess your shoulder we are looking to see firstly how it moves. And we look to see if your muscles can activate and work efficiently. Also we assess if your shoulder will support your body weight/load.

Your shoulder is a ball and socket joint. It relies heavily on your surrounding ligaments and muscles to support it. We are usually all familiar with “the rotator cuff” and strengthening this through exercise. But there is more to your shoulder than just the usual theraband strengthening exercises.

The activation of the cuff is a prime factor. We want preparation of the cuff so it can support what action we wish from it.

What kind of exercises can I do to help?

naked man statue

Commonly you can overload the upper trapezius (neck) and the long head of biceps ( your arm) if the cuff does not have an optimum “switch on”.

There are some simple exercises you can follow which may lead us in the right direction.

The credit for these are from the wonderful Jo Gibson who is a shoulder specialist down in Liverpool and a whizz when it comes to treating the complex shoulder.

Please note an excellent resource for all things shoulder pain would be shoulder doc ( A full list of conditions, investigations and treatment options are listed so head over more information.

Case study: Cricket Player – presenting with ongoing chronic shoulder pain

Video One – showing the shoulder movement before the exercise

Video Two – showing the shoulder movement post shoulder elevation exercise

Let’s explain this exercise a little more. . .

The theraband is placed around the wrists with pressure applied against the band (known as external rotation). We keep the lever length short by bending at the elbows and we keep the elbows in close (by the ribcage). We then raise the arms out in front (around 150-160 degrees) whilst we step through with the lower leg (this involves using the kinetic chain to our advantage aka full body movement). This allows for the posterior cuff to activate “switch on” and therefore improve this movement pattern as well as ease pain for the individual. The shoulder can fatigue so you would build these exercises up in reps and sets as required but as a basis try 10 step-through per leg.

If your shoulder pain continues to persist or you feel it needs the careful eye of a Physiotherapist to support your rehabilitation then please do not hesitate to contact us for an initial assessment Book Online – Physioflexx Ayrshire or attend our next workshop in clinic on how to strengthen your shoulder on Saturday 23rd October with Principal Physiotherapist Kate Alexander.

Spoon Theory

Spoon theory, have you heard of it?

Spoon Theory was created by Christine Miserandino as a method of explaining fatigue.

brown wooden spoons on wooden rack

This fatigue can be caused by a range of Chronic Pain Conditions including Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Lupus and Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

So, how do you use spoon theory?

Spoon theory relates to starting your day off with 12 spoons and deducting one for each activity that you carry out. In this theory, the spoons are used as a metaphor for energy.

Some activities may require more than 1 spoon, so plan your day efficiently to ensure your spoons last throughout your day.

brown wooden spoons on wooden rack

For example, if you are having a shower = you would use 1 spoon, for getting dressed = 1 and cooking = 2

Spoons can be borrowed from the following day if required but be mindful that this may result in a cycle of when borrowed an increase in your fatigue may occur.

It is worth remembering, you cannot carry spoons over to the following day meaning that you will never start a day with more than 12 altogether.

Don’t let this put you off being active. Try going for walks, running, or attending a gym class. Exercising can ease flare ups of pain and fatigue.

brown wooden spoons on wooden rack

How can Physiotherapy help?

Our Physiotherapists would be able to guide you on how to manage your

spoons/energy effectively. We can support you through your exercising journey which will include advice on how much activity to carry out daily.

Patient centered care is at the very core of our values here at Physioflexx Book Online – Physioflexx Ayrshire

Our therapists will ensure that you exercise little and often. We will gently increase your activity level as well as setting specific, measurable, and achievable goals. 


Swimming and all of the health benefits of this full body workout

Swimming has many physical and mental health benefits for all ages. From the very young to the very old. If you’re looking for a low-impact exercise in a controlled environment to treat and prevent painful health conditions, then swimming may be right for you.

Swimming can help improve your flexibility, strength, circulation and lung capacity.

So, what are the benefits?

One of the biggest benefits of swimming is that it truly works your entire body, head to toe. Swimming can increase your heart rate without stressing your body. It builds strength and endurance. No matter what stroke you swim, you’re using most of your muscle groups to move your body through the water.

Swimming makes your heart and lungs strong. Compared with inactive people, swimmers have about half the risk of death. Some other studies have shown that swimming may help lower blood pressure and control blood sugar.

Swimming may help reduce some of your pain or improve your recovery from an injury. One study showed that people with osteoarthritis reported significant reductions in joint pain and stiffness, and experienced less physical limitation after partaking in activities like swimming.

Indoor or Outdoor swimming?

man in black shorts jumping on water

The enviroment in an indoor pool area is usually humid and this makes swimming a great activity for people with asthma. Not only that, but breathing exercises associated with the sport, like holding your breath, may help you expand your lung capacity and gain control over your breathing.

People with multiple sclerosis (MS) may also find swimming beneficial. Studies have found that a 20-week swimming program resulted in significant reduction of pain for people with MS. These people also showed improvements with symptoms like fatigue, depression, and disability.

Swimming may also help you sleep better at night, especially if you suffer from insomnia, it helps to boost your mood and manage stress. Swimming regularly can lower stress levels, reduce anxiety and depression, and improve your sleep patterns.

Feeling the mental benefits of swimming takes just a light swim. No pounding the lanes needed, unless that is your goal!

person surfing on blue sea during daytime

Outdoor swimming has become much more popular these days. You may find local groups in your area that meet up and swim in the sea, in lakes or in lochs together.

Cold water swimming in particular has become somewhat a bit of a trend, with most participants expressing the positive results from this in both body and mind.

Should you experience any injuries from sporting activities and wish to book an assessment click the following links:

For enquiries: Contact – Physioflexx Ayrshire

For bookings : Book Online – Physioflexx Ayrshire

No matter what stroke you swim, if it’s in the pool or the open water, there are a lot of benefits from swimming. So, try to put swimming into your routine to increase your overall wellbeing and health.

blue and yellow fish in water

Remember what Dory said ” just keep swimming! ”



Active-fit for over 65’s with Physiotherapist Jennifer Butler on Thursday 26th August 2021 from 3.30pm-5.00pm

              ‘Active-Fit for over 65’s  ‘ Stay Active – Get Fit ‘

man and woman walking beside trees

This Workshop is aimed at adults over the age of 65 and led by Physiotherapist Jennifer Butler. Our aim is to help you keep active every day. Any activity is better than none and this workshop will give you the tools and confidence to do activities that improve your strength, balance and flexibility.

In an interactive online session that you can do from the comfort of your home, this workshop requires you to bring some props to use within the exercise section: e.g. a chair, a scarf or belt and wooden spoons etc, and a drink of water to keep you hydrated!

Jennifer will begin the workshop by introducing herself and explaining a bit more about physiotherapy and why she is interested in keeping older adults fit. A facts and figures section will follow and then the first practical session will begin. This will include a warm up – upper limbs – head and neck – spine and lower limbs. This part of the workshop will include sitting and standing (if you are able).

A short comfort break will follow and then Jennifer will begin part two of the workshop which will include some guidance in safety when moving around, using your props as you begin to exercise together.

There will be an opportunity to speak with Jennifer and ask any questions at the end of the workshop.

Our Early Bird price of £20 pp will expire on Friday 20th August; thereafter the workshop fee will be £25 pp. Please call 01560 483200 to secure your place. You can also click here Book Online – Physioflexx Ayrshire

Special offer – 2 people from the same household can attend for a special fee of £30.00 for two.

For enquiries regarding group bookings please contact us on the number above or email us at

Workshops coming soon:

September 2021 RUNNING WORKSHOP Tuesday 28th 6pm-8pm

October 2021 STRENGHTEN YOUR SHOULDER Saturday 23rd 11.30am-1pm

Horseriding Exercises

Horse Riding Excercises which focus on your Trunk/Core .

Why is trunk/core control important?

This can help riders with shock absorption, symmetry and reduce excessive movement within the saddle as well as other factors. It has been suggested that an 8-week strengthening regime may improve symmetry and increase stride length (Hampson and Randle, 2015).

Here are 5 exercise examples to keep you strong and promote better riding!

  • Plank

Try to keep your body in alignment without lifting your bum up. Try to build up the time inthis position.

  • Deadbugs

Lying with your back flat on the ground, lift arms and legs as shown. Slowly lower one arm and the opposite leg whilst keeping your lower back flat on the ground.

  • Leg Lowers

Lying flat on the ground, raise both legs up in front as straight as possible. Slowly lower one leg at a time and repeat both sides.

Window Wipers

In the same position as the leg lowers exercise, then drop both legs slowly to one side, keeping your upper back flat on the ground, lift back to centre slowly and repeat both sides.

  • Russian Twists

Sitting with your knees slightly bent and leaning back slightly. Slowly rotate your body to one side as far as you can, return to centre and repeat on the opposite side.

       References Hampson, A. and Randle, H., 2015. The influence of an 8-week rider core fitness program on the equine back at sitting trot. International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport15(3), pp.1145-

If you have experienced any injury whilst taking part in any sport or activity and wish to see one of our Physiotherpists you can click here Book Online – Physioflexx Ayrshire to book.