If you've been to PHlex, you may notice a perenially happy guy, who in addition to performing his job as exercise physiologist extremely well, also pitches in to do just about everything around the studio - and with a smile on his face. Walker just recently completed the Boston Marathon, and I sat down with him to capture a bit of his infectious & positive energy.
Who: Walker Morison
The PHlex family loves what they do, and they also love to give back to the community. What is your chosen charity?: AKTIV Against Cancer and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Research shows that physical activity is good for cancer patients during and after treatment. It helps to reduce unwanted side-effects like nausea, fatigue and sleep problems. Physical activity also contributes to increased stamina, muscle strength, weight control and profit. It also helps simply with coping and quality of life! Even furthering the importance of our mission, recent research has begun to illustrate that the benefits of physical activity extend beyond controlling the symptoms and side-effects of cancer therapy to reduce cancer progression and improve response to anticancer therapy.
AKTIV Against Cancer supports various research projects to study the preventive effect of physical activity on cancer. For our first major US grant, AKTIV is funding two sizable research projects at New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The research projects which are being led by Dr. Lee Jones, an exercise scientist and Research Director of MSK’s Cancer Survivorship Center. AKTIV will fund each project at $325,000 for a total initial gift of $650,000.
Dr. Jones’ team will focus on further illustrating that the benefits of physical activity extend beyond controlling the symptoms and side-effects of cancer therapy to reduce cancer progression and improve response to anticancer therapy. In addition, Dr. Jones and his team will also further explore whether exercise has a positive effect on recurrence and mortality in early breast cancer.
How Many Marathons have you run? 2: NYC and Boston
2015 NYC Marathon 4:17:13
2016 Boston Marathon 4:01:41
Any Marathon / race running tips?
Personally, my muscles cramp up around miles 17-20 – prepare for this with electrolyte tablets, cramp creams, etc. to help avoid cramps or anything that will slow down your pace
Use pace bands to help you stay on pace to achieve your goal time
Celebrate, Enjoy, and savor every mile of the run because it really is a special experience and only lasts till the finish line.
What Do you do at PHLEX NYC?
I am an Exercise Physiologist and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. I work with patients to help them develop proper exercise and lifting techniques as well as correct motor unit recruitment and muscle activation techniques to be able to target specific muscle groups when training. This type of strength training is used to help decrease patient’s current pain levels, or help post-operative patients rehab and get stronger after an injury. I work with patients to help them improve their quality of life through increasing their strength, mobility, and athleticism.
What is the most common injury you see in Urban Athletes and how can it be prevented? / What are your favorite stretches for injury prevention?
The most common injuries I typically see are lower back, knee, and shoulder injuries.
Lower back injuries
Come from lifting too heavy of weight with improper lifting technique, excessive sitting at work after intense workouts without proper stretching, weak lower back muscles.
These types of injuries can be prevented by:
Strengthening of Posterior Chain: Lower traps, multifidus, glutes, and hamstrings
W’s, Prone single leg raise, Quadruped arm and leg raise (over ball)
Stretching the Hip Flexors!! The hip flexors are connected to your lumbar spine and if tight can pull on your lower back
PFPS, ITB syndrome, meniscus
These injuries can be prevented by:
Strengthening of Quads and Hamstrings
Quad stretch w/foot on chair pre and post exercise
Glute med strengthening and activation pre-exercise
Shoulder Injuries – Rotator Cuff Tear, Labrum Tear, Bicep Tear
From lifting heavy weights overhead, putting shoulder in improper positioning when lifting ie overhead and extended behind body
Not warming up rotator cuff muscles prior to lifting heavy weights
Rotator cuff muscle is activated in all types of upper body lifts: bench press, incline press, bicep curls, pull-ups, rows, etc.
TO avoid shoulder injuries one must always warm-up their shoulders prior to exercise:
5-10 lb dumbbells 2-3 sets of 10 reps
Shoulder isometric external rotation
Shoulder press overhead
Internal and External Rotation
Why do you do what you do?
I LOVE SPORTS and working out. I was a 3-sport varsity athlete in high school and played football, basketball and lacrosse. I was the Team Captain of both my Varsity Football team and Varsity Basketball Team. My senior year my varsity football team made it to the D-III California State Championship where we played against Serra Gardena, whos team consisted of Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, who both now play in the NFL. I attended UCONN because they had the #1 Department of Kinesiology in the Country and I knew I wanted to go into sports medicine as a career. At UCONN I was a part of the 2014 National Champion UCONN women’s basketball practice team.
Once college ended I found a new passion for running. As someone who loves to be active and fitness is a big part of my life I think it is very important to know how to prevent injury as well as stay fit so you can be in peak performance for events such as marathons. I have always loved working with people and knew that I wanted to go into medicine from as early as elementary/middle school when I started playing competitive sports. Working at PHLEX is the perfect combination of my love for sports and helping people get better through what I am most passionate about in life, sports, making people feel good, and exercise. I really enjoy working with people and helping them improve their quality of life through the work that I do with them.
What is the one piece of advice you have to people who are coming back from an injury?
STAY POSITIVE AND BE PATIENT! Coming back from an injury it is important to not push it too fast or too hard too soon. By waiting that extra week or month to return to sport it will really pay off in the long run and help you finish off the season or stay pain free for longer. When you are putting all this effort into rehabbing and getting better you do not want to hurt yourself from pushing it too soon.
STAY POSITIVE – Almost all the time every patient we see comes back stronger, faster, and better than they were pre-injury and you need to have the optimism and confidence that it will end up like that in the end while you are putting in the work in the now. A huge part of the rehabilitation we do does involve regaining that mental confidence in your muscles to be able to perform the sport specific movements you want to do.
What is your Fit Life Motto?
There are two things to aim for in life – to get what you want, and to enjoy it
Today is as beautiful as you make it
Never have a bad effort day