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11 Exercises that Help Decrease Knee Pain August 8, 2012

Filed under: Advice — Fall into My Eyes @ 9:24 pm
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11 Exercises that Help Decrease Knee Pain

Need Pain-Free Knees? Start Here!

— By Jen Mueller, Certified Personal Trainer

 

If your knees are giving you problems, and you feel like the Tin Man from “The Wizard of Oz” when getting out of bed, you’re not alone. Nearly 50 million Americans feel the same way.
Knees are the most commonly injured joints in the body. Considering that when you simply walk up stairs, the pressure across your knee joints is four times your body weight, it isn’t surprising. Simple, everyday wear and tear can end up hurting your mobility.

But it’s not too late. Like a rusty door hinge, with care and maintenance, you knees can be trouble free. Even if you already experience problems, exercising the muscles surrounding the knee joints— Quadriceps (front of thigh), Hamstrings (back of thigh), Abductor (outside thigh), and Adductor (inside thigh)—will help make your knees stronger and less susceptible to injury. Exercise keeps your joints from stiffening and provides needed support, making movement easier and reducing pain.
Here are some exercises you can do to both stretch and strengthen the knee area:

STRETCHES

  1. Chair knee extension: Sitting in a chair, rest your foot on another chair so the knee is slightly raised. Gently push the raised knee toward the floor using only leg muscles. Hold for 5 – 10 seconds and release. Repeat 5 times on each leg.
  2. Heel slide knee extension: Lie on your back, with left knee bent and left foot flat on floor. Slowly slide the left heel away from your body so both legs are parallel. Hold for 5-10 seconds, return to starting position. Repeat 5 times on each leg.
  3. Knee flexion: Sitting in a chair, loop a long towel under your foot (resting on the floor). Gently pull on the towel with both hands to bend the knee, raising your foot 4 – 5 inches off the floor. Hold for 5 – 10 seconds, then release. Repeat 5 times on each leg.
  4. Hamstring stretch: Standing, put one foot in front of you, toes up. With hands on the small of your back (or one hand holding a chair for balance), bend the opposite knee and hip (not your lower back), until you feel the hamstrings stretch. The upper body comes forward at the hip. Hold for 5 -10 seconds, then release. Repeat 5 times on each leg.

 

STRENGTH TRAINING

  1. Wall slide: Leaning with your back against a wall, bend your knees 30°, sliding down the wall, then straighten up again. Move slowly and smoothly, using your hands on the wall for balance. Keep feet and legs parallel, and do not allow knees to go out over the toes. Repeat 5 -10 times.
  2. Bent-Leg Raises: Sitting in a chair, straighten one leg in the air (without locking the knee). Hold for about one minute. Bend your knee to lower the leg about halfway to the floor. Hold for 30 seconds. Return to starting position. Work up to 4 reps on each leg.
  3. Straight-Leg Raises: Sitting in a chair, rest your foot on another chair. Lift the foot a few inches off the chair while keeping your leg straight. Hold for 5 -10 seconds. Return to resting position. Repeat 5 -10 times. (Also work on increasing the time, up to 2-3 minutes if possible.)
  4. Abductor Raise: Lie on your side, propped on one elbow. The leg on the floor bent, the other straight. Slowly lift the top leg, hold for 5 -10 seconds, then lower. (Ankle weights will increase the intensity). Do 1-3 sets with 12-15 repetitions each. Remember to rest in between sets.
  5. Hamstring Curl: Stand with the front of your thighs against a surface (a table or wall). Flex one knee up as far as is comfortable. Hold for 5 – 10 seconds, then lower slowly. If possible, do not touch the floor between repetitions. (Ankle weights will increase the intensity.) Do 1-3 sets with 12-15 repetitions each. Remember to rest in between sets.
  6. Step-Ups: Stand in front of a step, like a sturdy bench or stairs, about two feet high (or less if necessary). Step up onto the support, straighten your knees fully (without locking them) and step down. Maintain a steady pace. If you are comfortable with your balance, pump your arms while doing this exercise. Start with 1 minute, slowly building your time. Gets your heart pumping too!
  7. Stationary Bike: Biking is a good way to increase strength and range of motion. Make sure you have the right positioning of the legs. At the bottom of the pedal stroke, the bend in the knee should be 15 degrees. Start with 10 minutes and slowly increase your time.

 

Depending on your current level of activity and mobility, a good start is 3 stretching and 3 strengthening exercises, 3-4 times a week. Stretching can be (and should be) done everyday if possible to prevent stiffness and achy joints. These stretches can be done a few times a day if needed.

 

Always check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. These exercises are designed to help, not hurt. If you experience pain at any time during the exercise, stop. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong.

BONUS TIP: If you have increased soreness after doing these exercises, it may help to ice your knee or knees for 10 – 20 minutes. Place a bag of ice (or frozen vegetables) over the joint, with a towel between to protect the skin. Elevate your leg on a chair if ice alone is inadequate.                                           <!–
Article created on:  1/28/2005

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Exercise helps ease arthritis pain and stiffness

Filed under: Advice — Fall into My Eyes @ 9:20 pm

Here is some much requested reading material on helping joints J

As you consider starting an arthritis exercise program, understand what’s within your limits and what level of exercise is likely to give you results.

By Mayo Clinic staff @http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/arthritis/AR00009/

 

Exercise is crucial for people with arthritis. It increases strength and flexibility, reduces joint pain, and helps combat fatigue. Of course, when stiff and painful joints are already bogging you down, the thought of walking around the block or swimming a few laps might make you cringe.

You don’t need to run a marathon or swim the pace of an Olympic competitor to help reduce the symptoms of your arthritis. Even moderate exercise can ease your pain and help you maintain a healthy weight. When arthritis threatens to immobilize you, exercise keeps you moving. Not convinced? Read on.

Why exercise is vital

Exercise can help you improve your health and fitness without hurting your joints. Along with your current treatment program, exercise can:

  • Strengthen the muscles around your joints
  • Help you maintain bone strength
  • Give you more strength and energy to get through the day
  • Make it easier to get a good night’s sleep
  • Help you control your weight
  • Make you feel better about yourself and improve your sense of well-being

Though you might think exercise will aggravate your joint pain and stiffness, that’s not the case. Lack of exercise actually can make your joints even more painful and stiff. That’s because keeping your muscles and surrounding tissue strong is crucial to maintaining support for your bones. Not exercising weakens those supporting muscles, creating more stress on your joints.

Check with your doctor first

Talk to your doctor about how exercise can fit into your current treatment plan. What types of exercises are best for you depends on your type of arthritis and which joints are involved. Your doctor or a physical therapist can work with you to find the best exercise plan to give you the most benefit with the least aggravation of your joint pain.

Exercises for arthritis

Your doctor or physical therapist can recommend exercises that are best for you, which might include:

Range-of-motion exercises These exercises relieve stiffness and increase your ability to move your joints through their full range of motion. Range-of-motion exercises involve moving your joints through their normal range of movement, such as raising your arms over your head or rolling your shoulders forward and backward. These exercises can be done daily or at least every other day.

Strengthening exercises These exercises help you build strong muscles that help support and protect your joints. Weight training is an example of a strengthening exercise that can help you maintain your current muscle strength or increase it. Do your strengthening exercises every other day — but take an extra day off if your joints are painful or if you notice any swelling.

Aerobic exercise Aerobic or endurance exercises help with your overall fitness. They can improve your cardiovascular health, help you control your weight and give you more stamina. That way you’ll have more energy to get through your day. Examples of low-impact aerobic exercises that are easier on your joints include walking, riding a bike and swimming. Try to work your way up to 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week. You can split up that time into 10-minute blocks if that’s easier on your joints.

Other activities Any movement, no matter how small, can help. If a particular workout or activity appeals to you, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor whether it’s right for you. Your doctor might give you the OK to try gentle forms of yoga and tai chi. Tai chi may improve balance and help prevent falls. Be sure to tell your instructor about your condition and avoid positions or movements that can cause pain.

Tips to protect your joints

Start slowly to ease your joints into exercise if you haven’t been active for a while. If you push yourself too hard, you can overwork your muscles. This aggravates your joint pain.

Consider these tips as you get started:

  • Apply heat to the joints you’ll be working before you exercise. Heat can relax your joints and muscles and relieve any pain you have before you begin. Heat treatments — warm towels, hot packs or a shower — should be warm, not painfully hot, and should be applied for about 20 minutes.
  • Move your joints gently at first to warm up. You might begin with range-of-motion exercises for five to 10 minutes before you move on to strengthening or aerobic exercises.
  • Exercise with slow and easy movements. If you start noticing pain, take a break. Sharp pain and pain that is stronger than your usual joint pain might indicate something is wrong. Slow down if you notice inflammation or redness in your joints.

Trust your instincts and don’t exert more energy than you think your joints can handle. Take it easy and slowly work your exercise length and intensity up as you progress.

Don’t overdo it

You might notice some pain after you exercise if you haven’t been active for a while. In general, if your pain lasts longer than two hours after you exercise, you were probably exercising too strenuously. Talk to your doctor about what pain is normal and what pain is a sign of something more serious.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, ask your doctor if you should exercise during general or local flares. One option is to work through your joint flares by doing only range-of-motion exercises, just to keep your body moving.

Exercise programs for people with arthritis

Check with your doctor about exercise programs in your area for people with arthritis. Hospitals and clinics sometimes offer special programs, as do local health clubs.

The Arthritis Foundation conducts exercise programs for people with arthritis in many parts of the United States. Programs include exercise classes — in water and on land — and walking groups. Contact your local branch for more information.

 

 

Exercises To Help Strengthen Your Joints

Filed under: Advice — Fall into My Eyes @ 9:17 pm

One of my readers posted asking for more articles on helping joint pain… I found this article today on https://www.panadol.co.uk/Joint-Pain/Articles/Articles/Exercises-To-Help-Strengthen-Your-Joints/ and wanted to share!

 

Exercises To Help Strengthen Your Joints

You’ve probably heard about the benefits of strong bones to help prevent breaks and fractures. But what about strong joints to help prevent joint injuries and decrease joint pain?

Joint pain may be caused by different things such as a direct injury to a joint. Joint pain is also often caused by arthritis. While exercise is important for everyone, it’s particularly important for anyone who has arthritis.

Exercises to strengthen the body’s joints work by building the muscles around the joints for greater joint stability. Joint strengthening exercises also help protect the joint and keep it strong. These exercises also help keep a joint’s range of motion at its best.

If you have joint pain due to arthritis or an injury, there are a number of simple exercises that can be done to help strengthen your joints. Ask your healthcare provider to recommend an appropriate routine for you.

Exercises include aerobic exercise such as:

Swimming. Swimming is a great aerobic exercise that also strengthens muscles and joints with reduced risk of joint wear and tear, as experienced with running.

Cycling. Riding a bike is another excellent low-impact exercise to strengthen joints and improve your overall fitness.

Range-of-motion exercises. These exercises involve moving the joints through their full range-of-motion, which helps to reduce stiffness and increase flexibility.

Strength training. Strength-building exercises, such as weight training, build the muscles around joints for greater strength and support.

Stretching/Flexibility. It is best to complete stretching and strengthening exercises little and often throughout the day. Swimming is also a good all-round aerobic exercise, that can also strengthen and stretch the muscles.

You may also benefit from exercises that target and strengthen specific joints. Knee injuries and knee pain, for example, are common. Exercises that strengthen the muscles that support the knees can help prevent knee injuries and pain.

In contrast, anyone with joint pain should use caution when participating in exercises that are high impact, and may therefore worsen joint pain and inflammation. These exercises include

  • Jogging and running
  • Jumping
  • Sports that involve a lot of repetitive movement, like tennis
  • High impact aerobics

Speak to your doctor or physiotherapist before beginning any exercise programme. Always use caution when exercising, and stop if you have pain. In addition, if you are experiencing joint pain, ask your doctor which exercises are the most appropriate for you.

 

 

What Exercises Are Good For People With Bad Knees? July 25, 2012

Filed under: Advice — Fall into My Eyes @ 11:49 pm
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What Exercises Are Good For People With Bad Knees?

Two moves that help your entire lower body work better
Jun 4, 2012 | By Brian Sabin
Knee pain often indicates problems elsewhere.  Photo Credit Getty Images
“What are good exercises for people who have bad knees?” –Rebecca Abigail, via Facebook

The Answer

First, realize how often “bad knees” are indicative of a problem elsewhere. Picture a factory with three employees who need to perform different tasks in order for the factory to run efficiently. If two of the employees neglect their job duties, the remaining employee has to perform tasks that aren’t in the original job description. This means the factory would not run as efficiently as possible and, eventually, the overworked employee would complain to management. If only the other two employees would buckle down, the problem would be solved.
In the factory of the human musculoskeletal system, the employees can be considered the hip, knee and ankle. In the case of bad knees, the hips and ankles may lack strength and mobility. The muscles in the feet and core may also not be functioning properly. If any element in that chain is off, your knees may suffer. So do these two exercises to put everybody to work.

Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift

Stand on your left foot with the left knee slightly bent. Keeping your hips level, bend forward as far as you can while maintaining a straight line from head to your heel. Do as many repetitions as possible without letting your knee cave inward, then switch sides. Do two to three sets.

Heel-Unsupported Mini-Squats

Stand on the edge of a step, your weight in the ball of one foot. Let your heel sink down and pause for a second straight-legged. Then, keeping your heel down and making sure your knee doesn’t cave inward, do a mini squat by bending your knee and pushing your hips back. Repeat on the other side for 12 to 20 reps for two to three sets.

About the Expert

Scott Lynn, PhD, associate professor of kinesiology at California State University in Fullerton, Calif.

 

Should I Stop Exercising Because of My Lower Back Pain?

Filed under: Advice — Fall into My Eyes @ 11:45 pm
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Should I Stop Exercising Because of My Lower Back Pain?
Mar 23, 2012 | By Brian Sabin
GOT ACHES? A combination of foam rolling and light active stretching can help you recover faster.
Photo Credit iStockPhoto.com
“I’m having lower back pain. Do I have to stop training, or can I work around the injury?”

-Carl P., San Antonio

THE ANSWER

Here’s the thing about back pain: Many times, your back isn’t the issue. The pain is often the result of weakness somewhere else in your body. So your best option is to stay active — even if it’s only at a low intensity — to try and address your problem. I rarely have someone cease working out because of back pain, because doing some type of exercise will help him feel better in both the short and long term.
When you’re first dealing with back pain, a simple mix of foam rolling and light activity will improve blood flow throughout your body, nourishing your muscle tissues and releasing endorphins that help you feel better. Try these two exercises to test the waters and see if you’re capable of doing more. If the pain persists, see your doctor.

HIP RAISE

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat. Lift your hips until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Hold for 5 seconds, and return to the starting position. Perform two or three sets of 10 to 12 reps, resting for 30 to 60 seconds between sets.

HIP FLEXOR STRETCH

Kneel on your left knee, squeeze your left glute and brace your abdominal muscles while keeping your body upright. Then reach up with your left hand as high as you can and bend slightly to the right. Reach out and back with your right hand, and turn toward the right. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. Then repeat on your other leg. Perform five reps on each side.

ABOUT THE EXPERT

Mike Robertson, C.S.C.S., is the co-owner of Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training.

 

How Do I Get Rid of My Cellulite?

Filed under: Advice — Fall into My Eyes @ 11:39 pm
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How Do I Get Rid of My Cellulite?
Posted by abornstein | May 16, 2011
Editor’s Note: This is part of a series called, “One GREAT Answer.” Each week we ask our readers what they want to know, and take their questions to the world’s smartest experts.
How do I get rid of my cellulite? -Jen, Shelby, Ohio Forget special creams or miracle pills. While some women are genetically more likely to have cellulite in certain spots, resistance training is a proven way to eliminate it—no matter how impossible it may seem. Cellulite is simply fat that is dimpled, says Rachel Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., author of The Female Body Breakthrough. The reason it looks worse is because it reflects a higher percentage of body fat. So if you’re intent on changing the way you look then you need to make sure you build new muscle and lose fat. After all, it’s not your weight that creates cellulite, which is why you might be happy with the number on the scale but not your appearance in the mirror.
The good news is that you only need to visit the gym two or three days a week for visible results, says Cosgrove. The secret: Make sure your workouts focus on compound (multi-muscle) movements. These exercises will help you add muscle, which will increase your metabolism and burn off the fat on those stubborn, cellulite-prone areas. Combine that with a diet that focuses on lean protein (chicken, fish, eggs), vegetables, fruit and lots of water and you will see results.
A great compound exercise that will help you see instant results is the step-up, suggests Cosgrove, who owns Results Fitness, one of the top fitness facilities in America.This exercise will challenge your glutes and hamstrings—the area where most women have cellulite. Not only will this help you build long and lean muscles, but it will also help you burn more fat for the look you desire.
Here’s how to do it: Hold a dumbbell in each hand, and lift your right foot and place it on a bench that is at knee height. Then, push your body up by driving through the heel of your right leg. Without using your left leg, press your body up and onto the step so your right leg is straight and your other foot hangs off the bench. Lower your body under control and return to the starting position. Perform 8 to 10 repetitions on your right leg, and then switch legs and repeat. If this is too hard, simply perform the same movement but without dumbbells
Read this article and see an instructional video @ http://www.livestrong.com/blog/blog/how-do-i-get-rid-my-cellulite/
 

What Can I Do to Fix Shin Splints?

Filed under: Advice — Fall into My Eyes @ 11:34 pm
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What Can I Do to Fix Shin Splints?
A short yoga routine helps this persistent pain that plagues many runners.
 “I’m a runner and I suffer from shin splints. What stretches can I do to alleviate the pain?”

-Thomas Piel, Reichenwalde, Germany

The Answer

Shin splints are an irritation of the muscles and connective tissues that attach to the shinbone. The pounding of running stresses the tissues along your tibia, and if the amount of stress is greater than the runner’s ability to recover, pain results. The condition is an example of how important recovery is for improvement in sports — we must give the body time to grow stronger to make gains.
If your shins are sore from pounding the roads, trails or treadmill, try three simple yoga poses.

1. Legs Up the Wall

Sit about 6 inches away from a wall with your left side facing the wall. Swing your legs up onto the wall, laying your head and shoulders flat on the floor. Spend about 10 minutes in this position, allowing the muscles in your legs (especially your lower legs) to relax. If the position is too intense, try the legs-to-the-coffee-table pose, where you rest on your back on the floor with your calves on top of a sofa or low table.

2. Hero Pose

Kneel on the floor with your feet flat and toes pointing behind you. Sit back so that your butt rests on your heels. You’ll feel a big stretch along your tibialis muscles and the tops of your feet. Breathe deeply into the areas where you feel sensation. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute. As you grow more comfortable with the pose, you can increase the time.

3. Tree Pose

This is a simple, single-legged balance pose that helps build strength in your lower legs, helping you to avoid future shin splints. Stand with both feet on the floor about shoulder width apart. Shift your weight into your left foot and lift your right leg. Turn the leg and place your right foot against your left leg, wherever you can comfortably position it: on the calf or the inner thigh, but never against your knee. Lift your hands upward, or keep them at your sides for balance. Hold the position for five to 10 breaths, then repeat, standing on your opposite leg.

About the Expert

Sage Rountree is a yoga instructor, a USAT-certified endurance sports coach, and the author of several books on yoga for athletes, including “The Runner’s Guide to Yoga.”

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/555852-one-great-answer-what-can-i-do-to-fix-shin-splints/#ixzz21em1mBkw

 

 
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