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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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Should I Stop Exercising Because of My Lower Back Pain? July 25, 2012

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.

 

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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