As the Safe Routes to School coordinator, I love seeing kids and families out on bikes and walking throughout the year. During the summer, it is no exception. Kids enjoy independence and will be out riding their bikes to the pool or walking to a friend’s house. Walking and biking are ways to get families moving and a great way to spend time together. Here are some top summer walking and rolling tips:
Family biking or walking: Try taking a family walk or bike ride to the grocery store, the little league baseball game, out for ice cream or to the neighborhood park. If you are walking on a trail, count the number of birds you see. If you are out biking with small children, bring snacks and water, and take breaks often.
Know where to walk or ride: Many communities have some great family-friendly trails. Fox Cities Greenways along with local municipalities have put together a great trail map that can be found at http://www.focol.org/greenways/newtrails.html. Find trails to walk and bike with your family in your local community.
Walk left, ride right: When walking, always walk on the sidewalk. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic. Bicycles should go with the flow of traffic.
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The knee can be at risk for injury because of the relatively long lever arm of the femur and tibia. Both of these bones are about twice as long as a lug wrench, so the torsional force produced by these long lever arms is substantial. Added to that is the body force that’s six to eight times your weight and transferred to the knee during running, cutting and jumping activities. Changing from quadrupeds to bipedal gait also plays a role in our knees as we change directions because the higher degree of force is concentrated on the knees (or a single knee) with movement instead of balanced on all four legs.
The human knee is made of living tissue and requires warm-up periods prior to athletic endeavors. Techniques to steadily increase your heart rate prior to workouts are crucial for preventing knee injuries. Jumping jacks, biking, walking or rowing are great ways to increase your cardiac output and blood flow before strenuous lower half training.
Dynamic stretching is also important as a mechanism to avoid injury and should be a part of your warm up. Research has indicated that static stretching (ex. lying on the ground and stretching in a hurdler’s stretch) will usually lower athletic performance by pre-stretching muscle-tendon units and changing muscle compliance and elasticity. Rare exceptions, such as dance and rhythmic gymnastics, do better with concentrated static stretching. As the knee increases temperature, there is greater flexibility in our movements and, although there are significant individual variances in flexibility, every athlete functions optimally as blood flow increases. Continue Reading »
For healthy knees, follow these five tips:
Exercise: Development of leg muscles, particularly quadriceps and hamstrings, can help prevent knee trouble. It has been proven women are more likely to suffer a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which is a more serious knee problem impacting function and stability. Cross-training, stretching and strengthening can all help knees stay pain-free and problem-free. While knee pain should always be checked with a doctor to rule out injury, early arthritis, or other serious conditions, the good news is that knee pain from overuse is usually solvable with ice, rest and exercises that promote healing.
Pacing: Always warm up before you exercise and choose your workouts wisely. Know your limits. Give yourself time to get in shape and don’t try to do too much too soon. Follow the 10% rule: Never increase the duration or intensity of your exercise or activity by more than 10 percent in a week. Train for at least two months before beginning stressful activities such as skiing or running in a race. Strength, flexibility, aerobic and core exercises will help prevent knee and other injuries. Remember a cool down stretch helps prevent injuries as well. Continue Reading »
I have been in my role as an RN Specialist working with patients with chronic conditions for almost a year and a half. I talk with almost all of my patients about their current diets as well as their activity level. Many people admit it is hard to be physically active. Some reasons I hear frequently are “I don’t have time,” “I don’t know where to start,” or “I’m too tired at the end of the day.” Many of us know there are great benefits that come from being physically active, but it can be difficult to find the time (and energy) to work out.
Here are some tips to help you become successful:
- Start small and build over time. For example, if you haven’t been active lately, start out by trying to work out 1-2 days a week. Once you’re able to do that consistently, try adding in another day. Another option would be to start with a short time, maybe 10-15 minutes. After a week or two, increase to 15-20 minutes at a time. To some people this might not sound like a lot, but it’s still a great improvement over not doing any physical activity.
- Split it up! If it’s too difficult to find 30 minutes at a time to devote to exercise, try doing 10 minutes 2-3 times a day. Continue Reading »