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11 Stretches You Should Do Every Day

stretchingIn my previous blog post, we learned the basics of stretching; now it’s time to get down to the specifics. Here are 11 stretches that you can perform every day to improve your overall flexibility and help decrease the likelihood of nagging injuries. We’ll start from the feet and work our way up.

  1. Prone Calf Stretch:

Begin in a push-up position. Next, keep your legs straight as you walk your hands backward toward your feet. Bend at the hips so your butt rises into the air while the heels of your feet press into the ground. Continue to walk your hands backward until a comfortable stretch is felt in both legs. You can increase the stretching sensation by bending one knee while keeping the other straight.

  1. Side-Lying Quad Stretch:

As the name suggests, start by lying on one side. For an example, let’s begin on our left side to stretch the right leg. Pull the heel of your right leg toward your butt. Grab your ankle with your right hand and add some additional pressure. Be sure to keep your knees together to perform the stretch properly. Once you’re finished with the right leg, flip over and perform this exercise with the left leg.

  1. Seated Hamstring Stretch:

To begin this stretch you need to be in a seated position. Keeping your right leg straight out in front of you, bend your left knee and bring your left heel into your groin. Now, keep your back straight as you bend forward at the hips. You can reach forward with both hands, but be careful to not round your back. Repeat with the left leg. Continue Reading »

Five Guidelines to Follow When Stretching

shutterstock_171467156“So, how much do you bench?”
“What’s your mile time?”
“How far can you get on the sit-and-reach?”

One of those doesn’t sound so familiar. Flexibility is something that is often forgotten by many. This is unfortunate because maintaining, or even increasing our flexibility, is something that greatly benefits our body in the long run.

As we age our body’s ability to go through its full range of motion naturally decreases. This is due to the fact that many of our daily activities cause our muscles to be in shortened positions without us even realizing it. For example, sitting at our computers often causes the front muscles of our chest to become tight and the muscles of our backs to lengthen. Sitting at a desk over-activates the hip flexor muscles. This causes the pelvis to become rotated, which can lead to several other problems. All of these imbalances can lead to aches, pains and additional injuries down the road.

What we do on a daily basis can put our bodies into poor and imbalanced positions, so it becomes increasingly important that flexibility exercises become part of our daily routine. Stretching allows us to maintain the body’s full range of motion and can correct any inequalities in muscle length.

Continue Reading »

A guide to warming up and cooling down when exercising

cool downThere is no doubt that time spent on warming up and cooling down are essential parts of a workout. Doing so will improve an athlete’s level of performance and accelerate the recovery process needed before and after training, or a competition.

Research suggests that the use of dynamic stretches – slow controlled movements through full range of motion, are the most appropriate exercises for the warm up. By contrast, static stretches are more appropriate for the cool down.

Warm Up

Warm up exercises prepare the body for exercise by increasing the heart rate and blood flow to the muscles, allowing them to loosen up. Doing this gradually increases the body’s temperature and helps muscles become flexible. Any strenuous activity that begins abruptly can cause injury, which is why it is important to warm up first.

This part of your exercise session also protects major joints by increasing the supply of lubrication to the articular cartilages – the body’s shock absorbers. Continue Reading »

Top five tips for treating knee pain

Knee pain can affect all sorts of people. I see a variety of patients who complain of knee problems: men and women, young and old, very active and less active people.

If you experience knee pain, here are some helpful tips:

  1. Stretch to relieve joint and muscle tension: It eases muscles and helps them get back in shape.
  2. Ice or cold pack on your knee at least once a day: This will stop inflammation as well as minimize pain and spasm in the area.
  3. Over the counter anti-inflammatory medication: If systems last more that 10 days to two weeks, seek professional help.
  4. Compress or wrap the sore area: This will help decrease swelling.
  5.  Elevate: Elevating your knee reduces stress. Keep the knee area at or above the level of your heart to help minimize swelling. Continue Reading »

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