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Archive for the ‘Strength Training’ Category

Exercise Goals

July 30, 2012

Share your exercise goals.

More than 10 million Americans suffer from knee osteoarthritis. Knee pain can cause a lack of mobility resulting in depression, weight gain, feelings of helplessness and difficulty participating in daily activities. By setting goals like increasing your daily or weekly exercise time, or add stretching, you can radically improve your quality of life. Goals can be tailored for each individual and provide a basis for achieving and monitoring your progress.

Knowing your body and its limits is also very important. You know your body better than anyone. It is much better to rest and take it easy than to push yourself and risk further injuries. Allowing your body to adequately recover allows you to increase the duration and intensity of your exercise routines.  Set exercise goals and keep a close eye on your body in order to safely improve knee function.




Laying Leg Raises

Laying leg raises make it easier for someone with knee arthritis to stand in a steady position for extended periods of time. This exercise can be performed with a yoga mat on the floor or flat on a firm bed.
Lie on your back.   Plant one foot flat with the knee bent to provide stability while exercising the opposite leg. Lift your other leg off the floor while keeping your knee straight. You should try and keep your heel 12 to 18 inches off the bed. Hold this position for 7-10 seconds. This strengthens the hip flexor muscles as well as the muscles surrounding the knee. This exercise should be done until fatigue sets in and you should stop immediately if any pain is felt.



Partial Lunges

July 24, 2012

Partial Lunges

Lunges are an excellent exercise for stretching the calf as well as strengthening the hip flexor. Strong hip flexors and properly stretched calves allow the knee to move in its natural range of motion while being properly supported. Partial lunges can be added to any workout routine and can be performed anywhere.  This exercise can help reduce knee pain.

Using a wall or a piece of furniture for stability, place your right foot a shoulder’s width in front of the left, with both knees pointed forward. Your back leg is straight and your front knee is slightly bent. Gently transfer your weight to the front foot, without bending too far and causing pain. Hold for this position for 25 seconds then switch your feet in order to stretch both legs.



Stretching Partners

With over 10 million people suffering from knee osteoarthritis it shouldn’t be hard to find someone in the same boat as yourself. Not all knee osteoarthritis is the same but by creating an exercise routine or stretching regiment you will be much more likely to reach your goals. An exercise partner provides some extra motivation on days you’re not quite feeling your best. You can discuss your progress, arthritic knee treatment, and help each other reduce knee pain and joint stiffness.

Keeping track of your workouts as well as monitoring your efforts allows you to see your improvements. A steady routine and a helpful workout partner can be the difference between reducing your knee pain dramatically or losing motivation and becoming overwhelmed.



Standing Heel Raises

Doctors recommend moderate physical activity and weight loss to help manage knee osteoarthritis. Standing heel raises improve flexibility, decrease joint stiffness and improve range of motion. They also minimize muscle soreness after workouts and reduce calf injuries.

A standing heel raise is performed by standing straight and tall, legs fully extended, facing a stable railing. Use the railing for support and stability, lift both heels off the floor. Tighten your quadriceps while not locking out your knees. Remain on your tiptoes for one second, then lower your heels back down slowly. Repeat 15 times.



Seated Pillow Squeeze

January 18, 2012

Seated Pillow Squeeze

You don’t have to spend money and time on a gym membership to exercise if you have knee osteoarthritis. A seated pillow squeeze is a simple workout which can be performed at home without the use of complicated equipment. This exercise uses a pillow and a chair!

Using a sturdy chair (not one with wheels), sit upright with your feet firmly placed on the ground. Place a pillow folded in half in between your knees, and squeeze slowly counting to 5. You should feel your muscles contract in your inner thighs. Repeat this for 12 times taking 20 second breaks in between sets.

 



Seated Leg Extensions

January 15, 2012
  

Seated Leg Extension

 

Leg extensions are great exercises for people suffering from knee osteoarthritis.  This simple exercise can strengthen your leg and increase joint flexibility.  Leg extensions can be performed in the comfort of your home, without spending money on a gym membership. Leg extensions strengthen your quadriceps.  This can increase overall knee joint stability, while reducing pain in osteoarthritic knees.

Sit tall in a chair, keep your torso straight while raising your right leg parallel to the floor. For a more advanced move, point your toe to the ceiling to fully engage your quadriceps. Lower your right leg, touching your heel to the floor, and repeat for 10-15 repetitions before switching legs.



Exercise Water Yoga

January 14, 2012

Water Aerobics

Exercising in the water is great for osteoarthritis because it allows for resistance training while reducing the overall stress on the joint.  Studies have shown large reductions in inflammation and knee pain, along with improved joint mobility as a result of aquatic activities.

By using varied water depths you can limit the effects of joint pressure by reducing contact with the pool floor. Floatation devices may be used to stabilize your midsection while allowing extremity movement. By including water aerobics in your exercise plan you can ease knee pain and allow your joints to decompress while getting a great workout.



Wall Squats

 

Exercise might be the last thing you think you’re capable of with osteoarthritis, however it is one of the most beneficial treatment options for knee pain relief. Exercise will increase your joint’s range of motion and improve blood-flow, while promoting weight loss.

A functional exercise such as a wall squat provides a controlled movement of the joint.  This allows the knee to be isolated while providing adequate support. A wall squat is performed by placing your back against a wall, bending your knees 30°, sliding down the wall, then returning to a vertical position. Place your hands on the wall for balance and remember slow controlled movements are key. Keep your feet and legs parallel.  Try to avoid  letting your knees extend past your toes.

Wall squats should be repeated 5-10 times, allowing for adequate rest between sets.



Strength Conditioning

Strength Conditioning

Strength conditioning exercises (sometimes called resistance exercises) make your muscles strong.  Strengthening the muscles around your arthritic knee will make your knee more stable, like adding supports to a crumbling wall.

Gyms and health clubs have machines and free weights that can help strengthen your legs.  However you don’t need a membership to enjoy the benefits of strength conditioning exercises.  Leg lifts in a chair with an elastic strap can be just a effective as a thousand dollar leg extension machine.  Even if you are in your nineties training with weights or resistance will increase your quality of life.

Ask your doctor or physical therapist what strength conditioning exercises are right for helping you with your osteoarthritis.