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Archive for the ‘Stretching’ Category

leg-muscle-stretches

Stretching is important for people with knee pain caused by osteoarthritis.  Why?  Because all your muscles, bones, and cartilage work together.  The knee joint slides, glides, and rotates – it’s complicated.  If your muscles are tight, your knee won’t function to its potential.  Your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and hip flexors all need to be loose – and used regularly.

My grandmother told me when I was much younger that “if you don’t use it, you lose it.”  Simple words.  True words.

You don’t have to go anywhere to stretch.  Stretching doesn’t cost anything.  You don’t need drugs or surgery to stretch.  You can stretch right now.  If you were able to locate this blog post, then you have the ability to research a stretching program on line.  There are plenty of posts on this blog about what muscles to stretch, different types of stretching, and why it’s so beneficial.

Look around, learn more, help yourself feel better.  You can control your knee pain without surgery, and without drugs.

Try an arthritis knee sleeve to get you up and moving.

 

 



Standing calf stretch

By performing calf stretches regularly it is possible to improve blood flow and increase muscular balance around a joint. Calf stretches allow your knee joint to move through a full range of motion thereby reducing pain. By adding calf stretches to your workout or stretching routine you can greatly improve overall knee health.

A simple stretch which can be performed in the comfort of your own home, is a standing wall stretch.

Place your right foot forward, while leaving your heel on the ground. Lean forward while using your hands as support until a stretch is felt in your right calf. Keep your leg straight while maintaining balance. Hold for 15 seconds and then repeat with the left foot. This stretch should be repeated for 10 sets on both legs.



Tai Chi

August 8, 2012

Tai Chi

Considered by most experts as one of the best low impact workouts in the world, Tai Chi has been an eastern phenomenon for thousands of years. Tai Chi exercises provide significant improvement in balance, strength, flexibility, along with reducing pain associated with knee osteoarthritis.

Tai Chi involves fluid movements and is based on the inner balance of chi “energy” within the participant. Movements and breathing techniques have roots in martial arts but have evolved into a form of exercise and relaxation.

The combination of controlled movements and stretching allows muscles and joints to be strengthened and stretched. Concentrating on these basic techniques allow this ancient art form to be extremely beneficial. Tai Chi reduces pain and inflammation in arthritic knees and joints.



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.



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.



Standing Hamstring Stretch

A common stretching exercise used to increase flexibility in the knee would be a standing hamstring stretch. This stretch can be performed using a stool to slowly increase flexibility without causing pain in arthritic knees. This stretch can be done in your house, office, or in the gym, which makes it an easy and beneficial stretch.

A standing hamstring stretch is done by placing one foot on an 18-inch platform. Stepstools work great. Leave your right foot on the floor and place your left foot on the stool with the knee bent at around 15°. Gently lean forward reaching for your left foot keeping your back straight. Continue until you feel a stretch in the back of the thigh. Hold for 20 seconds. Then alternate legs. This stretch should be repeated for 10 sets on both legs.



Hip Flexor Stretch

Knee osteoarthritis leaves sufferers in pain and feeling immobile. The less you exercise and stretch, the tighter your muscles and ligaments become and the more pain and stiffness you experience. By stretching and lengthening these knee components the knee can move easier and with less pain.

A common stretch to loosen up is the hip flexor stretch. To perform this stretch kneel with one knee on the ground (you can use a towel for a cushion). Your other knee should be out in front of you at a right angle with the floor. Place your chin on your chest, keeping your back straight. Keep your pelvis square and do not allow your knee to pass in front of your toes.

Repeat this stretch for both legs holding the stretch for 30 seconds.



Senior-Stretching

Senior-Stretching

As we age our muscles get tighter.  As our muscles tighten it becomes more difficult to move our joints through their full range of motion.  As it becomes harder to move it becomes easier to sit still.  This pattern of immobility is a downward spiral that can have a negative impact on your quality of life.

Use it or lose it.  Stretching needs to be a regular part of your exercise program.  Flexibility exercises can help your muscles and joints move more easily and protect them from wear and tear.

Stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves if you want relief for knee osteoarthritis.  Stretches need to be smooth and fluid, never bounce.  If you feel pain you’ve gone too far – stay in a comfortable range.  It is also important to sustain and hold your stretch for 10 to 20 seconds.  Let the muscles and joints benefit from the activity.

Ask your doctor or physical therapist to design a stretching program that is right for you.