Tag Archives: injury prevention

4 Effective Stretches for Leg Day

leg-day-stretches

By Dr. Thomas J. Kleeman, MD and Anne Talbot-Kleeman, RN, Certified Fitness Professional for TheDoctorsWorkout.com.

Leg stretches are an essential way to maintain flexibility and avoid common lower body injuries. If you enjoy biking or jogging, it is especially important to pay attention to protecting the commonly injured areas such as the hips, knees, and ankles, resulting in injuries like hamstring strain, calf strain, patellar tendinitis, and Achilles tendinitis. These injuries can best be prevented by a dynamic warm-up and saving stretching exercises to follow your exercise once the muscles are warmed up. Here are a few of the most effective leg stretches:

HAMSTRING STRETCH

hamstring-stretches

This important stretch can be done in several positions. One technique involves standing on one leg while putting your heel on an elevated surface like a bench or chair. Keep the elevated leg straight and lean into the knee, bending at the waist. You will feel the pull in your hamstring. Hold the position for 10-20 seconds and repeat on the other leg.

Another way to do the stretch is to lay on your back with one leg straight out on the floor and the other flexed 90 degrees at the hip, knee straight using a towel around the foot or ankle. (more…)

8 Signs Your Workout is All Wrong

exercise pain

You’re in the middle of your workout, everything is going great, and then suddenly something feels off. There’s a twinge of pain, a tingling sensation, or a wave of nausea comes over you. Or maybe you don’t feel anything until later, in the form of soreness or shin splints.

Whatever the symptoms may be, the cause is likely that you’re doing something about your workout wrong. With the help of fitness experts Dempsey Marks, Jessica Smith and Valerie Orsoni, we’ve got a list of the top signs your workout is doing more harm than good, and ways you can fix the problems.

You’re Super Sore the Next Day

A little soreness can be good, but if you’re so sore you can’t move, you need to tone your workout down a bit. According to Shape Magazine, that level of soreness can indicate that you’re well on your way to an overuse injury.

Dempsey Marks, fitness expert, yoga trainer, and founder of DempseyFit.com, suggests decreasing the intensity of your workouts by lifting less weight or doing fewer reps. She also suggests properly refueling your body by eating a post-workout snack, like her Strawberry Banana Crunch Smoothie Bowl, full of carbohydrates and protein.

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The One Thing Women Are Doing All Wrong at the Gym

women wrist weights

When you think weight lifting, you think big muscle groups: quads, biceps, abs. When you think this way, you’re already on your way to injury. So many of us step up to the weight bar thinking we are ready to rock our reps without properly focusing on key joints and smaller muscle groups. A major area that most women don’t think about is their hands and wrists. It’s these very areas that cause a ton of post-lifting pain, especially for beginners who are just starting a strength training routine.

You should absolutely continue to warm up big muscle groups and major joints, but don’t forget the small stuff either! Weight lifting, when done improperly, can be dangerous, and women especially should take extra care to maintain the health of their hands and wrists. Proper hand and wrist care is important whether you are a regular gym fanatic or simply use your hands for daily tasks like working at a computer.

Try This: Yoga Poses for Computer Wrists

Experts from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center recommend the following:  (more…)

Four Ways to Gain More Flexibility in 2014 (Including One That May Surprise You)

Flexibility is often overlooked,  but it’s one of the most important areas to focus on while increasing your level of physical fitness. After all, it’s been among the benchmarks for measuring fitness on the Presidential Physical Fitness Test for years! Having good flexibility is beneficial to the mind and body alike and can help prevent injuries, improve posture and range of motion in our joints, and increase overall physical fitness, just to name a few.

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When you think of flexibility, stretching is probably the first thing that comes to mind. And, unfortunately, stretching seems to be thing that that so many of us focus the least amount of attention on in our workouts. Warming-up and cooling-down properly before and after exercise are very important and aid in better flexibility, but it can also be focused on during a workout.

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Try This Dynamic Stretching Warm Up Before Your Workout

In my five years as a group fitness instructor I’ve noticed something over and over again: most people don’t know how to warm-up properly. Let’s face it – we’re short on time. We want to get in the gym, get our workout over with, and go home. Rather than properly warming up, many of us tend to jump right into our workout full force.

The ultimate purpose of “warming up” is to reduce the risk of injury while exercising, as it will prepare the body for exercise by increasing blood flow and warming up various muscle groups. A great way to warm up is by taking a few minutes to perform various dynamic stretching exercises.

When you think of “stretching,” you probably think of holding a stretch in place for a specific number of seconds; this would be static stretching, and should only be done after a workout because it actually relaxes the muscles. Performing static stretching exercises prior to exercise can actually cause injury to the muscles because it prevents them from preparing for a workout!

Dynamic stretching means performing a constant, controlled motion through a full range of motion. This stimulates blood flow and warms up the desired muscle group. I like to warm up for 5-10 minutes before a workout and target various major muscle groups throughout the body. Here is a good example of an effective dynamic stretching warm-up:

Arm Circles

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Fully extend one arm up with fingers pointed towards the sky and the other arm down (with fingers pointed to the ground). Circle the arms forward, as if you were doing a freestyle swimming motion. Make the movement big and keep the movement of your hips to a minimum. Keep this forward motion for about 30 seconds and then move in the opposite direction (as if you were doing the backstroke) for another 30 seconds.

Warms up: shoulders, back and abdominal muscles (more…)

Sore or Injured? When It’s Time to See a Doctor

This week on Live Big With Ali Vincent I am checking in with Matt McCloskey. Matt started his Live Big journey one year ago by running. Right as Matt was getting into his groove, he started feeling pain in his knee. At first he powered through the pain, then he took it easy by doing pool workouts. Nothing seemed to help. See what happens when I bring in the big guns to solve Matt’s knee problem.

Matt’s knee problem brings me to what I want to talk about this week: when to take it easy and when to see a doctor. (more…)

Saturday Morning Drill: Post-Workout Stretching

For this week’s Saturday Morning Drill we’re stressing the importance of stretching. While it’s important to warm up before a workout, many people don’t realize you should actually save the stretching for after the workout.

Stretching is not recommended before a workout because your muscles are prone to injury when they’re cold, which temporarily slows muscle activation. In order to warm up the muscles sufficiently perform at least three to five minutes of cardiovascular activity such as running in place or jumping jacks. Then, stretch after your workout is complete.

Even for those who take the time to stretch after a workout, it’s not uncommon to rush through the movements and thus forgo reaping the full benefits of the stretch. But proper stretching should be completed after a workout because muscles tighten and shorten during exercise. By stretching them afterwards you help the muscle both length and restore. Other stretching benefits include increased flexibility, improved circulation, improved balance and coordination, decreased lower back pain and increased energy levels.

A proper stretch should be completed one to three times, holding each stretch for 10-60 seconds. Remember, you should be in control of the stretch by focusing on performing it slowly. Listen to your body – each movement should be held at a mild tension but not to the point of pain.

To get your heart rate up, try our fall Pumpkin Workout. Start by warming up with some cardio, performing the strength training exercises, and end with these beneficial stretches. 

Also Read:

7 Tips for Eliminating Muscle Soreness

Sneaky Ways to Squeeze in Stretching

Stretching is Essential for Runners

3 Core Exercises to Increase Stamina and Prevent Injury This Winter

Fall is a busy and active time of year. While many have been hectically scurrying to settle in to a new school year, others have been expending enormous amounts of energy winterizing the yard, gathering wood for the stove, and unpacking the shovels in anticipation of calorie-burning snow removal. These fall and winter activities take strength and stamina to endure.

A strong core is paramount to having increased energy and to prevent back pain or injury. The following are a few basic core exercises that will help you stack that last load of wood and leave you with enough energy to shovel yours and your neighbor’s drive.

Windmills

No, this is not the same thing as the classic 1950’s physical education exercise that wreaked havoc on people’s lower backs. It is however, a more modern and adaptable version of it that is much more effective, plus a lot safer. (more…)

GST Workouts Blend Yoga, Pilates, and Capoeira to Help Bodies Heal and Rehabilitate after Injuries

Let’s face it, sometimes physical activity can be painful. People can throw their back out from lifting weights or tear their ACL while playing basketball. One mishap in the gym, court, or playing field can leave your body damaged. And, getting your body back to its original state will take lots of physical therapy. Yet, after physical therapy your body might not be back at its prime as it was before you got hurt.

Grace SomatomorphicTM Technique, known simply as GST, is a workout that reshapes and heals your body for a better, stronger, and healthier you. After years of dancing took a toll on Anna Rahe and left her in pain, she was in need of therapeutic fitness but couldn’t find anything. So she created GST with her knowledge of fitness and its scientifically-supported research.

Anna wanted to teach others GST because it helps the body become pain free while toning to be more beautiful. “GST is also more than just a workout- it is a way of life. In addition, the process of GST directly engages the brain’s powerful desire and inclination for neuro-plasticity- to grow and change.”

GST’s philosophy is motivation, exploration, identification, excavation, assimilation, restoration, and transformation.

Motivation: Why do you want to better your health?

Exploration: Search for answers and try new things.

Identification: Understand what is wrong with your body and health.

Excavation: Dig and find new information that will help your restoration and transformation.

Restoration: Restore your body to its original health.

Transformation: Take your body’s health to the next level and transform it to a healthier better you.

There are four types of programs GST offers, each designed to heal and restore the body: Somatiques, Athletic, Body Shaping, and Pregnancy. The classes differ by the types of techniques that are used to heal and restore the body. (more…)

We Love Gold Bond Friction Defense

One of the most irritating issues of running can be what happens when those clothes swish back and forth for hours on end. Of course, I’m talking about chafing. A painful and irritating side effect that many runners deal with. Thankfully, there are options for managing this nonsense, really effective options.

A tried and mostly-true method has always been to use petroleum jelly on your trouble spots. It tends to keep irritation away for many miles. Only slight down side? It’s messy, greasy and oily, and may even stain your clothes. One of the more recent products to help with chafing is Gold Bond’s Friction Defense. It looks like a stick of deodorant, but it’s not meant to keep you smelling fresh. Instead it will keep skin free from painful chafing.

Whether men need to avoid bloody nipples, or ladies need to get relief from a snug jog bra, the key to fighting chafing is to reduce the friction. Several of us put the Gold Bond to the test this summer to see if it stacks up against other similar products. (more…)