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:
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…)
Thousands of years ago, humans were always on the go: gathering berries, hunting prey, running from predators. Our metabolisms are still essentially the same as these humans and yet we are lucky if we can get in more than just the walk from our car to our desk and back again. With the rise of desk jobs comes the rise of ultra-sedentary lifestyles, even increased diabetes risk for women who sit too long.
This is not your fault! Plus…You are busy! You work hard! You get home at the end of the day exhausted, and your only remaining energy gets allocated to helping your kids, then maybe watching a quick TV show before your own well-deserved bedtime. And while this movement is no longer built into our survival like our early ancestors, we still need activity for our body to thrive.
Here are 7 Fool-Proof Ways to Move More in Your Day.
Not only does your body deserves this, it needs it. (more…)
By Dr. Tom Kleeman, an orthopedic surgeon and creator of MDFitness: The Doctors Workout, a 3-DVD workout available at TheDoctorsWorkout.com.
Your alarm goes off. You pry your eyes open, swing your legs over the side of the bed, and take those first morning steps. That’s when the real alarms go off. Your back and joints cry out in anguish. For a moment you are frozen like the rusty Tin Man wondering how to lubricate all of those joints. You remember reading somewhere that it was important to stretch in the morning, but what does that mean exactly?
For years static stretching has been the mainstay of the early morning routine. As it turns out, research doesn’t support a benefit from static stretching. Dynamic stretching, on the other hand, has been shown to have many benefits including warming up your muscles, increasing blood flow, and jump-starting your metabolism. The idea is to obtain the most benefit in the least time using compound exercises that work multiple joints or muscle groups at the same time. Check out these four dynamic stretches and see for yourself. It’s like having a can of lubricating oil at your bedside.
High March with Arm Swings
This is a great beginning move. It’s easy on your joints while warming up both the upper and lower body. Start by marching in place bringing your knees up higher as your hips warm up. At the same time, stretch your arms out to the side and bring them forward wrapping them around your chest then back out in the tempo of the march. Keep going for about 30 seconds. This exercise gets your hips, shoulders, and chest warmed up and limber. (more…)
By Suzanne Bowen
There’s no better way to ease into your day than by stretching first thing in the morning. Wake up your body and brain with this 9-move sequence, designed to be done while you’re still in your PJs!
Side Bend Reach
Standing at a bed or other support, bring right leg in front of and across left. Shift into the right hip and reach right arm up and over head. Hold and take 2-3 deep inhales and exhales. Repeat on left.
***Stretches outer leg, hip, waist and shoulder
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.
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.