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:
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.
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:
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…)
By Bob Greene of TheBestLife.com
Did you hit up a Spin class, get in a run, or head out on a hike today? Good job!
Now, did you take some time to warm up, stretch and cool down? These three elements, which would set you back only about 20 minutes, are nearly as important as the workout itself. That’s because they can prepare you for your workout and may also help prevent injuries.
I know what you’re thinking: I just don’t have the time. I’m lucky enough to squeeze in a quick workout let alone all these extras. But I urge you to find time. Doing so will help you get a better workout and burn more calories. In other words, it’s worth the effort. Still not convinced? Take a look at how little time each element will cost and how big the rewards are.
What it is: Light cardio aerobic activity done before a workout
Why you need it: It helps get your muscles ready for exercise. A warm up can be anything from a quick walk or slow jog to jumping jacks or jumping rope.
Time Investment: 5 minutes (more…)
In the new book, Fit & Healthy Pregnancy: How To Stay Strong and In Shape for You and Your Baby, authors Kristina Pinto, EdD, along with Rachel Kramer, MD have created a fitness and wellness guide based on the notion that a fit mama is a happy mama. Laid out in easy-to-read chapters based on each trimester of pregnancy and beyond, the book takes a comprehensive look at a woman’s changing body, the nutrients it needs and a multitude of exercise tips to keep it strong and healthy.
In the not-so-distant past, once a woman found out she was pregnant, she was relegated to nine months of sedentary activity. Even doctors believed that a woman with-child was a delicate flower who needed constant rest. Thankfully, health professionals are now encouraging mothers to walk, run and move, as long as they listen to their body’s cues for adjusting activity. This is the “guiding principle” of Fit & Healthy. The authors provide a wealth of information, but each woman is different and may need to tweak their individual routine accordingly.
Spending time in the garden is always a welcome activity, as the sunshine feels good and the fresh air brings hope for many enjoyable summer days to come. However, gardening can be exhausting, and if we are not careful, it might even be injurious.
The following are a few tips to keep your back in top shape as you spend long hours pulling weeds, hauling mulch, and performing other yard-centered activities.
Stand up often
Although it might seem like wasted time when you have a full day of yard work planned, standing up every five minutes will give your back a much needed break. When you spend too many hours slumped over your garden bed, it can be as bad for your spine as sitting slumped over in your recliner. So do yourself a favor and periodically stand up and stretch. (more…)
Rounded shoulders, neck pain, and an aching low back are just a few of the side effects of having a desk job. Sitting for hours in front of a computer not only shortens your life expectancy; it can permanently affect your posture.
The following tips will help you maintain a healthy desk posture for increased energy, better health, and a reduction in bodily aches and pains.
Sit on your sit bones
The ischial tuberosities, otherwise known as the “sit bones,” comprise the base of the pelvis and set the foundation for proper sitting posture. Most of us tend to rock behind our sit bones, placing the low back in a stressful C-curve position. This constant misalignment negatively affects not just the low back, but also the shoulders and neck. (more…)
By Team Best Life
Is your office job making you fat? If you’re like most Americans, you spend the majority of your waking hours at work–and that means a healthy workplace mindset is crucial to your best life. Use some of these tips to get started:
Get a head start.
Ensure a good night’s sleep by visiting the gym, preparing a healthy meal and relaxing before you hit the sack. Try to leave work where it belongs—at work. If you absolutely must get in some screen time, keep it as far away from bedtime as possible. The display light on your computer or smartphone can interfere with your body’s internal clock, and elevating your heart rate even a little can increase cortisol, the body’s stress hormone. (Learn more about the connection between sleep and weight loss.)
Dress for success.
Opt for flats over heels, and shoot for comfortable rather than couture. Studies show that folks who work in comfort move more, burning more calories in the process. (more…)