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Weak in the Knees – Exercises to Strengthen Your Knees

Friday April 18, 2014

Get a little bit older or put on some extra pounds and you’ll realize that knee problems can become a daily struggle. Simple everyday movements like walking or bending can become difficult and even painful for those with weak knees. Strong knees, on the other hand, while often overlooked, make a big difference in what activities you can perform.

Prevent knee problems through weight loss, weight maintenance, and by strengthening your knee joint with the exercises listed below. And those who suffer from weak or painful knees shouldn’t shy away from these exercises. You may not believe it, but under the direction of your doctor or physical therapist, appropriate exercises can be an effective way to treat knee injury.

When the muscles surrounding the knee are strengthened through exercise, pressure and pain on the knee are relieved. Also, joints like your knee don’t have to work as hard when you have strong muscles to do the work. For optimal function of the knees, you need strong hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes.

Now… to the exercises!ccbc2

Squatting

Build the muscles around your knee joint with squats. This simple exercise can be done anytime, anywhere, with or without weights.

Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Place your arms straight in front of you, parallel to the floor and palms facedown. Keep your back straight and begin to bend your knees as if to sit in a chair. The whole time, your knees should remain above your feet so you can still see your toes. Raise back up to standing. Repeat.

Lunging

Another great exercise for strong knees is the walking lunge. Holding free weights will increase its intensity. Take a step forward with your left leg and lower your body until your left thigh is parallel to the ground. Your left knee and left hip should make a 90-degree angle. Stand back up straight and then take a step with your right leg and lower your body toward the ground. Keep walking forward, lunging as you go.

Extending

This exercise can be done sitting in a chair or by using the leg extension machine at the gym. It strengthens your quadriceps muscles, the large muscle on the front of your thigh. Sitting in a chair, keep one foot on the floor and lift the other up until your leg is straight in front of you. Lower it back down and then lift the other leg.

To use the leg extension machine, adjust the settings to fit your body size and add resistance if desired. Sitting on the machine, lift one leg or both until they’re straight out in front of you. Hold this position for a few seconds then bend your legs back to the starting position. Repeat. Read More…

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Beating an Aching Back – Find Relief With These Exercises

Monday April 14, 2014

An afternoon gardening, a morning spent playing ball, or even the simple movement of bending over to tie your shoes can trigger back pain. A very common problem, back pain is usually caused by overuse or muscle injury or strain. Pain that isn’t acute can often be treated with gentle exercises. Strengthening the abdominal, leg, and back muscles will lead to faster relief from pain, faster healing, and prevention of future injury, while reducing the chances of long-term back problems.

You may find relief from your back pain by changing your posture. Some find relief by lying down or standing up, others’ pain is eased when sitting down, while a few can’t find relief in any position. Here are exercises to try depending on what position brings you most relief. In the event any of these cause you pain, talk with a medical professional.

Prefer Lying Down or Standingccbc1

Feel best lying down or standing tall? Find relief for your back pain with the Bird Dog exercise.

For this exercise, get on all fours with your back straight and your hips aligned. Raise your left leg and straighten it behind you. Hold for a few seconds, and then lower your leg. Now raise your right leg and do the same. For an added challenge, raise your right arm straight in front of you while you raise your left leg and your left arm with your right leg.

Next, try the bridge. Lying flat on your back, bend both of your knees at a 90-degree angle. Tighten your abdominals, plant your heels on the floor, squeeze your glutes, and lift your hips up until your knees, hips, and shoulders are in a line. Hold for several seconds and lower back to the floor. Rest and repeat.

Most Comfortable When Sitting

Get relief from back pain when sitting? This may speed recovery.

To do the single knee-to-chest exercise, lie with your back flat on the floor. Bend your knees with your feet on the floor. One at a time, bring your knees up toward your chest, while the other foot remains on the floor. Hold this position for 20 seconds, relax, and repeat with the other knee toward your chest. Read More…

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Don’t Wait Any Longer! Start Exercising Today – It’s Never Too Late

Wednesday April 09, 2014

Maybe in days gone by you had the energy and motivation to exercise. You may have even been a body builder or marathon runner. But for whatever reason, exercise fell by the wayside over the years and you slowly became more and more inactive. And your health has suffered from it.

The good news is that it’s never too late to start exercising for the first time or to get back into it. Those who’ve been inactive for years can still improve their health with regular exercise—even you!

Even if you’re enjoying your silver or golden years, you can get started exercising today with these tips.

Why Now?culvercitybc

Health and fitness experts agree: taking up exercise in your 60s and 70s is essential to lowering health risks and improving one’s quality of life. As far as your physical health goes, exercise helps prevent stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancers, and diabetes. One study showed that sedentary older women who started walking just one mile a day cut their risk of cancer in half and prolonged their lives by years. The health benefits of new exercise were almost as effective as if the women had been exercising for years.

Exercise also works to keep your mind healthy by reducing your risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression. At the same time, it reduces stress and puts you in a better mood.

As an added perk, regular physical activity enables you to maintain your independence for longer, improves your balance, and strengthens your muscles. Everyday activities such as bathing, cleaning, and dressing are easier for those who exercise regularly. So if you enjoy living at your own place on your own terms, you’ll need to stay fit to make it happen.

What’s Your Excuse?

As the years go by and you become less active, your body isn’t able to do the things it used to do so easily. Walking up stairs, cleaning the house, and simple tasks like tying your shoes become more difficult. These changes in physical abilities can lead to discouragement.

Because of this, many older folks are fearful of exercise, thinking they may get injured or that it’ll be too hard. The reality, however, is that sitting on the couch is what’s risky and damaging to your health. Read More…

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Brown-Bag It! Healthy, Low-Calorie Lunch Ideas

Friday April 04, 2014

Going out to eat for lunch may be the popular thing to do at work. It’s convenient, so heading down the street to your favorite restaurant becomes part of your daily routine. But do you know how much money you could save if you brought your lunch from home? You could easily cut your lunch expenses in half by packing your own lunch. A $10 dollar lunch may not seem like much at the time, but in a month that’s $200 you can do whatever you want with.

Not eating out everyday won’t just save you money. It’ll help you save on calories, as you’ll be better able to monitor what ingredients you eat and how much. So brown-bagging your lunch is the smart way to save money and lose weight.

If your mornings are rushed and you rarely have lunch food in your cupboards, it’s time to make a few changes. With a little planning and preparation, packing your lunch can become an easy addition to your morning routine. Your wallet and waist will thank you.

No More PB&Jstaffbootcamp

For years and years, you ate packed lunch at school. And you probably had more than your fill of peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. But there’s good news! Any food eaten every day can get old—even PB & J. Spice things up by eating a variety of foods, and your lunch will never be dull. Who knows? You may even get hungry for that PB & J you swore you’d never eat again.

Not going for peanut butter? No problem. There are plenty of other sandwich options. Just remember to always use 100-percent whole grain bread for fiber and whole carbs. When your palate needs a change, go with pita bread, a whole-wheat bagel, or a wrap. You can also switch things up on the inside of your sandwich. Chicken, egg, or tuna salad sandwiches with low-fat mayonnaise are delicious, refreshing ways to welcome back bag lunches. Of course, don’t forget your favorite lean deli meats with low-fat cheese, and pile on the veggies!

Leftovers

Nothing is simpler than packing a container of last night’s dinner for lunch. Keep plenty of single-serving reusable glass or plastic containers on hand and fill them with leftovers. A couple minutes in the microwave and it’ll taste as good—if not better than—the night before.

Sometimes, it just takes a little planning ahead of time to ensure you have a hot lunch the next day. As you’re preparing dinner, make extra so you’ll have enough for a day or two of lunches. Or maybe during the weekend, make a big pot of soup, chili, stew, or pasta and divide it up into individual containers for the week ahead. Freeze the containers to have on hand whenever you need to grab a quick lunch to go. Read More…

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