Pain Fighting Exercises

5 Pain-Fighting Exercises That Help Your Body Stay Strong

When the body is in pain, the first thing many people think to do is stretch that body part. This may provide temporary comfort, but it is not a long-term solution. In addition to stretching, there are many additional exercises you can do to help relieve pain throughout the body.

Check out some tips for relieving pain in these 5 spots:

Feet Pain

Towel curls are a great foot and toe strengthening exercise. This technique helps build the muscles that support the arch in the foot and is a helpful exercise for anyone experiencing plantar fasciitis.

To do towel curls lay a towel down on the floor in front of a chair. Sit in the chair with your feet flat on top of the towel. Using your toes, pinch the towel and pull it toward you. Try to use all the toes to scrunch up the towel. Release the towel and relax the toes. Repeat this exercise, doing 3 sets of 10 reps with each foot.

Neck Pain

Neck rolls help the spine and neck become strong and flexible. Lots of tension can be held in the shoulders, and that tension tends to lead to headaches or even migraines.

This exercise can be done sitting down or standing up. Begin with good posture and relaxed shoulders. Slowly tilt your head to the left, and then roll it forward across the chest until your head is tilted to the right. Continue to rotate your head around by doing 3 sets of 10 reps.

Knee Pain

Chair squats work all the stabilizer muscles in the legs, especially around the knees. This simple technique will build strong, stable knees.

Stand in front of a chair in the starting position: feet about hip-width apart. With the hands on the hips and the spine in line, bend the knees and slowly lower the body till your glutes touch the chair. Next, slowly come back up, always keeping your weight on your heels. Do 3 sets of 10 reps. To increase the difficulty, use a chair that sits lower.

Hip Pain

Hip bridges will help tighten and tone the hips, glutes, and ab muscles. This is a great exercise, especially if you sit in a chair all day for work. This technique will help activate those muscles after being in a relaxed position all day.

To get into starting position, get down on the floor with your back laid down on the ground. Bend the legs at a 45-degree angle, and keep your hands down by your side. Next, lift the hips up while squeezing the glutes and tightening the abs. When lifting and bringing down the hips, make sure to put pressure on the heels. Doing 2 sets of 10 will do the trick!

Shoulder Pain

Shoulder press exercises incorporate many muscle groups – the deltoids, triceps, and abdominal muscles. This is one of the best ways to help build and protect the shoulders. All you will need is a medicine ball or any heavy household object.

This upper-body exercise is best when standing, so the body can recruit the abdominal muscles. Stand with good posture, feet about hip-width apart, and hold the heavy object at chest height. While tightening the core, keep the back straight, and slowly lift the heavy object above the head until your arms are completely extended. Hold the object for a couple of seconds, and then slowly lower the object back down to chest level. Try 3 sets of 12 reps to start out.

5 Ways to Strengthen Weak Shoulders

5 Ways to Strengthen Weak Shoulders

Ever feel a pop, immediate pain or weakness in your upper body? You may be struggling with weak shoulders. Weak shoulders prevent healthy function of the upper body, not allowing for the muscles to coordinate accordingly at its healthiest condition! This can also occur when different muscle groups including the pectoralis major, rotator cuff, deltoid and other mobility muscles are not working properly! In other cases, it could be that inflammation has occurred from the muscles naturally just protecting themselves from unwanted pain. Shoulder bursitis also causes inflammation in the shoulder blades, which leads to weakening of the shoulders. Here are five effective ways to strengthen weak shoulders:

  1. Strengthening the Rotator Cuff

    The rotator cuff plays a crucial role in the overall function of the shoulder. The rotator cuff includes 4 different muscles including the infraspinatus, supraspinatus, subscapularis and teres minor. These different muscle groups are the central hub for holding together the shoulder joint, as they each have a strong effect on stabilizing the upper arm as it sits in the shoulder joint. There are several different exercises that strengthen the rotator cuff such as exercise band work focusing on rotation.

  2. Focus on Improving Posture

    Poor posture sets people up for shoulder impingement, lower back issues, rotator cuff issues among many other problems. It’s imperative to take posture seriously since simple things like sitting properly at a desk can make a huge difference in preventing weak shoulders. Slouching at the computer instead of sitting up straight with shoulders back should be avoided. There are a few things many can do to fix this issue. Try some exercises that will help correct postural alignment. Self myofascial release using a foam roller or lacrosse ball can be effective to relax muscles that are chronically shortened from poor posture. For more tips on how to improve posture, please talk to your chiropractor.

  3. Scapular Muscle Strengthening/Coordination

    The scapular muscle group consists of 17 muscles that attach to the scapula (or shoulder blade). These muscles play an important function in the mobility, stability, and coordination of the shoulder. In many people these muscles are weak or poorly coordinated which can lead to instability of the shoulder joint. Strengthening the lower scapular muscles (the rhomboids and lower trapezius especially) is an effective strategy to help scapular stability. This can be accomplished by squeezing your shoulder blades together and down toward you tail bone, hold for 5 seconds and then release.

  4. Flexibility

    It may seem counter intuitive to think that weak shoulders need more flexibility or range of motion however this is often the case. For instance many people have habitually tight chest muscles. When the chest is tight it does not allow the rotator cuff to work effectively and stabilize the shoulder. By keeping your chest stretched you can improve the strength of the rotator cuff, which we already know is important for strong shoulders.

  5. Visit a Chiropractor

    Because shoulders involve so many muscles that are highly prone to injuries, visiting a chiropractor to develop a plan to prevent injuries altogether is an extremely smart move. A chiropractor will focus on treating you to provide relief from any past injuries as well as help with preventative measures such as rehabilitative exercises, Active Release Technique and Rocktape. This a fantastic option for those looking to improve current issues with various muscles as well as preventing any previous problems to resurface.

5 Ways Athletes Can Avoid Sports Injuries

5 Ways Athletes Can Avoid Sports Injuries

All sports have a risk for injury and some are serious enough to cost you an entire sports season or career. Luckily, they can be prevented if you are cautious in using the correct steps to protecting and warming up your body, along with allowing your body to rest. Here are 5 ways athletes can avoid sports injuries and stay in the game:

  1. Get in shape before starting a new activity or sport

    Expecting your sport to get you in shape without any additional exercise is a major mistake an athlete can make, especially if you are not accustomed to the full, physical intensity of a specific sport. Get in shape before you start your sport by incorporating regular exercise into your daily regimen. This can mean doing physical training or following an off season conditioning program that is designed for your sport, as it can build your balance of strength, agility, flexibility, coordination and endurance. Not only can it better your physical abilities, but also improve overall technique. Cross training is also an option that can prevent burn out and overuse injuries. Mixing routines and workouts can improve your range of movement and activate other muscle groups in your body, which in turn, improves performance during a game.

  2. Warm up and cool down

    Warming up and cooling down your body is just as important as the game itself. So before any type of vigorous movement, it’s crucial to prevent any potential risks for injury by protecting your muscles in the long-run. This means increasing your heart rate to get your body adjusted to continuous movement and warming up large muscle groups to activate certain parts of your body. Then, when your muscles are warm, strengthening and lengthening your muscles can not only assist you in your performance during the game, but also prevent any potential injuries.

    After the game, it is important to cool down your body with stretches that can slowly and safely ease your heart rate. Instead of laying or sitting down in a stationary position, keep your body and your blood flow moving by taking a walk and/or stretching any fatigued muscles.

  3. Wear protective gear

    Many sports require gear such as helmets, cleats, pads (neck, shoulder, elbow, chest, knee, shin), face guards, mouthpieces, protective cups, and/or eyewear. Making sure your equipment is correct for your sport is also important. For example, wearing running shoes would be great for a marathon, but not for a soccer game. It’s crucial to wear properly fitting equipment to reduce the likelihood of major injuries, however, athletes should not assume that it will fully protect them. Along with proper technique and playing safe, all rules should be enforced and all gear should be in good condition and worn appropriately.

  4. Stay hydrated

    Many athletes underestimate their fluid needs and find themselves exhausted and dehydrated in the midst of an intense game. Dehydration leads to poor performance due to lower blood volume, which makes it more difficult to send oxygen to your muscles. Emphasizing fluid intake will not only keep your body cool, but also decrease your chances of feeling fatigued. Adequately hydrating before, during and after a game is important to replenish your body of all fluid loss. Depending on the duration and intensity of the exercise, incorporating some type of electrolyte can assist your body in getting the nutrients it needs. However, drinking plain water will suffice and will reduce the risk of dehydration.

  5. Don’t play when you are injured

    Although there are many ways to prevent sports injuries, injuries may still occur. Allowing your body to recover and rest to let the injury heal will be more beneficial to your body rather than “playing through the pain.”

    There are two types of sports injuries: acute and chronic. Acute injuries occur suddenly while chronic injuries happen after playing a sport or exercising for a long time. When dealing with an acute injury, remember to use RICE: rest, ice compression, and elevation. When dealing with a chronic injury, it is important to contact a doctor and let them determine what precautions you should take before playing or exercising.

    Additionally, even when you are not injured, fatigued muscles can put you at risk for potential injuries. It’s important to allow your body to have one day to recover, especially if you are continuously playing throughout the week. Ultimately, continuing to play during an injury can only make it worse and may even lead to chronic problems. Taking a few days off may prevent the loss of an entire season or career.

Good luck and play safe!

Smoking Health Risks

Smoking Health Risks

By reducing oxygen flow and the body’s ability to heal, it is widely known that smoking can lead to a broad range of health risks. The Surgeon General announced last year that smoking and tobacco use have been linked to even more illnesses than what was previously thought. Some of the new additions to this list include: Type 2 Diabetes, cleft palate birth defects and rheumatoid arthritis. Find out more about some of the negative side effects of smoking here:

Fitness

As less oxygen is able to reach your lungs, smoking can make it much harder to catch your breath during physical activity, especially any type of cardio exercise. Once this type of ongoing breathing trouble starts to occur, it is not uncommon for smokers to start avoiding exercise altogether. For women in particular, smoking can speed up the loss of overall bone density.

The Spine

A lack of exercise can be detrimental to the entire body, and the spine is no exception. When the spine isn’t able to function properly, the effects can be widespread. One study from John Hopkins University that took place over several decades found a link between smoking and spine degeneration/back pain. One cause of the lumbar back pain was found to be a result of the smokers’ coughing that puts extra stress on the discs.

Healing

As the nicotine in cigarettes causes blood vessels to tighten up, blood flow is restricted, which leads to slower healing time when your body has a wound. It’s not only cuts and bruises that heal more slowly though, even a common cold can linger longer than it should if your immune system has been compromised by tobacco use. In short- quitting smoking will help both your immune system and your nervous system to work much more efficiently!

Quitting

While quitting smoking may be no easy task, having the right support system is often an important factor in giving up any bad habit for good. An accountability partner might just be the extra motivation you need to be successful! You can also find helpful tips online on websites such aswww.smokefree.gov.

strength training tips mission valley

Strength Training Tips

Strength training is an important part of an overall fitness program. Traditionally, it’s been encouraged to participate in aerobic activities such as swimming and bicycling, however, strength training can also be safe and effective for youth and adults, provided that appropriate guidelines are followed. Strength training is a method of conditioning that involves a wide range of equipment and activities, with dumbbells, medicine balls, weight machines, and body weight exercises that are specifically intended to improve or maintain muscular fitness. Furthermore, a routine strength training program can reduce the risk of sports-related injuries in athletes. Despite its reputation as a “guy” thing, strength training is an important part of overall health and fitness for everyone of any gender or age.

Strength training helps develop strong bones by increasing bone density and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. It can help control your weight as well, because as you gain muscle, your body starts to burn calories more efficiently. Strength training also aids in boosting your stamina and sharpening your focus. It can also help reduce the symptoms of chronic conditions, like arthritis, back pain, obesity and many other ailments.

Although every combination is different depending on your desired results, a safe and effective strength training program should follow these important guidelines:

  • A warm up and cool down of about 5 -10 minutes is ideal. Walking is an excellent way to warm up and stretching is an good way to cool down.
  • Remember to focus on form, not weight. Use correct body alignment and smooth movements through each exercise. Poor form can increase injuries. Also, when learning a strength training routine, many professionals advise starting with no weight, or very minimal weight. Try to concentrate on gradual, smooth lifts.
  • Keeping a consistent, moderate tempo helps you stay in control. For instance, you can count to three while lowering a weight, then hold, then count to three while raising it back to the starting position.
  • Pay close attention to your breathing during workouts. It’s best to exhale as you work against resistance (whether by lifting, pushing, or pulling) and inhale as you release resistance.
  • By slowly increasing weight or resistance used, you can keep challenging your muscles. The appropriate weight you should use differs depending on the exercise. Choose a weight that wears out the targeted muscle or muscles by your final two repetitions, but still allows you to keep good form. If you choose to add weight, remember that you should be able to continue to do all the repetitions with proper form and the targeted muscles should feel drained by the last two.
  • Stick with your routine. Working all the major muscles of your body two or three times a week is best.
  • Keep in mind, it’s good practice to give your muscles some time off. Always give your muscles at least 48 hours to recover before your next strength training session.

Participation in routine strength training has the potential to offer great value to the overall health and fitness of athletes and those participating at any age, provided age-appropriate training guidelines are followed.