Exercises to Increase Flexibility
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Exercises to increase flexibility are a must since they could mean the difference between a toned body or a stiff injured one. Watch this video for information.
Transcript: One frequently overlooked aspect of your exercise routine - flexibility - is also one of the most important!...
One frequently overlooked aspect of your exercise routine - flexibility - is also one of the most important! Flexibility refers to the range of motion that you can attain around a joint or a group of joints. Increasing your flexibility may not sound exciting, it can provide some pretty amazing benefits - like keeping your body thin and toned and even making you a better lover. That's because flexible, slender muscles allow your body to move in unexpected ways - plus, they're less prone to injury, too. Muscles also burn calories more effectively than fat does, so you'll actually get slimmer even while sitting still! The best time to engage in flexibility, or stretching exercises, is right after a workout, when your muscles are already loose. When stretching, hold each movement for ten to twenty seconds, making sure not to bounce the muscle you're working on. And although you should feel a slight pull in the muscle you're working on, you should never stretch to the point of pain! Another way to build flexibility is with a yoga or pilates class. Both of these exercises are designed to increase your range of motion, and can also promote feelings of serenity. If you start adding flexibility routines to your workout now, you'll see a a difference in just several weeks!More »
Last Modified: 2013-07-25 | Tags »
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You might find it hard to believe but after the age of 20 exercise for strength becomes necessary, since the body is losing half a pound of muscle per year. Learn more in this video.
Transcript: Believe it or not, you can look as good at 40 as you do in your 20s....but you'll have to make some exercise...
Believe it or not, you can look as good at 40 as you do in your 20s....but you'll have to make some exercise adjustments. Once you turn twenty, you'll lose half a pound of muscle each year - unless you remain active! The best way to avoid this is to engage in half an hour of strength training several days a week. Strength training involves applying progressively heavier resistance to your muscles to strengthen and develop them. You're strength training when you increase the amount of sit-ups you do daily, or add to the weight you can bench press. Strength training is also an important component of effective weight loss routines. Here's why: you burn calories all the time, even while you're just sitting in class or watching TV. But muscle has a higher metabolic rate than fat, so the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even while at rest. If you're ready to start strength training, visit your college gym and experiment with different equipmen...like free weights, resistance bands, or physio balls. Most colleges offer at least one free personal training session to get you acquainted with the equipment and exercises. Stay dedicated and within four to six weeks, you'll see impressive results.More »
Last Modified: 2013-08-08 | Tags »
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Finger stretches are extremely important for maintaining strength and motion for those living with arthritis. Here are 10 quick and easy stretches to help loosen the joints in your hands and reduce pain.
Transcript: Finger stretches are extremely important for maintaining strength and motion for those living with arthritis....
Finger stretches are extremely important for maintaining strength and motion for those living with arthritis. To help loosen the joints in your hands and reduce pain I am going to show you a series of 10 quick and easy stretches. You may want to warm up your hands a little bit by soaking them in warm water for maybe five or 10 minutes. That will help them feel a little bit better, but also get them ready for range of motion. Let's start with tendon glides. The first one we will want to start with is the open palm, then we will move to the duck position, then the straight fist, then the full fist, tucking the fingers underneath, and then the hook fist, kind of like a claw. Then you can repeat these. I would say do these five times. Then we can move onto the gliding exercises to work on some other tendons. Start it straight, hook fist, full fist, back to hook fist, back up straight. Five times. These are going to be good exercises for you for repetitive range of motion, which is better for arthritis. You don't want to just crank through joints, you want to get things moving. Mobility is what is important with arthritis. For more tips on stiffness associated with arthritis watch the other videos in this series.More »
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Simple range of motion exercises are crucial for joint health, particularly when keeping arthritic joints mobile and flexible. Here are 3 repetitive, but gentle, stretches.
Transcript: Simple range of motion exercises are crucial for joint health, particularly when keeping joints mobile...
Simple range of motion exercises are crucial for joint health, particularly when keeping joints mobile and flexible. The key to the following three exercises that I am going to show you is repetitive, but gentle. Let's start with the butterfly for hips and knees. The butterfly is a simple range of motion movement that promotes flexibility in the hips and eases strain on the knees and lower back. Sitting on the floor or on an exercise table with your back straight up and your legs up front, put both feet together facing each other and with your elbows you can gently press your knees out to the side. Put both feet up, heels touching each other and gently flare your elbows out to the side, push your knees down. Be gentle and repetitive, don't strain or jerk, breathe while you're doing this. Hold for a light 20-30 seconds, then release. To stretch a little bit more, gently tuck your head down and lean forward toward your feet. Be gentle, hold 20 to 30 seconds. If you have problems with a stiff neck or tight shoulders, try neck rotations. It can have a big and positive effect on your range of motion. Sit in a chair or stand up, but stand with good posture, gently pinching your shoulder blades back together. Gently turn your head to one side. Start to the right. Gently turn as far as you can to the right, going only as far as comfortable. Then turn back straight ahead and keep going just in one direction. Do 20 in a row, back and forth, as far as is comfortable and then back straight ahead. When you finish with 20 in one direction, gently go in the other direction. Only turn as far as is comfortable, keep your shoulders steady. The next range of motion exercise lower trunk rotations. Start with this one lying on your back with your knees bent. Gently rotate your knees off to one side, keeping your hips relatively steady. Then rotate back to the other side. Go only as far as comfortable, don't over rotate. If your back moves a little bit, that's okay if you are gently stretching it. If it hurts, don't go quite so far. Do 20 in one direction, then go 20 in the other direction, back and forth. Lower trunk rotations are going to help with your range of motion through your lower back and hips. That's important when you have arthritis. For the upper body and shoulders, a good exercise I like to give out for range of motion is a cane for a over the head stretch. Use a cane or long umbrella, or even a golf club. Start on your back with your knees bent, your back flat and head down. With your arms about shoulder width apart, gently reach overhead with the cane. Only go as far as is comfortable. Once you get as far as it feels okay, stop there and gently go back up toward the ceiling with the cane. Then go back overhead again. These you can do 20 times, gentle and repetitive. Don't try to force that range of motion. You're just trying to lubricate the joints, gently stretch your shoulders out. But if you got some arthritis, this might be a little uncomfortable, so start slowly. For more tips on easing stiffness associated with arthritis check out other videos in this series.More »
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It turns out when stretching one muscle for flexibility you can also strengthen it. Let's look at 3 stretches for arthritis flexibility that have this added benefit.
Transcript: It turns out when stretching one muscle for flexibility you can also strengthen that one muscle at the...
It turns out when stretching one muscle for flexibility you can also strengthen that one muscle at the same time. Let's look at three stretches for arthritis flexibility added benefit. The first one is a warrior pose, start out in a semi-lunge position. Your front foot ought to be a little bit bent but your knee ought to sit right over your heel, not forward by your toes. Your back foot should be slightly toed out, hips ought to face forward. Stand balanced, keep your posture up right, keep a little attention on your abdominals as you begin to raise your arms up overhead. Keep that balance pose and hold there for about 10 seconds. You can switch and turn so that you're now facing the opposite leg. Plank is a great core strength exercise. You can start on a pad or a mat. Get down into a position where you are on your elbows and knees for starters. Keep your hips from sagging, don't let your back arch and hold that pose for about 10 to 20 seconds. If this is really easy you can make it a little bit tougher by going up onto your toes so that your weight is only on your toes and your elbows. To make it even tougher still you can try to go up into a high pushup position. Hold that about 10 seconds. If it's easy, hold it longer. 30 to 45 seconds isn't uncommon for a lot of people who get very strong. Don't let your back arch. Keep it in a nice table position where your ear, your shoulder, your hips and your ankle are all in a straight line. The third exercise is sitting up against the wall, we call them wall sits. Wall sits are good for strengthening your quadriceps, your hamstrings and your gluteal muscles in the back. Stand about three feet away from a wall, lean up against the wall and then gently walk your feet, maybe about a foot and a half to two feet away. Gently let your knees bend, keep your feet about shoulder width apart and make sure you're not going too low. You want to have your knees and your hips at a maximum of a 90 degree angle, but even that may be a little too low for most people. Start at a 45 degree angle if you need to. Keep your head, your shoulders and your tailbone right up against the wall. You an gently contract your abdominal muscles too. Hold this position for 30 seconds, maybe even 60 seconds if you have strong legs. Make sure it doesn't hurt the knees and most of the weight should be back on your heels. You should be able to wiggle your toes just a little bit. For more tips on easing stiffness associated with arthritis watch the other videos in this series.More »
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Sometimes you need a little extra resistance when strengthening with arthritis. Here are 3 upper body exercises to do with a resistance band.
Transcript: Sometimes you need a little extra resistance when strengthening with arthritis. Income resistance bands...
Sometimes you need a little extra resistance when strengthening with arthritis. Income resistance bands can increase strength while aiding in flexibility. Different bands have different resistances and you can stand farther away to make them tougher or a little closer to make them easier. I'm going to bring you through three upper body exercises with a use of a resistance band. These are going to help with tricep muscles, your upper back muscles, helping to strengthen you into a little bit better posture. Let's start with horizontal and diagonal abductions that strengthen the shoulders and upper back muscles. Horizontal abduction is going to start with your arms out straight and thumbs up. Stand with your knees bend a little bit so that you're in a good, firm posture. Open and close your arms apart, keeping your shoulders steady and your elbows straight. You can let them be slightly bent, but keep them in the same position, don't bend and straighten during the exercise. After doing some of the horizontal abductions straight across your arms, one arm up and one arm down. Make sure you keep your thumbs up while you're doing this. After doing one diagonal pattern you can then switch and do the opposite diagonal pattern. So if you start with your left arm up and your right arm down, you reverse that, right arm up and left arm down. Thumbs stay up, knees are bent a little bit so you have a good foundation to work from. The other two resistant band exercises that we can do when you have your band attached to a door knob are horizontal rows and then shoulder extensions. Horizontal rows are going to start by pulling your shoulders back and pinching your shoulder blades together. Gently let it out, pull your shoulder blades back and pinch your shoulder blades together. Start with small ranges of motion and gradually go a little bit bigger. Don't flare your elbows too far out. Shoulder extension is going to start with your palms down and arms straight, again knees bent a little bit so you have a nice, firm foundation. Pull your arms straight down, just past your pockets. Let it back up, keep your elbows straight and pull straight back down again. Start with small ranges, gradually stand a little farther away to make it tougher or closer to make it easier. Different resistant bands too will help make it easier or tougher. For both of these exercises you can do three sets of 10. For the horizontal abduction and diagonal patterns you can do 10 in each direction. If it feels a little bit easy, do another set of 10. Be careful not to do too many because when you first start these you may injure your shoulders or make them kind of stiff and sore. For more tips on easing stiffness associated with arthritis watch other videos in this series.More »
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Stretching is great when you have arthritis but there are some guidelines you should follow. Watch this video to learn about arthritis stretching do's and don'ts.
Transcript: If you have arthritis, stretching can increase blood flow and muscle elasticity around your arthritic...
If you have arthritis, stretching can increase blood flow and muscle elasticity around your arthritic joints-reducing joint pain AND making it easier to be physically active. The trick with arthritis stretches is not to do too much, too quickly. Keep all your movements gentle AND repetitive to increase your flexibility and ease muscle tightness. Approaching each stretch with a slow, steady motion will let you lengthen your muscles and expand your range of motion UP TO your threshold of tolerance. You don't EVER want to injure an already-painful joint when doing arthritis stretches. If you feel pain in a joint, STOP. That means you are either overextending your joint or traumatizing your muscles, ligaments or tendons around the joint. And remember, stretching is your main goal, NOT building muscle - not yet, anyway. Start every exercise session--from running to weightlifting-with gentle stretches that focus on the hamstring and thighs, calves, shoulders, and spine. Whether you have arthritis in your knee, hip, ankle or shoulder, stretching can ease your discomfort. Other ways to make arthritis stretching a part of your joint pain management routine would include: Always have hot and cold compresses available. HEAT brings blood to your joints and muscles-relaxing them and dispelling tension. Try it BEFORE you start stretching. COLD reduces inflammation, swelling, and pain. So use this AFTER stretching or after you work out. Choose non-restrictive workout clothes. Tight elastic bands can restrict blood flow and increase joint pain. And opt for flexible materials that move while you're doing your arthritis stretches. For more information on stretching and arthritis, watch the other videos in this series.More »
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Even if you have arthritis, you wnat to stay fit and flexible with exercises like yoga or pilates. Watch this video to find out what's best for sore, stiff joints!
Transcript: Yoga and Pilates both promote stretching and flexibility. And both can offer relief from joint stiffness....
Yoga and Pilates both promote stretching and flexibility. And both can offer relief from joint stiffness. But you need to do them carefully, because if done incorrectly they can aggravate joint soreness. I see more injuries from yoga than Pilates in my clinic, therefore be careful not to push yourself too far when doing yoga. There are many popular forms of yoga, from steamy Bikram style to fast-paced Ashtanga, but for easing joint soreness and stiffness your best bet is a gentler, self-directed form. Hatha and Anusara yoga let you go at your own pace and do poses as you can, with no pressure. Stretching, holding, and then changing positions can improve flexibility. But forcing yourself into poses that cause pain, or having to scramble up and down from the floor can be very difficult if you have arthritis in your knees or hips. I recommend experimenting with various poses and see how you feel. If you find it's just too difficult or that it increases joint stiffness and soreness, you can always try Pilates. Pilates offers a wide range of stretches and core-building exercises that can be done with or without the assistance of pulley-activated Pilates equipment. These machines have names like the reformer and Cadillac-and are your best choice for getting maximum stretch and minimum joint pain.Every exercise can be modified to accommodate your level of ability, range of motion, and amount of joint stiffness. That may be why so many dancers and athletes use Pilates to recover from injuries. In my experience, Pilates is a better option for most people with chronic joint pain and stiffness. To learn more about easing stiffness associated with arthritis, watch the other videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2013-12-04 | Tags »
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Physical therapy can be an effective and safe way to build strength and gain flexibility when you have arthritis. Check out this video to learn more about the benefits of physical therapy for arthritis.
Transcript: It's important to know your physical limitations and respect them, ESPECIALLY with arthritic joints...
It's important to know your physical limitations and respect them, ESPECIALLY with arthritic joints and stiffness. But you also want to make strides in what you CAN do and that means putting out A LOT of effort SAFELY. How? Two words: physical therapy. A physical therapist can help you learn just how much you can REALLY demand out of your aching joints, WITHOUT hurting them. Whether your pain is in your shoulder, knee, hip, or ankle, physical therapy offers stretches and exercises that are SLOW, CONTROLLED, PRECISE motions, specifically designed for those areas. They focus on your injured joint's surrounding muscles and supportive tissue, building flexibility and strength without causing further injury. YES, it's hard, and it should be strenuous-but the exercises should not cause pain. If it does, STOP. Move on to another stretch or exercise. However, you should feel a little fatigue or burn in the muscle--this way you know you're really working it. Once you've learned how to safely increase your physical abilities AND you know what's TOO MUCH, you can get back into the world of cycling, swimming, and other physical activities that you enjoy. But whatever you do, remember the lessons you learned in PT, and slowly increase your endurance. You can only go further the next time, if you don't injure yourself this time.More »
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Stretching and having good circulation is important when your joints are stiff from arthritis. Check to learn more about effective streches for circulation.
Transcript: Healthy pain-free joints depend on good blood circulation for a steady supply of oxygen and nutrients....
Healthy pain-free joints depend on good blood circulation for a steady supply of oxygen and nutrients. But if you have arthritis PLUS poor circulation, joint inflammation CAN become a painful problem. To reverse it, you need to stretch, and include aerobic exercise. Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles which can relieve tightness and keep joints flexible . DYNAMIC stretches, done with continuous controlled movements, are particularly effective. They wake up and elongate muscles to improve both your circulation and your range of motion. If you don't know what a dynamic stretch is-here's an example: Think of a baseball player who warms up by swinging the bat without trying to hit the ball. This motion gets his blood flowing and it warms up muscles and joints. AEROBIC exercise also improves circulation, because as you move, your breathing and heart rate increase, which gets your blood pumping. Pedaling a stationary bicycle, walking at a good clip, or doing repetitive stretches with a moderate degree of intensity are aerobic activities that are good for your heart and your joints. For instructions on specific dynamic stretches see the other videos in this series.More »
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Get that spring back in your step by learning the three elements of a youthful walk. Check out this video for tips!
Transcript: There are three basic components of a youthful walk: A spring in your step. The ability to adjust to...
There are three basic components of a youthful walk: A spring in your step. The ability to adjust to a changing environment under foot. We can also call that agility. And fluidity of motion in the ankle, knee and hip joints. To have SPRING IN YOUR STEP you need core strength and a balanced upper body, not just strong legs. Stretches that focus on your abdominals, open up your shoulders for improved posture, elongate the sides of your torso, and makes it easier for you to rotate your upper body across your hips and pelvis. To ADJUST TO A CHANGING ENVIRONMENT UNDER FOOT, such as uneven ground, you need to strengthen the muscles that support the knee joint and improve flexibility around your hip, knee and ankle. Try stretches for the front of the thigh and hamstring, ankle rotations, and leg lifts using stretch bands. It's been shown that even relatively minor improvements in strength and flexibility can reduce arthritic knee pain and slow the progression of knee osteoarthritis. To develop FLUIDITY OF MOTION in the ankle, knee, and hip joints, try stretches that use repetitive, smooth, slow rotations and extensions. This brings increased blood flow, decreases pain and increases the range of motion. As you build good core strength and a balanced upper body, increase your leg strength especially in the quadriceps, and do stretches focusing on the ankle, knee and hip joints, you'll be amazed how much more youthful your walk becomes.More »
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Good posture is essential when you have arthritis. Learn why posture matters by checking out this video.
Transcript: How important is it to have good posture when you have arthritis? VERY. POOR posture is often a result...
How important is it to have good posture when you have arthritis? VERY. POOR posture is often a result of weak muscles and lack of flexibility. And it makes arthritis pain worse by putting added stress on your sore joints. The spine can support up to 35 pounds by itself-but what supports the rest of your body weight? Your abdominal, pelvic, thigh and calf muscles. When these muscle groups are WEAK or TIGHT and ACHY, your shoulders may hunch or droop forward, your head may protrude, and your lower back may strain to hold you upright. Your core weakens or sags and you lose your core strength. The result is strain on the upper back and shoulders, and downward pressure on the hips, knees and ankles. That can increase friction within arthritic joints, causing added pain. To develop good posture you need to strengthen your abdominal muscles-but that doesn't mean doing crunches! Instead work on simple leg lifts, lying down or standing, while you contract your lower abdominal muscles. And don't forget to breathe! For good posture, you'll also want to do regular stretching exercises. Tight muscles and decreased flexibility can keep you from getting regular physical activity. And that just makes your muscles weaker, and your posture less healthy. Good posture can't cure arthritis, but it CAN lower the stress that your body puts on your joints -so head up, shoulders back and RELAXED, gaze directly ahead, and contract your stomach muscles. That's standing tall!More »
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If you're a pilates junkie and want to keep your routine going outside of class, you can definitely hit the pilates mat at home. Here are some of the best pilates mat moves.
Transcript: You don't need private classes or special equipment to get great results from a pilates workout. These...
You don't need private classes or special equipment to get great results from a pilates workout. These moves will not only give you that leaner look but they'll help strengthen and flatten your core. The first exercise is what is called the hundred. This is a fundamental, foundational move for pilates and it is a great way to start off your pilates workout. So, you're going to sit down on your back, lay down flat and, as pilates teaches, you don't want to push your lower back into the floor--you just want to maintain a neutral spine with a slight tilt which engages your stomach. The starting position is feet on the ground, arms straight out so you're up into a crunch position the entire time. And it is called the hundred because you are going to beat for a hundred repetitions. Maintain quick, short exhales throughout the entire time. If you would like to make this more advanced, raise your legs up off the floor and you're going to feel your hundred that much more. The roll-up. Most pilates practitioners say that this is more effective than any other core move you can do. So start out with your legs straight out in front of you--this how it's traditionally done. Start flat on out backs with our abs engaged and our spine neutral. Flex your toes up, arms straight up over me, drive your body weight forward and reach towards your toes. As you get there, pause for two seconds and the return back the same way you cam down. Slow return back to the starting position. Drive yourself up what we call segmentally which means one vertebra at a time. Maintain a flexed position of your chin on your way back down and do this in the reverse direction. Your spine will curl up and it will curl back down. If your spine fails to do that, you'll begin to arch your back if you extend your head which will create excess tension on your lower back. Repeat again--tuck your head, drive your arms straight up, grab your toes, return back to the starting position slowly engaging from here the entire time. Your head and your arms are what's leading you. It's not your body weight forward. And that is the roll-up. Next we have swimming. This exercise is excellent for your upper back, your lower back and your glutes so you're working your entire back side of your body which most of us tend to forget because we can't see that directly in the mirror. So, we're going to lie straight down in a superwoman or superman position with your arms and your legs straight out from your body with everything engaged and then we're going to move from there. So, we're going to get down. Tighten up the butt cheeks, squeeze them as if you're squeezing something between your cheeks. Arms directly overhead. Alternately arms and legs. Once you get the position, you can increase your speed. Aim to keep up this motion for about 30 seconds or until you cannot complete one more repetition with good form. The option on the way down if you either have any lower back issues or this becomes too difficult, you can put your feet and hands on the ground and lift alternately like this. So, this is going to still give you the same benefit but it is a little less aggressive. The spine stretch. As its name indicates, this move is an excellent flexibility exercise for your lower back but additionally you're going to get more flexibility in your glutes and in your hamstrings. So, we'll take a seated position with our legs straight out ahead of us. Now this is a flexibility move, it's less of an ab strengthening move like the other ones. So, legs straight out, quads engaged up here, back straight and right on top of our sits bones. You'll extend your arms straight out and depending on your flexibility, you'll bend forward, reach for your toes--if you can go past, go as far as possible. You're looking to feel that increased flexibility and that stretch right here. Once you get there, return back up to the starting position. This is not one of those old school stretches when you reach for your toes, you drop your head down far. This is a more deliberate, slow flexibility exercise for right in here. So, one more time--arms straight, bend forward from the hips and the stomach. Pause as far as you can go in that position for about two seconds and then slowly return back up to our starting posture. For more great fitness videos, check out other videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2013-11-13 | Tags »
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