All Entries For injury prevention
It might seem intuitive to avoid exercising your joints when they're causing you pain. But, like many aspects of the human body, what seems to make sense isn’t necessarily what's good for you! When you're suffering from arthritis, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to exercise. However, you must learn the right exercises to strengthen the muscles around your joints, and the best stretches to gain and maintain flexibility.
Here are the exercises that I prescribe for my patients with knee and hip arthritis. My patients have had great success with them, and I hope you do, too.
Keeping the same bedtime, eating regular meals and caffeinating consistently can help. Follow these steps for a pain-free day.
6:30 a.m. Take a Brisk Walk
Regularly working out can relieve stress (a trigger for three-quarters of all sufferers) and stabilize the chemicals in your brain. One 2011 study found that people who performed aerobic exercise three times a week experienced a 93% reduction in migraine attacks. If physical activity is a trigger for you, talk to your doctor about popping a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), like the prescription indomethacin, before your workout. Read More ›
Head hurts? Thankfully, there are a slew of tactics to try to feel better before you hit the pharmacy. From jamming to your favorite tunes to patching up the pain, these methods will work wonders.
The psychologist says…Listen to your favorite music
Your brain is your body's mission control for pain, and you can train your mind to become less sensitive to discomfort. A study in The Journal of Pain found that when people concentrated on a specific melody, they felt less pain. Part of what's happening is distraction: You become engaged with the music instead of focusing on the ache. You can also try other techniques like deep breathing (inhale for a count to six, then exhale slowly), which helps relieve tension in your muscles that can intensify soreness. Using these coping strategies regularly can gradually increase your pain tolerance. Read More ›
Backache? Upset stomach? Before you hit the pharmacy or your medicine cabinet, discover which pain relievers are worth reaching for in this guide.
Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs, Such as Ibuprofen, Naproxen Sodium and Aspirin
How they work: NSAIDs reduce inflammation associated with muscle and joint pain.
Know this: If you pop too many of these pills or have a sensitive stomach, you can experience side effects including nausea, dizziness and heartburn. Read More ›
You do the rowing machine at the gym and walk outdoors when weather permits. So why does your back hurt and why don't your skinny jeans still fit? Poor form can up injury risks and common calorie-burning misconceptions can sabotage weight-loss results. Here, top experts share the biggest exercise mistakes women make and safer ways to get the most out of your favorite workouts. Read More ›
Most of the time you and your body have a good working relationship. You tell it what to do, and it obeys. But every once in a while, your body talks back: a creaky knee here, a stiff shoulder there. It's saying that something you're doing—whether you're carrying a too-heavy bag, slouching or even sleeping in a certain position—isn't quite right. Feel better with these simple fixes.
7 A.M. Stretch
After sleeping for 7 or 8 hours, your muscles and joints can be pretty stiff. To loosen things up before your feet hit the floor, do a few lower back and hip stretches: While you're still lying down, gently bring your left knee to your chest and hold for 20 to 30 seconds, and repeat with your right knee. Then drop both knees over to your left side, keeping your back flat. Hold for a slow count to 5, then drop them over to your right side. Read More ›
Although I’ve been a fitness coach for years, I will admit that I don’t always practice what I preach. I don’t stretch quite as much as I should, and as a result, I’ve sustained frustrating injuries that could easily have been avoided.
Whether you’re new to exercise or a workout veteran, we all make workout mistakes from time to time. While some can be harmless—where the only consequence is burning fewer calories—others can lead to serious problems. Here are four common fitness mistakes that can lead to serious injury if you don't catch them early. Read More ›
Note: I'm no fitness expert--that's Coach Nicole--so please don't use this blog post as a way to diagnose or treat any injury, pain or tweak you're feeling. Listen to your body, and consult a professional if you sense anything is amiss.
Our bodies are complex systems, and even when we feel healthy and happy, they're not operating at 100% capacity or efficiency. No body is perfect, and sometimes identifying the source of a flaw can be difficult.
When you're active, aches and pains are not uncommon. I don't mean injuries; I mean some soreness or achiness. (More: Smart Ways to Soothe Sore Muscles) I don't "no pain, no gain"; I don't subscribe to that myth. (Learn to spot the signs of overtraining.) I mean the discomfort that sometimes accompanies exercise: the burn in your muscles, the stiffness in your joints, and all the other tweaks and twinges you feel in your body.
Before I started working out regularly, I don't remember having many injuries or much soreness, aside from my weak low back. In the last year, however, I've noticed an increasing number of aches and pains. I often pose this question to my yoga teacher: Is it because I'm more active, or is it because I am more aware of my body and notice even minor changes?
What's causing these ailments? Most of the time, the problem isn't my body--it's my ego. I stop listening to my body and let my ego take over.
"You can push harder--and even harder still. You can hold longer. You can run farther. You can go faster."
Then, I pay.
Maybe it's a knee that's tender, a back that's knotted up, or an elbow that feels overstretched.
What's the fix?
Read More ›
For the past 9 years, I’ve called myself a runner. It started because I moved to a new town with no access to the workout facilities I’d had before, so running became an easy substitute- no equipment needed. Running quickly became an important part of my life, both physically and mentally. There was a period of time when I wouldn’t bother with a run that was any shorter than 6 miles because I didn’t consider it to be much of a workout. Because of kids and other life circumstances, those days are long gone…..
In the fall of 2010 I experienced my first serious running injury, Achilles tendonitis. I made the problem worse by continuing to push through pain instead of listening to my body and resting. I ended up in 6 weeks of physical therapy and had to stop running for a few months. When the PT told me I couldn’t run, I panicked. Running was such an important part of my life, and who would I be without it? How would I relieve stress? How would I get a good workout? Read More ›
Knee pain can come on suddenly: a sideways blow in athletics or a nasty fall while stepping off a curb. But many knee issues creep up after years of poor alignment, which results in wear and tear and arthritis. No matter the cause, knee issues do not often exist in isolation. In other words, a "cranky" knee will often have an un-neighborly relationship with the ankle below it, and/or the hip above it.
Whatever detonated your knee pain, the tissues above and below the knee must be nurtured, strengthened and given some "KneeHab" in order for the knee to learn some new strategies for pain-free living. And don't forget the other knee, hip and ankle on the non-injured side, as it will also develop its own issues too from being "leaned on" so often. These compensation attempts inevitably lead to low back pain, neck and shoulder pain—and more yuck.
My Yoga Tune Up® Quick Fix Rx: KneeHab DVD ($19.95) provides solutions whether your knee is wonky from sports, you're recovering from meniscus surgery or you are just looking to prevent knee injury. It will show you how to help manage just about every stage of knee dysfunction and maintenance. Here are five Yoga Tune Up® moves from my DVD to keep your knees happy, healthy and pain free! Read More ›
Over the past three decades, fitness shoe manufacturers have developed advanced technology to cushion and control motion in our feet and ankles. While this advanced support can feel great, it doesn't allow our joints and soft tissue to articulate normally. As a result, we've disconnected with our feet! Much of our losses in flexibility and mobility can be attributed to the fact that our feet have become stiff and weak. A healthy, aligned and balanced body begins in your feet—and then translates through your entire kinetic chain (ankle, knee, hip, lower back).
As a pioneer in foot fitness (Sole Training®) and barefoot training (The willPower Method®), I've been helping everyday clients and athletes strengthen, stretch and train from the feet on up for more than 10 years. If you're intrigued by barefoot running/training or thinking of trying minimalist shoes, you must start working on your feet first. And even if barefoot training isn't something you're considering, everyone can still benefit from building foot and ankle mobility and strength.
Are you tired of wearing uncomfortable orthotics or getting painful cortisone injections? Are you dealing with an old injury or plantar fasciitis? Are you finding that your balance skills are not what they used to be?
These five exercises will help you to strengthen and stretch all ten toes, and develop flexible strength from the ground up. Over time you will enjoy improved balance in daily activities and workouts, a stronger walking/running stride, increased circulation and mobility throughout the feet and ankles, and significant reductions of foot, leg and lower back pain and injuries. All it takes is five minutes a day! Read More ›
Before 21-year-old Owen Thomas became captain of the football team at the University of Pennsylvania, he was a star athlete in my suburban community, one hour north of Philadelphia. Since age 9 he had him. Five months later another ripple went through our town when doctors revealed Thomas had CTE—chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain that may cause depression and has been found primarily in athletes with a history of repeat concussions. Former NFL players—including Dave Duerson, who took his life this past February after leaving a note saying he wanted his brain to be studied—are increasingly being diagnosed with CTE. As talk about Owen circulated an alarming number of friends and neighbors had their own stories to share about concussions in young athletes. "It worries me," said a mom whose son is a football captain at our high school. "One boy got a head injury the first week of practice and was out for three weeks. Another quit football after middle school because he'd already had two concussions." Read More ›
For many of us, exercise is the part of the day we look forward to. But for those who struggle with chronic pain, working out isn't enjoyable. It hurts.
Knees are particularly vulnerable to pain during exercise (and afterwards). There are several common exercises (from lunges to those performed in kneeling positions) that are known to cause knee discomfort. But rather than skip some of these very effective moves, you can modify your workouts and still get great results—minus the pain.
Here are four exercises that can cause knee pain, along with some simple tips to modify the exercise so that you can perform it safely and effectively. Read More ›
As an avid reader on the topic of running, what I have discovered in reading over 80 books on this subject is that the theory of running injuries varies as far and wide as the number of books I have on my shelf. Some have gone so far as to blame the shoes we wear or elect not to wear, while others blame our running form, while others blame the running surface and some even go so far as to blame the sport of running itself.
Last summer I wrote a blog on the best surfaces for runners to hone their skills. I did extensive research on this topic and was a firm believer that the type of surface we ran on either prevented or was responbile for causing many running injuries. However, my thought has shifted after reading several articles disputing the fact that there is no an ideal running surface for any of us.
After speaking with running coaches in my area on this topic, even attending several running workshops and a running symposium earlier this summer led by running coach and runner, Greg McMillan, I am taking a different approach as to what I believe is responsible for the injury rate amongst runners. In an article published earlier this summer in the New York Times, Dr. Hirofumi Tanaka, an exercise physiologist at the University of Texas, states, "he could not find any scientific evidence that a softer surface is beneficial to runners, nor could other experts he asked." But what may be responsible for the running injuries is making a sudden shift to a different running surface. Read More ›
This is the year of running for me. I ran my first half marathon this spring and will complete my third one this fall. I've reached new trail running goals, including a first and second place finish in recent races. In August, 11 other teammates and I will run the Hood To Coast relay, covering 200 miles in less than 36 hours. I've done fun runs, too, like the Krispy Kreme Challenge and the Warrior Dash. I'm loving every minute of this run-filled year, from the training to the races. The worst thing that could happen to me now is to be sidelined by an injury.
Yet it seems that every runner I know has dealt with a running related injury. There are lots of reasons why running can lead to injury, but I do believe is that you can avoid and prevent most running injuries if you train smart and set realistic goals. That is exactly how I've avoided injury despite increasing my mileage and speed and taking on greater challenges. It's not about luck—it's about leading with your noggin instead of your legs.
If you have goals of becoming a runner, completing a marathon, racing your way into smaller jeans, or even finishing that first 5K, this is a must-read for you. Here are the five training tips that have kept me running injury-free for years. Read More ›
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