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5 stretches to ease back and knee pain

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5 stretches to ease back and knee pain

After long days spent sitting at a desk, running errands and taking care of chores at home, it’s common to feel aches and pains. Knee pain affects about 25% of adults and back pain is the leading cause of work limitations — a whopping 65 million Americans report a recent episode of back pain. So if you’re feeling achy, you’re not alone. But that doesn’t mean you have to live with it every day.

Low lunge

The low lunge helps stretch and relax the back while also loosening up the hips. Start in a kneeling position; step your right foot forward bending your knee and placing the bottom of your foot flat on the mat. Move your left leg behind you so that the top of your left foot is resting on the mat. Shift your left knee as far back as you’re comfortable. Extend your hands over your head and breathe.

Forward leg lifts

Forward leg lifts help loosen up the legs and knees. Standing straight, begin swinging your right foot forward while keeping the leg straight. Swing it up as high as you can before swinging down and behind you as far as you can. Feel free to hold onto a chair or the wall to remain steady. Switch legs after 10 swings.

Hamstring stretch

The hamstring stretch is a great way to relieve tension in your leg muscles, including your knees. Sit up with your legs straight out in front of you and bend your left leg so the bottom of your left foot is resting on the inside of your right thigh. Reach forward toward your ankle as far as you can until you feel the stretch in your hamstring. Hold for 10 seconds and then switch so the left leg is out in front of you and repeat the movements.

Wide leg forward fold

The wide leg forward fold stretches the whole back of the body, including the knees and back, making it the perfect stretch to incorporate into your routine. Standing up straight, spread your feet about 3-4 feet apart. Make sure your toes are facing forward and that your feet are parallel. Lift your arms above your head and breathe in before hinging at the hips and reaching your hands down toward the floor. You should feel a stretch in the back of the legs and a release in the low back.

Knees to chest

Knees to chest helps relieve back pain while stretching your glutes and hips. Lie down with your back on the ground, your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Using your hands, pull your right knee toward your chest while keeping your left foot on the floor. Hold before releasing and switching to your left leg.

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Physical Fitness

9 reasons you’re tired and sore all the time after working out

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9 reasons you're tired and sore all the time after working out

Exercise is hard work, but it also contains its own antidote: The harder you work, the easier things should feel, and the more often you lift, the less often you’ll get sore. That means if you feel tired and sore all the time after working out, something is going wrong. Let’s figure it out what that it—and what to do about it—together.

1. You keep skipping workouts.
Consistency is the most important thing to get right when it comes to fitness. It’s better to follow an okayish routine four days a week, every week, than to do day 1 of a really great program and never get around to day 2.

2. You keep trying to set personal records on your training days.
It’s fun to set a personal record—your heaviest bench press, your fastest mile. But these PRs are your reward for putting in hard work; they’re not the work itself.

3. You don’t have a structured training program.
So now you know that you need to be consistent, but you also shouldn’t be pushing yourself to the limit every day you hit the gym. So what should you do? Follow a program.

4. You’re not eating enough
Food is fuel, and healthy athletes end up eating a ton. But if you’re trying to lose weight at the same time you’re exercising, or if you’re avoiding high-calorie foods because you have this idea that they aren’t “healthy,” you could be sabotaging your progress in the gym.

5. Your low-carb diet doesn’t agree with you.
Beyond the issues that come with not eating enough food, there can also be problems if you’re not eating enough carbs. The carbs we eat become blood glucose, which we use while we exercise; they can also become muscle glycogen, another important fuel.

6. You don’t take your strength training seriously.
If your main form of exercise is something like running, you probably know you should be strength training too. But runners often make the mistake of training with light weight for high repetitions, because that sounds like it should be more specific to running than lifting heavy weights.

7. You keep deloading.
If you take a break from lifting, or if you lift lighter weights for a little while, your body will be less fatigued and you may be able to lift more, or set a new PR. Sounds great, right?
The problem is that this phenomenon—called a deload—gives you the illusion of short-term progress while hurting your long-term progress.

8. You’re not sleeping enough.
Exercise is hard on your body, but food and sleep help you build back up. If you’re not sleeping enough, you’ll be tired all the time, both because you’re sleep-deprived and because you’re not doing enough to let your body physically repair itself.

9. You’re tired, but not from the gym.
Stress can make us feel “blah.” If you had a hard day at work, your pet is sick, and your relationship with your significant other isn’t going great, you might not feel up to exercise. That’s fine—take care of your mental health however you need to.

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Physical Fitness

Fit yet vulnerable: How young people are falling prey to serious cardiac issues

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Fit yet vulnerable: How young people are falling prey to serious cardiac issues

The words ‘Heart Attack’ can send a nervous shiver down everyone’s spine. This, unfortunately, common condition is defined as the ‘blockage of blood flow to the heart muscle.’ Its causes include excess smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, etc. Not only that, but lack of physical activity also leads to severe cardiac problems that can prove fatal in the future. According to Mayo Clinic, men and women who are 45 or 55 years or older are prone to having a heart attack. While some causes may be hereditary in nature, some are attributed to them leading a predominantly sedentary lifestyle.

However, recent times have seen a rise in young people suffering from serious heart conditions. The deaths of actors Siddharth Shukla and Puneeth Rajkumar in their 40s started a discussion about this problem as well. Many wondered the cause behind it, as both of them were known for their rigorous fitness regime that they followed religiously.

‘Indians Have Heart Attack A Decade Earlier Than Europeans’

This is a very well-documented issue that South Asians, especially Indians, have heart attacks decade or a decade and a half earlier than the Europeans, as their genetic constitution makes them more prone to such attacks. We fall in the higher risk category. I treat heart attacks of people coming between 30 to 40 years of age every year. This fact comes as a surprise to the public, not to the medical fraternity.

Most of the time, this has to do with smoking. Largely, the young people having a heart attack is due to tobacco misuse, that is either consuming ‘zarda’ or smoking. Excessive usage of protein supplements while working out and doing more than your endurance, like sprinting, can trigger arrhythmia.

Due to COVID-19, most of our work has now been confined to a chair and a screen in front of it. A majority of us have to be in front of our laptops for over 6 hours in order to make ends. This kind of lifestyle is harmful in the long run as well. Like diabetes and smoking, sedentary habit, sitting 6 hours a day is as bad as smoking one pack of cigarette. Coronavirus has made us more digital, which results in our physical inactivity which adds to our risk factor in terms of heart, sugar and blood pressure. Another factor both the cardiologists also mentioned was stress and mental health as well, which ends up wreaking havoc on us.

Preventive Care: Physical Activity, No Smoking

Physical Activity is important not just to keep ourselves hail and hearty, but for our mental health as well. However, all of this should be done in moderation and with caution. Moderation is the key. One should not overdo their exercise. Avoid taking supplements and energy boosters because they all have a detrimental effect on our hearts. Sometimes, those who have recovered from COVID-19 become over-enthusiastic as well. Therefore, they should go through a gradual process before going into an intense workout session. How weight control is important, along with eating food with anti-oxidants as well as lean meat such as fish and chicken.

While taking care of ourselves is one aspect, yearly health check-ups are also important. However, We do not have a culture of preventive check-up in the country. Doctors come into the picture when you fall sick, not when you are healthy. That is the paradox. No health insurance gives you money for a preventive checkup. Companies should make a provision for those who are healthy as well. Our healthcare infrastructure and the society’s mindset is treatment-centric, not focus on prevention.

 

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Simple exercise that tells you just how fit you are and how long will you live

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Simple exercise that tells you just how fit you are and how long will you live

Have you often wondered why some people age without losing their ease of movement till a ripe old age while many lose this power way earlier in life – and many who run marathons still die relatively earlier? The answer is in the body’s ability to continue to use joints without falling and with smooth as grease ease.

According to a report in USA Today, a doctor in Brazil invented the Sitting Rising Test or SRT, and he’s proven it can predict your risk of dying in the next five years. Dr Claudio Gil Araujo, MD, PhD, a specialist in exercise and sports medicine, also works with cardiac patients at Clínica de Medicina do Exercício – Clinimex, in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, and invented SRT to easily measure non-aerobic physical fitness.

“You could predict your longevity quickly, easily and without even leaving your home? Scientific studies over the past 15 years have proven if you have trouble getting down and getting back off the floor, it’s nothing to laugh at,” says the report in USA Today.

Doctors these days often ask people to take the Sitting-Rising test. The reason is that sitting and rising from the floor is a basic functional task that requires appropriate levels of muscle strength, joint coordination, balance and flexibility. The best test of how fit you are lies in how well you can stand from a seated position, writes Dr Matthew Solan, the Executive Editor of Harvard Men’s Health Watch.

To make it simple to understand how to do the sitting down and standing up test, we show you a video here. The goal is to get down and back up from a sitting position with minimal support. The video, however, does not belong to Times Now and therefore this site is not responsible for the material disseminated in it. However, before you start, the Harvard doctor’s words of caution are important too. “Keep in mind that this test is not for everyone. For instance, someone with a sore knee, arthritis, poor balance, or another kind of limitation would have difficulty doing the test with little or no assistance,” writes Dr Solan.

Step-by-step instructions of SRT:

Sit on the floor with your legs crossed or straight out. Try doing it without leaning on anything or touching your hands, elbows, knees, thighs anywhere.

Now stand up again.

Caution: This may not be an easy movement for many people, and those not capable of doing it by themselves may fall down and get injured.

Therefore, for safety, do this with someone next to you.

Check your scores:

How did you do? Did you need to use your hands or knees? Could you not get up at all?

Now is the time to take the test again. This time, though, grade your effort.

Beginning with a score of 10, minus one point if you do any of the following for support when you both sit and stand:

  1. use your hand
  2. use your knee
  3. use your forearm
  4. use one hand on the knee or thigh
  5. use the side of your leg
  6. lose your balance at any time.

For example, if you sat with no problem, but had to use either a hand or a knee to get up, take off one point. If you had to use both your hands and knees, deduct four points (two points each).

If you can sit and stand with no assistance, you scored a perfect 10. If you could not get up at all, your score is zero. Ideally, you want a score of eight or higher.

If you could cross your feet, and go into a seated position without any support or loss of balance, that’s five points. Coming back up is another 5. But you can lose points really fast. Score three or less and your risk of dying is five times greater over the next five years.

Do not let the score dishearten you. None of us is born gymnasts and athletes. With the help of our doctor or certified fitness trainer/physiotherapist, we can improve our scores. Sometimes, there is a joint or a muscle or a tendon that needs attention. To help you keep your confidence and seek the correct path, Dr Solan shares his personal score. He says, “For the record, the first time I tried, I got a seven.”

What the no-hands test tells us about fitness

“The sit-and-rise movement — sometimes also referred to as the no-hands test — can reveal much about your current strength, flexibility, and overall wellness,” says Eric L’Italien, a physical therapist with Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Center.

Performing the sit-and-rise test requires leg and core strength, balance and coordination, and flexibility. But if you struggle, that does not necessarily mean you are out of shape.

“Think of it as a way to highlight areas of your physical health you should address,” says L’Italien. Even if you currently do reasonably well on the test, practising it regularly can find weak spots before they become worse.

Three exercises that can improve your performance:

If you need to improve your performance, here are three exercises L’Italien recommends that can help improve your score — and ultimately your fitness. He recommends adding them to your regular workout routine. If you are just starting out, perform them twice a week and build from there. But again, a word of caution again, here. These exercises are not for all. If you have had a recent illness like stroke and are recovering from this or a similar illness, or have any joint-mobility issues, you must speak to your doctor before taking up these strengthening exercises.

Lunges. Teaches “balance” function to leg muscles

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold the abdomen tight and your back in an upright position.
  3. Step forward with one leg until your knee is aligned over the front of your foot.
  4. The knee of the leg behind must drop toward the floor.
  5. Hold for a few seconds and return both legs to the starting position.
  6. Repeat with the other leg.
  7. Your goal: 2-3 sets of the above exercise. 5-10 repetitions with each leg make one set.

Hamstrings stretch. You lose mobility as you grow old because the hamstrings muscles tighten

  1. Lie on your back and place a strap, belt, or towel around one foot.
  2. Holding the strap, gently pull the leg back until you feel a stretch in the back of the leg.
  3. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then release. Switch to the other leg and repeat.

Plank. Reflects how strong your core is. Strengthens it over time.

  1. Lie face down with your forearms resting on the floor.
  2. Raise up your body, so it forms a straight line from your head and neck to your feet.
  3. Tighten your abs and try to hold this position for 10 seconds.
  4. Rest and then repeat. Do two to three planks in total. Work up to holding each plank for 30 seconds or longer.
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