Persistent back pain affects more of your life than you would expect. It limits your physical activity, occupies your mind which leads to stress, and often forces you to adjust your social life to accommodate your pain. Did you know that you can alleviate back pain right at home? Try this stretch to loosen your hip, leg, and back muscles.
Lie on your back on a carpeted floor or exercise mat with both knees bent and your feet on the floor. Then rest your right ankle on your left thigh just above the knee. When you’re ready, grab your left leg behind the knee and gently pull it toward you. You should feel a stretch in the back of your right leg. Hold this position for a count of ten and then slowly lower your left foot back to the ground. Repeat on the other side.
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This week’s stretch is brought to you by the bane of every runner’s existence: Shin splints. Whether you regularly suffer from them or you’ve always worried that they’ll creep up on you and cramp your style, you can benefit from doing preventative stretching. Here’s a stretch that you can incorporate into your day to help reduce your chances of getting shin splints on your next run:
Wall Shin Raises
Standing with your back resting on a wall, place your heels about a foot away from the wall. Using both feet, stretch your toes up while your heels remain on the ground. Lower your toes but try to keep them from touching the ground. Repeat as often as needed.
If you recently started working out to get ready for your beach vacation, you may not have considered that suddenly putting your body through all that stress and strain puts you at risk for injuring yourself. Here are a few things you can do to prevent an injury and maximize the results of your summer workouts:
1. Fuel your body. Eating protein and drinking water are the best ways to give your muscles the energy they need to perform well. If you find yourself struggling to keep your energy up during your workout, your body probably lacks the proper fuel.
2. Warm up. Think of it as your body’s slow and steady wakeup call. You wouldn’t want someone to jolt you awake and expect you to immediately start your work day. You probably need a shower and a cup of coffee before you’re mentally ready to face the stress of the day. In a similar way, your body needs to be coaxed into workout mode. Using a warm THERA°PEARL pack on the muscles that you anticipate will do the most work is a great way to wake them up.
3. You probably saw this one coming, but did you know that stretching can actually injure you if not done properly? Throwing your body into the stretch rather than easing into it can pull or strain the very muscles you were working to not injure. As you stretch, imagine that you’re moving through molasses. This will make your movements more deliberate, smooth, and gentle.
4. Cool down. Icing your muscles (even when they aren’t injured) can help prevent injuries. Make it a part of your post-workout routine to sit down and ice the muscles that did the most work that day. THERA°PEARL packs can be used directly on your skin right out of the freezer, and come in a variety of shapes to fit specific body parts.
5. Take a rest day. Contrary to popular belief, working out every single day is not a fast track to your goals. Your body needs at least one rest day a week to recharge and prep for the week ahead. If you overdo it, your workouts won’t be as effective and you won’t reach your goals as quickly.
Getting into a running routine seems easy enough, but sometimes your body doesn’t want to cooperate right away. Shin splints, muscle strains, fatigue, and shortness of breath are just a few of the things that can ail someone who’s just starting out. Don’t get discouraged, get educated! Here are a few ways that you can coax your body into a running routine:
1. Fight fatigue during your run by alternating between walking and running. After a while this won’t be necessary anymore, but it will allow you to ramp up to that high intensity workout you’re excited about. In addition, make sure that you get enough sleep and drink plenty of water before your run. Fatigue plagues people who don’t take care of themselves before, during, and after their run.
2. If you have shin splints, you’ve turned to the right place. THERA°PEARL Shin Wraps are a numbing, soothing, and drug-free way to relieve your pain. If you’re a frequent sufferer of shin splints, try adjusting your running form so that you don’t pound on your heels or toes. Aim to strike the ground with the middle of your foot. If it takes some time for you to adjust and shin splints keep cropping up, your Shin Wraps will be in the freezer waiting for you.
3. Muscle strains are caused by overuse, so it’s likely that you will experience at least one muscle strain if you jump into your running routine too quickly. Keep this from happening by stretching before your run and working your way up from a walk to a run each day. If you do strain a muscle, THERA°PEARL has body-part-specific products that you can use to ice the affected area, such as our Ankle/Wrist Wrap and Knee Wrap.
4. As you build up endurance by making running a regular part of your week, you may struggle with shortness of breath and find that your lungs can’t keep up with your legs. Try swimming laps once or twice a week to increase your lung capacity and give your workout some variety!