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Hot Weather Exercise Tips

Hot Weather Exercise Tips

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Hot Weather Exercise Tips

As the temperatures continue to rise, we have decided to put together a few hot weather exercise tips to consider while staying active and for staying hydrated through the summer.

Set your alarm: Sunrise is generally the coolest time of day, so get up and get out early. It may be more humid, but it is generally still hot at sunset because the ground radiates accumulated heat.

Hydrate: It is recommended to drink at least eight ounces of liquids prior to heading outside to exercise and 6-8 ounces of fluids every 15 minutes, switching between water and an electrolyte drink. Remember to drink plenty of fluids post-exercise to speed recovery.

  • Remember to drink water and other fluids throughout the day. Carry a water bottle with you or grab a drink each time you pass a water fountain.
  • Drink 16oz of fluid 2-3 hours before exercise
  • Drink an additional 10oz of fluid 10-20 minutes before exercise
  • Consume 20-40oz of fluid for every hour of exercise
  • Always have water available. Take a bottle to work, the gym or wherever you are headed, and remember to use it.
  • Drink up any time you are in the sun. Just being outside can lead to dehydration
  • Children and the elderly are more susceptible to dehydration
  • Finally don’t rely on thirst as a signal to drink water. Thirst is actually a sign that the body is under stress and by the time you feel thirsty, dehydration has already begun to set in. Other symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth, irritability, headache, weakness, dizziness, cramps, nausea, and fatigue. Even mild dehydration can lead to diminished performance, the elevation of core body temperature, and increased cardiovascular strain.

Acclimatize: It is advisable to gradually build up your tolerance for exercising in warmer conditions

Wear Technical Fabrics: Technical fabrics wick sweat from your body to keep you cool. Also, wear a visor to keep the sun out of your eyes, not a hat, which traps the heat.

Slow Down: For every 5-degree rise in temperature above 60 degrees F, slow down your activity intensity by 5%

Protect: Use sunscreen to protect your skin and prevent sunburn.

Be realistic: Do not overestimate your level of physical fitness; set realistic exercise goals.

What happens if I feel pain after a workout?

Keep in mind that even when you follow these hot weather exercise tips, some discomfort and muscle soreness is to be expected. If your pain does not resolve within a few days, that is when it’s time to ask for help. Your body may be able to accommodate your pain for a short period, but if left alone, you may begin to experience weakness, a lack of flexibility, and even additional injury if your body moves to avoid the pain by overcompensating with other muscle groups. The sooner you ask for help the better. During your physical therapy first visit, we will evaluate your injury and from there we can:

  • Alleviate pain
  • Correct improper movement patterns
  • Correct muscle imbalances through flexibility and strength training
  • Modify training when possible
  • Educate you about faulty or improper posture or body mechanics with training

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Ways to get rid of stress

6 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Stress

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Ways to get rid of stress

Let’s face it, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit each of us differently. While some stress over making ends meet, essential workers are putting themselves at risk to help others. Parents are now trying to navigate homeschooling, while others are working through loneliness. Regardless of what you are experiencing, the result can lead to large amounts of stress.

So how do we beat this stress? We know the situation is temporary, the situation is changing daily, but what can we do NOW in the present to help keep our mental health strong? We’ve come up with a few ways to get rid of stress and put a bright spin on the day.

6 Easy Ways to Overcome Stress

1. Exercise
Exercise is great for so many reasons. You already know it’s good for you, but did you know that it also helps reduce stress? Exercise causes your body to release endorphins, helps clear the mind, and can improve the quality of your sleep.

2. Promote Sleep
Stress can cause you to lose sleep. Lack of sleep is also a key cause of stress. This cycle causes the body to get out of whack and only gets worse with time. Reduce your afternoon caffeine intake, spend time each day exercising, and try turning the TV off early. Instead of watching the news or binge-watching a new show, read a book.

3. Take Deep Breaths
“Take a deep breath” is not a cliché. For an easy 3-5 minute exercise, sit up in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and hands on top of your knees. Breathe in and out slowly and deeply, concentrating on your lungs as they expand fully in your chest. Deep breathing oxygenates your blood, helps center your body, and clears your mind, while shallow breathing may cause stress.

4. Face Time or Zoom a Family Member or Friend
Combat stress and/or loneliness by calling a friend or family member to spend time with. Schedule calls or group chats and have them on your calendar as something to look forward to.

5. Eat Right
Eating healthy foods is a great way to get rid of stress. Avoid sugary, fatty snack foods as a pick-me-up. Fruits and vegetables are always a good option. Fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids have also been known to reduce the symptoms of stress.

6. Listen to Music
When you feel overwhelmed take a break and listen to relaxing classical music. Playing calm music has a positive effect on the brain and body. It can lower blood pressure and reduce cortisol, a hormone linked to stress.

PTandMe works closely with physical and occupational therapy clinics around the country. If you need help with an exercise program or are experiencing pain, please find the help you need to start feeling better today.

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office ergonomics

The Ergonomic Workstation

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Having an ergonomic workstation means that your desk and the things on it are arranged in such a way, that they prevent injury and are well within reach and use. An ergonomic workstation also promotes good posture. Posture is the position in which you hold your body upright against gravity while standing, sitting or lying down. An ergonomically designed workstation promotes good posture and helps to:

  • Keep bones and joints in the correct alignment so that muscles are being used properly.
  • Help decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in arthritis.
  • Decrease the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together.
  • Prevent the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions.
  • Counter fatigue because muscles are being used more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy.
  • Prevent strain or overuse problems.
  • Avert backache and muscular pain.

Proper ergonomics plays an instrumental role in how effectively you accomplish work and will help prevent suffering from work-related injuries due to strain and overuse. In the diagram below you will find both sitting and standing workstation recommendations to achieve a proper ergonomic workstation.

seated ergonomic workstation

SITTING: Body position guidelines

  • Lower back supported by a lumbar curve
  • Bottom & Thighs distributed pressure
  • ARMS minimal bend at the wrist
  • The area behind the knee not touching the seat
  • Feet flat on the floor or on a footrest
  • Wrists and hands do not rest on sharp or hard edges
  • The telephone should be used with your head upright (not bent) and your shoulders relaxed (not elevated)

 

Standing Ergonomics

STANDING: Working Guidelines

  • Precision Work – above elbow height
  • Light Work – just below elbow height
  • Heavy Work – 4-6 inches below elbow height

Physical and occupational therapists have experience working with patients to improve posture and ergonomics. Some clinics have therapists that go into the workplace and arrange a patient’s workplace, making it ergonomically efficient. For more information or to find a therapist near you

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Can Knee Pain Cause Low Back Pain

Can Knee Pain Cause Low Back Pain?

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Can Knee Pain Cause Low Back Pain

Knee osteoarthritis remains a significant problem among US adults 60 years and older. A recent study suggests knee arthritis rates as high as 37 % with women showing higher rates vs men (42% vs 31%) and higher rates among those with significant weight problems.

As a result, many of these patients opt for a total knee replacement. However, patients often suffer from pain and have difficulty walking for many years before deciding to proceed with such surgery. Living with pain for an extended period typically causes changes in how a patient walks in an attempt to relieve the pain associated with knee arthritis. Sometimes this is even done subconsciously, but it can lead to additional problems, such as low back pain (LBP). An example of how knee pain can cause low back pain would be a knee flexed position that leads to a patient leaning forward when walking. This changes at the pelvis and contributes to low back pain.

Physical Therapy Can Help Your Low Back and Knee Pain

When a patient seeks help from a physician complaining of low back pain, they are commonly referred to a physical therapist for treatment. In treating these patients, physical therapists will provide a complete and individualized assessment of the causes of low back pain, which may include a thorough biomechanical evaluation and gait assessment. Patients that go to physical therapy with knee arthritis/osteoarthritis have likely developed a permanent knee bent posture (osteoarthritis patients almost always keep their knee bent at 10 degrees or more to relieve pressure or to prevent the sheering force on the knee).

Even though back pain and knee arthritis are significant problems there is a solution. Through aggressive physical therapy that is aimed at restoring normal gait patterns, spinal mobility, and conditioning, patients have had significant relief of back pain and are prepared for successful rehabilitation following a total knee replacement. By eliminating the knee bent position before surgery and normalizing gait patterns patients can exercise more effectively, improve cardiovascular conditioning and reduce the energy cost associated with changes in how they walk all while reducing back pain.

If you believe your knee pain is causing your back pain, you may benefit from physical therapy.  Through years of experience, we have seen that comprehensive manual therapy, aimed at restoring normal walking patterns in low back pain patients considering a total knee replacement, can result in a significantly easier recovery of normal function during post-operative rehab.

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Provided by the therapists at Life Fitness Physical Therapy – MD
www.lifefitnesspt.com

Avoid common baseball injuries

10 Ways To Avoid Common Baseball Injuries

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Avoid common baseball injuries

According to an article published by the Journal of Athletic Training, youth baseball players reported throwing-arm pain 74% of the time. They also reported that UCL reconstructions between 2003 and 2014 increased 343%, with 56.6% in those aged 15 to 19 years. With the increase injuries related to the pitching athlete, we wanted to take a minute and focus on what you can do to help prevent common baseball injuries from happening to your athlete.

WHAT ARE COMMON BASEBALL INJURIES?

  • The most common baseball injuries include mild soft tissue injuries, such as muscle pulls (strains), ligament injuries (sprains), cuts, and contusions (bruises).
  • Although baseball is a non-contact sport, most serious injuries are due to contact — either with a ball, bat, or another player.
  • The repetitive nature of the sport can also cause overuse injuries to the shoulder and elbow.

.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PREPARE FOR THE SEASON?

  • Physical exam. A pre-season physical exam is important for both younger and older players. The goal is to prevent injuries and illnesses by identifying any potential medical problems. These may include asthma, allergies, heart, or orthopedic conditions.
    Warm-up and stretch. Always take time to warm up and stretch.
  • Warm-up with some easy calisthenics, such as jumping jacks. Continue with walking or light running, such as running the bases.
  • Gentle stretching, in particular your back, hamstrings, and shoulders, can be helpful. Your team coach or athletic trainer may provide a stretching program.

.

10 WAYS TO AVOID COMMON BASEBALL INJURIES

ASMI GUIDELINES TO HELP PROTECT PITCHERS FROM SHOULDER AND ELBOW INJURIES:

Pitching

.

1. Don’t throw too much:
Daily, weekly and annual overuse is the greatest risk to a pitcher’s arm health. Numerous studies have shown that pitchers who throw more pitches per game and those who do not adequately rest between appearances are at an elevated risk of injury. While medical research does not identify optimal pitch counts, pitch count programs have been shown to reduce the risk of shoulder and elbow injury in Little League Baseball by as much as 50% (Little League, 2011). The most important thing is to set limits for a pitcher and stick with them throughout the season.

2. Don’t pitch through arm fatigue:
Individuals are 36 times more likely to develop shoulder and elbow injuries when routinely pitching with arm fatigue.

3. Don’t pitch more than 100 innings per year:
If an athlete throws over 100 innings they are 3.5 times more likely to be injured than those who did not exceed 100 innings pitched.

4. Don’t throw more than 8 months per year:
Athletes who throw > 8 months per year are 5 times as likely to suffer an injury requiring surgery of the elbow or shoulder. Pitchers should refrain from throwing for at least 2-3 months per year and avoid competitive pitching for at least 4 months per year.

5. Don’t pitch on consecutive days:
Pitchers who pitch on consecutive days have more than 2.5 times greater risk of experiencing arm pain.

6. Don’t play catcher following pitching:
If the player catches the following pitching they are 2.7 times more likely to suffer a major arm injury.

7. Don’t play on multiple teams at the same time:
There is an increased risk of injury due to the difficulty in monitoring pitch limits and rest time. If the player is on multiple teams, make meticulous efforts to keep track of the number of pitches thrown to allow adequate rest.

8. Don’t forget the shoulder in strength and conditioning programs:
Numerous studies have shown that deficits in upper extremity strength and mobility are strongly correlated to serious arm injuries. Shoulder and forearm strengthening exercises can build strength, endurance and motor control which can prevent injury.

9. Be cautious with throwing curveballs and sliders:
While existing research has not consistently shown a strong connection between the curveball and injuries, Yang et al., found that amateur pitchers who threw curveballs were 1.6 times more likely to experience arm pain while pitching and Lyman et al, found that youth pitchers who throw sliders are 86% more likely to experience elbow pain.

10. Be cautious with the radar gun:
Radar guns do not directly cause harm to a pitcher, however, the gun may cause the pitcher to throw beyond their normal comfort level. This could create an arm strain.

Don’t redshirt this season. Physical therapists can work with athletes to make sure certain muscle groups can accommodate the strain and movements necessary to perform well in your sport. Be proactive and work towards a great season with PT!

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recover from ACL Surgery

How Long Does it Take to Recover from ACL Surgery

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recover from ACL Surgery

WHAT IS THE ACL?

The knee is essentially a hinged joint that is held together by four ligaments. They include the medial collateral (MCL), lateral collateral (LCL), anterior cruciate (ACL) and posterior cruciate (PCL) ligaments. The ACL runs diagonally in the middle of the knee, preventing the lower leg from sliding out in front of the thigh, as well as providing rotational control to the knee. More information about how ACL tears can be found in our injury center

How long does it take to recover after ACL Surgery?

Though everyone is different we’ve compiled a standard rehabilitation program so you know what to expect in your recovery.

Pre-operative Phase
Goals: Decrease Pain & Effusion

  • Restore normal Range of motion (ROM), especially extension
  • Improve strength and neuromuscular control,
    combat quadriceps shutdown
  • Support patient education

Post-operative (Day 1-7)
Goals: Full Passive Knee Extension

  • Decrease pain and effusion
  • Increase knee flexion and restore patellar mechanics
  • Progressive gait
  • Improve muscle function including quadriceps control

Post-operative (2-4 weeks)
Goals: Keep Full Extension

  • Increase flexion
  • Abolish swelling
  • Establish good patellar mobility
  • Maintain single limb stance with slight knee flexion 15+ secs

Post-operative (4-10 weeks)
Goals: Push for Full ROM

  • Increase quadriceps strength to 4 to -4/5 (60-65% of contralateral side)
  • Increase proprioception and neuromuscular control
  • Increase endurance
  • Increase confidence

Post-operative (10-16 weeks)
Goals: Work to Normalize Strength and Increase Power Along with Endurance, Increase Neuromuscular Control, Progress Functional Training

  • Initiate a running program
  • Continue strengthening
  • Continue neuromuscular training
  • Progress all exercises

Post-operative (16-22 weeks)
Goals: Full Active Range of Motion (AROM), Passive Range of Motion (PROM), Functional Test of 90% SL Hop and SL Cross-Over Hop, Proprioceptive Test 100%, Functional Strength Test of 85% Quads and 100% Hamstrings

  • Continue with strengthening exercise, proprioceptive training/neuromuscular drills, plyometrics, and sport-specific training.
  • Functional strengthening program consists of a series of CKC exercises, strengthening is performed in 3 planes of motion at all joints, functional profiles are developed for all patients based on their findings during the evaluation process.

If you have experienced an ACL tear and are looking for post-operative care, you can easily find a physical therapy clinic near you by clicking the button below. By scheduling a visit before surgery you can meet your therapists and they can give advice on how to help you recover from ACL surgery as smoothly as possible.

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benefits of a home exercise program

Why Should I Do My Home Exercise Program?

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benefits of a home exercise program

When a patient walks in for physical therapy, one of the things they are sent home with is a home exercise program. But why do they do that? Aren’t they supposed to take care of everything while you are in the clinic?  These are questions that may run through your head, but what exactly are the benefits of a home exercise program? If you’re on the fence of whether or not to take your HEP seriously, we’re here to tell you why you should.

  • Continuation of forwarding progression in rehabilitation: Physical and occupational therapists tailor each program to the abilities and strengths of each patient. A patient that completes their home exercise program is more likely to excel in the one-on-one sessions at the clinic and experience fewer setbacks in rehabilitation.
  • Increases level of mobility and endurance: Exercise in the home is designed to continue the progress of the clinic visit by increasing a patient’s flexibility and stamina. A good home exercise program allows a patient to increase function and improve muscle memory so that progress is gained rather than lost from one visit to another.
  • For some patients, therapy doesn’t end at discharge: A home exercise program can help a patient remain pain-free and functional without having to pay for repeat visits and costly medical bills. For patients experiencing chronic pain – a home exercise program is a ticket to staying out of the doctor’s office.

Despite the benefits of a home exercise program, patients have trouble following through on their home exercise program goals. We’re going to go over some of the more common excuses:

  • I don’t have time, because life at home is too busy: It can be hard, especially for those running a household with multiple schedules to accommodate. However, a physical therapist can offer suggestions on working these into your schedule. Some exercises can be done at work, at home, on the playground. If time is truly a concern than don’t be afraid to let the therapist know.
  • It hurts: Some pain is considered normal – it’s a normal part of exercise. However, if you are doing an exercise and something feels wrong, let your physical therapist know immediately. Don’t wait until your next appointment and tell yourself you will take care of it then. It could be something as simple as not doing the exercise correctly and they can talk you through it over the phone. Communication is a large part of rehabilitation and your therapist wants to know if something is causing concern.
  • Not motivated: Not seeing the point of the exercises your therapist gave you – ask them why it is so beneficial. Going to see a physical therapist 2-3 times a week alone without doing home exercises will not be enough to maintain muscle strength and flexibility. Healthy habits begin with persistence. If you need motivation talk to your therapist, they are born motivators and want nothing more than to watch you succeed. Enlist the help of family or friends to keep asking about your progress.

Physical therapists may utilize print copies of exercises or they may choose to go utilize a digital version that you can access from a mobile device. No matter the delivery, the goal for each is the same. To help you heal more effectively. If you have questions about your home exercise program and what it contributes to your recovery talk to your physical therapist. Education and understanding are crucial to making sure your experience in recovery is successful. If you need help finding a physical therapist to answer your questions, we have you covered in our “Find a PT” section.

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cold weather exercise tips

Cold Weather Exercise Tips: Running Safety

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Cold temperatures and decreasing daylight hours do not mean that your outdoor running routine has to go into hibernation for the winter. Running through the cold weather can ease the winter doldrums, improve your energy level and help you to be in better shape for the spring/summer. However, it is important to follow our PTandMe cold-weather exercise tips to run safely and comfortably through wintry weather.

  • Pay attention to temperature and wind chill: If the temperature drops below zero F or the wind chill is below -20F, you should hit the treadmill.
  • Protect your hands and feet: It is estimated that as much as 30% of your body heat escapes through your hands and feet.
  • Dress in layers: It is important to start with a thin layer of synthetic material such as polypropylene, which wicks sweat away from your body. stay away from cotton as a base layer as it holds moisture and will keep you wet. If it is really cold out, you will need a middle layer, such as polar fleece for added insulation.
  • Avoid overdressing: You should feel a slight chill off your body the first 5 minutes of winter running; after that, you should warm-up.
  • Protect your head: It is estimated that 40% of body heat is lost through your head. Wearing a hat that will help prevent heat loss is very important.
  • Do not stay in wet clothes: If you get wet from rain, snow or even from sweat in chilly temperatures, you are at risk for hypothermia. It is important that you change wet clothing immediately and get to warm shelter as quickly as possible.
  • Stay hydrated: Despite the cool weather, you will still heat up and loos fluids through sweat. The cool air also has a drying effect, which can increase the risk of dehydration. Make sure you drink water or sports drinks before, during and after you run.
  • Remember sunscreen: Sunburn is still possible in the winter. It is also important to protect your lips with lip balm.
  • Take it easy when it is frigid: The colder the temperature becomes, the greater your risk for a pulled muscle when running in the cold, so warm up slowly and run easy on very cold days.
  • Run in the wind: If at all possible, head out into the wind, so that on your return run, the wind will be at your back when you are sweaty and could catch a chill.

Looking for help with a nagging injury? Find a physical therapist near you.

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For more cold-weather exercise tips to keep you safe this winter check out the articles below!

Staying Warm in Winter PTandMe  Winter Safety PTandMe  Snow Shoveling Safety PTandMe

raking injury prevention tips

Raking injury prevention tips

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raking injury prevention tips

It’s Fall again! time for hot chocolate, bonfires and to watch the leaves turn. Our homes are cozier this time of year as we prepare for holidays and the arrival of loved ones. However, autumn does come with some challenges. I know you might be making a list and checking it twice but holiday shopping is not the only challenge to be found this season. One of the biggest challenges is yard work because when those leaves fall its time to rake them. On the plus side  yard work such as raking leaves count as moderate exercise! Now some not so good news: it is actually very easy to injure yourself if you are using improper techniques. The colder weather already puts you at risk for muscle pain- muscles constrict in cold weather and are more prone to cramps and strain. Add to that all of the twisting, turning, bending, pulling, pushing, and reaching of raking. And since these are seasonal activities, you are probably using muscles that may not be a limber as expected. All of these factors can contribute to injury. Common injuries include upper and/or lower back strain, neck pain, and shoulder pain.

Here are some tips to prevent injury when raking leaves and other yard work:

81747172 (1)

General Tips:

  • Do stretching exercises before and throughout the course of your yard work
  • Stand as straight as possible
  • Bend at the knees, not the waist, when you pick up things
  • Look into purchasing ergonomic tools. An ergonomic tool is one that has been engineered in such a way that it helps protect you from injury
  • Avoid repetitive twisting and turning
  • Take breaks. This will allow your muscles rest and will minimize strain.

Raking Tips:

  • When raking leaves, use a “scissors stance.” Right foot forward and left foot back for a few minutes, then switch
  • Hold rake handle close to your body and stand up straight
  • Change sides frequently to avoiding overusing one side of your body, but avoid twisting when you pass the rake from one side to the other
  • When leaves are under the rake, pull them straight back towards your body

If you experience a winter injury from raking, fall sports, doing day-to-day activities, etc. please don’t hesitate to find a physical therapist. They will be able to take a look at the injury and determine whether or not physical therapy may be the best choice moving forward. With direct access to physical therapy, you have more control than ever before when it comes to your care.

 Find a physical therapist near you!

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strength training physical therapy

Strength Training: You’re Not Too Old!

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strength training physical therapy

If you think you are “too old” to do strength training exercises, think again! With proper guidance and support, you can benefit from a program of regular strength-training exercises.

Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle and strength often seen in older adults. Although many questions remain about muscle loss and aging, one thing is certain: strength-training exercises can help reduce these effects. Even small changes in muscle size can make a big difference in strength, especially in people who have already lost a lot of muscle.

BENEFITS

According to the North American Spine Society, strength training can provide the following benefits in older adults:

  • Better balance and, consequently, reduced risk of falls
  • Quicker responses, which may also play a role in preventing falls
  • Reduced risk of osteoporosis (weakening of the bones)
  • Improved quality of life
  • Improved mental alertness

EXAMPLES OF STRENGTH-TRAINING EXERCISES

You can increase your strength by regularly using any of the following:

  • Weights
  • Strength-training equipment
  • A resistance band

 

HOW MUCH AND HOW OFTEN?

The National Institute on Aging recommends the following tips on how much and how often you should do strength-training exercises:

  • Exercise all of your major muscle groups at least twice a week.
  • Do not do strength exercises of the same muscle group 2 days in a row.
  • Depending on your condition, you might need to start out using as little as 1 or 2 pounds of weight, or no weight at all.
  • Use a minimum of weight the first week, then gradually add weight. Starting out with weights that are too heavy can cause injuries.
  • When doing a strength exercise, do 10-15 repetitions in a row.
  • Take 3 seconds to lift or push a weight into place; hold the position for 1 second, and take another 3 seconds to lower the weight. Do not let the weight drop; lowering it slowly is important.
  • Gradually increase the amount of weight to benefit from strength exercises. When you can do 2 sets of 10-15 repetitions, then you can increase the amount of weight on your next session.
  • It should feel somewhere between hard and very hard for you to lift or push the weight. If you cannot lift or push a weight 8 times in a row, then it is too heavy for you. Reduce the amount of weight. If you can lift a weight more than 15 times in a row, it is too light for you. Increase the amount of weight. Do not increase more than 5% for all upper body and 10% for lower body exercises.

 

SAFETY TIPS

  • Talk to your doctor or a physical therapist before engaging in a new exercise program.
  • Breathe normally while exercising. Holding your breath (known as Valsalva maneuver) while straining can cause your blood pressure to go up. This is especially true for people with cardiovascular disease.
  • If you have had a hip repair or replacement, check with your surgeon before doing lower body exercises.
  • Avoid jerking or thrusting weights into position. This can cause injuries. Use smooth, steady movements.
  • Avoid locking the joints in your arms and legs in a straightened position.
  • Breathe out as you lift or push, and breathe in as you relax.
  • Muscle soreness lasting up to a few days and slight fatigue are normal after muscle-building exercises, but exhaustion, sore joints, and unpleasant muscle pulling are not. The latter symptoms may mean you are overdoing it.
  • None of the exercises you do should cause pain. The range within which you move your arms and legs should never hurt.

 

Looking for a physical therapist to help start your strengthening program?

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BUILD THAT BRAWN!

Strength exercises can help increase your strength when performed on a regular basis. Here are some examples from the National Institute of Aging:

Wrist Curl
This exercise strengthens the wrists.

  • Put your forearm on the arm of a chair. Your hand should be over the edge.
  • Hold the weight with your palm facing upward.
  • Bend your wrist up and down.
  • Do this 10-15 times.
  • Repeat with the other hand.
  • Do this 10-15 more times with each hand.

Side Arm Raise
This exercise strengthens shoulder muscles.

  • Sit in an armless chair with your back supported by the back of chair.
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor and even with your shoulders.
  • Hold hand weights straight down at your sides, with palms facing inward.
  • Raise both arms to your side, shoulder height.
  • Hold the position for one second.
  • Slowly lower your arms to your sides. Pause.
  • Repeat 10-15 times.
  • Rest; then do another set of 10-15 repetitions.

Chair Stand
This exercise strengthens muscles in your abdomen and thighs. Your goal is to do this exercise without using your hands as you become stronger.

  • Sit toward the front of a chair, knees bent, feet flat on the floor.
  • Cross your hands over your chest and lean back in a half-reclining position. Keep your back and shoulders straight throughout the exercise.
  • Raise your upper body forward until you are sitting upright, using your hands as little as possible (or not at all, if you can).
  • Extend your arms outward so they are parallel to the floor. Slowly stand up, using your hands as little as possible.
  • Slowly sit back down. Pause.
  • Repeat 10-15 times.
  • Rest; then do another set of 10-15 repetitions.

Arm Curl
This exercise strengthens upper-arm muscles.

  • Stand with your feet even with your shoulders.
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor and even with your shoulders.
  • Hold your hand weights straight down at your sides, with palms facing forward.
  • Slowly bend one elbow, lifting weight toward your chest. (Rotate your palm to face your shoulder while lifting the weight.)
  • Hold this position for one second.
  • Slowly lower your arm to the starting position. Pause.
  • Repeat with the other arm.
  • Alternate arms until you have done 10-15 repetitions with each arm.
  • Rest; then do another set of 10-15 alternating repetitions.

Toe Stand
The heel raise strengthens ankle and calf muscles. You can use ankle weights for this exercise if you are able.

  • Stand straight, feet flat on the floor, holding onto a table or chair for balance.
  • Slowly stand on tiptoe, as high as possible.
  • Hold the position for 1 second.
  • Slowly lower your heels all the way back down. Pause.
  • Do the exercise 10-15 times.
  • Rest; then do another set of 10-15 repetitions.
  • Variation: As you become stronger, do the exercise standing on 1 leg only, alternating legs for a total of 10-15 times on each leg. Rest; then do another set of 10-15 alternating repetitions.

Knee Curl
Strengthens muscles in the back of the thigh. You can use ankle weights for this exercise if you are able.

  • Stand straight holding onto a table or chair for balance.
  • Slowly bend your knee as far as possible. Don’t move your upper leg at all; bend your knee only.
  • Hold this position for 1 second.
  • Slowly lower your foot all the way back down. Pause.
  • Repeat with your other leg.
  • Alternate legs until you have done 10-15 repetitions with each leg.
  • Rest; then do another set of 10-15 alternating repetitions.

Front Arm Raise
Strengthens shoulder muscles.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Hold hand weights straight down at your sides, with palms facing backward.
  • Raise both arms in front of you to shoulder height. Do not turn your wrist.
  • Hold this position for 1 second.
  • Slowly lower your arms. Pause.
  • Repeat 10-15 times.
  • Rest; then do another set of 10-15 repetitions.

Leg Straightening
Strengthens muscles in front of the thigh and shin. You can use ankle weights for this exercise if you are able.

  • Sit in a chair. Only the balls of your feet and your toes should rest on the floor. Put a rolled towel under your knees, if needed, to lift your feet. Rest your hands on your thighs or on the sides of the chair.
  • Slowly extend 1 leg in front of you as straight as possible.
  • Flex your foot to point toes toward the head.
  • Hold this position for 1–2 seconds.
  • Slowly lower your leg back down. Pause.
  • Repeat with your other leg.
  • Alternate legs until you have done 10-15 repetitions with each leg.
  • Rest; then do another set of 10-15 alternating repetitions.

Back Leg Raise
Hip extension strengthens buttock and lower-back muscles. You can use ankle weights for this exercise if you are able.

  • Stand 12-18 inches from a table or chair, feet slightly apart.
  • Hold onto a table or chair for balance.
  • Slowly lift one leg straight backwards without bending your knee, pointing your toes, or bending your upper body any farther forward.
  • Hold this position for 1 second.
  • Slowly lower your leg. Pause.
  • Repeat with your other leg.
  • Alternate legs until you have done 10-15 repetitions with each leg.
  • Rest; then do another set of 10-15 alternating repetitions.

Side Leg Raise
This strengthens muscles at the sides of your hips and thighs. Use ankle weights, if you are ready.

  • Stand straight, directly behind a table or chair, feet slightly apart.
  • Hold onto a table or chair for balance.
  • Slowly lift 1 leg 6-12 inches out to the side. Keep your back and both legs straight. Don’t point your toes outward; keep them facing forward.
  • Hold this position for 1 second.
  • Slowly lower your leg. Pause.
  • Repeat with the other leg.
  • Alternate legs until you have done 10-15 repetitions with each leg.
  • Rest; then do another set of 10-15 alternating repetitions.

This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

RESOURCES:

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
http://www.familydoctor.org

National Institute on Aging
http://www.nia.nih.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

The College of Family Physicians of Canada
http://www.cfpc.ca

Public Health Agency of Canada
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

REFERENCES:

Exercise & Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide from the National Institute on Aging. National Institute on Aging website. Available at: http://www.nia.nih.gov/sites/default/files/exercise_guide.pdf. Published January 2009. Accessed January 2, 2015.

Strength training for the elderly. North American Spine Society Know Your Back website. Available at: http://www.knowyourback.org/Pages/BackPainPrevention/Exercise/StrengthTrainingElderly.aspx. Accessed January 2, 2015.

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