Even when we are able to get a sufficient amount of sleep, which can be difficult with crazy work and life schedules, our bodies don’t always feel well rested. We may wake up feeling like the tin man as we take our first steps to start the day.
Like it or not, Labor Day is in the rear-view mirror and fall lays ahead of us. After a summer of hot weather and mowing lawns, we now look forward to the changing colors of the trees and the inevitable downfall of leaves.
While this may invoke memories of children making piles of leaves to jump in and enjoy, for those of use with larger trees near our yards, it can mean something much different. Raking is a repetitive task that can cause real aggravation to some of the more vulnerable structures in our lower back and shoulders. Luckily, you can always limit your risk of injury or strain with a proper stretch and warm up before picking up the rake. Here are a few stretches to try:
The squat is one of the most fundamental movements a human needs to be able to perform both in life and in sports. In life we use the squat to sit down and stand up from chairs or going down to the floor to reach for objects. In sport we use squat movements when preparing to jump and land, as well as when getting into an athletic position. The squat is also used in the strength training realm as it has tremendous carry over to all other aspects of sport.
You know that feeling when your foot falls asleep? It feels like static, tingling, or pins and needles. When this happens, the feeling usually lasts for a short period of time and goes away quickly. Tingling and numbness is a type of nerve pain that typically subsides with movement of the limb. In this case, the pain is usually due to restricted blood flow. The tingling can feel awkward and unpleasant but it is only temporary. However not all nerve pain is short lived; some tingling or numbness is constant and can be linked to a more serious medical condition.
As baseball season begins, Cardinals fans need to ensure that they can cheer on their team in comfort. Do you know the best stretches to keep you, as a fan, “in the game?”
Test your knowledge with these Fredbird stretches!
1. This stretch makes sure that you can check the paper or your phone for the standings every morning without a neck ache.
Answer: C – Levator Scapulae Stretch: Fredbird is stretching his left levator scapulae muscle in his neck by looking at his right hip, and then extending his right arm over his head to provide an additional pull in that direction. For maximum effectiveness, this stretch can be performed on each side for three repetitions, holding 30 second each, twice daily.
2. Which stretch makes it safer to run to the fridge or the concession stand between innings or pitching changes, as it addresses the “quick” muscles of your lower leg?
Answer: C - Calf Stretch: Fredbird is stretching his right calf in this photo, and holding onto the left field wall for balance. He should feel the stretch in the back of his lower right leg. One key point with this stretch is to do it with shoes on, and to make sure that the back foot is pointing forward for best efficacy. For maximum effectiveness, this stretch can be performed on each side for three repetitions, holding 30 second each, twice daily.
3. This stretch is important after a double play gets the Cards out of a jam, when tension can rise into your neck and shoulders.
Answer: B - Upper Trap Stretch: We have all been to games that are nail biters, and our neck can pay the price. In this picture, Fredbird is leaning his head to the right, feeling the stretch in his left upper trap. The Athletico physical therapist (PT) in this photo is providing extra help to make sure that Fredbird’s left arm stays relaxed. For maximum effectiveness, this stretch can be performed on each side for three repetitions, holding 30 second each, twice daily.
4. Which stretch that addresses the front of your thighs is important to make sure you can comfortably get up and down from your seat to do the “wave” or to cheer for a great play?
Answer: A – Quadriceps Stretch: In this photo, Fredbird bends his knee and holds his left ankle. This stretch should be felt in the front of the left thigh. The Athletico PT here is providing help for balance (Fredbird has a bit of a challenge balancing at times, as do most of our feathered friends!). For maximum effectiveness, this stretch can be performed on each side for three repetitions, holding 30 second each, twice daily.
5. This stretch for the back of the thigh can help you jump out of your seat to celebrate a great play.
Answer: C – Hamstring Stretch: In this photo, Fredbird is lying on his back, with his hip flexed and his knee straight. A gentle stretch should be felt in the back of the thigh. If Fredbird did not have a helper, he could also use a belt or a sheet behind his calf to achieve the same effect. For maximum effectiveness, this stretch can be performed on each side for three repetitions, holding 30 second each, twice daily.
6. What stretch can help Fredbird “shake his tailfeather” and allow all Cardinal fans to participate when the Athletico Dance Cam appears on the jumbotron?
Answer: B – Piriformis Stretch: In this picture, Fredbird is sitting in the dugout with his right leg crossed over his left. He should feel the stretch in his right hip. To stretch the muscle further, Fredbird could also lean forward from his waist. For maximum effectiveness, this stretch can be performed on each side for three repetitions, holding 30 second each, twice daily.
Happy Valentine’s Day! For the second week of our partner stretches we will be performing an Assisted Upper Front Body Stretch. You and your partner will feel this stretch in the chest, underarm area and triceps.
For January’s last stretch of the week, we will be performing a Shin Massage with a Foam Roller. This is also an abdominal exercise, so you will get two for one with this stretch!