October is my favorite month. I might be biased because it’s my birthday month;) But all the leaves changing beautiful colors and fall festivities really lifts my heart! We have to be mindful though as the colder months approach because we end up being inside many more hours. This means that if you sit for your job, you may end up sitting even more when you get home! So this month will be all stretches you can do with a chair while you’re at work (or wherever you like). We have to take a break every now and then to stretch those muscles that are in a fixed position for hours. This month we will focus on the muscles that get shortened while we sit, mainly the hamstrings and the pectoral(chest) muscles. We will also target the muscles through the side body to counteract the slouching and poor posture that happens from sitting too long. Let’s get started!
Regardless of the time of year each season brings certain risk factors for injuring your back. In the Spring and Summer many people get outside and become more active drastically increasing work or exercise intensity and frequency. In a past post I discussed how physical therapists can help your back pain but today I thought we could focus more on prevention. Below you will learn some common sense strategies, postures, and or body mechanics to help you minimize risk of back injury in the first place.
The last calf stretch of February is the Dolphin stretch. The Dolphin Stretch is a bonus stretch because it will get into the shoulders and the upper back as well as the calves! It’s very similar to the forearm stretch on the wall from week 2 in January if you want to go back and take a look, but we are taking it to the floor this week.
It’s week 3 of loving our calves, and this week is one of my favorite stretches! I call this the Wall Calf Stretch. It’s slightly an inversion (upside down) so please be careful if you have a blood pressure issue or get vertigo easily. For the Wall Calf Stretch you’ll probably need a little wall space. 🙂 (more…)
This week we are going to give our calves a little extra love with a calf massage technique instead of a stretch. This is one I use all the time because my calves are so tight. If you have trigger points or “knots” in your muscles, this is a great way to work them out on your own. I’ll warn you right now, it might be tender, so just apply as much pressure as you feel comfortable. That’s the great thing about this technique, you have control over how much you sink into the tissue. (more…)
Week 2 of this months quadriceps stretches is the King Arthur stretch. Hopefully you have tried week one, frog stretch I, and you have gotten some insight as to how tight your thigh muscles really are. If you have not tried that stretch yet, please go back and attempt it, as it is a good warm-up for this stretch. I do not recommend this stretch for people that have knee injuries or severe chronic knee problems, as it is hard on the knee. The benefits of this pose are: it stretches the hip flexors and the quadriceps. (more…)
This month we will be focusing on stretching our quadriceps and hip flexors. These group of muscles can be very tight on quite a lot of people because of all the sitting and driving we do as a society. This can sometimes lead to knee pain or hip pain. Even just the simple act of sitting back on our heels can cause a great deal of discomfort for some, so please be patient with yourself this month! Practice these regularly and the front of the thighs will eventually loosen up! Please listen to your body as always, and back off if you feel pain that is not a “stretchy” discomfort. (more…)
The gymnastics and cheer seasons’ are underway! Check out our second blog focusing on staying healthy during the gymnastics and cheerleading season. Our second blog by Melissa Winterhalter, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, specializes in gymnastics and performing arts. She is a Board Certified Orthopedic Specialist and a NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist. (more…)