Tag Archive for: exercise

Woman going home. Tattooed young woman holding towel while going home after running in the morning, wondering about walking long distances without hurting your body.

Tips for Walking Long Distances Without Hurting Your Body

Walking is a fantastic exercise for increasing your heart rate, lowering stress levels, and improving overall health. However, many people think there’s no technique behind walking.

That’s not the case, especially if you’re walking frequently and for long distances! In fact, if you do end up walking long enough without the correct posture or technique, you could cause harm to your spine, hips, feet, and joints. Plus, using the right technique can make a world of a difference in your speed and performance! 

If you’re a huge fan of walking and what it does for you, keep reading below to learn tips for walking long distances without hurting your body.  

Perfect Your Posture 

Just as posture is important for runners, so it is for walkers! Here are some tips for using the correct posture when walking:

  • Stand up tall and straight. No leaning forward or backward. 
  • Your feet should be about hip-distance apart. 
  • Keep your toes pointed forward. 
  • Have your eyes 10 to 20 feet in front of you. This should mean your chin is parallel to the ground.
  • Avoid arching your back. 
  • To engage your core muscles while walking, suck in your stomach. (However, don’t suck in too much that you are uncomfortable! )
  • Relax your shoulders. 

Watch Your Stride 

When you’re used to walking to get from point a to point b as quickly as possible, your strides are naturally long. However, for the purposes of walking for exercise, you’ll want to shorten your stride. Not many people think to make this change, but doing so will protect your hips, knees, and Achilles tendons! 

So, next time you’re out on your walk, consciously think to take smaller steps. It may take longer, but you’ll be keeping your body safe. 

Use Your Arms 

Walking uses a majority of the muscles in your body, except for your arms. Make the effort to include them in the endeavor!  It will help increase your heart rate and burn more calories. To do this properly, hold your arms at a 90-degree angle and swing them backward one at a time, in line with your stride. 

The Right Shoes Are Key 

Wearing the right type of shoes can prevent the soreness and discomfort that often comes from walking long distances. The right padding, support, and fit makes a world of difference. So, try out different options before you commit to one pair, and make sure you break them in for at least five hours around the house before taking them on a long walk. 

If taking long walks does result in injury or discomfort or have further questions about walking long distances without hurting your body, our pain management specialists are here to help you get back to doing what you love. Reach out to us by clicking here or by giving us a call at 770-929-9033.

A happy senior couple indoors at home, doing exercise on the floor to strengthen their back.

Simple Exercises An Elderly Person Can Do to Strengthen Their Back

When you’re older in age, it becomes easier to rest more and work out less. However, it’s important for your overall health to stay active and keep exercising. Doing so has plenty mental benefits as well as physical, such as keeping your mobility up and preventing pain later down the road. 

Don’t fall into the temptation to spend more on the couch! Get up and do some workouts to keep your back happy and healthy. To make this easier for you, the experts at Alliance Spine and Pain have put together a list of simple exercises an elderly person can do to strengthen their back. 

Try These Five Exercises An Elderly Person Can Do to Strengthen Their Back

All of the below exercises directly impact and strengthen your back. Whether you want to do them from the comfort of your own home or at the gym, the choice is up to you. 

  • Back Extension: Also called the superman, this exercise requires you to lay down flat on your stomach. Lift your chest up and pull your legs and back off of the ground. Hold for a few seconds and then rest before starting again. 
  • Bent Knee Raise: Lay down on your back. Have your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent. Raise one of your legs up to your chest, and repeat on the other side. You’ve done two bent knee raises! 
  • Bridges: Start off in the same position for the above exercise. This time, however, you will raise your hips off the ground until you make a straight slanted line with your body. Hold for as long as you can and then release. For an extra challenge, squeeze your abs when you lift your hips. 
  • Curl Ups: Similar to a sit-up, this exercise requires you to be on your back. Rest your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent. Curl your spine off the ground until you’re sitting up straight. Continue to do as many reps as you feel comfortable doing! 
  • Sit Backs: Essentially the opposite of the curl up, you start this exercise sitting on the floor. Have your knees bent up and your feet flat on the floor. Cross your arms over your chest and slowly start to sit back until you are resting on the ground. Sit back up and do it all over again. 

If you have any more questions about simple exercises an elderly person can do to strengthen their back, Alliance Spine and Pain is here to help. Reach out to any of our back-strengthening specialists by clicking here or by giving us a call at 770-929-9033.  

Young black man in a white t-shirt stretching his arms

Best Exercises for Strengthening Your Back

Just like any muscle or part of your body, it’s important to strengthen your spine and back. Especially if you have issues with chronic low back pain or a recent injury in that area, exercising your spine increases stability, promotes flexibility, decreases chances of a future injury, and maintains proper alignment.

However, every back is different! With that in mind, it’s important to speak with your physician before doing any of these exercises for strengthening your back if you have chronic back pain or an existing issue with this area of the body. If you do not already have a medical professional helping you with a pre-existing back problem, feel free to make an appointment with any of our skilled physicians who specialize in pain management and spine issues.

Here are the best exercises for strengthening your back!

Exercise #1: Hip Crossover Stretch

This stretch releases tightness around your hips and buttocks, muscles that are known to contribute to back pain. Here’s how to do this exercise:

  • Lie on your back on the floor
  • Bend your knees
  • Cross your right ankle over your left knee
  • Lace your hands around your right knee and pull it closer to your body
  • Do the same on the other side

Exercise #2: Back Flexion

This is a great stretch to flow into if you tried the above exercise.

Instead of pulling one knee at a time to your chest, pull both of your knees up to your chest at the same time. Also, push your head forward until you feel this gentle stretch on your lower back and neck.

Exercise #3: Lumbar Extension in Prone Prop

The following two stretches are fantastic for loosening up your back and relieving any pain you might be feeling.

For this particular pose, do the following:

  • Lie on your stomach
  • Prop up on your forearms
  • Make sure your elbows are right below your shoulders
  • Sink your stomach towards the ground

Exercise #4: Lumbar Extension in Prone Press Up

To take the above stretch a bit further, simply press up with your hands until your elbows are straight. The will intensify the stretch and bring in even stronger benefits.

Exercise #5: Abdominal Bracing

Contracting your abdominal muscles will stabilize your spine. To do just that, follow these steps:

  • Lie on your back
  • Bend your knees
  • Lift your left knee up to meet your left hand
  • Push while giving resistance with your hand
  • Hold
  • Repeat on the other side

Make it an exercise and get your heart pumping. You’ll be reaping in the benefits in no time.

Exercise #6: Chin to Chest Stretch

Whether you’re sitting or standing, this stretch will loosen up your neck and help ease any neck strain you’re feeling. This is a great one to practice if you sit at a computer all day.

All you have to do is move your head forward until your chin touches your chest.

Exercise #7: Bridge

Not only does this exercise strengthens the muscles in your back, but it also benefits your buttocks and hamstrings.

Here are the steps for doing it correctly:

  • Lie on your back
  • Press your feet to the ground with your knees bent and shoulder-width apart.
  • Raise your hips while keeping your shoulders on the floor
  • Hold

If you’re hoping to stretch out or strengthen your spine, use the above poses to increase comfort and release back pain. If you have any more questions about the best exercises for strengthening your back or would like a more customized recommendation, click here to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians.

Elderly couple exercising with resistance bands, knowing how to stretch with resistance bands.

How to Stretch With Resistance Bands

Stretching is how you stay flexible no matter what your situation. Whether your back aches because you sit all day long or you are working to heal an injured joint. Stretching opens the muscle up to its full extent, increasing the circulation. Resistance bands are a practical choice for stretching exercises because they add tension to the move and are easily portable. Consider these four stretching exercises to learn how to stretch with resistance bands.

How to Handle Resistance Bands

Start by learning how to handle the resistance band. The bands come in different weights. Beginners will want to start with medium weight band. You can buy flat bands or tubes that come with handles on each end.
Start each stretch slowly to ensure you have control of the band to maximizing the toning and reduce the risk of injury. Pull on the band just enough to create tension.

Stretching the Chest Muscles

Sit on the floor cross-legged and grab one end of the band in each hand. Pull it taut over your head, but keep the band loose enough that you can pull down without it breaking. Stretch your arms out and then down to complete the stretch. You can do one set pulling down to the front of your chest and another going back behind your neck.

Side Stretch

Remain in the cross-legged position and grip the band with each hand. Place your left hand on the floor next to your body while you reach the right one over your head. The bicep of your right arm should be near your ear. Pull up with your right arm while activating the muscles on your left side to stretch them. Hold the stretch for up to 30 seconds and then switch sides.

Lower Back Stretch

Extend your legs out in front and wrap the band around your feet as you grip it with both hands. The band goes from one hand, around the arches of both feet to the other hand. Pull back on the bands as you stretch your lower back. Keep the abs tight to support your back. Hold for about 30 seconds and then return to start.

Hamstring Stretch

Lie back on the floor and wrap the band around just one foot. Lift your leg up towards the ceiling while keeping the other leg slightly bent on the floor. You may not get the active leg all the way up and that’s okay. Just raise it as much as you can comfortably and pull down on the band to increase the tension. Hold the stretch for up to 30 seconds then switch legs.

Stretching is your best option to warm up muscles and prevent injury. If you are recovering from an injury, ask your doctor for advice on the best stretches to manage your pain if you have anymore questions about how to stretch with resistance bands.

An elderly man swimming, wondering about the swimming exercises for a sore back here.

5 Swimming Exercises for a Sore Back

Swimming and water exercises can help people with acute or chronic back pain in their fitness journey without placing stress on the back. Swimming is low impact, does not involve weights, and the water provides active resistance, making the exercise more effective. Not all exercises are equal, even in the pool. Focus your efforts on these five swimming exercises for a sore back here.

1. Flutter Kicking

This is something you probably did when you were learning to swim. Hold onto the side of the pool and gently scissor kick. You can do this face down with your body parallel to the pool floor. Afterward, flip over and pull your legs up towards the surface of the water for a brief stretch.

2. Pelvic Stretch

Stand with your feet on the floor of the pool and your back facing the wall. Have your arms hanging relaxed in the water. Slowly tuck in your tailbone and pelvis in until your back rounds out. The goal of this movement is to feel like your back is parallel to the wall of the pool by pulling in your abs and pushing your hips forward. Hold for a few seconds and then release.

3. Knee Stretch

Move to the shallow end of the pool for this exercise. Stand with your feet planted on the floor and your arms relaxed at your sides. Start to march in place. With each lift, pull your knee closer to your chest while maintaining your balance in the pool. As your back gets stronger, try pulling each leg to waist level without bending your knees.

4. Pool Planks

You’ll need a pool noodle or something similar to do this routine. Hold the noodle in front of you and then lean forward in the water keeping your back straight. Push down on the noodle to submerge it as you lean further forward to form a semi-plank. Keep your elbows locked. and your feet anchored to the pool floor to maintain your balance during the move. Hold the plank for up to 60 seconds.

5. Pool Push Ups

A push-up is one of the best ways to strengthen your back and core. You can modify this move during your swim to get the same benefits. Start in the shallow end of the pool facing the wall and your feet on the floor. Place your hands on the pool edge. Press your body weight through your hands and lower yourself towards the wall as you arms bend at the elbow. Hold for three seconds and then push off the wall to return to your starting position.

Start slow and build the number of repetitions as your back gets stronger. If you have any questions about your back pain or need further evaluation, give us a call at 770-929-9033 for more information or click here if you have anymore questions about swimming exercises for a sore back.

Lady putting on running shoes for an exercise outside.

Cardio Training Can Help Manage Your Pain

Pain can be caused by a number of problems and conditions, and many of them can be eased with regular cardio exercise. For many conditions, such as arthritis and other joint pain, stiffness is often a major contributor to the pain. With exercise on a regular basis, some of that stiffness can be alleviated. The movement of the joints with cardio activity can relieve both stiffness and inflammation, thus leading to a reduction in your pain.

Conditions like fibromyalgia cause consistent pain and fatigue, but staying still isn’t the answer. For those with fibromyalgia, being sedentary can make the symptoms worse. Getting a cardio workout every day can ease symptoms, help with stiffness, and help control the weight gain that often causes more complications. Walking at a mild to moderate pace is a helpful exercise for those with this condition.

Learn what cardio training can help manage your pain!

Start Slowly

One reason that you may have avoided cardio is because your pain has prevented you from wanting to try it. If you aren’t used to working out and start with vigorous exercises, you may pull a muscle or injure yourself. The best practice is to start at a slow pace and work your way to a faster one. Walking is a perfect exercise for many people because it is relatively low impact and can be done indoors or outdoors. Work up to brisk walking and then power walking to keep raising your heart rate as your workouts progress.

Know Your Limitations

Back pain, knee pain, and other forms of pain that can make exercise difficult and make it harder to get in a good workout. However, there are other low impact ways to get in a cardio workout outside of walking. Working out in a pool can help to raise your heart rate and fight pain without making joints ache. There are also exercise machines like gliders that don’t rely on stepping movements. If you have mobility problems, consider using workout equipment that allows you to sit. Even try doing aerobic moves on the floor. If you are moving, you are improving no matter what kind of exercise you are doing.

Keep It Up

It may take time to find the exercise pace and time frame that will best help with your pain. If you don’t notice a difference after a few sessions, try a faster pace or add a few more minutes to your workout. Try different exercises to keep yourself interested in moving and willing to work out regularly.

Need help determining your workout routine while managing your pain? At Alliance Spine and Pain Centers, we are proud to take a comprehensive and highly progressive approach to healing and pain management that allows us to treat each patient’s pain effectively. To learn more about methods to reduce pain, give us a call at 770-929-9033 or visit us here to schedule a pain management consultation if you have anymore questions about what cardio training can help manage your pain.

Seniors doing yoga, one of the examples of 5 Exercises Seniors Can Do to Stay Loose.

5 Exercises Seniors Can Do to Stay Loose

Seniors face unique challenges when it comes to staying fit, but remaining active is critical if you want to avoid painful, age-related illnesses like osteoarthritis. Exercise is one of the most effective ways to feel energetic, to control pain, and to improve your memory no matter what your age. These are five exercises seniors can do to stay loose.

Yoga for Core Strength

Yoga is a practical choice for people of all ages, but especially seniors. It works the core muscles while helping to improve balance and overall range of motion. Go online to watch a video or read how to do the poses then put together your own routine based on what you need.

Arm Raises

Start by standing or sitting with your arms at your side. Lift them both up to shoulder height and hold there for a count of five. Turn the palms up slowly to face the ceiling and then lift your arms over your head. It should feel like you are trying to touch the sky. Hold for another five count and then return them to the starting position. Do up to three sets of 8 to 12 raises. As you get stronger, add some weights to make the exercise more challenging.

Leg Raises

For the leg raises, you are going to want to stand with one hand planted firmly on the back of a chair to maintain your balance. Lift the opposite leg out to the side 10 times. Lift that same leg backward for another 10. Now switch hands and repeat the back lift with the other leg and then do the side raises.

Room Walks

You probably think of walking as something you must go outside to do, but why not tour your home instead of the local park. Walk around the room, or the entire house, doing laps to get your exercise. Challenge yourself by increasing the number of laps you do over time and by adding some weights to your routine. If your home has stairs, take advantage of that incline for a little extra burn.

Light Weights

Building muscle tone is essential if you want to stay loose and flexible. Start with something light, like two pounds, and do arm lifts. Invest in some ankle weights too for lower body strength training. Once you find you can do the full range of motion easily with one weight, go to something heavier like four or five pounds.

It is normal to stiffen up as you get older but don’t use that as an excuse to stop exercising. Lack of exercise just increases your pain, so start slow but get moving again. At Alliance Spine and Pain Centers, we are proud to take a comprehensive and highly progressive approach to wellness and pain management that allows us to treat each patient’s pain effectively. Give us a call at 770-929-9033 or click here to schedule a consultation if you have any more questions about five exercises seniors can do to stay loose.