As the days start off darker and the nights have become longer we naturally start to feel like hibernating and can easily get lethargic. It's important however to fight the urge to do nothing.
There is no one size fits all exercise routine but here are 10 simple exercises which help with some of the more common aches and pains we see in clinic on a regular basis. It should only take 10-15 minutes a day and chances are you'll feel better for it.
1. Shoulder Blade Push Ups.
Put your hands on a wall at about shoulder height. Pinch your shoulder-blades down and back. Drop in towards the wall keeping your spine straight and shoulder-blades pinched together and then push out slowly maintaining that pinching together of the shoulder-blades. Do 8-12 efforts and repeat 2 or 3 times if you can.
2. Knee rolling
Lying on your back and rolling your knees from side to side for 1-2 minutes helps oil up the hinges of the spine and keep you mobile. It should feel like a nice rhythmical smooth movement and should help to prevent the most common type of low back pain known as mechanical back pain.
3. Piriformis stretch
Lying on your back with knees bent. Cross the ankle of the leg to be stretched over the other knee. Put your arms around the thigh as shown. Bring your thigh towards your stomach. Feel the stretch in your buttock.
Read a previous edition of this newsletter on flexibility which explains why this exercise might sting a little.
Hold the stretch for about 30 seconds and repeat about 6 times on each leg.
Lying on your back with knees bent.
Lift your hip up and keep it straight while shifting the weight over to one leg. Then straighten the other leg - put it back down and repeat with other leg. Try this 12 times on each leg. Keep your hips, knees and pelvis square throughout.
Lift opposite arm and leg to horizontal position. Hold 5 - 10 secs. Try to keep your body still. Repeat 12 times each side.
6. The Plank
Lie face down. Support your body weight on your forearms and toes.
Tighten your stomach muscles and keep your neck and back straight. Aim to hold this position for 1 minute while breathing comfortably.
7. Thoracic Rotation
In sitting, put a broom handle, Golf Club or Hockey stick behind your neck across your shoulders and rotate your torso slowly to the right, hold for 2-3 seconds and then rotate left and hold. Repeat 10 time to each side.
Balance is so important for efficiency of movement and in preventing injury. Try standing on one leg for a minute. If it's too easy, do it with your eyes closed and stand on an uneven surface such as a pillow or wobble board.
Lunge forward and back on each leg. Keep your spine straight and try not to lean to the side as you go down. Do it in front of a mirror so you can see what you're doing and keep your balance. As you get stronger you should be faster and smoother.
Stand with your feet hip width apart.
Sit back and stop when your thighs are parallel to the floor. Try to keep the weight in your heals so you feel the effort in your buttock rather than your thighs. Return to the starting position using your buttock muscles by keeping your knees wide apart rather than letting the knees come towards eachother.
As always this is advice only and not a prescriptive exercise program. Consult your GP or us at spinalphysio to see if the above is correct for you.
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