Strong Bones Bounce: Another Benefit of A Strong Backside

You’ve heard about the benefits of weight-bearing exercise for strengthening your bones.

Being straight and having a strong backside puts the pressure of being upright on your bones, where it belongs.  That lets your bones become strong.

And you can read about preventing osteoporosis with good posture (which you can create with the SimpleStrengthening exercises.)

I’m here to testify…

I kind of hate to admit it, but from time to time, I trip.

I had a lovely “trip” just a few days ago.  A five-point landing.  No one applauded, but I’m quite sure it was very impressive.

And, once again, I did not break any bones.

And, I am grateful.

How do I keep my bones strong and healthy?

Let me count the ways:

1.  Plenty of sunshine (creates vitamin D.)  Bones need vitamin D to absorb calcium from your food.  (D3 is the best type.)

Most people in the northern United States are deficient in Vitamin D.  This happens because you don’t get enough sunshine on your skin for one reason or another.  Your doctor can do a blood test to check if you are deficient, if you want.

A good time to get sunshine is while you are…

2.  Walking.  Walking is weight-bearing exercise.  So is being on your feet while you watch TV.

Instead of Continue reading “Strong Bones Bounce: Another Benefit of A Strong Backside”

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Easier, Safer Ways To Get Strong Abs Instead of Doing Sit-Ups

A physical therapist told me that the best way to strengthen abdominal muscles was just to “suck in your stomach and hold it,” several times.  And that does work, but when we want strong and flat abdominal muscles, we often think of sit-ups.

Here are a few reasons why they may not be the exercise-of-choice for you.

When you do sit-ups, it’s easy to aggravate your neck and upper back.  This can cause neck pain and or headaches.

Sit-ups strengthen the upper abdominals.  When the upper abs are tight, they can pull us into forward-head posture.  “Forward-head posture” means that when we are standing up, our head is in front of our body instead of over our shoulders.  Not good, for many reasons.

It’s easier and less potentially aggravating to strengthen your lower abdominals, instead.

This is how to get into position:  Start on your back with your knees bent and pointed toward the ceiling.  Lift, or move, your knees toward your head, so that your shins (lower legs) are perpendicular to the floor.  Now you are ready for the strengthening movement.

Note:  Your head will be resting comfortably and will never leave the floor during the movement.

This is how to do the movement:  Using only your lower ab muscles, not your legs or hips, move your knees closer to your chin.  That’s it.  Your tail bone may lift or roll slightly upward, off the floor or mat.  Go back to the position where your shins are perpendicular to the floor.  Repeat.

Isolating the lower abdominal muscles can be a very ‘interesting’ thing for a lot of people.  They want to do Continue reading “Easier, Safer Ways To Get Strong Abs Instead of Doing Sit-Ups”

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Does Exercise Get Rid of Migraines?

Is it actually possible that exercise can help get rid of your migraine headaches?

Yes, in many ways.

Often the muscles on the tops of your shoulders, the front and the back of your neck, and your jaw get tight.

They get tight because we are out of balance, muscularly.  We can often blame this on our chairs, car seats, couches and work positions.

Sometimes we can blame it on the way we are built, when we stand a certain way to hide parts of our bodies.

All those things can add up to poor posture for us, and poor posture with our head forward definitely is a major cause of head pain and migraine headaches.

So where does exercise come in?

If we strengthen the muscles in back of our neck, shoulders, back, glutes (butt), and thighs, we can develop the good posture that we had when we were little.

When we are upright, strong and straight, with good posture, we have much less head pain.  There is less strain on our necks and heads, fewer tight muscles around our shoulders and less pain!

As a bonus, we will feel better all over.  Our whole body will Continue reading “Does Exercise Get Rid of Migraines?”

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How Many Repetitions Should I Do For A New Movement Program?

After you have been in your exercise or movement program for a while, knowing how many repetitions of an exercise or movement you should do will become second nature to you.

You will feel good when your muscles are moving in the correct ways.

You will do the movements often, because it feels good.  You will be able to feel the benefits.  Your posture will be better.  You will have fewer headaches and backaches.  You will feel more powerful.

But, for starters, if moving is a new thing for you, do this:

Start with just one movement, or repetition.  It’s better to do one perfectly than a whole bunch poorly.

It’s better to understand the movement and to do it slowly and thoughtfully.  And, if you do only one rep, you won’t get sore and stop moving.

You can do “just one” three or four times during the course of the first day or two.

Do one in bed when you wake up.  Do one during the day, during the early evening, and then at bedtime.

By the third day, you can Continue reading “How Many Repetitions Should I Do For A New Movement Program?”

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What Causes Muscle Strain and Muscle Pain in Your Back?

If our muscles get out of balance – some too tense or tight, and others too loose or flacid – it is easy to have muscle strain.

Here is an example.  You may recognize this pain that lots of us experience:  The one on your back, between your spine and your shoulder blade.  If you are right-handed, it will be on your right side.

It feels like a knot, and almost feels like it is burning.  Do you know that pain?

Here is what happened.  The muscles in the front of your body, chest and arm, and probably your neck, become shorter and tighter.  This occurs because most of the time we hold our heads our arms in front of our bodies.   That makes the muscles in front become tight.

Unless you work to strengthen your back muscles, your tighter, stronger front muscles will win the body war.  They will make your body shorter in front and these shortened muscles will “pull” on the weaker muscles in your back.

Your back muscles are getting stretched because they are not as strong as your front muscles.  Your back muscles go into a type of contraction, or spasm, to keep from being damaged by further stretching.  The stretching strains the back muscles.

You feel the contraction as pain or burning.  Your body is complaining.  It says, “Please fix me!”

So, when an area is stretched for a long time, or overstretched, the result is muscle strain.

How can you fix this? Continue reading “What Causes Muscle Strain and Muscle Pain in Your Back?”

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Does Your Back Cause Your Headache Or Migraine?

When your head starts hurting, do you ever think about your back?

Do you wonder why your head is hurting?  Do you notice that your back aches, or feels tight, at or around the same time?  Are your shoulders tight, too?

Here’s how it works, in a nutshell.  If we get out of balance – if our posture gets out of neutral – then our back will start to complain.  If we are doing some form of poor posture, like slouching, our back won’t like it.  It gets overstretched.  The muscles in our back will then get tight, or contract, to keep from becoming way too overstretched.

Since our body is all one unit, when one area is tight it will pull on other areas.  When the tight back muscles pull on our shoulders, the shoulder muscles get tight, too.  And guess where the shoulders and back muscles pull?  Why, on your neck and head, of course.

And then you have a headache.

There is a simple solution to all of this.  All you have to do is correct your posture so you don’t get back strain or headaches.

It might not sound so simple to you, but it really is!  We used to be Continue reading “Does Your Back Cause Your Headache Or Migraine?”

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