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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Considering Walking for Knee Pain Relief? Walking Will Help Your Knee Pain

I was starting to have “crabby” knees, and decided I had to do something about it.

I remembered working with a man who had severe damage to both knees.  He told me he could walk without pain, even on stairs, as long as he kept the muscles around his knees strong.  He did this with machine weight training.

I thought about him, and decided maybe I could strengthen my legs by walking.

So I began my “serious” walking program, and I have noticed lots of benefits already.  Several are benefits that I wasn’t quite expecting and am very pleased with.

I would have said before that I “walked,” but really, it was more like strolling, stopping to smell the flowers on the way.

So I decided I had better get serious.

I started walking as fast as I could while still able to breathe and talk.  In time, I could walk even farther and faster, with fewer breaks.

I already knew how to let my arms swing from my shoulders (thumbs forward, like shaking hands) and to hold my chest high.  I knew how to “roll” my foot from heel to toe.

So, off I went.

When I started just three weeks ago I had several reasons for walking.

  • I’m going on a hiking trip and wanted to be able to easily keep up.
  • I wanted to strengthen my heart with aerobic activity, but I hate bouncing around.
  • My doctor asks me, “What are you doing for aerobic exercise?”  I always tell her I do massage all day long, but she doesn’t buy it.
  • I wanted to drop a few pounds.

But, most importantly,

  • I wanted my knees to have less discomfort.  I noticed they were starting to be painful and creaky when moving to a standing position from a seat.
  • One day I realized my knees weren’t quite “working right” when I wanted to get up from the floor.  I wanted to; they didn’t.  I didn’t like that, either.

Here are the benefits I have already received from my walking program.

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Pain Between Your Shoulder Blades? How To Get Rid Of Shoulder Blade Pain

If I were to ask you what causes the pain between your shoulder blades, what would you say?

Would you tell me the cause was stress? Overwork? Old age? Arthritis? Or from your nerves or bones?

Would you be surprised if I told you that the cause was most likely…in most cases…muscles?

But not any old muscles.

Overstretched muscles cause most back pain, especially pain between the shoulder blades.

Pain between your shoulder blades and spine can be on both sides or just one side, depending on how you use your body. Some people only get pain on the dominant side, which means if they are right-handed, the right side of their back will hurt.

When our muscles are continually overstretched, like our back muscles are when we have “forward head” posture, they have to react. If they did not react, the muscles would tear and we would be unable to function.

So, instead of tearing, the muscles “splint” themselves.

They become taut and protect themselves from being damaged or ripping off the bone. (Although that can happen in extreme cases.)

When your muscles become taut (think of a rope being pulled from both ends that can’t relax because no one will let go) they become less able to function fully.

They also become crabby.

The overstretched muscles are working way too hard. They are not working the way they were designed to work. Muscles are supposed to Continue reading “Pain Between Your Shoulder Blades? How To Get Rid Of Shoulder Blade Pain”

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Hip Pain – Can It Be Helped With Strengthening Or Is It Arthritis?

If a doctor looked at an x-ray of any one of us, he or she would say, “Oh, you have arthritis.”
When the doctor can see bony changes in an x-ray, the assumption is that’s the reason for our hip pain as well as any other complaints we have.

Well, maybe.  Maybe not.

We all have changes in our bones and joints that show up on x-rays.  Do we all have pain?

No.

But when a doctor can see something that could be the cause of pain, they usually figure that it is the cause.

“Oh, you just have arthritis.  You will have to live with it.”

Well, maybe.  Maybe not.

Large powerful muscles pass over our hip joint.  These muscles allow us to move our leg.  The hip joint occurs where our thigh bones connect to our pelvic bones.

Those large muscles can get overstretched from crossed-leg positions, overstressed from pressure like sleeping on our sides or car seats pressing on them, or tight from overuse or overstretch.

Your plan is to get back into balance and out of pain.

There are four sides to your hip joint.  Front of your leg, back of your leg, inside of your thigh and outer side of your thigh.  The outside of your thigh–your hip joint–is likely where you feel your pain.

Here’s the plan of attack. Continue reading “Hip Pain – Can It Be Helped With Strengthening Or Is It Arthritis?”

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Simple Strengthening Tip #4 – Shin Muscles

Shins?  Why on earth would you need to have strong shins muscles?  Here’s why.

1.  Strong shin muscles create balance between your strong calves and the front of your lower leg.

2.  They help prevent charley-horses, or cramps, in your calves.

3.   They help create balanced posture.  A balanced body has less pain.

4.   And, I can’t say for sure, but it might even help prevent shin splints (a painful condition from overuse.)

It is so easy to get strong shin muscles.

Sit, stand or lay down.  Lift your toes up.  Lift them closer to the front of your knee.

Imagine you are trying Continue reading “Simple Strengthening Tip #4 – Shin Muscles”

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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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Simple Strengthening Tip #3 for Upper Back Pain Relief

There is a reason for your upper back pain.

Most of the time we hold our shoulders in a forward position.  Our head and shoulders are in front of our body during virtually all of our activities.

As a result, the muscles in our back get overstretched.  Then those muscles hurt and complain.  They don’t like being overstretched.

Strengthening your upper back will help prevent having pain in your shoulders.  Here’s a simple way to get a strong back.  And, the best part of it is, you can do it lying down!

So, get comfortable on your bed.  Lay on your back.

Gently press your shoulder blades into your bed.  Press them toward your spine.

Can you feel your shoulder blades (scapulae) moving?  If you’re not used to moving your blades, it may take some practice to get them to move and to feel them moving.   Rolling Continue reading “Simple Strengthening Tip #3 for Upper Back Pain Relief”

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Simple Strengthening Tip #2 – Pumping to Strengthen Your Backside

The first time I watched an exercise video that used small pumping movements I thought, “ha! That won’t do anything.”

I tried it and as I followed along, I thought, “ha! This isn’t doing anything.”

I was wrong.  So very, very wrong.

I was so sore the next day.  Those simple little pumping movements create a lot of muscle activity, quickly.

Since the muscles we most need to build are those in back of our body, those are the ones we’ll talk about.  These are the muscles that hold us upright, straight and strong.

Here’s how to use these simple little pumping movements.

To strengthen the back side of your upper arm:  Lift your elbow slightly so it is behind you.  Squeeze your shoulder blades a bit toward your spine.

Now, lift your elbow just a little bit more, then go back to your starting point. Lift, lift, lift, lift.  Each pumping movement is that quick.  You can do both arms at the same time.

To strengthen the backside of your thigh and gluteals (buttocks):

Lift Continue reading “Simple Strengthening Tip #2 – Pumping to Strengthen Your Backside”

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Simple Strengthening Tip #1 – Neck Pain Relief

Do you have neck pain?

There are many causes for neck pain, but here is a very common cause and a simple strengthening solution.

Often our heads get “stuck” in a forward position.  This happens because of the way we hold our head for long periods.  The muscles both in front and in back of our necks can cause distress for us.

The front/side neck muscles attach from collar bone at the “notch” to our skull behind our ears.  The back neck muscles attach to our skull.

When we are in this “forward head” position, the muscles in the back of our neck can get weak and overstretched.

Here is a simple tip to strengthen the muscles in the back of our neck.  When these muscles are strong, they help us hold our head upright.

  1. Lie on your back.  Your bed is fine.  Use no pillow or the flattest pillow possible for your comfort (only if you absolutely need to.)
  2. Rock your head slowly by Continue reading “Simple Strengthening Tip #1 – Neck Pain Relief”
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Simple Strengthening for Your Shoulders to Relieve Shoulder Pain

All day long we are very often stuck in one position.  Our shoulders get tired and ache.

If we are a new mom, the position we are stuck in might be holding our baby.  If we work at a desk, it could be leaning over the desk.  If we are a mechanic or line worker or cook, it is using our hands in front of us all day while we look at our work or project.

So, our shoulders and heads get “stuck” in front of us.

Our poor back suffers as a result.  Muscles don’t like being in that position.

To lift your head, pretend a hook is pulling you skyward.  The hook is attached to your breastbone, near the top of your chest.

To do really nice things for your shoulders, lift them up and roll them back and down.  Since our shoulders are in front of our bodies all day, instead of out to our sides where they belong, moving them backward – toward our spine – is a good counter-move for them.

Lifting and rolling our shoulders back and down does several good things Continue reading “Simple Strengthening for Your Shoulders to Relieve Shoulder Pain”

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