Exercises

Improve your lower back and knee health with the Pigeon Pose Exercise

Pigeon Pose is an excellent stretch to open your hips and increase mobility.
Increased hip mobility is directly related to improved lower back and knee health!
This pose helps to increase the length of the hip flexors/adductors/gluteal muscles all which can become tight with prolonged periods of sitting.
  • Begin on your hands and knees in the quadruped position (table position).
  • Bring your right knee between your hands, placing your right ankle near your left wrist. Extend your left leg behind you so your kneecap and the top of your foot rest on the floor.
  • Press through your fingertips as you lift your torso away from your thigh. Lengthen the front of your body. Release your tailbone back toward your heels. Work on squaring your hips and the front side of your torso to the front of your mat.
  • Draw down through your front-leg shin and balance your weight evenly between your right and left hips. Press down through the tops of all five toes of the back foot.
  • Hold for up to one minute.
  • To release the pose, tuck your back toes, lift your back knee off the mat, and then press yourself back into hands and knee position.
  • Repeat on the opposite side, 2-3x per side.

Be careful of New Year’s Resolutions to exercise more!

Many people start new exercise programs as part of their New Year’s Resolution to lose weight, but be careful!  A rushed reconditioning program may find you injured instead.  Doing new exercises with repetitive stress being placed on the muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments and bones may find you more susceptible to sprains, pulled muscles, fractures, shin splints and other injuries.  Proper technique and form can reduce the risk of injury and decrease muscle tension and weakness. NMR uses a functional movement assessment that finds the weak link or physical imbalances within primary movement patterns.  By utilizing the results of this assessment, NMR can help you meet your weight and exercise goals by building your strength, endurance and flexibility by developing an individualized treatment program which takes into consideration your body’s specific needs.

Start the new year and your new exercise regimen healthy, stronger and safe! 
Try this exercise to strengthen and tone your abdominals, core,
glutes, thighs and shoulders.

Plank-croppedPlanks strengthen and tone abdominals, core, glutes, thighs and shoulders.

Starting position: Forearms on the floor, palms down, shoulders and head neutral.  Legs extended.

Exercise:  Firmly brace abdominals; tighten quads (thigh), squeeze glutes. Slightly tuck pelvis under to protect the low back.  Hold for 30 seconds.

CAUTION:  DO NOT ALLOW LOW BACK TO SAG OR SHOULDERS TO SHRUG.

Static Back is an excellent exercise to perform for low back pain and discomfort.

Static Back is an excellent exercise to perform for lower back pain and discomfort. 
Static back is the ideal position for the bones and joints in the lower back and hips. When the hips and knees are elevated at a 90 degree angle the lower back joints are in a maximally open position. This open position allows for all of the structures in the lower back to relax by minimizing the amount of load and strain present.
Static Back places the shoulders in the same plane of motion as the hips and allows the muscles of the low back to release gradually and passively using your own body weight and gravity. Static Back also engages the hip flexors and encourages mid spine extension. This posture enables your upper back to begin to open up against the flat surface of the floor.
While in this position it is crucial to breathe deeply through the belly. Belly breathing, or Diaphragmatic Breathing, in this position cues your diaphragm (the main muscle involved in breathing) to activate! Improved activation of your diaphragm leads to increased core stability, improved lung function, improved posture, relaxation of tight muscles throughout the body and decreased levels of pain!


Static Back Exercise:  Start on your back with a 90 degree angle at your hips and at your knees. When performing this at home you can use an ottoman, stack of towels, pillows, or box. Once in this position hold it for a minimum of
5 minutes. Breathe deep throughout the exercise.  Learn Diaphragmatic Breathing to relax the body & mind.

Diaphragmatic Breathing naturally relaxes the mind and body.

Diaphragmatic breathing naturally
relaxes the mind and body. 

This practice is designed to calm your nervous system. The purpose of this practice is to decrease your ‘fight or flight’ response, or your sympathetic arousal, and reduce muscle tension caused by your response to stress.
When we feel pain or stress our instant unconscious reaction is to hold our breath.  Diaphragmatic breathing helps to eliminate shallow chest breathing that is common when we feel stressed or are in pain.  This technique encourages full exhalation and inhalation.
Practice reducing your response to stress by breathing “3:5” pace. Inhale for a count of 3 seconds, pause naturally and then exhale for a count of 5 seconds. Repeat this breathing pace while doing the Static Back Stretch.
  1. Lie on the floor face up with knees slightly bent.
  2. Place one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest.
  3. Concentrate on breathing using the diaphragm, not using the chest, and feeling the stomach rise as the lungs fill from the bottom.
  4. Let the stomach fall naturally when breathing out by relaxing the diaphragm.
Diaphragmatic breathing is used to reduce the arousal (startle) response to stress and release endorphins which are the body’s natural feel good pain killers.
Try this breathing exercise in the seated and standing position.

Chin Tuck exercises for combating neck pain and improving posture.

Chin tuck exercises are most effective postural exercises for combating neck pain and improving posture. This exercise strengthens muscles that improve cervical spine alignment over the shoulders,  it also stretches the scalene and suboccipital muscles (muscles that attach to the back of the head). Consciously activating deep neck muscles can aid in reducing headaches and improving blood flow to the brain!

ChinTuck

Chin Tuck
While lying on your back, tuck your chin towards your chest and press the back of your head into the floor.
Keep your head in contact with the ground throughout the exercise.

 

 

Chin tuck Neck RetractionCervical Spine Retraction
While either standing or sitting, start by placing your thumb in the notch in your neck and your index finger in front of your chin. Next, draw your chin straight back in towards your neck. Hold this position for the designated amount of time and then repeat.

Natural Medicine & Rehabilitation

West End Physical Therapy, 10-12 West End Court, 2nd Floor, Long Branch, NJ 07740 | Phone 732.222.7799

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