New England Baptist Hospital is internationally recognized for its intensive exercise-based outpatient spine physical therapy program, often referred to as “boot camp”. In this program, NEBH physical therapists educate and instruct people with chronic neck and back pain to safely return to exercise again to help reduce pain and return to their life. Although this innovative approach has generally been associated with issues related to orthopedic spine pain, it applies to all orthopedic injuries.
Studies have shown that exercise is not only very important for overall health, but also for joint health and overall mobility. For those living with orthopedic issues, pain and reduced mobility can lead people to wonder what exercises are safe to do, and if it is safe at all to exercise. With that thought in mind, we have put together some basic exercises that everyone can do to help keep them moving into the New Year.
These four exercises strengthen the key muscle groups that provide the strength and stability to your hips and knees, which is important for a healthy and active lifestyle. These muscles include your quadriceps, hips, and your gluteus (muscles of the buttocks). The quadriceps extend and stabilize the knee; while your gluteus and hip abductors (muscle on the side of your hips) extend and stabilize your hips. An added benefit to having strong legs and hips is that it helps take the strain off your back.
As with any new exercise program, you might want to consult with your doctor before starting it, if you have any health concerns. Keep in mind that when you start any new exercises, you may experience delayed onset muscle soreness, which usually sets in 24-48 hours after you do the exercises and is a normal outcome.
The four exercises:
Bridges: Lay on you back with your knees bent and your arms folded across your chest. Using your gluteus maximus (buttocks) muscles, lift your hips off the ground. Hold for 3 seconds and slowly lower yourself back down.
Clamshells: Lay on your side with your legs stacked, and knees and hips bent. Lift the top knee away from the bottom without your feet losing contact, then slowly lower the knee down. You should feel this exercise where your back pants pocket would be. This exercise woks your gluteus medius, and deep hip rotators.
Knee Extensions: Start sitting with your legs hanging off a chair, bed, or couch. Using the quadriceps muscles in the front of your thigh; kick your foot up until your knee is straight. Hold for 2 seconds, then, lower your foot down for a 3 second count.
Squats: This exercise combines the previous three exercises into one excellent functional exercise. Stand with your feet about hip and shoulder width apart. Bend your trunk slightly forward. Bend your knees allowing your weight to shift through your heels-think like you are sitting down on a chair. Go only as low as you feel safe and pain free. To come up, use your quadriceps and buttocks to return to a standing position.
Remember-always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.
If you would like to make an appointment with one of our physical therapists, please call 617-754-5069.