The Cause of Internet and TV Addiction?
Note: This information is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. Before starting an exercise program, consult a physician.
· "Can they flatten a protruding gut or remove inches of flab from the waistline? No. (See 'Sit-Ups: No Cure for Ab Flab' below.)
· But when done properly, sit-ups help tone the muscles in your midsection, which can help protect your back as well asimprove your physique.
· When done wrong, however, sit-ups can be a waste of time--and possibly even harmful."
"Although toned abdominal muscles may look attractive, they actually serve a very important role in helping to stabilize the back. When abdominal muscles are strong they can help stabilize the pelvis and lumbar spine when the hips flex by preventing an increase in lumbar lordosis."
· "Sit-ups also can be hazardous to your lower back, especially when using the straight-leg variety, which arches the back and may create overextension and strain.
· Twisting (right elbow to left knee and vice versa) at the top of the sit-up movement is not only useless, it placestremendous rotational stress on the lower back that can lead to injury [if done incorrectly].
· When doing sit-ups, never push through back pain. Stop immediately at even the slightest twinge in the lower back."
Things to Consider
· "When doing these exercises be conscientious about your form and technique.
· If you experience back pain, these exercises may not be ideal for you and you should discontinue the exercises.
· Be conscious of your posture, whether sitting or standing, use your abs to keep your back straight."
'Ab-solutely Excellent' Sit-Ups
NISMAT (physical therapy web site)
"To train and strengthen the abdominal muscles so that they may help to stabilize the back and pelvis, different exercises consisting of different movements must be done to target each muscle."
NISMAT: Pelvic Tilt
"This exercise is a subtle movement that will teach you the correct position your back should be in when doing abdominal exercises [see photo].
· Begin by lying on your back on a mat with your knees bent.
· Tighten your stomach and flatten your back into the floor. Your feet should remain flat on the floor while you hold this position for six seconds.
· Slowly release and roll back to the original position.
· 1 set of 10"
· "Lie on your back on a mat with knees bent, feet hip width apart and flat on the floor [see photo].
· Rest your hands behind your head.
· Tighten your stomach and lift your shoulder blades off the floor. Exhale as you lift up and hold for a count of two.
· Slowly lower down to the floor while inhaling.
· Do not pull your head up with your hands, leave your fingers resting lightly on your head [avoid stretching the neck muscles].
· 1 set of 20"
NISMAT: Reverse Curl/Crunch
· "Lie on your back on a mat with fingertips behind your head [see photo].
· Raise legs in the air with hips and knees both bent to 90 deg. (shins should be parallel to the floor).
· Simultaneously pull hips off the floor while contracting abdominals in a slow motion. Hold for two seconds and release.
· 20 reps"
NISMAT: Oblique Twist
· "Lie on your back on a mat with both knees bent at a 90 deg. angle (shins should be parallel to the floor) [see photo].
· Fingertips behind the head and elbows pointed out.
· Extend right leg out while pulling left leg in toward your chest. Simultaneously raise your shoulders and twist your trunk so your right shoulder approaches your left knee. Hold for one second then repeat with opposite side.
· Alternate for twenty reps (2 twists equals one rep)"
"The following exercises can be performed two or three times a week to strengthen leg muscles and create muscle balance. Do these after your walk (or other aerobic exercise) when muscles are warmed up. DO NOT lock your knees."
Forward Head Posture
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Upper Extremity and Neck Flexibility
Note: Swiss balls are also commonly referred to as exercise balls and physio balls.
“The exercise ball has additional applications in areas such as
· general fitness,
· strength or weight training, and
· exercise for pregnant women.”
Reducing Back Pain, Strengthening Core Body Muscles
“The exercise ball - also called a Swiss ball or physio ball - is a conservative treatment option for back pain sufferers and is designed to help prevent further episodes of low back pain as part of a rehabilitation program. The exercise ball is effective in rehabilitation of the back because it helps strengthen and develop the core body muscles that help to stabilize the spine.
With the exercise ball, an element of instability is introduced to the exercise that one would not normally get in a floor exercise. The body responds naturally and automatically to this instability to keep balanced on the exercise ball. Over time, the muscles used to keep in balance on the Swiss [exercise] ball become stronger. In essence, individuals build strength in important back muscles and abdominal muscles without knowing it.”
“The benefits of physio [exercise] ball exercise for people with low back pain include:
“The exercise ball also uses what is called ‘proprioception,’ an awareness of where one’s hand, or foot, is in relationship to space. The instability of the exercise ball provides the body with constant opportunities to evaluate its orientation in space, developing and training the body’s natural awareness. Enhanced proprioception provides the body with increased balance and stability.”
“In addition, it is theorized that the type of spinal movement induced by using the exercise ball (small range, adjustment of balance) may help reduce pain by stimulating the body to produce increased amounts of natural pain inhibitors [endorphins?; also helps to rehydrate the spine?].”
Choosing the Right Size
“A general guideline for height correspondence to diameter of exercise ball is as follows (this is assuming average body weight is proportional to height):
· If body weight to height is larger than the average proportion, sitting on the exercise ball will compress it down more, so individuals usually should try using the next larger exercise ball size in order to maintain the 90-degree rule [knees should be level or slightly lower than the pelvis].
· Another factor to keep in mind is that most exercise ball sizes have some adjustability to them. If the angles at the hips and knees are much greater than 90 degrees, some air can be released to compensate and vice versa.”
Pelvic Floor Exercises
Note: The following excerpt is from an article concerning incontinence. It recommends pelvic floor exercises for incontinence, but there are also other benefits of pelvic floor exercises as well.
“As well as getting advice from a physio [a physiotherapist],
· Try short spells on a mini trampoline (just move weight from one foot to the other - don't jump) or
· If you are not steady enough for that try sitting on an exercise ball and gently bouncing.
Make sure you have something handy to steady yourself. Both of these will give you gentle all-over exercise (i.e. internal and external) for all your muscles [core muscles] without wearing you out.”
Note: Pelvic isolation/rocks can be done (as described within this section) by rocking back-and-forth, by rocking side-to-side, or by slowly shifting your weight around in a circular motion. This symmetry of movement is important because it prevents muscular imbalances (e.g. if you only rocked forward then your abdominal muscles would become stronger than your lower back muscles, causing a muscular imbalance).
· “Pelvic rocks are actually an extension of the camel/cat exercise described above [additional info and pictures can be found on linked page below]; however, they are not limited to just one plane of movement.
· Rehabilitation specialist, Paul Chek, recommends this series of exercises as a method to pump fresh fluid through the spinal discs to nourish the tissues [rehydration?].
· Pelvic rocks involve forward & backward, side-to-side, and circular movements on the Swiss ball.
· The goal with this (and any other active warm-up for that matter) is to gradually increase speed and range of motion. Basically, cue ‘further’ and ‘faster’ to your clients as they progress. If practiced enough, they may even improve their dancing skills!”
· “Rock back-and-forth - Sit on the exercise ball with arms to the sides or on hips. Slowly do a pelvic tilt, pulling stomach muscles in and moving hips slightly toward the front to flatten the small of the back (reduce lordosis) (see Figure 3). Return to the neutral position on the exercise ball. Arch small of the back slightly and move hips slightly toward the back. Return to neutral position on the exercise ball. When comfortable with these movements on the Swiss ball, do them continuously back and forth for 10 repetitions.
· Rock side-to-side - Sit on the exercise ball with arms to the sides or on hips. Slowly shift weight slightly to the right. Return to the neutral position. Slowly shift weight to the left. Return to neutral position on the exercise ball. When comfortable with these movements, do them continuously side to side for 10 repetitions.
· Circles - A more advanced exercise for the Swiss ball, start in the front/pelvic tilt position and slowly shift weight around in a circular motion, 3 times clockwise and 3 times counterclockwise.”
Advice for People with Back Pain
“The exercise ball…is a versatile piece of exercise equipment available to help people with back pain. In particular, many Swiss ball exercises are designed to bring movement to the spine in a controlled manner to help keep the discs nourished. Moving the vertebrae helps nourish the discs in the spine by increasing blood flow around the disc and by causing the water to flow in and out of the disc.”
For all forms of exercise, it is advisable to see an appropriately trained and licensed
· physical therapist,
· occupational therapist,
· exercise physiologist or
· physical medicine and rehabilitation physician (also called a physiatrist).
Depending on the specific diagnosis and level of pain, the exercises with the ball will be very different, and appropriately trained spine specialists (e.g. certified in exercise ball technique) play a critical role in both developing the right exercise program and providing instruction on correct form and technique. Additionally, the local gym or fitness center is often a good place to find an individual certified in exercise ball technique. The National Strength and Conditioning Association also has videos, CDs, and books of exercises. A certified individual, video, or book will also be able to provide helpful information in terms of which muscles are being utilized and which muscles are necessary to achieve specific goals with the exercise ball.
The difficulty of exercises with the Swiss ball will vary for each person and will challenge areas of inflexibility. Typically, a physical therapist or other spine specialist will have the patient start using an exercise ball with small, gentle movements…”
Inflating your Swiss Ball
“Note the ball's maximum diameter (height off the floor) - this information is printed on the ball. Before inflating, measure and mark the ball's maximum diameter on a door or wall. You will inflate the exercise ball according to size, not pressure.”
Excessive Exercise and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
High-Risk Exercises: About High-Risk Exercises
"Research has shown that many exercises are contraindicated [inadvisable] and may do more harm than good. All of the exercises listed below [see page] cause degenerative effects over time. Depending on the student's physical condition, some students may be injured immediately. The most vulnerable areas, are
· the neck,
· the knees, and
· the back.
Here is a list of specific exercises that can be dangerous and should be avoided."
Navy Elementary School: Risky Exercises and Unsafe Practices in Exercise (cached by Google)
· "Full Neck Circles [see photo]
Rolling the head back arches the neck, and causes hyperextension and compression of the cervical [neck] spine which can result in nerve damage.
· Plough [see photo]
Lying on the back, lifting the legs up over the head and then lowering them behind the head causes undue weight on the spine and cervical vertebrae. The inverted bicycling and shoulder stand are also dangerous.
· Curl-Ups [see photo]
Done with hands behind the neck pulls on and strains neck muscles."
Navy Elementary School: Risky Exercises and Unsafe Practices in Exercise (cached by Google)