Get Your Physical Health on Track for the New Year
The new year is full of new beginnings. We try to establish new routines, pull ourselves out of bad habits, and forge a new path for our physical health. For many people, finding healing in their bodies means more than simply changing their diet and exercising more. Some of us have long left physical ailments or discomforts unaddressed, and the new year is the perfect time to give our bodies the care they deserve and get our health back on track. As part of your resolution, we can teach you how to modify your exercises to help you make the most of them. Some of the general statements we recommend telling yourself when it comes to your health in the new year include:
- I will be mindful of the pain in my body and work to protect myself from further injury.
- I will monitor my breathing and range of motion so I can stay in touch with my body’s trigger points.
- I will make it a habit to stretch regularly.
- I will work to be aware of my posture and practice better posture.
- I will follow a regular exercise program that is in accordance with my body’s needs.
How a Physical Therapist Can Help with Your Regular Exercise Program
Your body has been through a unique journey unlike anyone else’s. Nobody else has experienced what your body has, so why should your exercise program fall in line with the rest? Starting a new exercise program is a wonderful idea with good intentions, but if you go in blindly, you risk worsening some health issues that you might not be aware of and exercising in a way that is not ideal for your individual body type. At ProFysio Physical Therapy, we can help with this through patient education, therapeutic activity, and home exercise programs. One of the philosophies that guides our treatment is our commitment to providing collaborative care that considers the patient’s whole-body health. Because we are a Direct Access facility, patients do not need a physician’s prescription to start physical therapy. More and more patients are becoming interested in Telerehab and at-home exercise programs. Some of the most popular types of physical therapy exercises that can be done at home include:
- Simple stretches
If you are looking for a simple but powerful way to make positive changes for your body in the new year, stretching is a great place to begin. Your body will see many positive changes when you begin to stretch regularly. For example, stretching increases your flexibility, range of motion, increases blood flow, improves performance and posture, and helps prevent bodily pains. Just a few of the best stretches are:
- Hamstrings stretches
Stretching your hamstrings is a great way to increase flexibility and improve range of motion in the hip. This can help you better recover from daily tasks and complete them with greater ease.
- Piriformis stretches
The piriformis muscle is a small muscle located in the buttock area. Even though it is small, it can have a large impact on pain levels if it is irritated. It can cause numbness and tingling along the back of the leg and into the foot and irritate the sciatic nerve. There are a few different ways to stretch this small but mighty muscle, and most of them can be done at home. One method is to lie on the back with the feet flat on the floor and the knees bent. Then, pull the right knee up to the chest, grasp the knee with the left hand, and pull it towards the left shoulder. Another way is to lie on the back with both feet flat on the floor and both knees bent. Next, rest the ankle of the right leg over the knee of the left leg and pull the left thigh towards the chest.
- Hip flexor stretches
It is a common misconception that the hip flexor itself is an exercise rather than a body part. Actually, you have hip flexors, and they are the group of muscles towards the front of the hips. To stretch the hip flexor, kneel on your right knee and place your left foot on the floor and drive your hip forward. Performing this stretch will allow you to turn on your glutes, improve performance, and reduce your chances of becoming injured in the long run.
- Strengthening exercises
When we think about strengthening, we often think of hitting the gym and using the weights. The truth is that strengthening can often be done at home without the fancy equipment. Below are some ways you can strengthen your muscles and make your body stronger in the long run:
- Straight leg raises
To do a straight leg raise, lie on your back, bend your right knee, and keep your left foot planted. Next, point the toes of your left foot toward the ceiling and slowly lift your left leg to a 45-degree angle, lower it, and repeat. This exercise is great for the muscles in your quadriceps and hip flexors.
To do a bridge pose, lie on your back with your knees bent and with your feet close to the buttocks and slightly wider than hip distance apart. Next, squeeze your gluteal muscles to slowly raise the pelvis up from the floor, keep the knees aligned over your ankles. Hold this position for a few seconds, and repeat. Bridges are a successful way to stretch the chest, neck, and spine, and this pose also stimulates abdominal organs, lungs, and thyroid, and has a variety of other benefits.
This pose might make you feel like a creature of the sea, but you can do it from the comfort of your own home! The clamshell exercise works to strengthen your medial glutes and bring more power and stability to your hips. To do this exercise, lie on your left side with your bent arm supporting your head. Slowly raise your right knee from the left side, keeping your ankles together. Next, lower back to the starting position and repeat on each side.
Whether you prefer to do your exercises at home, or are looking to find the source of body pain, ProFysio Physical Therapy will help you get on the right track for the new year. Call us at (732) 812-5200 or contact us online to get started today.