Showing posts with label legs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label legs. Show all posts

Thursday, March 30, 2017

5 Essential Stretches for Happy Legs

After having a meniscectomy on my left knee (after two ACLs a lifetime ago), I rehabbed and returned to running and other fitness activities a little happy camper. About a year later, that same knee became very unhappy and for the longest time, I didn't know why. I could hike, run, yoga...and then out of the blue my knee would hurt. It got so bad that I stopped running.

It took many visits with my chiropractor and an osteopath to figure out what I should have known all along: Stretching is essential for happy legs (and knees)!

The muscles in my left leg are weaker because of my knee injury and therefore work harder. Working harder causes the muscles to tighten putting a strain on my joints ---> in my case my knee feels this directly. If I take the time to stretch the muscles, the tightness is reduced and the strain removed.

If you are like me and struggling to solve a pain issue and are not stretching enough, please try these 5 Essential Stretches for Happy Legs.

Here's how they look after a warmup walk to the plaza in my neighborhood.

Quad stretch - Standing upright I pull my leg behind me with the same side hand. While pulling my foot toward my butt and keeping my knee pointed down, I focus on keeping my hips forward. It is not my goal to touch my foot to my butt, but to feel the stretch on the front of my leg.

Hamstring stretch - Standing with the leg to be stretched a little ahead of me, I keep that leg straight while bending the other knee slowly. At the same time I lean forward at the hip keeping my chest up. While in the stretch I focus on keeping my hips back ---> when I make this adjustment, I instantly feel the difference in the stretch. This stretch can also be done with the leg elevated or better yet, laying down.

Glute stretch - While standing upright, I raise one leg and pull it toward my chest with both hands. While keeping my body still and hips forward, I pull my leg across my body until I feel the stretch. I try not to allow my upper body to twist.

Hip & glute stretch (aka standing pigeon pose) - I place my ankle just above the opposite knee and then sit back slowly. I try to sink as low as I can, keep my hips square and top knee flat to increase the stretch.

Calf stretches - There are two sets of calf muscles to stretch. The first stretch is most common. While standing I step one leg back and bend forward with the other. I keep the back leg straight and the foot on the ground for the entire stretch.

The second stretch is similar. I bring the same leg in a little closer and bend the knee to feel a little different stretch.

What I'm wearing: top, capris, shoes

These are the stretches that are working for me and helped get me back in my running shoes. I do them after every workout and sometimes in the middle of a workout.

PS -Always warm up your muscles before performing any type of stretching.

PPS - I am not a doctor. I am only sharing what has worked for me personally.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Todays Menu: Leg Workout + WIAW

It was a perfect morning to get outside for a little HIIT leg workout.

PS: I'm thinking about getting another pair of these amazing flip flops
because they really do feel like I'm walking on a yoga mat. But what color???

Just kidding! That photo is from later in the day because it was a patio kind of day.

Back to that workout --->

On the menu today was lower body resistance and even though my legs were still feeling sore from the last time, I shrugged my shoulders and pressed the start button. My legs felt pretty good during the workout, but it was another tough one.

Two circuits. Four exercises. 7 minutes. 30 seconds rest between circuits. Complete each circuit 2X. 10 minute cool down stretch.

Circuit 1: medicine ball squats, static lunges, jump rope, knee ups
Circuit 2: squats jumps, walking lunges, burpees, weighted step ups

The best - everything was working on squat jumps today. I was feeling powerful, my legs were strong and my knee was happy.

The worst - not a fan of lunges and today it was doubled with two types: 15 static on each side and 24 walking (12 on each side). BTW, that smile is so fake.

Bonus workout --> stair repeats (I was really doing laundry) plus an afternoon walk with mrC added another 1.4 miles to our weekly total.

What I Ate Wednesday:

What was on your menu today?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Leg Workout and Getting Settled

There is always a ton of things to do when we return from an extended trip away.

Turn the water and gas back on in the apartment
Restock the fridge
Order water bottles for delivery
Sort the mail and newspapers
Unpack and do laundry

I took full advantage of the comfortable morning weather for an outdoor workout. It won't be long before the high temps and humidity make this option less appealing. mrC and I found a nice little area with a breeze to do our thing.

It was all about leg strength using body weight. I could still feel some soreness from my last full body workout, but I was able to do most of the exercises. I only had to modify one that bothered my knee. And holy squat jumps and lunge jumps! My legs were jello! I don't even know how I was able to do a 20 minute walk after.

That was a nice amount of calories burned for a twenty-ish minute workout.

My grocery order arrived right on time. It is seriously convenient! This order was filled with mostly fruits and veggies (and a little Coke zero for my occasional caffeine craving).

When I had a chance, I took all the separate lettuce that I bought (iceberg, romaine, and red leaf) and created a little DIY mixed salad just like I buy pre-made in the US. I'm all about convenience.

What I ate for Regular Calorie Day

Breakfast: scrambled eggs with ham, pb&j rice cake, and coffee
mrC made this post workout breakfast for us. The eggs were extra good with the addition of Jane's Crazy Mixed Up Seasoning that I brought back with me. 

Lunch: dairy free protein smoothie, 3 turkey slices
This is my nice and pretty smoothie but before this it was a mad mess all over the kitchen walls. Long story short: stick with what works. Smoothie ingredients: frozen blueberries, frozen raspberries, almond milk, coconut oil, spinach and protein powder.

For the protein powder, I tried another sample from Naked Nutrition. I admit that I am partial to whey protein, but this brand has so many positives that make it stand out from others I have tried: one ingredient only, gluten free, non-GMO, grass fed in the USA. It's worth the money in my opinion.

Dinner: spicy chicken salad, water
I put that DIY salad to use. The only thing I forgot to buy was dairy free dressing, so I splurged with the Ranch that was in the fridge. 

Snack: grapes
I only ate these to try to increase my carb intake for the day. It didn't help much and I wish I had been hungrier so that I could've enjoyed them more.

I was way under my total calories goal for the day (but not hungry) and my macros were not quite up to par either. 

Tomorrow I get another try at it. 

Ever watched your smoothie ingredients fly across the room??

Today I'm linking up with & 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Workout Wednesday: Lunge Jumps

For a while now, I have been working on building my leg strength. After tweaking my hamstring last summer and then finding out I tore my meniscus, my left quad muscle has weakened.

Last week I did lunge jumps as part of a challenge and could really feel my quads working. There are two ways to do this exercise:

1. Stand with your feet together, hands on your hips or at your side for balance. Lunge forward with your right foot. Jump straight up. Switch legs in midair, like a scissor, and land in a lunge with your left leg forward. Repeat, switching legs again. That's 1 rep; do 10. Repeat 3x

2. Stand with your feet together, hands on your hips or at your side for balance. Lunge forward with your right foot. Jump straight up landing on the same leg. Repeat 10x. Switch legs and repeat 10x. That's one set; do 3.

Lunge jumps work the hip flexors, glutes, and quads. It's another great no equipment needed exercise that you can do anywhere.

What is your favorite leg strength exercise?