At-home Exercises For Retired People

At-home exercises for retired people can be an efficient way to bridge the gap between health and comfort. After spending years laboring hard in the work-force, spending time commuting and sitting behind desks or working long hours on the floor it can be a blessing to be able to enjoy the comfort of one’s home. Comfort can at times get in the way of the regular exercise our bodies need in order to stay physically as well as mentally fit.

Dr. David Irvine has extensive experience treating patients who suffer from joint and tendon disease which can sometimes occur due to lack of sufficient resistance exercises. Let’s spend some time and talk about how an active retired person can remain healthy by following a few exercises at home, whether in the comfort of the living room or braving the outdoors.

How does inactivity lead to weaker joints and tendons?

Looking at the human body one might think that the parts make up the whole. However, unlike a car, the body doesn’t have components which can be treated as stand-alone parts. The knee, for example, requires adequate muscle mass in the hamstrings, gluteus muscles as well as the calves in order to protect it during exercise or even when going for a walk.

Strength is not the only factor, tendons are part of the equation as well, requiring adequate elasticity in order to allow proper movement of the knee-joint. Weak tendons can allow for unstable motions of the knee and if in turn these structures are too tight they may cause excess wear and tear of the sensitive joint surfaces.

In medicine we have learned that a sedentary lifestyle inevitably will lead to decreased muscle mass and tighter tendon structures. The main reason for this is nerve stimulation, the lack of which decreases the blood supply to these structures causing them to become less important to the body which in turn causes degeneration – or simply put, if you don’t use it, you might lose it.

Combining daily indoor activities with exercise

You likely have common daily routines at home which may offer some relaxation such as listening to podcasts, reading a magazine or watching entertainment/news on TV. Combining exercise with such activities is the most efficient way to get mental as well as physical stimulation.

  • Stand at the kitchen counter with you feet close together, flex your calves and raise your heels off the floor and lower your weight down to a count of 5 seconds.
  • When seated on that comfy couch raise one leg at a time up to the level of your pelvis and lower it down and repeat with the other leg.
  • When listening to your favorite podcast or news source stand with your feet at arm’s-length away from the wall and gently lower your weight into the wall, performing a standing push-up.
  • Don’t forget that cleaning your home manually is an exercise by itself. A good rubdown of the counters and that circular polishing motion of the interior mirrors will definitely get your heart pumping and provide a wonderful upper body resistance exercise.
  • A couple of inexpensive 10-lb dumbbells should be used to perform biceps curls by standing erect with arms at your sides while flexing the biceps and bringing the weights to your shoulder.
  • A variation of the above exercise is to then go from the flexed biceps position directly into an overhead press by pushing the dumbbells over your head and straightening the arms as if reaching for the stars.

Exercising the body in your outdoor space

  • Gardening is one of the most meditative and laborious activities you can do in your outdoor space. Aerating the lawn, plucking weeds, planting flours and vegetables serve as wonderful exercises.
  • If you have room for potted plants consider adding them to your garden, besides requiring watering such plants need to be regularly re-potted – this is less of a chore and more of an exercise – said the optimistic doctor.
  • Consider waking up early and performing a Tai chi routine before you start your day either out on your patio, in front of some beautiful plants or under the shade of your tree.
  • Don’t let those stairs stop you, if you have stairs leading up to the house then turn on some music and go up and down them daily to provide stronger quads and calves.

Limitations to exercise

At our practice we often encounter patients who have given up exercising either because they are unable to get to a nearby gym or are limited by aches and pains.

The former is easily remedied by performing some simple home exercises as outlined above. Get creative and use common household items to perform resistance exercises.

The latter is a common concern. Patients often associate pain with causing damage. This isn’t always the case but it certainly is worth investigating. If you are trying to be more active but constantly experience pain in a specific part of your body please don’t ignore it. Dr. Irvine’s experience with muscles, ligaments and joint pains allows him to differentiate between benign pains which can be overcome with changes to your exercise routine while identifying more serious disease processes which may require proper intervention such as advanced arthritis, frayed tendons, inflamed joint surfaces etc.

We hope that you gained some useful tips from this article regarding home exercises. If you are experiencing aches or pains while doing them please contact us so that we can guide your exercise better.

How Increasing Core Stability Helps in Injury Prevention

Did you know that the core consists of more than just your abdominal muscles? Actually, the core also includes your lower back, hips, and pelvis. Imagine your core as a trunk of a tree. A weak trunk leaves the tree vulnerable to cracks, breaks, and caving. The same is true for our core muscles; a weak core increases the risk of injury because the body’s foundation support is lacking.

How Does a Strong Core Help in Injury Prevention?

Healthshare.com has great information by various health professionals on the importance of core stability. Dr. Peter Dun states:

“For a range of injuries that can be classified as overuse or repetitive – such as types of neck/lower back pain, groin/hamstring/shoulder rotator cuff problems among others – it is important that assessment of the integrated stabilizing system of the body frame [the core] is included in overall injury management.”

Usain Bolt is a great example of an athlete with a strong core, which is a major contributor to his success as a runner.

“The body is a unit – a kinetic chain of links that work together to maximize speed. While certain links are more important than others (glutes and hammies), all of the body’s muscles must be powerful and coordinated for optimal performance. A strong core can help protect Usain’s spine by transferring forces more efficiently and sparing the lumbopelvic structures.” – Brett Contrenas, CSCS

What Are Some Ways to Strengthen Core Muscles?

Building and maintaining a strong core is pivotal for the body to work as a cohesive unit. Many “core” exercises consist solely of crunches and sit-ups; however, research shows that exercise professionals, and even the military, question these types of exercises because of lower back and spine injuries. Additionally, sit-ups and similar exercises only strengthen the outer layer of the abdominal, the rectus abdominis. If the deeper, internal muscles are overlooked, the core will still be weak. Instead, find exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor, transverse abdominis, and diaphragm. Pilates is a great place to start.

We are passionate about our clients! Contact us to find out how we can help relieve pain and assist in injury management.

How Chronic Conditions Can Raise The Risk For Work Related Injuries

Work related injuries may be directly related to chronic health conditions. Certain medical disorders can lead to daytime sleepiness, unsteady gait, joint pain, poor eyesight, and diminished hand strength, all of which can heighten the risk for occupational injuries. Here are three medical disorders that may contribute to on-the-job accidents.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea can cause snoring, gasping, and cessation of breathing while sleeping. Risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea include obesity, consuming spicy foods and coffee, certain medications, drinking alcohol, acid reflux disease, and hiatal hernia.

Because those with sleep apnea awaken numerous times during the night, daytime sleepiness can occur, raising the risk for work-related injuries. To diminish this risk, chronic snorers should undergo sleep studies for further evaluation of their apnea so that an effective treatment plan can be implemented.

Carpal Tunnel

Individuals who have conditions of the hand that decrease grip strength and manual dexterity such as carpal tunnel syndrome may be more likely to get hurt while at work.

Wearing hand splints, icing the affected area, physical therapy, and taking prescribed anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce the pain and swelling associated carpal tunnel.

In some cases, release surgery is recommended to mitigate pain and resultant inflammation of the hand so that strength and mobility of the finger joints is restored.

Diabetic Retinopathy

People with diabetes, especially those with long-standing diabetes or people with poorly managed blood sugar levels may develop diabetic retinopathy. This condition leads to damaged blood vessels inside the retina, causing poor visual acuity and raising the risk for work-related injuries.

Maintaining effective control over blood sugar levels may help prevent the progression of retinopathy, however, if the normalization of glucose is ineffective in improving vision, laser surgery may be recommended. To learn more about preventing work-related injuries, contact us anytime.

Most Common Youth Sport Injuries

Youth injuries are frightening to everyone for a variety of reasons. From a parent’s perspective, knowing that your child hurt is reason enough to pull them out of any sport for the rest of their lives. Your kids – and possibly their coach – worry that they may never be able to play again.

Thankfully, our body has strong muscles and bones that make us able to re-cooperate with a little rest; or with more extreme cases, some physical therapy. While allowing your child to play a sport has its potential risks, here are some very common injuries that can arise from intramural and team sports.

CommonYouthInjuries

Sprains & Strains

Many people can get the two of these injuries confused, but they are actually quite different. Sprains are ligament injuries that prevent excessive movement of the joints. Ankle sprains are quite common in sports like soccer, while wrist sprains can occur in football, basketball, and tennis

Strains can injure muscles or tendons. Due to the fact that we are dealing with bundles of cells that produce movement – muscles – and tissue that cushions the bones – tendons – most parts of the body are susceptible to injury.

Growth Plate Injury

The growth plate is an area in children and adolescents that holds developing tissue. When growth is complete, the tissue replaces solid bone. Long bones can include the hands and fingers, the forearms the legs, and the feet. These bone injuries are serious and should be consulted with an orthopedic surgeon.

Repetitive Motion Injuries

Hairline fractures and tendinitis are painful injuries related to stress. It’s important to know that these injuries may not always show up on hospital scans while they are still discomforting. Thankfully, a pack of ice and compression will relieve this pain quicker. In the most extreme cases, athletes need crutches, immobilization, and physical therapy.

Keeping kids active is extremely important to us. One thing to remember is that injuries should be reported as soon as they happen. Let us help you get back on the field as soon as possible. Contact us for more information on sports injuries and treatments today.

Turf Toe

You may be wondering what is turf toe, and do you have it? Turf toe is an injury of the soft tissue  structure in the plantar complex of your foot; or better explained in simplest terms as a sprain and pain in your big toe due to hyper-extension such as pushing off into a sprint.

Turf Toe Symptoms, Missouri Orthopedic Care Saint Louis, Orthopedic Doctor in Missouri

Most often, this is found in athletes who are pushing off their toes causing your big tor to hyper-extend.  Similar to other injuries that can occur to the body, there is a range of severity when it comes to turf toe and how it can effect you and the sports you play. These mild to severe injuries include:

Level 1 – This is the mildest pain you may feel with surf toe. You may experience tenderness and slight swelling.

Level 2 – This level is selected when there is a partial tear present causing more tenderness than level 1, and more swelling and may include bruising. Moving your toe(s) can be very limited and painful.

Level 3 – A complete tear has occurred leaving you with severe tenderness, swelling and bruising. It is almost too difficult to even more your big toe(s).

If you believe you are experiencing turf toe, seek medical advice and treatment from Dr. Irvine who specializes in foot and ankle injuries. You can call 314-567-5850 to schedule your appointment.