One of the first things your GP may tell you to combat debilitating joint pains and osteoarthritis, is to keep your joints as active as possible. A tough ask but Rosie Scott, the brains behind Black Swan Osteopathy, is on hand to tell you how. Rosie knows the importance of keeping the body supple and ensuring it has as much range of motion as possible, that’s why she refers to herself as ‘a mechanic for humans’. Here Rosie shares with us seven exercises you can do at home to help with stiff and painful joints.
Simple Stretches - a combined hip flexor and contralateral gluteal stretch
Start with one knee on the floor and the front foot resting on the floor with the knee at 90 degrees.
Push your hips forward so your weight is on your front leg and let your back leg relax so the hip flexor and quad muscles can stretch. Make sure you keep your back and chest upright so you don’t collapse forward.
With your opposite arm to the front leg, reach up towards the ceiling as high as you can.
Keeping your hand high, reach the arm across your body and forward of your hips to increase the stretch into your hips and waist.
Pilates - Superman Move
Start on all fours with hands below shoulders and knees below hips.
Engaging your pelvic floor muscles and your lower abdominal muscles, extend one leg out to the back so your foot and knee are level with your spine. Try to avoid arching your lower back and lifting your head as far as is possible.
Holding this position, extend the opposite arm so that it makes a straight line with your spine and extended leg.
Yoga - Bridge Pose
Lie on your back with arms resting by your sides and hip width apart.
Squeezing your gluteals (bottom muscles) slowly lift your hips off the floor until you make a straight line with your knees and shoulders.
Keeping your hips level, slowly raise one leg until your knee is straight so the line now runs from your shoulders all the way to your ankle.
Foam Rolling Quad Muscles
Foam rollers can be bought from the internet eg. Amazon stocks lots of different suppliers from around £10 for a fairly soft textured roller to £40 for a firm or plastic core one. The firmer the foam roller, the deeper the massage into your muscles will be, but also the more painful.
Lean on your hands with your body out straight behind and your thighs resting on the roller.
Slowly walk your hands forwards and backwards so that your thighs travel along the roller from knees to hips and back.
Rotate your body by a few degrees each way to make sure all the soft tissue of the muscle makes contact with the roller to ensure an even massage.
A kettlebell is required to do this move safely as it is small enough to fit between the legs but if you only want to do this move with a very light weight a filled water bottled will work too. Again, kettlebells can be bought from most sports shops on the high street such as Decathlon or on online at Amazon.
Start by standing tall with your feet hip width apart and holding the kettlebell with both hands.
Keeping your back straight, bend your knees and allow the kettlebell to swing backwards between your legs.
Squeeze your leg and gluteal (bottom) muscles to bring yourself back up to standing and effectively pushing the kettlebell forwards and upwards.
Allow momentum of the Kettlebell to repeat the move in a controlled way for anywhere from 10 to 60 repetitions.
Ballet Tree Pose
Stand with feet together and body upright and stacked on top of your hips.
Holding onto your ankle for stability if needed, bring one foot up to your inner thigh.
Hold this position for 30 seconds and then lower the leg again. Repeat on the other side.
Squats with or without weight
Stand with your feet hip width apart and holding a weight to your chest if you prefer.
Slowly bend your knees and sit down until your hips are level with your knees, making sure to keep your back straight and head upright.
Squeeze your bottom and legs and bring yourself back up to standing.
Over the coming weeks you will be able to find animations of all the exercises
Rosie has demonstrated here on Flexiseq's Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.
To find out more about Black Swan Osteopathy and Rosie Scott click here.
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