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There are a thousand reasons to begin practicing personal massage for your muscle health. Still, some parts of the body tend to receive more benefit from the practice of massage and regular stretching than others. As a part of the human anatomy that takes a great deal of impact on a day-to-day basis, the knee is one of the most important areas to stretch and keep loose. This is particularly true if you’re an athlete who engages in practices such as running, cutting, jumping or lifting on a day to day basis. If you’re hoping to strengthen or maintain your knees, take a look at these best stretches for knee health.
Health recommends this basic calf stretch as a way to keep your knees at the top of their game with minimal effort. To engage in this stretch, all you need to do is place one foot behind the other and stand at arm’s length away for a wall that you can lean on. Leaving both feet on the floor, slowly bend your front knee forward and keep your back knee straight. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds, or until you begin to feel the stretch in the back of your straight leg, and then switch and begin again in the opposite position.
As the name suggests, successful completion of this stretch will require the athlete engaging in it to use a rolled-up towel. Sit down on the floor with your back at a 90 degree angle and your hands behind you, supporting your weight. Keep one knee bent and pulled up close to your chest and the other leg straightened out in front of you. Place the rolled towel underneath your straightened leg, so that the back of the knee rests on it. At this point, you’ll want to push that knee downward, so that the towel absorbs pressure. Simultaneously, you’ll need to tighten your quadriceps muscle. Do several sets of this until you begin to feel the burn in the back of your knee. Ideally, you should be able to complete four or five 30 second sets on each leg, alternating back and forth between your right and left knee.
According to Prevention, partial squats are a great exercise for those who are already experiencing considerable knee pain. In order to begin, set a chair in the middle of a room and stand roughly a foot away from it. Position your feet so that they are evenly parallel, roughly hip width apart. Keeping your core tight, perform repetitions of lowering yourself by bending your knees until you are directly in front of the chair. As a note, don’t ever bend so far so that your knees extend further than your toes, as this can place considerable strain on the muscles, tendons and ligaments within the knees, which may even exacerbate your pain.
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Is your daily routine negatively impacted by that relentless ache in your lower back? Can you feel it throbbing for attention as you read this? You’re not alone. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, around 80% of adults suffer from lower back pain at some point in their life.
Endurance athletes who take part in marathons, triathlons or century bike rides typically have fitness goals of strength and stamina. Your body needs to be strong enough to carry you long distances, and it needs to have the proper training in order to function for extended periods of time.
Before a race it’s crucial to plan a training program to prepare, and most of this will include running or cycling through intervals of faster and slower speeds, up and down hills and longer and shorter distances. It should also include cross training with strength exercises and core workouts such as Pilates for total body training.
Another factor that should be included in a pre-race program is athletic recovery and stretching. Whether you’re a new or seasoned endurance athlete, you’ll be putting your body through more intense challenges, which is sure to leave you with sore muscles from time to time, but it can also increase your risk of injury. To prevent getting hurt and having a setback, you need to take the proper precautions, which include stretching and massage.
A century bike ride will take you 100 miles, and it will certainly test your mental and physical prowess. This may seem like a lofty goal, but it’s certainly an achievable one that many endurance cyclists aspire to complete.
Being able to bike 100 miles requires serious commitment, dedication, planning and training. Once you decide to take part in a century ride, you need to starting working at least eight weeks beforehand to prepare your mind and body for the challenge ahead. Your training program should consist of long and short rides as well as intervals of different speeds, resistance levels, terrain and hills. It’s also a good idea to cross training with weight lifting to strengthen your muscles and exercises such as Pilates that provide stretching and improve posture.
Another key component is nutrition. Your body won’t be able to last long if it is not being fueled properly. Even slight dehydration can completely zap your energy levels and cause sore musclesand cramps. If this does happen, giving your muscles a massage can help. Additionally, eating the right amount of carbohydrates and fats is needed to fuel your muscles and provide you with the nutrients to keep you going mile after mile. You’ll certainly want to pack snacks to stop and eat during your ride to replenish fuel sources, curb hunger pangs and boost energy. Remember not to pack any foods that are too heavy or hard to transport. A muffin may sound delicious, but it can be messy to eat. Also, be sure not to try any new foods in case it affects your stomach negatively and you have to stop mid-race.
Here are some tasty, helpful snack options to pack for your century ride: