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Jill Derryberry

Jill Derryberry
I'm a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Group Fitness Instructor with specialty certifications in HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), Pilates and CORE DE FORCE. I have always had an interest in nutrition and exercise. However after gaining some weight, I learned much more about that interest, exercised more consistently and made changes to my eating habits. After losing 25 pounds, I decided to get certified as a trainer and group exercise instructor because I wanted to share my new enhanced knowledge with others to help them become healthier and feel better like I did after losing that weight and continue to feel today! I am passionate about sharing my love of fitness to help others live a healthier lifestyle.
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Recent Posts

So you want to run a 5k?

Posted by Jill Derryberry on Feb 10, 2020 3:15:09 PM

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Running your first 5k, whether it is your first race ever or your first race in a long time, is a great goal. Races can be such a fun experience with other like-minded individuals there along with you and spectators cheering you on. The energy of a race is very inspiring and fun. Plus, many 5ks are raising funds for important causes.

A 5k is usually the first type of race for most since there are many 5k runs and walks available to choose from and it is one of the shortest you can do at 3.1 miles. It is short compared to a half marathon or full marathon, but it is not easy without training. It is important to prepare well for the race to help prevent injuries, make the experience more enjoyable and to get you to the finish.

Here are a few things to keep in mind for your first 5k.

 

Get good running shoes

The best part about running is that it doesn’t require any fancy equipment or memberships, you just need a pair of shoes and to start running. However, using just any old pair of shoes isn’t the best idea. Today’s running shoes are scientifically created to support your specific biomechanics to protect your body from the incessant pounding of running. A running store will have trained associates who can watch your gait, as well as the way your foot hits the ground, and then be able to suggest the best shoe for your foot and body. A good rule of thumb is to replace your shoes after 300-400 miles. The midsole materials can break down without other signs of wear on the exterior of the shoe, so don’t just go by how they look.

 

Follow a training plan 

There are many training plans online and apps that will help find the right plan for you. My favorite app is Couch to 5k that will break down your running plan for the nine weeks prior to the race. It will tell you which days to run during the week and will break down each run into times to run and walk. When just starting out, you will alternate between running and walking. At first your time walking will be more than running. For example, walk for 4 minutes then run for 1 minute and repeat. Gradually you will increase your run time and reduce your walk time. It is best to make this transition slowly and a good plan should help with that. The plan will also list days to cross train or rest. Having the app right on your phone makes it easy to keep track of your training, but of course you can also find a similar training plan online and print it out if you prefer paper tracking.

 

Don't Run every day

The schedule should always include at least one rest day each week. Recovery time is important for anyone exercising regularly to allow your body to heal and take a break. Your rest day can be a day off completely from exercise or it can be more of an active rest where you do something like a restorative gentle yoga class or a light walk. Sleep is an important part of recovery as well. Make an effort to get 6-8 hours of sleep each night to support your training as well as your overall health.

 

Run Outside

Running outside should be part of your training. There are races throughout the year but most occur in the spring. This means many people are training for their 5k during the beginning of the year for that spring race. This time of year here in the Midwest we have some bitterly cold days and snowy days that may cause you to run to (and on) the treadmill. The treadmill can be used for part of your training, however, make a point to run outside for at least some of your runs. Don’t get me wrong, the treadmill isn’t the enemy, there are many benefits to running or walking on the treadmill. But running outside is where your race will be so you should be prepared for that terrain and the conditions you will experience outdoors. Also, running outside is a little more difficult than the treadmill since the treadmill does some of the work for you by feeding the belt to you. Running outside requires more muscle activation because your feet have to grab the ground to propel you and you may be running in different patterns, for example when moving side to side to pass people or hopping over curbs. If you are running on the treadmill, research suggests that setting the machine to a 1 percent grade more accurately simulates outdoor running at certain speeds.

 

Cross Train

Cross training is important to support the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints that you use during your run and will help to prevent injuries. I would encourage a total body strength training routine for anyone, but it is an especially important part of a runner’s workout routine. For runners, at a minimum lower body moves with either weights and/or your body weight and core work should be part of your resistance training. When you run, your hamstrings bear most of the brunt of your stride and can tighten, which can lead your quadriceps to weaken. Your back may feel stressed if you don’t have a strong core. Yoga can also be beneficial for runners since it will lengthen your muscles and strengthen your core, among other benefits. Other cross training ideas such as cycling, swimming or stairclimbing will also help strengthen the muscles that don’t get as strong when you run. Cross training doesn’t just help to prevent injury, it will also make you a better runner and may even make running feel easier. You can find great group exercise classes at LivRite perfect for cross training or a personal trainer can also help you with a strength training routine to support your race goals.

 

Be Sure to warm up

Warm up prior to your run (or any workout). This is another important step that helps to ward off injuries. Brisk walking or dynamic stretching will increase your blood flow and help to loosen your muscles and joints. Save any static stretching (holding a stretch) until after your run.

 

And Cool Down

Cool down and stretch after every run. Stretching helps ease your tired muscles and prevents them from getting too tight. Excessive muscle tightness could possibly lead to pain, decreased range of motion or injury. When you stretch, do so gradually and hold the position for 15-20 seconds. Do not bounce and never force the stretch past the point of comfort.

 

Have fun and make a goal

Running is a great way to stay fit. It can also be a great way to meet friends or to have time by yourself and a way to relieve stress. Having a goal of finishing a 5k will help push you through the days when running feels very hard and appreciating the days when it seems easier. By training smart, sticking with your training and completing your goal, you will know you can achieve anything you set out to do.

 

“Running isn’t about winning or losing, it’s neither about glory or achievement, it’s all about not quitting.”
Ben Vachon

 

 

 

 

 

5 Tips For Your New Year’s  Resolutions

Posted by Jill Derryberry on Jan 4, 2020 9:15:00 AM

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Happy New Year! Every start of the year feels like a new beginning ripe with possibility of change. Even if you don’t typically make resolutions, the New Year can be a fresh start for all of the things you want to achieve.

The most common resolutions have to do with health and fitness and most of them fail. So how can you successfully make healthier changes starting in this New Year?

 

1. Don’t make a resolution!

 

According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, only 46% of people who made New Year’s resolutions were successful. That means over half of the people who set a goal for the new year will fail! Other sources say that over 80% of people don’t achieve their resolutions and stop trying by mid-February.

It’s not all or nothing. New Year’s resolutions have a way of making you feel like you need to go full-force on a goal or you may as well not do it at all. A better way to set yourself up for success might be to think of it as a goal or a new habit you are going to work toward rather than a resolution. Something smaller and more specific than a typical resolution has better chances of being completed. Instead of resolving to “lose weight”, set a goal of losing 5 pounds in the next two months. Instead of resolving to “be healthier”, set a goal to eat at least one vegetable with every meal. Instead of resolving to “go to the gym everyday”, set a goal to go to a specific exercise class twice a week.

Taking on too much all at once can be daunting. It can be particularly difficult because establishing new behavioral patterns takes time. Focusing your efforts on one specific goal makes keeping a resolution much more achievable.

 

2. Why do you want to make this change?

 

The reason why you are making any change should be because YOU want the result. Making changes to our nutrition and exercising more (or at all) takes a lot of self-discipline and without your own intrinsic desire to eat more vegetables and take that group exercise class, you will probably go back to what you were doing last year as soon as a stressful situation hits. If you are trying to lose weight or get healthier because your doctor or spouse or someone else told you that you should, you most likely won’t keep up your new healthier habits.

Really think about why you want to make this change. Do you want to get off of medication for high blood pressure? Do you want to have more energy to be able to play with your kids? Make sure it is something meaningful to you. Whatever the reason, post it everywhere. Write it down. Remember it when your motivation lags. Because you will not always be motivated! Especially when everyone stops talking about resolutions in February and March and it is cold and dreary outside, you will probably have less motivation. This is when the people who made resolutions fail. But not you! You are making new habits and you know why. You must have the discipline to keep up with your healthier habits. The good news about self-discipline is that it can be made stronger like a muscle. The more things you achieve using your own willpower, the more self-discipline you will have in the future. It is easier to be disciplined when you know why you are making these new habits and are passionate about that reason.

I talked for years about wanting to be able to run. I had asthma when I was younger which made running difficult. I walked the mile in gym class. I was scared to push myself to try and run. It was hard and uncomfortable. I typically didn’t do things that didn’t come easily to me. I started to run a few times and then quit each time it got too difficult. I never got to the point where I could run a mile without walking. Then one year I decided I needed to prove to myself that I could follow through with something that seemed impossible to me. I had my why. I wanted to show myself I could achieve something that did not come easily. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. Once I had that why, I pushed through the discomfort (mentally and physically!) and after a few months was finally able to run a mile without stopping. Six months later I ran a 5k (3.1 miles). I had to remind myself of my why many times. There were so many days I didn’t want to go out there and run and walk. But I knew I wanted to show myself that I don’t give up when things get hard. I remembered my why and was disciplined to go out anyway even when I didn’t want to. I’m so glad I did.

 

3. Small Steps

 

Think about the things you'd like to achieve this year. Be realistic. If you think of a large goal, like running a marathon or losing 100 pounds, think of the milestones along the way. If you are not currently running regularly, a marathon is a huge task to undertake. A first goal could be to train for a 5k, the next step would be a 10k and then a few more steps until a marathon. Breaking down a large goal this way not only better prepares you, it gives you wins along the journey that should be celebrated and will keep you motivated.

If you have weight to lose, break it down into manageable goals and keep them realistic. Everyone is different, but in general, a good rule of thumb is to lose one pound a week. Don’t set yourself up for failure with an unrealistic goal. For example, if you want to lose 20 pounds in a month, you may not achieve that goal and then will be frustrated and may not continue with your weight loss journey. That’s a lofty target. Start with a goal of losing five pounds a month and be proud each time you reach that monthly objective. Before you know it, 20 pounds will be lost.

 

4. Measure

 

Research shows goals are reached more often if the progress is measured in some way. Track your progress on a calendar or in an app. MyFitnessPal is a great app to track your food intake and weight.

Be sure to take time to review your progress at certain points. If you have a monthly goal, check your progress weekly to see where you are and if any changes need to be made. The more frequent the check in the better.

 

5. Know Yourself

 

Everyone is unique so the steps we each take to reach our own goals can be very different. Don’t force yourself to do something a certain way because it worked for someone else. If your friend lost 10 pounds by taking a Zumba class twice a week but you hate dancing, don’t make yourself go to Zumba. If you hate it, you most likely won’t stick with it. Find a workout you do enjoy. It may take some trial and error but taking the time to nail down what you don’t absolutely hate doing will help you keep more exercise in your life.

Are you a person that can have just a little bite of a chocolate cake or do you eat the whole giant piece just because it is in the same room as you? Typically people fall into one camp or the other, either you can’t have the food anywhere around you or you will overindulge or you have to have just a little bit once and awhile or you will go nuts wanting it. Know yourself so if you are hoping to lose weight you know if you need to clear your house of all the junk food or you need to keep a little bit of dark chocolate around because you will eat too much if you feel like you are being denied.

 

Keep your goals for the New Year manageable, measurable and tailored just for you. Change is hard. A healthier lifestyle should be a permanent change for the rest of your life. There will be ups and downs, setbacks and difficult times. There are no failures, start back right away when you experience a setback. Don’t give up on your goal, remember why you want these healthier habits and be disciplined. You can do this!

Topics: LivRite News

Tips and Tricks to Fit Health and Fitness In During The Holidays

Posted by Jill Derryberry on Dec 13, 2019 7:45:00 AM

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Hindsight is 2020. Don’t spend the beginning of the New Year wishing you hadn’t let your health and wellness slide during the holiday season! Finish 2019 strong to set yourself up for a successful 2020.

Staying committed to your workouts and healthy nutrition is especially difficult this time of year with busier schedules, travel and extra temptation.

It’s hard but not impossible. The holidays don’t have to equal weight gain and lack of exercise setting you up with bad habits to break starting January 1.

If you are traveling this holiday season, you don’t have to completely abandon your regular nutrition practices when you are away from home.

Go into the trip with a plan so that you enjoy yourself instead of feeling guilty, sluggish and burnt out.

Every time you travel, aim to implement a bit more of a healthy nutrition routine; the more you do them, these practices become less overwhelming and require less thought.

Here are a few tips to keep your healthy habits through the end of the year.

1. Bring healthier food choices with you when you are on the go. Such as:

· Yogurt or cottage cheese

· Portable fruit like bananas, apples and oranges – Clementines are easy to eat on the go

· Cut fruit or veggies

· Hard-boiled eggs

· Trail mix

· Protein bars

· Dried fruit

· Raw or lightly seasoned nuts and seeds

· Grass-fed beef jerky

· Individual nut butter or hummus packets with cut veggies

· Oatmeal cups (you can ask for hot water to fill the cups from your flight attendant if you are on a plane or use hot water in your hotel room to make)

· Sandwiches you made at home (I’m partial to an almond butter and jelly sandwich when traveling since they don’t have to be refrigerated and travel well.)

· Whole-grain crackers or popcorn

· Electrolyte drink mixes (just mix with cold water)

2. Eating out? Check out the restaurant menu before you leave to decide on a healthier option.

3. At a holiday meal or party at someone else’s home? Don’t feel like you need to try everything or have seconds. Fill your plate with mostly vegetables and lean proteins. Eat half a serving of anything you’d like to try.

4. Keep your workouts in your schedule. These are appointments you can’t cancel! If you need to reschedule, do find another time to fit it in, but don’t cancel your time to exercise!

5. If you do need to reschedule your workout and have limited time, don’t worry! A short workout is better than no workout. A high intensity interval circuit is a great option for an awesome workout in a short amount of time. Need some ideas? Ask a trainer!

6. Have family or friends visiting? Have them join you to exercise. Find an activity that would be fun for everyone. Try a new workout class or gym. Find a workout video to do together at home. Go for a hike or walk and catch up.

7. Walk after your holiday meals. If you can, it is great to socialize with friends and family with a walk after your meal. It aids in digestion and adds some movement in your day.

8. Remember you are in control of what you eat and drink. You CAN be stronger than temptation. Choose your treats wisely. The holiday season is a few weeks long, you do not need to overindulge the entire time! Choose one or two celebrations to enjoy your favorite treats and then get right back to your normal eating habits.

Also, if you haven’t started eating healthier or an exercise routine, you don’t have to wait till 2020, start to tackle your goals now. End the year strong! Sure, there are lots of temptations this time of year, but you are stronger than that! Enjoy a holiday meal, don’t overdo it, then get right back on track the next day. Start implementing new healthier habits slowly in small steps will help you sustain them.

Finish 2019 strong to set yourself up for a successful 2020.

Have questions? Want help? Check with a LivRite trainer for more information on how to make your 2020 your healthiest and strongest year yet!

Topics: LivRite News

Progress, Not Perfection

Posted by Jill Derryberry on Nov 8, 2019 3:07:31 PM

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“I can’t cut back on sugar this week because my friend’s birthday is Friday and I want to have cake! I’ll start Monday.”


“I can’t join the gym now because I don’t have time to commit to workouts every day. I’ll think about it when this project at work ends and I have more time.”

“I was working out three times a week, but I missed two weeks so I might as well not start again.”

“I can’t start eating healthy now, the holidays are almost here and there’s no way I’ll keep it up then so what’s the point?”

Any of these sound familiar? When contemplating any kind of change we typically think the change has to be abrupt, hardcore, tough rules and all or nothing. That it has to be a perfect plan, followed to perfection. I have good news, it doesn’t!

Merriam-Webster defines perfect as “being entirely without fault or defect” , “satisfying all requirements” and “corresponding to an ideal standard or abstract concept”. We humans are not without sin and are full of flaws which means we cannot meet this definition of perfect. Perfection is a potentially destructive goal. If you are striving for perfect in all you do you may fail to enjoy the ride, or even small achievements in your life.

It may keep you from pursuing things you want in life. Psychology Today says perfectionism is, “A fast and enduring track to unhappiness, it is often accompanied by depression and eating disorders.” They add, “Perfection, of course is an abstraction, an impossibility in reality, and striving for it can lead to procrastination, a tendency to avoid challenges, rigid thinking and a lack of creativity.” Perfection is impossible! But still so many of us fall victim to striving for it.

 

Vince Lombardi said, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”

 

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Or as Voltaire said, “The best is the enemy of the good.” If you are not willing to start until everything is perfect or until you think you can be perfect in meeting your goal, you are never going to start. When looking to improve your health, so many have the “The diet starts on Monday” mentality where you have to 100% be eating healthfully with no exception.

This type of thinking will keep you where you are in terms of health and fitness. If you don’t change, nothing changes. But it doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul overnight never to deviate from your idea of the “perfect” diet and exercise plan. Small changes to your eating habits and exercise routine count. Eating healthy meals on most days of the week is better than never eating healthier meals. Getting a workout in two days a week is way better than not working out at all. Don’t let the idea of perfection keep you from creating a healthier lifestyle. It’s not all or nothing.

 

Progress, not perfection!

 

If beginning an exercise routine is your goal, you may be worried about sticking with such a big time commitment. Any exercise is good. Even if you get just one walk in a week to start, that counts. If you make it to the gym twice a week, that counts. If you miss a week, come back the next. That’s ok! It doesn’t have to be a “perfect” workout regime. There is no such thing! Plus, starting with smaller goals is a great way to build to a sustainable healthier lifestyle.

 

Salvador Dali said, “Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.”

 

Focus on your progress, on your journey to adding more exercise in your life. Because it is something that should be done for life, not just thirty days or the few months before spring break. Taking care of your body is a lifelong commitment.

There are always going to be things that come up to disrupt your well laid plans for your workouts or healthy meal plan. Be prepared for those times and ready to hop right back on track again.

There is no failure when it comes to your health and wellness. Use any setback as a learning tool. It can help you better prepare for the next bump in the road.

 

Strive for excellence, but allow for imperfection.

 

Sometimes the goal we have in mind can seem so overwhelming, we don’t start because we think we will fail. Or we don’t know what steps to take to get there. To be successful, focus on the small steps that will lead to the big goal. Have a goal of running a marathon but you have never run a mile? Start with a goal of run/walking one mile three times a week.

Once you have achieved that goal, you can start moving toward the next win on your journey to running that marathon. Otherwise, you may get discouraged while training for your huge goal of running 26.2 miles straight.

Create benchmarks along the way and be proud of accomplishing each one. Not sure where to start? A personal trainer can help you set these smaller goals to achieve on the way to your overall fitness goal.

 

“It's not about perfect. It's about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that's where transformation happens. That's how change occurs.”  - Jillian Michaels

 

Focusing on perfection will lead to a motivation crash the second something goes a little south. Knowing that health and fitness is a lifelong journey, not something that you are either on or you are off or pass or fail, will help you recover from any setbacks. Embrace the wins along the way when things are going well and use those wins to fuel you when you hit a road block.

If you do fall short of a goal, reflect on what happened and use it as a learning experience to help you along moving forward. It’s all part of the journey.

 

“Perfection is impossible; just strive to do your best.” -Angela Watson

 

Looking for perfection can hold you back in other ways as well. For example, I have started writing this post about ten times now. I write a few lines, delete some lines, then save it and come back and reread what I’ve written and delete some more and start again.

When talking with a client about my next blog post I told her that I was having trouble feeling satisfied with what I had written. As I explained that I didn’t want to submit it because I thought the post wasn’t good enough, a lightbulb went off and I realized I can keep writing and rewriting but it is never going to be perfect.

I’ll always find something that I want to come back and change, have grammatical errors, or feel like I didn’t get my point across as I had hoped. I can’t let my perfectionist ways keep me from finishing (or starting) a project or blog post or new workout plan. It may never be what I would deem perfect, but I hope that I, and others, benefit from what I have accomplished.

 

“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” – John Steinbeck

 

We are human, we are imperfect, we are unique. There will always be things that sway you from your path to your target. Being flexible, focusing on the process and celebrating your progress will help you overcome obstacles, because you know there will be ups and downs.

The path to success isn’t a straight line. Celebrate your successes along the way and don’t let perfectionism keep you off the path to your goal.

 

 

Topics: LivRite News, Workouts

Bad Knees?  How To Exercise with Unbearable Knee Pain

Posted by Jill Derryberry on Oct 2, 2019 11:51:12 AM

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One of the most common complaints I hear from clients is knee pain.  Someone will tell me they can’t exercise because they have bad knees, or I will hear they don’t want to exercise for fear of hurting their knees.  Knee pain is something that affects millions of people in the United States.  According to a study published in American Family Physician, “Knee pain affects approximately 25% of adults, and its prevalence has increased almost 65% over the past 20 years, accounting for nearly 4 million primary care visits annually.”.  There are many reasons why one could be suffering from knee pain and it can happen at any age. 

 

The Knee Joint

The knee is the largest joint in the body.  It allows your leg to bend and straighten by connecting the upper leg bone (femur) to the two lower leg bones (the tibia and fibula).  There are two pieces of cartilage (the medial and lateral meniscus) that sit and act as cushions between these bones.  (There is also additional cartilage that covers the long bones that is different than the meniscus.)  Numerous ligaments act as stabilizers in your knee and tendons connect the bones to the muscles.  Your kneecap (patella) sits on the front of your knee and moves up and down when you bend and straighten your knee

The Human knee

Two groups of muscles are the main support to the knees. One are the hamstrings, which are the muscles on the back of the thigh. They run from the hip to just below the knee and work to bend the knee. The other are the quadriceps, which are the four muscles on front of the thigh that run from the hip to the knee and straighten the knee from a bent position.  Your hip muscles can also affect your knee, as they control the way your knee moves and work together with the other muscles connected to your knee. 

What Are Some Causes of Knee Pain?

A common cause of knee pain can be from an imbalance in the strength around the knee.  For example, “Runner’s Knee” (patellofemoral pain syndrome) is pain right behind and around the knee cap.  Runner’s knee isn’t a structural problem (like a torn meniscus), the issue lies in how your muscles function.  It is most often a result of abnormal mechanics caused by muscle weakness and/or tightness in the legs or core that forces the patella to bump against the femoral groove causing pain.  Often our quadriceps are stronger than the hip muscles and/or hamstrings.  Strength training for the posterior hip muscles, like the gluteus medius will help correct this incorrect movement of the kneecap.   Tight muscles can also be a cause of misalignment.  Static stretching after exercise and foam rolling can help relieve tight muscles. 

 

This doesn’t just happen in runners.  Many people have an imbalance in the strength around the knee which causes the knee to be unstable.  This can be caused by our sedentary lifestyles.  When we spend the majority of the time sitting, our hips, glutes and hamstrings are tight and not as strong as our quadriceps. 

 

Hip or foot pain can change the way you walk.  This altered gait can place more stress on your knee joint.  In some cases this can cause knee pain.  Identifying the cause of the hip or foot pain is important to realign your gait and subsequently ease the additional joint pain.  Sometimes a pair of shoes can change your posture and walk.  Making sure your shoes have the support you need is important to prevent any injuries or ease existing pain. 

 

Excess body weight can also put a lot of pressure on the knees.  A study showed that each pound of weight loss can reduce the load on the knee joint by 4 pounds. Lose 10 pounds, and that’s 40 fewer pounds per step that your knees must support. Less pressure means less wear and tear on the knees.

 

Inflammation is another cause of knee pain and can be due to a variety of reasons. Being overweight may increase inflammation in the body that can lead to joint pain. Losing weight, a healthy diet, reduction of stress and good sleep are all things that can reduce this inflammatory response.  Inflammation is also a symptom of arthritis.

 

There are many different types of arthritis.  The three types that most often occur in your knees are Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Post-Injury Arthritis.  Osteoarthritis is a progressive condition that slowly wears away joint cartilage.  Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition that can strike at any age.  Another type of arthritis can develop following an injury to the knee. 

 

Knee injuries can include torn meniscus or ruptured ligaments, inflamed tendons or torn cartilage.  Injuries can be caused by many different reasons; including sports injuries, falls or other accidents.

 

Should You Exercise with Knee Pain?

 

Now that you have a bigger picture of how it all works together, it should make sense that having strong muscles and bones to support the knees can help, and may eliminate or prevent pain.  By building strong muscles, you can reduce knee pain and stress and help your knee joint better absorb shock. Strengthening exercises involve developing stronger muscles in your quadriceps, hips, and hamstring.  Having strong muscles in place can take some of the pressure off your knees.

 

A common misconception is that exercises can harm your knee joints by placing excess pressure on them, especially in high impact activities such as running or high impact exercises.  A study in the National Institutes of Health shows that arthritis in the knees is not more common in those that run.  A report by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) provides strong evidence that exercise is, in fact, good for the knees. The findings concluded that exercise actually helps improve the cartilage in between joints instead of breaking it down.

 

Keeping moving with low impact activities and strength training will help arthritis pain.  Swimming, water aerobics, stationary bicycles and low impact aerobics are all good examples of low impact activities appropriate for those with arthritis.  Movement is lotion for the joints.

 

Example Exercises

 

Here are a few exercises to help strengthen the muscles that support the knee.  I would recommend starting with 10 repetitions of each.  Only increase that number when you can perform them easily, without pain or difficultly.  Complete a 5 minute warm up, a walk or stationary bike, prior to completing these exercises. 

 

Lateral Band Walks

Place a resistance band around your ankles. Come into a half-squat position, with core tight and glutes engaged. Without letting your knees cave in, and keeping your weight in your heels, step out sideways with one foot, and slowly follow with the other foot. (You can add a second resistance band above your knee for additional challenge.)

 

Forward/Backward Band Walks

Place a resistance band around your ankles. Come into a half-squat position, with core tight and glutes engaged. Step forward at a 45-degree angle with one foot, and follow with other foot. Repeat on the other side.

For backward, take a step backwards at a 45-degree angle.

 

Wall Squats

Stand up straight with your back to a wall and your feet parallel, about two feet away from the wall, spread hip-width. Slide down the wall slowly until you are just about in a sitting position. Hold that position for up to 10 seconds and then slowly slide back up. Don't allow your knees to overextend in front of your toes.

 

Hamstring Curls

Lie flat on your stomach. Slowly bring your heels as close to your butt as you can, and hold that position for a few seconds then release and extend your legs.  You can also do this exercise standing while you hold onto a chair and lift one leg at a time.

 

Hip Raise or Bridge

Lay on your back on the floor. Bend knees keeping feet on the floor. Heels should be close to the butt. Pushing off with the heels, squeeze your gluteal muscles and lift the hips towards the ceiling and slowly lower your hips back to the floor rolling your spine down one vertebrae at a time. 

 

Calf Raises

Simply stand with your heels hanging over the edge of a stair and rise up onto your toes to perform calf raises.

 

There are many ways to strengthen the muscles that support the knee.  Exercise selection depends on your fitness level and your specific knee issue.  Consulting with a physician, physical therapist or personal trainer can help determine what is appropriate for you.   The best thing you can do for existing knee pain, and to prevent knee pain, is to strengthen the muscles that support your knee and keep them flexible.  Don’t let knee pain keep you sidelined, keep moving!

 

 

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