Circulation Exercises to Keep you Warm

Exercises to keep you warm through the winter.

Winter is in full swing in The Ozarks! These frigid temperatures may cause significant circulation issues for many individuals. As we age, our body systems have to work increasingly hard to supply our body with all the nutrients and oxygen that it requires to perform the vital functions that we all need.

“Impaired circulation may cause significant issues with elderly individuals when you combine poor circulation with things like heart disease, diabetes or a lack of exercise. With the use of the above exercises you can help give your body the boost it needs to make it through this winter season.”

  • Dr. Brittany Wright, Physical Therapy

Here are three simple circulation exercises that have been shown to increase blood supply to assist with improved day-to-day health.

#1 – Supine Ankle Pumps – Begin lying on your back with your legs straight. Slowly pump your ankles by bending and straightening them. Try to keep the rest your legs relaxed while you move your ankles.

Supine Ankle Pump

# 2 – Supine Quad Set – Begin lying on your back with one knee bent and your other leg straight with your knee resting on a towel roll. Gently squeeze your thigh muscles, pushing the back of your knee down into the towel. Make sure to keep your back flat against the floor during the exercise.

Quad Set

#3 – Supine Glute Set – “Penny Pinchers” – Begin lying on your back with your hands resting comfortably. Tighten your buttock muscles, then release and repeat. Make sure not to arch your low back during the exercise or hold your breath as you tighten your muscles.

Glute Set

The above exercises have been recommended by the OCH physical therapy department as an easy and convenient way for adults to help pump blood through their body. This is not medical advice.

 

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No Excuse Rainy Day Workout

Rainy weather makes us all want to forgo the gym and pop in a movie complete with pop corn, soda and leftover candy from the holidays (you couldn’t throw it out, could you?). But that’s no excuse! 

We all know that fitness is good for us physically; it reduces stress and keeps us at a healthy weight. But sometimes it can be hard to know where to start and how to progress your fitness level. Fitness includes many areas: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speech, agility, balance, coordination and accuracy. We have the ability to increase any of those areas!

But, who has time? Here are a few short workouts at home that require little to no equipment. Everything can be modified so that all fitness levels can increase in just minutes a day.

Note: Before starting any of these listed below, check with your doctor to make sure that your heart is healthy enough for exercise. If you have knee pain, check with your physician before completing this exercise.

Exercise #1 Box Squats

Background: I love box squats because the nature of the exercise makes your body perform the squat correctly. I believe the most important exercise to do regularly is the squat. This variation of the squat can be performed at home and all you need is a stable chair. This is also an exercise that beginners and athletes can perform to strengthen knee stabilizing muscles and control at the bottom of the squat.

To perform: Start with feet close to chair or surface you are sitting on to. The chair should rest about the height of your knees.

  • Pull your arms parallel to the floor.
  • Lower your hips and sit them as far back as possible.
  • Keep your back straight and weight on the heels.
  • Look straight in front of you and keep your arms up and parallel to the floor.
  • Once fully seated, stand up while keeping the knees pointed outward with arms fully extended in front of you.
  • Do not use your arms to push off you knees – make your legs do the work!

Option # 1: Complete as many box squats in 5 minutes as possible. This one is easy to do during commercials or while watching the news.

Option # 2: Complete 30 box squats, take a 2 minute break, then complete 20 box squats. After taking a final 2 minute break, complete 20 box squats. Done!

Option # 3: If you want to progress the exercise, stop just before touching the seat and hover for a few seconds. Or, complete the exercise with dumbbells resting on the shoulders or a barbell on the back. Another way to increase the difficulty is to try 10 minutes of reps or 2 rounds of 5 minute reps with a short break in between.

Four Reasons Squats Rock:

  1. Squats work not only the legs; but the hips, back, abdominal muscles, and calves. It’s a while body workout with one easy movement.
  2. Keeping your arms raised maintains correct positioning of your back while also working the shoulder and arm muscles.
  3. Building muscle will burn more calories throughout the day, even when you are not being active.
  4. Toning the muscles that support the joins will help decrease pain in the knees, hips, back and help prevent injuries down the road.

 

 

10 Ways to Maximize Outdoor Play

It’s time to shed your coat (but maybe keep those rain boots around for a bit longer) and embrace the sun! Take advantage of the great weather and spend some time outdoors with your kids. Not sure what to do with your cooped-up, crazy bunch? OCH/Advantage Therapy physical therapist, Jennifer Witt has a recipe for outdoor success:try one of these 10 activities to help promote healthy growth and brain development in your kids.  

Fingers crossed, warm weather is finally gracing us with its presence! It’s that time of year when the kiddos are bouncing off the walls after being cooped up all winter, and to tell you the truth, I kind of am, too.  That can only mean one thing; time to get outside and play! Here are 10 fun and inexpensive play ideas to promote fine and gross motor skills, strength, balance, and coordination in children.

  • Get to the Park: What kid doesn’t love to go to the park? Playground equipment provides an excellent opportunity to work on strengthening with all of the climbing that has to be done.
  • Make a Hopscotch Course: Draw out a course with chalk on an asphalt or concrete surface. Have your child help draw the course to promote fine motor skills and let them “decorate” it to encourage artistic expression. Jumping is a great activity for kids and hopscotch helps with balance and coordination.
  • Videogames, What?: In today’s world of DS’s and Play Stations, a lot of kids don’t know how to have fun with out a controller. Go old school and play games like “Mother May I?,” “Red Light, Green Light,” and “Simon Says.” These are great for learning to follow directions as well as encouraging motor skills.
  • Hoola Hoop: Nothing works on coordination more than trying to spin a hoop around your waist! Mix it up a little and try have your child spin it around their arms, or for older kids, spin it around one foot while jumping over it with the other.
  • Make an Obstacle Course: You can find all kinds of things around the house to use in an obstacle course. Jump ropes, step stools, brooms, books, toys, tunnels, pillows, etc. can all be used to make an obstacle course. Incorporate activities like jumping, standing on one foot, crawling over, under, and around objects, walking on a line, even push ups and sit ups. Make it even more fun by playing follow the leader or timing how long it takes to get through.

  • Be an Artist: Encourage fine motor skills by drawing with sidewalk chalk or take a coloring book outside and have your child lay on their tummy on a blanket. Tummy time is very important for babies, but is also important for toddlers.
  • Have a Zoo in the Backyard: Ok, not really, but have your kids crawl around the backyard like different animals! Do a crab walk, bear crawl, snake slither, frog hop, bunny hop, flamingo stance, any kind of animal. Make a game out of this; yell out different animal names, hold up signs, etc.
  • Have a Ball: Ball skills are important for hand-eye coordination. Have balls of different sizes available. Throw at targets, play catch, throw into baskets, play kickball, use empty water/pop bottles as bowling pins and knock them down by rolling the ball toward them.
  • Play Tug of War: This is great for upper body strength and tons of fun for kids!
  • Have Fun and be Safe: Kids have a great imagination, if you can provide them with props and a few ideas, they will usually think of games to play on their own. Just make sure to get them up off the couch and play! As always, safety is always important, so keep a close eye on the kiddos!

Content provided by Jennifer Witt, DPT. Jennifer works at OCH/Advantage Therapy in Springfield, Missouri and at OCH Christian County Clinic in Nixa. She received both her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Missouri State University. She has experience in inpatient, outpatient, home health and pediatric settings. Her primary interest in physical therapy is pediatrics, specifically the 0-3 age group covering a variety of diagnoses. To contact Jennifer, call OCH/Advantage Therapy at (417) 777-4749. For more information about OCH/Advantage Therapy visit www.advantagetherapyonline.com