So, most of the time (actually all of the time) I don't really write about fitness on my blog. But I am SO pumped about my "fitness journey" over the past few months, that I have to share. For those of you who have knee injuries, hip injuries, or are just plain out of shape like me, there is hope!
This past year was my first year of teaching and my first year of marriage, so I can tell you that fitness took a back burner to my new husband and my new job. I never worked out. I used to be able to run a mile in about 7 minutes, and now I doubt I could run a mile at all. Here's the mistake I made when I started working out after 6 months of no activity: I went from not running at all to trying to run 6 and 7 miles at a time back in March when my schedule opened up a little. NOT GOOD.
I ended up with something called chondromalacia, which basically means the cartilage in my knee is starting to wear off from overuse and weak hips & quads. I became super discouraged, started gaining weight, and making terrible eating/nutrition choices. My knee was so stiff I could barely walk.
Finally, I got my sorry self to the doctor who recommended physical therapy. I am going to share with you the exercises that are kicking my butt back into gear. Within a few weeks, I went from barely walking to using the elliptical without any pain. Most of these are hip-strengthening exercises because, I don't know if you knew this, but bad knees usually stem from weak hips.
If you decide to do these, please stop if you have bad pain. I am not a doctor and do not want to hurt you. :) These are just exercises that I have been very happy with. And yes, there is good pain and bad pain. Good pain = "Wow, I'm going to feel that in the morning." Bad pain = "Wow, I'm going to need a new knee/hip after this."
Before and after you work out, you should stretch really well to keep from getting injured.
Exercises recommended by my PT: (you will need a resistance band for some of these.)
**disclaimer: The people in the pictures are not me. :) I don't take pictures of myself working out.
1) Place the band around your ankles.
2) Step out to the side. Then bring your feet back together. You can do this standing in one place or you can side step all the way across the room and come back.
Go down to one end of the room and back twice (or once if that's all you can do...that's ok!)
1) Place the band around your ankles.
2) Squat down to a little more than 90 degree angle.
3) Step forward and out (diagonally) with your right foot.
4) Bring your left foot up next to your right.
5) Step forward and out with your left foot.
6) Bring your right foot up next to your left.
(This girl is getting pretty low...I can't do that, but if you can, then good for you!)
Leg lifts (no resistance band):
The typical leg lift...
1) Lay on one side with your head in your hand. Use your other hand on the floor in front of your abs to support yourself.
2) Lift your leg as high as it will go and bring it back down. Do 15 on both sides, 3 times if you can.
This one is kinda hard to explain, so I hope the picture helps.
I'm totally kidding. I don't think I will ever be able to do that in my life. No, but it is hard to explain:
1)Stand with your right side to the wall.
2)Bend your right knee up to a 90 degree angle in front of you.
3) Using your hands to support you, push your leg into the wall and hold for 10 seconds, then relax. Do as many as you can on each side.
Kinda like this guy, but I like to use my hands on the wall to support myself.
You can do this one on the stairs. Pretty easy:
1) Step up sideways with your hands on your hips.
2) Hike your hip up twice, then step back down.
I know for a lot of these I didn't put how many reps you should do. Really most of these are fairly low intensity exercises, so I just do as many as I can without overdoing it.
I hope these help you as much as they do me. Another thing that has helped me is looking up Pilates videos on YouTube. They are awesome and work on strength, which is neglected by so many runners. I am learning that just because I can run half marathons does NOT mean I have strong legs. So ready to change. If you try these, let me know what you think. If you haven't worked out before, start setting some goals for yourself. Rewards are important too! I by a bag of candy that I can only have if I work out that day. (Some candy really isn't too terrible for you, like M&Ms or Tootsie Rolls.)