You Knee(d) to do these...
I hope you’ve been practicing some walking backwards. In your back yard, hallway or in the gym. The goal is to work up to 10 minutes, just walking at a normal rate and pace. For you that are ready and have access to a gym, try walking backward on a treadmill.
This can be tricky, so follow the following steps:
Another way to strengthen the upper leg muscles is to do flexion and extension. This can easily be done at home. Adding in some glute work is also good and will also help support your low back. After all, it is ALL connected.
Try just 10 sets of each:
- Extension; sitting in a chair, lifting the lower leg until the leg is straight, flex the leg and then lower.
- Flexion; standing and using a chair, desk or counter, lift just the lower leg until it the leg is at a 90-degree angle, flex the back of the leg and lower.
- Glutes (butt); standing, lift the whole leg from the hip as high as you can keeping the hips forward. Squeeze the glute and then lower the leg.
Some alternatives are using weight machines at the gym or elastic bands tethered to the leg of the chair or table.
Now walk around forward and then a little backward. Work up to 2 or 3 sets of 10.
For those of you that are already pretty fit but having some knee pain or discomfort, I suggest checking out these guys:
The Kneesovertoesguy - YouTube
graham tuttle - YouTube
The Ready State - YouTube
I’ll be using a lot of their information and breaking it down for us beginners out there.
Just 10 steps a day...
In cruising around on Instagram one day, this got my attention:
Ben Patrick on Instagram: “Momma likes to alternate 12 weeks each of Zero and Dense! atgonlinecoaching.com”
My right knee and I have a long history of love and mostly hate, pretty much since I can remember. As a little kid, tapping my kneecap with a hammer was the only relief from the deep ache I always felt. When I was 18, I had a doctor tell me I’d be lucky to walk after the age of 45 due to my active lifestyle as a competitive athlete. I left his office in tears but even more determined to learn an answer to my pain.
Strengthening the muscles that support the knee was key to being pain free. In fact, I was able to run for the first time and began running every morning. I got in the best shape of my life, competing in races and doing all kinds of active and fun things and I was in my 30’s and 40’s.
Around 2006 I got hit in the foot by my surfboard with no visible or physical sign of injury. Six years later I was having significant foot pain and with an X-ray learned I’d broken my foot. Two years after that I was seriously injured by a young massage therapist. I was lying face down and without warning, she took my heel all the way to my butt. I had to have my knee drained, lost range of motion and had pain all the time. It was a perfect storm of injuries. I began to give up hope of being an active and athletic person ever again. I gained weight, became sedentary, and depressed. I let that go on for too many years.
Moving to be closer to my granddaughters gave me the incentive to be more active and learn if there was any hope out there for someone like me. I had worked five years with the fire department and did not want to end up like some of the folks we helped; unable to get out of a chair or need assistance out of bed or off the toilet.
I read “Older, Faster, Stronger”, by Margaret Webb. Her goal was to see if she could be as fast or faster than her 20-year-old self. She gets to know 85 and 94 year old marathoners and runners and discusses how we can and should be moving. Her story was inspiring.
Christopher McDougall, in his book, “Born to Run”, tells the story of the Tarahumara Indians in Mexico that run miles and miles as part of their culture. He compares them to the ancient messengers that ran miles between cities in Roman times. Research from the University of Utah proves that we are meant to run, and they prove our ancestors hunted that way. He also talks about how research shows that the more construction to a shoe, the increased risk of injury, hence the new move by many footwear manufacturers to make minimalist style shoes. He has become a barefoot runner as a result and no longer suffers from the debilitating injuries he used to suffer.
At this point, if you are still with me, you’ve already decided you can’t or won’t even try this. I understand. I was in that place just a year ago and it creeps into my thinking even now. However, this morning I was able to almost do a full squat. There are tears in my eyes as I write this because I NEVER would have thought I could do that again. It was scary and I had to do it twice just to make sure I really did it. I am not expecting this from anyone, just using that as an example of possibilities.
I have told myself and others the story of my inability so much that it has been ingrained in me to a cellular level. I have let fear be in charge and have become a prisoner of it instead of moving as I was born to do.
All I am asking is that you let your fears, your story and your opinions take a break. Just for hopes sake, I want you to try something:
Take your shoes off. Take a deep breath and walk backwards 10 steps. Use assistance if you need to but just try 10 steps down your hallway or patio. Do it backwards and do it barefoot. Put your toe down first and then heel. Try not to shuffle or be flat footed...even if you are, that is a start.
How did it feel?
Why do this? First, the ability to walk backwards is an indication of the risk of falling. If you can walk backward, you have less risk. Second, it requires use of muscles that we don’t usually use and will improve your ability to walk forward.
That is where we are going to start. Are you ready? Do a little of that each day until you can go for 10 minutes.
Here is another video that explains and adds more versions.
Bob & Brad on Youtube.com