The Leg Bone's Connected to the Heel Bone ...

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Alpha Waves Yoga with Antonia Boyle Westerham KentYou might remember my recent article about looking after your feet? If you haven't read it yet or would like to refresh please Read On>

The leg bone is connected to the heel bone (as well as the ankle bone, the knee bone and the hip bone) - in fact every single part of us is connected in one way or another, which means these parts are interdependent.

People often tell me about their aches and pains, particularly in the joints and many report that they suffer with arthritis. Although the word "arthritis" means joint inflammation, the term is used to describe around 200 rheumatic diseases and conditions that affect joints, the tissues that surround the joint, and other connective tissue. Of course, this is sometimes the case - but I've found that a little stretching combined with strength exercises can often 'magic away' those aches and pains. We often forget that joints don't move by themselves - they are moved by muscles stretching while their opposite number contracts. Strong muscles support the joints and flexibility allows them to move freely. So it naturally follows, that for optimum performance we really need both - strength and flexibility.

I'd like to share with you some powerful exercises, which I often use on my yoga courses. They don't take long so are easy to slip into your daily routine.

If you do have a medical condition, it's always advisable to check first with your GP/Physiotherapist.

Strength Exercise - Small Knee Bend:

  • Stand upright in front of a mirror. To be of value, it's important that your feet are properly aligned in this exercise and a mirror can help you to check this.
  • Place your feet about two fist-widths apart and pointing forward (precisely).
  • Keeping the spine absolutely upright, feet flat on the floor, looking straight ahead - start to bend your knees. You'll find your knees will want to move closer together or wider apart. BUT it's important to keep your knees pointing forwards - line them up with your middle toe.
  • Hold the stretch for two minutes minimum. Repeat twice a day.
  • Once you're used to the 'feel' of this exercise you won't need to do it in front of a mirror. I usually do this while brushing my teeth - multi-tasking at its best!

There are two principal benefits to this exercise. 1) It strengthens the large thigh muscles (Quadriceps), which support the knees. 2) By contracting the outside calf muscles (which continue under the foot) it's great for lifting the instep and is therapeutic should you suffer from flat feet.

Stretch Exercise for Flexibility:

  • This is designed to be a counter stretch exercise (to the small knee bend above) for your thighs.
  • Stand with feet slightly apart and step one leg behind you, as far as you can.
  • Carefully slide the back-leg further behind you while you start to bend the front knee.
  • Bend forward and place your hands on the floor and come up on the tiptoes of the back foot (heel is pointing upwards).
  • Now carefully slide the back leg further away until you feel a good, but not painful stretch in the front of the back leg and groin and stay for up to 2minutes.

If you find it difficult to balance, stand near a wall or hold on to a chair, it won't affect the benefits you can gain from these effective exercises.

I'll be sharing some simple stretches and strength exercises on a regular basis. Remember to take care of yourself - do them slowly and build up the duration in your own pace.

I'd love to know how you get on and if you have any special requests. Do let me know by getting in touch.

Antonia x

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