Stretch Away Arthritis Pain

Try this mini-workout built around a rubber resistance band, which can help you strengthen and stretch at the same time.

By
Health Monitor Staff

Feet First

The position: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Place the band over the ball of your foot and extend your right leg up toward the ceiling. Holding one end of the band in each hand, use it to slowly pull your leg toward your chest until the band is slightly taut.

Tip: Bands should be at least four feet long; most people should select a medium-strength band.

Feet First

The move:
Slowly flex and point your foot several times. If your hamstrings (the muscles that run up the backs of your legs) are tight, they will get a stretch, too. 

Then, keeping your leg extended, draw small circles in the air with your right foot, going clockwise six times and then counterclockwise six times. Repeat the entire series with your left leg.

Iliotibial (T-Band) Stretch

The position:
Lie on your back with your legs fully extended. Bring one knee to your chest and place the band over the ball of your foot. Extend your leg up toward the ceiling.

If you can't keep your leg straight, bend your knee slightly. The opposite leg should remain on the floor, either straight or with the knee slightly bent.

Iliotibial (T-Band) Stretch

The move:
Cross your right leg over the midline of your body toward the left wall. Hold the position parallel to the floor about hip-height, as you reach the right leg out as far as you can. 

You will feel a stretch on the outside of your right leg. Hold for 15-20 seconds. Repeat with your left leg.

Tip: Use your abdominal muscles to help support the weight of your leg.

Abdominal Curls

The position:
Place the band down on the middle of your mat. Lie on the mat, aligning your spine along the band. Leave about six inches of band sticking up behind your head.

Abdominal Curls

The move:
Using both hands, grasp the end of the band, making a hammock for your head to rest on. Inhale and then exhale as you pull your navel in toward your spine and curl forward. 

Slowly lower your head and shoulders back to the mat. Repeat 10-15 times. Do not allow your shoulder blades to move toward each other; instead, keep your collarbones open as you move. 

Tip: Use your abdominal muscles—not your biceps.

Side Stretch & Strengthener

The position:
Place one end of the band on the floor, and step on it with your right foot. Grasp the other end of the band with your right hand.

Side Stretch & Strengthener

The move:
Slowly lift your right arm straight up, causing the band to become increasingly taut. Keep your shoulders down (not up around your ears). 

Holding the band with your right hand, slowly bend sideways to the left and, just as slowly, return to center. Inhale as you bend to the side, and exhale as you return to the center. Do 5 reps, and then repeat on the left side.

Upper Back Opener & Triceps Strengthener

The position: Hold the band behind your back, palms facing away from you and close together. Roll your shoulders back.

Upper Back Opener & Triceps Strengthener

The move: With arms straight, pull the band down and apart while slightly arching the upper back. Do 5 reps, then pause and repeat.

Tip: Check with your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise regimen, and remember to only do the exercises to tolerance—do not do too much at once.

Published
November 2012