Waiting For Your Coffee: Four Quick Exercises To Improve Performance And Reduce Injury Risk

Our lifestyles are so busy these days, between working full time and family its often hard to find time for yourself. This may be at the detriment to your health and well-being.

Here are 4 exercises to perform while you wait for your coffee:

Single Leg Balance:

Balance and proprioception is an important aspect of all daily tasks; whether you are walking, standing on the bus or running on uneven ground.  Having good balance is required to reduce the risk of injury and also allow you to live an accident free life.  Bend + Mend Physio James wrote a fantastic blog on the importance of balance and provides some great exercise options.  An effective exercise for balance is simply standing on the one leg for an extended period.

To perform this exercise:
Find a point to look at on the ground or horizon.
Maintaining your balance, lift one leg and stand on the one leg for 20 seconds.
Repeat this exercise 3 times, if this is too easy try closing your eyes to increase difficulty.

Bent Knee Single Leg Calf Raise:

When running, your calf complex is an integral component to performance, and often an area of tension, cramping and strain in athletes and recreational runners. The calf complex is made up of the Gastrocnemius muscle group and Soleus which both attach into the common Achilles tendon. During running the Soleus muscle group produces 6-8x body weight of force compared to 1.5-2.8 body weight of force produced by the Gastrocnemius muscles.  Therefore, exercises to address the Soleus are necessary for injury prevention and enhancing performance.

Stand on one Leg.
Lightly Bend your knee to 30 degrees.
Maintaining your balance, rise up on to your toes so the heel comes off the floor keeping your knee bent at 30 degrees.
Control the movement back to the start position and repeat 10 times.

Ankle Dorsiflexion:

Reduced dorsiflexion is a modifiable risk factor that can contribute to sustaining lower limb injury such as ankle sprain, ACL sprain, plantar fasciitis, patellofemoral pain syndrome and tendinopathy.

Start in a standing position.
Keeping the toes pointing forwards, lean forwards onto your front foot with your knee bending over your toes.
Hold this position and allow the back knee to soften, your heel of the back leg may come up a little.
You should feel this stretch lower down in the calf near the tendon.
Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.

Scapular Retraction:

The previous exercises focus on the lower body. This exercise is to address the upper body and shoulders. So much of our lives is spent either sitting or performing tasks with our shoulders in a protracted position, i.e. shoulders rolled forward.  Extended periods of poor postures may be contributing to shoulder and neck pain.  One simple exercise to perform is scapular retraction.

Stand up straight with your arms resting by your sides.
Gently draw your shoulder blades back towards each other.
Imagine pulling them into opposite pockets in your lower back.
This is a subtle movement so ensure you don’t over strain the movement.
Hold this position for 10 seconds, repeat 5 times.

If you are experiencing any discomfort with these exercises or with daily living, you will greatly benefit from a Physiotherapy Consult from the Team at Bend + Mend.

Patrick Nelson

About Patrick Nelson

Patrick joined the team at Bend + Mend following a move to Sydney from the Central Coast, NSW. After Graduating with Honours from Newcastle University, Patrick has developed his career in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy in both Private Practice and the Hospital Setting. Patrick has done further study into Dry Needling, injury prevention programming for strength and conditioning, shoulder rehabilitation and taping methods. Patrick has a strong interest in injury prevention and sports performance. Having a background of working in variety of sports from grass roots netball to professional rugby league, he enjoys getting to the root of your musculoskeletal issue and developing a planned approach to returning you to the pitch, as safely and as soon as possible.

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