Like a lot of gym rats I used to spend most of my waking hours working out my upper body. It made sense because I’m picking stuff up, using my arms and shoulders. Sure, part of it was vanity: People are looking at you from above the waist (well, most people anyway). But the real story is that your lower body acts as the base of your support as you walk, run and jump. Plus everything strength-wise comes from your lower back. Contrary to popular belief, your largest muscles are located in your lower body. They are essential in movements you perform in day-to-day activities or in sports. So go figure: When you strengthen your lower body, you are strengthening your largest muscles.
What to Do
Healthyliving.azcentral.com establishes that “Regular lower-body exercise also increases bone strength, improves your balance and stamina and decreases injuries to your knees and hips, along with your risk of falling.” And the great thing is that adults in particular can customize their workouts to suit their activities. The folks at Healthy Living also point out that “a strong lower body helps slow the physical weakness that is part of the aging process and maintains balance, stamina and confidence.” And here you thought I was trying to sell you on lower body exercises and mobility because it tightens your butt.
Train for What You Do
You don’t need to be an athlete to understand that it’s important to maintain a sense of strength, acceleration, deceleration, coordination, flexibility and balance. We’re not talking the World Cup here. But things like walking up and down stairs, sitting and standing. Heck, even raising a cup to your mouth all requires technique while in motion. You should incorporate training that involves strengthening the lower body in workouts specific to your lifestyle. Your chiropractor can identify what works best for you in the gym and also how chiropractic treatment can improve your mobility as well.
GBPersonalTraining.com explains that the major muscles of your lower body are the buttocks muscles (which move from your upper leg to the side or back) the abductors of the lateral thigh (which help move your leg to the side) the abductors of the inner thigh (which move your leg back toward midline) the hamstrings of the posterior thigh (which lift your heels toward your buttocks) and the calf muscles (which point your feet downward and help you stand on your toes). If I forgot anything I’m sure I’ll figure it out the next time I do squats.
A typical program includes leg extensions, curls, lunges, squats and balance exercises. Machines at a gym isolate individual muscles and help you maintain proper form. You can also adjust exercise machines to increase or decrease resistance, as necessary. A full range of lower mobility exercises can be found here.
Your back is much too precious, not to mention valuable, to allow yourself to fall by the wayside. Speak with the staff at The Joint for a professional assessment of what suits you best in and out of the gym to ensure a healthy lifestyle!
sunrise stretches : man, dolores park, san francisco (2014) by torbakhopper is licensed under CC BY 4.0
This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.