Strengthen Your Hip Joint!

October 22, 2008

Patrick Henry said,”Give me liberty or give me death.”

You can let freedom ring after a hip replacement – if you are one of the 300,000 annual hip replacement patients in the US! Or if you just want to keep a healthy hip, learn some exercises that are sure to keep you hip and hop!

The hip joint has three degrees of freedom, which means that it moves in three different planes: the sagittal plane: flexion/extension; the frontal plane: abduction/adduction; and the transverse plane: external/internal rotation.

Don’t let the doctor keep you in stitches on the “hipnotic” battlefield – learn to strengthen the hip joint and laugh your way into old age! Shake your left leg, take two steps then throw a left hook out of left field as you perform fundamental movements from the hip joint.


A Normal Hip Joint

A Normal Hip Joint

The hip joint is a ball and socket joint between the head of the femur and the socket of the pelvis. The hip has a joint capsule, which is a flexible sac around the joint allowing multiple movements such as the following (from a standing position): flexion – forward leg movement; extension – backward leg movement; abduction – leg moves away from sides; adduction – leg moves toward other leg; internal rotation – toes pointing toward each other; and external rotation – toes pointing away from each other. Avoid excessive flexion, adduction and internal rotation of the hip for the first six weeks after a hip replacement surgery. General info for patients with hip replacements include not bending the hip beyond 90 degrees, not bringing legs and knees together (adduction, internal rotation), and not crossing legs (adduction). The first task is easing patients into weight bearing exercises such as walking. For people without a hip replacement, their walking can tell a lot about their hip health.

An Unhealthy Hip Joint

An Unhealthy Hip Joint


Walking transfers body weight from hip joint to hip joint. Walking is divided into two phases, which include the stance phase, where one leg is standing on the ground; and the swing phase, where one leg is off the ground swinging forward to make the next step.

During the swing phase of a walk, the toes are prevented from hitting the ground because the gluteus medius on the stance side contracts, tilting the pelvis upward and lifting the leg clear of the ground.

A weak gluteus medius causes the pelvis to dip downward during the swing phase. The gluteus medius can be weak due to either an L5 nerve root lesion in the spine, proximal myopathy (muscular dystrophy, hip osteoarthritis) or congenitial hip deformities.

Calculations have been made using vector diagrams during the stance phase of walking. They show that four times the body weight is applied to the load-bearing surface of the hip joint. Therefore, being overweight places an increased burden on the hip joints, leading to premature osteoarthritis. Throw ideas of osteoarthritis out the window and start losing weight and strengthening the hip in rewarding workouts!

Strengthening and gaining flexibility in the hip joint should be a priority through proper conditioning and balance training. Flexibility can be gained by stretching out one leg while standing on the other, then bending the outstretched leg 90 degrees.

Strengthening can be achieved by looping a Thera-Band loop around the ankles and alternating mini squats for 30-60 seconds. A balance exercise can be achieved by standing on one leg for 30-60 seconds.

Beware of hip joint red flags! Some of the red flags are at half mast when there are some of the following casualties to the body: pain and swelling, pain when bearing weight on lower extremities, and discomfort or inability to sleep on the hip.

Exercises can prevent the red flags when they form good conditioning habits and utilize cross training. Patients with hip replacements can build strength comfortably through cross training in the water. Therapeutic water training is the best form of exercise for gaining flexibility and range of motion, especially in patients with a concern for their hip joint health. Anyone with a goal of increasing their hip joint degrees of freedom can have an effortless return of hip advancements in water training.


Alicia Weber is an Aquatic Therapist that offers personal & group sessions in Central Florida.  Contact her at 352-874-4363 for a FREE Consultation or to set up an appointment.

Alicia Weber is an Aquatic Therapist that offers personal & group sessions in Central Florida. Contact her at 352-874-4363 for a FREE Consultation or to set up an appointment.







Coordination Takes Some Practice

October 12, 2008

A rabbit asked the turtle if it could hurdle. The turtle had to ‘think’ if it must use its shoulder girdle.

Coordination is a thinking process which combines harmonious movements. Coordination is synchronization of muscular movements after the muscles receive signals from the brain.

A decline in coordination can be related to lack of nutrition or not using certain skills, unless one has a disease that affects coordination such as multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, or cerebral palsy.

A giraffe’s movements become awkward as it bends and turns its elongated neck. In people, head turning, reaching, and crawling are innate movements, but other movements, such as balancing on one foot, must be conditioned through reflexes and response.

It takes great effort to bend over!

It takes great effort to bend over!

According to the 1997 edition of Exercise Physiology for Health, Fitness, and Performance, a reflex is a rapid, involuntary response (hitting your knee with a rubber mallet) that results in a specific motor response (getting a leg jerk), with that response being dependent on the type and duration of the stimulus received (the harder you hit, the harder the leg jerks).

Body movement feedback moves in and out of the spinal cord to the brain and then through spinal nerves to your limbs to conduct the necessary movement. If you are no longer able to carry out a certain movement, it is time to work on your neuromuscular function through balance training.

A lungfish is known to have fins and feet, but it is a better swimmer than a walker. It can be seen bumbling to and fro as it wobbles on sand. Some people claim they feel the same way about their walking.

The African Lungfish

The African Lungfish

The good news is that balance exercises improve coordination. Several beneficial balance exercises include side jumps with legs together, side squat lunges, and step-ups on an aerobic box.

If your walking “beats the bands,” but you are like a butter-fingered koala bear trying to catch a ball, it is time to work on hand-eye coordination. Helpful exercises include bouncing a ball against a wall, squatting, then catching the ball on the way up from the squat; or seeing how many many times you can bounce a tennis ball on a racket before it bounces off.

After honing skills, it is appropriate to hone nutrition. When it comes to hand-eye coordination, beta-carotene and lutein can strengthen eyes. Other nutritional elements that have been known to enhance endurance and prevent fatigue and lack of focus are magnesium and calcium.

Olympic biathlon contenders have improved their concentration and precision in the rifle event after taking B-complex vitamins.

When it comes down to total body harmony, joints need to be able to move fully and freely, and this can be accomplished through total body conditioning with an emphasis in neuromuscular training.

*If you need to improve coordination and neuromuscular function, Alicia Weber, the fitness trainer can develop the right ‘balancing act’ for you. She trains people in Central and South Florida and online. Contact her at for help.

Health in Corporate America for Profit and Productivity

September 14, 2008

Foreword: As a Fitness/Nutrition/Solutions Consultant I interview top professionals and write educational, entertaining articles that are hopefully thought provoking for my readers.

 In a rush to satisfy job requirements, do you think you ate some quick, unhealthy snacks that may have left you lackadaisical? Could it be that you love your job, but may wish that you had a higher income and could work fewer hours?

Or is everything wonderful, but you may not be sure if you have health insurance that would cover the upcoming doctor and physical therapy bills?

The employment statistics suggest that people are turning to self -employment more than they were a decade ago and fewer employers are offering healthcare coverage. According to the U.S. Census Bureau for Health Insurance, 47 million Americans are without health insurance and young adults are the fastest growing uninsured population. It is time to think about preventative health.

Just as on a job an employee is to be prompt, prepared, and productive, when it comes to one’s health everyone should be prompt, prepared, and preventative.

Being health preventative and productive with profit is a doable combination in Corporate America and below one can find out.

Rule # 1: Biofeedback Without Barriers.

Any great athlete can explain the monumental wins from biofeedback and mental preparation including Michael Jordan, Greg Louganis, Tiger Woods, and Venus Williams. Sports or business, one must think about what they want to have happen regularly and let the thoughts go from awareness to actions. You have to have a vision before going on a mission. Many times I thought of how I wanted things to be and before I knew it everything happened and it was normally better than what I dreamed. I would have to keep pinching myself!

"Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that." – Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

Rule # 2: Eat Smart to Think Smart.

Getting rid of soda pop and enriched, bleached white flour products alone, I see 50% increased energy level and productivity with my personal clients and not to forget to mention weight loss! If it is white, don’t bite! The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an almost 5 percent annual growth rate for food eaten at home. People might be pinching pennies for cheaper food, but don’t get cheap with your health. Your health is everything. Smart shopping can keep one healthy and save money. During a tough time in ’02, I was able to keep my grocery bills under $70/month and spend no more than $30/month at restaurants. By making large quantities that can be frozen or refrigerated and buying good proteins to consume, one can save money and stay healthy as I did. My favorite is making a huge bowl of fresh salad and adding fish to it to eat during the week! Certain dishes including chili, lasagna, pasta, and soups are other foods that can be made in large quantities and gobbled throughout the week.

Key nutrients that can keep one smart and healthy include, but are not limited to the following:

1. Omega 3 Fatty Acids – imperative for mental and heart health found in salmon, tuna, and nuts

2. B vitamins – maintain mental skills and keep depression at bay also found in salmon and nuts, as well as chicken breast, avocado, banana, broccoli, orange juice, baked potato with skin, spinach, black-eyed peas, garbonzo beans, lentils, pinto beans, and spaghetti

3. Vitamin C – strengthens immune system and can be found in all citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, and green peppers.

* These vitamins are also known to prevent heart disease, certain cancers, and stroke.

Rule # 3: Fitness for Richness.

Some people might think of fitness and associate it with sweat, long-enduring workouts, pain, perserverance, and muscle aches. On the contrary, obtaining fitness can be about taking just 5-minutes to exert muscles in multiple movements. Fitness at the workplace could be about taking a few deep breaths of deep breathing, taking the stairs, performing a few moves of chair yoga, and walking brisk intervals around the office with a few final stretches.

In any event, studies show exercise has a direct benefit to alertness and keeping stress down on the job. One easy and beneficial "belly-breathing" exercise called Tortoise Breathing is S-L-O-W and known to help with alertness, better concentration, and stronger immunity and it is easy to do on the job! Just take a minute and try Tortoise Breathing below:

1. Stand or sit without slouching. Inhale slowly so that your chest, diaphragm, and lower abdomen expand.

2. Exhale slowly so that your chest, diaphragm, and lower abdomen contract.

3. Finally, begin timing your breathing for one minute: an inhalation and exhalation count together as one breath. Goal 2 – 4 breaths a minute. Typically people just starting out take 8-12 breaths a minute. Combine biofeedback with this breathing exercise and you will be on your way to better health, profit, and productivity!

* Taking preventative health measures has been a proven success with one of the most stressful jobs of that of a Deputy Sheriff of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Orlando, Florida.

Corporal Pat Reilly, Wellness Coordinator for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office knows how preventative health measures work wonders for employees on and off the job and he starts by saying, " With the inherent risks connected to Law Enforcement, individual health and fitness may be the difference in winning or not winning a confrontation. A regular exercise program is proven to reduce health care expenses, limit work time missed due to illness, aid in recovery time from injury or illness, improves sleeping habits, impacts performance and daily activity, etc. These are some of the obvious benefits of becoming and staying involved with any Wellness program."

Corporal Pat Reilly seen in front of  the state of the art Fitness Center located at the main Sheriff’s Office complex in Orlando where Group Exercise classes include Indoor Cycling, Abdominals, Yoga, Self Defense – Jui Jitsu and Aikido.

Corporal Pat Reilly seen in front of the state of the art Fitness Center located at the main Sheriff’s Office complex in Orlando where Group Exercise classes include Indoor Cycling, Abdominals, Yoga, Self Defense – Jui Jitsu and Aikido.

Corporal Pat Reilly, Wellness Coordinator, has over 1,000 fitness center users a week in a wellness program and he says, "The most applicable benefit of our preventative health and exercise programs is the overwhelming physical fitness gains observed and documented by employees participating in our Diagnostic Fitness Assessment Testing program also known as "The Program FDS". We have developed a digital, diagnostic testing program which gives a participant immediate readings of Body Composition, Flexibility, Upper Body Strength and Lower Body Strength assessment testing. This 5 minute assessment program keeps our personnel ‘connected’ mainly because of the ‘awareness’ and ‘comparison’ factors attached to The Program. Employees immediately see health and fitness gains as well as allowing them to learn of negative gains before "slip-ups" have disappointing effects."

Orange County Sheriff Exercise Room

Orange County Sheriff Exercise Room


Preventative Health in Corporate America is clearly the proven way to go for TOP profit and productivity!

**If you are an employer or individual that needs a preventative health solution, contact the Fitness/Nutrition/Solution Consultant for a Recommendation at