Coaches are always telling athletes that the first thing that goes (weakens) are their legs—and one can’t compete with weak leg muscles! One of the Backsafe® Rules to protect our backs from injury is to use our “elevator” or leg muscles rather than our backs when lifting.
Apparently leg muscles are pretty important to many things related to our lives. According toWhat Happens When You Neglect Your Lower Body Composition by Kyjean Tomboc, and Strength And Muscle Mass With Aging Process by Karsten Keller and Martin Engelhardt:
- Mobility: we need our legs to move our bodies. Weak legs affect balance and mobility.
- A Japanese study (Kyjean Tomboc’s reference) found Type 2 Diabetes was associated with reduced leg muscle mass!
- Decreased muscle mass was associated with lower bone density and those with hip fractures had more “muscle waste” (Kyjean Tomboc).
- Strength Training helps to lower inflammation in the body.
- Strong leg muscles increase the functional strength that we need for activities of daily living.
What if I told you that you must “resist gravity” to remain mobile? Gravity is a 24/7 pull to the center of the earth. Our bodies thrive when we resist this pull and use our bodies to overcome it. In other words, when we have weak leg muscles we tend to ignore activities that use these muscles. This is a deadly downward spiral of our quality of life. We need to “use it or lose it”!
On a recent business trip I took notice of people’s use of stairs versus escalators and moving sidewalks. The stairs were hardly used at all. Instead, people rode up the escalator missing opportunities to USE their leg muscles to have stronger legs, to have more mobility, to feel better and to be able to lift objects off the floor correctly. Weak legs can ultimately lead to painful back injuries.
I urge you to walk more, take bike rides, do squats (even with no weights) and please use the stairs instead of escalators. Resisting gravity is great for our bodies. Our bodies need gravity to be healthy, and we need to live a lifestyle that resists gravity versus succumbing to it.
At first your legs will be angry, but after showing them who is boss by going up those stairs or doing those squats and lunges, you will feel great!
Our Backsafe® wall slide exercise strengthens the “lifting muscles” and is good for our overall health. Start easy and over time you can build up the strength in your quad muscles (do not go past a 90 degree angle).
For those with knee or hip problems, weak quadriceps muscles puts significantly more stress on these joints. Build the strength of those muscles slowly and easily and those knees and hips might just start feeling better. Personally, 3 years ago I was told by my doctor that I was a candidate for knee replacement. Thankfully a very proactive physical therapist gave me the humbling news that much of my knee pain was due to my weakened quadricep muscles. Apparently the knee pain lead to using my quads less than I should have. I worked slowly but surely on my “elevator” muscles, gained strength, reduced pain, joined a kick boxing gym to build up more strength, and lo and behold no knee pain, no surgery, AND a better quality of life. I don’t use escalators! Stairs are opportunities to beat gravity and to extend my life!
Are you interested in how practical injury prevention training, including stretching and strengthening, can help improve your bottom line and morale? Employees love it and workers’ comp costs are significantly reduced. Please give us a call today at 1-800-775-2225 to talk strategy!