Our bodies have been evolving for a long time to fit the environment we live in. However, with our current sedentary lifestyles and reliance on technology, we have strayed far from our natural origins. As a result, we experience discomfort and mobility issues, particularly in our hamstring and quadricep muscles.
The hamstrings consist of three muscles located at the back of the thigh, while the quadriceps muscles comprise four muscles located at the front of the thigh. These muscles work together to keep our hip and knee joints stable, allowing us to move around freely. Our ancestors developed these muscles over millions of years as they began to walk on two legs instead of four.
Unfortunately, due to our modern lifestyle, these muscles have become weaker and more prone to injury. Prolonged sitting tightens and contracts our hamstrings, causing stress on our lower back and hips. On the other hand, standing or walking for extended periods tightens and contracts our quadriceps muscles, leading to stress on our knees and hips.
Injuries and pain in these muscles are widespread, especially among athletes, but they can happen to anyone leading a sedentary lifestyle or not engaging in regular physical activity. These injuries range from minor strains to severe tears and can occur due to sudden movements, overuse, or a lack of flexibility.
To prevent these injuries and reduce pain, it is essential to stretch and strengthen these muscles. Knowing which muscles to target is crucial. For instance, if you have tight hamstrings it is best to stretch them and strengthen the gluteal muscles. This helps to enhance flexibility and reduce the risk of lower back pain. Similarly, if you have tight quadriceps muscles, stretching them and strengthening the hip muscles can provide stability to the knee joint and minimize the risk of knee pain and injury.
Here are some simple stretches and exercises to try:
Hamstring stretch: Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Slowly lean forward, reaching towards your toes. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.
Quadricep stretch: Stand upright, bend your knee, and bring your foot towards your buttocks. Hold your ankle with one hand and maintain balance by holding onto a wall or chair with the other. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times on each leg.
Glute bridge: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Push your hips up towards the ceiling, squeezing your glutes and hamstrings. Hold for 2-3 seconds and slowly lower back down. Repeat for 12-15 reps.
Squats: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and toes pointing forward. Lower your hips back and down, as if sitting on a chair. Keep your chest lifted and your weight on your heels. Push through your heels to return to standing. Repeat for 12-15 reps.
For more customised stretches and exercises to target your specific needs, you can order a FREE Fitness on-the-go plan from JANMI at https://www.janmi.co.uk/fitnessplans.
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In conclusion, our bodies have evolved over millions of years to adapt to our environment, but our modern lifestyle has caused discomfort and mobility difficulties in our hamstring and quadricep muscles. To prevent injury and alleviate pain, it is crucial to stretch and strengthen these muscles, focusing on the ones that require the most attention. By understanding the anatomy and evolution of our bodies, we can take better care of ourselves, improve our overall health and wellbeing, and live a happier life.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Additionally, please perform all exercises and stretches at your own risk and with caution, being mindful of any potential injury or discomfort.