‘A fun and so­cial way to in­crease mus­cle tone’

Good Health Choices - - Be Energized - If you’d like one of our ex­perts to an­swer your ques­tion, email it to good­health@bauer­me­dia.co.nz. No per­sonal cor­re­spon­dence will be en­tered into.

What is the ad­van­tage of do­ing ex­er­cises on a Swiss or fit ball as op­posed to a nor­mal bench? A Un­like a bench that is sta­ble, a Swiss or fit ball pro­vides an un­sta­ble sur­face, which re­quires your body to switch on more sta­bil­is­ing mus­cles to pre­vent it from slip­ping and mov­ing from un­derneath you.

Us­ing a Swiss ball stim­u­lates the deeper mus­cles of the core (both ab­dom­i­nals and lower back), strength­en­ing them while con­tribut­ing to im­proved pos­ture and bal­ance as well. I started run­ning a few months ago, but my left knee cap has started to hurt when I do this, as well as when I walk down stairs. Should I stop run­ning? A Maybe for a short amount of time.

You may be de­vel­op­ing patellofemoral pain syn­drome (kneecap pain). The main fac­tor con­tribut­ing to this is usu­ally ex­ces­sive knee joint pres­sure from poor align­ment of the kneecap, due to mus­cle im­bal­ances and/or in­cor­rect tech­nique. Treat by rest­ing and ic­ing the in­flamed joint along with spe­cific ex­er­cises to help cor­rect the mus­cle im­bal­ances. I also sug­gest see­ing a physio for a cor­rect di­ag­no­sis.

How can I get shapely calves? A There are two mus­cles that make up the calf – the gas­troc­ne­mius (big bulgy mus­cle) and the soleus (smaller deeper mus­cle), which is why a mix of ex­er­cises help with ton­ing. Start with 3 x 30-sec­ond rounds of skip­ping fol­lowed by 2 sets of 15 reps of the fol­low­ing ex­er­cises be­fore build­ing to 5 x 1-minute rounds and 3 sets of the ex­er­cises: »Calf

raises.

»Hop­ping

on one leg from left to right.

»An­kle

cir­cles.

‘us­ing a swiss ball stim­u­lates the deeper mus­cles of the core’

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