« The Benefits of Hot Yoga

Alleviating Muscle Spasms & Best Exercise To Lose Weight

Posted on February 13, 2013 by Adele Kozlowski

Q. The other day I was moving furniture and suffered a muscle spasm in my lower back. 
I relaxed the remainder of the evening, but woke up very achy and stiff. What's the best way to treat muscle spasms?

A. A HOT shower immediately after a muscle spasm begins helps to reduce pain and discomfort. The following two exercises (best if repeated twice daily for a week) also may help.  

1.  The "alternate leg lift" helps release tension and relax muscles in the mid and lower back. Lie on our back with knees bent. Bring one knee straight up toward the shoulder, without raising the buttocks. Return the foot to the floor, sliding the leg out completely. Repeat with the opposite leg. Complete the exercise 3 times.  
2.  To relax muscles and reduce tension in the lower back, turn on either side with your head resting on your underarm. Place the other arm on your hip or in front of your body. Without raising it, slide the top leg toward your shoulder, letting it fall off the leg beneath it. Slide the leg back and extend it. Bring it back to the original position. Complete 3 times on each side.


CYCLING: Maintain an upright posture.  SWIMMIMING: Avoid butterfly or breast stroke which causes the back to arch.

JOGGING: Poorly cushioned shoes increase jarring to the back.  GOLF: Control the twisting movement of your swing. When bending to tee, keep knees bent and back straight.  TENNIS: Work with a pro to modify your serve and backhand.  WEIGHTLIFTING: Keep your back straight and knees slightly bent, so your legs can help you lift. AVOID jerky movements.


Q. I swim a lot and recently read that it is not the best choice of exercise for losing weight. Is that true?

A. Studies have been inconsistent. While some swimmers may lose weight, others maintain or gain. If your main reason for swimming is to lose weight, decrease your caloric intake and swim at a fast pace.

Swimming 20 lengths of the pool at a slow pace may only burn 50 calories more than just staying afloat. The best stroke for achieving all the benefits of swimming is the forward crawl. Monitoring your heart rate will indicate whether swimming is an effective mode of exercise for weight loss. To do this add 13 to your age and subtract the total from 220. Take 70 to 80 percent of that number to find your workout range. For example, a 40 year old swimmer would subtract 53 from 220 and get 167. Their workout range would be 100 to 134 beats per minute. For weight loss, the goal is to be in your workout range.


Q. Does it really make a difference if I do the same aerobic activity every day (I run), or should I vary my exercise choices.

A. If you want to improve your cardiovascular endurance, it doesn't matter what type of aerobic exercise you do. For weight control and overall health, the frequency, intensity and duration of the aerobic exercise are more important than the type of activity. But cross-training doing a variety of exercises can help prevent injuries by avoiding muscle imbalances. For example, as a runner, you might develop stronger hamstring muscles (the ones at the back of the thighs). Bicyclists develop stronger quadriceps muscles (the ones at the front of the thighs). If you combine running and cycling, you can avoid imbalances that might lead to injury.

Many clients at Ellens combine the Ultimate Workout 2 times a week  
and spinning 2 times a week for the PERFECT WORKOUT.