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Strength Exercises

Stronger muscles help support the joints and prevent injury to the joints when you are doing aerobic exercise. Strengthening the muscles (and bones) can be accomplished by using weights, exercise bands, or simply by lifting the weight of your body, arms, legs, etc. (leg lifts, push-ups, sit-ups). Mentally focusing on the exercise you are doing also helps in relieving stress. Don't overdo it. Taking every other day off will give your body a chance to recover.

Ab Strength Exercise: Crunches

Start by lying on your back with knees bent. (Anchoring the feet or keeping the legs straight along the floor can strain the lower back). Exhale when raising your torso off the floor and inhale when lowering. Just raise your head and shoulder off the floor. Sitting up all the way is hard on your lower back. You can use your hands to support your neck but be careful not to pull your neck or you could tear a muscle.

Back Strength Exercise

Lay on stomach, arms reached out past your head with palms and forehead on floor. Lift one arm (as you raise your head and shoulders) and the opposite leg at the same time, stretching them away from each other. Hold for 10 - 30 seconds. Switch sides.

Glutes (buttocks) Strength Exercise

Stand, holding onto the back of a chair for support. Swing leg back at a diagonal until you feel your glute muscles tighten. Tense muscles as much as you can and swing leg back a couple more inches. Return leg to floor. Repeat 10 times. Switch sides.

Quadriceps (front of thigh) Strength Exercise: Leg Lifts

Lie flat on back. Bend left knee at 90 degree angle, keeping foot flat on floor. Keeping the right leg straight, slowly lift it to the height of the left knee. Hold for a count of 5. Repeat 10 times. Switch sides. Exhale as you raise the leg, inhale as you lower the leg. (Never lift both legs at the same time as this causes excess stress on the lower back)

Inner Thigh Strength Exercise: Side Leg Lifts

Lie on floor on right side. Bend your left leg and bring it to the floor in front of you. Slowly lift your right leg six to 10 inches off the floor. Hold for a count of 3. Slowly lower leg back to floor. Exhale as you raise the leg, inhale as you lower the leg. Repeat 10 times. Switch sides.

Hamstrings Strength Exercise: Hamstring Curls

Lie on stomach. Place left foot onto the back of the right heel. Slowly pull your right heel toward your buttocks - resisting with the left leg. This contracts the hamstrings. Hold for a count of 10. (keep pressing your left foot and right heel against each other) Hold for a count of 10. Relax for count of 3. Do 10 repetitions.

Calves Strength Exercise

Step up onto a stair (or phone book). The balls of your feet should be on the step, your heels hanging over. Lower your heels until you fell a gentle stretch, then raise your heels as high as possible. Repeat 10 times. Inhale when you raise your heels. Exhale when you lower you heels.

Chest, Shoulders, & Back of upper arms

Lie face down. Keep your body straight. Place hands on floor slightly wider than shoulder width apart , fingers pointing forward and slightly outward. Feet should be together, toes curled under on floor. Slowly straighten your arms, lifting your body off the floor then slowly lower yourself down until you are a few inches from the floor. Inhale as you lower yourself, exhale when you push yourself back up. Repeat 10 times. As you get stronger, work your way up to 50.

Chest, Shoulders, & Back of upper arms Strength Exercises: Modified Push Ups

As above except the knees are bent and on the floor.... if the above push ups are too difficult you can try using a wall. Stand a few couple of feet away from wall. Place palms on wall a little wider than shoulder level, hands pointing up. Bending your elbows, slowly lower your body toward the wall. You can also use a counter top or any stable piece of furniture.

Biceps Strength Exercise: Biceps Curls

Holding onto dumbbells (or use a water bottle or can of soup), stand with your arms straight down, palms facing forward. Bending at the elbow, slowly lift your arms until your hands are at shoulder height then slowly lower to starting position. Keep your elbows close to your body. Exhale when raising your arms. Inhale when lowering arms. Do 10 curls, rest and repeat.

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