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By: Kimberly Johnson
Many of us have mild, achy pain as we move around in our daily activities whether it be a slight low back ache, a mild throbbing knee, or stiffness in our shoulders. It is tempting to lie in bed, but that could make the problem worse.
It feels counterintuitive, but exercise can improve your pain. Your workout regime may just be too intense, not hard enough, or a key exercise could be missing that would allow you to move with greater ease. If you have a medical condition or injury, you should talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.
Here are several key exercises that might be missing from your program:
How to perform: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Squeeze your glutes and push your feet into the floor to lift your hips high, creating a straight line from your shoulders to knees. Lower your hips back to the floor. Perform 1 or 2 sets of 10.
2. I’s, T’s, and Y’s can help decrease shoulder pain due to poor posture from having a tight chest with weak and overstretched muscles around our shoulder blades.
How to perform: Lie on your stomach on an exercise ball. Squeeze your shoulder blades together to extend your arms with your thumbs pointing up to the ceiling and slowly lower… that’s an I. Then extend your arms out the side and lift up… that’s a T. Finally, extend your arms in a Y shape and lift. Perform 2-3 sets of each letter.
3. Bird dogs can decrease back pain due to poor posture or inactivity by strengthening your back muscles and core.
How to perform: Get on your hands and knees in tabletop position with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Engage your abdominals by squeezing your belly button into your spine. Lift your opposite arm and leg while keeping your back from arching or rotating. Focus on not letting your rib cage sag. Perform 2 sets of 10 on each side.
4. Squats can help build your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf strength and are a great exercise for the whole body.
How to perform: Stand with your feel slightly wider than your hips and toes pointed about 10 degrees out. Push your hips slightly back then bend your knees to “sit” as deeply as possible, ideally trying to reach parallel. Keep your heels drilled into the ground and your knees driving out. Do not let your knees go past your toes. Return to standing. Perform 2 sets of 10.
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