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I ask not for a lighter burden but for broader shoulders. Jewish Proverb
We often do not give a second thought to the load our shoulders carry every day until we experience an injury. I found out how important my shoulders were one day when I went to lift a bag of horse feed and could not do it. That was when I started paying attention to my upper body – especially my shoulders. For others, an injury such as a shoulder sprain or something more severe such as a rotator cuff injury from repetitive use brings the importance of shoulders to the forefront.
It is easy not to think about our shoulders or anything our bodies do automatically. Did you know that there are eight ligaments and 15 muscles that directly affect our shoulder movements? Something as simple as shaking out a blanket, putting on a seat belt, reaching into a cupboard or into the freezer to take out something for dinner and even pulling a purse onto our shoulder takes many muscles to accomplish – and we do not give it a thought. UNTIL one day you can’t.
That’s why this week we are going to talk about how to keep your shoulders strong. In Silver Sneakers, we focus on shoulder strength every class because it is so important to our lifestyle. Upper body exercise that includes those for our shoulders helps maintain and can even rebuild muscle strength.
As always it is important to check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. Once you have the okay, these exercises are great for building shoulder strength and helping with mobility
Shoulder circles. Shoulder circles not only help keep your shoulders mobile, they also help with relieving tightness in the upper back. Circle shoulders forward then back.
Shoulder shrugs. Just as it sounds, either with or without dumbbells shrug your shoulders up towards your ears then relax back down.
Side arm raise. With or without weights, palm down, raise your arms to shoulder height. Not above. Return to your starting position.
Overhead press. IF you have no shoulder pain, this is a great exercise. Begin with no weight. Bend arms in a 90 degree angle and slowly raise both arms overhead. Lower your arms back to original 90 degree angle. As you get stronger, you may add light weights.