Shoulder Exercises

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Work those shoulders ! Our shoulders and upper back are crucial, but often neglected, parts of our body, so follow our easy exercises for a healthy, happy core EXPAND WOrds: SaraH JUGGInS ILLUsTrATIONs: ZSUZSa GOODYer O ur focus is so often upon toning and stretching muscles in the lower part of the body that we pay little attention to what is happening from the hips upwards. Well, it is time for the upper body to fight back. The back and shoulders make up one of the most important areas of our body its very core and, as such, we should be paying them a lot more attention. Here we look at ways in which you can use exercise to keep your shoulders and back in good condition. However, first the scientific bit. The back is the main support structure of your body. it comprises 24 moveable bones, called vertebrae, between each of which is a spongy disc that provides shock absorption. add to this the numerous ligaments, tendons and muscles in your spinal column and the surrounding area, and you become aware of just how impressive but, ultimately, fragile the back is. The shoulders are an extension of our core. Comprising a ball-and-socket joint, plus numerous muscles and connective tissue, healthy shoulders give us a full range of movement, allowing us to lift, reach and carry things. Without healthy shoulders, our arms will not work effectively. as anyone who has ever had their arm in a sling will know, shoulders are also important for balance. The following exercises are designed to tone and mobilise the shoulders and back, and you should find that the benefits extend to your whole body. a healthy upper body will help you move with more balance and live a more active life. I DIDNT KNOW THAT! Always check with your GP before starting any new exercise routine. Exercise #1 The shrug sitting on a chair or the edge of a bed, place both feet flat on the floor with your knees bent. Let your arms dangle by your sides and then shrug your shoulders so they move as close to yourears as possible. Hold for two orthree seconds and then relax. Repeat 10 times. Tochallenge yourself further, rotate your shoulders in a circular motion as you shrug towards your ears. Do five circular shrugs in a clockwise direction, then five counter-clockwise. Exercise #2 The seated row sitting on a chair or the edge of a bed, keep both feet flat on the floor and your back straight. extend your arms out in front of you to their full length, pause, and then pull your elbows back until your hands are at your shoulders as if you are rowing. squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold for a few seconds before reaching forwards again and repeating the movement. Do this 20 times. you can increase the impact of this exercise by holding two light weights or two tins of food. Exercise #3 The upward push sit on a chair or the edge of a bed with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor, about hip distance apart. Bend your elbows and your hands just in front of your shoulders. Now push firmly, but in a controlled manner, upwards until your arms are nearly fully extended. For an added stretch, extend your fingers as well. Hold for a split second before returning to the start position. Repeat this movement 20times. second Try this simple shoulder shrug Exercise #4 Out, in, up This This increases the range of movement in your shoulders, as well as stretching your upper back. sit on a chair with your feet in a balanced position on the floor. start with with your arms extended horizontally in front of you, with thumbs touching. Now move move both arms outwards in a controlled movement. Bring them back in and, as the thumbs thumbs are reunited, lift your arms over your head in an upward, swinging motion. allow allow a natural rhythm to develop as you repeat the movement 10-15 times. Exercise #5 Swimmer if you are able to, lie on your stomach on the floor or on a bed. stretch your arms out in in front of you and allow your forehead to touch the floor or bed. Now raise and lower each each arm alternatively. only raise your arms as high as you comfortably can. you can can either make this a rapid movement which will also serve as a heart-rate-raising exercise exercise or you can do the movement in a slow and controlled manner. Repeat 20 times. I DIDNT KNOW THAT! n The shoulder is made up of three bones the clavicle (or collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade) and the humerus (upper arm bone) n According to dr Gregory Nicholson, an orthopaedic surgeon who specialises in shoulder surgery at rush University Medical Centre, Chicago, shoulders are the most commonly injured joints in the body. n Most people between 18 and 88 will experience shoulder pain at some time in their lives n The shoulder is the only joint that sits on a moveableplatform, the shoulder blade. Thismeansithas a high degree of motion, but is also susceptible toinjury n The rotator cu, which comprises four small muscles and the associated tendons that come o the shoulder blade, accounts for 80 per cent of shoulder injuries. damage to the rotator cu can make simple tasks such as brushing your teeth or putting on a coat really painful n While shoulders can heal quickly, research has shown that disturbed sleep caused, for example, by shoulder pain will slow the recovery down