This month I have a another wonderful upper body exercise for you to try. I explain How To Strengthen Your Arms And Shoulders For Seniors. These are called “diagonals” and work on your upper shoulder muscles that lift your arm up and out to the side. If you have not been exercising, try no weight in your hands at first until you get used to the exercise. That way you will protect your shoulder from any extra strain. As your strength improves and you get used to the exercise, add one pound, then two. If you experience any pain at all, stop and rest, reduce your motion in half. That is really true of any exercise you perform. Never overdo any exercise.
To make the exercise easier and reduce your discomfort, reduce the repetitions, the weight your are lifting, and the motion you are performing. For example, if you feel discomfort with the last part of the movement when your are is fully out to the side, this is most likely the muscles on the top part of your shoulder called the rotator cuff, or supraspinatus. This is a muscle that can be overused easily when raising your arm overhead with a load. That is why it is a good idea to limit the weight at first to just the weight of your arm. When performing exercises to strengthen your arms and shoulders, simply make a fist and imagine holding a weight in your hands. Start with an easy motion to the side without extending all the way out at first. Slowly increase how far your arm is extending until you can bring your arm out and up to shoulder level. Make sure you exercise the other side also! After all, we don’t want to at all look lopsided!
Doug Schrift is a Physical Therapist, Certified Geriatric Specialist, and senior fitness coach. Doug helps seniors become strong and stable even if they have never exercised before.
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