As you explore the athletic side of 40+, you may start to notice that aches are starting to get more intense and persistent. The shoulder joint is a common area of frustration for active, older individuals. Many patients that come to see me blame years of abuse for their "chronically" inflamed shoulder, and lament that they are destined for surgery and/or injections. Ultimately, I am able to disabuse my patient’s shoulder pessimism by providing them with a daily action plan for getting them out of pain and back to their sport. If your shoulders are stiff or prone to the occasional aches and pains, give these three exercises a try.
Thoracic Spine Foam Rolling
Spend a couple minutes rolling on a foam roller to promote extension of the thoracic spine. To reach our hands completely overhead we need our thoracic spine to straighten out, but after a long day sitting a computer, we tend to lose this end range spinal motion.
Try a few sets of 30 seconds to 1 minute of an “active” shoulder hang. The active part of this exercise is pulling the shoulders down away from your ears and holding that position.
Take a dumbbell or kettlebell and rotate it back and forth to your shoulder’s end range of motion. This is a great way to stimulate your rotator cuff in a safe range of motion.
These are three great exercises that will strengthen the rotator cuff and increase your shoulder range of motion. As alway, if you are currently in pain or experiencing numbness or tingling in your arms and/or hands, consider seeing a clinician before engaging in these exercise.