By Jenna Ledgerwood, DP, DPT
What are maintenance exercises? Are you doing them regularly?
Maintenance exercises are those that help your long-standing knee pain, your posture or shoulder stiffness after surgery a few years ago. They aren’t necessarily your favorite to do at the gym, but may be some of the most important. Below are some maintenance exercises for common issues:
You sit at a desk and type on a computer all day so you have poor posture with rounded shoulders. Lay on a foam roller with your back flat on it and place arms in a football goal-post position to stretch out your chest muscles. Besides stretching out your chest muscles, you need to strengthen your upper back. Incorporate shoulder extension, low row or high row in your exercise rotation.
You have knee pain and have been told that you have knee arthritis. Strengthen your outer hips with sidestepping or any single leg activity. Strengthen all your leg muscles with squats, lunges, step-ups, etc, but maintain proper knee alignment by lining up your hip, knee and ankle when you do them.
You are a swimmer or have rotator cuff muscle weakness. Strengthen each of the four rotator cuff muscles individually, or get them all in one exercise by performing farmer’s carry. Walk around the weight room or gym while carrying one or two kettlebells/dumbbells with good posture.
There are many other maintenance exercises depending on the specific issue or body part you are addressing. Contact a personal trainer to schedule a session and learn some new exercises. Also, consider re-introducing your old maintenance exercises back into your workout routine. Make them a part of your warm-up or cool down so you remember to do them. Ask the Service Desk for various band or balls to support you. Exercise with a well-balanced workout for years to come!