December 24, 2015 by ACE Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Institute  
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5 Simple Exercises For The Holiday Season
by ACE Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Institute

Tid Bits of Info.

  • Perform 2-3 sets of 15 repetitions of each exercise.
  • Walk for at least 20 – 30 minutes daily at a brisk pace.
  • You should not be able to hold a conversation easily if you are walking at a brisk enough pace.
  • Exercise daily to help reduce the stress of the holiday season.
  • Seek the advice of a Physical Therapist for the proper exercise routine .

Maintaining exercises for the holiday season can be a challenge. Travel, weather, parties and busy schedules can upset your regular routine. After a few days of over-indulgence and under activity, you can start feeling a bit lousy. Missing the rhythm of regular exercise can increase stress and even cause some folks to struggle with depression. Even if your normal patterns are turned upside, here are 5 simple exercises that can be performed anywhere, any time and will utilize every muscle in your body if all 5 are done throughout the day.

While this abbreviated routine is not designed to take the place of a “regular” exercise routine, it can help to reduce stress and relieve the anxiety that some people get if they cannot exercise on a regular basis. If you do not exercise regularly, you can use these exercises as workout or a “spring board” to enter into a regular exercise regimen.

Superman: Lie prone (on your stomach) with your arms outstretched overhead. Slowly raise one arm and the opposite leg. Pause and then lower the arm and leg down.

Planks: Lie prone (on your stomach) and push yourself up off of the floor. Support your body weight on your forearms, elbows and toes. No other body part should touch the floor during the exercise. If it is too hard to support your body weight this way, you may allow your knees to touch the floor. The position should be held for 5-30 seconds or longer.

Squats: Stand in front of a chair as if you are going to sit down.  Your feet should be shoulder width apart.  Begin to “sit” down slowly and barely touch your buttocks to the chair seat.  Return to an erect/standing position.  As you lower yourself downward, your chest and head should be held upward and you should “stick out” your buttocks, don’t allow your kneecaps to move too far forward or beyond your toes.   Don’t use your hands to assist the motion in either direction unless it is too difficult to perform.

Shrugs: Stand facing a mirror to assess your posture and be able to watch your shoulders move symmetrically. Hold weight in your hands and keep your arms at your side. Your elbows remain straight throughout the lifting motion. Start by moving your shoulders upwards towards your ears. At the top of the motion pause, and then move your shoulders backwards. This is the most important aspect of this exercise. As your shoulders move backwards you should think that you are trying to put your shoulder blades (scapulae) together. The muscles that “pull” the shoulder blades together are essential in maintaining proper posture of the shoulders and cervical spine. When the shoulders have traversed the entire way backwards, pause and squeeze the shoulder blades together and then lower your shoulders to the starting position.

Pull Aparts: Stand and hold a piece of Theratubing (Rubber tubing can be purchased at most sporting goods stores or ask your Physical Therapist for a piece) of appropriate tensile strength in your hands. Your arms should be at or near shoulder level and your elbows should be fully extended (straight). Your palms should be facing each other so that your thumbs are pointed towards the ceiling. Slowly move your arms apart and stretch (“pull apart”) the Theraband. Your goal is to get your hands spread apart with your elbows straight and in line with your shoulders. Your arms should remain parallel to the floor at all times. The final phase of this exercise is to take your shoulder blades and squeeze them together. As the Theraband “recoils” your arms should move slowly back to the starting position.

You cannot forget about the cardiovascular system.  One of the easiest ways to exercise the cardiovascular system is to take a brisk walk.  Most people can walk and if they increase their pace they can raise their heart rate sufficiently to exercise and condition the cardiovascular system. Like any cardio exercise program, the goal is to raise the heart rate for a minimum of 20 minutes a day to a level that is roughly 70% of their maximum (approximate maximum heart rate is 220 – your age x .70 = 70%). If you do not feel like taking your pulse just walk fast enough that makes you breathe hard.  You should have difficulty holding a conversation while you are walking at an accelerated pace.

In the unfortunate event that you develop pain from your exercise routine or if you need some guidance on how to perform the exercises seek the advice or treatment of a Physical Therapist.  You do not have to go to your doctor first.  You can call a Physical Therapist and make your appointment without a doctor’s prescription. The Physical Therapist is a licensed healthcare professional who can evaluate and treat your injury.


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