Exercise is different for everyone because each of us begin at different levels. You can learn techniques to safely modify exercise intensity whether you are returning to working out or just beginning. In the question and solution format following, I will address two specific areas of the body that are among common complaints from my clients. There will be an Exercise Snack Video to accompany it.
Question: How can I reduce the soreness in my wrists when I do push-ups or lift weights?
Solution: Your wrists could be tender or painful because of the angle of your body in relationship to your hand when doing any resistance training. For example, if you are doing a traditional push-up (straight leg floor push-ups), this is not wrong if it doesn’t bother you, but if it does, consider doing these on your knees, it reduces the load such as your body weight. You could try doing wall push-ups either by standing close or further away from the wall. Again, the angle determines how much resistance there will be. Also, if you go very close to the floor or wall, or change the tempo, that will also make a difference.
If you are doing bicep curls or lifting a weight that is too heavy for you, your wrists might bend to compensate for the weakness in your arms. The same when you use resistance bands. Always keep your wrists straight. Make sure the resistance band isn’t too tight, otherwise you risk over-flexing your wrists. You can do some stretches for your wrists by placing your hands on any flat surface table such as the floor, thighs or table. Be sure your fingers are facing inward instead of away. Do three sets, hold for 10 to 15 seconds.
Question: I have no problem lifting weights or using bands to strengthen my biceps, but I cannot lift my arms to the side without it hurting my shoulders. What safe exercises can I do?
Solution: One of the most common reasons for shoulder pain is an impingement. Your shoulder joint is composed of a ball and socket, with a shallow joint capsule. This means it is a tight fit. Since you have 360 degrees of motion, it can become unstable and is susceptible to injury. To improve stability, you have a group of small muscles known as the rotator cuffs that help balance and strengthen your shoulders, but if these become impinged or inflamed, it can start to feel painful.
Always warm up your shoulders by performing active stretching. Active stretching means to move your body gently, without holding the position more than a few seconds.
- Reach upward with one arm at a time. Repeat each arm three to five times.
- Make 10 small circles with your arms, going forward and backward.
- With ease, swing your arms forward and back about 10 to 15 times.
Exercises should start by standing up. Place a light dumbbell in either hand and by your sides. For lateral raises, have your palms facing inward and raise the dumbbells up to your sides until your arms are parallel to the floor, then slowly lower them back to the start. If there is pain in your shoulder(s), try bending your elbows to 90 degrees on lateral raises to reduce the load on your rotator cuffs. For front raises, turn your hands so your palms are facing back, then lift the weights up to the front, again until your arms are parallel to the floor, before lowering again. Both exercises can also be performed seated. Do three sets of eight to 10 reps.
The American College of Sports Medicine and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Guidelines include the following recommendations for people who have arthritis:
- Individuals should self-monitor their intensity level to guide the level of effort.
- Practicing correct form will keep injuries at bay.
- Individuals just starting out should begin with light- or moderate-intensity with just a few repetitions of muscle-strengthening exercises.
- When ready to start progressing, individuals should first increase the amount of time spent on endurance activity before increasing the intensity with heavier weights or tighter bands, etc.
- Time should be increased in small, comfortable increments to reduce the risk of injury.
Signs of Overexertion and Distress
- Unusual pain, or greater than normal pain, that lasts two hours after exercise
- Excessive fatigue or increased weakness
- Joint swelling
- Chest pain or heart palpitations
- Unusual paleness or sweating
For more tips and fun ways to be more active, reduce the pain associated with arthritis or injury, increase your balance, please contact us. You can also refer to our FAQ page aka Questions and Answers, follow us on Facebook or check out our website at www.lorimichielfitness. For other important fitness information, email us or simply call us at 818-620-1442 for a consultation.