I’ve gotten a cluster of emails lately asking about these three issues. So I thought I’d share the questions and the answers.
Q: I’ve recently hurt my right shoulder. My doctor said it was a rotator cuff injury. I went through physical therapy but my shoulder still hurts sometimes. My doctor wants me to do some post-rehab exercise to continue to rebuild the muscles. What exercises can I do at home? And are there any exercises I should avoid?
A: Rotator cuff injuries can take a long time to heal. While your shoulder still hurts don’t do any movements higher than shoulder level. Check with your doctor first. But here’s a classic exercise to help strengthen that area. Its called external rotation.
Get a resistance band and sit in a chair with arms. Tie one end of the band to the left arm of the chair. Sit up straight feet shoulder width apart. Hold your right arm in front of you, bent at 90 a degree angle, palm up. Grab the band in about the middle. Keep your elbow close to your side but not touching. Pull the band laterally away from your body while exhaling. Hold for 5 seconds and gently release. Start with 1or 2 and build up to 6-8 repetitions over a couple of weeks.
If you don’t have a resistance band, use a towel or scarf.
Q:I’ve never had a great sense of balance and it seems to be getting worse as I get older. What exercises can I do to improve my balance.
A:Loss of balance is quite common as we age.
Stand with your heels touching, feet turned out. Slowly pick up one leg and place the sole of your foot against your opposite calf or knee. Holding on to a wall, slowly bring your other arm out and over your head. When you feel ready, let go and bring the other arm up. Hold for about 10 seconds (or as long as you can).
When it gets too easy, try doing it with your eyes closed.
Q: I wake up in the middle of the night and I have trouble getting back to sleep. I worry about everything, my finances, my kids careers, my golf game. I’ve tried the usual get back to sleep stuff and its not working. I don’t want to take drugs. Any ideas?
Stress kills. And it’s also one of the main contributors to aging. We’re getting old fast enough. Don’t accelerate the process.
Here’s an ancient exercise that can help you get back to sleep and slow down your aging clock at the same time.
Close your eyes, and focus on your breath. Watch the ebb and flow of your own breathing pattern. As thoughts come in, let them come in but don’t hold on to them, let them flow out. Continue to focus on your breathing, in and out.
As you become more relaxed, you will be able to take slower and deeper breaths. This will allow you to clear your mind of thoughts. You won’t even notice when you fall asleep.
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