6 Simple Exercises To Reduce and Prevent Pain

The following article is excerpted from Healthy Aging® Magazine. To continue reading this article and more like it, subscribe to Healthy Aging® Magazine, the lifestyle magazine that is all about following your passion and what you can do rather than what you can’t.

Photo: Deposit Photos

By Dr. Casey Crisp

As you age, you might notice that you don’t recover as quickly as you used to. And you might feel sore in the morning with aches and pains throughout your body.

Pain is commonly located in the hips, shoulders, knees, and back. Although these pains might be due to sports, recreational activities, and routine exercise, they may also be indicative of common health conditions.

Some of the health problems you may face as you age include frozen shoulders, hip impingements, rotator cuff injuries, and even disc issues in your neck and back. However, you can take preventative measures to lessen the likelihood of these aches and pains.

The following are a few simple exercises to help with pain.

1. Stepping From Side to Side

Although this might not seem like much of an exercise, this simple stepping motion can help you to prevent pain in your ankles and knees.

This exercise is performed by:

  • Extending one foot to the side while bending at the knees.
  • Stepping on the extended foot while gradually moving to an upright position.
  • Bringing your feet back together.

By standing upright as you transfer the weight, you will prevent a heavy impact on your foot. Finally, try to keep the weight distributed evenly across both feet. This will prevent you from rolling an ankle. This simple exercise will keep your ankles and knees active, stretching your ligaments and tendons.

2. Arm Circles

Arm circles are a classic, simple exercise that will keep your shoulders loose. This is an easy exercise to perform:

  • Point one hand straight up at the ceiling.
  • Draw a circle with that hand, eventually pointing it toward the floor.
  • Move your arm back to the original position, completing the circle.

This exercise should be performed one arm at a time. Don’t swing your arms too quickly or you could damage your shoulder. Draw the circles slowly and deliberately. This will increase your shoulder’s range of motion, keeping it flexible and preventing rotator cuff problems.

3. Calf Raises

Calf raises help to prevent foot, ankle, and knee pain. The calf muscles play an important role in the stability of your lower leg. To perform calf raises:

  • Find an object to stabilize your upper body, such as a wall or chair.
  • Gradually lift your heels, standing on your toes.
  • Slowly return your heels to the ground.

This exercise will strengthen and test your calf muscles. With stronger calf muscles, you will have more support for your feet, ankles, and knees.

4. Torso Rotations

The torso rotation is a great exercise to strengthen your abdominal muscles and hips. Torso rotations are easy to perform:

Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart for stability.

Turn slowly to one side as far as your body will allow.

Slowly turn back to the middle and all the way to the other side.

This exercise helps to stretch your abdomen, hips, and back.

5. Hamstring Stretches

Hamstring stretches are often overlooked, but they play an important role in relieving back pain. The hamstrings insert at the lower back. By stretching the hamstrings, you can reduce the stress on your lower back. To perform this exercise:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart for stability.
  • Slowly reach for the ground with your hands, keeping your legs as straight as possible.
  • Repeat several times, gradually reaching farther on each attempt.

As you repeat this exercise, you should notice that you can reach farther with each stretch. This can help relieve lower back pain.

6. Back Extensions

Back extensions are used to strengthen the back muscles directly, relieving pain. To perform back extensions:

  • Start by laying down on your stomach with your hands on the floor.
  • Using your hands, press your chest off the floor or ground.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds.

You should feel the stretch in your lower back. This strengthens the muscles, stretches the ligaments, and can relieve pain.

Preventing and Reducing Pain With Simple Exercises

These are only a few of the many different exercises that you can try to prevent or reduce your pain. Even though treating pain is important, it’s better to avoid these health problems in the first place. This is dependent on making sure you take the necessary steps to take care of your muscles, ligaments, and joints as you age.

Take a few minutes every day to perform these simple exercises.

They could make a major difference in your health down the road.

Dr. Casey Crisp serves as the director of clinical quality assurance at Airrosti, a nationwide health care organization specializing in musculoskeletal pain injury treatment. His primary role is educating and developing new doctors and managing clinical teams to meet clinical requirements in documentation, clinical assessment, and quality care assurance.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Subscribe to Healthy Aging® Magazine

The Premier Lifestyle Magazine for All Ages

Receive four digital issues delivered to your inbox. Just $24.95