Fitness · Health

Exercises to Empower Musculoskeletal Health

The power of prevention lies in our ability to practice and teach our body how to maintain its resilience. Through education and movement we can work efficiently and effectively with our changing systems as we age, gaining a host of benefits. Employing research and clinical experience, PHLEX Physical Therapists create evidence-based preventive programs based upon individual needs. Now you, too, have the same advantage.

Here are nine practical and preventative exercises that fortify our infrastructure against body stresses and allow us to exercise control over our musculoskeletal health. (Note: Stop any exercise that creates discomfort.)


1. Practice Core Control Through Diaphragmatic Breathing:

  • Tie a band around your lower rib cage, then pull the band to tighten.
  • Inhale through your nose and push your ribs against the band expanding the band about 2-3 cm (1 inch) and then exhale through your mouth (as the band retightens).
  • Your rib cage is 360 degrees in circumference. As you inhale and exhale, feel the ribs moving against the band along the entire 360 degrees. Keep the neck relaxed and do not let the shoulders ride up or down.


2. Spinal Mobility to Increase Energy and Support Neck Health

  • In a side lying position, rotate your top arm around clockwise and counterclockwise trying to keep it hovering just above the floor while you move your head to follow your arm.
  • Your Thoracic Spine moves your arm as your head follows. Breathe out as your arm moves behind you and breathe in as your arm comes forward.


3. Spinal Awareness to Increase Core Strength and Promote Better Posture

  • TOP ROW: Cat-Cow will start in quadruped (on hands and knees). This should be a fluid motion of the spine, pelvis/tailbone and head.
    • Top, Left Picture: Exhale and lift the head up as you arch your back while using your hands to push into the floor. The idea is to articulate your spinal segments as if they are a string of pearls, moving one by one.
    • Top, Middle Picture: Then drop your head, tuck your pelvis (tailbone) under and round your spine. Inhale as you pull your belly button up toward the ceiling tip the tailbone forward. Repeat between the motions 30 times.
    • Top, Right Picture: This is your neutral spine, where your head and upper back are in straight line and your lower back as a slight concavity. Draw your belly button in toward your spine to engage your core musculature and hold the position while trying to breathe normally for a count of 20.
  • BOTTOM ROW: Bird-Dog starts in a quadruped position, stay in the neutral spine, draw your belly button in towards your spine and extend opposite arm and leg away from each other. Lift and reach the leg avoiding your hip to drop, ensuring not to drop the ball. Hold 10 seconds and repeat 20 times each side.

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  • PatriciaM January 30, 2018 at 10:43 am

    Great article! As an student of Yoga for many years, I now take classes with all these asanas for “Living agelessly”
    I recently studied 200 hours for Yoga teacher training and plan to teach a class similar to all these moves! Such good information!