Can you throw your hands up in the air and wave them like you don’t care? Or do you have tight, sore shoulders?
Your shoulders might not seem like much, but they are the body’s most complicated joint. In addition to being very high-use, shoulders have a lot of connective tissue and moving parts, making them prone to pain and injury. Common shoulder conditions include tears and inflammation in the rotator cuff, which are the tendons that help raise and rotate your arms.
Stretching is a significant part of keeping shoulders healthy and mobile. It helps muscles stay loose, long, and flexible. When your muscles are tight, the risk for injury and discomfort goes way up. Here are a few stretches you can try to maintain mobility in your shoulders.
One quick note—before attempting any of these stretches, warm up a bit by walking or moving your shoulders is in small circles, you want blood in the area to loosen it up a bit.
- Wall Climb: Stand up straight and face a wall. Extend your right arm (with a slight bend, do not lock elbow) and put your hand on the wall at shoulder height. Slowly walk fingers up, moving closer to the wall as your hand gets higher. When mild tension is felt in the shoulder, stop and hold for 10–30 seconds before slowly walking fingers back down to the starting position. Repeat three times and switch sides.
- Chest/Shoulder Stretch: Stand along a wall or doorway and extend your right arm on the wall (or grab the door frame) at about shoulder height. Put your palm flat against a wall, with shoulders down and back. Slowly turn your body away from the wall or frame until a stretch is felt in the shoulder or chest. Hold for 10-30 seconds and return to starting position. Repeat three times and switch sides.
- Rotational Shoulder Stretch: Stand up straight with hands by your sides. Bring up your right hand behind you, so the back of it is touching the small of your back (around waist height), and your fingers are pointing up. Slowly slide it further up your back as far as you can. When you reach your furthest, hold for 10–30 seconds. Repeat three times and switch sides.
Mobile, pain-free shoulders can help you maintain a high quality and independent life. Now throw your hands in the air and wave them like you just don’t care.