“MacGyver” Therapeutic Exercises Into Your Day

You know what each and every one of my patients hates?

Therapeutic exercises.

Feel as good as this guy does by doing your chiropractor-prescribed therapeutic exercises–except you’ll still have your skin.

Feel as good as this guy does by doing your chiropractor-prescribed therapeutic exercises–except you’ll still have your skin.

But I still give them out! Here’s why: after you leave my office after I’ve cracked your joints and stripped your muscles, you continue to do the same old stuff that caused your issue to begin with. Therapeutic exercises break your bad musculoskeletal habits and help you hold your adjustment.

My patients’ reported top reasons why they don’t do exercises: they forgot to do them and they don’t have time.

Here’s how you integrate some of the therapeutic exercises I give you into your life outside of my office.

Exercise Numero Uno: The Squat

Even if you’ve come in without a pain complaint, I’ve probably given you body weight squats to do at home. It is arguably the most functional exercise humans can perform.

“MacGyver” them in to your day: Do squats while you brush your teeth. Really, what else are you doing besides singing the happy birthday song in your head so that you brush your teeth for long enough? Squat, brush your teeth, and sing the happy birthday song–a good use of your time. Don’t brush your teeth all that much? First off, you should start. Secondly, squat to do things you’d normally bend over for–while refilling my hen’s feed last night instead of bending over, I squatted down. Reaching under the sink for cleaner, on a low shelf at the store, pulling clothes out of the dryer, tying your shoe, pulling weeds–anytime you go to bend forward for something, squat instead.

This page has a pretty good synopsis of how to do a squat properly. If you’re having trouble doing a squat, troubleshoot with Arnold. If you’re still having trouble, you just may need to be adjusted–anything from your upper back to your ankles, and I can take care of that for you.

Exercise #2: Wall Angels/Scapular Retractions

If you’ve got neck, upper back, or shoulder issues, chances are I’ve given you one of these exercises. These aim to strengthen rhomboids and middle and lower trapezius. These muscles stabilize your scapula and counteract your upper trapezius and neck muscles that are usually working too hard because you’re hunched over a computer all day or never rehabbed an old shoulder injury correctly.

“MacGyver” them into your day: Getting dressed is the perfect time to do this. You’re getting ready for work (or the gym, or whatever exciting things you have planned), and you’re fussing with your clothes, making sure everything fits nicely, is tucked in, looks good–while you’re admiring yourself in the mirror, put your arms out to the side and do your scapular retractions. Check your form in the mirror to make sure you’re not flapping your arms back, but rather squeezing your shoulder blades together, as if someone were pulling your arms out to the side and you’re pulling back.

Wall angels? Simply step over to the nearest wall or door and do your wall angels. After tucking in your nice button down shirt, don’t you feel like you need to test out the motion limits of the shirt? Wall angels and scapular retractions are a good way to get in your exercises and tweek your outfit for the day.

Exercise Three: Foot Drills

These are the easiest therapeutic exercise to do every single day. All you need is bare (or socked) feet, and a floor of some kind. I recommend these to anybody who has foot or ankle pain, possibly if they’ve got knee or hip pain, or limited range of motion in any of those joints. They are meant to activate all the lower leg and intrinsic foot muscles that help to stabilize the foot and ankle.

“MacGyver” them into your day: Do them while you are walking around your house, your yard, the beach, before working out, or any other time that you are barefoot (or wearing your favorite minimalist shoes). You don’t need to think about it, you don’t need to set aside a special time to walk back and forth like this, you can just walk during your regular day and do these.

To perform them, in bare feet you will roll your feet so you are walking on the outsides of your feet for about 100 feet, then roll them in so you are walking on the insides for another 100 feet. Then with flat feet, turn your toes inward (pigeon toed) and walk for another 100 feet, then turn your toes outward and walk for another 100 feet (duck feet). Next, point your toes up and (gently) walk on your heels for 100 feet. For the last 100 feet technically you are supposed to walk backwards on your toes; I usually just walk forward and bounce and hop a little bit on my toes. Here’s a little demo on doing foot drills, and once you watch it, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s not too hard fitting these into a daily routine.

So, it’s been posted now, you no longer have excuses to NOT do your exercises. I will be checking squat form and toothpaste breath at each visit :)

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