If you’ve enjoyed a nice long summer full of BBQs and beers, autumn is the perfect time to get back on track with your fitness and health goals. Instead of succumbing to an Easter feast and starting to hibernate, remember your new year’s resolutions and keep up with your routine.
Adjusting to autumn
Autumn is a beautiful time of the year – the sun is still shining (most of the time), but without the radiant heat of summer. The leaves are starting to turn and there’s no better way to immerse yourself than by going for a daily walk. Dress in layers which can be easily removed, pack your gloves if required for arthritis in the hands, and enjoy the warmth that a brisk walk can create. Remember that the days are becoming shorter, so take appropriate precautions eg: wearing reflective clothing or ensuring your bike lights are working.
Try something new
The start of year rush into health and fitness should now be over, so take advantage of the quieter times by checking out your local gym or exercise class you’ve been meaning to try. Starting in autumn means that you’ll be set up and motivated for winter, when the temperature drops (and so too do our activity levels). To make your autumn change even more sustainable, grab a friend and make a commitment for the months to come.
Take your workout indoors
If you find that the change of season is aggravating your joint pain, keep your exercise habit going indoors. These days there are unlimited workout options online, through apps on your phone, or just putting on your favourite music and having a dance.
We are also so lucky to have affordable to access to exercise equipment: picking up some dumbbells, resistance bands and an exercise mat from your local shopping centre can be a great way to keep your strength up. Place the equipment within easy reach, or dedicate a space in your home, and set yourself a goal to complete 20 minutes of strengthening exercises every day. By the time winter comes, you will be toned, strong, and your joint pain will bother you less.
Whatever you do in autumn, don’t lose your summer movement momentum. As the weather cools down, we are more prone to joint pain and stiffness, so this is the ideal time to create healthy habits and ensure yourself a comfortable winter.
The shoulder is known as a ball and socket joint, and it is the most moveable joint in the human body. The large head of the humerus (arm bone) sits in a small socket, which is part of the scapula (shoulder blade). Much of the stability of the shoulder comes from the surrounding ligaments and muscles, so strength in this area is key!
Close by to the shoulder joint is the acromioclavicular (AC) joint, which is where part of your scapula meets the clavicle (collar bone). It is a small but mighty joint, responsible for connecting your arm to the rest of your body.
Shoulder pain is a common cause of disturbed sleep, and as we learned earlier, poor sleep can cause increased pain messages - a vicious cycle!
How movement can help:
The primary goal of therapeutic exercise for the shoulder complex is to move in a safe way - there is such a thing as not enough movement, as well as too much!
Finding the balance is key, but when done correctly, the benefits include:
- Improving posture: the shoulder blade sits on the back of the ribcage, so if we are constantly slouched, the shoulder can’t move as freely as we like. Try it now by sitting up a little straighter and raising your arms overhead - it should feel a lot easier!
- Looking after the rotator cuff: these four small but significant muscles work to stabilise the shoulder joint as we move through life, however they are prone to weakness if not regularly used.
- Keeping the full range of motion: shoulder pain often causes people to avoid using their arm, which can create secondary issues with stiffness and tightness. Follow the exercise guide on a daily basis to prevent problems down the track.
Did you know:
The clavicle (collarbone) is the first bone to develop in a growing foetus, however is the last bone to fully form by young adulthood. Because of its mobility, the shoulder joint can achieve over 16,000 different positions, degree by degree.
Before you start: For each of the following exercises, ensure that your body is nice and warm (for example, after a hot shower or brisk walk), or after placing heat packs on your shoulders for at least 10 minutes.