AlaskaCare Employee Wellness Program Exercises
Warning: Before engaging in any exercise regimen, you should consult a physician.
Exercise is for more than just how your body looks. Try some simple moves to relieve stress, become more energetic, and gain confidence.
The overhead press works the deltoids, which are the main muscles of the shoulders.
This exercise can be performed on a stability ball, seated on a bench, or standing (shown).
- To begin, align your body so your ears, shoulders, and hips are in line.
- Keeping your stomach muscles tucked, lift your arms to shoulder height and bend at the elbows with your palms facing forward.
- Straighten your arms overhead and lower back to starting position.
Perform 10 to 12 repetitions and rest. Repeat this sequence up to 2 more times.
- Lie on your side with your legs extended out.
- Place your elbow directly under your shoulder. Your head, shoulder, hip, and ankle should all be in alignment with one another.
- Tighten the abdominal muscles and lift at the hips. Hold for about 3 seconds and then lower back down. During this motion watch that you don't let your hips rotate.
Perform this exercise 3 to 4 repetitions and rest. Repeat this sequence up to 2 more times.
- Start in good alignment: Stand up straight with ear over shoulder, over knee, over hip.
- Next, position yourself in a split stance by placing one foot in front of the body and the other foot behind (left photo). This creates a supportive base.
- Lower yourself straight down, while keeping your front knee over your toe (right photo).
- Press back up to starting position.
Do 8 to 10 repetitions on each leg. Rest and repeat sequence 1 to 2 more times.
Beginner? —hold on to the back of a sturdy chair.
Advanced? —hold dumbbells in your hands as you lower and raise.
The squat works all the major muscles of the lower body: the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. The squat also promotes body-wide muscle building and fat burning, mobility and balance, and can decrease joint laxity and knee pain by strengthening the quadriceps muscle and other knee stabilizers.
Although squats can be extremely beneficial, it is essential they are performed with proper technique.
- Position feet a little wider than shoulder width with the toes slightly pointed outward.
- Bend at the hips and knees and inhale.
- Keep your trunk upright throughout the entire motion with shoulders back and chest out. At no point should your low back be arched forward nor should you look down during the motion.
- Distribute weight through the middle of the foot. The lifter should not place most of the weight through the balls of the feet.
- Pretend you are sitting down in a chair. This motion will allow you to activate the glutes and hamstrings which is essential in correctly performing the squat.
- Continue to lower hips until the tops of the thighs are slightly below parallel with the floor.
- Keep the trunk upright during the upward phase
- Make sure the knees stay aligned, tracking the toes, and do not turn inward or outward. Allowing the knees to turn in or out is a common source of pain during squats.
- Rise up, pushing through the heels, until the knees are extended, exhaling as you rise.
Beginner? —place a chair behind you. On the downward phase, make contact with the chair without settling into it.
Advanced? —hold dumbbell(s) in your hands as you lower and raise. (pictured)
There is a strong correlation between squatting form and flexibility. The muscles of the posterior chain (calves, hamstrings, glutes, and back extensors) all pull on each other indirectly. When squatting downward, the hips are moving into a flexed position which stretches the glutes and hamstrings: the lower the squat, the greater the stretch. The back muscles act to keep your trunk upright and keep you from leaning too far forward. Before adding more weight during squatting or before performing a deeper squat, it is important to ensure you have the proper flexibility so technique is not compromised during the motion.