As we talked about in last weeks post, being able to move without pain is critical to staying healthy, active and pain free.  And exercise is the best tool for maintaining and improving your ability to move.

So what exercises should people do to best maintain their ability to move?

While there are millions of exercises and forms of exercise you can do the truth is there are only a handful of basic exercises you need to be able to do to maximize your health and performance.

These exercises work on fundamental movements and movement skills that are repeated again and again throughout life.  The same basic movements and movement skills are also found in nearly every sport and recreational activity.

Below is a list of the basic movement skills needed for life, health, fitness, and performance

CORE STABILITY:  Nearly every movement in life (walking, standing, sitting, running, jumping, bending, lifting etc) requires you to be able to keep your spine stable.  Keeping your spine stable protects your low back and allows for efficient movement in the hips and trunk.

POSTURAL STABILITY:  This refers to maintaining the correct position of your head, neck, upper back, and shoulders.  Maintaining good posture prevents neck, shoulder, and upper back pain and allows the upper body to function properly

PUSHING, PULLING, and LIFTING:  These are essential functions of the upper body.  Weather you are required to push or pull a door open, reach up to grab something from a high shelf, start a lawn mower, push an offensive linemen in football etc you need to have the strength and ability to perform pushing, pulling, and lifting movements.

HINGING:  This refers to bending at the hips and leaning forward in the trunk.  We perform hinging movements all throughout the day. Every time you lean forward to do something, bend down to pick something up, or get up and down from a chair you hinge in your hips.  Poor hinging mechanics puts added stress on the low back and other areas of the body

SQUATTING:  Squatting is used to get up and down from a chair and to bend down and pick something up from the floor.  It is also important for many recreational and sporting activities. If squat mechanics are poor you put added stress on your knees, hips, and low back

LUNGING:  The lunge movement is used to go up and down steps and get up and down from the floor along with several sporting activities including running and cutting.

Working on these movements with specific exercises will help you stay healthy, active, and pain free. Once these basic movements are learned they can be progressed and applied in different ways to reach any health, fitness, or performance goal.  

In the upcoming posts I will show you specific exercises and progressions you can do to work on each of the above movement skills.