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Fitness for Body, Mind and Spirit

GreenNote Life

Fitness for the body, mind & spirit

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Thoughtful Thursday……7 exercises for neck and shoulder mobility...

Welcome to Thoughtful Thursday. This GreenNote Fitness newsletter mindfully gathers and distills useful information that is supportive to our journey. It is my mission to educate, inspire, and propel you into action that moves you towards your goals and life of purpose. Take control of your journey today.


Before beginning each workout session my clients will do a warm-up series of exercises designed to bring circulation in the often tight neck and shoulder muscles. These movements also help with mobility and posture.

I personally do these movements first thing in the morning to lessen the chance of a stiff neck and will do throughout the day.

Keep reading to discover why I started these specific movements and learn how to do them exactly.

Long before I knew about stand-up desks, massage therapy, magnesium lotion, acupuncture, and these exercises you are about to learn about, I suffered from extreme muscle tension in my neck and shoulder. It got to the point that just getting out of bed in the morning required pulling on the bottom sheet to help me sit up. The tension was relentless. Sitting for hours each day hunched over a keyboard staring at a computer screen without taking frequent breaks didn’t do me any favors.

Fortunately I met a massage therapist who got me “un-stuck” and without pain. I grew to understand that unless I consistently did something to keep my neck and muscles loose and mobile, I would be right back where I started. After doing some research on the shoulder and neck muscles, I put together a series of arm movements what I have eloquently named “arm movements”.

I believe in these so much that not only do I do them first thing in the morning (EVERY morning) and throughout the day, I also have all of my clients do these as well. Additionally, I encourage them to take frequent breaks during the day and go through the series of movements. They don’t take long to do and even just a short break is really good on the body and mind.

In this video you can see these movements in motion. They are in order of appearance:

  • Gators - begin and end with this exercise; you will notice when done the second time after all the other exercises, your shoulders are much looser and can move more freely and with ease. Repeat 10x.

  • I, Y, T’s - as the letters imply, make these letters of the alphabet with “cheerleader” precision; really good for the scapular stabilization and mobilization. Repeat 10x.

  • Forward arm circles - you can’t see it in the video but my thumbs are facing forward. Make a closed fist, with the exception of the thumbs; point them forward while you move your arms in a forward motion. Make sure arms stay level with shoulders. Repeat 10x.

  • Reverse arm circles - similar to the forward arm circles, leave your thumbs out of a closed fist. In this instance rotate arms backwards with thumbs pointing back. Make sure arms stay level with shoulders. Repeat 10x.

  • Elbow curls - curl your fingertips to your palms, point your thumbs out, and place your big knuckle at your temple with your thumbs pointed down towards the ground. Pull your elbows back behind your head as far as they’ll go, then bring them together in front of your face. Keep your elbows up at shoulder level and keep your head still for the duration of the exercise. Repeat 10x.

  • Bent over arm circles - with knees slightly bent, lean over at waist, let arms hang and using gravity, gently let arms move in a circle. Slowly stand up.

  • "No suppers" - external shoulder rotation. Keep elbows touching your sides, palms up, rotate arms out and back. Repeat 10x.

  • Gators - alternating raising arms up and down, palms facing inward, you should notice an ease with your shoulders.

As I mentioned, I do these first thing in the morning as part of my Morning Routine. Additionally, I will do these before a workout, sometimes after a workout, and at different times during the day. By keeping blood flow into the neck and shoulders we can more quickly recover after a workout, keep mobility in areas that can very quickly tighten up, and we can help improve our posture.

Go back and watch the video. It won’t take long until you can do these on your own at home, in the office, or at the gym. Your neck and shoulders will thank you.

Enjoy your journey,

Lisa Schaffer

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Did you miss last week’s newsletter on this mineral can help with intermittent fasting...?

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