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Published on July 14, 2015

Exercise the Right Way for What Ails You

Exercise for What Ails YouPeople exercise for lots of reasons – to lose weight, increase muscle strength, take care of their bones and more. But are you doing the right exercises to meet your goals? Shane Hudnall, MD with Cone Health Sports Medicine at MedCenter High Point has some answers.

Exercise the Right Way for What Ails You

Viewer submitted questions and answers.

Q: So, Dr. Hudnall, where did you get that ball???

A: More importantly, where did I throw the ball!??! And is the person who caught it ok??? :)

Q: 64, a little extra weight, left shoulder bone on bone and right hip piriformis syndrome (self diagnosed). My goal is to cycle, run or train lower body for shape and muscles...can you help? Thank you, my grown kids are doing Ironman and Triathlons and I am so motivated!!

A: That's awesome! So if you truly have piriformis syndrome you need to focus on stretches to target that area and hip external rotation and abductor strengthening (lying on your good side and raising your right leg up toward the ceiling and down - 3 sets of 10 once a day for 6 weeks) - search online for stretches, experiment with these and do 2-3 of these every day for 6 weeks, hold for 20-30 seconds. Piriformis syndrome can make running (especially on hills) difficult - you may want to focus on the cycling, swimming while you are rehabilitating this. Then you can work into a walk/jog program (where you walk a minute, jog a minute and alternate for 10 total minutes). There are also several running groups in the area, so called 'couch to 5k' programs too if you're more interested in getting into running.

Q: I have spasms and stiffness associated with MS. What is the best regimen to keep me limber? Also I "pull to the right at times...".

A: You may want to look into some beginner yoga or pilates classes - these can be very beneficial. While stretching is helpful, strengthening is also a big part of decreasing pain and frequency from muscle spasms - you would first identify which muscle groups are most affected (Biceps? Upper back? Quadriceps?) and find stretches and exercises for those groups - I generally recommend 2-3 stretches, holding for 20-30 seconds once or twice a day. And strengthening with 10 repetitions once a day eventually building to 3 sets of 10 once a day.

Q: I need 2 shoulder replacements so what exercises can I do to strengthen my arms?

A: This is a difficult one. I wouldn't stress stretching in your case as this could cause more pain. It may be more beneficial for you to see a physical therapist who can evaluate your limitations and give you exercises geared toward your case without causing further pain and decreased motion.

Q: My knees are also bad. What exercises can I do to strengthen them also?

A: I would focus on quad and hamstring strengthening - working your way up to 3 sets of 10 of straight leg raises, knee extensions, hamstring curls, and hamstring swings. If by bad you mean arthritis it would also be beneficial to do water aerobics or swimming, cycling at low resistance in most cases.