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The shoulder is one of the most important joints in our body and many people experience shoulder issues due to over-use injuries or age-related wear and tear. There are at least one to two people in every GlideFit class who tell me they have shoulder issues and ask if they’ll be OK on the boards. The usual answer is, yes! In fact, the Fit board can help with shoulder issues by developing strength, endurance, and stability throughout the shoulder joint in a fun way.

The shoulder is made up of the humeral head (the ball that sits at the top of the humerus bone in the upper arm) and the glenoid socket (a small, shallow socket at the end of shoulder blade).  The problem lies in the fact that only one third of the humeral head sits inside the glenoid socket. The upside of this is that the shoulder is highly mobile. The downside is that it allows instability and overuse to happen very easily.  As a result, the shoulder relies heavily on surrounding soft tissue, such as muscles, labrum, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments, to provide the stability in both static and dynamic positions.

So, how can a GlideFit workout benefit the shoulder? GlideFit’s aquatic based stability training promotes body awareness and fires up the stabilizer muscles in a way that land-based exercises can’t. Exercises that involve your hands being down on the board with some body weight stacked on top – bird dog, planks, mountain climbers, pouncing tiger, etc. – provide the most benefit. Be sure to “pack the shoulders” by  bringing the shoulder blades slightly together and tucked down towards your back pocket throughout the exercise in order to stabilize the joint as much as possible.

As you workout, the soft tissue around the shoulders make a myriad of micro adjustments to stabilize the joints as a result of the board moving with the ever-changing surface of the water. This enables your brain to work with your muscles and joints to maintain your balance and adds strength and endurance to the soft tissues. This added strength and endurance benefits you both on and off the board.

Whether you’re looking to simply strengthen your shoulders, rehab from a shoulder injury (with your doctor’s or physical therapist’s blessing, of course), or simply prevent an injury from occurring in the future, a GlideFit class is for you. Most adults over the age of 40 have some level of damage to the shoulder, and mineral and bone density declines as we age, so what better time to begin looking after your shoulders than today? Hop on a GlideFit board, pack those shoulders in, and create strong, stable shoulders to last you a lifetime!