Exercises to live pain free

Do These 5 Longevity Exercises to Stay Nimble and Pain-Free as You Age, Says a Physical Therapist

Some people want to build big muscles. Others want to train for a specific sport or activity. However, most people truly just want to keep their bodies strong and healthy in order to prevent or eliminate painful conditions.

If you fall into the camp of people who want to avoid pain, this article is for you!

In this post, I’ll review some of the best exercises for bulletproofing your body from common injuries. Once you’ve been doing these for a few months, you might consider progressing to more advanced moves. But if you’re just getting started, this routine will be a great option for your goals.

The Importance of Exercise for the Whole Body

The Importance of Exercise for the Whole Body

Often, people who start an exercise program will develop asymmetries due to an improperly structured routine. For instance, if you only perform pushing movements, and don’t do any pulling movements for your upper body, you might start to develop rounded shoulders. In turn, rounded shoulders can predispose you to neck and upper back pain.

It’s critical that you perform some movements for every part of your body. The ones I’ve listed below are isolation exercises, meaning they only emphasize a few small muscles with each exercise. This is a good place to start for beginners, as it teaches you good habits and helps to strengthen any initial deficits you may have starting out.

Top 5 Exercises for Preventing Injury

In this section, you’ll find 5 exercises that can help you keep your body strong and injury-free. This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are tons of great exercises and plans out there. But if you’re a newbie to the gym, or are looking for a simple way to hit most of the major problem areas in the body, this routine could work well for you.

Let’s take a look!

1. Planks

Planks are an isometric isolation exercise for the abs. This is one of the best moves to ensure that you have strong, functional abs. Strong core muscles help you to avoid back pain and other common injuries. 

How to Perform

  • Start on your hands and knees.
  • Next, place your forearms on the ground and extend your legs behind you, placing your toes on the floor. 
  • Ensure that your back is straight and that your abs are contracted.
  • Hold this position for 1 minute and repeat 3 times per session, 2-3 times per week.

2. Side-lying Straight Leg Raise

One of the most common walking issues is known as a Trendelenburg gait pattern. Without getting too technical, this problem is primarily caused by weak hip abductors. By keeping them strong with exercises like this one, you can avoid many different painful issues.

How to Perform

  • Lie on your right side with your legs straight.
  • Lift your left leg up toward the ceiling, keeping your knee straight and your toe pointed forward.
  • Perform 10-15 reps, for 3 sets, 2-3 times per week.

3. Step Ups

As simple as it sounds, simply going up and down the stairs is a great way to strengthen the lower body. 

How to Perform

  • Approach a set of steps and place your right foot on the stair, with your left foot on the ground.
  • Using only your right leg, lift yourself up so that you are standing on the step with both feet.
  • Return your left foot to the ground and repeat for 10-15 reps for 3 sets on each side 2-3 times per week.

4. Calf Raises on Step

The stairs make a return in our exercise program! Our calf muscles are so important for our health and function. We need to be sure to keep them as strong as possible.

How to Perform

  • Stand on a step with your heel hanging off of the back.
  • Lift your body upward by pushing your toes and the ball of your foot into the step.
  • Return to the starting position to complete the rep. 
  • Perform 10-15 reps per set, for 3 sets per session, 2-3 times per week. 

5. Posterior Chain Stretch

The previous exercises were all focused on strengthening. This move focuses on stretching out the major muscles on the back of the body.

How to Perform

  • In standing, place your feet close together.
  • Bend forward at the waist and reach for your toes.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat 4 times per session, 5-7 times per week.


Avoiding pain in this day and age is a full-time job. Our lifestyles predispose us to many painful conditions. Luckily, by performing daily (or at least thrice weekly) exercise, you can avoid and reduce the intensity of many different painful issues.

Try this routine out and see what you think!

Works Cited

  1. Lima LV, Abner TSS, Sluka KA. Does exercise increase or decrease pain? Central mechanisms underlying these two phenomena. J Physiol. 2017 Jul 1;595(13):4141-4150. doi: 10.1113/JP273355. Epub 2017 May 26. PMID: 28369946; PMCID: PMC5491894.
  2. Plotkin D, Coleman M, Van Every D, Maldonado J, Oberlin D, Israetel M, Feather J, Alto A, Vigotsky AD, Schoenfeld BJ. Progressive overload without progressing load? The effects of load or repetition progression on muscular adaptations. PeerJ. 2022 Sep 30;10:e14142. doi: 10.7717/peerj.14142. PMID: 36199287; PMCID: PMC9528903.

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