San Francisco Symphony

Let’s Get Physical...Therapy! Sneak in a Workout During Class

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By Ilka Felsen
Staff Writer

Gym time is a hot commodity here at UCSF, and often all too scarce.  The following are quick, easy exercises that will help you tone up in class, or at least wake you up!

First, sit up as tall and straight as you can, with your feet flat on the floor.  Look straight ahead—conveniently, since the board is also straight ahead—and hold the end position for all of these exercises for five seconds.  Repeat each exercise up to five times.

Neck retraction

Nod, and then push your chin backwards.  In this case, you are actually aiming for a double chin.  This activates your deep neck flexors, which are over lengthened and weak in most students. 

Shoulder rolls

Roll your shoulders down and back.   Pinch your shoulder blades together, and hold.

Abdominal crunch

Pull your belly button in towards your spine.  You’ll know you’re doing this correctly by placing your thumbs on your hip bones, fingers pointing towards your belly button, and feeling you abs tighten below your fingertips. 

Gluteal squeeze

Basically, squeeze your butt.  You should feel even taller—another added bonus for seeing the board!

Thigh raises

With your knees bent at 90°, lift your thigh off your chair about a hand’s width.  For endurance, repeat on the same leg five times before switching to your other leg.

Ankle pumps

With your knees bent at 90°, and feet flat, lift your toes off the floor.  Repeat as many times as you can tolerate on each side.

And lastly, when all else fails, stand up and take a rest room break!

Ilka Felsen is a second-year physical therapy student.

 

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