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A Body in Motion Stays in Motion

Sticking to a regular exercise routine builds strength and can alleviate muscle soreness. Best of all, a fitness routine allows you to protect your back and continue your career until the time you’re ready to retire rather than having an injury force you into giving it up.

Lee Olsen has always been an active person—he grew up on a working ranch, competes in rodeo events and works as a farrier. But working out was never a priority. Before reaching age 30 intense back pain prevented him from lifting his infant son from his crib. That’s when he realized strength training and stretching are as important as having technical trimming and shoeing skills. Since incorporating time for both into his daily schedule, his back pains have disappeared.

“Buying a high quality mattress and using correct shoeing footware is very important,” he says. “I have a Tempur-Pedic bed and love it. If I stay in a motel with a bad bed I can tell immediately.”

Always start a new program slowly to avoid injury. A personal trainer or coach can provide guidance and suggestions tailored to your needs. Here Olsen shares his go-to moves that he completes everyday before working under a horse.

Child Pose

Purpose: Child pose gently stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles while relieving back and neck pain.

How to: Start by kneeling on the ground with your toes hip width apart.
Sit back on your heels.
Reach your arms forward and touching the ground in front of you. 

Active Spider Man

Purpose: Develops mobility in the hips and stretches the back, middle back, hip flexors, glutes and hamstrings.

How to: Start in the pushup position.
Bring your right knee up to right armpit and place your right foot flat on ground outside right hand.
Stay in this position while you straighten your left leg to activate the left glute.
Push both hips forward until the left knee almost touches the ground.
Hold for three counts and then switch sides.

Intensify it: Adding a rotation provides a deeper stretch and increases the joints and muscles engaged. Once in position, raise the same arm as the foot that is forward and gently twist your back until you feel a stretch. Hold for three to five seconds. Release and repeat.  

Standing Toe Taps

Purpose: Toe taps can increase your heart rate while still being a low-intensity move. The move activates your core muscles and improves balance.

How to: Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart.
Hold your right arm at shoulder height straight in front of you.
Rotate your upper body slightly as you bring your left toe to the palm of your right hand.
Hold for three seconds and alternate sides. Repeat for several reps.

Alternating Toe Taps – This is Olsen’s personal favorite

Purpose: Stretches your lower abs, back, hamstrings and hip flexors.

How to: Lie flat on your back with your arms out to the side.
Bring your right leg up and over your left, keeping both legs as straight as possible..
Hold for three seconds and alternate sides. Repeat for several reps.

Push Ups

Purpose: To build upper body and core strength.

How to: Start by kneeling on the floor and bring your feet together.
Bend forward into a high plank, and place your palms flat on the ground about shoulder width apart.
Lower your body to the floor while keeping your torso in a straight line.
Press upward until your arms are fully extended.
Start with 10 pushups and increase as your strength increases.

Modify it: If your core isn’t strong enough to support the proper position, place your knees on the ground. Proper form protects your back and can provide as much strength building benefits as the traditional push-up.

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