The following is a guest blog post by Colleen P. Cleves, B.S., ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, at The Center for Physical Rehabilitation.
When exercising in your “golden years,” it is important to remember that at the very foundation of your program should be exercises that enhance and strengthen movements encountered in your day-to-day life. Unless you are training for a particular event, like a 5K run, pickle ball tournament, or senior Olympic event, there is no reason to do complex heavy exercises.
As you move through your day, you need to do simple tasks, like walk to and from errands, get in and out of bed, chairs, bath tubs/showers, on and off the toilet, carry bags of groceries, pick up and hold grandbabies or fur babies, lift bags of potting soil for your garden pots, etc.
Your exercise program should include strengthening your heart, legs, arms, core (back, shoulders, hips, and abs) and increasing your balance and flexibility to help with each of the above activities. Your exercises don’t have to involve lots of equipment or complex movements. In fact, much of what you need can be found on your person or in your home.
So, let’s address each component of a good exercise program.
Cardiovascular Endurance (Heart and Lung Health)
- Find an activity you like that increases your heart rate and that you can do for a minimum of 30 minutes, five days a week. For example:
- Walking: outside or on a treadmill
- Biking: on a trail or on a stationary bike
- Swimming: taking a class or simply walking in different directions (forward, backward, sideways) in the pool
- Dancing: to the beat of your own drummer or take a class
Perform six to eight exercises, two to three times/week that work your larger muscle groups. For example:
Squats: Standing with your feet hip-width apart, push your hips back and keep your knees behind your toes.
Sit to stand from a chair
Wall sits for 20 second intervals
Mini squats in front of a counter
Push up: Place your arms about shoulder width apart, bending your elbows and lowering your body towards the wall or floor.
Counter/Table push ups
Arm Curls: Standing with your feet hip width apart and your arms down at your side with a three to eight pound weight in each hand, bring your hands to your shoulders.
Standing (Double Arm or Single Arm)
Calf raises: Stand with your feet hip width apart and toes pointed straight ahead. Raise up onto your toes and slowly lower back down.
Step-ups: Stand on the bottom step with a handrail or on a wide stool next to the counter. Step up with your left foot and down with your right and repeat, stepping up with the right foot and down with your left foot.
Core: strengthening the muscles of you back and abdominals
Bridging: Lying on your back, squeeze your buttocks and pull your belly button into your spine (like you are buttoning a tight pair of jeans) and lift your buttocks and low back off the floor.
Modified plank: Lying on your stomach with your elbows under your shoulders, lift your chest and stomach up off the ground. Hold for 10-20 seconds.
Band Walkouts: With the band securely anchored around a pole or in a door, clasp the band in your hands and slowly walk away from the pole or door until you feel the band pulling you back towards the anchor point. Repeat five times from each side.
Flexibility: Hold each stretch for 30-60 seconds
Hamstring: Place one leg on a low chair or step and gently lean forward from the waist. Do not round your back.
Calf: Place your hands on the wall and step one foot back (heel remains in contact with the floor). Bend your other leg at the knee until you feel a stretch in your back calf.
Tricep: Raise one arm straight up next to your ear. Bend your elbow, dropping your hand behind head and gently pushing your upper arm back.
Chest: Standing in a doorway with your elbows at shoulder height, step one foot through the doorway and gently lean your entire body through as well.
Back: Lying on your back with your knees bent and your arms in a “T” position, gently take both knees to the left and hold. Repeat, going to the right.
For more information about Colleen Cleves and The Center for Physical Rehabilitation, visit: http://pt-cpr.com.
Photo Credit HEP2go.com