Insightsthe blog of Porter Hills
Maryanne Katz, Fitness Specialist
Click here to watch the WZZM13 Senior Wellness segment on this topic.
As we age, our activity levels often decrease. It can be due to a variety of reasons: arthritis (which effects 1 of 2 Americans), a major fall (which 1 of 3 people will suffer) or sadly, the loss of a loved one.
A sedentary lifestyle invites the loss of strength, balance, mobility and decreased flexibility. Maintaining active habits can positively impact your life in many ways:
- Improved mental well being
- Reduce pain levels
- Social contact
- Sense of achievement
- Self-confidence & reliance
A goal for every older adult is to remain as functional and independent as possible, and regular exercise is a great way to achieve this.
Below are some things you might consider upon initiating an exercise routine:
Lower Your Expectations
This may seem like a pessimistic way to start tips at encouraging, but the “all or nothing” mentality can sabotage attempts before you even start! Begin slow and build your way up as your body adjusts.
Pair Exercise with Something You Enjoy
Instead of agonizing about exercise, combine it with a rewarding activity: watching your favorite TV show, favorite music, a podcast, books on tape or stationary bike while you read the newspaper! Talk about multi tasking! By pairing exercise with something you enjoy, you’ll create a positive association with it, and the time WILL go faster!!!
Remove Exercise Obstacles
If you have to drive 10 miles to get to a gym or poor weather strikes, you may be more inclined to skip your workout. Find an activity you can do right in your own home or neighborhood. The library has exercise videos you can borrow for up to 2 weeks, and PBS offers a “Sit N Be Fit” exercise program. Searching the Internet under “older adult exercise activities or balance” can provide a multitude of programs that can be followed alongside the instructor! And, if weather permits, by all means go outside for a walk. There are many great ways to stay active and fit at home.
This series can be done in approximately 15-20 minutes and requires no equipment.
- Chair Stands: Move from a seated position to standing 10-15 times
- Seated Leg Extension: While sitting, extend your leg straight, pausing at the top of the extension for 5 seconds before repeating 10-15 times.
- Seated Abdominal Exercise: Sit near the front of your chair and cross your arms across your chest. While keeping your feet on the floor lean back and touch your shoulder blades to the back of the chair and repeat 10-15 times.
- Seated Knee Lifts: Sit in your chair and lift your knee high, lower and repeat, alternating legs10-15 times.
- Wall Push Ups: Stand facing a wall and place your hands on the wall at shoulder height, bend your elbows moving your chest toward the wall and push yourself back with your arms. The further away your feet are from the wall, the more challenging. Perform 10-15x.
BALANCE BEHIND A CHAIR:
- Stand and balance on one foot, while resting fingers on the chair. Keep good posture and hold for 30 seconds or longer.
- Tightrope stance with your feet, while keeping fingers resting on your chair, rotate your head by looking out over one shoulder and then the other.
- Rock back and forth on heels/toes while shifting your weight
Keeping your strength and balance strong will help you maintain a good quality of life. Wellness is more than just physical exercise – it encompasses mental stimulation, new experiences, creativity and social connections, but staying active is the foundation!