Living life to the fullest involves movement. In fact, my own motto is “your body is meant to move.” No matter how small the movement – start where you can, and improve from there.
At Iona Senior Services, where I teach “Strength, Balance, and Posture,” I see this philosophy firsthand. Just recently, for example, a class participant shared with me that they’re “feeling stronger and more mobile” because of this regular exercise and movement.
Being able to move with more ease allows you the opportunity to stay independent in your activities of daily living, enjoy leisure time, along with bringing a new sense of confidence in your abilities.
In our exercise group classes, we start with the fundamentals of movement and posture, and then move to learning how your body moves and feels with exercise.
Additionally, staying active as you age is very important for the proper functioning of ALL your bodily functions — including your mental health.
If you’re looking for ways to add more movement into your routine, there are many simple exercises you can do at home.
Below are some of my favorite exercises/movements that you can do daily in your own home. One of the reasons why I love them is because they all correlate to your activities of daily living and, when done properly and frequently, can help you stay as independent as possible.
Of course, I recommend before beginning any exercise routine to check with your physician to make sure that you are medically cleared to begin.
Once cleared, you can try out one, two, or all three and it’s OK if you can only do one repetition! Just practice and build up from there.
Remember to BREATHE!
- Sit to stand, and stand to sit. Sit in a stable chair. Practice coming to stand with knees slightly apart and feet pointing forward and at hip width. Use a higher seat if you are unable to do this without strain, or use your arms to push off the arm rests of the chair until you don’t need to. Try three to five repetitions to start. This movement is good for strengthening legs and hips.
- Push outs. Place hands a little bit wider apart than shoulder width and about chest height on a wall in front of you. Step your feet back so that your heels are off the floor with straight legs. Starting with your arms straight, bend your elbows to lower your body towards the wall. Start with small movements and go deeper as you feel strong enough to control the movement. Try five to ten to start. This movement is good for full body strength and control.
- Ankle circles. Sit in a stable chair. Lift one foot off the floor and begin to make large circles with your foot without moving your entire leg. Do ten circles, and then reverse to the other direction for another ten. Then switch legs. This movement is for ankle mobility, balance, and fall prevention.
Another way to add exercise to your routine is to attend one of the group exercise classes that are offered through Iona Senior Services.
What are your fitness goals? Let us know in the comments!
By Dave Reynolds, Personal Fitness Specialist
For the past 40 years, Dave Reynolds has been providing the best in fitness services to all ages and abilities in the metro DC area through Dave Reynolds and Associates, LLC, Personal Fitness Specialists. Dave is a Medical Exercise Specialist and Postural Alignment Specialist. He is also certified by American College of Sports Medicine as an Exercise Physiologist. He teamed up with Cindy Kardeman, a Licensed Physical Therapist, and together they created innovative group exercise programs that have been marketed and delivered to older adults in independent, assisted living communities and senior community centers, like Iona Senior Services, for more than 30 years.
In addition to group classes, Dave or one of his associates is also available for one-on-one sessions if you would like individual attention for your fitness needs. Want to learn more, or see where we provide classes? Please visit our website http://www.drafitness.com/ . On our website, you can also view clips of our available easy-to-follow videos that can help with exercise at home.