Finding time to work out is probably the biggest deterrent for most people. Some people are not morning people, and some are just too tired at the end of the day to stop by the gym. During these sunny days and extended daylight hours, getting in a few minutes here or there is absolutely doable. And guess what? You don’t need a trainer. You just need a little motivation and these simple exercises to get you started.
Heading to the pool? A quick little exercise you can do to work those abs is as simple as supporting yourself by the pool’s edge and crunching your legs toward your chest. Pull up and extend your legs down. Do as many repetitions as you can. Rest in between and start over.
Take the first step, then a few more. One easy exercise is taking the steps. You can boost that stamina by taking two to three steps at a time if you can. Walking up a hill? Stretch those legs in front of you and go!
Knee pain? Many of us have that, but there is a way to exercise in reverse. If you are out on a stroll, stop and take a few steps backwards to take the pressure off of your knees. You will be surprised how it makes you feel. Plus, this little trick also builds quad triceps while putting less stress on your joints.
Walking in a metro park? Use some of the installations as a weight bearing, weight-training source. For instance, work your back, shoulders and arms by doing a few light push-ups against a park bench. Lean forward, and lean in, or face forward and squat down using your arms to do backwards push-ups and work those triceps. Many parks now have built-in workout support systems on the grounds. Check them out!
The beach is your buddy. Take a morning stroll and hit a nice stride. You are sure to pass many like-minded people, plus using the sand provides a cushion for your feet and joints. It is a great place to do lunges, jumps and stretches.
Wherever, whenever…get moving for your health!
Closing my blinds this evening, I was reminded that summer is winding down and soon we’ll be reminded to set our clocks back as we move from summer to fall. It was 8:19 pm and the sun had taken cover for the evening meaning less daylight. For some seniors that means they will begin spending a lot more time inside. I’ve learned over the years that keeping our older loved ones stimulated mentally, physically and socially can help to maintain health and avoid depression and isolation. Here are some ideas to get you thinking about ways to inspire your loved one to stay active when the seasons change and they begin spending more time indoors.
- Chair exercises are a great way to stay physical; you can make up your own, use a DVD or check out the offerings at the wellness center or gym in your community.
- Create a music playlist of your favorites for a friend and have them do the same for you; this is a great way to explore new music.
- Electronic games such as Wii offer games that keep seniors sharp, like puzzle and math games.
- Host a movie night a couple of times per week, and write a review of the movie to share with friends and/or family.
- Start a book club and have each member host the club for your meeting.
- Crochet or knit blankets for families in need and work with churches in the community to get them distributed.
As we age keeping our mind and bodies active is an important part of our wellbeing. Don’t allow a season change to stop you from taking care of yourself both mentally and physically. If nothing from my list peaks your interest, don’t stop there. Contact the activities director in your community and learn about activities offered there. Keeping yourself healthy and active is extremely important and yields great benefits, both physically and mentally.
All seniors know they need to exercise, but most don’t know there are simple activities that can be done in the convenience of their home that count towards your daily physical activity goals. If you don’t currently have exercise goals in place, hopefully the following 5 fitness activities will show you how simple it can be to add physical activity to your everyday life.
- Balancing: Although balancing isn’t an obvious part of exercising, everyday activities require the ability to control your body’s position. From getting out of bed, to walking on an uneven sidewalk, and standing on tiptoes to reach something on a top shelf of your cabinet — all involve balance.
- Endurance Aerobic Activities: Endurance, or aerobic activities, increase your breathing and heartbeat, which helps improve heart and lung health. This can make chores like vacuuming and raking the yard easier to do. After all, who wouldn’t want to get a few chores in while helping your heart and lungs at the same time?
- Strength Training: Strength exercises help build muscles and bone, counteracting the weakness that can come with aging. Simple things, like sweeping, carrying in groceries or even getting up from a chair, can help make improvements in your muscle strength and in keeping and maintaining your independence.
- Stretches: As we age, connective tissues become less elastic, so stretching is important to maintain a functioning range of motion. Stretches should never cause pain or serious fatigue, so always be sure to warm your muscles prior to stretching. Take in deep breaths in each stretch for up to 60 seconds to get the full benefit of the stretch, and always be aware of the position of your spine.
- Video Games: Many seniors are now joining the world of video games, and have quickly learned it is the ultimate way to connect with their grandchildren. With popular video game consoles, such as Nintendo Wii and Xbox Kinect, seniors can use these and the variety of other interactive games to improve their fitness in the comfort of their own home.
Though incorporating a regular exercise routine into your everyday life can take some time, taking a few minutes a day to be more active is crucial to maintaining a healthy and independent lifestyle. Before you start any exercise routine, be sure to discuss your plans with your doctor for any health restrictions he or she may want you to consider before getting started. Also discuss with your family your plans so they can help you check your home to make sure there are no safety issues that need to be handled before you start your exercise plan.