As we grow older, the importance of exercising cannot be overstated enough. No matter how hard we try, growing old is a part of life and inevitable, however, we can certainly control our health and the quality of life we have.
According to the National Institute on Aging, people lose their ability and independence to do things on their own not because they have aged, but rather due to becoming inactive over the years.
In order to continue your independence and enjoy a good quality of life, it’s important to focus on endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility.
Below are 5 exercises that you can do at home in order to help keep you mobile, reduce joint pain and stiffness, improve balance and strength, and avoid any injuries or accidents!
Generally, most people nowadays sit for work and often experience back pain and underactive glutes. Performing bridges is a good place to start to ensure you keep your glutes strong and lower back pain and injury free.
How: Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat. From there, rotate your pelvis so that your abs are tight and your lower back is flat against the floor. Next, push your hips up towards the ceiling while squeezing your glutes together and holding at the top for 2 seconds and then slowly lower.
2. Sit to Stands
We sit and stand all the time but many people take it for granted. Think about it, we sit and stand from the couch, from our desk, from the toilet, from the car, etc. Hence, it’s very important that we continue to train this pattern over time in order to remain as functional as possible.
How: Starting from a standing position and your feet about shoulder width apart (find a stance that is comfortable for you) slowly push your hips back and lower into a chair (try your best not to plop down), then stand up from the chair.
3. Single Leg Balance
- One in four Americans aged 65+ falls each year.
- Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
- Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.
- Falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 800,000 hospitalizations and more than 27,000 deaths.
- In 2015, the total cost of fall injuries was $50 billion. Medicare and Medicaid shouldered 75% of these costs.
- The financial toll for older adult falls is expected to increase as the population ages and may reach $67.7 billion by 2020.
As you can see, strengthening your lower body and improving balance is very important in order to prevent falls and help perform every day activities.
How: Stand tall with your feet together, and brace your core. From there, make sure you’re holding onto a wall, counter, or chair for balance. Then, lift your right foot off of the floor so that you’re standing on your left foot. Avoid leaning to one side and try to maintain a tall position. Hold this position for 30 seconds or as long as you can, then repeat on the opposite side. If this is too easy, try placing a finger on the chair or don’t use any assistance at all!
Because many of us are sitting for most of the day, it’s important we find time to walk in order to give our body time to move while strengthening our feet, ankles, knees, hips, and lower back!
The National Institute on Aging recommends seniors shoot for 30 minutes of cardio exercise each day.
How: It’s simple, just walk! In order to prevent too much soreness, start by walking 5-10 minutes a day and gradually increase over time.
5. Farmers Walks
Although this may seem simple, it’s quite effective and difficult when performed correctly. The goal of this exercise is to get your body performing as one single unit while strengthening your lower, core, and upper body! This is very similar to carrying grocery bags from the car to the house!
How: Grab a pair of dumbbells, soup cans, water jugs, or even grocery bags and hold them directly by your side. From there, brace your core and stand up tall and then begin walking in a straight line. Pick out a market and once you reach that marker turn around and go back to the starting point!