Exercise is vital to maintaining proper health and strength throughout life. This is especially true as we age and muscle mass is gradually lost, resulting in falls and decreased quality of life. Luckily, with an endless variety of cardiac-friendly and strength-building exercises, staying in shape is simply a matter of finding the workout routines that work best for each individual’s functional skills, available resources, and interests. If a person has medical problems, or has been inactive for extended periods of time, always check with a doctor before beginning a physical activity program.
Provided a physician has given approval, the following are simple strength, balance, and flexibility exercises to do at home.
Hip Flexion–strengthens thigh and hip muscles
Stand straight, holding onto a tall, stable object for balance, like the top of a high-back chair.
Slowly bend one knee toward chest, without bending waist or hips.
Hold the knee up for a count of “two.”
Slowly lower leg all the way down.
Repeat with other leg.
Side Leg Raise, strengthens muscles at sides of hips and thighs
Stand straight, directly behind table/chair, feet slightly apart.
Hold table/chair for balance.
Slowly lift one leg to side, 6-12 inches.
Hold position for a count of “two.”
Slowly lower leg.
Repeat with other leg.
Keep back and both knees straight throughout exercise.
Place hands flat against the wall.
Slowly lower body to the wall.
Push body away from wall to return to starting position.
When exercising, always remember:
Perform each exercise 8 to 10 times, or as tolerated without overdoing it, and gradually work up to a two full sets.
Complete all movements in a slow, controlled fashion.
Don’t hold your breath.
Stop if you feel pain but there should be a sensation of working the muscles.
Gently stretch each muscle after your workouts.
Staying active helps strengthen a senior’s mind and body, helping him or her stay fit and independent for as long as possible. However, when injuries, frailty or falls interfere with the activities of daily living, such as, cleaning the house, getting a bath/shower, doing the laundry or shopping for grocers, AAging Better has trained and compassionate caregivers to assist with all of those duties.
We believe in care that is centered around engaging and enjoyable activities with our clients, but when loss of mobility or frailty happen, we’re here to assist. To learn more about how exercise can improve a senior’s quality of life or about our services to assist those who are no longer mobile, contact us online or give us a call at 208-777-0308 if you’re calling from the Post Falls, Coeur d’Alene or Hayden areas; 208-263-7889 if in the Sandpoint, Bonners Ferry or Priest River areas; or 208-784-1505 if you’re calling from the Kellogg, Pinehurst or Wallace areas. We’re here to help seniors and the frail stay safely and effectively in their own homes with an enjoyable quality of life.