Growing older doesn’t mean that you must grow weaker. You can improve your posture, reduce the need for a cane, increase you endurance and feel more vital and alive than you ever imagined.
You may think you need to go to the gym or get into physical therapy to improve your body, but with some careful planning and some basic awareness of physical mechanics, you can improve your body yourself. Before starting any exercise, planning a visit with the doctor is important to establish a safe and healthy routine. Once any areas of concern are addressed, you can develop a plan.
Four areas to concentrate on include strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance.
Strength: Free weights and resistance exercises will strengthen muscles and increase bone density, which will reduce injuries. Using small hand weights and resistance bands while seated in a sturdy chair is a good start to strength training. As you strength improves, you can gradually increase the level of difficulty or amount of weight or resistance you apply to your workouts.
Weight bearing exercise that involve the legs and feet will improve balance and posture while improving lower body strength. Walking is the least expensive and easiest way to work out without a gym.
Balance: Balance issues cause the most home injuries among the elderly. You can improve your balance by strengthening your trunk or core muscles. Try doing squats, lunges, step-ups, standing rows and shoulder presses with dumbbells in each hand.
Flexibility: As you age your joints, ligaments, and muscles tend to stiffen more often. You can increase your flexibility right at home in your dining room chair. Simply sit tall in the chair with your feet flat on the floor and your arms at your sides. Now raise both arms in from of your body, thumbs aligned. Gradually lift your arms over your head and hold the position for 5 seconds and then lower your arms, and then repeat 10 more times.
Endurance: Walking, swimming and biking are all great and inexpensive ways to get healthier at home. Along with your doctor’s methods to measure your progress you can also test yourself at home. On the first day of your exercise plan walk for a set amount of time without stopping. Record your results, whether by distance, steps taken, or heart and respiration rate. One month later, repeat the test and record your results. You should note significant improvement no matter which measurement you use.