Here at Enablr, we like to make health and wellness convenient. That is why we want to give you the tools to improve your physical health in your own home without having to buy any fancy equipment or a complicated training program. You already have all that you need to do this exercise routine!
Let the whole family get involved. There is something for everyone and in this section we are going to focus on what our older adults can do to keep their bodies where they need to be or at least heading in that direction!
Let’s focus on three aspects of exercise: mobility, strength, and cardio. An older adult can make big changes in their health and the way they move by doing these three simple, yet profound, exercises on a consistent basis.
Mobility is how much a joint or a muscle group can move or stretch. This can get overlooked because, oftentimes, stretching our bodies and joints is not exciting. Do not be fooled, this is just as important!
One body part that can easily get tight is our ankles, which can be due to tight calf muscles. If this gets tight this affects how easily our foot clears the ground when we walk. The last thing we want is a trip or fall because our foot did not clear the ground!
We call this move a “calf stretch.” You can do this seated by placing a belt around your foot and using your hand to pull your foot towards your face while keeping your knee straight. You should feel a pull (not pain) in the back of your lower leg or your calf. Hold this for 30 seconds, 3 times on each leg.
Another option is to do this standing for a stronger stretch. The leg you are stretching goes behind you. Keep your knee straight, and your heel down. Then, lunge forward on your opposite leg while leaning into the wall. You should feel a pull in the straight leg behind you. Hold this for about 30 seconds 3 times on each leg. Give yourself some rest between each stretch. This should feel good, and if it doesn’t, no worries, just move on to the next!
Next up, strengthening. You probably already guessed it, strengthening exercises are focused on making our muscles stronger. This actually means we are breaking down the muscles in order for them to “rebuild” stronger. With that being said, while doing the exercise you may feel a little burning in your muscles, or soreness afterwards. That is okay as long as it goes away.
My personal favorite exercise, and one that will give you the most bang for your buck, is called a “sit to stand.” Simply find a chair, preferably one with a hard surface. To make it more challenging, you can use one without arms! Lower yourself down into the chair in a slow and controlled manner. Then, push your weight through your heels to come to standing. See if you can do this 5 – 10 times. Then, take a break and try another round after a minute rest break. This is great for strengthening your leg muscles.
Last but not least, cardiovascular exercise, or cardio, is simply anything that gets your heart rate up. Typically the heart rate is up over a period of time and you may even experience faster breathing during cardio exercise. This is good. This means you are challenging your cardiovascular system. Nice work!
Walking- Simple and safe cardio!
The best and safest way to do this is simply to go on a walk. Yes, that is correct. It can be that easy. Depending on where you live, this may be easier for you than it is for others. If the weather is something you can tolerate, a walk outside is a great way to get your cardio in and bonus: you get some fresh air and vitamin D. However, if the conditions are not inviting, take a lap inside your home, or maybe two if your home is small. Are you a TV watcher? Every commercial that comes on is your reminder to get off the couch and take a lap around the house! You will have more energy and your joints will be feeling better before you know it! After all, motion is lotion. The more we move our joints, the better they feel.
Consistency and Results
There you have it! It is short and simple, and very effective. Do this series of exercises 3-4 times a week and you should notice results in about 4 weeks. These specific exercises are safe to do everyday so if you are feeling ambitious, go for it! Just remember you should always incorporate a day of rest into your weekly schedule as well.
Making your health a priority and getting your body moving should not be hard. If these exercises feel difficult to you, or if you are experiencing other setbacks, like pain with exercise, please reach out to our Enablr team. For additional exercises or therapy, reach out to schedule an appointment! Our therapists make getting healthy, fun and convenient in the comfort of your own home. Until then, enjoy your new exercise routine.
Enablr Therapy provides physical, occupational, and speech therapy services to help people to all ages and abilities. We provide in-person and live-video therapy sessions for clients throughout the state of Tennessee and select states. To learn more how Enablr Therapy partners with you, visit our therapy services page.