As we get older, we lose some of our physical ability and strength. While this is a natural part of aging, it can increase the risk of falls and other adverse events, and it can make it hard just to do your daily activities. Luckily, regular exercise is a great way to combat this, and regular exercise can also benefit your physical, mental, and social health. Watch our calendar for exercise classes offered through the Soweg Council on Aging. In this article, we’ll go over some easy and simple exercises for healthy aging that you can do and home and don’t require a lot of equipment.
Walking sideways helps your hips on either side of your pelvis, which in turn help support your knees, ankles, and spine. Each day for several times a day, step 10 times to the right, followed by 10 times to the left. If you need support, you can walk alongside a kitchen counter or long table. If you want to make this exercise more challenging, you can tie an exercise band around your thighs, just above the knees, to create resistance.
Shoulder Blade Squeezes
A forward-curved posture is common for many people, likely because so many of us spend a lot of time hunched over our computer or phone. This poor posture can cause neck and back pain and affect how deeply we breathe in. To combat this, squeeze your shoulder blades together and downward. Hold for three seconds and repeat 10 times several times a day.
Your abdominal muscles support your spine, but if you don’t exercise these muscles, they can become weaker and weaker. This can increase your risk of back pain, but you can combat this by doing abdominal drawing-in several times a day. To do this, simply pull your belly button inward toward your spine, holding for three seconds. Repeat this 10 times, and once used to it, you can try doing it when you’re walking, exercising, and doing other activities.
Good balance can help prevent falls and other related injuries, but we lose our balance as we get older, especially if we are inactive. Try practicing your balancing several times a day by standing o both feet with your hands on a kitchen counter or sturdy table. Slowly lift one foot and try to balance on the opposite foot for 10-15 seconds, repeating on the other side when you’re done. Repeat this five times on each foot.
Stand Up and Sit Down
While it might sound simple, the strength and endurance of our hip and thigh muscles are crucial to how well we can get around. If these muscles lose strength, standing and walking can become difficult. To prevent this, practice standing up and sitting down several times a day. Start off in a sturdy chair with no arm rests and stand up and sit back down, going up and down carefully and controlled. Do this five times slowly and then increase your speed for another five times. While you can use your hands to help you, try to get to a point where you don’t need your hands.
Pelvic Floor Training
The muscles we sit on, known as pelvic floor muscles, are crucial in urine and bowel movement control, spine support, and sexual response. They can lose strength due to things like illness, weight gain, an inactive lifestyle, and pregnancy. To strengthen your pelvic floor, take time several times a day to squeeze the muscles in your pelvic floor area as if you’re trying to hold in urine or gas. Hold this for three to five seconds and repeat 10 times.