Recommended Exercises for the Elderly-JUST MOVE!!!
Endurance Activities: swimming, bicycling, walking briskly, golf w/o a cart, dancing, etc. Vigorous Activities: climbing stairs, jogging, brisk bicycling up hills, swimming laps, etc.
Rotating with overload by a senior.
Exercises to Improve Strength/Balance
Biceps Curl Strengthens upper-arm muscles.
- Sit in armless chair with your back supported by back of chair and keep feet flat on the floor.
- Hold hand weights straight down at your sides, with palms facing inward.
- Slowly bend one elbow, lifting weight toward chest and hold for 1 second. (Rotate palm to face shoulder while lifting weight.)
- Slowly lower arm to starting position. Pause. Repeat with other arm.
- Alternate arms until you have done 8 to 15 repetitions with each arm. Rest; then do another set of 8 to 15 alternating repetitions.
Knee Flexion Strengthens muscles in back of thigh. Use ankle weights, if you are ready.
- Stand straight holding onto a table or chair for balance and slowly bend knee as far as possible. Don’t move your upper leg at all; bend your knee only.
- Hold position for 1 second. Slowly lower foot all the way back down. Pause.
- Repeat with other leg. Alternate legs until you have done 8 to 15 repetitions with each leg. Rest; then do another set of 8 to 15 alternating repetitions.
- Stand straight to the side or behind a chair or table, holding on for balance.
- Slowly bend one knee toward chest, without bending waist or hips.
- Hold position for 1 second.
- Slowly lower leg all the way down. Pause. Repeat with other leg. Alternate legs until you have done 8 to 15 repetitions with each leg. Rest; then do another set of 8 to 15 alternating repetitions.
Side Leg Raise Strengthens muscles at sides of hips and thighs. Use ankle weights, if you are ready.
- Stand straight, directly behind table or chair, feet slightly apart.
- Hold onto a table or chair for balance.
- Slowly lift one leg 6-12 inches out to side. Keep your back and both legs straight. Don’t point your toes outward; keep them facing forward.
- Hold position for 1 second. Slowly lower leg. Pause. Repeat with other leg.
- Alternate legs until you have done 8 to 15 repetitions with each leg. Rest; then do another set of 8 to 15 alternating repetitions.
Alternative Hamstrings Stretch Stretches muscles in the back of the thigh.
- Stand behind chair, holding the back of it with both hands.
- Bend forward from the hips (not waist), keeping back and shoulders straight at all times.
- When upper body is parallel to floor, hold position for 10 to 30 seconds. You should feel a stretch in the backs of your thighs.
- Repeat 3 to 5 times.
Ankles Stretches front ankle muscles.
- Remove your shoes. Sit toward the front edge of a chair and
lean back, using pillows to support your back.
- Stretch legs out in front of you.
- With your heels still on the floor, bend ankles to point feet toward you. Bend ankles to point feet away from you.
- If you don’t feel the stretch, repeat with your feet slightly off the floor. Hold the position for 1 second. Repeat 3 to 5 times.
Triceps Stretch Stretches muscles in back of upper arm.
- Hold one end of a towel in right hand.
- Raise and bend right arm to drape towel down back. Keep your right arm in this position, and continue holding onto the towel.
- Reach behind your lower back and grasp bottom end of towel with left hand.
- Climb left hand progressively higher up towel, which also pulls your right arm down. Continue until your hands touch, or as close to that as you can comfortably go. Reverse positions. Repeat each position 3 to 5 times.
Shoulder Rotation Stretches shoulder muscles.
- Lie flat on floor, pillow under head, legs straight. If your
back bothers you, place a rolled towel under your knees.
- Stretch arms straight out to side. Your shoulders and upper arms will remain flat on the floor throughout this exercise.
- Bend elbows so that your hands are pointing toward the ceiling. Let your arms slowly roll backwards from the elbow. Stop when you feel a stretch or slight discomfort, and stop immediately if you feel a pinching sensation or a sharp pain.
- Hold position for 10 to 30 seconds.
- Slowly raise your arms, still bent at the elbow, to point toward the ceiling again. Then let your arms slowly roll forward, remaining bent at the elbow, to point toward your hips. Stop when you feel a stretch or slight discomfort. Hold position for 10 to 30 seconds.
- Alternate pointing above head, then toward ceiling, then toward hips. Begin and end with pointing-above-head position. Repeat 3 to 5 times.
Single Hip Rotation Stretches muscles of pelvis and inner thigh. Don’t do this exercise if you have had a hip replacement, unless your surgeon approves.
- Lie on your back on floor, knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Keep shoulders on floor throughout exercise.
- Lower one knee slowly to side, keeping the other leg and your pelvis in place.
- Hold position for 10 to 30 seconds. Bring knee back up slowly. Repeat with other knee. Repeat 3 to 5 times on each side.
Citation for material discussed: Exercise: a guide from the national institute on aging. NIH Publication Number 01-4258. Reprinted April 2004 
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