If you have been meaning to start an exercise regime, but aren’t sure where to begin, this is your definitive guide to improving your health at any age. Walking into a gym after an extended period of being sedentary can be intimidating, especially if you don’t really know where to begin. As you begin, here are your two main goals:
Improve balance and stability
Are you one of those people who gets themselves all pumped up, works really hard for a few days and then falls back into old habits? If you go from zero to sixty in a week, it is easy to understand why you might be spent after a few workouts. To begin, working out 4-5 times a week is a good goal although you want to make sure that you are moving every day. Even a short walk will help keep you feeling good and motivated. There is no need to be at the gym every day for hours. That kind of rigorous schedule will be hard to keep up and wear you out pretty quickly.
If you are starting from square one, your first focus should be on improving your balance and stability. This will help prevent injuries and give you the foundation you need to take on my complex, weight bearing exercises. Strong stabilizer muscles are especially important for older Americans who are susceptible to catastrophic falls. The good news is that even if you are 78 years old, your respond to exercise and see improvements at the same rate as a 28 year old. While you can’t turn back the clock, you can make significant progress at any age that will improve your health and safety and ensure that you are able to enjoy a long and healthy life.
Best Exercises to Improve Balance
We will start with basic exercises, which does not mean that they won’t be challenging. The best part about these exercises is that that they mimic natural movements that we use to function on a daily basis.
Squat: The squat is probably the absolute best exercise you can do. Place feet should width apart and simply sit back as far as you can. As you sit back, your knees should form a 90 degree angle and not extend over your ankles.
Option #1: If you have trouble properly executing a squat, you help brace yourself by hanging onto a pole or other sturdy object.
Option #2: Still having trouble? You can work on your squats by simply sitting back in a chair and standing up. Try and increase difficulty by lightly transferring your weight onto the edge of the chair before standing up again. You can even place the chair in front of the poll of added assistance and stability.
Do as many squats as you can. Take a minute break and repeat for at least three sets. This basic movement will strengthen your legs, core, and improve balance all in one natural motion. It is a great functional exercise that mirrors movements that you use every day.
2. One leg bicep curl: Stand on one leg and perform a bicep curl. You can use dumbbells, soup cans, or no weight at all. The key is to try and challenge yourself and don’t forget to breath!
Get started with these exercises and feel free to share your health goals, tips, and success. Also, stay tuned for more functional exercises and the next steps you can take to improve your wellness.
Amy M. Blitchok is a professional writer and researcher who specializes in issues relating to seniors, aging in place and mobility technology. She works to disseminate important information that will help everyone live a longer healthier life and age comfortably and gracefully. Currently, she writes for AmeriGlide.com and contributes to several major industry related blogs and websites.