Body & Soul: Muscle Mass
by Agnes Ramsay
Age-appropriate strengthening exercises for vulnerable areas
As we age, downsizing (on all levels) is something that most of us look at quite seriously. We find that we don’t need as much space, or all the stuff that we’ve accumulated. In our decision to downsize, we may factor in the preference for single-level living, as opposed to a two-storey residence. While none of us can predict what our requirements might be in the latter part of our lives, having stairs might not be a bad thing. You might be missing an ideal, stay-fit option by going up and down them everyday. Even in her early 90s, my mother would comment on the fact that running up and down the stairs was great exercise.
EXERCISING WITH LIMITATIONS
Arthritic hips, sore knees and bad backs are definitely deterrents when it comes to exercising, and these conditions limit our ability to do certain types of activities. Still, it’s important that we work our muscles at any given opportunity and keep active. Staying fit requires a positive attitude, along with an understanding of how to make adjustments in order to accommodate life’s changes.
Check with your healthcare provider before doing certain exercises, and never exercise through pain.
BACK TO BACK
Resting isn’t always the answer to back problems. To strengthen the back, the muscles need to be activated.
• PARTIAL CRUNCHES: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your hands behind your head. Gently lift your head and your shoulders towards the ceiling. This is a small move that won’t put excess strain on your lower back or neck. Never do standard sit ups.
• BIRD DOGS: To gently work the other side of your core, go on your hands and knees. Tighten the core by lifting one leg straight up behind you, and the opposite arm in front of you. Stabilize. Don’t let your back sag or sway. Hold each side for five seconds, and work up to five rounds.
• WALL SITTING: This is a great way to exercise your legs, without stressing the spine. It’s also a suitable pose for those with arthritis. Stand 10 to 12 inches away from the wall, and lean back until your back is flat against it. Your knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle. Hold for a 10 count. Start with five repetitions and work up to 12.
|Agnes Ramsay is a Registered Nurse, Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach specializing in Electric Muscle Stimulation Training.|