By Nancy L. Swayzee, MES, NMT
American College of Sports Medicine
Exercises for Anywhere are exercises that are portable. They are great for older adults and seniors, because they require no equipment that is not in a home, office or hotel room. They can even be done in an RV. They are inter-changeable, modifiable and require a minimum of time.
They work all the major muscle groups in the body and are an effective way to tone muscle, strengthen bones and expend calories. Many of these exercises work the large muscles in the body – do those every other day, with a day of rest in between. They do not need to be done in the order listed, nor do they all need to be done on the same day. The “whole-body” exercises, like the chair jiggling, may be done every day…even several times a day.
Alternate the standing exercises with the seated ones or the arm exercises with the legs. Mix and match as you please.
To make the exercises more fun (an important component!), turn on the radio or put on a CD and do the exercises to music. Rhythmic exercise allows the body to provide fuel for exercise more efficiently and therefore will burn more fat. It’s also easier on the joints.
Before starting these exercises, please show them to your health care provider and get permission to do them and any restrictions they wish to give you.
Most important reminder: Have fun with these…think of this as play, not work!
Chair Squats w/ Overhead Press
Sit on the front of a bench or a flat bottomed chair that is approx. 18″ high. Your back should be lengthened, your feet about hip width apart. Your elbows are bent next to your ribs, your hands resting on the front of your thighs w/knuckles facing in, thumbs on top. Use small weights or soup cans to increase the intensity.
Pulling your abdominals in and up to support your back, push down through the bottom of your feet to stand up, and raise the weights to the front of your shoulders. As you stand fully, press the weights up over your head, keeping your arms close to your ears. Slowly lower down and back as though sitting on the bench, returning your arms to their starting position.
Lower your body down until the back of your thighs lightly touch the chair, then slowly push back up to a full standing position, As you stand up, squeeze the muscles in your fanny. Do not allow your body weight to sit in-between repetitions.
Inhale as you sit back, exhale as you stand up. Continue the squat move for 2 sets of 8 repetitions, focusing on doing the move slowly and keeping tension in the buttocks .
After the last repetition, immediately begin the next exercise.
Special Tip: If this seems to low for you to sit back on, place a pillow on the chair and sit back until your thighs touch the pillow.
Seated Gluteal Squeezes
Sit on a flat bottomed chair with your feet together flat on the floor and your knees at a 900 angle from your hips or lower. Sit with your back erect and your abdominals pulled in and up.
Contract and release your gluteal muscles (buttocks). Squeeze your cheeks as tightly as you can, concentrating on tightening the muscles in the lower abdomen and pelvic floor.
Do not allow your lower back to round. Sit tall on the bench. Contract 10 to 12 times, then contract and hold. Hold for a slow count of ten, keeping your neck, chest and shoulders relaxed.
Release and immediately contract 10 to 12 times again. After the second set of 12, contract, hold and move your knees together and apart, keeping the squeeze in the buttocks.
Continue this motion 8 to 10 times, then release and rest.
Both these exercises are to be done every-other day! No More!
Standing Single Leg Knee Bend
Stand behind sturdy chair, holding the back of the chair for support. With your abdominals pulled in and back lengthened, your ribs out of your hips and relax the top of your shoulders and neck.
Tuck your left foot behind your right knee. Keeping your hips absolutely level, slowly bend the knee of your standing leg and lower your outside foot about 3″ or 4″. (Do not allow the outside hip to drop).
If your balance is shaky only lower your self 2″. The goal is to keep your hips level, not how far down you are able to go. As your strength increases you will be able to go lower.
Keep your weight on the back half of your standing foot, not your toe. Slowly press back up, pushing off the bottom of your weight bearing foot and using the muscles in your thigh to raise you. Keep your body weight over the back half of your foot.
Repeat 8 to 10 times, then repeat with the alternate leg. Do 2 sets.
Standing Side Leg Lift
Stand behind sturdy chair, holding the back of the chair for support. With your abdominals pulled in and back lengthened, lift your right leg out to the side, keeping your leg straight and toe pointed forward. Your left knee should be slightly bent. Keep the lift small, resisting both on the lift up and the lowering move.
Repeat 8 to 10 times, then change legs. Do 2 sets.
Standing Back Leg Lift
Stand behind sturdy chair and hold the back for balance. With your abdominals pulled in and back lengthened, stand on your right leg and place your left toe behind you, keeping your leg straight.
Keep your pelvis squarely facing the chair, do not allow the hip to rotate out and do not arch your back. Keep your tummy pulled In.
Contract (tighten) your left buttock as you lift your leg. Slowly lower leg until your toe touches the floor.
Repeat 8 to 10 times, then change legs. Do 2 sets.
Special Tip: If this bothers your sciatica, try turning your toe in as you lift.
Standing Wall Push Up
Stand facing a wall, feet close together about 10 to 12″ from the wall.
With your abdominals pulled in and back lengthened, place hands on the wall at mid- chest level, elbows out. Fingers may point straight up or point in toward each other.
Slowly lower body (as a unit) toward the wall. Bend at the ankles, not the back, and keep your heels flat on the floor. Adjust your distance from the wall if you need to.
Slowly push back to starting position, by straightening your elbows and tightening the back of your arms. Resist as you lower down and contract your chest as you push back up.
Repeat 8 to 10 times. Do 2 sets of 8.
Punching Bag Boxing
Stand facing imaginary opponent, with feet shoulder width apart, abdominals pulled in. With arms at mid- chest level, palm down, punch using alternate arms. Keep your elbows lifted, wrists locked and elbow slightly bent at point of contact. Pull fist back at the same speed as you throw it out. Do not snap elbow. Allow punch to move at diagonal across body at chest level. Do not try to make this a fast move. Concentrate on rhythmic smoothness of the move
Keep the top of your shoulders relaxed
Repeat 12 to 16 times. Do 2 sets.
Standing or Seated Biceps Curl
Stand or sit in flat bottomed chair with feet flat on the floor, knees shoulder width apart. Holding a 16oz. water bottle or 15oz. cans (2 or 3 lb. wts. weights are better) in each hand, tuck your elbows in tight to your waist with your palms facing each other. Thumb is on top.. Bend your arms, alternating right and left lifting the bottles up toward your shoulders. As you lift, rotate your hands so the palm is up, thumb pointing out.. Slowly lower back down to starting position until the arm is not quite straight. Remember to rotate the hands back to 1st position.
Repeat 8 to 10 times, alternating arms. Do 2 sets.