Nifty After Fifty ~ Exercises Older Adults Can Follow for a Health 2016

CareMore, Nifty After Fifty Provide Exercises Older Adults Can Follow for a Healthy 2016
Resolve to Get Started; Daily Routine Doesn’t Have to Be Strenuous to be Effective
With the beginning of the new year, people of all ages, shapes and sizes are resolving to get more exercise. For older adults in particular, getting started can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be, according to Dr. Scott Mancuso, senior medical officer of CareMore Health System.
“When people have been living a sedentary lifestyle for a while, it can be scary for them to start exercising,” Dr. Mancuso said. “Perhaps they worry about getting injured. In reality, the risk of not exercising is far greater than that of exercising.”
Regular physical activity has proven beneficial in strengthening bones and muscles and helping reduce the risk of serious health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and certain kinds of cancers. Exercise also helps prevent falls for older adults and has even been linked to better mental health.[i]
“Unfortunately, only one in four people between the ages of 65 and 74 participate in regular exercise,” said Dr. Sheldon S. Zinberg, chairman and president of Nifty After Fifty. “For the rest, the new year can provide them with the extra motivation they need to get started. This is a crucial decision. For some, it could mean the difference between maintaining independence … or not.”
“Small steps can make a big difference,” he added. “Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous to be effective. Older adults should focus on simple, low-impact exercises that can improve endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. These exercises can be done at no cost with a little effort, using things that are already in the home.”
Dr. Zinberg specifically recommends the following exercises for getting off on the right foot in 2016. Each exercise should be repeated 10 times.
·         Chair stand. First, find a sturdy chair with arm rests on each side. Sit up straight in the chair with your arms gripping the arm rests. Then push yourself up to a standing position, using your legs as much as possible. Return slowly to a seated position in the chair. This is good for the hands.
·         Elbow curl. From a standing position, hold a three-to-five pound weight in your right hand with your arm straight to your side and your palm turned up. Lift your arm up in a curling motion, Repeat with one hand and then the other. If you don’t have a weight, a can of soup can be used instead. This is also good for the hands.
·         Wall pushups. Stand about eight to 10 inches from a permanent, well-constructed wall. Extend your arms toward the wall on each side, a little bit outside your shoulders, with your hands facing forward. Gently lean toward the wall until your hands touch it. Now, lean forward, and then push back, keeping your hands against the wall. This is good for strengthening your shoulders.
·         Chair squat. Turn a chair around backwards. Face the back of the chair. From a standing position, spread your legs to the width of your shoulders. Now, squat as low as comfortable with your arms extended forward, using the headrest of the chair as support, if needed. This is good for your hips and knees.
·         Sit to stand. Sit down facing forward in a sturdy chair. Tighten your stomach muscles and place your right leg slightly under the chair. Now, lean forward slightly and stand. Return to a sitting position and repeat 10 times. This is good for trunk stability.
So those are five good, low-impact exercises to help kick off your 2016. Try them daily. When you are ready to take your work-out to the next level, remember that some older adults have access to a free fitness benefit through their Medicare Advantage plans. CareMore members, for instance, have access to Nifty After Fifty Centers, where they can be evaluated by an expert who is specially trained in developing fitness programs for seniors and exercise on equipment that is tailored to meet the needs of older adults.
Of course, it’s always a good idea to consult a physician before starting any exercise routine. It’s never too late to start and any exercise is better than none at all.