We know how important exercise in later life is to keep fit to help prevent infections and maintain flexibility and strength to avoid falls, aches and pains. Hannah runs our Falls Prevention Classes to this end every Thursday morning.
Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 we have had to suspend these classes and it is harder for older people to keep active at home without their classes and usual walks to the shops. So we have brought together an exercise programme to be conducted easily at home over the course of the next few weeks. Aim to do between 5 and 10 of each exercise, depending on how they feel for you. Make sure you are wearing well fitting footwear and you have a sturdy and steady chair. Any difficulty with them or concerns then please get in touch!
1. Pelvic Tilts. Sitting towards the edge of a chair, slump down and then arch back up, trying to move only your lower back and not your shoulders
2. Shoulder mobility. Still sitting towards the edge of the chair, raise your arms up above your head to stretch your shoulders and upper back. You can clasp your hands together to make this easier. If you have a painful shoulder then just go as far as pain allows
3. Thoracic rotation. Sitting up right, cross your arms across your chest. Turn your body and head in one direction then return to the middle and repeat in the opposite direction.
4. Hip extension. Stand with a stable chair or kitchen worktop in front of you. Take one leg backwards at a time, maintaining an upright position – this movement should come from your hip and notby leaning forwards.
5. Hip abduction. Stand holding on to a stable object as above. Keeping your body still, lift one leg out to the side. If you are unable to do this without bending sideways then just slide your foot along the ground. This targets a very important set of muscles on the side of your hips.
6. Partial squats. Holding onto a stable object, feet hip width apart. Gently bend your knees, keeping your knees in alignment with your feet. Only go as far as comfort allows. You may hear some grating or cracking coming from your knees – don’t worry! That’s not unusual and not necessarily a sign of anything to worry about.
7. Heel raises. Holding onto the back of your chair, gently raise up onto the balls of your feet and gradually, in a controlled manner, lower back down. You may need to take some weight onto your support for this – that’s fine to do. Tightness in the calf muscles might indicate some weakness and fatigue – take it steady.
8. Toe raises. The opposite of the above exercise! Lifting your toes by rocking back onto your heels. An oft neglected area, the shin muscles, but so important in being able to lift your toes and feet off the ground to clear the floor when walking and avoiding trips.
9. Balancing on one leg. A hard one this! Use the support and aim to stand on one leg for 5 seconds, initially with some support and later without, but always having it nearby in case you lose your balance! Keep your head up and look ahead of you. You can make it harder by closing your eyes!!
10. Tandem balance. Stand with one foot in front of the other, holding onto support at your side. Initially have a gap between your heel and toe or a small gap between your feet then bring the feet together (as it standing on a tightrope) and heel and toes touching. Make it harder by closing your eyes or trying to walk tandem-style. You could also turn your head from side to side or swing your arms at the same time. You know us physios, we can always make an exercise harder!
There is more information on avoiding trips and slips as we get older in the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy’s booklet, “Get Up and Go” which can be downloaded here or get in touch with us and we can send you a copy.
If you would like to see these exercises in video format then have a look at our You Tube channel where Kate is demonstrating them.
For further information on our Falls Prevention Classes, older peson’s rehabilitation or any queries you may have, please do contact us. Take a look at our next blog post on home exercises for those recovering from, or living with, a long term condition.
With acknowledgment to our exercise prescription software, PhysioTec, for the photographs.