Regular exercise is important, no matter what your age. It can improve your balance, flexibility, and stamina. It can also ward off depression, and may even prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s or dementia.
If exercising is difficult for you due to limited mobility, you might want to start with some chair exercises, which you can do right from your Kansas City home. Here are some options:
- Arm circles. Hold your arms straight out to your sides, palms facing down. Rotate both arms forward in small circles. Repeat 20 times. Turn palms up. Rotate both arms backward in small circles. Repeat 20 times. This exercise builds arm strength and improves posture.
- Shoulder rolls. Sit straight up in your chair with your arms down at your sides. Roll your shoulders up toward your ears, then back, down, and forward. Repeat 10 times, then reverse directions for another 10 reps. This exercise improves shoulder strength and flexibility.
- Biceps curls. Sit straight up in your chair. Hold one dumbell in each hand, palms facing forward. Slowly bend your elbows, lifting the dumbells toward your shoulders until your elbows are all the way bent. Hold for a second while squeezing your biceps muscle. Go back to the starting position. Repeat 20 times. This exercise improves your arm strength and flexibility.
- “Push ups.” Sit straight up in your chair with your hands resting on the outside edge of your seat. Push down on the chair as if you were going to push yourself up. Hold for 5 seconds and release. Repeat 10 times. This exercise strengthens your arms.
- Leg lifts. Sit with your legs flat on the floor, arms by your side. Lift one leg straight out in front of you and flex your foot (Bend your ankle so your foot is pointing toward your head.). Hold for 3 seconds, then lower your leg. Repeat with the other leg. Do each legs 10 times. This exercise strengthens the hips and thighs, which can also improve balance.
- Knee lifts. Sit straight up in your chair with your back not touching the back of the chair. While holding on to the sides of the chair, lift one knee up as as high as you can (like you’re marching in place), then return to starting position. Repeat with the other leg. Do 10 lifts on each side. This exercise strengthens the hips and thighs, which can improve balance. It also improves flexibility.
- Tummy twists. Sit with your legs flat on the floor. Cross your arms and hold them up across your chest. While pulling your abdominal muscles in toward your back, twist to the left as far as you can. Hold for 5 seconds, then go back to center. Repeat on the right side. Do each side 10 times. This exercise strengthens your core, which can improve posture and flexibility.
- Neck stretch. Sit straight up in your chair facing forword. Turn your head as far to the left as you can. Hold for 5 seconds, then return to center. Repeat on the right side. Do 10 on each side. This exercise improves neck strength and flexibility.
These simple exercises can improve your strength, posture, balance, and flexibility, which could go a long way to helping you maintain your independence as you age.