Exercise and Aging
By Fred Smith, YWCA Fitness on 25th Personal Trainer
Most seniors are not interested in over developed muscles or how fast they can run a one hundred metre dash. Seniors I have worked with are more interested in extending a higher quality of life and avoiding chronic disease.
A sold exercise foundation for seniors must include balance, mobility and flexibility. Body weight and light resistance training while incorporating exercises to improve your balance are effective ways to maintain your strength and improve your balance and coordination; helping you achieve what we call functional fitness.
An example of an exercise most seniors, even those with limited gym experience, can include in your routine is the Ball Wall Squat.
- Grab yourself an exercise ball (we have balls located on both floors in the weight room and more in the equipment room by the gymnasium
- Place the ball against the wall and at the lowest part of your back
- Feet shoulder width apart and forward enough so that your knees are unable to pass your toes while in a full squatting motion.
- Start the squatting motion
- When you thighs reach parallel to the floor reverse the motion so that you finish in the starting position
- Keep your back straight and head up while completing this type of squat
- Engage your core muscles to help with balancing yourself and the ball against the wall
- Make sure you are comfortable with your balance before squatting
- If you are unable to squat down to 90 degrees that’s ok. Do what you can and over time gradually you should be able to increase your range of motion.
- Remember to properly stretch at the end of your workout.
- Once you feel you have mastered an exercise, try to increase the difficulty. Try the squat with one leg only. Or try to complete the motion with your eyes closed. These are great ways to improve your balance.
- Add dump bells in both hands to increase the effort required. Hang the weight down by having your arms by your sides.
The great aspect about these kinds of exercises is they actually challenge you to think before and while you do them. Engaging exercises like this can help preserve our brains and our bodies as we age.
If you would like a demonstration or would like a personal training program, book a session through the front desk with one of our personal trainers. Personal training packages can make a nice Christmas gift as well.