Four Exercises You Need As You Get Older

April 12, 2019

Dreamstime

: It is known to make you feel better, lose weight, increase your energy and reduce risks of chronic diseases. Yet many people simply do not exercise and that can be an issue as we age. Certain workouts can make the activities of everyday life, such as walking up and down stairs, playing with kids, carrying groceries—easier. Experts call this functional fitness and it involves your flexibility, balance, endurance, strength and aerobic fitness. While lifting weights or a spin class aren't your idea of fun, four simple exercises can be done at least twice per week as part of a resistance-training plan to ensure your golden years aren't squandered by pain and immobility. The 30-second sit-stand. See how many times you can stand up from a chair and sit back down in 30 seconds with your arms folded across your chest. This is a test of lower-body strength and power, which is important for walking, climbing stairs, and getting up safely.  Arm curls. See how many times you can curl a light weight (5 pounds for women, 8 pounds for men) in 30 seconds. Try it first with your left arm, then your right. If you don’t have weights, you can practice with soup cans. Arm curls test muscular endurance and upper-body strength, which is important for carrying heavy items like groceries. 8-foot get-up-and-go. Stand up from a chair, walk to an object you’ve placed 8 feet away, go around it, then go back and sit down. As you practice—carefully—see whether you can do this more quickly. This tests balance and agility, which are helpful when you need to, say, get to the phone quickly or answer the door. Finally the back scratch. Reach your left arm over your left shoulder and the other behind your back. See how close you can bring your hands together. Repeat on the right side. You can improve your performance on the back scratch by holding a towel in one hand and pulling at it with the other gently. Don’t push too hard if this hurts. This is a test of upper-body flexibility, which you use for activities such as brushing your hair and getting dressed. Talk to your doctor or practice with a trainer before trying these on your own but the goal is to improve your results over time.

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SOURCE: Consumer Reports

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