As we age, our body’s ability to perform certain moves or exercises diminishes. Like touching the toes, at a young age, there’s nothing to it but the older you get, the more further away the toes seem to go! Warm up exercises for senior citizens must be tailored to handle less stamina and strength as well as make key muscles work out.
What do you do, after sitting in your car and turning on the engine? Wait for the engine to “warm up” before driving. Your body is very similar in function. You can’t expect it to go from stationary to workout ready, with just standing up. You need to warm up with the right exercises, to get your body warm and prepare it for more exercise. Warm ups are often the most ignored parts of exercise regimes. Either you can never work up into a sweat because your body is just not ready or you can pull or strain a muscle, which is stiff from inactivity. For those of you who are advanced in age, warming up is the key and perhaps main form of exercise. Read on, for some warm up exercises for seniors.
Warm Up Activities for Seniors
☛ Take a leisurely, slow walk for at least 5 -10 minutes. Don’t jog or run or brisk walk. Just walk casually, back straight, around the block or around a room, arms at your side, slightly swinging them. A walk is the best and most relaxing way to waken up sleeping muscles.
☛ From walking on a flat or level plane, try climbing a short flight of stairs or even just 5-10 steps of a flight of stairs. Do not exert – if you feel tired, stop, breathe and see if it feels right to continue.
☛ Try a wall push up. Stand in front of a wall at a distance of 2 feet between you and the wall. Place both palms on the wall, at shoulder height. Gently contract arms, such that your chin touches the wall. Count to 5. And then stretch your arms out slowly to return to your original position. Perform this simple exercise, 5 times. Don’t over stretch, do not increase distance between you and the wall. Be slow and sure.
☛ Stretch your shoulders in a relaxed manner with this stretch. Sit or stand, back straight, raise your arms to your shoulders and touch your shoulders with your hands, such that your elbows are bent and facing outwards. Then rotate your shoulder joint, gently in a forward motion. You can rotate both shoulders at the same time or one at a time. Rotate in a forward manner,15-20 times and then in a backwards manner. Do not jerk or put force into your shoulder rotation, it should be loose. Keep breathing regularly.
☛ Another shoulder warm up is to sit, back straight in a chair. Raise your shoulders up, inhale, bring them to normal position, then down, exhaling. This should be one smooth motion. Again, do not jerk or get stiff.
☛ Time for the neck. Sit straight and look as far to the right as you can do so, comfortably. Do not try to turn your neck backwards. Hold it in this position for 5 seconds. Repeat motion with the left side of your neck. Breathe normally throughout. Do not turn your shoulders, with your neck. Do not jerk or bounce your neck left or right, do so in a slow, controlled manner.
☛ Now for the back, stand up straight with your feet slightly apart. Place your hands on your hips, inhale and gently arch your spine backwards slowly. Do not use your hands to push your back out. Do not overdo it, be careful while pushing, if your back starts to pain or throb, stop. Hold your position for 8-10 seconds and then slowly return to a straight position.
☛ Place two chairs, seats facing each other. Sit down on one and put one foot on the other chair’s seat. Make sure your leg is straight and not hanging down, as well as the other chair is not too far away for your leg. Place one hand on your uplifted leg’s thigh area, keep your back straight and lean forward slowly. Keep your other foot firmly on the ground. Do not try to touch your head to your foot. Go as far as you can, don’t hold your breath. Stay in that position for 10-20 seconds, repeat 2-3 times and then alternate leg. This is a static stretch.
☛ Now for the legs, sit and cross one leg over the other. You can also just extend and elevate that leg, a short distance above the ground. Then slowly rotate your ankle, 10 times anticlockwise, 10 times clockwise. Repeat with other leg.
The above warm up exercises for seniors should be carried out only with prior approval from a doctor or healthcare practitioner. In case of recent hip or other body parts surgery, then some stretching or warm-ups may be harmful. At the first sign of discomfort, stop immediately. Rest for a while. Breathe normally and move slowly. Increase duration and number of exercises slowly, as your body’s stamina increases. With the correct warm ups, you can remain healthy and limber and show all those young joggers and exercisers at the local park, that age doesn’t slow anything down!