Maintaining a good level of fitness in later life doesn’t have to mean donning your lycra and working up a sweat in the gym. There’s a lot you can do from the the comfort of your own home to sustain your functional fitness, which can help you carry out daily tasks easily and without pain. These simple exercises, designed by Lynwood Village’s Head of Physiotherapy, Rosaria Toohey, will help raise your heart rate, which improves fitness, and keep joints ‘oiled’ and pain free. If you missed Part One of the Lynwood Living Room Workout you can read it here.
Before embarking on any new exercise regime you should check with your GP that it is safe to do so.
1. The Warm Up
Spend 3 – 5 minutes gently marching on the spot. If you have a balance issue, make sure you have a wall to support yourself if needed. Increase the range of leg lift as the minutes tick by. Marching can be done standing or sitting, so you choose where you feel safest depending on how good your balance is. Once you have marched in the chair or standing for a few minutes, then slow it right down and march slowly, raising your knees a high as comfortable. (If you have a hip replacement do not raise them very high).
2. Toe Tapping
Sitting in a chair, even in front of the telly, tap your toes as hard as you can on the floor. Make sure you keep your heels on the ground. Alternatively you can do heel/toe rocking. Another great ankle exercise is to pretend you have a pen taped to your big toe and to write out the alphabet with one foot and then the other.
3. Leg Extensions
Please be careful if you have a hip replacement and do not raise your leg too high. You may also find if you have had a hip replacement that it is difficult to stand on the hip replacement leg and may choose to do this exercise only on one side.
Stand facing the kitchen counter or sturdy sidboard and hold on with both hands. With a straight knee, alternately extend your leg backwards, one leg at a time. Repeat 10-20 times. Then do the same exercise but lift your leg out sideways, one leg at a time. Repeat 10-20 times.
4. Rocking from toes to heels while standing
Holding on to the kitchen counter or the back of a heavy chair, push up onto your toes, then carefully rock back onto your heels. Repeat 10 times.
5. Shoulder circles backwards
Sitting or standing, circle your shoulders backwards while your arms hang by your sides. Never circle them forwards as gravity pulls us into forward flexion all the time. Repeat this movement 10 times.
6. Shoulder internal and external rotation
This is a wonderful first aid shoulder exercise. Sit or stand with your arms crossed across your body. Keeping your elbows tucked into your sides, open your hands out away from the body. Then cross your arms again. Continue opening and closing your arms across your body, but make sure your elbows are tucked snuggly into your sides. This is a very good exercise for your rotator cuff muscles and is wonderful if you have sore shoulders at all. Repeat this movement 10-20 times.
7. Nose Circles
Imagine you have a small pen taped to your nose. Draw a small circle with your nose the size of a 50p piece, no bigger. First clockwise 5 time, then anti clockwise 5 times. Not big circles as these can flare up necks.
8. Neck retraction stretches
Sit or stand tall, and draw your chin in and backwards as much as you can so your neck grows tall, and the crown of your head reaches up to the roof. This is also a very good first aid neck exercise for any stiff or sore necks.
9. Forward and backward trunk stretches
Sitting in a chair, lean forward and slide your hands down your shins. Then slowly sit upright and then stretch back in the chair to extend your back. Keep your head level, you don’t need to look up to the ceiling. Repeat x 5.
Doing these exercises every day will help you to push your heart rate up, which is good for developing a bit of fitness, and keep your joints oiled and feeling pain-free. If you can spend 30 minutes every day doing our Living Room Workouts you’ll soon feel the difference. If you find it only takes you 15 minutes to get through all the exercises, it’s fine to simply repeat them.