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A GUIDE TO ACTIVE AGEING

Ageing is an inevitable stage we all have to go through in our life, but there are many ways to age gracefully and one way is to maintain a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. It is recommended by Health Hub for adults aged 50 years and above to carry out strength and balance exercises for at least twice a week. Exercising is also known to help the elderly control their body weight, lower their blood pressure, reduce their risk of heart disease and strengthen their muscles, which in turn helps to reduce their chances of suffering an injury from a fall. Home-bound seniors can become idle and isolated at this time with reduced outdoor activities and social interaction. To keep them uplifted at home, here are 6 simple exercises and stretches recommended by our Fitness Training Manager, Christine Chiam. Make it a bonding affair by roping in the family members to do it together!

04 Jun 2020

Vertical Sit to Stand Wood Chop

 
The muscles in the legs, glutes, core and shoulders will be mainly utilised in this exercise, which helps in improving the elderly’s full-body movement and controlled movements throughout the torso.


1. Take a seat on the tip of the chair and with your fingers interlaced, position your feet wider than your hips.



2. Apply pressure on your feet as you stand up and raise your arms over your head.


3. Keep your torso stable without arching your lower back and ensure that you are not shrugging your shoulders.


Chair Supported Side Lunge


This exercise works the muscles which are mainly in the legs and glutes, important in maintaining the elderly’s sideway movements for deceleration and fall prevention.


1. Place your hands on the chair at the height of your hip, and position your feet wider than your hips.



2. Push your bottom backwards and shift your weight towards the right hip while keeping your right foot grounded.


3. Keep your left leg straight with your left foot grounded.


4. Go back to your position in step 1 and repeat step 2 and 3 for the other leg.


Standing Hip Extension


This exercise mainly uses the muscles in the glutes and hamstrings to help the elderly build a stronger posterior chain – a group of muscles on the posterior of the body.


1. Place your hands on the chair at the height of your hip, and position your feet wider than your hips.


2. Lift one leg and extend it backwards leading from the heel.



3. Keep your hips squared (levelled).


4. Return to your position in step 1 without your feet tapping down on the floor and repeat the exercise by extending the other leg.


Standing Cat-Cow


This stretching exercise which increases the flexibility of the neck, shoulders and backs involves the muscles mainly in the neck, back and chest.


1. Place your hands on the chair at the height of your hip, and position your feet wider than the width of your hips.


2. Inhale while you tilt your pelvis backwards as your tailbone reaches up.



3. Open your chest, with your eyes looking in a slightly forward direction.


4. Exhale as you tilt your pelvis forward, tucking the tailbone under.


5. Chin in with your eyes looking down.


Standing Hip Flexor Stretch


This stretching exercise stretches out the sitting muscles and mainly uses the muscles in the hip flexor – a group of muscles near the top of your thighs which is important for your lower body movements.


1. Make sure that the chair is not slippery before placing one foot it.



2. Position the other leg on the ground, slightly further away from the chair.


3. Place both of your hands on the thigh of your elevated leg.


4. Lift the heel of the leg on the ground slightly and push your hips towards the chair.


5. (Optional) You may also try raising one arm.


Seated Figure 4 Stretch


This stretching exercise which uses mainly the muscles in the glutes, helps the elderly in stretching the glutes and reduces stiffness in the lower back.


1. Take a seat on a chair and cross one of your legs over the other, ensuring that your ankle is on top of the knee.



2. Use your hands to push the knee on top, towards the floor.


And there you have it, with these 6 simple exercises and stretches, staying active at home is never a goal too difficult for the elderly to achieve!

  • References: 

1. HealthHub. 2020. 7 Easy Exercises To An Active Lifestyle. [online] Available at: https://www.healthhub.sg/programmes/71/healthy-ageing-exercise [Accessed 13 May 2020].

 

2. Health Hub. 2020. Ageing Well: 5 Essential Health Tips For The Elderly. [online] Available at: https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/868/healthy-active-ageing [Accessed 13 May 2020].

 

3. en.wikipedia.org. 2020. Posterior Chain. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posterior_chain [Accessed 14 May 2020].

 

4. WebMD. 2020. The Best Stretches For Tight Hip Flexors. [online] Available at: https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/fitness-hip-flexor-stretches [Accessed 16 May 2020].