I often get asked what kind of equipment does one need to workout in the home for seniors. It's a great question and the answer of course, it depends. I don't believe in treating seniors with "kid gloves" and feel that ageist thoughts can hamper what our seasoned citizens can truly do. I still hope that I'm able to do heavy deadlifts, kettlebell swings, Turkish get ups, and really any intense workouts I want to do in my 70's and beyond! Limiting thoughts can truly get in your way of your goals/journeys/independence!
With that said, the practical side of me knows that many of you out there have not really had the opportunity to exercise intensely most of your life because you were working all those years, raising kids and grand-kids, and have not really had the time to dedicate to your own health! In those cases, simple is best and starting S L O W L Y. One of the best tools out there to use is simple gravity based exercises using your own body weight, and that is often where I start with clients. Beyond that though, there are some really simple, portable and non expensive piece of equipment that I've been using for about twenty years. Lifeline Tubing The company builds solid heavy duty tubing in various levels of resistance and I highly recommend it in your home. One can do very basic and simple exercises including various types of rows, pressing, and curls for starters! I know what you may be thinking! So, no, I don't work for this company and I don't make a cent off suggesting them. If you are intrigued by these bands and want to hire me for just a session or two including planning on how your can program this workout, then contact me know to get started!
Below is the link for the tubing on amazon!
Get a Grip!
Do you have trouble opening jars and carrying objects? Do you feel that your hands and grip strength are a limiting factor to you leading a full and productive life? Then read on because grip strength is even more important than we give it credit for.
Grip strength is now considered an important biomarker of mortality. Similar to how low bone density (osteopenia/osteoporosis), high blood pressure, 30 second sit to stand test, and lipid profiles are also biomarkers that can potentially predict mortality. Evidence is beginning to show there is a predictive link between grip strength and all-cause and disease-specific mortality, future function, bone mineral density, fractures, cognition and depression, and problems associated with hospitalization. Furthermore, evidence is showing that the routine use of grip strength can be recommended as a stand-alone measurement or as a component of a small battery of measurements for identifying older adults at risk of poor health status.
Ok, so now we know that grip strength is important to your health, as well as your ability to do the things that you continue to love to do. So, what can you do about it? Biology prunes what it doesn’t use. Bones, muscles, skin, and our nervous system atrophies with disuse. You can reverse a lot of this atrophy, but it does take time and some effort. It also helps to have a plan of attack. A guided strength training program with a qualified personal trainer can go a long way to helping you get back to a level where you feel more confident doing the things you enjoy. I’m going to show some tidbits and tools below to get you started. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out!
Wrist flexion- Use water bottle, dumbbell, or even elastic band and begin with palm facing up with item in hand. Allow wrist to bend down to floor. Keep it pain free. Pause for a moment and then bend wrist back up to above starting position. Repeat at sets and repetitions encouraged by your trainer.
Wrist extension – Use water bottle, dumbbell, or even elastic band and begin with palm facing down with item in hand. Allow wrist to bend down to floor. Keep it pain free. Pause for a moment at the bottom and then bend wrist back up to above starting position. Repeat at sets and repetitions encouraged by your trainer.
Pronation/Supination -Use water bottle, dumbbell, or even elastic band and begin with palm facing down with item in hand. Keeping wrist in neutral position. Rotate hand to the palms up position. Keep it pain free. Pause for a moment and then slowly return to starting position. Repeat at sets and repetitions encouraged by your trainer.
Radial Deviation -Use water bottle, dumbbell, or even elastic band and begin with thumb side up with item in hand. Allow wrist to bend down with pinky side going down to floor. Pause and then slowly return to starting position. Repeat at sets and repetitions encouraged by your trainer. One can challenge this activity by holding the end of the resistance thus increasing lever.
Ulnar deviation Use water bottle, dumbbell, or even elastic band and begin with forearm in neutral position with arm down by your side. Allow wrist to bend down with pinky side going up and back. Pause and then slowly return to starting position. Repeat at sets and repetitions encouraged by your trainer. One can challenge this activity by holding the end of the resistance thus increasing lever.
Finger extension -Use rubber band, hair tie, or elastic rubber band as resistance. Start with fingers in closed position (like gripping a pencil) and extend fingers out as wide as you can. This can be done with elbows bent or straight. Also, repeat at sets and repetitions encouraged by your trainer.
Gripping -Grab putty and squeeze. Don’t squeeze into sharp pain. Increase force, putty strength, and time of squeezing over time!
Healthy Recipe, Stout-and-Soy-Roasted Chicken with Onions
Few foods more reliably hit the spot on a Sunday night than roast chicken. It’s as nutritious as it is comforting, pairs perfectly with any vegetable side, and makes great leftovers for the week ahead if you don’t have a family to feed. This savory rendition, adapted from “Sunday Best: Cooking Up the Weekend Spirit Every Day,” gives this classic a savory twist by allowing it to first bathe in a garlicky marinade of stout beer and soy sauce (or tamari if you’re avoiding wheat). Serves 4-6. RECIPE HERE. – Susan Puckett
Healthy Recipe, Chickpea-Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies
After an intense workout, you’ve earned a little indulgence. That reward need not come in the form of empty calories, however. Consider these rich-tasting, just-sweet-enough cookies adapted from “The Miller’s Daughter: Unusual Flours & Heritage Grains” by Emma Zimmerman ($29.99).
Chickpea flour, now available in most supermarkets, replaces most of the refined wheat flour here, adding a layer of mildly sweet, nutty flavor and significantly boosting their nutritional value in several ways. Made by grinding chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) into a powder, chickpea flour contains ample fiber and protein, along with a host of minerals such as iron and magnesium. Tahini, the sesame paste used in hummus, amps up the flavor and protein even more. Dark chocolate chips are lower in sugar than the sweeter varieties and can also contribute small amounts of B12 and other nutrients to your diet if eaten in moderation.
These cookies will be good for several days if stored airtight, but best warm out of the oven. To help you resist overindulging, you can freeze the frozen dough after scooping it into balls on a cookie sheet, transfer the balls to plastic zip-top bags, and remove a few at a time to bake whenever a craving strikes. Makes about 2 dozen. RECIPE HERE. – Susan Puckett
Time is tiking…do you want to continue down this path or prefer a new story where you have some control? Tick tock…
As well all know, aging is often associate with a reduction in ____________. Yes, basically we can fill that blank in with muscle mass, endurance, balance, strength, power, mobility, and many other things that can affect our quality of life as well as our independence. While we may have little control over some aspects of aging including things like genetics, we can influence our epigenetics to a certain point by continuing to stress our bodies! Yes, we need to continue to stress our biology for it to continue to adapt. Without any stress, everything in our biology can get weaker and or “get pruned”, with the old adage “if you don’t use it, you lose it” ringing true.
But how? Start small! If you are doing nothing now to stress your body, then doing simple things such as going on small walks (even 3-5 minutes is better than nothing), marching in place, standing more, taking the stairs, get in and out of the chair 5 times in a row, standing on your tippy toes, and many other things one can potentially do depending on your starting point. It really doesn’t have to be that complicated and we can often do this in the comfort of our own home!
Don’t know where to start? Afraid you might get hurt? One can completely understand the hesitancy to get a program going. It could start with working with a personal trainer that has the biological and psychological experience and understanding to work with a population of people who may have not had much movement in years! Let us guide you safely to help improve your strength, mobility, power, and balance so you can regain your independence to continue your journey! When would you like to start?