A Reader Asks Kris:
Is there a best exercise I can do?
As an exercise professional specialising in appropriate exercise for older adults, I am frequently asked this question. Unfortunately people tend not to like my answer as it goes along the lines of:
“Well, if you want to cover all the bases there is no single one best exercise – there are pros and cons to all modes of exercise and if you want to enjoy as functional and active a life as possible, you need to be a “Jack of all Trades”.
Whilst most older adults cite walking as the type of exercise they do most often (and this is fabulous don’t stop it!) the areas that tend to get neglected as we age are loss of balance and loss of strength and power .
That is until you take a tumble and think – “I must improve my balance”.
Rather than wait until this happens, start to lay the foundations of training for good balance now.
The following drill is an example of dynamic balance training. Rather than just standing on one leg this is a dynamic power based exercise as you train yourself to “recover” if you need to.
Clock face lunges
Imagine you are standing in the middle of a clock face. Step forward with your right foot to ’12 o’clock’ then return to the centre. Repeat for 3 o’clock and 6 o’clock. Change to the left leg and repeat to 12 o’clock, 9 o’clock and 6 o’clock. Repeat 4 more each leg.
You can add a cognitive component by asking someone to call out random ‘o’clocks’ e.g. 5 o’clock 11 o’clock etc.
Grandchildren love this!
Focus on stepping out with control then powering back to the centre with more speed.
Let us know how you get on with these? Try them for a week and tell us below about any difference in your fitness you notice.
Watch out for more great exercise and lifestyle tips from Kris Tynan next month.
The clock face lunges were great. I usually do the ‘ordinary’ lunges, but these clock face ones seem more beneficial.
Well done you! This is a fantastic way to strengthen those muscles and improve balance ….
Physiotherapist is doing something like you say – I am in my late 90,s and find I am hope less at this – is it worthwhile to keep practising?
Of course it is! Every time you move and aim to achieve the challenge, you are exercising not only your body but your brain as well Congratulations to you! Well done.