Exercise and Senior Fitness
Advances in medicine and healthcare over the past century have led to increased life expectancies. However, aging is often still accompanied by frailty and a decline in one’s thought processes.
There is no question that the lifestyle habits highlighted by researchers—physical activity and a healthy diet, in particular—remain the best ways to not only delay aging and improve memory retention, but also to increase the length of one’s “health span.”
A certain level of coordination is also needed to move and exercise efficiently. Integrating balance and agility exercises into your workout routines can benefit coordination. The following exercises, from St. Louis, Brentwood, and Clayton, MO personal trainers, are ideal for seniors looking to improve their motor coordination and will help with mental stimulation.
STANDING BALANCE WITH BALL TOSSES
Best for: Eye and Hand Coordination
Beginners can keep both feet on the floor. Intermediates: balance on one leg with the opposite leg lifted at 90 degrees at the hip and knee.
Use a tennis ball, Pilates ball or a soft medicine ball and toss the ball into each hand. The eyes should follow the ball. If performing a balance exercise, complete a set with each leg balancing.
CONTRALATERAL AND IPSILATERAL MARCHING
Best for: Hand and Foot Coordination
Contralateral marching- raise your right arm overhead and simultaneously lift your left leg at 90 degrees at the hip. Hold for three to five seconds and release to the starting position. Next, lift your left arm overhead and simultaneously lift yourright leg to 90 degrees. Continue alternating sides.
Ipsilateral marching— raise your right arm overhead and simultaneously lift their right leg at 90 degrees at the hip. Hold for three to five seconds and lower to the starting position. Next, raise your left arm overhead and simultaneously lift your left leg at 90 degrees at the hip.
WALK, TOSS AND CATCH
Best for: Eye and Hand Coordination and Hand and Feet Coordination
Walk back and forth while bouncing a tennis ball or something similar back and forth. If the ball is bounced too far in front, the you might react with more effort in order to catch the ball.
For more information on exercise and senior fitness, contact Maurie Cofman, CMES, CES, TBMM-CES, Personal Trainer, Certified Medical Exercise Specialist, Health Coach and Corrective Exercise Specialist in the St. Louis, Brentwood, and Clayton, MO area.