HEALTH & LIFE­STYLE 7 sim­ple – but es­sen­tial – ex­er­cises for the elderly A

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

S WE grow older, nig­gling aches and pains can be seen as a sign it’s time to slow down and take things easy. But slow­ing down too much can do more harm than good.

The Char­tered So­ci­ety of Phys­io­ther­apy (CSP; csp.org.uk) points out that move­ment keeps mus­cles strong and helps main­tain a healthy weight, which also pro­tects the joints as we age.

While it might feel like move­ment is the last thing you need when aches set in, reg­u­lar ac­tiv­ity can ac­tu­ally help man­age joint stiff­ness, pain and fa­tigue, which can af­fect mood and men­tal health and well­be­ing too.

Keep­ing ac­tive can also cut the risk, or help man­age, con­di­tions like heart dis­ease and stroke, cer­tain can­cers and type 2 di­a­betes.

De­spite this, nearly a quar­ter (24%) of over-65s do no strength­en­ing ac­tiv­i­ties at all, putting them at in­creas­ing risk of falls and other health prob­lems, ac­cord­ing to CSP re­search.

“Move­ment is es­sen­tial for ev­ery as­pect of our health, says phys­io­ther­a­pist and CSP pro­fes­sional ad­vi­sor Fran Hal­lam. “Our bod­ies are de­signed to move, and not do­ing so is harm­ful to our health, mus­cles and joints. As we be­come older, this can also in­crease the risk of fall­ing.”

The good news is, it’s never too late to start – so if your ac­tiv­ity lev­els could use a boost, here’s what the pros at the CSP ad­vise... or small – to keep you mo­ti­vated, and pace your­self by start­ing slowly and grad­u­ally build­ing up your ac­tiv­ity.

The CSP says it’s OK to ache a bit, but if pain per­sists or gets worse, ease back and go slower.

SWIM­MING or walk­ing briskly will raise heart and breath­ing rates, ben­e­fit the car­dio­vas­cu­lar sys­tem and help keep weight in check.

Ex­er­cis­ing in a swim­ming pool can in­clude walk­ing, squats, march­ing and side-step­ping as well as swim­ming.

All th­ese ac­tiv­i­ties im­prove fit­ness and are low im­pact on the joints. sure you’re chal­leng­ing your­self – get­ting off the bus a stop ear­lier or car­ry­ing the shop­ping a lit­tle fur­ther,

for ex­am­ple.” STRETCH­ING mus­cles through ac­tiv­i­ties such as such as Tai chi or yoga will help pro­mote flex­i­bil­ity and range of mo­tion in joints. The fol­low­ing ex­er­cises are rec­om­mended by phys­io­ther­a­pists to help im­prove co-or­di­na­tion and bal­ance in older peo­ple. They should be done daily, or at least twice a week.

Sit tall near the front of a chair with feet slightly back. Lean for­wards slightly and stand up (with your hands on the chair if needed). Step back un­til your legs touch the chair, then slowly lower your­self back into the chair. Re­peat 10 times.

Stand tall, hold­ing on to a sturdy sur­face such as the kitchen sink or work­top, then lift your heels off the floor, tak­ing your weight into your big toes. Try not to lean for­wards or back­wards. Hold for three sec­onds, then lower with con­trol. Re­peat 10 times.

Stand tall hold­ing the same sup­port, then raise your toes, tak­ing your weight on your heels. Don’t stick your bot­tom out. Hold for three sec­onds, then lower with con­trol. Re­peat 10 times.

Stand close to your sup­port and hold it with one hand. Bal­ance on one leg, keep­ing the sup­ported knee soft and your pos­ture up­right. Hold for 10 sec­onds. Re­peat on the other leg.

Stand tall, with one hand on your sup­port. Put one foot di­rectly in front of the other to make a straight line. Look ahead, take your hand off the sup­port as you’re able and bal­ance for 10 sec­onds. Take the front foot back to hip-width apart. Then place the other foot in front and bal­ance for 10 sec­onds.

Stand tall, with one hand on your sup­port. Look ahead and walk 10 steps for­wards, plac­ing one foot di­rectly in front of the other. Aim for a steady walk­ing ac­tion. Take the feet back to hip width apart, turn around slowly and re­peat the steps in the other di­rec­tion.

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