How many cups of tea and coffee do you make every day?
How about using the 2 minutes it takes for the kettle to boil to do four simple exercises that can make a difference to your strength and balance.
Not only are the exercises easy to do, the act of switching on the kettle acts as a trigger to remind you to do this simple routine. It’s often the little things that can really add up to make a big difference.
This video guides you through these four exercises:
- Side leg raises to strengthen the hips and bottom muscles which are vital for balance
- Chair raises to strengthen the thigh muscles to help with stair climbing and walking
- Arm raises strengthen the arms and shoulders to help with everyday tasks such as housework and gardening
- Heel raises strengthen the ankles and calf muscles to improve balance and walking
If you make four cuppas a day, you will have done 40 chair raises by the end of the day. This is one of the best exercises you can do for leg strength and can offset muscle loss as we age.
So why is it important to do resistance exercises as we age?
Keeping our muscles strong can help us to turn back the clock by up to 20 years. Not only doe this allow us to do the things we want to do for longer, it also helps us to ward off illness and remain independent.
Muscle loss (or sarcopenia) creeps up on us unnoticed especially after the age of 50. By the time we’re in our 80s we can have lost up to half our muscle mass so even getting out of a chair seems an effort.
But it’s never too late to build muscle, in fact research has shown that people in their 90s can improve their strength, power and muscle mass after just 12 weeks of resistance training. National guidelines state that people over 65 should do strengthening exercises at least twice a week along with 150 minutes of moderate exercise or activity. So even if you walk every day, you still need to do exercises that work the muscles and bones by pushing or pulling against a load or using your own body weight to create resistance.