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Strength Training for the Senior Citizen
This article is a list of exercises which are easy to perform and don't feel like a waste of time.
The exercise I most employ involves primarily my right arm. Some prefer to use the left arm. Some people with good coordination can use both arms. This exercise involves repetitious lifting. Here's how it's done. First, sit at a table on which a plate of appealing food is displayed. Sit there without moving for a few seconds to allow the fragrance of the food to inspire you. Then, pick up a fork, and load it with the heaviest food on your plate, such as steak or roast beef. Then, moving slowly and steadily, lift the fork and transfer the food to your mouth.
The next exercise involves your mouth, tongue, cheeks, jaws, neck, and of course teeth if you still have some. (If not, this exercise will be more difficult for you.) Masticate the food thoroughly for several minutes. Then swallow. The swallowing action involves even more muscles, such as the esophagus, which may not actually be a muscle, but serves the same purpose. Repeat this exercise till the plate is empty.
By performing this exercise several times a day, the muscles involved will get quite a workout, and upper body strength will be improved.
The next exercise involves a number of muscles. It is usually the first exercise of the day. To accomplish this exercise, sit up on the side of the bed. This action alone involves a number of muscles. Once sitting, place both hands, palms down, on the bed, one on either side of you. Place both feet flat on the floor, if this works for you. Then, leaning forward, push yourself up to a standing position. This involves many muscles, such as abdominal muscles which assist in the process of rising to one's feet.
The next exercise involves mainly the feet and legs, but as in most exercises, other muscles are involved as well. Walk into the bathroom, unless you prefer to dress in your bedroom first. I've found that most seniors prefer to walk into the bathroom, often rather briskly, before starting any other project. Performing the tasks usually done in the bathroom can use any number of muscles. If showering, take great caution not to slip in the shower or fall into any other fixtures, especially those containing water.
Then, walk into your bedroom and change from your pajamas or gown into your clothing for the day. That in itself, especially if one is plagued with such ailments as arthritis, can be a real workout.
Next, walk into your kitchen and prepare your breakfast. This can involve more muscles than one might expect, especially if it requires retrieving things inadvertently dropped on the floor. If you're not feeling up to that much exertion, leave anything dropped on the floor till you have completed breakfast, then retrieve everything you have dropped on the same trip down to the floor.
The following exercises involve any number of muscles:
2. Washing dishes/cleaning the kitchen
3. Bed making
7. Reading the mail
8. Paying bills
10. Washing vehicles
There are many more equally helpful exercises for senior citizens. One not recommended is sitting for long periods of time. Excessive television watching and computer use are not recommended for the senior citizen, as, while participating in those actions, one tends to lose inspiration for other forms of exercise. Any strength remaining after performing all the listed exercises to be done that day, can be used for walking or lifting light weights. I find, however, that after performing the listed exercises, I actually feel little need to do more, partly due to being depleted of time and energy.
Some experts say that for senior citizens the best advice is just to keep moving. Most of us are indeed thankful that we can.