In my last blog I discussed how weeks of sedentary days can threaten your independence and shared the Elevator Exercise to help you retain leg strength. I hope you’ve been able to take advantage of this simple yet effective activity!
Since social isolation appears to be hanging around for a while, especially for those challenged with health concerns, I’m going to continue sharing simple movement activities you can do at home to retain physical independence.
As a reminder, losing physical function was at one time considered a normal part of aging, but now we know better! It is very common and very predictable, but preventable! The driving force behind loss of physical abilities is lack of regular movement.
Review Your Daily Movement
Take a careful look at how much physical activity you’re getting each day. If you’ve never really considered physical activity a priority, take this unusual disruption of your habitual patterns as an opportunity to take stock of your functional status.
Currently, physicians are supporting the idea that “movement is medicine,” so consider embracing simple daily movement as a direct investment in your health.
Gratefully, summer is here, which usually means we all get outdoors more. However, if you must continue to isolate indoors, make a conscious decision to evaluate if you’re moving through the normal range of motion with each joint, and what specific deposits you’re consistently making into your physical independence.
No-one can help you with this! It’s up to you to take charge and take action.
Consider what you’re doing daily for each of the following joints and the muscles supporting their mobility:
- Upper body: neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers
- Lower body: hips, knees, ankles, toes
- Full body: upper, mid, and lower back
Warning Signs of Decline
If you feel fatigued after completing small tasks that once seemed easy, and/or you find your mobility is limited, it’s time to intervene!
Improve your mobility by gently stretching through each normal range of motion, then focus on your strength by asking your muscles to do more than they’ve been doing on a regular basis.
Biceps (Arm) Curl
Daily activities such as lifting, carrying, dressing, and getting out of a chair or tub require arm strength and upper body mobility.
Strengthen your arm muscles so you can more easily perform daily tasks, take care of your home or yard, and perhaps lift your grandchildren and enjoy playing sports!
Did you know pickle-ball is the fastest growing sport worldwide? I have friends who love it so plan to try it this summer (in between horseback rides of course!).
The biceps curl exercise helps support upper body strength. Start with no weight and gradually add more as you get stronger.
Sit in good posture with your arms relaxed at the sides, palms facing up. Bring the left hand to the left shoulder, then slowly return your arm to the side. Complete 8–12 biceps curls with the left, then the right arm. Repeat both sides again. To increase effort, add weights as long as it does not cause elbow pain.
Have you noticed a change in your level of function since isolating? What are you currently doing each day to intentionally replace normal physical activity? Have you started anything new while staying closer to home?
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor to get specific medical advice for your situation.