As the weather cools off, outside activity becomes more inviting for those who have stayed indoors because of the summer heat as well as the pandemic.
Hiking in Madera Canyon or just walking around your neighborhood in Green Valley is an ideal way to get your body moving while enjoying the fall temperatures in the desert. Start out slowly and gradually add more time to your walks. It’s a great way to get fresh air and is totally free. You might also have social engagement with neighbors while observing physical distancing. You may even enjoy seeing dog owners with their four-legged friends out for a stroll too.
Staying inside during the pandemic shouldn’t mean spending hours on the couch though, especially for seniors. What can active older adults do easily at home? Here are simple exercises that can be done while watching your favorite TV show or outside in your backyard getting some fresh air. Be sure to check with your doctor before tackling any exercise regime to be certain it’s all right for you.
Stretch out your upper body: Stand with feet hip width apart, extend arms overhead interlacing fingers. Gently lean to the left, hold for 20 seconds. Return to center and repeat on other side. This can also be done from a sitting position.
Knee to chest stretches: Lie flat on your bed with legs extended. Bring your right knee toward your chest slowly; grasp the back of your thigh to hold this position for 20 seconds. Then switch legs and repeat 10 times per leg. This stretch can also be done from a seated position.
Wall push-ups: Stand three feet away from a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart and hands flat on the wall. Lower your body toward the wall, with the spine straight in a plank position, and then push back. Repeat 10 times. This helps improve shoulder and chest strength.
Chair yoga: If you’re starting out with yoga or have balance issues, you can still perform yoga moves sitting in a chair. Sit up straight, then lean forward to lay your torso on your thighs. Take five deep, even breaths while in this position. You’ll stretch your spine and back muscles, while massaging your intestines.
Resistance/Weight training: You don’t need gym equipment to train while at home. Try using a soup can in your pantry or a full bottle of shampoo as a “weight.” Fill an empty water bottle with sand or small pebbles. You can “move up” to heavier items like filled gallon-size bottles when you’re ready.
Breaking simple exercise routines into small, achievable segments is OK, too. Perform any of these exercises for 10 to 15 minutes, then again, a couple more times during the day. Mix up the exercises to provide variety. And make sure to play your favorite music to add inspiration and focus to your exercise.