42 THE QUEENS COURIER • WELLNESS • OCTOBER 17, 2019 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Beginning a workout at any age or skill level
Our bodies crave exercise at all ages,
whether that means daily walks, fi tness
classes or a night of dancing. Although
physical fi tness may look diff erent at age
65 than it did at 20, being active on a regular
basis is still important to maintaining
health and well-being.
Exercise helps establish better balance
and fl exibility and reduces falls.
It improves sleep patterns and boosts
mood. But it can be diffi cult to adapt our
fi tness routines or start new ones as our
bodies change with age.
An overview at www.cdc.gov outlines
weekly goals for amount and types of
exercise for people over 65. Below are fi ve
exercises that can be modifi ed for diff erent
skill levels and range of motion and
can be done almost anywhere, anytime.
If you prefer working out in a gym
environment, some health plans, including
UnitedHealthcare, off er gym memberships
at no additional cost. To learn
more, visit UHCMedicarePlans.com.
Talk with your doctor about healthy
ways to incorporate fi tness into your routine.
For individuals recovering from an
injury, consider seeking advice from a
physical therapist who may identify areas
requiring special focus.
Squats: A familiar movement, bending
and lift ing to pick up a grandchild or a
bag of groceries requires training to help
avoid back injury. Fine-tune your form
by trying this move that can build muscle
strength in the glutes, abdomen and
leg muscles. Begin by standing in front
of a chair. With your weight in your heels
and big toes, slightly drive your knees
out, squeeze your glutes and lower yourself
to the chair. To come up, lean forward
slightly and push your knees out
again. Repeat. If you’re able, try the move
without the chair.
Push-ups: Drop and give us two, or 10
or 12. No matter how many push-ups you
can muster, making time for this all-star
exercise off ers a high return on investment
- building strength, balance and
stability. For beginners, push-ups can be
done against a tall counter, rather than
all the way down to the fl oor. Stand with
your palms on a counter and feet fl at on
the fl oor. Keeping your elbows tight to
your side, lower your upper body slowly
until it taps the counter. Hold the position
for one second, come up and repeat.
As you get stronger, you can progress
to lower counters or tables until you’ve
made it to the fl oor.
Single-leg balance drill: Boost your stability
and balance by including this exercise
into your at-home workout rotation.
It can even be done while brushing teeth
or washing dishes. Start by removing
your shoes so your foot muscles can feel
the fl oor. Stand with your feet fl at on the
fl oor, then shift your weight to your left
leg and slowly bend your right knee, aiming
to get your thigh parallel to the fl oor.
Hold for fi ve to 10 seconds, depending on
your strength and stability, then, return
that foot to the fl oor. Repeat this motion
10 times on the same leg, before switching
to the opposite side. To increase diffi
culty, add some weight to one hand and
transfer it from hand to hand while balancing.
And don’t worry - a little wobble
means you’re making those muscles
Planks: Side, center, forearm or - you
guessed it - all of the above! Planking
is a great way to engage your abdominals
while strengthening and lengthening
spine, back and shoulder muscles.
Begin on all fours, with your hands
under or slightly behind your shoulders.
Extend your legs straight behind
you and come up onto your toes. Keep
your eyes focused downward, pull your
belly button toward your spine and lower
your midsection so your body forms a
straight line. Beginners can drop their
knees to the fl oor. Engage your core and
hold the pose for 10 to 15 seconds. For
side planks, start lying on your side, with
knees stacked one on top of the other
and bent so your heels are behind you.
Rise up onto one elbow, stacked under
your shoulder, with your palm spread.
Squeeze your glutes and lift your hip.
Look forward and raise your top hand to
Yoga: If you haven’t already, it’s time
to give yoga a go. Th is holistic practice
blending exercise and mindfulness
is time-tested, has few age or ability barriers
and off ers benefi ts ranging from
increasing fl exibility to reducing falls.
Two good starting positions are downward
dog and warrior one. For downward
dog, start the same way you start a
plank but push your backside to the ceiling
rather than toward the fl oor, so your
legs are straight and your torso is straight.
Keep your heels down and head relaxed.
Th e more fl exible you are, the closer
together you can keep your feet. From
downward dog, raise one leg and step it
forward and place it between your hands.
Walk your hands back, lower your back
heel and slowly rise up. Bend your front
knee and raise your hands above your
head. You are now in warrior one.
Consult your doctor prior to beginning
an exercise program or making changes to
your lifestyle or health care routine.