What does it mean to maintain independence, as we age? In truth, it looks different for everyone. For some it’s a desire to play with grandchildren without feeling fatigued. For others it’s the idea of living with minimal assistance whether it be from other people or devices. Granite Hill Estates Fitness Instructor, Jayne Labbe, shares her tips for maintaining independence through exercise and more about the importance of staying active as you age!
Living an active lifestyle is so important because the benefits include:
- Disease prevention
- Decrease in fall risk
- Increase in social engagement
- Weight management
- Better sleep
- Improved mental health
Exercise is key to maintaining an active lifestyle. It is recommended to get 150 minutes of exercise a week. What those exercises are will depend on you and your interests, so choose activities that you enjoy! When thinking of exercises that help to maintain independence focus on these four components: cardiovascular, flexibility, balance, and strength. Here are just a few ideas:
- Aerobic classes
- Strength training
- Seated fitness
- Playing with pets
Don’t be afraid to switch up your routine and keep a journal of your progress to look back on.
Looking for exercises to try at home? Here are 6 exercises you can do right from your own chair! When doing these exercises make sure you are seated in a firm armchair, then complete 8-12 repetitions of each exercise:
- Deep Breathing - take a deep breath through your nose and slowly exhale through your mouth.
- Shoulder Rolls – roll your shoulders forward making small circles. Repeat the exercise by rolling your shoulders backward.
- Knee Lifts – slowly lift one knee while leaving the knee bent. Then, slowly lower your foot back to the floor. Alternate legs until you have completed your repetitions.
- Leg Extensions – slowly straighten one leg, bringing your heel slightly off the floor. Alternate legs until you have completed your repetitions.
- Chair Push-ups – put your hands on the arms of the chair and push your body up to a standing position. Sit and repeat.
- Neck Stretch – slowly lower your right ear toward your right shoulder. Hold it for 20 seconds, feeling the slight stretch in your neck. Alternate sides until you have completed your repetitions.
Jayne has been the Fitness Instructor at Granite Hill Estates for 18 years and loves watching her residents develop their own active lifestyles. Her favorite classes to teach are seated aerobic and toning with weights. Fun fact: every Friday is Fun Friday at Granite Hill Estates where all exercise classes include a social component from stories to songs and even dance!