Okay, maybe this won’t make you immortal, but if you want to know how to keep a spring in your step as you age, this is for you. Active ageing is all about giving people the keys to stay independent for as long as possible.
This is not just for older people. If you are in a desk job and sitting under stress for long periods, if you have kids and do a lot of lifting or if you have a love of shoes that aren’t great for your feet then check out the functional movements below and self assess to see if you have the foundations of healthy movement.
There are a few functional movements that we need every day to do basic things in life. Things like sitting in and getting out of a chair, or reaching our hands back to do up our own bra strap or rolling from our heel through to our toes to take each step.
These are movements we mostly take for granted until we get an injury and can’t do them. If we don’t heal properly from injuries then these movements can become harder to do and we lose mobility.
1. Hip crease – a good hip crease with a long, neutral spine can protect your lower back and strengthen your legs and deep abdominals. This is a simple movement of folding at the top of your legs (hip crease) as you bend your knees and sticking your bottom out to keep the spine long. Click here to watch a video of this exercise.
You can use a hip crease in your everyday movement, whenever you go to bend down and pick something up, or getting down to and up out of a chair. Using this movement everyday will teach your body good disassociation of the hips from the legs which will require you to use the hamstrings (back of the legs) and the deep abdominals.
2. Shoulder glide – with your arms straight out in front of you at shoulder height, reach your fingers forward. To do this you have to glide your scapula (triangular bone in the back of your shoulder) over the back of your ribs. Click here to watch a video of this exercise.
I teach a lot of people who are not able to do shoulder glides. Either they have shoulder injuries that have restricted their range of motion or they have very tight thoracic spin (back of the ribs) that has made shoulder glides very difficult. If you can do them, keep doing them, make a point of it. This will maintain range of movement in your arms for a long time to come.
3. Walking in place – standing with feet hip width apart, bending one knee to come up on the ball of one foot (other heel stays planted on the ground) then come up on both balls of the feet to switch and bring the other heel to the ground. Click here to watch a video of this exercise.
Walking in place helps us to mobilise through our feet. Getting a good roll from the ball of the foot to the heel and back again is important to make walking easy as we age.
Okay these are not the only exercises you will need to stay mobile well into your nineties but they are a good start. Everyone will need slightly different exercises to stay independent because we all have different strengths. Moving everyday is a definite step towards life long mobility and independence.
Contact me on the details below if you would like help to build strength and flexibility to stay mobile for longer. My fully equipped Pilates studio in Lennox Head provides a range of supported exercise options to cater specifically to your needs. For more information on staying healthy as we age sign up here to receive a fortnightly newsletter with inspiring reflections to encourage your healthy life.