This week on the Never Too Late series, we're giving you another workout for the leg muscles. You might be thinking, "Boy, there sure are a lot of exercises for the legs in this series." And you are right! There are a lot of leg exercises because your legs are like the roots of a tree: it doesn't matter how strong the branches are if the tree can't keep itself from falling over.
That's why exercise routines for those in their 70s, 80s, and 90s+ need to begin with leg and stability exercises. The most important thing is to develop stability and mobility, which are based in the legs.
So, this week we are showing you a move we call "Front Stance" in Tai Chi.
Front Tai Chi Stance
To do this stretch, stand about one and a half feet away from the wall, and then step forward with one leg, keeping both knees straight. Then, lean the torso over the forward leg and support your torso and head against the wall with your arms. Alternatively, you could start close to the wall, place your hands and head in the correct position first, and then step backwards until you experience the stretch.
Practicing the Front Tai Chi Stance will stretch the calf and hamstring of the back leg, as well as build strength in the front leg. By leaning on the wall with your arms, you will stretch the lower back, shoulders, and neck. (See below: Picture 1)
Make sure you keep the pelvis in proper alignment and not tilted to either side. (See below: Picture 2)
Keep the feet shoulder width apart (not like standing on a tight rope). Keep the toes pointing forward. (See below: Picture 3)
Hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds on each side (switch which leg is forward and which is backward). Breath deep while holding the stretch, and focus your mind on the breath.
That's all for this week! Next week we continue the series with another exercise!