Rami's Blog

Like the Yin-Yang, Eastern Martial Arts and Western medicine are two halves of a whole. My mission is to preserve the ancient mind-body tools, and pass them on to you.


Never Too Late: Keep Your Golden Years from Being Rusty, Part 4

For the previous entries in the series, click here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Many people may think, "Hey Rami, how can you expect 70, 80, or even 90 year-olds to do strengthening exercises? They should not be exerting themselves, they are too old."

But it is actually more dangerous for the elderly to stop exerting themselves completely, because low muscle use leads to decreasing bone density. Decreased bone density means a higher likelihood of bone breaks, fractures, and bad fall injuries. It is especially prevalent in older women, and therefore especially important for women to maintain a strengthening routine.

Up and Down Like the Moon and the Sun

You have probably seen this exercise on my blog a dozen times by now. But I cannot stress enough how important it is. Maintaining and strengthening the major leg muscles is key to a high quality of life and greater mobility.

When you exercise the muscle groups in the legs (or any muscle group, but the legs especially because they are so large), your body releases important hormones that lead to muscle growth, and an increase in bone density. Essentially, your body notices how much work it has been doing, and says, "I have to grow and build myself to be stronger everywhere."

Doing this exercise doesn't just help the leg muscles and bones, it helps your whole body be stronger and more stable. So here is how to do it for mind-body students age 70 and older:

First, sit on an object which is at an angle higher than 90 degrees to make moving up and own as easy as possible. For example, you could use a sturdy, flat chair with a pillow or two added onto the seat. Then, use a walker or any other stable object to help yourself move up and down, using mostly your legs, and helping with your hands. The object is also to make sure the individual is safe. (See Picture 1, below).

Picture 1: Click to enlarge!

Picture 2: Click to enlarge!

Start with 3 to 5 repetitions up and down, and over time build up to 20 repetitions. After a few months you can start doing 20 times, up and down, with legs apart, AND 20 times, up and down, with legs together. (See Picture 2, above)

Inhale on the way down and exhale on the way up. Keep a smile on your face too!

Happy Stretching!