A special thank you to my student Dora, 94 years old!
Our next mind-body series is a routine designed for people who are 80 years old and older. Encourage your parents and grandparents to practice this routine with you, if they are able to still do it. If you are someone 80 years old or older reading this series, then great! Convince one of your children or grandchildren to help you along with the exercises and practice with you.
Exercising and staying healthy together will make you both closer, and will also help you master this smaller range of my mind-body prescriptions and techniques. By keeping to a simple mind-body routine every day, both the your physical and mental quality of life, and the quality of life of the people practicing with you, will improve tremendously.
Here are images and links to the first two exercises:
Calf Stretch and Arm Strengthening
Start with stretching the calf by leaning forward. You can use a walker like in the photo, or a high counter-top, or a couch. Whatever is available and sturdy. Keep the heels firmly on the ground. Hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds. While holding the stretch, breathe deep and focus your mind on the breath. Not only will you stretch your calf and hamstrings muscles, but you (or your student) will also strength their arms while holding the posture.
Throughout all of the exercises, make sure that any support you and your student are using is stable and won't move at all.
Calf, Hamstring, and Lower Back Stretch
By leaning forward (see below: Picture 1), and adjusting the height under the balls of your feet with something like a book, step, or other tool (see below: Picture 2), you can achieve a nice stretch in a few groups of muscles. First, your calves will get a nice stretch. Second, your hamstrings will stretch, these are usually the tightest muscles in the body. And third, the lower back will stretch, sometimes even going up to your middle back, neck, shoulders, and arms (see below: Picture 3).
Hold the stretch between 30 to 60 seconds. Breathe deep while holding the stretch and focus your mind on the breath. Work on relaxing your shoulders and your face as well.
As you can see, from the pictures, you can do these exercises at any age. Dora was 94 at the time we shot these photos! By practicing this routine 10 to 20 minutes every day, you will see great results in your quality of life. I recommend that you use it to help someone important to you who is older, like a parent or grandparent. My modified mind-body techniques utilize any available prop or tool to achieve the "Principle of 80% Effort" in your personal physical ability.
Within 2 to 3 weeks you will experience improved range of motion, strength, and flexibility, which helps in preventing falls, or falling more safely when one does fall. You will also experience increases in muscle mass and bone density from the resistance techniques (coming soon!). This can also help with chronic pain and joint issues, such as arthritis.
As always, the deep breathing and emptying of your mind will improve your energy and help you sleep better, concentrate better, and perhaps even prevent dementia. Make this part of your life the "Golden Years" and not the "Rusty Years."
Don’t forget to take every precaution for keeping the individual safe from falling. Better safe than sorry!
That's all for this week! We have plenty more great exercise guides for 80+ year olds coming up. If you know someone who is elderly that is committed to living healthy, or should commit to living healthy, please share!