Exercises for Later Life - A ten-part set for seniors

The normally mobile older person has many options. He or she can, obviously, create a routine for thrice-weekly or more frequent use. A ready-made program, such as the following program presented by Linda Webb in the Good Housekeeping Institute Exercise and Diet Program, may also do the trick.

The first three movements in the ten-part program can be used by nearly anyone, including persons who are confined to wheelchairs. But such persons are advised to keep the number of repetitions to three in all cases.

1. Arm swing: One of the simplest of all exercises, the arm swing involves rotating the right arm forward five times, then reversing the motion and rotating backward an equal number of times. Repeat with the left arm. Place both arms together, windmill fashion, and swing five times.

2. Finger squeeze: Extending your arms forward at shoulder height, with palms down, squeeze the fingers together slowly into a fist, then release. After repeating five times, turn your palms up and squeeze again five times. With your arms extended toward the front, shake your fingers five times.

3. Arm turn: Extend your arms straight out to the sides. With palms up, cup your hands and rotate your arms so the palms face down. Return to the starting position. Repeat five times. Starting with your palms down, cup hands, and move your arms in the opposite direction. Repeat five more times.

4. Shoulder roll: Beginning with arms at your sides, roll your shoulders forward slowly. Your shoulders should describe a full circle. After five repetitions, reverse the direction of the roll and repeat five more times. End with a shrug.

5. Body stretch: Keeping your left foot firmly planted, extend your right foot forward as far as possible. Bend your body forward at the same time, arms extended out in front, in a kind of lunge. Count to five, stretching a little more on each count. Switch, extending the left foot and keeping the right planted. With each stretch, while holding for the five-count, lift up on the toes of your back foot. Repeat five times with each foot.

Ten Exercises for the Senior Citizen

Ten Exercises for the Senior Citizen

Ten Exercises for the Senior Citizen

Ten Exercises for the Senior Citizen

6. Head and neck exercise: Hands on hips, bring your head down and forward so that your chin touches your chest. Then bend your head backward as far as you comfortably can. Bring your head back to the starting position, erect, then turn it slowly to the left, then to the right. Repeat the entire cycle five times.

7. Body bend and turn: Again with your hands on your hips, bend slowly forward from the waist until you can bend no farther. Stand straight and lean back from the hips. Return to the starting position, bend slowly to the left, then to the right, and come back to the erect position. Repeat five times.

8. Body bender: Place your left hand on your left hip. Raise your right hand straight overhead. To a count of two, bend toward the left. Returning to the starting position, change hands, raising the left and putting the right on your right hip. Bend toward the right. Each bend should be done to a count of two. Repeat five times on both sides.

9. Wing stretcher: Standing with your feet about six inches apart, tighten your leg muscles and draw in your stomach while extending your chest. Bring your arms up, fists clenched, so that both elbows and fists are at shoulder level and your fists are in front of your chest. In this position, with muscles taut, take a deep breath and release it slowly. Vibrate your arms toward the back for a count of three. Repeat three times and work up to five.

10. Arm thrust: From the same starting position, clenched fists again in front of your chest, thrust your arms forward at shoulder height. Bring your fist back toward your chest and swing your arms out to the sides. Bring your arms back to the chest and thrust them vigorously up and down. Repeat three times.

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