Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults by Eric
Eric’s Fitness Tips
Today I want to go over some actual exercises and put together a routine. I want to focus on some problems that may occur for an older population. Some key problem areas for some older adults are their feet and knees. Hopefully if you do have some problems with either of theses area’s you have had them looked at by your doctor. I am a strong proponent of body symmetry. I see so many people that have imbalances that cause so many problems. I feel that a lot of people can reduce some of the knee problems or even feet problems through exercise.
First, I want to deal with the feet. Many problems can be caused by the wrong type of shoes. It even can be caused by a lack of flexibility. Flexibility is so important in any walk of life. Make sure to stretch the calf muscles out before you go for a run or walk. The easiest way to do this is by using a step and standing with the balls of your feet on the on the step and let your heels drop down. This will stretch the calf muscle. It will also stretch the Achilles tendon. Having a very tight Achilles can cause pain the heel of your foot and even in the arch of your foot. Sometimes these symptoms may feel like a bruise. Also chances are if your Achilles and calf muscle are tight then so are your hamstrings. This is a first indication that you need to be stretching more than what you are now. Even using no shoes or a flat sole shoe may help stretch out the arch of your foot as well and relieve some pain.
Using different types of machines will help get around some initial pain. Get off your feet by using a recumbent bike or even a rower. Most lifting can be done sitting, so long periods of standing can be avoided. Most people that I have talked to complain of foot pain during long periods of cardio sessions and not weight lifting. It is okay to take a break during cardio sessions. Evening just walking to the water fountain will help relieve some pain.
Knee pain is a totally different problem. Pain in the knee can be caused by a variety of different ailments and imbalances. Most in the older population complain of knee pain from arthritis or lack of cushioning in the knee joint. Again like foot pain getting off your knees can help. Most exercises can be done without standing. There are a few key exercises that can be done to help strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee. Two key ones that come to mind are leg extension and leg press. The bad thing about these two exercises they also may cause some of the most pain as well. But there are ways around the pain. I have any of my clients that are experiences pain to work above or below the pain. Meaning if they are experiencing pain during a leg press movement, I ask them to tell me where the pain begins. Once we are able to figure that out I instruct them to not go down as far. The same goes with the leg extension machine. Working above or below the pain will still help strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee and can help reduce pain to that joint. Another way to strengthen the quadriceps muscles is by static strengthening. An example of this is lying on your back and flexing your leg muscles. Hold this flexion for 10 seconds then relax. Do this 10 times. This will help strengthen those muscles just above the knee. For some more serious cases this may be the best place to start. Do these exercises 2-3 times a day.
Get a good warm up in. This is key for warming up the knees. Here are a few different exercises to strengthen the upper legs.
Leg Press- if any knee pain- work above or below it.
Body weight squat
Chair Stand- sit down and stand up out of a chair without using your hands
Step up- stepping up on to a step or small stool.
Adductor- inner thighs
Abductor- outer thighs