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Upper Extremity & Lower Extremity Exercises for the Elderly

Upper Extremity & Lower Extremity Exercises for the Elderly


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Exercising when you are elderly can have its own set of challenges. The last thing you want to do is injure yourself or overdo it and have to spend time recuperating. A few precautions can help you safely exercise while increasing your strength, endurance and flexibility, as well as improving your overall health.

Exercise Benefits for the Elderly

If you're tempted to skip exercising simply because you are elderly, you may want to rethink this notion. According to the National Institutes of Health, regular exercise is very important to older people: In fact, an inactive lifestyle is the very reason many elderly people lose the ability to do things on their own. And, according to the U.S. Surgeon General's Report on Physical Activity and Health, you are twice as likely to develop heart disease if you are inactive.

Upper Extremity Exercises

Exercising your upper extremities does not require expensive or specialized equipment. It can easily be done with common household items if you do not belong to a gym or own exercise equipment. Using cans of soup or bottles of water, you can do seated bicep curls. By squeezing a tennis ball, you can strengthen your grip. You can also use resistance bands, which are very inexpensive, to strengthen several arm muscles, including your biceps, triceps and forearm.

Lower Extremity Exercises

The benefits of lower body strength is that it can improve your balance, which can in turn protect you from falls. According to the NIH's National Institute on Aging, even muscle gains that you cannot necessarily see can be of great benefit. Many exercises to promote lower body strength can be done with a chair, the institute says. Exercises with a chair include back leg raises, side leg raises and the chair stand. The chair stand is just what it sounds like. Repeatedly standing from a seated position can strengthen your thighs and abdomen, but should not be done by those with back problems.

Precautions

A few precautions can help prevent injuries. According to FamilyDoctor.org, it is important to begin slowly if you are not already active. This not only can prevent injury, but also can prevent soreness, which can be a deterrent to sticking with an exercise program. Walking is a great exercise to begin with, because you can start slowly and gradually increase your speed and intensity, adding upper and lower body exercises as you gain strength and endurance. As always, consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.



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