As the weather warms up, no doubt you will start to do more outdoor activities! Some of the more popular activities that seniors like to participate in are sports such as golf and bowls, as well as gardening around the house. It is important that these activities continue to make sure you say active in both body and mind.
Movement around the spine is just as important as strength! The cat/camel stretch is a great movement which can be safely done to the floor (as seen below), to a chair or table, or to a wall, depending on your level of comfort.
- Place your hands flat on a surface and make sure to keep your back straight
- Contract your abdominal muscles (‘draw belly button to spine’) and arch your back away from the floor
- As you exhale, curve your back the opposite way – lower your belly and chest to the floor and lift your head
Weighted core rotations
Weighted rotations around the spine and trunk help strengthen the abdominal muscles, which will help with your golf swing. Core rotations are appropriate for all fitness abilities, as long as the bone density in your spine is not compromised.
- Sit on the edge of a chair or on the floor if you are comfortable
- Hold a weight in your hands – this can be a dumbbell, medicine ball or another weighted object from around the house
- Engage your abdominal muscles (‘draw belly button to spine’) and lean back slightly
- Remember to continue breathing and not hold your breath!
- Holding the weight in front of you, rotate slightly from side to side – you should feel this in your trunk muscles, particularly around the side (the obliques)
This can be challenged by sitting on a wobbly surface such as a piece of foam.
Resistance band single arm row
During the golf swing, force is transferred from the ground through the body to the top of the club. This means your stabilising chains should be strong, to make sure this force is transferred evenly.
- Attach a resistance band or towel to a door handle or railing
- Place your feet in split stance – if you have the band in your right hand, then your right leg will be slightly behind the left and vice versa
- Engage your shoulder blades and abdominal muscles, and pull the band back to your ribs, keeping your elbow close to your body
- Slowly return the band to starting position
For a challenge, try in a single leg stand or even a lunge hold!
Bowls require a lot of balance, coordination, and core/gluteal stability!
- Position yourself near a wall or chair for balance
- Ground one foot into the ground, as if you are leaving a footprint in the floor
- Step back with your other foot, reaching back far enough that the foot is up on its toes
- Keeping your front heel down to engage your glutes, drop your back knee down
- Push through the front heel to stand back up and return your foot back to its starting position
- Hold a dumbbell or household item, such as a full bottle of water or can from the pantry in your hand
- Keep your elbow tucked at your ribs and lift the weight up to your shoulder, bending at the elbow
- With control (no swinging!), lower the weight back down and repeat
Gardening is a fan-favourite hobby of many seniors. It requires a lot of strength and mobility!
Squat and pick up
- Place a heavier weight by your feet – a bag of rice, a heavy handbag, or a medicine ball/kettlebell if you have one
- Place your feet either side of the weight, in a slightly wide stance
- Bend at the knees and push your hips back, lowering yourself down to pick up the weight
- Engage your abdominals and lift the weight up
- Squat back down to the floor and replace the weight
For a challenge, you can press the weight away from your chest or pick up/carry the weight and walk a small distance with it! This makes the movement more realistic to your gardening activities.
Many of the above exercises, even though they have been listed under golf and bowls, can and should be used for gardening too!