Functional strength is essential at any age. It allows us to perform everyday tasks, improves posture, balance and strengthens our bones and joints. Senior citizens and folks with joint problems or low endurance often find it difficult to participate in strenuous exercise. Unfortunately physical inactivity can lead to muscular atrophy, and increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and weight gain.
So today I'm going to demonstrate some basic strength training exercises that you can do from the convenience of your own home. Although these exercises aren't very strenuous, please consult your physician before starting any new fitness or nutrition program.
Body Weight Squat
Body weight squats are a very effective compound exercise. Compound exercises require cooperation between many different muscle groups, thereby accelerating muscular strength beyond what would be expected if each muscle group worked independently. Squats strengthen the muscles in your glutes, legs and back making them excellent for developing lower body strength.
Stand up straight. Now extend both arms in front of you, palms down. Now bend your knees as if you were sitting in an imaginary chair. Hold that position for a moment then use your leg and glute muscles to push yourself back up again. You've just completed a body weight squat. Do this for a total of five repetitions, take a short break then squat five more times. Work at your own pace, you're not in a contest with anyone but yourself.
Standing Calf Raise
Calf raises strengthen the muscles in your calves and ankles. Scientific evidence suggests that strong calf muscles can reduce the likelihood of tibial stress fractures, thus making the calf raise a very important bone strengthening exercise.
To begin, stand next to a chair with a high back. Place your hand on the back of the chair. Make sure that your feet are planted firmly on the floor. Now flex your ankles. This action will cause you to push yourself onto the tips of your toes. Hold for a moment then lower yourself back down again. Repeat the standing calf raise exercise five more times, take a moment to rest then do it for an additional six repetitions.
Wall Push Up Exercise
The wall push up or standing push up exercise is one of many different type of push up variations. The wall push up trains the chest, upper back, and arm muscles which comes in handy for enhancing your upper body strength.
Place both palms on a wall, make sure that your palms are at chest level. Keep both palms on the wall and take one step backward. By now your arms should be fully extended.
Now lean forward allowing your elbows to bend. Once your chest is in contact with the wall, use your chest muscles to push yourself back to your starting position. Repeat this exercise five more times, rest then go again.
And there you have it. A recent study showed that just fifteen minutes of exercise per day can extend your life and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. The three basic strength training exercises that I just demonstrated can easily become part of a fifteen minute low volume physical fitness program.
Take care of yourself and have fun.
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Phys Ed: How To Prevent Stress Fractures. NY Times. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/01/phys-ed-how-to-prevent-stress-fractures/#more-20415
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