I came across a good article addressing the ongoing movement to incorporate exercise with seniors as the preferred treatment for chronic pain. People in the rehab industries have been preaching this for years. I like to remind my senior population that “exercise is not optional” and this goes for everyone over the age of 5!
Our bodies are living, breathing organisms that require movement and activity. In simple terms, use it or lose it.
It is also important to remember that pain or chronic pain is not simply a function of age. I have patients who complain of chronic pain at 30 years old, and I have marathon runners who are 80. To a large extent, the level of chronic pain is determined b the person’s willingness to simply get up and move.
Here are the recommended exercises for seniors courtesy of Liz Neporent of AOL.
1. Wall Ball Slides
An excellent, no-impact way to strengthen the thighs, hips and buttocks. These crucial areas are susceptible to early atrophy and weakness due to prolonged sitting.
Another excellent movement to strengthen and lengthen the buttocks, hips and core. Especially good for people with knee problems who may have trouble getting into the squat position.
3. Trunk Curl-Ups
** This is the only exercise on this list that I highly recommend people avoid. The research is overwhelmingly opposed to this exercise as it puts tremendous stress on the lower spine. I have included a video of a more suitable exercise, one that can be easily modified based on ones ability. Click on side bridges to view the video. **
4. Water Aerobics
When it comes to cardiovascular exercise the common question I get is, “What is the best cardio exercise?” And my answer is always the same, “The best cardio exercise is the one that you are willing to do!” Water aerobics are fun and they reduce a tremendous amount of stress to the spine and knees. So if you are a fan of water aerobics, then they are the perfect cardio exercise for you.
5. Arm Curls
Can be done in the gym, or in a water aerobics class, but the use of resistance training for the upper arms is very important, especially in cases of arthritis and chronic pain of the upper body.
For more information regarding exercises for the senior population, feel free to email me at DrBooker@CapitolRehabofArlington.com and enter “Seniors” in the subject line.