These series of exercises, when practiced regularly, will increase your strength, balance, flexibility and posture. The result will be greater energy, reduced risk of falls and increased ease of movement. No equipment needed!
Strength: Perform all exercises 8 to 16 times, depending upon ability.
Twist: Sit up straight in a chair, stomach muscles tight. Bring your hands to the side of your head. As you lift one knee, twist in the direction of the lifted knee. For greater challenge, sit on the edge of the chair and lean back.
Chin Tucks: Sit or stand upright and look straight ahead. Place a finger on the chin. Without moving the finger, pull the chin and head straight back until a good stretch is felt at the base of the head and top of the neck. (There should now be some separation between the chin and finger.) Hold for 5 seconds if possible. Bring the chin forward again to the finger.
Scapula retraction: Standing or sitting tall with ears above shoulders, squeeze your shoulder blades toward each other and move them downward, pause, then release.
Sit Stands: Sit up straight in a chair, feet flat on the floor, arms crossed over chest. Stand all the way up, then sit back down slowly.
Heel/Toe Raises: Standing behind or next to a stable piece of furniture, roll up onto your toes, then back on your heels.
Balance: Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
Tandem stand: Standing behind or next to a stable piece of furniture, bring the heel of one foot directly in front of the toes of the other. Imagine a string attached to your belly button pulling you forward until your weight is evenly distributed over both legs.
Variation: Perform above exercise with eyes closed.
Variation: Walk forward in a straight line for four to six steps, then walk backwards.
One-legged stand: Shift your weight to your right foot. Bring the toes of your left foot back so that most of your weight is resting on the right foot and you are balancing on that foot. Repeat on the other side.
Variation: Lift your left foot off the floor and balance entirely on one foot.
Variation: Perform the above exercise with eyes closed.
Flexibility: Hold each stretch for 30 seconds, repeat
Hamstring and calf stretch: Sit on the edge of a chair and extend one leg. Flex the foot, pointing your toes toward your shin and pressing through the heel of your foot. Bending at your hip flexors and keeping the back straight, bend as far forward as you can while maintaining a straight leg.
Hip flexors and thigh stretch: Sit sideways on a chair, turning to your left, and bring your right foot back, toes down. Sit up straight. Hold, then repeat to other side.
Chest stretch: Bring your hands behind you, clasp them at the small of your back, and roll your shoulders back.
The following are dynamic stretches. Move through each movement five times.
Cat Cow Stretch: Sitting in a chair, place your hands on the tops of your thighs. On an inhale, arch your spine and roll your shoulders down and back, drawing your shoulder blades back (cow position). On an exhale, round your spine and drop your chin to your chest, letting the shoulder and head come forward (cat position).
Neck Stretches: These are all performed sitting up straight, shoulders relaxed.
Head tilt- Slowly tilt your head toward your right shoulder while keeping your left shoulder down. Hold for 5 seconds, then return your head to center. Repeat on the left side.
Neck rotation - Slowly turn your head to the right, keeping your chin straight.Hold for 5 seconds, then return to center. Repeat to the left side.
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