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benefits of a home exercise program

Why Should I Do My Home Exercise Program?

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benefits of a home exercise program

When a patient walks in for physical therapy, one of the things they are sent home with is a home exercise program. But why do they do that? Aren’t they supposed to take care of everything while you are in the clinic?  These are questions that may run through your head, but what exactly are the benefits of a home exercise program? If you’re on the fence of whether or not to take your HEP seriously, we’re here to tell you why you should.

  • Continuation of forwarding progression in rehabilitation: Physical and occupational therapists tailor each program to the abilities and strengths of each patient. A patient that completes their home exercise program is more likely to excel in the one-on-one sessions at the clinic and experience fewer setbacks in rehabilitation.
  • Increases level of mobility and endurance: Exercise in the home is designed to continue the progress of the clinic visit by increasing a patient’s flexibility and stamina. A good home exercise program allows a patient to increase function and improve muscle memory so that progress is gained rather than lost from one visit to another.
  • For some patients, therapy doesn’t end at discharge: A home exercise program can help a patient remain pain-free and functional without having to pay for repeat visits and costly medical bills. For patients experiencing chronic pain – a home exercise program is a ticket to staying out of the doctor’s office.

Despite the benefits of a home exercise program, patients have trouble following through on their home exercise program goals. We’re going to go over some of the more common excuses:

  • I don’t have time, because life at home is too busy: It can be hard, especially for those running a household with multiple schedules to accommodate. However, a physical therapist can offer suggestions on working these into your schedule. Some exercises can be done at work, at home, on the playground. If time is truly a concern than don’t be afraid to let the therapist know.
  • It hurts: Some pain is considered normal – it’s a normal part of exercise. However, if you are doing an exercise and something feels wrong, let your physical therapist know immediately. Don’t wait until your next appointment and tell yourself you will take care of it then. It could be something as simple as not doing the exercise correctly and they can talk you through it over the phone. Communication is a large part of rehabilitation and your therapist wants to know if something is causing concern.
  • Not motivated: Not seeing the point of the exercises your therapist gave you – ask them why it is so beneficial. Going to see a physical therapist 2-3 times a week alone without doing home exercises will not be enough to maintain muscle strength and flexibility. Healthy habits begin with persistence. If you need motivation talk to your therapist, they are born motivators and want nothing more than to watch you succeed. Enlist the help of family or friends to keep asking about your progress.

Physical therapists may utilize print copies of exercises or they may choose to go utilize a digital version that you can access from a mobile device. No matter the delivery, the goal for each is the same. To help you heal more effectively. If you have questions about your home exercise program and what it contributes to your recovery talk to your physical therapist. Education and understanding are crucial to making sure your experience in recovery is successful. If you need help finding a physical therapist to answer your questions, we have you covered in our “Find a PT” section.

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Protect Seniors from Winter Injuries

5 Ways to Protect Seniors from Winter Injuries

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Protect Seniors from Winter Injuries

While winter is undoubtedly a time of joy – with the holidays and all the Christmas spirit – it is also a time of harsh weather, dark nights, and worsened moods.
Seniors can often feel winter more strongly than younger people do, as the weather conditions can limit their access to shops, family, and even doctors. It’s typically a time when they’re cooped up at home, afraid of harsh conditions and potential injuries, which doesn’t make for an enjoyable experience.

Here are 5 ways to help you protect the seniors in your life from winter injuries.

Bundle up

As we get older, we tend to lose body heat much more quickly, and we can even be unaware of how cold we actually are. This can lead to colds, pneumonia, or even hypothermia, which, in turn, can also lead to heart problems, kidney problems, or even death.

To prevent this, seniors need to dress in layers and stay as warm as possible. Remind them of the importance of wearing layers and make sure they have plenty of winter gear at the ready.

Stay active

On the other hand, the cold weather and snowfall will often mean seniors are stuck in the home for long periods of time, which will have a detrimental effect on their mood and wellbeing. This makes staying healthy in the wintertime that much more of a challenge.

Moving around is crucial, especially as we get older, as is keeping our moods up and eating healthy food. Try to encourage your seniors to do what they can – exercise at home, focus on the positive aspects of winter and the bad weather, and take it as a time to recharge rather than a limiting factor.

Help them move around as much as you can by taking them out, bringing them healthy foods, and encouraging them to stay active in the house as well.

Stock up on the necessities

Stock up their cabinets with food that can last for longer periods of time (for example, canned and frozen foods) well in advance, so that you won’t have to worry in case bad weather comes along and prevents you from getting to them. Also, make sure they have plenty of drinking water, and that their medicine cabinet is stocked up not only with their prescriptions but also with anything else they might need in an emergency.

Ask their neighbors to include them in their weekly shops for the things you can’t reasonably store, like bread, fresh veggies, and fruits. That way, they won’t have to leave the house and risk falling on the ice.

Talk to them about the weather

If there’s a severe storm coming, expected to affect either them or yourself, talk to them about it and help them understand what they can and can’t reasonably do. If you expect to be cut off from them for a while, help them understand it’s due to the weather, and that there is nothing you can do about it.

Have a communications system set up in case the power or phone lines are cut off. Once again, enlist the neighbors to check in on them, just to make sure they are okay and have everything they need.

Prevent falls and potential hip fractures

Broken hips are a common injury in seniors, and they can lead to serious health complications.

To prevent them, make sure they don’t venture outside before the ice and snow have been cleared up from their preferred paths. If they are going outside, try to encourage them to have an emergency kit with them, with a bottle of water, a whistle, a flashlight, and their most urgent medications. Of course, they should also have a cellphone on them, but in case they are not quite sure how to use it, a whistle can draw the attention of passersby.

You can also install a medical alert system in the home, or have them wear an emergency bracelet that they can use to call for help if a fall does occur.

Final words

Preventing an injury or illness is often better than actually treating it. By using the above ways to help protect the seniors from winter injuries, we hope this winter will be full of fun with as little stress and worry as possible.  If you do find yourself in need of a physical therapy team that can help a loved one recover from injury, please reach out to one of our partnering locations and let us help you get your 2020 back on track.

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exercise tips

Exercise Tips to Get You Moving

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exercise tips

Becoming physically active requires a conscious effort for most adults. Develop an exercise program to fit your individual goals. Be sure to consider ways to increase your activity levels throughout the day. Every little bit helps! If you find it too challenging to fit 30 minutes of activity into your day, break it up into 10 to 15-minute intervals and accumulate your activity throughout the day.

Exercise Tips to Activate your lifestyle.

Challenge yourself to move more! Find ways to become more active in your daily living. For example, you can:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
  • Take a 10-minute stretch or walk break at work.
  • Turn on the music and vacuum.
  • Wash your own car – and your neighbor’s too.
  • Do strength-training exercises in front of the TV
  • Park in the furthest parking space and walk.

Make Fitness fun!

The secret to a successful fitness program is enjoyment! Choose physical activities that you enjoy doing. This could mean walking, playing tennis, biking or joining a team sport.

  • Consider trying something different, such as yoga or kickboxing.
  • Coach a youth sports team – your rewards will be many.
  • Enter a race – it will motivate you.
  • Plant a garden and share its beauty and bounty.
  • Make Sunday walks or hikes a weekly tradition.
  • Set up a morning walking or biking club; exercise buddies can help you be honest.

Anticipate the unexpected.

Lousy weather, travel (both business and pleasure) and the ups and downs of daily life can play havoc with your best-laid fitness plan. Always have a backup plan. If it is raining have an indoor activity to do, If you are taking a trip, throw in your walking shoes or a jump rope and fit in exercise when you can.

In addition to being stronger and more fit, aerobic exercise has so many health benefits. If you need help getting started or need some motivation to contact your physical therapist. They can work with you to create an exercise plan that works for you and your ability levels. You are never too old to be more active!

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PT News PTandMe

PT News December 2019

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PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout December 2019. We are excited to begin a new year of new posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

nutrition strategies

1. Effective Nutrition Strategies

Written by The Center for Physical Rehabilitation with multiple locations throughout greater Grand Rapids, MI.

How do you stay on target with eating healthy and being active? Between work schedules, kid’s schedules, appointments, and change of plans, finding time to exercise and eat right can sometimes feel impossible. Read more

 

crossfit

2. Is Crossfit Right For You?

Written by Riverview Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy practice with multiple locations in Southern Maine. 

CrossFit is no longer a form of exercise performed in small gyms; it is a phenomenon that has taken the world by storm. At its roots, CrossFit is a popular form of exercise utilizing high-intensity fitness programming that incorporates elements from many disciplines: including weightlifting, traditional cardiovascular exercise (running, jumping rope, biking, rowing), and basic gymnastic movements. Read more

 

lymphedema physical therapy

3. Lymphedema Therapy – You Don’t Have to Live with Chronic Swelling

Written by Mishock Physical Therapy & Associates an outpatient physical therapy practice with locations throughout Montgomery, Berks, and Chester Counties in PA.

One cause of chronic swelling could be lymphedema. This is a condition where swelling occurs in the extremities due to a compromised or damaged lymph system. Lymph is the fluid that bathes the cells with needed nutrients, oxygen, and white blood cells provided by the circulatory system.   Read more

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

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concussion in youth hockey

How to Handle a Concussion in Youth Hockey

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concussion in youth hockey

Youth hockey is very much a contact sport so it’s no surprise that concussion is a particular problem that arises quite regularly. It’s a real concern though because while concussion can be quite a mild injury, it can also be serious but it’s difficult to detect the severity of it without medical intervention. The problem arises, especially in youth hockey circles when players don’t report their concussion injury specifically for fear they will lose out on the remainder of a game or any future games. Of course, that is incredibly naïve, but you’re dealing with young people who aren’t mature enough to understand the complexities and possible dangers of the injury.

In youth hockey, the players are exuberant and excited about every moment they get on the ice. If they receive a blow to the head, generally their aim is to bounce back as quickly as possible. However, a concussion in youth hockey can be debilitating and crucially, it requires firstly medical attention and then it requires a huge degree of rest in order to help the recovery. The victim also should be monitored at the early stages by a parent. Education is required also by coaches to make players understand how to avoid or prevent concussion through their skills in the game.

The guys at Tucker Hockey have created this comprehensive infographic below that covers everything you need to know about concussion specific to youth hockey, although the elements are transferable to youth players in any sport. It explains some interesting concussion-related statistics; it outlines the symptoms of a concussion; it details how players, coaches, and parents should react to an instance of concussion and it also looks at recovery from the injury plus lots more. Check out the full graphic below!

Concussion in Youth Hockey

 

If a child experiences a concussion and struggles with recovery, physical therapy can help. Physical therapists that have return-to-play programs are able to guide patients through a stepwise protocol. This helps athletes remain symptom-free and to prevent serious conditions associated with a second head injury due to early return to sport.

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manage movement after a hip or knee replacement

How to Manage Movement after a Total Hip or Knee Replacement

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manage movement after a hip or knee replacement

 

After going through total replacement surgery, it can be difficult to move around. Shortly after discharge, but before outpatient physical therapy begins, most patients will be seen by a home health nurse or physical therapist. Their visits with you will focus on making sure the wound heals properly and that you are able to perform essential functions around the home. This can include bathing, getting in and out of bed, and even walking up and down the stairs. In this upcoming series of blog posts, we will be showing you how to safely manage movement after a hip or knee replacement. We would like to begin by preparing your home before you go into surgery. We call it our pre-op prep!

Simple things you can do to make your home safer and more comfortable as you heal from a joint replacement. 

  • Keep a cordless phone near you or carry your cell phone in your pocket.
  • Move furniture to keep a clear wide path to your kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom.
  • Remove throw rugs that may cause you to slip or trip. Tape down any loose edges of large area rugs that cannot be removed. Make sure extension cords are out of traffic areas or tape them down if needed.
  • Wear rubber-soled shoes to prevent slipping.
  • Keep commonly used items in your home at waist level within easy reach. This will prevent you from bending over to reach items. Use a reacher to grab objects and avoid excessive bending at the hip.
  • Make sure there is adequate lighting in the house. Add night lights in hallways, bedrooms, and bathrooms.
  • It may be helpful to have a temporary living space on the same floor if your bedroom/bathroom is located on the second floor of your home. Walking up/downstairs will be more difficult immediately following surgery and could increase your risk of falls.
  • Arrange for someone to collect your mail and take care of pets or loved ones if necessary.
  • Prepare frozen meals in advance to assist you with cooking.
  • Stock up on groceries, toiletries, and any medications you might need.
  • Purchase a shower chair or a tub bench will make bathing much easier. Do not take soak baths until your physician allows you to do so.
  • Install an elevated toilet seat. This will be helpful with toilet transfers and with following post-surgical precautions or guidelines.
  • Purchase assistive devices for dressing such as a reacher, extended shoehorn and/or sock aid may be necessary during your post-operative recovery.

After surgery, your health care provider will show you how to use a walker. Use your walker for as long as directed by your surgeon. This is important since the walker relieves some of the weight off of the leg and can protect it, even when just taking a few short steps.

Steps to take while using your walker on a level surface

  1. Advance the walker
  2. Step up to the walker with your surgical leg
  3. Next, step forward with your nonsurgical leg
  4. Make sure all four legs of the walker are in firm contact with the floor or ground.

using a walker on a level surface

How to use your walker while going upstairs

  • Place your walker sideways with the opening toward you.
  • Firmly grasp the stair rail with one hand and the walker with your other hand.
  • The walker’s legs should be against the stair riser with all four legs in contact with the stairs. (2 legs on the top step, 2 legs on the lower step)
  • Step up with your nonsurgical leg.
  • Follow with your surgical leg to the same step.

how to go upstairs with a walker

How to use your walker while going downstairs

  • Place your walker sideways with the opening toward you.
  • Firmly grasp the stair rail with one hand and the walker with your other hand.
  • The walker’s legs should be against the stair riser with all four legs in contact with the stairs. (2 legs on the top step, 2 legs on the lower step)
  • Step down with your surgical leg. Follow with your nonsurgical leg to the same step.

how to use a walked going downstairs

The tips above will work in most cases, but not all. It is important to follow the advice and restrictions given to you by your health care provider. In our next post about how to safely manage movement after a hip or knee replacement, we will be covering the proper steps for getting in and out of chairs and the bed. We wish you all the best in recovery. If you are looking for an outpatient physical therapy clinic please stop by the Find a PT page.

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cold weather exercise tips

Cold Weather Exercise Tips: Running Safety

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Cold temperatures and decreasing daylight hours do not mean that your outdoor running routine has to go into hibernation for the winter. Running through the cold weather can ease the winter doldrums, improve your energy level and help you to be in better shape for the spring/summer. However, it is important to follow our PTandMe cold-weather exercise tips to run safely and comfortably through wintry weather.

  • Pay attention to temperature and wind chill: If the temperature drops below zero F or the wind chill is below -20F, you should hit the treadmill.
  • Protect your hands and feet: It is estimated that as much as 30% of your body heat escapes through your hands and feet.
  • Dress in layers: It is important to start with a thin layer of synthetic material such as polypropylene, which wicks sweat away from your body. stay away from cotton as a base layer as it holds moisture and will keep you wet. If it is really cold out, you will need a middle layer, such as polar fleece for added insulation.
  • Avoid overdressing: You should feel a slight chill off your body the first 5 minutes of winter running; after that, you should warm-up.
  • Protect your head: It is estimated that 40% of body heat is lost through your head. Wearing a hat that will help prevent heat loss is very important.
  • Do not stay in wet clothes: If you get wet from rain, snow or even from sweat in chilly temperatures, you are at risk for hypothermia. It is important that you change wet clothing immediately and get to warm shelter as quickly as possible.
  • Stay hydrated: Despite the cool weather, you will still heat up and loos fluids through sweat. The cool air also has a drying effect, which can increase the risk of dehydration. Make sure you drink water or sports drinks before, during and after you run.
  • Remember sunscreen: Sunburn is still possible in the winter. It is also important to protect your lips with lip balm.
  • Take it easy when it is frigid: The colder the temperature becomes, the greater your risk for a pulled muscle when running in the cold, so warm up slowly and run easy on very cold days.
  • Run in the wind: If at all possible, head out into the wind, so that on your return run, the wind will be at your back when you are sweaty and could catch a chill.

Looking for help with a nagging injury? Find a physical therapist near you.

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For more cold-weather exercise tips to keep you safe this winter check out the articles below!

Staying Warm in Winter PTandMe  Winter Safety PTandMe  Snow Shoveling Safety PTandMe

PT News PTandMe

PT News November 2019

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PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout November 2019. We are excited to begin a new year of new posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

low back pain

1. Low Back Pain – A Powerful Guide

Written by Wright Physical Therapy with multiple locations throughout the heart of the Magic Valley, Boise and Eastern Idaho.

Daily, we see patients who are concerned about the course they should take to heal their back pain.  Our aim with these individuals is to utilize a skilled classification system and evidence-based treatments to aid in identification and treatment of Low Back Pain (LBP). Read more

 

Snow Shoveling

2. Prevent Low Back Pain While Shoveling Snow

Written by Rehab Associates of Central Virginia, an outpatient physical therapy practice with multiple locations throughout Central VA. 

As I was shoveling the snow off my driveway this week, I quickly realized that I needed to adjust my technique or I was going to pay for it later. Injury can result from repetitive movements with a general lack of awareness and variability in movement and may be prevented with some easy steps. Read more

 

physical therapy

3. Relieving Your Pain the Natural Way – Physical Therapy as the Safer Relief Alternative

Written by Cornerstone Physical Therapy an outpatient physical therapy practice with locations throughout Greater Columbus, OH.

It is no secret that the United States is a country with very high levels of medication. It is also a common practice for physicians to prescribe heavier pain relievers, such as the opioids that have resulted in a country-wide epidemic. While the effects of these drugs can be frightening, there is a safer solution available: physical therapy.  Read more

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

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raking injury prevention tips

Raking injury prevention tips

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raking injury prevention tips

It’s Fall again! time for hot chocolate, bonfires and to watch the leaves turn. Our homes are cozier this time of year as we prepare for holidays and the arrival of loved ones. However, autumn does come with some challenges. I know you might be making a list and checking it twice but holiday shopping is not the only challenge to be found this season. One of the biggest challenges is yard work because when those leaves fall its time to rake them. On the plus side  yard work such as raking leaves count as moderate exercise! Now some not so good news: it is actually very easy to injure yourself if you are using improper techniques. The colder weather already puts you at risk for muscle pain- muscles constrict in cold weather and are more prone to cramps and strain. Add to that all of the twisting, turning, bending, pulling, pushing, and reaching of raking. And since these are seasonal activities, you are probably using muscles that may not be a limber as expected. All of these factors can contribute to injury. Common injuries include upper and/or lower back strain, neck pain, and shoulder pain.

Here are some tips to prevent injury when raking leaves and other yard work:

81747172 (1)

General Tips:

  • Do stretching exercises before and throughout the course of your yard work
  • Stand as straight as possible
  • Bend at the knees, not the waist, when you pick up things
  • Look into purchasing ergonomic tools. An ergonomic tool is one that has been engineered in such a way that it helps protect you from injury
  • Avoid repetitive twisting and turning
  • Take breaks. This will allow your muscles rest and will minimize strain.

Raking Tips:

  • When raking leaves, use a “scissors stance.” Right foot forward and left foot back for a few minutes, then switch
  • Hold rake handle close to your body and stand up straight
  • Change sides frequently to avoiding overusing one side of your body, but avoid twisting when you pass the rake from one side to the other
  • When leaves are under the rake, pull them straight back towards your body

If you experience a winter injury from raking, fall sports, doing day-to-day activities, etc. please don’t hesitate to find a physical therapist. They will be able to take a look at the injury and determine whether or not physical therapy may be the best choice moving forward. With direct access to physical therapy, you have more control than ever before when it comes to your care.

 Find a physical therapist near you!

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strength training physical therapy

Strength Training: You’re Not Too Old!

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strength training physical therapy

If you think you are “too old” to do strength training exercises, think again! With proper guidance and support, you can benefit from a program of regular strength-training exercises.

Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle and strength often seen in older adults. Although many questions remain about muscle loss and aging, one thing is certain: strength-training exercises can help reduce these effects. Even small changes in muscle size can make a big difference in strength, especially in people who have already lost a lot of muscle.

BENEFITS

According to the North American Spine Society, strength training can provide the following benefits in older adults:

  • Better balance and, consequently, reduced risk of falls
  • Quicker responses, which may also play a role in preventing falls
  • Reduced risk of osteoporosis (weakening of the bones)
  • Improved quality of life
  • Improved mental alertness

EXAMPLES OF STRENGTH-TRAINING EXERCISES

You can increase your strength by regularly using any of the following:

  • Weights
  • Strength-training equipment
  • A resistance band

 

HOW MUCH AND HOW OFTEN?

The National Institute on Aging recommends the following tips on how much and how often you should do strength-training exercises:

  • Exercise all of your major muscle groups at least twice a week.
  • Do not do strength exercises of the same muscle group 2 days in a row.
  • Depending on your condition, you might need to start out using as little as 1 or 2 pounds of weight, or no weight at all.
  • Use a minimum of weight the first week, then gradually add weight. Starting out with weights that are too heavy can cause injuries.
  • When doing a strength exercise, do 10-15 repetitions in a row.
  • Take 3 seconds to lift or push a weight into place; hold the position for 1 second, and take another 3 seconds to lower the weight. Do not let the weight drop; lowering it slowly is important.
  • Gradually increase the amount of weight to benefit from strength exercises. When you can do 2 sets of 10-15 repetitions, then you can increase the amount of weight on your next session.
  • It should feel somewhere between hard and very hard for you to lift or push the weight. If you cannot lift or push a weight 8 times in a row, then it is too heavy for you. Reduce the amount of weight. If you can lift a weight more than 15 times in a row, it is too light for you. Increase the amount of weight. Do not increase more than 5% for all upper body and 10% for lower body exercises.

 

SAFETY TIPS

  • Talk to your doctor or a physical therapist before engaging in a new exercise program.
  • Breathe normally while exercising. Holding your breath (known as Valsalva maneuver) while straining can cause your blood pressure to go up. This is especially true for people with cardiovascular disease.
  • If you have had a hip repair or replacement, check with your surgeon before doing lower body exercises.
  • Avoid jerking or thrusting weights into position. This can cause injuries. Use smooth, steady movements.
  • Avoid locking the joints in your arms and legs in a straightened position.
  • Breathe out as you lift or push, and breathe in as you relax.
  • Muscle soreness lasting up to a few days and slight fatigue are normal after muscle-building exercises, but exhaustion, sore joints, and unpleasant muscle pulling are not. The latter symptoms may mean you are overdoing it.
  • None of the exercises you do should cause pain. The range within which you move your arms and legs should never hurt.

 

Looking for a physical therapist to help start your strengthening program?

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BUILD THAT BRAWN!

Strength exercises can help increase your strength when performed on a regular basis. Here are some examples from the National Institute of Aging:

Wrist Curl
This exercise strengthens the wrists.

  • Put your forearm on the arm of a chair. Your hand should be over the edge.
  • Hold the weight with your palm facing upward.
  • Bend your wrist up and down.
  • Do this 10-15 times.
  • Repeat with the other hand.
  • Do this 10-15 more times with each hand.

Side Arm Raise
This exercise strengthens shoulder muscles.

  • Sit in an armless chair with your back supported by the back of chair.
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor and even with your shoulders.
  • Hold hand weights straight down at your sides, with palms facing inward.
  • Raise both arms to your side, shoulder height.
  • Hold the position for one second.
  • Slowly lower your arms to your sides. Pause.
  • Repeat 10-15 times.
  • Rest; then do another set of 10-15 repetitions.

Chair Stand
This exercise strengthens muscles in your abdomen and thighs. Your goal is to do this exercise without using your hands as you become stronger.

  • Sit toward the front of a chair, knees bent, feet flat on the floor.
  • Cross your hands over your chest and lean back in a half-reclining position. Keep your back and shoulders straight throughout the exercise.
  • Raise your upper body forward until you are sitting upright, using your hands as little as possible (or not at all, if you can).
  • Extend your arms outward so they are parallel to the floor. Slowly stand up, using your hands as little as possible.
  • Slowly sit back down. Pause.
  • Repeat 10-15 times.
  • Rest; then do another set of 10-15 repetitions.

Arm Curl
This exercise strengthens upper-arm muscles.

  • Stand with your feet even with your shoulders.
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor and even with your shoulders.
  • Hold your hand weights straight down at your sides, with palms facing forward.
  • Slowly bend one elbow, lifting weight toward your chest. (Rotate your palm to face your shoulder while lifting the weight.)
  • Hold this position for one second.
  • Slowly lower your arm to the starting position. Pause.
  • Repeat with the other arm.
  • Alternate arms until you have done 10-15 repetitions with each arm.
  • Rest; then do another set of 10-15 alternating repetitions.

Toe Stand
The heel raise strengthens ankle and calf muscles. You can use ankle weights for this exercise if you are able.

  • Stand straight, feet flat on the floor, holding onto a table or chair for balance.
  • Slowly stand on tiptoe, as high as possible.
  • Hold the position for 1 second.
  • Slowly lower your heels all the way back down. Pause.
  • Do the exercise 10-15 times.
  • Rest; then do another set of 10-15 repetitions.
  • Variation: As you become stronger, do the exercise standing on 1 leg only, alternating legs for a total of 10-15 times on each leg. Rest; then do another set of 10-15 alternating repetitions.

Knee Curl
Strengthens muscles in the back of the thigh. You can use ankle weights for this exercise if you are able.

  • Stand straight holding onto a table or chair for balance.
  • Slowly bend your knee as far as possible. Don’t move your upper leg at all; bend your knee only.
  • Hold this position for 1 second.
  • Slowly lower your foot all the way back down. Pause.
  • Repeat with your other leg.
  • Alternate legs until you have done 10-15 repetitions with each leg.
  • Rest; then do another set of 10-15 alternating repetitions.

Front Arm Raise
Strengthens shoulder muscles.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Hold hand weights straight down at your sides, with palms facing backward.
  • Raise both arms in front of you to shoulder height. Do not turn your wrist.
  • Hold this position for 1 second.
  • Slowly lower your arms. Pause.
  • Repeat 10-15 times.
  • Rest; then do another set of 10-15 repetitions.

Leg Straightening
Strengthens muscles in front of the thigh and shin. You can use ankle weights for this exercise if you are able.

  • Sit in a chair. Only the balls of your feet and your toes should rest on the floor. Put a rolled towel under your knees, if needed, to lift your feet. Rest your hands on your thighs or on the sides of the chair.
  • Slowly extend 1 leg in front of you as straight as possible.
  • Flex your foot to point toes toward the head.
  • Hold this position for 1–2 seconds.
  • Slowly lower your leg back down. Pause.
  • Repeat with your other leg.
  • Alternate legs until you have done 10-15 repetitions with each leg.
  • Rest; then do another set of 10-15 alternating repetitions.

Back Leg Raise
Hip extension strengthens buttock and lower-back muscles. You can use ankle weights for this exercise if you are able.

  • Stand 12-18 inches from a table or chair, feet slightly apart.
  • Hold onto a table or chair for balance.
  • Slowly lift one leg straight backwards without bending your knee, pointing your toes, or bending your upper body any farther forward.
  • Hold this position for 1 second.
  • Slowly lower your leg. Pause.
  • Repeat with your other leg.
  • Alternate legs until you have done 10-15 repetitions with each leg.
  • Rest; then do another set of 10-15 alternating repetitions.

Side Leg Raise
This strengthens muscles at the sides of your hips and thighs. Use ankle weights, if you are ready.

  • Stand straight, directly behind a table or chair, feet slightly apart.
  • Hold onto a table or chair for balance.
  • Slowly lift 1 leg 6-12 inches out to the side. Keep your back and both legs straight. Don’t point your toes outward; keep them facing forward.
  • Hold this position for 1 second.
  • Slowly lower your leg. Pause.
  • Repeat with the other leg.
  • Alternate legs until you have done 10-15 repetitions with each leg.
  • Rest; then do another set of 10-15 alternating repetitions.

This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

RESOURCES:

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
http://www.familydoctor.org

National Institute on Aging
http://www.nia.nih.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

The College of Family Physicians of Canada
http://www.cfpc.ca

Public Health Agency of Canada
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

REFERENCES:

Exercise & Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide from the National Institute on Aging. National Institute on Aging website. Available at: http://www.nia.nih.gov/sites/default/files/exercise_guide.pdf. Published January 2009. Accessed January 2, 2015.

Strength training for the elderly. North American Spine Society Know Your Back website. Available at: http://www.knowyourback.org/Pages/BackPainPrevention/Exercise/StrengthTrainingElderly.aspx. Accessed January 2, 2015.

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