The involuntary loss of muscle mass, function, and strength occurs naturally as we age, and can significantly affect the independence and lifestyle of you or your loved ones. On the bright side, there are ways to counter this age-associated muscle decline.
Shoulder exercises, otherwise known as upper body strength training, offer numerous health benefits and lasting payoff to keep the elderly active and independent. By building up the upper back, arm, and shoulder strength, you or your loved ones will perform daily living with greater ease.
Exercises that help to strengthen our shoulders have a positive impact on the fiber arrangement, neural control, muscle size, and length. They will also promote bone mineralization, stabilize supporting muscles and halt osteoporosis. In some cases, regular shoulder exercises can actually reverse aging muscle loss and deterioration. Here are the 5 best shoulder exercises to incorporate in you or your loved one’s workout routine!
This elbow exercise works on strengthening the bicep muscles, which are essential for many of you or your loved ones’ daily activities. Having strong elbow flexors makes simple quests like lifting a laundry basket, picking up the groceries bag, or even carrying your precious grandchild easier.
First, hold the weights on each side with your palms inwards. Take a deep breath, and exhale as you gradually lift the weights toward your shoulders while you turn your palms up. Lower your arm into the starting position while inhaling. Perform 10 repetitions.
Diagonal Outward Shoulder Raise
Diagonal outward shoulder raise enforce the shoulder, back, and upper arms muscles while toning the arms. Besides the excellent stretch it offers, the elderly love this exercise for improved shoulder mobility and the ability to reach overhead.
To perform this exercise, sit or stand upright with a suitable weight in one hand. Bring the weight over your opposite hip with your palm facing inwards. Next, lift your fully extended arm up slowly and across your body to the side. Your palm should be outward-facing at the end of the motion. Return to the start position and do 10 repetitions. Repeat the same for the other hand.
This exercise strengthens and improves the mobility of the shoulder blades. Shoulder rolls target the scapula which boosts you or your loved one’s ability to lift heavier things.
In a comfortable standing or sitting position, place feet apart to shoulder width with weights in hands. While keeping your elbows fully extended, inhale and raise your shoulders towards the ears as high as you can. Now exhale and pull your shoulders back and down. Repeat 20 times.
Overhead Elbow Extension
This arm workout strengthens the elderly’s upper arms and shoulder which is important for reaching high above shoulders.
To start, raise your weight-bearing arm overhead. Breathe in and bend your elbow steadily towards the back of your head. Then straighten your arm back to the starting position as you breathe out. Carry out 10 times for each arm. Be sure to start with lighter weights and sit on a chair with sufficient back support. If necessary, hold the elbow of the exercising arm for additional support.
This arm exercise refines the triceps, the essential muscle for extending your arm. Triceps kickback tones and strengthens the arms, making it easier for you or your loved one to stand up from a chair and reach out to something high.
Standing up with the weight in your hand, lean over and hold on to a chair with the other hand. If you prefer to do this workout seated, lean over your knee instead. Keep your arms straight and exhale while you lift your weight-bearing arm at a slow speed, as far back as you can manage. Breathe in as you bring your arm back to your side. Do 10 repetitions for each arm.
For some elderly, mustering the motivation to try out these beneficial exercises might not be easy. Some may find it challenging or boring to work out alone. In some senior living communities, there are age-oriented fitness programs where you or your loved ones are guided and motivated constantly to stay active. Alternatively, you might find fitness classes around your neighborhood too.