Equipment-Free Types of Exercises for Senior Muscle Strengthening
While stress in any part of your life makes it harder for you to put it out there to be active, it is actually the exercise that can help at any age. It releases what it calls endorphins, the chemicals in the brain that help your body relax after expending all that energy. How do you keep active and build strength as you age? What if you don’t have time to go to a professional gym? Or you don’t have space for equipment or due to certain health reasons, machine use for fitness is not possible, what can you do? Muscle strengthening is not just for body builders or serious fitness enthusiasts and there are many customizable equipment free exercises seniors can try. Before trying these, warm up with your routine of choice to avoid any unnecessary strains.
The Five Equipment Free Exercises You Can Try
Got a chair? Try Chair Squats
Working out the lower body and core, it will help you struggle less with sitting down to
pick things up or standing from sitting positions.Stand with feet hip width apart with the chair behind you
While keeping back and chest upright with both arms stretched forward, push hips back and sit down on chair while only leaning forward slightly
Pause a bit and push with feet and flex gluteus muscles to stand back up
Roll those Shoulders and Wall Angels
Utilizing the chair once again or standing, two ways to exercise shoulders and triceps with a bit of core and legs.If sitting, rotate shoulders up to the ceiling and forward while taking your upper body with you and back when you roll shoulders down.
If standing, lean back flat against a wall with both feet shoulder width apart and one step from the wall and arms to your side. Lift your arms as high as you can over your head while remaining in contact with the wall without bending elbows or discomfort. Pause, then lower arms and repeat.
Walls for Wall Push Ups
For your arms and chest, this will improve your upper body muscle strengthAbout 2 feet from the wall or adjust a bit to comfort level. Lift arms to shoulder level and place both hands against the wall like you would in the classic push ups.
While keeping body straight, bend elbows to each side of your body to bring your chest to the wall while letting the back of your heels come off the floor
Pause and press with your hands to unbend elbows to go back to starting position
Lying Hip Bridges
For the more limber senior or wish to work the glute muscles to help loosen up after sitting down for hours in a day, this is for you.Lie on your back, knees bent with feet flat on the floor
Flatten lower back as much as you can to the floor and squeeze glutes and use your hips to push lift them up into the air
Utilize your pushing your foot into the ground, like pushing feet further into your shoe to anchor yourself
Slowly lower back down and repeat recommended number of reps according to a Medical Professional or Trainor
The Cat and Camel
Perfect for back pain, this exercise will help stretch the muscles on lower back to mid back while working on some pelvic areas.On a yoga mat or any prefered work out mat, get down on your hands and knees
Arch your back up like a cat and tuck your chin towards your chest while intaking a breath
Breathe out while returning back to the starting position. Repeat 10 times per number of sets as recommended by a Trainer or Medical Professional
Got a chair? Try Chair Squats
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Why HMB is important for senior muscle recovery?
When it comes to maintaining muscle health and strength, it is a fact that enough protein intake and exercise go hand in hand, especially in reversing the effects of aging and in times of recovering from an illness or an injury. Research shows that the compound called HMB (also beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate) is beneficial for muscle health too. HMB’s purpose is easier to understand than its scientific-sounding name when you realize that it has been part of what you eat.
HMB is naturally produced in small amounts when the body breaks down leucine, an essential amino acid that we get in protein-rich foods like milk, yogurt, chickpeas, soybeans, and meat. It can also be naturally found in very small amounts of foods like avocado, grapefruit, and cauliflower. However, it is difficult to get amounts of HMB to support muscle health through diet alone. Often, nutrition supplements are recommended.
How aging affects the muscles and how HMB can help
Muscle protein breakdown and muscle protein synthesis, or building, are happening in the body throughout the day. The goal is to ensure that the breakdown isn’t happening faster than building. However, muscle breakdown can accelerate with age, illness and immobility.
Age-related muscle loss, known as sarcopenia, affects approximately one in three adults aged 50 and older. This decline in muscle health can contribute to fatigue, losses in strength and
energy as well as poor mobility.
So, what can one do to maintain muscle strength and recovery? This is where HMB comes in to benefit senior adults.
HMB can act as a gateway to help keep a senior’s muscles in balance by slowing muscle breakdown. In fact, HMB has been shown to help preserve muscle mass recovery in healthy older adults.
Maintaining a well-balanced diet rich in protein and exercising regularly supports the natural balance. Levels of HMB in the body are significantly correlated with existing muscle mass. One thing senior can do to benefit muscle health is to observe a good diet, including getting more HMB and keeping up with strength building exercise.
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The Importance of a Healthy and Balanced Diet for Senior Strength
Be it a child, young adult or an elder adult, observing a healthy and balanced diet is important. Nourishing one’s body becomes even more important as one reaches middle age and beyond. As one gets older, eating a healthy diet can improve mental sharpness, boost energy levels, and increase the body’s resistance to sickness. More than helping the body to stay in top shape, keeping a proper diet is also key to a positive outlook and staying emotionally well.
Elder adults are extremely susceptible to malnutrition and this happens due to the following scientific reasons:
Metabolism and appetite slow down with age
Less caloric intake means less opportunity to absorb nutrients
The body’s natural ability to absorb nutrients, especially specific important nutrients, decreases with age
Healthy eating for seniors is thus exponentially important for several reasons. And the good news is that it’s never too late to start building good eating habits whatever your age. Today is the best time to change one’s eating lifestyle.
Improving your diet now can help you:
Prolong life and live it to the fullest.
Proper nutrition is reflected in studies to boost immunity, fight illness-causing toxins, maintaining a healthy weight, and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, bone loss, and cancer. Partnered with regular exercise and physical activities, a good and nutritious diet can contribute to keeping your strength and independence as you age.
Improve mental acuteness
Adding fruits, leafy vegetables, and fish and nuts packed with omega-3 fatty acids helps one improve focus and decrease their risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Green tea, rich in antioxidants, also enhances memory and mental sharpness as one ages.
Improves overall wellness
Proper diet gives one more energy and therefore helps one look better, resulting in a boost in mood and self-esteem. It’s all connected—when your body feels good, you feel happier inside and out.
To start eating a healthy and balanced diet, here are a few practices to observe:
Aim for 2 to 3 servings of fruits a day. When it comes to veggies, choose antioxidant-rich dark, leafy greens, such spinach and broccoli. Make vegetables more appetizing by drizzling them with olive oil or frying with them with garlic or chili flakes. Aim eating 2 to 3 cups every day.
Eat more fiber because it lowers your risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It also helps nourish your skin and help you lose weight. As one ages, digestion becomes less efficient, so it’s important to include enough fiber in your diet.
Keep your protein sources varied. Eating high-quality protein improves one’s mood and boosts resistance to stress, anxiety, and depression. It can even help one think more clearly. Eating too much protein from processed meat products such as hot dogs, bacon, and salami may increase your risk of heart disease, cancer, and other health problems. Instead of just eating red meat include more fish, beans, peas, eggs, nuts, and seeds in your diet.
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Does a Vegetarian Get Quality Protein and Strength?
Environmental and sustainability advocates today have created a movement for people to ditch meat and to switch from an animal-based diet to a plant-based one. Vegetarianism is thus on the rise, with people embracing the benefits of plant-sourced nutrition. This trend naturally raises the question: Does a vegetarian diet provide an individual with quality protein and strength? Also, does the vegetarian diet provide the same amount of protein compared to a meat-based diet?
To provide a short and quick answer to the above questions: Yes, eating a variety of plant-based food sources can fulfill a person’s protein and strength requirements.
In fact, even athletes and the most active individuals can perform their best on a vegetarian diet. One study from the Arizona State University found no difference in measures of strength or endurance, or even levels of lean body mass, in vegetarian athletes compared to meat eaters. The key lies in strategically planning meals in such a way that they will provide the muscles the nutrients it needs.
Proteins are composed of amino acids and nine of which are essential in the diet of adults. These are leucine, isoleucine, histidine, valine, threonine, methionine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, and lysine. While there are 20 amino acids found in protein, 11 are deemed non-essential.
The need to consume the essential amino acids as pointed out by experts means that the quality of protein, we consume is important. While the pattern of amino acids in an animal-based protein is similar to that of human cells, meaning they have a higher biological value than those from plant sources, doesn’t mean that plants are “second class” source of protein. To get all the essential amino acids, the key is to eat a variety of protein from a daily balanced diet.
All these said, is a vegetarian diet good for seniors?
One way to look at it is that a vegetarian diet, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes, along with lower levels of cholesterol, blood pressure, hypertension and body mass index.
To put is it simply, these benefits can properly address health issues among seniors:
1. Antiaging Effect
A plant-heavy diet can increase the activity of telomeres, which are the rebuilding enzymes found at the end of a cell’s chromosome.
2. Support on brain function
Plant-based diet is belief that can help lower the risk of cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s, and vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower have properties that can boost brain function and help you think more clearly.
3. It boosts energy.
Energy is linked to our digestion. Because it’s easier for a senior’s digestive system to break down plant foods than meat, a vegetarian diet can create more energy throughout the day.
As long as you consume protein from other sources, you can minimize the negative effects of cutting meat out of your diet.
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