The older adult population benefits more from exercise than any other age group. As you age and become less active, muscle mass and bone density deteriorate. This leads to lack of strength and confidence in our bodies, which can cause disruptions in gait, posture, mobility, and other daily functions. We often attribute the issue to balance. However, in reality, loss of muscle mass and strength creates a perceived lack of balance.
Resistance bands are excellent tools to rebuild strength because they are versatile, portable, and lightweight. Exercises work large and small muscle groups, which help you perform everyday activities like carrying groceries or grandchildren, doing laundry, opening doors, or standing up from a chair. Grab a resistance band, and start building strength today with the following exercises.
Focus on form. To make the exercises more challenging, reduce time between sets or adjust the tension on the band by modifying your hand placement. Aim to complete the circuit three times per week.
Purpose: Build arm strength to pull yourself up, get on a bus, carry a plate to the kitchen, or blow dry your hair.
How to: Begin standing on the band with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Place your arms by your side, palms facing forward. Bend your elbows, raising the band to shoulder height. Slowly return to starting position. Perform three sets of eight repetitions. Rest for 10 seconds between each set.
Purpose: Improve posture by strengthening your chest and back muscles.
How to: Start in a staggered stance with the band looped under your front foot, holding the band with the opposite hand and leaning slightly forward. Pull your elbow back, then slowly return to starting position. Perform three sets of eight repetitions on each side. Rest for 10 seconds between each set.
Standing chest press
Purpose: Target your chest and core muscles to help push a door open or put your arm through a shirt sleeve.
How to: Loop the band around your back, holding the ends of the band in each hand. Push your arms forward, then slowly return to starting position. Complete three sets of eight full-range repetitions followed by eight pulses. Rest for 10 seconds between each set.
Pictured: Bicep curls with resistance bands.
BIO: Marcy Simon is the manager of senior fitness programs at Asphalt Green and a former professional dancer. Asphalt Green is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free sports and fitness opportunities for underserved New Yorkers.
Marcy Simon is a former professional dancer and manager of senior fitness programs at Asphalt Green.
The Senior Planet Center at 127 w. 25th street will host Asphalt Green and its innovative approach to fitness for older adults. Try out exercises and fun fitness games from Asphalt Green’s Skills in Motion program. All the movements are designed to improve strength, coordination, and functional balance in older adults. The session takes place August 21st, 1:30pm – 3pm. RSVP required. Email [email protected] or call 646-590-0615.