When I was little, I remember my parents telling me that the best things sometimes come in the smallest packages. A partner to that lesson was the one about how as you get older, your gifts will come in smaller boxes. How true that is today, especially as you consider your fitness routine.
I know I am probably making a big reach to connect childhood lessons on gifts with fitness in our “slightly older” years. But the lesson holds true! It is very easy to ignore the value small movements play in the bigger picture of getting strong and fit. Yet when we take the time to practice small movements, we actually can get greater results in our workouts. Our bodies can also perform better in life, too, with fewer aches and pains! A wonderful return for the small investment of time!
Small exercises can make a world of difference
If you have had an injury or are recovering from a surgery, there is a reason why your physical therapist or doctor gives you a list of simple exercises to do at home, on your own. They work! Not only do they help you continue to build strength, they also help prevent aches, pains, and re-injury. Your road to recovery is more certain. And your body will perform better in life and in fitness. But most people don’t do the exercises – at least over the long run. I am here to tell you that those exercises will make the world of difference. Do them!
Even without an injury to address, most of us in our “slightly older” years probably have an annoying ache or pain that could benefit from a set of small, simple exercises performed on a regular basis. How about dealing with the stiffness of an older body? Rather than chalk these up to getting older and pushing them aside, we can do something to help ourselves and our bodies. Make some simple “maintenance” exercises a part of our daily or weekly habits. Our bodies will say thank you and reward us with the relief and confidence that comes from moving better!
The video above shows a simple exercise that I am doing to strengthen my knees. As you can see, you don’t need any special equipment to do these exercises. That’s Greg Putra doing the demonstration – he’s one of our personal trainers at Strand Fitness.
Turn these exercises into a habit
I have known for quite some time that doing some “preventative maintenance” for my knees and my shoulders would benefit me tremendously. Like many busy people, I rebelled against the time it would take from my schedule. Now that I am doing the exercises, it really takes no time at all. Making it a habit is essential.
- Put together a set of 3-5 exercises to do. Pick exercises that you are comfortable and confident in doing. And ones that you can do in 10 minutes.
- Designate 3 times a week to do these exercises. It’s best to fit it into your regular routine at home, at the office, or at the gym.
- Claim your spot where you will do these exercises.
I found the designated “spot” the most important for staying consistent. The stairs in my personal training studio are now my spot for heel raises to strengthen my lower legs and help take pressure off of my knees (see this demonstrated in the video below.). Every time I step onto that lower step, I am thinking about the exercise I do there. It is a constant reminder that is hard to ignore.
Tap the knowledge of an expert
If you are working with a physical therapist or other medical professional, seek out their help in designing a quick routine for your trouble spots. A personal trainer is also a great resource for these types of exercises. I collaborated with my personal trainer. And I did a little research on the Internet. I happened to find a shoulder system by Crossover Symmetry. It is a simple and portable system. The video below shows Greg demonstrating two of the exercises I do with this system.
The whole series takes me less than 10 minutes. Take note of the card hanging from the rack. It has the list of things that I do every time I go to this shoulder station. The experts at Crossover Symmetry created this list, and I am happy to let their expertise guide what I do.
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Strand Fitness is a personal training studio in Downtown Wheaton, serving Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Winfield, & Chicago Western Suburbs. To learn more about how Strand Fitness can help you reach your fitness goals, contact Pam (630-653-8152) and schedule your free fitness consultation.