By Mary Ann Wilson, RN
So, you have made some very functional gains while working with Sit and Be Fit or another exercise class. You are standing up from a chair easier, your posture is better, and many of you have told us you have better range of motion of some of your joints. To help you maintain the progress you have made, and to continue on the path of gaining strength and improving your posture, on the following exercises over the Holidays.
STAND UP / SIT DOWN
Stand up and sit down 5 repetitions 3 times a day. Either before or after meals is a great time to do this exercise. Try to find a time that works for you, and get in the habit of doing it every day. Strengthening the muscles that help you stand up will help prevent falls and remain independent. Remember these steps:
• Scoot forward toward the front of your chair.
• Pull your feet back, so they are underneath you.
• With your back straight and your head up, bend forward at the hips.
• Push your heels into the floor.
• Stand up.
(You may place your hands on your thighs or on the armrests or seat of your chair to help. Some of you are able to do it without using your hands. If you can, keep doing it without using your hands–it makes your legs do all the work and become stronger.)
ACHIEVING CORRECT NECK ALIGNMENT
Sit tall. Touch your chin with your right hand. Pull your chin straight back away from your hand. (Do not tilt the head back.) Repeat 5 times, at least once a day. More frequently is also okay.
(If you don’t want to be performing this exercise conspicuously, you may imagine touching your chin, and pull your chin back from your “imaginary” hand. Work this exercise into your day when you’re watching TV or standing in line at the store.)
ABDOMINAL STRENGTHENER WITH BAND
Sit on a straight back or folding chair to perform abdominal exercises using your exercise band.
Get ready to do the exercise:
Scoot all the way to the back of your chair so your back is supported.
Reach around the back of your chair and place the band around the back of the chair. (Don’t “throw” the band over the back of your head to get it behind the back of your chair as this may result in shoulder injury.)
Bring the ends of the band to the front, one end in each hand, with your thumbs on top of the band pointing forward.
Perform the exercise.
Take a deep breath in.
Begin breathing out slowly, and press the small of your back into the back of the chair.
Press the arms forward slightly against the resistance of the band.
Imagine pulling your belly button toward your spine as you tighten the abdominal muscles. When you have completely exhaled, relax your abdominal muscles and your arms.