Resistance bands are large elastic bands that you can use to exercise all parts of your body. They are ideal for people who are less mobile because many of the exercises can be done while sitting down.
Resistance training will greatly improve muscle strength, balance, coordination, flexibility and range of motion, making everyday activities easier. Resistance training also helps fight bone loss, symptoms of arthritis pain, and helps to prevent dementia.
Medical experts advise that seniors (65 and over) should exercise at least two and a half hours per week, incorporating resistance training at least twice a week. Always check with your doctor before undertaking any form of exercise.
You can purchase resistance bands at sports stores or online at places like eBay. They come with different ranges of resistance and are colour coordinated. Start with one that has least resistance and work up to stronger bands.
Below are some great exercises using resistance bands.
Stand up, place both feet on the middle of the resistance band and hold each end of it with your hands.
Raise both arms to the side, until they reach shoulder height, then return to your starting position and repeat ten times.
Place both feet on the middle of the resistance band and hold each end of it with your hands.
Slowly bend your knees into a squatting position, then return to your starting position and repeat ten times.
Sit or stand and put the resistance band behind your back and hold each end of it.
Stretch both arms out in front of your chest, then return to your starting position and repeat ten times.
Sit on a chair with your back straight. Place one foot in the middle of the resistance band and hold both ends of it with your hands. Bend your knee towards you, then straighten it back out in front of you before returning to your starting position and repeating with each leg ten times.
Sit or stand, place both your feet on the middle of the resistance band and hold each end of it with your hands. Raise your arms out in front of you to chest height, then return to your starting position and repeat ten times.
Stand up and place one end of the resistance band under the heel of one of your feet. Hold the other end of the band with both your hands, stretch the band so it runs behind your body and pull it above your head, then return to your starting position and repeat ten times on each side.
Once you can repeat each exercise ten times without a problem, increase the exercises to two sets of ten with a rest in between. Don’t rush things, just take it along slowly and feel yourself getting stronger and more confident. When you can handle three sets of ten for each exercise comfortably, select a stronger band and go back to two sets of ten. Progress to three sets again when you are ready, and so on.
If at any stage your muscles become sore or start hurting, back of on the particular exercise for a few days to allow recovery.
If you’re finding it hard to get motivated towards any form of exercise, always remember that nobody wants to spend their final years in a nursing home.