Older Adults: Muscles You Should Focus On With Strength Training

By February 27, 2024Physiotherapy, Pilates

A key focus that I hear from older adults is not only to be fit and healthy, but to feel strong. A lot of times this can be a very daunting thing, well I’m here to tell you to fear not! A lot of exercises that can be done in gyms are very easily transferred to the safety of your own home. In this blog I’ll let you know what to focus on and some ideas about how to best exercise at home.

First and foremost just a note about safety:

Whether you are new to exercise or have been doing exercise for a long time, extra attention should be paid to making sure you are safe when you are exercising. Have lots of breaks during your exercise session, make sure there is a place nearby to rest if you need and make sure you have something firm (E.g wall or kitchen bench) to hold onto if you need. If you feel particularly unsteady on your feet, maybe try seated exercises first. Consulting your physiotherapist or health professional is always the best way to ensure your utmost safety with exercise.

Upper Limb

Getting your arms stronger is integral for day to day activities like housework, lifting groceries and carrying grandchildren. The thing that all of these have in common are they all are multi joint activities. So to help make these easier we must mimic this in our exercises. Exercise examples of this are:

  • Single arm rows – This can be done with a dumbbell or heavy object in a bar. Place one hand on a bench or sturdy chair, and with the other hand pull the way towards your body and then slowly relax back to the starting position.
  • Shoulder presses overhead – Hold some dumbbells in your hands with your palms facing forward. Slowly press the dumbbell above your head and then lower to the starting position.
  • Chest press – lie on your back with dumbbells in your hands, just below shoulder height. Slowly press your arms up to the roof, with the dumbbells meeting gently in the middle. Return these to the starting position.

Lower Limb

Common troubles that I hear regarding lower limb issues are walking safely on the street, getting up and down off the floor and standing up from chairs. Again all movements require the use of hip, knees and feet. Examples of great exercises to help with these can be:

  • Sit to stand – Start sitting on a chair with either your hands on the armrests or across your chest (Whatever feels more suited to your ability level). Lean forward, push through your heels and stand up. Slowly sit back down making sure it’s nice and controlled.
  • Lunge – Stand next to a bench with one leg slightly in front of the other. With a hand on the bench bend both knees and then slowly return to standing.

As is normal as we age, injuries can be a barrier to these great exercises. If you are worried at all about the these exercises, stability or your injuries in general be sure to reach out to your Physiotherapist here at Bend + Mend to help.

Ben Cunningham

About Ben Cunningham

Ben graduated with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy degree from Australian Catholic University in Brisbane. After a move down to NSW, he has now joined the Bend + Mend Team and works at both Martin Place and Barangaroo clinics. Ben has a particular special interest in treating lower back pain (with referred pain) and running lower limb injuries and always uses the most up to date scientific evidence to assist his patient in reach their full potential. He is intrigued with how the body works and enjoys observing people and their movement patterns to help identify the root cause of complex pain. In his personal time Ben enjoys going to the gym and long distance running. He is also loves heading to the beach and finding new experiences around Sydney!

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