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Core Strength Exercises for Seniors

Core strength exercises improve the fitness of the stomach, back, hips and pelvis. These muscles are important for improving balance and stability, as well as posture. For seniors, these exercises are a good way to help reduce risk of falls and make walking and other daily tasks much easier. Which, might we add, is key to retaining independence in your golden years. With that said, here are some easy core exercises for seniors from our independent living coordinators at JCHC.

Safety note: If you are unsure of how to do the exercises or require assistance in performing them correctly and safely, please speak to your doctor or physical therapist before attempting any new movements. 

  • The Bridge: This exercise focuses on the muscles in your buttocks, lower back and stomach. Start by lying flat on your back on a yoga mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Slowly lift your torso to create a straight line between your knees and your chest. Be careful not to arch your back. Hold for three seconds and slowly go back to the start position. Repeat five times.
  • Leg Lifts: In this exercise, your pelvic muscles and lower stomach muscles are strengthened. Start flat on your back on a yoga mat. Contract your stomach muscles as you lift one leg about five inches off the floor, without bending at the knee. Hold for three seconds and slowly go back to the start position. Then, do the same with your other leg. Repeat five times.
  • Seated Side Bends: This will focus on the muscles that run down your torso. Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Put one of your hands behind your head and stretch the other out parallel to the ground. Now bend down to the side as if using that hand to pick something up, hold for three seconds and return to your start position. Do the same with your other arm and repeat five times.
  • The Superman: Named because it resembles Superman flying through the air, this exercise strengthens your lower back. Lie face down on the floor on a yoga mat, keeping your arms stretched out in front of you. Now raise your head, right arm and left leg at the same time to about two inches off the ground. Hold this position for three seconds and return to the start position. Do the same thing with your left arm and right leg. Repeat five times.

Fitness programs for independent seniors in New Jersey

If your loved one in independent living would like to improve their quality of health and wellbeing through fitness, our dedicated team at Lester Senior Living is here to assist them. We have a community calendar filled each month with different fitness classes to satisfy every resident’s mobility, such as “Stretch & Flex,” “Sit and Be Fit” and “Cha Cha Chair Dancing” – just to name a few. Our trained instructors are ready to assist or modify each exercise for your loved one to ensure their safety is the top priority at all times. 

In addition to our fitness programs, our communities also offer more advanced senior care services like assisted living and memory support for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. To learn more about our senior health and wellness programs in New Jersey, contact JCHC today or visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org

 

5 Essential Morning Stretches for Seniors

Stretching in the morning can do wonders for arthritis and joint pain. Committing to daily morning stretches along with a warm shower afterwards will help keep muscles more limber for seniors especially. If you’re not sure what stretches to start with, here’s a list of morning stretches that our senior care team in Morris County, NJ has put together.  

Safety note: Seniors should consult a doctor or primary caregiver before performing any new stretches. If you begin to feel any intense pain during the stretch, slowly return to the starting position and call a medical professional immediately.

1. Overhead Side Stretch – Loosens up muscles in your core 

Suggested Repetitions: Hold 15-30 seconds per side. Stand tall with your feet about hip-width apart. Then, raise both of your arms overhead and interlace your fingers with your palms facing up. Now, slightly lean to the right and hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds. Repeat with the left side.

2. Shoulder Stretch – Targets joint pain in shoulders 

Suggested Repetitions: Hold 15-30 seconds per side. Stand tall with your feet about hip-width apart. Then, reach your right arm across your body, so that your fingertips are pointing to the left. Make sure to keep your arm as straight as you can. Next, place your left hand on your upper right arm and gently pull your arm towards you. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds and then repeat with your left arm. 

3. Triceps Stretch – Strengthens triceps muscles

Suggested Repetitions: Hold 15-30 seconds per side. Stand tall with your feet about hip-width apart. Then, raise both of your arms overhead and bend your right arm so it rests behind your head. Next, place your left hand above your right elbow and gently pull your right arm closer. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds and then repeat with your left arm.

4. Hamstring Stretch – Targets joint pain in legs, lower back

Suggested Repetitions: 5 times per leg. Place your right heel on a bench in front of you, with your right leg straight and toes pointing up. Without slouching over, gently hinge forward from your hips until you feel a comfortable stretch in your right hamstring.  Hold this position for about 15-30 seconds and then repeat with the left leg. Alternate this stretch 5 times with each leg. 

5. Towel Squeeze – Targets arthritis pain in hands

Suggested Repetitions: 10-15 times per hand. Grab a small hand towel that is rolled up. Take the towel in your right hand and squeeze. Hold this position for 5 seconds and then alternate to the left hand, taking a quick rest in between. Repeat 10 to 15 times with each hand.

Senior Stretches at Lester Senior Living, NJ

Here at Lester Senior Living, our fitness instructors are available every morning to guide morning stretches for our senior residents. If you’re a beginner when it comes to stretching and working out, there’s no need to panic! Our instructors can easily modify the stretch to accommodate your fitness level and provide extra support during the stretch if needed. 

For more information on our morning stretches, or to learn more about the fitness services offered at the Lester Senior Living community in Morris County, NJ, please give us a call today or visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org/assisted-living-morris-county-nj/

 

3 Ways to Prevent Age-Related Muscle Loss

A key way to retain independence as you age is to keep your muscles strong and active. Oftentimes, muscle loss is a natural part of aging, and can have a lasting effect on your overall health, mobility and balance. That’s why it’s important to understand what causes age-related muscle loss and take necessary steps to prevent it from happening. Our assisted living team in Morris County has identified the causes of this type of muscle loss and three major ways to prevent this from happening. 

What Causes Age-Related Muscle Loss (Sarcopenia)? 

The medical term for muscle loss related to age progression is sarcopenia. Our bodies regulate the signals for muscle growth and muscle teardown, keeping them in equal balance usually. However, as we grow older, our bodies become more resistant to the growth signals, making it easier and more common for muscle loss to happen. Here are some factors that can bring on sarcopenia:

  • Not consuming enough protein or calories daily. Muscles require protein to function and to grow. And unfortunately, many people don’t consume enough protein every day to keep their muscles strong and healthy. 
  • Sedentary lifestyle. When you don’t use your muscles they atrophy more quickly, leaving you feeling tired and weak. Constantly feeling tired and weak makes it difficult to get up and stay active, trapping you in an unhealthy inactivity cycle. 
  • Chronic pain or injuries. Injuries happen to all of us. Every single person we know has experienced at least one major injury that made a lasting impact on their health. For some, it’s chronic back pain or hip injury that negatively affects daily life and interferes with exercise ability. When pain from an injury leaves you unable to move normally, your muscles may begin to deteriorate more rapidly, especially after the age of 50. 

3 Ways You Can Help Prevent Age-Related Muscle Loss 

  1. Walk everyday. Walking is one of the best and easiest ways to keep your muscles strong as you age. Taking a daily walk also has great cardiovascular benefits. Whether you prefer to walk alone or with a close friend, try to make walking part of your daily routine. To keep things interesting, walk a different neighborhood every of couple days or bring your earbuds and listen to music. 
  2. Eat a consistently healthy diet. Good nutrition is crucial to maintaining muscle as you age. To start, make sure you’re consuming enough grams of protein daily and calcium-rich foods like yogurt. If you’re unsure about what a healthy diet looks like for someone in your age bracket, consult with a nutritionist who can help you feel your best. 
  3. Engage in weight-resistance training. Don’t worry, we don’t expect you to become the next greatest bodybuilder. Instead, start small with 2-4 pound dumbbells and build up your stamina a few times a week. If you need a little more guidance, there are many free workout plans for people of all levels on apps and YouTube. You could also consult a professional trainer for a combined diet and exercise plan – kill two birds with one stone! 

Active Senior Lifestyles in Morris County, NJ

Our assisted living community in New Jersey has experienced staff members on-site to help support and engage the most active lifestyle for each resident. Here at Lester Senior Living, we strive to provide a variety of fitness options, so all of our senior residents have the chance to help prevent sarcopenia, while also taking charge of their health and wellness. If you’re a beginner to fitness, don’t worry! Our certified instructors can modify exercises to accommodate each resident’s fitness level and provide additional support if needed. 

For more information on all of our senior fitness classes, or to learn more about the Lester Senior Living community in Morris County, New Jersey, please visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org/assisted-living-morris-county-nj/