If I Could Pick an Exercise to Do Every Day, What Would it Be? RVNAhealth’s Outpatient Practice Manager and Physical Therapist, Kate Campbell, DPT, has the Answer!
I’ve been working in sports and orthopedics for over 15 years now and added geriatrics to the mix since 2015. I’ve seen athletes in the prime of their physical condition. I’ve seen active dads and moms in shape from running after toddlers and lifting kids. And I’ve seen the workaholic train commuters lucky enough to not have chronic physical conditions yet. But, with the normal progression of life and retirement from work, most will see their physical activity decrease over time.
Our bodies no longer need to maintain the ability to chase toddlers, lift multiple grocery bags up the stairs at once, or run to make that train. This means our bodies are not utilizing their full capabilities. My geriatric patients are shocked that their bodies can no longer do what they expect. “If you don’t use it, you lose it” couldn’t hold more truth!
I went on a personal mission to figure out what exercise I could tell anyone to do every day to maintain physical performance enough for safety and success in “super senior” years (age 80+). I asked myself, “Does this exercise help maintain strength in the legs, arms, and core, maximize balance, flexibility, and joint motion?”
Then, I found a simple answer. Get on the floor and get back up again. It was found in the Journal of Rehabilitative Medicine in 2015 that those who cannot do it in 8.8 seconds have worse balance and are more likely to fall.
To start, put both knees on the ground one at a time and lower yourself to your belly. Then, roll yourself over to lay flat on your back. This is a great opportunity to stretch out your spine! To come back up, roll to your belly and press up to all fours and gently lift yourself. If needed, use a chair for stability.
Doing this exercise daily strengthens the muscles needed to recover from a potential fall. For exercise demonstrations, visit: https://rvnahealth.org/balance/.
For more information about RVNAhealth’s Rehabilitation and Wellness services, call: 203.438.7862.