Any exercise that you can do, which combines physical exercise in nature and sunlight, is something we should be thinking about doing during these waning, warm summer days.
Studies show that sunlight lowers blood pressure and gives us our daily dose of vitamin D. Walking, hiking, and biking are all excellent exercises that can be done outside, AND, they are all recommended for people over 50. Don’t forget that digging and raking in the yard and garden can be quite aerobic as well; it’s like having a gym outside your window! Now I know that in some areas the heat is restricting outdoor time, but when those dog days of summer leave and crisp fall weather comes back, think about getting outside for your exercise at least a couple of days a week.
In addition to walking, hiking, and other outdoor aerobic exercises, as we age, strength training is also recommended. There are many different strength training exercises to choose from, but let’s focus on what’s good for our knees, hips, shoulders and back, since these are beginning to wear out…
Here is an exercise that I recommend which is simple, easy to do, and packs big benefits! In fact, every Yoga or Pilates class that I teach includes this exercise, due to its many benefits. It’s called the “bird dog.”
I have included a video of me doing this exercise for your instruction.
Here are the many benefits:
This exercise helps build a strong core, improves balance, and builds arm, shoulder, glutes, and thigh muscles. Holding for a minimum of 30 seconds, or working up to 30 seconds on each side, is ideal. When your core muscles are strong, your spine is more stable and you walk, sit, run, and stand tall and stable. Proper posture is VERY important for reducing hip and back, as well as shoulder, pain.
A normal (for you) walking gait, which will improve when you do this exercise regularly, stabilizes your pelvis and how your hips move.
Our two core muscles which are challenged by the “bird dog” are the rectus abdominis and the obliques. This means that the “bird dog” exercise helps you extend, flex, and rotate your spine.
The “bird dog” also works the gluteus maximus muscle of the buttocks (when raising the leg) and the trapezius muscles of the upper back and the deltoids of the shoulder (when raising the arm).
Not too shabby for one simple exercise, huh?
If you are thinking of starting an exercise program that is designed for those of us over 50, I encourage you to try one of my classes. Classes are all live on Zoom, and I watch every person in the Zoom Room on my large screen so that I can give modifications or suggestions for everyone’s comfort and success! HERE is a link to my calendar of classes and everyone can try one class for free to see if it’s a good fit for you or not.
I’ve recently had a couple of people request an evening class. I’d like to get a sense of how many would attend if I added an evening class, and would be happy to add it to my schedule if there is enough interest. Please let me know by replying to this newsletter or in the comments section on my web site.
Best of Health,