If you count kiddos among the members of your family, spending time with that family around the holidays may mean you’re expected (or want!) to move like those children. We’re talking about flopping down on the floor opening presents, running and crawling around playing with the kids and those presents, and hey, maybe even gathering around the fire to enjoy some hot cocoa.
These activities are meant to be a source of joy. But if you aren’t confident in or comfortable with your strength, mobility, and flexibility, they could cause you some worry about how your body will manage. Harry King, an 81-year-old certified personal trainer with Planet Fitness, says thinking about, and preparing for, those physical realities, is a good idea.
“As we’re trying to get up or down, playing with the grandkids, unwrapping presents, things like that, all these muscles come into play,” King says. “Especially at older ages, if we have a fitness program, it helps prepare us for those things during special occasions, but it helps us in everyday activity also.”
Hill explains that strengthening throughout the body, as well as incorporating mobility and stretching, can make movements like getting up and down from the floor easier. Our lower body, upper body, and core, all play a role in these movements. We also need quad and arm strength, hip mobility, and core strength for balance.
Multiple exercises and stretches can help you achieve this. But King recommends the following five moves in particular. You can modify them if you’re not accustomed to strength training and progress as you get stronger—aiming to get stronger as you get older is what King says is the key.
“When people think of going to a gym, the first thing [many of them] do is head for the treadmill,” King says. “If I can divert them to go to the strength machines, that helps them deal with their everyday activities.”
Holiday strength training for seniors: 5 recommended moves
With the holidays around the corner, you can start working on these moves now. Don’t let “gymtimidation” scare you off—consider an inclusive workout space that prioritizes no judgme