Gransnet forums

Dieting & exercise

Exercise/strength/mo bility

(132 Posts)
Jay586 Mon 25-Jul-16 18:09:33


I trained as a personal trainer last year. My interest is older people, particularly as I've struggled with my own mobility due to injury and weight.

Really interested in what people think would help them and happy to discuss anything that would help people here really. :-)

So pleased to see people being so active already.

janeainsworth Mon 25-Jul-16 21:18:40

I started doing Pilates this year and can't believe what a difference it's made to my strength and mobility.
I think it's good for older people because you can just do it at whatever level suits you and gradually work up, with no pressure.

Bellanonna Mon 25-Jul-16 21:31:58

I swear by it jane. I can do things now that I couldn't do when I first started doing it, about 5 years ago.

jay586 would love to know what I could do for knees. Both painful. I try to do quad exercises. Would you recommend static cycling? Or any particular piece of gym equipment? I don't feel I do enough as I'm always afraid of making my knees worse.

Tegan Mon 25-Jul-16 21:51:34

Same here; my knees are my biggest problem. Cycling seems to make them worse and I've read that rowing machines are bad for knees which is a pity as I quite like using them. Can't use cross trainers for the same reason. Doesn't leave much [can't swim either sad].

granjura Mon 25-Jul-16 22:23:18

Had a full knee replacement 4 months ago- and now swimming with physio palms is the best exercise for me. Can't wait to go back to Gi Gung and Tai-chi in the autumn too.

mcem Mon 25-Jul-16 22:25:24

Last week had a meeting with physio as I enjoy the gym but worried about exacerbating damage in arthritic knee. He suggested the reclining rather than upright bike. All 'leg ' machines for strengthening inner and outer thigh muscles.The 'lifting' one where you push the weighted bar upwards. All upper body machines are fine of course. Swimming.
At home, sit upright on bed with rolled towel under ankle. Push knee joint down into bed and apply more gentle pressure with hands.
Calf and thigh muscles ached for a day or two but better now. The aim is to loosen up the stiff aching knee and I think it may be working!

Bellanonna Mon 25-Jul-16 22:58:36

Yes mcem I heard the recliner was better too. I will try the rolled towel one in a mo when I go up to bed and will check out the equipment at the gym with the help of one of the trainers. Tks for suggestions.
gj. Goodness is it four months already? That's passed quickly. Unsure what physio palms are?

Teetime Tue 26-Jul-16 10:45:43

Hello jay586 and thanks for the offer. My main problem with exercise is boredom, second problem pain and I think that's in common with a lot of people. I go to Zumba Gold once a week and its helped my mobility, flexibility and balance. I enjoy the music and the company and try to forget I'm going exercise. My main activity is golf which I play about 3 times a week weather permitting and I appreciate its not aerobic but that's about all the exercise I can tolerate for one week. I am not a sportswoman and don't care for sport at all really. My question is how to you get a person with a low boredom threshold to enjoy exercise?

Jay586 Tue 26-Jul-16 13:50:59

Brilliant to log on & see all the replies. smile

My neighbour was in a bit of a bad way when I met her & I encouraged her to go to a physio. She has made amazing progress over the last couple of years & her quality of life is so much better, so if that is an option, I would say give it a try. It does depend on how good the physio is tho, same as with personal trainers. Particularly if you have a specific niggle, eg knees.

That said there are resources out there & I will try to give you all options. grin

Jay586 Tue 26-Jul-16 14:00:26

That should read particularly useful if you have a niggle.

I've found going directly to a physio will give you peace of mind about exercising. GPs aren't the greatest (too many things they have to know & not enough time in an appt) when it comes to musculoskeletal things.

Jay586 Tue 26-Jul-16 14:11:14

Knees - google Elsbeth Vaino & knees, she has a very good blog post that will give you way more info about training knees.

The main point with knees is that they are generally a victim of immobility in other places. One of the most useful things I've learnt is that ankles and hips should be mobile and knees and lower back should be stable.

So if you have pain in your lower back or knees (not arthritis-related) then think about exercises for your hips and ankles. See how much motion you have, try rotating your ankles and doing little hip circles.

I like the work of Katy Bowen and her ethos is to include movement in everyday life, rather than just exercise in specific blocks. This sort of ankle movement can be done watching the tv, it'll also help you if you have water on your legs! :-)

A word on pain...think about what sort of pain you're suffering. If it's shooting, acute or crippling, that's clearly bad, so stop the movement! If it's more tightness, a dull ache or just surprise in the joint that it's been asked to go in a different direction, then that's not necessarily bad. Exercise tends to cause soreness if you ask muscles or joint to do extra work than they're used to.

You can also suffer pain memories, where the joint isn't actually in pain (feels like it tho) but the brain remembers that it hurt last time and so stops you doing that movement again. That reaction to pain is why people's range-of-motion gets less with age. I've spent a lot of time recently trying to "reinhabit" bits of movement that had become foreign to me after being injured for many years.

suzied Tue 26-Jul-16 14:17:52

I love Pilates, yoga and swim a bit as well. My core strength has increased considerably but I find some exercises that require flexibility hard- sitting with legs out, touching toes, keeping my legs straight when doing scissor type exercises. Wonder if at my age I will ever get more flexible?

Jay586 Tue 26-Jul-16 14:22:16

Ironically, I'm not a natural exerciser and I struggle to do big blocks in the day...

Teetime - I would say that amount of golf is perfectly aerobic. The walking combined with swinging a weight at speed is excellent. Add in the Zumba and you're golden. :-)

I would focus on recovery and muscle balance. So with golf there is always a rotation the same way, do your swing (slowly, under control, no weight) and see if you have the same degree of rotation the other way!

I would think about rolling or massaging your calves, just to condition the muscles you're using a lot. Shoulder rolls, basic stretching and little things like that, when you're sitting and have a moment. There is a lot of random stuff you can do, like incline pressups against a wall, sit to stands, which are squats off the sofa and very useful. Try standing on one leg whilst you brush your teeth, don't fall over tho!

If anyone of you use your hands on your knees to get up off the sofa, the "sit to stand" is a good one to try...

My Mum has had both a shoulder and ankle replacement this year, keeping good leg strength would have helped her hugely.

My favourite thing at the moment is #5minuteflow. It's just a series of movements tied to a cue, like getting out of bed.

Google this and you'll see a nice, fit guy demo it! His range-of-movement is excellent, but start at the level you're at currently and explore. Hope this helps!

I would normally use lots of clicky links but I think it's not in the spirit of the forum rules here and I don't want to get into trouble.

Jay586 Tue 26-Jul-16 14:25:30

Keep at it, I've terrible flexibility and it comes with time. A lot of it is the brain trying to keep you safe. Everyone can do a perfect splits when unconscious!

So it's more brain training, ease into the position, stay there and wait for the muscle to relax. Ease off it's painful, move back when it calms down, never push it, train easy, be patient. :-)

Jay586 Tue 26-Jul-16 14:27:28

Sorry, I missed the bit about pain there. Do you know the cause of the pain?

Is it muscle stiffness or arthritis? Doing mobility work on the muscles will help the former.

Jay586 Tue 26-Jul-16 14:34:36

There is quite a bit on the NHS/Age UK and even the Center for Disease Control in the US about exercises, for me the greater battle is remembering to do them and that's where a bit of accountability or an exercise buddy can help.

Falconbird Tue 26-Jul-16 15:11:29

I'm nearly 70 and have had lots of tests done recently and they all came back as normal i.e. blood work, heart, blood pressure which was great. I also walk at least half an hour every day.

However I often feel very stiff in the mornings and I'm definitely not as flexible as I used to be. I also have to be careful not to lift heavy things as I can pull muscles in my back.

Teetime Tue 26-Jul-16 15:44:10

Wow thank you that is good news I am certainly wacked out by golf and not too much in the way of bingo wings so it must be doing some good. Going for a lie down now - very hot at Zumba this

Jay586 Tue 26-Jul-16 16:49:48

Strength gains are made during recovery, not during the exercise itself. A lie-down is not a bad idea at all!

Falconbird, I would say that careful stretching in the morning might be a good idea. Start before you get out of bed, think how a dog gets out of it's basket if you have one! When my back was very bad, it used to take me ages to get out of bed, so I have much empathy.

Everyone loses muscle strength as they age (process called sarcopenia), that's why the powers-that-be are starting to say cardio, strength and flexibility as separate things to think about.

Lifting heavy things as a one-off will strain you, if you want to continue being able to lift, it might be an idea to do some training with weights, with a proper progressive programme.

Jay586 Tue 26-Jul-16 16:52:11

If you are able to get down to the ground, wiggle until you have your legs up a wall and stretch them in that position, it's easier on your back (depending) and you might get more stretch that way. It should be quite relaxing!!

Jay586 Tue 26-Jul-16 16:52:59

^^ Suzied

Falconbird Tue 26-Jul-16 18:06:24

Thanks Jay586 I will begin with the gentle stretching in the morning. smile

Jay586 Tue 26-Jul-16 19:49:37

Take it easy, think controlled and mindful. Any sharp pain, stop and do something different. Enjoy!

Newquay Wed 27-Jul-16 08:16:51

I've always exercised-started when Jane Fonda was going for the burn.
It suits me as I hate and am rubbish at any sport.
Predominantly done aerobics/circuits of different types.
I now attend a class called mobility although it's really a type of circuits.
We intersperse cardio with legs, arms and tums. We use weights. Everyone "does their own thing" for 2/3 minutes at a time. Brilliant.
When I had to have a hip replacement a couple of years ago I said to teacher right I want the best glutes there are and she worked with me pre-op (together with swimming).
It paid dividends-nurses commented on my upper body strength.
So find something and just do it!

Anya Wed 27-Jul-16 08:35:58

Watch people when they're walking. How many do you see walking with one, or both feet, splayed outwards? Then check your own feet.

They should point straight forwards. If you walk with a foot or feet turned out you are building up knee and hip problems for the future as you are throwing the mechanics of your knee and hip joints out of line.

Watch others and train yourself to walk correctly otherwise your exercise might be doing more hard than good.

just a suggestion