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Posted Date: 2/3/2016

Staying in shape over the winter months

Staying warm and in-doors during the winter doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your health – you can still exercise at home!

Just 10 minutes of exercise each day can help control weight, reduce the risk associated with  cardiovascular disease and Type-2 diabetes, strengthen bones, increase flexibility and release the ”feel good” brain chemicals, reducing anxiety, depression, boosting wellbeing and energy.

“Basically, there is no downside to exercising,” said Louise Bommarito, PT, outpatient manager of rehabilitation services at McLaren Macomb. “A lot of people I talk to, their exercise and overall activity decreases during the winter, a time when it’s important to keep up on it. But there are ways for every one of all ages and skill levels to stay active even when there’s snow on the ground.”

First and foremost, five minutes should be spent on stretching – engaging the muscles you’ll soon be working out. (This also increases flexibility, lengthens tight muscles that lead to poor posture, increases blood flow and improves balance)

Workouts for seniors

These exercises are designed to increase balance by strengthening muscles while remaining low impact.

Ankle pumps (10 each side) – While seated, pull ankles toward shin, then pointing them out in slow controlled motions.

Seated kicks (10 each side) – Seated with knees at 90-degrees, fully extend leg in controlled motions.

Seated “March” (10 each side) – Seated with knees at 90-degrees, pull knees up as far as you comfortably can without causing pain.

Standing “March” (10 each side) – While standing, holding onto a firm, stable piece of furniture or appliance, pull knees up as far as you comfortably can without causing pain.

Standing side leg kicks (10 each side) - While standing, holding onto a firm, stable piece of furniture or appliance, kick leg out to the side, without rotating hips, as far as you comfortably can without causing pain.

Leg kicks behind (10 each side) - While standing, holding onto a firm, stable piece of furniture or appliance, kick leg back, without rotating hips, as far as you comfortably can without causing pain.

Toe-heel rolls (10) - While standing, holding onto a firm, stable piece of furniture or appliance, roll on the balls of your feet to your toes then roll back to your heels.


Building circuits for advanced workouts

These exercises are for a more athletically-inclined individual. Building a circuit entails six to ten workouts performed in a row, three to five times around, targeting major muscle groups.

Bommarito proposes the following exercise circuit, which she dubs “The 5, 10, 15” workout (doing 5 then 10 then 15 reps of a workout or exercise).

Part 1:

5 push-ups

10 squats

15 jumping jacks

10 second break

Part 2:

5 lunges (on each leg)

10 crunches/sit-ups

15 seconds of planking

Running through either of these exercises a few times a week can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by helping to maintain your weight, but can also strengthen bones and improve muscle flexibility.


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