On Wednesday, I introduced you to former Rockette Jennifer McCamish at Dancers Shape studio in Austin, Texas. She shared five fabulous exercises—along with warm-up and other prep—for midlifers and boomers…and beyond. Here are the rest of the moves. Put them all together for safe, effective and well-balanced session you can do at home—alone! You’ve got the wand to make exercise magic for older adults.
6) Adductor Squeeze: The hip adductors play an important role in balancing the pelvis during standing and walking.
- Sit tall on a chair, preferably one without a cushioned bottom so you don’t collapse in the pelvis. Place a playground ball or a towel between your knees. Exhale and squeeze the ball tight for 3, 2, 1, hold and then inhale to release the squeeze.
7) Glute Kick-Back
- This exercise will help stabilize the hips so you will feel a burn sensation in the supporting leg and the leg that is in the air. Begin by leaning into a countertop with your forearms and bend both knees. Pull lower belly back to spine to support your lower back. Lift one leg off the floor to make a 90-degree angle behind the hip. Hold this shape and flex your foot and push back slowly on the exhale—like you are pressing the sole of your foot in a bed of quicksand and without losing the stability of the pelvis and the slight tuck. Inhale to return.
8) Relevé: It’s French, oui? A position in which the dancer rises from any position to balance on one or both feet on at least demi-pointe, or possibly full pointe.
- This exercise will strengthen the hip muscles, the quadriceps, inner thighs and challenge posture and balance. Hold onto a sturdy surface and place heels together and toes open 2” – 3” like a small slice of pie. Feel the rotation coming from the hip socket by squeezing the inner thighs and engaging the hip muscles spiraling back, creating the feeling of a lift happening up underneath the cheeks. Engage the quadriceps high off of the knee cap. You can feel this by lengthening the back of the knee where it feels supported but not jammed back or locked in the joint. Engage navel to spine so the pelvis remains neutral and not tucked or jammed under, with your shoulders directly over the hips and the ribcage knitted together. Maintaining this perfect form, begin to exhale as you raise the heels off the ground and lower with control: not collapsing or popping up. For a balance challenge take your hands off your sturdy surface and place them in a prayer position at your sternum.
9) Wrist Rolls and Lifts
- The wrist is a small joint and can be one of the first places you notice weakness as you age. Begin to roll your wrists in a circular motion in both directions. Then tie a TheraBand on a sturdy surface like a doorknob. Grab both ends of the bands in your hands and step away from the door so there is tension on the band. Place your elbows at your waistline with palms facing ceiling. Curl your wrists toward your forearms without letting anything else move and return. Then flare your wrist open and close as if you were opening a jar upside down. Change your grip facing the floor and repeat the same motions to work the top of the wrists.
10) Standing Push-Up
- Push-ups are great for strengthening the core, stabilizing the shoulders and building chest strength. However, for many older adults the full body weight on wrists can become stressful. A modified version can give you the same benefits without the strain on the wrist joint. Lean into a wall with your hands wider than shoulder distance so that your body makes a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Engage your core to support your pelvis and lower back. Press shoulders down, away from ears and broaden your collar bone. Holding a perfect straight line with your core engaged, inhale as you bend your elbows and lead your chest towards the wall. Then exhale to return.
Now you are set to be your own trainer, thanks to Jennifer McCamish. Work it, girls!