Living in Minnesota, we have unpredictable weather, especially in the springtime. Many of us depend on nice weather to be able to get some fresh air while getting our daily exercise. However, what happens when the sunny day turns into that random snowfall, rain puddles, or muddy sidewalks? Finding ways to think outside the box and exercise indoors will be key to staying active - despite the weather forecast. Following these four easy indoor exercises will help you look beyond the weather as winter months come to a close. Of course, always consult your physician before completing these workouts to make sure they’re right for you!
1. Chair Sit to Stand
As we age, it is important for us to continue to build the muscles that help us complete necessary, everyday functions. Simply sitting down on a chair and standing up out of the chair is a great exercise to promote overall muscle movement. Sitting up straight and standing up from the chair, you are utilizing the entire body – think of it as another way to do a basic squat motion. From increasing core strength to helping maintain lean muscle mass throughout your body, especially within your legs, this is a great total body workout. Try completing 3 sets of 5 repetitions (so 5 times sitting and standing up), 2-3 times a week and watch your stamina and muscles begin to see positive changes!
2. Water Bottle or Soup Can Weights
During the aging process, older adults naturally tend to lose lean muscle mass. In order to prevent further muscle loss, we need to add resistance on the body. Take a filled water bottle or soup can, and use these as dumbbells for weight resistance. This can be an easy and convenient way to work various muscle groups, depending on the exercise you choose. Try these three basic strength-training exercises to start off:
- Seated Overhead Shoulder Press – Begin seated in a chair. Keep your back straight and your arms bent by your ears with your elbows out. While holding the water bottles or soup cans in each hand, slowly bring your weights from shoulder height straight up over your head while pressing your shoulders down. Arms release back down to ears and repeat. Try completing 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.
- Seated Bicep Curls – Begin seated in a chair. Keep your back straight and start with your arms down to your side, while holding the water bottles or soup cans in each hand, slowly bring your weights up to your shoulders while keeping your elbows connected to your side at a 45 degree angle. Arms slowly release back down to side and repeat. Try completing 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.
- Standing Tricep Dip – Begin standing. Keep your back straight and start with your arms holding one water bottle or soup can directly overhead. Slowly bend your elbows and let your arms go behind your head, while keeping your elbows closely connected to your ears. Bring your weight back up overhead and repeat. Try completing 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.
3. Stair Step-Ups
Cardiovascular health is just as important as maintaining lean mass as we age. Incorporating exercises that increase heart rate will aid in building cardiovascular health. Simple step-ups can be a great way to get cardio exercise in when the weather is not cooperating for an outside walk. Not only will step-ups get your heart rate to rise, but they will also help maintain and build lean muscle mass. Find a step that is a comfortable height for you along with something to hold onto, whether it is a railing or a counter next to you. Begin with your right foot and step up onto the step, while slowing bringing up your left foot to join your right. After making sure you have your balance, step back down with your right foot followed by your left. Repeat starting with your left foot first. Try completing 2-3 sets of 10 reps.
As you can probably tell, these step-ups can also be a mental workout – by making you think about which foot comes first and which foot follows. If you prefer to start without the step, that is perfectly fine. Simply step forward and backward without the step!
4. Just Dance
Sometimes we think we need to do a specific workout regimen to get our bodies moving, but don’t overthink things! When in doubt, just dance. We all have our favorite music and generally we know how to move our arms and legs – no matter what we each look like! Dancing can be a great cardiovascular workout that takes our minds away from the “work” of working out. Whether you get some of your friends to come over for a dance party or you turn on your favorite song on a Sunday morning, let your feet step to the rhythm of the music and your arms jive to the beat!
Ashley Graven, RD, LD, CPT
Life Time Fitness
Registered & Licensed Dietitian/Weight Loss Coach
Certified Personal Trainer