I taught Senior Strength & Balance class today, where my senior friends ranged from about 60 to 91.
My class format included stretching in our chairs at the beginning, followed by
and then a mix of cardio, dance, and hand weight exercises, followed by cool down and seated stretches once again.
Why do I call lunges “obligatory?”
I consider them essential because of their benefits to us, regardless of age.
When the forward knee is bent, and the other foot is stretched far enough back that the heel is lifted, both legs benefit from stretching and strengthening.
The front leg strengthens the quadriceps (the four powerful muscles in the front of the thigh) and the back leg stretches the hip flexors, vital to maintaining a full stride.
Remember Tim Conway’s hilarious little old man character, taking tiny steps, as he slowly shuffled across a room?
It’s still hilarious to me, but not really funny if we end up walking like that! And that’s possible if we don’t stretch our hip flexors!
We could lose our normal gait and pace if we aren’t mindful.
Practicing lunges regularly could make the difference in getting yourself up again after a fall.
We need to strengthen the quadriceps (quads).
Those large muscles support and stabilize your knees.
Even if you crawl to a chair for assistance (which can be very smart), you need quad strength to lift your body back to upright.
So, like it or not, if you’re in one of my classes, we’re going to do some lunges, because we ALL need them!
And besides, I do want YOU to stay independent!
Can you get up and down from the floor? If not, get started with your lunges!
Can you do a lunge every time you are at the kitchen sink? It’s a great place to hold on!
Can you attach your new lunge “habit” to another habit that’s already ingrained, like brushing your teeth, so you can more easily remember to practice?