Chair exercises are probably one of the least threatening forms of exercises you can do.They are also one of the cheapest because you need a chair and you can fancy it up with resistance bands. Something is always better than nothing. These exercises are good for older people to get started and for those who don’t think they like exercise. Something is better than nothing. There are plenty of these chair exercises on YouTube and so you can pick the routines you like and learn some of the moves. Great for those people who are stuck all day sitting at their desk to complete work. 5 minutes of chair exercises and they will feel like they are in better shape already. All that sitting is hard on the body and a few well thought out exercises will keep the body in condition. Chair exercises are especially good for core strength. They are also good for working on leg exercises.You can use the rubber resistance bands and what a difference they can make. Such a simple exercise aid and yet they make such a difference to developing muscle tone and adding resistance training to the exercises. Chair exercises are less intrusive on your time, too. If you are time poor they are a good way to keep in shape without feeling guilty because you don’t have time for a gym, basketball teams or walking.
It is never too late. There are lots of strength training programmes now and many are based on decent research to show the benefits of strength training for older people. Not all of them are gym centred. Some are chair exercise classes and others are strength training around simple props like the stretchy bands. It makes a difference. It means older people are taking control of their health.It means they are stronger and more mobile. They are more comfortable walking around and doing their daily tasks and some are even participating in marathons and high level sporting activities. The research being done has provided solid information as to the benefits but it has also looked at the best ways to help older people engage in strength training. COTA is one of the organisations which offers strength training classes for older people. Older people need to keep their muscle tone and bone density. They need to keep their flexibility and balance. All these things are achievable with help and proper guidance and it is making life for older people more independent and positive.
Germany has things called Schuttberge. They are made of all the rubble from World War II. The bombing was so severe and the subsequent rubble was so profuse, the Germans had to think their way out of it. There was nowhere to put it. Much of the rubble has been turned into Schuttberge. There is one called the Birkenkopf in Stuttgart. It is a place for people to get outside in the fresh air, to walk and ride trails and then to reflect on the meaning of war. It’s both a place to relax and operate as a memorial. You can read about the Schuttberge at Spiegel online. Why am I telling you this? Because I have been thinking about all the plastic, much of which will not break down. I blogged about how Adidas is recycling ocean plastic into sneakers – will they break down when their life is finished? Then there is much on the internet about the plastic bricks which may or may not be a fire hazard. People are thinking and we need to keep thinking. Plastic would be an insulator. Can plastic rubble not be turned into landscaping or safe building material somehow? Bike trails, parks, mazes, hills, waterproofing ? Could we not use all this plastic and turn it into something good like they have in Germany? Would it be suitable to stop degradation around beach and river areas? Could it be used to fill areas which actually need filling? Would it be safe? We need the scientists and environmentalists in on this. They would know what is feasible and what isn’t. Could it be used to build coral reefs? I feel sure now we need to get rid of plastic unless we can invent one that is safe for the environment. With war we do destroy the environment but we are doing that knowingly now just by daily living. We need to change our ways but we also need to work out a safe way to upcycle the things we cannot recycle. For the next while, at least, until we get smarter, we need to focus as much on upcycling as recycling.
Yet another example of age being a mirage.Older people are repackaging themselves and redesigning their purpose in life. Deshun Wang expresses it beautifully : he has spent his whole life preparing for this. Stereotyping is restrictive and constrictive for anyone and any group. It is great to see older people just being and if they are the ones who will free us of ageism then they are serving a great purpose in life.
Sister Madonna Buder is Nike’s new Unlimited Youth face and this is the ad. She started running in her 40s and has now become the Iron Nun because she can succeed in the Iron Man challenges. There are other videos of her on You Tube. She works hard, she is very clear that making the effort is what gets you there. She learned you cannot always succeed but just making the effort would get her to go where she wanted. As an 86 year old she is a great role model for anyone. She is showing that older people can be just as impressive and inspiring as younger people. She is rewriting the belief that old people need to limit themselves. Nike has taken it one step further to show that youth, in fact, is a state of mind and a lifestyle choice. Being active works. Putting yourself out there works. Looking after your mind, body and spirit works.