For starters, look in your pantry and grab two items of equal weight, such as two cans of tomatoes or two bags of rice. Choose objects that you can lift 10 times with some effort – 500 grams or 1kg is a good start.
Also make sure the objects are easy to grip. Avoid glass jars.
Next find a broom handle or a walking stick. Anything over 1.2m will work. Again, it has to be easy to grip. Of course, if you already have some small free weights at home, use them.
(By the way, these are called free weights because your body is free to move as it needs to when completing an exercise. This is in contrast to rowing machines or other gym equipment that puts your body in a fixed position.)
Free weights require more stabilisation from you. More muscles are engaged and this is good news. So, let’s start with the broomstick and pantry routine:
Side Stretches: Hold the broomstick over your head and bend to the side until you feel a strong stretch. Check that you are in line with your body and not leaning forward or back. Hold the stretch position for 15 seconds. Repeat 10 times slowly.
Squats: Holding the broomstick at arm’s length, squat down, being sure to keep your knees over your feet and not in front of them. Hold the squat position for 10 seconds then come up and repeat for 10 times.
This exercise will strengthen the muscles around your knees and improve the fluid circulation in that area.
The stick helps you balance. Squats are a very functional exercise. They will help you with bending down in the garden and getting into those low kitchen cupboards.
Lateral raises with rice: This exercise will strengthen and shape your shoulders. Stand with your feet in a comfortable stance. Hold a rice bag or can in each hand. Lift each arm until it is parallel with the floor. Do this slowly and engage your core. Lower your arms in a controlled movement. Watch your back doesn’t tense up. Repeat 10 times.
Bicep curls with rice: Stand comfortably. Hold your weight in each hand with your forearms parallel to the floor. Slowly bend your elbows so that your wrists come close to your shoulders. Slowly lower your weights again.
This exercise strengthens your core muscles and your arms, making everyday activities more manageable. All of these exercises can be done with 10 repetitions and three sets.
The exercises are of a general nature. Go slowly and stop if you experience pain.
Tristan Hall is an exercise physiologist at Full Circle Wellness. Visit fullcirclewellness.com.au