Building and Maintaining Muscles and Strength in the Upper Body
As with lower body strength, the same rules apply when it comes to upper body strength. Regular resistance training is crucial.
The NHS specifically advises adults over the age of 65 to do activities that improve strength at least 2 days per week.
Increased lower body strength is great for walking and getting around whereas increased upper body strength helps with so many everyday activities such as cooking and gardening. The combination of both increased upper body and lower body strength should be the ultimate goal as they complement each other perfectly.
Here are 2 simple exercises that will help develop and maintain upper body strength and mobility.
Regular push ups are a tough exercise for even seasoned gym goers but wall push-ups are a more manageable version that anyone can do.
Stand and face a wall so that the palms of your hands are flat against it with your arms outstretched in front of you. Gently bend at the elbows so that your head moves towards the wall whilst the rest of your body remains straight. As you come forward you will move onto your tiptoes. Go to a comfortable depth and straighten your arms again to complete the rep.
You can try doing this for multiple reps (between 5 and 10 is great). You'll soon feel the fatigue in your arms and shoulders as your upper body muscles work to complete each rep.
Top tip: If you don’t have enough strength to push back to the starting position then try walking your feet a little closer to the wall to reduce the angle of your body.
This is a great mobility exercise that also gets the heart rate going as well.
Simply put on and take off your coat and repeat for the desired amount of reps. Doing this 10 times in row will challenge your cardiovascular fitness, mobility and upper body strength. It's surprising how difficult it is to keep raising your arms in order to get them into the sleeves. As you get fitter and stronger you can put something in the coat pockets to add some weight (and therefore the resistance). An apple in each pocket works well but get creative and use whatever works. A couple of tins of beans or a few packets of boil-in-the-bag rice also works well.
The other great thing about this exercise is that it's easy to remember to do it. Next time you're heading out and put your coat on, take it off again and repeat 5 times before you leave the house (or do it when you get back in).
I hope you find these exercises useful. Please do get in touch if you have any questions or requests.
If you missed our previous blog on lower body exercises (or want to read it again) you can click here to view it.
Please be aware, this is just general advice from me. I am not acting in an official health professional capacity.
Don’t forget to consult with your doctor before embarking on any type of new exercise regime just as a safety precaution.