Skip to main content

Essential Fitness Movement Patterns For Older Adults And Seniors

As we age, most of us would like to continue staying healthy, active and useful for as long as we live.

In order to do so, and to get the most benefits from our respective exercise programs - regardless whether we're in our 50s, 60s, 70s or even more - it is essential that we include the various foundational movement patterns in our exercise regimes.

These movement patterns are not only essential for our daily physical functions and for healthy living, they are also imperative to our quality of life, and possibly having a major impact on our eventual longevity as well.

The following are the basic movement patterns that the Human Body is capable of doing and which we - regardless of age - should all be actively training for:

1) Squat

Image of a squat movement at start positionimage of a squat movement at finish position.

This is the move that we use every time we transit from a sit to a stand position, and back from a stand to a sit position. It is one of the most basic and common movements that we do every day, from getting in and out of a chair to lifting groceries off the ground. To train for this movement pattern, include squats and their variations into your workouts, utilizing resistance tools such as light dumbbells, resistance bands, medicine balls or simply leveraging on just your own body weight.

2) Lunge

Image of a lunge leading with the right leg.Image of a lunge leading with the left leg
 
This is another functional move that we use daily whenever we walk, climb up and down stairs, and when stretching to pick things up from the floor. To train the muscles used in this move, include a variety of lunging movements in multiple planes throughout your fitness program, adding on appropriate resistance as and when needed or required.

3) Hinge

Image of a standing hinge being performed.Image of a hinge movement at completion.
 
Whenever we do a bend-over action in our daily lives, we are essentially doing a hinge movement. This movement involves our strong posterior chain muscles, which include the back, glutes and hamstrings. For seniors and older adults, this is one of the most important moves to master as it can dramatically reduce one's risk of low back pain and lower back injuries. Exercises such as deadlifts, kettlebell swings and glute bridges all work the muscles involved in the hinge.

4) Push

Image of a vertical push movement at the start positionImage of a vertical push action at the finish position.

Pushing movements are also found commonly in our daily physical activities. They can be divided into 2 main groups: horizontal pushing (eg. pushing a heavy sofa against a wall) and vertical pushing (placing an object onto a high shelf). Resistance exercises such as push-ups and shoulder presses (as seen above) are examples of horizontal and vertical pushing moves respectively.

5) Pull

Image of a horizontal pulling movement at the start position.Image of a horizontal pulling movement at the finish position.

Pulling movements are the exact counter-opposite of pushing movements. They are seen in day-to-day activities like: shutting a door from the inside a car, lifting a suitcase off the ground, or when lifting an object off a high shelf. To work the 'pulling muscles' in this movement pattern, use moves such as bent-over rows, upright rows, pull-ups and pull-downs in your strength-training workouts.

6) Rotate

Image of a rotational move to the rightImage of a rotational move to the left.

Rotation is another common function of the human body. Whenever we reach across our bodies, swing a golf club, wield a tennis racket, or simply twist to a side, we are using the rotational muscles of our core. To work this highly functional move, include some twisting and rotational exercises into your exercise routine.

7) Carry

Image of a carry movement at the start.Image of a carry movement at the finish

Carrying objects from one point to another - whether they are grocery bags, luggage, trash bags, potted plants, toolboxes etc - is also a fundamental part in most of our daily lives. This single movement involves not only our walking gait, but also calls into play our grip strength, core stability and a whole host of other muscle groups. It also challenges our capacity to perform physical work in the real-world. To train our bodies for such loaded carries, include exercises such as farmer's walk, suitcase carry and overhead carry into your workouts.

Conclusion

To stay functionally-fit, healthy and mobile as we age, it is essential that we include the various foundational fitness movement patterns into our workout routines.

For more personalized guidance and individualized instructions on the above, do feel free to contact me at the following:

www.RickWongFitness.com

www,Body-By-Rick.com




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Improvising Your Home Workouts With Common Household Objects

With the COVID-19 pandemic still wrecking havoc throughout the world, and with most commercial gyms and fitness facilities operating with severe capacity limitations and restrictions, more and more people are now turning to in-home workouts to meet their fitness needs. In fact, home workouts have become so popular in recent times that many stores carrying home-based fitness equipment have reported soaring sales, with even some having sold-out many of their most popular home fitness items!  For those of us who could not get our hands on any commercial home fitness equipment - either due to the current insane demand, or because of one's own budgetary constraints - fret not.  In this post, we're going to look at various common household objects found right within our homes that could easily be used to substitute traditional fitness tools, or even used as standalone fitness props by themselves. Without further ado, the following are some great alternatives and substitutes that

Home Workout Tips For Stay-At-Home Mums

Speak to most stay-at-home mums and you're bound to get the idea that MANY (if not most) have already given up on their dream of being able to fit in a regular exercise program into their weekly schedule, let alone attain a figure that is Lean, Toned and Attractive !  Indeed, having had the privilege and opportunity to work with many such home-based mums here in Singapore over the years (in my capacity as a Private Home Personal Trainer) , and having observed - first-hand - my wife's own stay-at-home child-care experience in the early formative years of my 2 kids, I can attest to the fact that it can indeed be a real challenge for many stay-home mums to even THINK of exercise, let alone DO it, when faced with the myriad of tasks they confront on a daily basis. Challenges Facing A Housewife Just think about this - the chores that every stay-at-home mum inevitably faces one day or another include: doing up the laundry, cleaning up the kitchen, vacuuming the house, was

Non-Running Cardio Drills For Older Adults And Seniors

Running has been around for a long time and is a popular cardiovascular exercise for many. However, for some mid-life, older adults and seniors in our midst, running may NOT actually be a suitable exercise nor a viable option for them. Common reasons cited by those who could not incorporate running into their exercise routines include: "running hurts my knees", "it's too vigorous", "it's so jarring on all my joints" to "it's too boring and monotonous" or perhaps even "my doctor says I should NEVER run at all because of my XYZ medical conditions" etc ... As valid as many of these reasons are, it does not remove the fact that such individuals are at risk of missing out on an important component of fitness - cardiovascular training - if they shy away from jogging/running and lack any substitute form of cardiovascular exercise for their bodies. As such, as a senior/older adult exercise specialist , I would usually recommen

Fitness Tips For Seniors And Older Adults

With the aging population here in Singapore and in many developed countries growing rapidly, staying healthy , active and vibrant as we age have become more crucial than ever before. Over the years, much has been said and proven about the benefits of daily physical activity and regular exercise to the physical, mental and even emotional well-being of our seniors and older adult population. Many of these benefits include, but are not limited, to the following:   increased energy levels ,   enhanced sleep ,   reduced stress levels ,   better weight management ,   reduced risk of chronic diseases ,  improved blood circulation , and decreased risk of falls . With these benefits in mind, coupled with governmental policies and campaigns, more and more seniors and older adults in our midst are now actively pursuing age-specific fitness programs and initiatives. Even those who have always been inactive have also begun seriously contemplating incorporating fitness into th

Fitness Mistakes Commonly Made By Mid-Life And Senior Adults

Most middle-aged and older adults are more than aware of the many health benefits that come with regular exercise and active living. These benefits include:  stronger muscles, ligaments and tendons,  better heart-&-lung health,  improved bone density,  enhanced balance, coordination and mobility, as well as  reduced risk of developing chronic diseases and ailments -including maladies like heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, stroke and various types of cancer. Thus, it is no wonder that more and more mature and senior adults are now actively pursuing age-specific fitness programs  more than ever before in our human history! As good as this may seem on the surface, unfortunately, there are also many in this population group who may actually be doing more harm than good to themselves by unknowingly committing various types of mistakes and errors in their own home exercise programs or outdoor fitness routines . The following will explore some of these commonly-seen fitness mistake

Hard Truths About Personal Trainers And The Fitness Industry

As a practising personal trainer and owner of a personal training business here in Singapore, I've been asked many times what it means and how it feels being part of the fitness community at large. Well, I can't speak on behalf of every single trainer or coach here in the country - as there are simply so many different trainers, contrasting training approaches, varied fitness niches, and diversification of fitness services across the industry today. More importantly, I'm sure every single trainer/coach out there would have his/her own personal and unique views regarding the profession too. Thus, for the purpose of this blog post, I would rather focus on what I - or rather, WE, of the personal training industry - are NOT . The following represents some of the most commonly-held myths and misconceptions about us - trainers and coaches - and my personal take on these issues, as well as the "hard truths" behind many of these assumptions: 1) We Are NOT &

The Greatest Fitness Lies Of All Time

Despite the massive slew of health & fitness information available to us in this Modern Era, many, unfortunately, are still falling prey to the same, old, myths, fallacies & lies surrounding fitness, training, exercise and nutrition. Sadly, these myths and misconceptions don't seem to be going away, and not only have greatly distorted people's notions of fitness and exercise, but have also led many to ineffective, harmful and potentially dangerous practices and lifestyles - all supposedly in the name of fitness. To address these concerns, I have listed some of the most persistent fitness lies and myths that I have encountered in my work as a fitness coach and personal trainer through all these years; and the TRUTHS behind them: 1) MYTH: I Need To Push Myself To the MAX Each & Every Single Workout Session In Order To Achieve My Fitness Goals. TRUTH: There is indeed a place and time for hard and intense workouts like HIIT , Tabatas, Plyometrics etc. Howeve

Outdoor Locations For Body-Weight Resistance Training

Call me bias - but when it comes to gym-free fitness training here in Singapore - I'm all for an OUTDOORS approach !!! Why? Well, firstly, Singapore has a pleasant all-year-round tropical climate that supports not only outdoor fitness training , but also all other outdoor physical and recreational activities. And also, with the slew of outdoor public parks, playgrounds and fitness corners scattered all over the island, I feel that it's an absolute waste not to utilize these facilities to the max. And finally, I personally feel that nothing comes quite close to the feeling of sheer joy and freedom of working-out in the Great Outdoors while basking in the bright sunshine and breathing in the crisp, fresh air! Frankly, over the years, though I've trained clients in almost any imaginable place: from home gyms to living-rooms, from garages to basements, and even attics and store closets (seriously!!!), NOTHING ever comes close to that feeling of pure exhilaration

Post Natal Fitness Training: Myths, Thoughts & Concerns

As a personal trainer and pre-post natal exercise specialist , a large part of my job scope involves  working with postpartum clients here in Singapore - helping them to re-gain their pre-pregnancy figures, re-condition their Core and to re-build their fitness levels. Journeying along with my female clients through this process, I can honestly say that it is both a rewarding and heartening experience for all involved, especially when we get to see - first-hand - the physical transformation of our clients gradually taking place right before our eyes. At the same time, via my interaction with the postpartum population through the years, it is also apparent that many myths and concerns that women have with regards to a Post Natal Fitness Programme still exist. Some of the more common ones are as follow: 1) I Must Wait At Least A MONTH Before I Can Do Any Sort Of Exercise! This is absolutely NOT true! And the sad thing is that there are still pockets of medical professional