Using your mind while you move your body is the key to strength
by Susan Manning
Walking upstairs, getting out of the chair, crossing the road before the light changes, putting a box up on the shelve or simply playing with your grandchildren: these are things we may do on a daily basis and are functional movements we often perform without any thought.
An exercise program that includes functional training incorporating balance, movement and strength will help you to perform your daily activities with better ease and more confidence.
Simple exercises such as step-ups performed properly will create better strength in the hip and legs.
- The first step is to engage your Core muscles (give a little cough to remind you what you are trying to tighten).
- Make sure you have a full foot placement on the step.
- Think about the muscles you are using, research has proven that you will contract more muscle fibers just by thinking about it. Legs (quadriceps, hamstrings) and Buttocks (gluteus maximus, medius, minimus).
- As you step back down the movement must be controlled, careful not to just drop down….control.
- As you get stronger and need more of a challenge try stepping onto a wobble pad (with something close by to hold onto).
Doing movements that you perform on a daily basis with thought about engaging your core muscles and thinking about the muscles that are being worked will enhance your movement patterns, strength and ability to perform that movement with better ease and control.
About the Author: Susan Manning is a BCRPA TFL, ACE, ACSM, TWIST certified Advanced Health & Fitness Specialist in BC. She is Dr. Carolyn Anderson’s co-author of It’s Never Too Late To Be Fit, a comprehensive guide for seniors’ fitness.