Strength to power your body and your day
Paths for All trainer Vivienne McNiven tells us that, if you want to get and remain active and independent, you need to do Strength and Balance
As part of the Paths for All training team, I have the pleasure of delivering Strength and Balance training. We need strength so that we can get out of our chairs, stand up, perform activities of daily living and repeat movements such as walking. Balance is needed so that when we stand up, we remain upright and that we can navigate uneven surfaces without falling or tripping over.
You can do your strength and balance activity at home, in your garden or, if you are going out for a walk, try exercises outdoors. I do my S&B when I’m in the kitchen waiting for the tatties to boil! That way I can use the worktop for support. The key to building strength is that when you are doing the movements, do them slowly and make sure you can feel the muscles working.
Build up gradually and only do what feels right for you. If you are working on strength and balance you don’t need to do it every day, try for twice a week. Strength and balance activities help you to get fitter but also to stay active. Being stronger lets you do more for longer. Strength helps prevent injury and is used to help as part of injury recovery.
Remember ‘Some is good, more is better’ so whatever you like to do, give it a try. Walking is a great way to start getting some more physical activity into your daily life. You choose a comfortable pace for you and how long you can manage. If you have been stuck indoors, going for a walk is a great way to reconnect with the outdoors but also to see and chat to other people.
If you are working from home or not getting out much, you can feel that your timings are all over the place, and your day has little structure. Let’s build in regular wee activity breaks. Do some strength and balance and go for short walks.
Our bodies are designed to move and don’t like it when we don’t.
We all know how important moving is to reduce our sitting time and to give us multiple health benefits, however until recently, we didn’t realise how important strength and balance was to remaining independent throughout our lives. Our bodies respond to activity quickly, so this means we can build strength at any age and feel fitter.
If you want to learn more about Paths for All’s Strength and Balance resources, or find out about recommended physical activity guidelines, visit http://www.pathsforall.org.uk/strength