What is the most important exercise for life and longevity?
Now this OPENS UP THE POSSIBILITY of a GREAT DEBATE— like Lincoln vs Douglas.
But I am going to narrow the query and focus on 1 specific situation I witnessed recently (as well as a personal challenge a few years ago)
PUSHUPS ? – Now I love Pushups and think they are a SUPERB Total Body Movement that is simple and easy.
But No Not PUSHUPS.
WALKING / RUNNING …How about walking / running ? Used properly these exercises can improve health and fitness and add to longevity. A daily 30 minute bout with either will burn between 250-500 calories, pump blood throughout the body, process sugars and fats and clear your “head”.
Again No Not Walking / Running.
Theses are both great and I recommend them highly but recent situations I witnessed ( and then started seeing a lot) made me think about the value of maintaining and increasing leg strength throughout life, especially as we age (51 here).
I witnessed 2 people – in the span of 3 hours-
A} Struggle to squat down to pick a grocery item from the bottom shelf and stand up
B} Step with 1 leg up on a small stool- reach a book on top shelf in the library. Their leg wasn’t strong enough to lift them.
Two years ago I broke a leg and after weeks of recovery my legs (the right especially) were too weak for me to do the above moves with the same ease as before.
There are 2 simple exercises [that will become easy with practice], and a third that is necessary to balance the new muscle growth.
Squats. Lunges and Good Mornings ( also known- Straight Leg Deadlifts):
SQUATS – Stand with feet armpit width and with eyes forward or upward squat down until thigh is parallel with floor [can do ½ or ¼ squats to begin with]
-can use a stool or chair as a target to help you stop smoothly without stressing your knees
-can also perform in a doorwayto use for balance/support
LUNGES-with feet at armpit width, Step forward with RIGHT foot- Approximately 2 feet(varies with height) – Slowly drop the Knee of the LEFT (rear) leg to the ground and return back up.
After completely the repetitions (Reps) with the RIGHT foot forward, Reverse feet and do for that leg.
STRAIGHT LEG DEADLIFTS– Stand with feet Shoulder width apart- with eyes facing forward and hands on the fron of your hips- bend forward at the waist and roll hands down your thighs to the ground-
Return up, without bending knees or back. Do this movement slowly.
This exercise stretches the glutes (butt) and lower back and Strengthens the hamstrings (back of the thighs) This is a necessary balance for safe stability.
The squats and lunges building lifting/ stepping/ climbing strength and the deadlifts add stability and balance.
Workouts can vary and be built up over time but a basic recommendation- Add to any current workouts- But 3 sets of each movement with varying numbers of reps but some possibilities
3 sets of 5-7 reps
Squat- Deadlift- Lunge…..Squat-Deadlift-Lunge……
3 SETS OF 9-12
3 SETS OF 15-20
Enjoy and happy legs…