An Exercise Bands Workout for Seniors
is a great alternative
to a traditional weight lifting program.
Weight training is fantastic. Using free weights (not part of a machine) has been recognized as the most functional strength training method.
The problem with free weights is, they take a lot a of space and are not easy to carry around to different locations.
Exercise bands workout for seniors get rid of that problem. AND, bands give the same kind of fantastic strengthening results.
Strength training (resistance training) is very important for us seniors. It enables us to "maintain independence in performing activities of daily life."
A LOT of seniors we know and have met while traveling, live full time, year round, in their mobile home.
Space is a real consideration here. You don’t really have a lot of extra room for a barbell and a few sets of dumbbells. Right?
An exercise bands workout for seniors is the perfect solution.
The bands take only a tiny space. You can get 3, 4, or 5 different strength exercise bands (more about this in a minute). After your workout, roll them up into about a 4 inch circle and tuck them in the corner of your dresser drawer.
That’s it! That’s your entire gym!
The cost? $15 - $35. For all 5 bands.
And, if you want a new instructor every week, what’s the cost?
Just do a computer search of “Exercise Bands Workout for Seniors” and you'll find dozens of Videos you can exercise along with.
The same holds true if you are in a small apartment.
Or, if you just want to be able to stay home on a rainy day and have a good workout right in your own living room without “decorating” your home with a lot of gym equipment.
An exercise bands workout for seniors at home requires no large unattractive equipment in your living space.
Exercise Bands are:
Plus: You can strengthen ALL your major muscle groups and build bone density
Pretty Great! Right?
An Exercise Bands Workout for Seniors feels different than other types of workouts. Even if you love your workouts with weights, exercise bands give us a pleasant change of pace.
This is one good reason to use them alternately with your other exercises.
Did you know that by using different types of exercises you develop the muscles in different ways? And, you don’t get bored doing the same things month after month after month.
And, did you know that boredom is the #1 reason seniors (and everyone else) stop exercising?
In addition to being as effective as more expensive equipment (and gym memberships) exercise bands give you all these other great benefits:
Exercising with bands forces you to keep a constant tension on the band while pulling on it.
This makes you use more of what are called “stabilizer muscles”. Stabilizer muscles are not a specific set of muscles. They are simply other muscles that are called into play to keep your hands moving where you want them to and not flying all around during the exercise movement.
With machines, the machine does this job. That’s why using machines is not as good for what is called functional strength development. That means, strength to do normal tasks.
And, machines will not help with balance or coordination.
Having to utilize stabilizing muscles helps develop better coordination and balance. Things that often diminish with age due to lack of practice.
This is a major benefit of using an exercise bands workout for seniors instead of machines.
Don’t let the light weight of the bands fool you. When you are pulling in them in your exercise bands workout for seniors, you are getting just as good and just as difficult a workout as when using dumbbells, barbells, and machines.
Just as dumbbells give a better workout for stabilizing muscles and balance than machines do, exercise bands force you to use and develop your stabilizing muscles and balance.
Many exercises can be done simply by holding the bands themselves in different positions. Or, placing the middle of the band under your feet.
If you want to secure them to your door so that you can do the best pulling motions for your upper back (strengthening and straightening posture) you can get a simple band door attachment for under five dollars.
The possibilities with exercise bands are endless.
We already discussed the importance of variety when exercising. This is where sometimes switching from your normal routine to an exercise bands workout for seniors can be a real help.
Remember: Variety doesn’t mean all kinds of things in one day. It means change up to different exercises as your mood or desires changes.
There is only one real rule with exercising: Exercise.
Just do something 4 or 5 days a week and you’re going to feel better. If you are doing “The Best Workout for Seniors IN THE WORLD”, but you quit doing it after a month or two, it’s not the best workout for you anymore.
So, do something else. An exercise bands workout for seniors gives us another wonderful option.
Yes, exercise bands are very inexpensive. You can get as many as you’ll need for the next two or three years for under $30.
Compare that to outfitting your home with free weights. About $200 - $500. Or a gym membership at $50 a month.
One of the nicest benefits of using an exercise bands workout for seniors is the exercise equipment (the bands) require only a tiny space when you put them away.
Compare that to all the floor space free weights take. Or, the massive space machines require.
If you’re living in that dream RV, you can get a major and wonderful workout with some of the very best exercise equipment for seniors and it will never get in your way.
You can also exercise anywhere you go. Outside. With some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
If you live in a small home or apartment, same thing. Finish your workout, roll up the exercise bands, tuck them in the corner of your dresser drawer, and, you’re all done!
Need to travel? Visit the grandkids for a week?
Tuck your bands in your purse or carry on and you’re all set. PLUS kids are fascinated by these things. They’ll want to use them with you.
Just because exercise bands are very light weight does not mean they give a light weight workout.
To the contrary. An exercise bands workout for seniors is as good as any other type of resistance exercise workout for seniors (weights, machines...). Almost anything you can do with free weights, you can do with exercise bands. AND, get the same workout intensity.
Even top athletes all over the world are using exercise bands workouts.
Never think you’re getting a crappy exercise routine just for old people with exercise resistance bands. To the contrary. You can get a workout as good as in any professional gym with your exercise bands workout for seniors.
Beginners, intermediate, and even advanced professional athletes (like the man in the picture) ALL use exercise bands.
You can buy exercise bands all over the place. Walmart, Target, sporting goods stores, etc….
You may, however, find your best buys on line.
Almost ALL bands are the same.
Everyone here likes the plain bands the best. Better than the ones with handles. The plain bands are the most versatile. They are easy to grip and hold on to. Especially if you wrap them around your hands.
You can get a full set, 3 to 5 bands (easy to very difficult) for under $30 on line.
Each tension level has a different color. So, it is very easy to remember what you have been using for each exercise.
Some exercises, like leg exercises, require more tension because your leg muscles are much stronger than your arm muscles. So, get a set of at least 3 bands. Light. Medium. Heavy.
A set of 5 gives you more options and won’t break the bank.
Bands last quite a long time. Mine usually go about 3 years before they need to be replaced. At that rate, you’re only spending about $10 - $12 a year on your equipment. NOT $600 on a gym membership.
Yes, we also want you to have an exercise ball to sharpen your balance, and dumbbells are great too.
So, you’re looking at a bit more. BUT, when you see how great you start to feel, you’re going to be thanking us! Just like the hundreds of other seniors who now enjoy an exercise bands workout for seniors. I know you will.
And, you only need about 20 minutes a day, 4 to 5 days a week to get all this goodness.
This is so VERY IMPORTANT when starting your exercise bands workout for seniors: Keep it Simple.
Once we seniors get back into exercising (or start exercising for the first time) we get all kinds of excited and soon want to buy everything there is.
KEEP IT SIMPLE.
If you have 5 exercise bands, you have plenty.
You don’t need all the handles and other gadgets.
Get plain strips. They look like this:
You’ll want to get one accessory. It's the door attachment.
Don’t panic! It’s under $5. It's the one you saw just above. It looks like this:
You just slip the round circle in the opening of your door and close the door. NOW, you can do all kinds of gym quality exercises like:
VIDEO (watch how he attaches the strap to the door)
Again, you don't need the bands wight the attached handles.
This is one of the most important for strong upper back muscles that create good posture.
And, many more....
I enjoy working out at the gym
I also enjoy doing my exercise bands workout for seniors AT HOME.
Workouts at home have many benefits:
It’s FREE. There are so many FREE on line videos and DVDs you can purchase to work out along with if you want some company. Working out with Videos and DVDs takes the loneliness out of home workouts.
You don’t need to use machines. You can get some if you want them. But, you don’t NEED them. Exercise bands alone can give you a full workout. Add some dumbbells and a balance ball and you are totally set!
Exercise bands, a balance ball, and free weights (some dumbbells) will do more to improve your balance and coordination than ALL the machines in the gym put together.
Do only 5 minutes of exercising the first few workouts.
Yes. That’s right. JUST 5 MINUTES. No more.
Let your body get used to this new adventure gradually.
Let yourself feel good the next morning. Wake up the next day excited about doing it again. NOT aching and feeling like a truck hit you last night.
For the first many months, or even forever, do JUST ONE SET of EACH EXERCISE. I know. So many videos and DVDs tell you to do 3 sets. That's too much in the beginning. And, I find it B O R I N G. After years of exercising, I still just use 1 set.
Are you planning on entering the Senior Olympics? No? Then, one (two if you must) sets will do just fine.
If you'd like a nice 5 minute Video for Seniors to exercise along with here's a really nice one from Mike:
You'll see he is using bands with loops on the ends. Like handles, these are not necessary, but if you like them, they are very easy to find on line.
STOP any exercise that causes pain. Immediately. Don’t finish the set. Just stop. Do something else. You don’t need every exercise in the book to get into great shape.
Rest at least one day between workouts. But, don’t rest more than two days.
If you go back to your workout after 2 days and don’t feel as strong as you did on the last workout, do a lighter easier workout. Just do some exercise.
Many of the greatest bodybuilders and athletes in the world use what is called the. “Light, Medium, Heavy System”. This means the workout after the Heavy one is light. The next one is Medium. Then Heavy again. In a constant rotation.
This system is also ideal when using an exercise bands workout for seniors.
This system gives the muscles plenty of time to recuperate and strengthen. It also does not let them get weaker from too much rest between exercising.
You may have already forgotten that the first workouts should only be 5 minutes.
Your first workout is going to be so much fun and filled with so much excitement that you’re going to want to do more. You're exercising. Feeling strong!! Alive! Another couple of exercises won’t hurt. Maybe 4 or 5 more. You’re an animal now! Grrrrr.….. The kiss of exercise death! Now, you’re going to do too much. You just are. We ALL do.
Well, it's fun and exciting.
BUT: Your body is just not used to it and it’s going to complain the next day.
But, that's OK. After you suffer for a few days after, you can start again with the right amount. And, this second exercise session (if done gently) will actually soothe the aching.
So, in the beginning, do LESS than you think you should. Much less. End the workout by feeling like you could have done more. Maybe a lot more.
If you feel great the next morning, make the next workout a bit harder.
If you feel mildly uncomfortable the next morning, you’ll be sending me blessings for this bit of advice.
If you feel like absolute garbage the next morning and are trying to remember the truck that hit you,… you did waaaay too much! Rest a couple of days and start again.
Pick just four or five exercises to start. That's ALL. Do only one set of each until it stops feeling good.
That’s enough to start.
You can always add more later as you get stronger and as your body gets used to exercising.
1) Make Progress Slowly
The biggest mistake most seniors (and most younger people) make when getting started is they: do too much too soon.
THEN we fell terrible for the next two or three days and never want to go back again.
Make progress slowly.
Did you know that 80% of people who buy a “Lifetime Membership” to a gym go 4 (yes only four) times and then quit!
So, start your exercise bands workout for seniors doing something simple and pretty easy. Something that feels like you didn’t do enough. Then, you’ll be on the right track. And, you’ll be excited about your next workout session.
2) Do a Little Less
As seniors, we recuperate more slowly than younger people. So, we need to do a bit less and rest a bit more in between workouts.
Most exercise programs have you exercising 3 to 5 days a week. Four or five days is ideal. BUT, you have to be able to rest your muscles and have them regenerate fully AND build some strength before you exercise again. Or, you won’t feel good.
So, especially in the beginning, do a little less than you think you should. You’ll recuperate better. You’ll thank me for this advice later….
3) Use The LIGHTEST Resistance First
As you learned already, most exercise bands come in different strengths. From light to strong. Get the two lightest/easiest bands to start with. Use the lightest first. Then the second lightest. Then use them both at the same time for a stronger workout. You can buy more later as you need them.
Again, don’t worry if it feels too easy at first. You want to enjoy your exercise. You want to feel better and stronger from it. NOT get beaten up by it.
4) Warm Up First
Warm muscles and joints are far less likely to be hurt.
How do you warm them up? Any light overall movements will do. 5 - 10 minutes is usually enough. That’s as long as your first workouts are going to be. Right? But, it’s important to warm up first.
What’s the most fun way to warm up? Dancing! All by yourself. Put on some nice rhythmic music that you like. Then: Groove to your favorite tunes. Nice and easy. Just get everything loosened up, moving and feeling nice. This also gets us in a good mood if we need a lift.
5) Rest and Recover
After you exercise, your muscles need to rest, recover, and rebuild. Even if you are only beginning and doing light exercise. Your body needs to get used to recovering.
After you exercise you have more waste products in your muscles. Some worn tissue. It takes time for this to flush out and recover and rebuild. The older we are, the more time it takes.
Here’s something you probably didn’t know: Did you ever see those bodybuilders with the gigantic muscles. They look stronger than Goliath! Right?
Did you know that they don’t exercise the same group of muscles more than once a week? That’s what gives those muscles time to grow. Yes, they exercise daily. BUT, one day is legs. The next arms. The next back. The next shoulders…. See?
These are some of the strongest men in the world. And, they know the importance of rest for the muscles.
That doesn’t mean lay in bed and do nothing. It just means only do normal daily things when you are not exercising and give each group of muscles at least a full day of rest between workouts.
None of us is ever going to be as big as those guys. And, I don’t think any of us want to be. The whole point is, especially in the beginning, you need plenty of time for your muscles to get ready to workout again. That’s how they get stronger.
Even the lion in the wild will run like crazy to catch a gazel. That’s some major exercising.
After he eats it, he’ll lay around for 2 or 3 days like a lazy house cat to rest and digest. We need to do the same.
This is a concept that is hard to understand and put to use in the beginning because, in the beginning, we don’t really know the difference.
It’s a feel and experience thing. So, you’re going to make some mistakes in the beginning while you are learning. That’s OK. Everybody does.
The right amount of exercise will make you feel used. NOT abused.
If you are comfortably tired after your workout, but feel refreshed and decently good the next morning, you’re on the right track.
If you’re drop dead exhausted and feel like a bus ran you over when waking up the next morning, that’s abused. You over taxed.
The hard part in the beginning is we have so much enthusiasm and desire that we work too hard. That’s why I keep saying, “do a little less than you think is enough”. It’s going to feel like you did more in the morning.
Variety is the spice of life. Right?
The same holds true with exercising.
Exercise bands, weights, machines, Dancing, walking, ping pong, badminton,…. NOT all in the same day! Different things on different days.
It’s definitely OK to do the exact same exercises for six weeks or so. But, you’ll get “stale”. Like stale bread. You’ll know exactly what I mean when this happens.
The exercises become no fun. You put off the session. You get really bored. Our even a bit angry at the whole process… STALE.
That’s the day to try something different.
Do you have a favorite wine? Or, ice cream?
It’s fun to talk about that with your best friends. Right? But, what if that was ALL you ever talked about with them, EVERY time you spoke? STALE. Boring. Annoying. Pure torture after a while. You’d stop seeing them.
An exercise bands workout for seniors is the same thing.
Talk about wine, ice cream, your husbands, the grandchildren, a new TV series, a great new recipe, your last vacation, traveling….. Fun! Right.
The same with your exercise workouts. Switch them up. Regularly. Frequently. Use different equipment (exercise bands, dumbbells, balance balls, elliptical machines….) and different physically fun things (dancing, walking, yoga….) and you’ll always have a good time.
Sometimes you only need to do an exercise in a different way and it feels real good again.
Too much information??
You don’t have to get it all at once.
Here's all you need to know to get started with a good exercise bands workout for seniors:
Pick just 4 or 5 exercise movements for your first exercise bands workout for seniors. Any 4 or 5 you you like. In the beginning, it doesn’t matter which ones.
Just no more than 5.
ANY exercises you think look good. Ones that look fun. Or, ones that seem easy and doable.
Do nothing else the first 2 weeks.
Have fun with these first short 5 minute workouts.
As you feel stronger, and the desire, ad one or two more.
As the months pass, add more exercises. Do more repetitions. Change the movements you do all together. DON”T do the same thing month after month after month. You’ll get bored, burn out, and quit.
With your exercise bands workout for seniors, keep having fun with each workout. Keep having fun with whatever exercises, sports, physical activities you choose to do. That’s the key.
May You Have a Stronger Happier Tomorrow! ~ William, Fiona, and Charlotte