on December 14, 2013 - 12:01 AM
Kathy Corff Rogers, a certified group fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Center, encourages everyone who exercises to keep workouts safe and pay attention to good form.
She also insists that age is no barrier.
“Even if you start when you’re 70, it’s going to be a benefit,” Rogers said. “Getting into Silver Sneakers or any type of yoga or low-impact aerobics is going to help with everything from your mood to your longevity to your fitness.”
Rogers teaches Silver Sneakers exercises classes for seniors twice a week at the JCC Holland Family Building on Delaware Avenue, as well as classes entitled Cardio, Sweat and Sculpt, and Tighten Up, Stretch it Out.
Below is her home workout plan, along with other exercise tips.
Multitasking at home
“Warm up your body by vacuuming, sweeping, making beds, carrying laundry up and down stairs for about 5 to 10 minutes,” recommended Rogers, who has led fitness classes at the JCC for 28 years. “This way your conscience is clear knowing you’ve completed something on your list.
“Find a space, turn on the music that energizes you and begin to march or jog lightly in place. Make sure you keep breathing – in through your nose, out through your mouth.”
16 counts each of the three following aerobic combos:
• March and lift your knees with arm curls
• Front kicks with arms up to the ceiling
• Stand tall and lift knee to meet opposite elbow
• 20-30 squats: Widen your stance, turn toes and knees out, tuck your pelvis slightly. Sit back so your knees do not go over your toes. Keep the knees bent slightly, even when you push the feet into the floor and squeeze the glutes on the way up.
• Repeat another 32 counts of march or jog and 16 counts of three aerobic combos.
• Work the arms: Grab soup cans or a pair of 3- to 5-pound free weights for bicep curls, tricep kick backs, upright rows, overhead pull downs, side-to-side using core and obliques.
• Core work on the floor: Basic curls and crunches, planks – if you’ve been trained in proper alignment.
Take time for yourself during the holidays. Put in earbuds – a helpful way to tune out household noise – and listen to your favorite music or sounds and breeeaaathe; focus on equal counts of in and out breaths. Relax your neck and shoulders while sitting tall. Get away from the rest of the household and just sit. Even 10 minutes will refresh you.
And work out in sneakers on a wood or tile floor. “Carpeting is the worse thing in the world if you’re doing aerobics,” Rogers said. “If you’re standing still and doing weights and stretching that’s fine, but if you have to move from side to side, sneakers catch.”
Other exercise tips:
• Warm up your muscles and the blood in your body before stretching. This holds true for runners, as well. Walk, jog, run for 5 to 10 minutes, then do your stretches. Aerobics and Fitness Association of America now recommends stretching after group fitness cardio aerobic routines.
• Most important, throughout workouts, keep those core muscles engaged. Pull the belly toward your spine. Learn how to breathe and keep your shoulders relaxed. Practice.
• Keep your chin off your chest when doing abdominal exercises.
• During any workout, with or without weights, use your muscles “mindfully.” Think about the action, think pull and push as the muscles work. Remember, you are in control of your arms and legs. Make them move with purpose while keeping your core tight and strong.
• Throughout your exercise routine, keep your shoulders down and away from your ears. Avoid “scrunching” your neck and shoulders together. Elongate your neck, keep the top of your head toward the sky, and keep your chin parallel to the ground and very, very slightly tucked.
• Keep your shoulders wide by using your collarbones, not the shoulder blades, pulling toward your spine. Try to relax your back muscles and think “wide” across your chest.
• Learn to tilt your pelvis very slightly to eliminate any overarching of your back – just enough to maintain a “neutral” position with your spine.
• As you keep all these tips in mind, also think about unlocking your knees and elbows. Keep them in a “soft” (slightly bent) position when using weights or doing squats. Avoid stress to your joints whenever possible.
• Make sure the back of the hand aligns with your arm when using free weights. Do not tilt the wrist. • If you feel the need to stretch your neck, only roll your neck to the side and the front, never to the back, which will compress the nerves in the spine.
• Flex your foot and lean forward to stretch hamstrings.
• Stand up and reach behind to hold on to your ankle, bring it toward your glutes to stretch quads.
• Roll your shoulders to the back.
• Reach up to ceiling and stretch with nice, deep breaths.
• On the floor, on your back, reach your arms above your head along the floor and stretch your legs with flexed feet.
• Hug your knees to chest and stretch with your arms under the knees.
• Roll ankles each direction, then point, flex feet.
• Widen arms along the floor, knees to chest, roll hips side to side.
• Stretch out the body once again and rest for one minute – quietly!
• Bring your body up to squat position, roll up half way.
• Hold onto your elbows, hang for hamstring stretch.
• Bend knees and roll all the way up.
• Roll your shoulders backward.
• Take deep breaths in through your nose, out through your mouth.
When you walk in to that holiday party, top of the head is to the ceiling, shoulders are down away from your ears, collarbones open the shoulders, core muscles are pulling in tight – and you are able to breathe and hold a conversation. You now own the room.