Chair Based Exercise - Later Life Training

Chair Based Exercise - Later Life Training
Southern Cambridgeshire Falls Prevention Service
Chair Based Exercise
By Simon Hanna & Annette Norman
1
This book is dedicated to the memory of
Edith Olive Anthony Checkland
Introduction
This booklet contains exercises aimed at older people
who wish to either maintain or increase their
independence.
Research has shown that many of the exercises can
help to strengthen muscles and bone. Stronger
muscles make every day activities such as washing,
dressing, shopping or doing house work easier and less
of a strain. You are less likely to injure your self doing
everyday activities, stronger muscles help to improve
balance and walking. There are exercises included that
will help to improve your circulation which in turn will
help to lessen cramp and help to keep you warmer.
2
BENEFITS OF EXERCISE
PROBLEM I
EXERCISE CAN HELP BECAUSE
WHAT YOU WILL NOTICE
• Improves stamina and muscle
power
• Removes waste quicker
• Stimulates circulation to all
organs including the brain
• Lose weight
It is easier to move from place
to place
Helps lower cholesterol level, stress
hormones and muscle tension
• Helps lower blood pressure
• Keeps the heart muscle strong
• Aids circulation and helps blood
and body fluids to move
Feel better, more energetic
OVERWEIGHT
• Burns more calories and
replaces inactive fat with muscle.
• Increases muscle mass
Muscles burn calories even
when you sleep, so losing weight
and keeping it down is easier
SWOLLEN FEET
• The movement of muscles
massages veins so blood and fluids
return from the feet.
Reduces swollen ankles and
feet.
Walking becomes easier
HAVE OR WANT
TO AVOID
NO ENERGY
LAZY
SHORT OF
BREATH
HIGH BLOOD
PRESSURE
HEART ATTACK
HEART DISEASE
STROKE
Feel less sluggish
More energy for day-to-day
activities
Feel less dizzy
Prevents ankle swelling, blood
clots, leg ulcers and foot pain
3
OSTEOPOROSIS
• Muscle pulling on bone
stimulates bone growth, making
bones stronger and less likely to
break
STANDING OR WEIGHT BEARING FOR
4 HOURS A DAY HELPS
ARTHRITIS
CANCER:
Breast, colon,
prostate
KIDNEY
DISEASE
Less likely to break a bone if
you fall
Less pain
Better posture helps prevent
falls
• Stronger muscles help to hold
the joints in correct position so
there is less wear and tear on
them
• Moving joints helps to “nourish”
them and keeps a good range of
movement.
Less wear and tear on joints
means less PAIN
You will be able to keep doing
things for yourself: (wash hair, do
• Burns fat, which stores
carcinogens
• Gets rid of waste quicker
More regular bowel movement
Feel more comfortable in the
abdomen
Burning fat helps to lose weight
• Lowers blood pressure and
blood sugars so less risk to kidneys
• Being upright helps kidneys to
drain
• Stimulates circulation and thirst
• Removes body waste and drug
“left overs”
Kidney infections can cause
backache and a general feeling of
lethargy.
• Will feel thirsty, Increased thirst
increases fluid intake, = increased
urine flow, flushing kidneys and
decreasing the chance of
stagnation, infections and stones
up buttons, put own shoes on, walk more
easily and safely)
Feel more lively and energetic
CAN’T SLEEP AT
NIGHT
NIGHT VISITS
TO THE LOO
• Using the body during the day
will help muscles relax and rest at
night
• Helps fluid circulate from legs to
kidneys during the day rather than
at night
Getting a better night’s sleep
will aid restful sleep, helping you
to feel more alert and energetic on
waking
4
CONSTIPATION
BLOATING
• Stimulates circulation and colon
activity
• Decreases need for medicines
Feel more energetic
Feel more comfortable
Less wind to deal with
D EPRESSED
• Exercise releases endorphins,
“feel good” chemicals in the brain
which help you to feel cheerful and
positive
• Lose weight
• Tone up muscles
Release of endorphins helps you
to feel happy and alert
May not need medicine or so
many
Toning the body and losing
weight will make you look better,
clothes fit better.
Have more self esteem.
LOW BACK PAIN
• Improves abdominal muscle
tone
• Improves posture
• Prevents constipation and
bloating which stresses muscles
causing pain
Better posture and good
abdominal muscles will help
prevent back pain and make you
feel better about yourself
Good posture helps in
preventing trips and falls
U RINARY
• Stimulates muscle tone and
thirst, which stimulates urine flow
• Stronger deep abdominal
muscles will also mean stronger
pelvic floor muscles
• Fear of drinking goes. Drinking
more will stop dehydration which
causes headaches and lethargy
• Moving easier so no delay in
toileting, will prevent infection and
overfilling
The deep abdominal muscles
work together with the pelvic floor
muscle which will make it easier to
control the urge to urinate
Less fear of accidents
happening
Less headaches, feel more
energetic
• Exercise increases strength,
flexibility and balance.
• Encourages better posture and
body alignment
• Decreases wear and tear
• Decreases chance of falls and
injury
More confident to move about
Less pain if muscles are
stronger
Everyday tasks become easier
and therefore less tiring, so more
energy and “verve”.
D ON’T LIKE THE
WAY I LOOK
INCONTINENCE
I NJURY
5
CHANGE BEHAVIOUR FIRST,
ATTITUDE WILL FOLLOW
THE MORE ONE SITS THE WEAKER AND MORE
FRAIL ONE BECOMES
USE IT OR LOSE IT!
6
It is important that before you start an exercise programme you speak
to your Doctor especially if you could answer YES to any of the
flowing:
• Have you at any time been told you have heart trouble or you
are being treated for a heart condition?
• Have you had a heart attack in the last 3 years?
• Have you had any chest pains while at rest or during exertion?
• Do you have dizzy spells?
• Do you have fast, slow or irregular heart beats?
• Do you have uncontrolled high blood pressure?
• Have you had diabetes for more than 10 years?
• Have you had any shortness of breath after mild exertion, at rest
or even at night in bed?
• Have you recently broken any bones?
• Do you have any joint problems?
• Do you ever get pain in your buttocks, back of your legs, thighs
or calves when walking?
• Do you have swollen ankles, feet or hands?
• Do you take Diuretics?
• Have you had more than one fall in the last year?
• Have you been inactive for more than 3 years and are over 65?
If you answer YES or DON’T KNOW to any of the following
questions you can make an appointment to see your doctor and may
want to discuss a cause of action.
7
Fall Problem Identification
Have you had a fall in the last year?
Y N
Y N
Y N
YES / NO
If yes: Did you hurt yourself or need to call a doctor?
YES / NO
Were you able to summon help?
YES / NO
Are you able to do the things you used to, prior to the fall?
YES / NO
Have you broken any bones as the result of a fall?
i.e. from standing height or below (not from a ladder)
YES / NO / DON’T KNOW
Is there a family history of osteoporosis?
(e.g. maternal hip fracture)
YES / NO / DON’T KNOW
Have you ever been prescribed systemic steroids
for longer than 3 months?
YES / NO / DON’T KNOW
Blood Pressure
When did you last have your blood pressure checked?
Have you had a check for POSTURAL HYPOTENSION?
(when lying to standing blood pressure is checked)
Are you on 4 or more medications? YES / NO
When did you last have a review of your medications by your GP?
8
SECTION 1
Warming Up/Get
Moving
It is important that before you start doing any of the
exercises that you are 'warm'. This involves
movements that will help to promote your circulation
and warm your muscles and joints.
9
Sitting Posture/Posture check
• Sit towards the front of the chair so that there is a gap between your
back and the back of the chair.
• Make sure that your feet are flat on the floor and they are not
tucked back under the chair. Your ankles should be directly below
your knees.
• Feet and Knees should be hip width apart.
• Try to lengthen your spine so that you feel yourself growing taller.
Imagine a piece of string attached to the top of your head keeping
your neck long and your ribs lifted away from your hips.
• Try to pull your navel back towards spine
(this will help to support your back and improve your posture).
• Chin should be parallel to the floor and you should try to look
straight ahead.
• Now breathe!
10
Exercise 1
Toe Taps
First check your posture
Tap your toes up and down at a speed that is comfortable for you.
Imagine you are tapping your toes to a lively piece of music.
Continue for about 20 – 30 seconds
Benefits
Improves circulation and warms the muscles around the ankles.
Improves walking
Can help to reduce swelling around the ankles
Alternatives
Do one foot at a time or tap your heels.
11
Exercise 2
Leg Marches
First check your posture
Lift alternate legs so that your feet lift about 2 inches from the floor at
a speed that is comfortable for you.
Imagine you are walking along at a brisk pace.
Continue for about 20 – 30 seconds
Benefits
Improves circulation and warms the muscles around the hips and
thighs.
Improves walking
Alternatives
Lifting alternate heels.
12
Exercise 3
Rowing
First check your posture
With your hands together reach out in front and pull your arms back to
one side and then the other.
Imagine you are paddling a canoe down the river.
Continue for about 20 – 30 seconds
Benefits
Improves circulation and balance.
Warms the muscles around the shoulders, chest and back.
Alternatives
Push and Pull.
13
Exercise 4
Chair Marching
First check your posture
Lift alternate legs so that your feet lift about 2 inches from the floor
and swing your arms forwards and back at a speed that is comfortable
for you.
Imagine you marching along at a brisk pace.
Continue for about 20 – 30 seconds
Benefits
Improves circulation and warms the muscles.
Improves walking and balance
Alternatives
Do just the arms or the legs.
14
SECTION 2
Mobility
These are exercises that involve gentle movements to
loosen and lubricate the joints.
This will help to improve your suppleness/flexibility.
15
Exercise 1
Shoulder Mobility
First check your posture
Start by lifting your shoulders up and down 4-5 times
Now gently bring them forwards then up, roll them back and down.
Imagine you are drawing a circle with the tip of your shoulder.
Repeat 4-5 times.
Benefits
Loosen and lubricates the shoulder joint which helps with reaching.
Helps to release tension and prevent round shoulders.
Improves posture.
Alternatives
Do one shoulder at a time.
16
Exercise 2
Leg Mobility
First check your posture
Straighten one leg at a time placing your heel gently on the floor then
bend and repeat on the other leg.
Repeat 4-5 times
Benefits
Loosens and lubricates the knee joints.
Helps to improve balance and walking
Alternatives
Do all on one side before changing.
17
Exercise 3
Side Bends
First check your posture
Gently bend to one side keeping your head and neck in line with your
spine.
Imagine you are sliding between two panes of glass so that you can
not lean forwards or back.
Return to the centre (pause for a second to check your posture) and
repeat on the other side.
Repeat 4-5 times to each side.
Benefits
Loosens and lubricates the spine which helps with reaching down to
pick things up from the floor.
Helps to improve balance.
Alternatives
Hold onto the chair
18
Exercise 4
Ankle Mobility
First check your posture
Place your heel on the floor with your toe pointing up towards the
ceiling – now try to put your toe on the same spot and lift your heel.
Repeat 4-5 times
Benefits
Loosens and lubricates the ankles.
Helps to improve walking.
Can help to reduce swelling around the ankles
Alternatives
Keeping the foot flat on the floor – lift the toes first and then the heels.
19
Exercise 5
Waist Twists
First check your posture
Slowly turn your upper body and head to one side and gently look
behind you.
Return to the centre (pause for a second to check your posture) and
repeat on the other side.
Repeat 4-5 times to each side.
Benefits
Loosens and lubricates the spine which helps with reaching and looking
behind you.
Helps to improve balance.
Alternatives
Hold onto the chair.
20
SECTION 3
Muscle Warming
This is to make sure your muscles are warm and ready
for stretching.
Repeat the Get Moving exercises from SECTION 1
but for slightly longer (30 – 40 seconds) and a bit more
vigorously.
21
SECTION 4
Stretches
Now that the muscles are warm it is important to
stretch.
This will help to increase your flexibility/suppleness; it
can also help to improve your posture and balance.
22
Stretch 1
Hamstring (Back of thigh) Stretch
First check your posture
Sitting forward on your chair (if you feel at all unsteady hold onto the
sides of the chair) slide one foot away from you until your leg is as
straight as possible and your heel is resting on the floor.
Remembering to keep your back long, lean forwards bending from the
hips.
Try to support your weight by placing your hands on the opposite
thigh.
Do once on each leg and hold for about 6 – 8 seconds. Remember to
breathe – It might help you to remember if you count out loud.
You should feel the
stretch down the
back of your thigh.
Benefits
Increases flexibility around the hip.
Can help to reduce lower back pain.
Helps with reaching down to pick things up from the floor or putting
your shoes on.
Improves walking and balance
Alternatives
Straighten the leg as far as possible.
23
Stretch 2
Chest Stretch
First check your posture
Holding on towards the back of the chair with both hands – squeeze
your shoulders together whilst keeping your back straight.
Hold for about 6 – 8 seconds. Remember to breathe – It might help
you to remember if you count out loud.
You should feel the
stretch across the
chest and shoulders.
Benefits
Helps to improve posture and helps with breathing.
Can also help with digestion
Alternatives
Squeeze shoulders together and hold.
24
Stretch 3
Back of Arm (Triceps) Stretch
First check your posture
Place one hand on your shoulder. Using the other hand ease the elbow
upwards and allow your hand to slide down your back.
Do once on each arm and hold for about 6 – 8 seconds. Remember to
breathe – It might help you to remember if you count out loud.
You should feel the
stretch at the back
of your arm.
Benefits
Increases flexibility around the shoulder.
Helps with activities which involve reaching up or behind
Alternatives
Ease the arm up as far as you can.
Stretch 4
25
Calf Stretch
First check your posture
Sitting forward on your chair (if you feel at all unsteady hold onto the
sides of the chair) slide one foot away from you until your leg is as
straight as possible and your heel is resting on the floor.
Now pull your toes back towards your shins and lean slightly forwards
from the hips.
Imagine pushing your heel away from you.
Do once on each leg and hold for about 6 – 8 seconds. Remember to
breathe – It might help you to remember if you count out loud.
You should feel the
stretch at the back
of your leg.
Benefits
Helps to improve walking and bending.
Can help to reduce swelling around the ankles.
Alternatives
Straighten the leg as far as possible and lift toes.
26
Stretch 5
Side Stretch
First check your posture
Holding onto the chair with one hand and reach up towards the ceiling
with the other. Try to lift up as much as you can. Then try to reach a
little further over your head.
Imagine you are trying to reach something from a high cupboard that
is just out of your reach.
Do once on each arm and hold for about 6 – 8 seconds. Remember to
breathe – It might help you to remember if you count out loud.
You should feel the
stretch down the
side of you trunk
Benefits
Helps improve flexibility around the shoulder and trunk.
Helps with activities which involve reaching up.
Helps to improve posture.
Alternatives
Reach up as far as you can.
27
SECTION 5
Re-Warmer
After stretching your muscles and joints need to be
'warmed-up' again so that you can do the exercises
safely and gain maximum benefits.
Repeat the Get Moving exercises from SECTION 1
but for slightly longer (30 – 40 seconds) and a bit more
vigorously.
28
SECTION 6
Strengthening
Exercises
These exercises will help to strengthen your muscles
and bones. They are designed to make everyday tasks
easier and will help to improve your confidence and
reduce the risk of injury.
There are so many benefits (see introduction) but you
should always work at a steady pace and not rush any
of the exercises.
The number of times you do each exercise will depend
on how you are feeling and the suggested number is
only a guide. You may want to do less or even more!
But it is important that you take time to increase the
number you are doing and the amount you do each
time.
29
Strength Exercise 1
Upper Back Strengthener
First check your posture
Hold the band with your hands about 2 inches apart and the palms
facing upwards. Lift the band a few inches and pull it apart (pictures
1&2). Keeping your elbows against your ribs (try not to let your elbows
lift out to the side) and keep your wrists firm.
Slide them towards the back of the chair and squeeze your shoulders
together (picture 3). Hold for a 2 or 3 seconds (check your posture)
then relax.
Repeat 8-10 times.
1
2
3
Benefits
Strengthens the muscles in the upper back.
Helps to improve posture.
Strengthens the muscles that help you lift and carry.
Increases the strength of your bones in your upper back.
Alternatives
Without a band.
Use an old pair of tights or knitted scarf.
30
Strength Exercise 2
Hip Strengthener
First check your posture
With your knees and feet together wrap the band around your thighs
(above the knees) keeping it fairly taught. Hold the ends of the band.
Now carefully walk your feet apart (keeping your knees together) until
they are just slightly wider than your hips (picture 1) – this is the start
position.
Making sure you are holding the band squeeze your knees apart until
they are in line with your ankles (picture 2). Hold for a 2 or 3 seconds
(check your posture) then relax to starting position.
Repeat 8-10 times.
1
Benefits
Strengthens the muscles in the outer thigh, hips and bottom.
Strengthens the bones in your hips
Helps improve balance and walking
2
Alternatives
Without a band.
Use an old pair of tights or knitted scarf.
31
Strength Exercise 3
Arm Strengthener 1 (Biceps)
First check your posture
With the band securely under both feet grasp it with one hand at
about knee level (picture 1) – this is the start position. Do not wind the
band round your hand as this will become uncomfortable.
Now curl your fist towards your shoulder keeping your elbow close to
your ribs and your wrist firm (picture 2). Hold for a 2 or 3 seconds
(check your posture) then relax.
Repeat 8-10 times on each arm.
1
2
Benefits
Strengthens the muscles at the front of the arm and shoulder.
Strengthens the bones in your upper arm and shoulder.
Strengthen the muscles that help you pull, lift and carry.
Alternatives
Without a band.
Use an old pair of tights or knitted scarf.
32
Strength Exercise 4
Thigh Strengthener
First check your posture
Place the band under the ball of one foot and grasp it with both hands
at about knee level (picture 1) – this is the start position. Then pull
back with your arms as if you are rowing a boat (picture 2). Press your
heel away from you until your leg is straight (make sure your heel is
only an inch or so form the floor). Imagine you are putting the break
on in a car (picture 3). Hold for a few 2 or 3 seconds (check your
posture) then relax to starting position.
Repeat 8-10 times on each leg.
1
3
2
Benefits
Strengthens the muscles in the top of the thigh and around the knee.
Improves walking and being able to get in and out of a chair.
Strengthens the muscles that you use when going up or down steps.
Increases the strength of your hip bones.
Alternatives
Without a band.
Use an old pair of tights or knitted scarf.
33
Strength Exercise 5
Arm Strengthener 2 (Triceps)
First check your posture
With the band securely under both feet, grasp it with one hand at
about knee level (picture 1) – this is the start position. Do not wind the
band round your hand as this will become uncomfortable.
Now press your fist towards the back of the chair keeping your elbow
close to your ribs and shoulders relaxed (picture 2). Hold for a few 2 or
3 seconds (check your posture) then relax.
Repeat 8-10 times on each arm.
1
2
Benefits
Strengthens the muscles at the back of the arm and shoulder.
Strengthens the bones in your upper arm and shoulder.
Strengthens the muscles that help you push, lift and carry.
Alternatives
Without a band.
Use an old pair of tights or knitted scarf.
34
Strength Exercise 6
Upper Back Strengthener 2 (Seated Row)
First check your posture
Place the band under your feet and grasp it with both hands at about
knee level (picture 1) – this is the start position. Then pull back with
both arms keeping your elbows close to your sides, as if you are
rowing a boat (picture 2).
Think about pulling back with your elbows rather than lifting your
hands and try to relax your shoulders. Hold for a 2 or 3 seconds (check
your posture) then relax to starting position.
Repeat 8-10 times
1
2
Benefits
Strengthens the muscles in the upper back and arms.
Helps to improve posture.
Strengthens the muscles that help you pull (eg. lifting heavy shopping)
Increases the strength of the bones in your upper back.
Alternatives
Without a band.
Use an old pair of tights or knitted scarf.
35
Strength Exercise 7
Chest Strengthener (Chest Press)
First check your posture
Place the band round your back and under your arms. Hold the band
as close to your chest as you can (picture 1).
Keeping your shoulders relaxed and down push your hands straight out
to the front of you (picture 2).
Now cross one hand over the other (picture 3) as if you were hugging
a tree.
Hold for a 2 or 3 seconds (check your posture) then relax.
Repeat 8-10 times.
1
2
3
Benefits
Strengthens the muscles in the chest, arms and shoulders.
Strengthens the muscles that help you push and lift (eg. Lifting heavy
things onto shelves).
Alternatives
Without a band.
Only do 1 & 2.
36
Strength Exercise 8
Sit and Stand (Thigh Strengthener 3)
First check your posture
Sitting towards the front of the chair but move your feet further back
towards the chair but still with your feet flat on the floor. Now press
your heels down into the floor as if you were about to stand up but
change your mind. You should feel the muscles in your thighs tighten
(picture 1). Do this a few times, each time try to lift your bottom a
little further out of the chair.
When you feel confident stand up (picture 2) keeping your head and
chest lifted.
Before you sit down again carefully step back until you feel the chair
on the back of both legs (picture 3) then slowly and with as much
control as you can sit, down aiming your bottom towards the back of
the chair (picture 4)
Repeat 8-10 times.
1
2
4
3
Benefits
Strengthen the muscles around the thighs and buttocks.
Makes getting in and out of a chair or on and off the loo less effort.
Helps with climbing stairs.
Helps to improve balance
Strengthens your hip bones.
Alternatives
Do part 1 only
Have something to hold on to (you could do this in front of the kitchen
sink). A higher chair will make the exercise slightly easier.
Strength exercise number 4.
37
Standing Posture/Posture check
• Feet and knees should be hip width apart and your knees soft.
• Try to lengthen your spine so that you feel yourself growing taller.
Imagine a piece of string attached to the top of your head keeping
your neck long and your ribs lifted away from your hips.
• Try to keep your weight evenly over both feet.
• Try to pull your navel back towards spine
(this will help to support your back and improve your posture).
• Chin should be parallel to the floor and you should try to look
straight ahead.
• Now breathe!
38
Strength Exercise 9
Heel Raises (Calf Strengthener)
First check your posture
Holding onto the back of the chair slowly lift your heels so that you
come up onto your toes. Try to keep your weight over your big toe.
Hold for a 2 or 3 seconds (check your posture) gently lower
Repeat 10-15 times
Benefits
Strengthens the calf muscles.
Improves balance and walking.
Improves circulation.
Alternatives
One foot at a time.
39
Strength Exercise 10
Side Leg Raises (Thigh Strengthener 4)
First check your posture
Holding onto the back of the chair slowly lift one leg out to the side
keeping your toe facing forwards. Imagine you are aiming your ankle
bone to the ceiling. Try to keep upright and maintain good posture.
Hold for a few seconds (check your posture) gently lower
Repeat 8-10 times
Benefits
Strengthens the muscles in the outer thigh.
Improves balance and walking.
Strengthens the hip bones.
Alternatives
Side stepping.
Strength Exercise number 2
40
Strength Exercise 11
Knee Bends (Thigh Strengthener 5)
First check your posture
Holding onto the back of the chair slowly bend your knees and hips as
though you were about to sit down.
Make sure you keep your feet flat on the floor with your knees apart
and not pushing forwards.
Hold for a few seconds (check your posture) and gently stand up.
Repeat 8-10 times
Benefits
Strengthens the muscles around the hips and knees.
Improves balance and walking.
Helps with sitting and standing.
Strengthens the hip bones.
Alternatives
Sit and Stand
Smaller Knee Bends
Strength Exercise number 4
41
Balance Exercise 1
Heel Toe Standing
First check your posture
Holding onto the back of the chair place one foot directly in front of the
other. Imagine you are standing on a tight-rope.
Make sure you keep your feet flat on the floor and maintain good
posture.
Check your posture then try to release your grip for a few seconds.
Each time you do this try to balance for a little longer.
Repeat 3-4 times on each leg.
Benefits
Improves balance and walking.
Strengthens the hip bones.
Strengthens the muscles around the ankles.
Alternatives
Keep holding on
Have your feet wider apart.
42
Balance Exercise 2
Standing On One Leg
First check your posture
Holding onto the back of the chair try to lift the leg nearest the chair.
Check your posture then try to release your grip for a few seconds.
Each time you do this try to balance for a little longer.
Repeat 3-4 times on each leg.
Benefits
Improves balance and walking.
Strengthens the hip bones.
Strengthens the muscles around the ankles.
Alternatives
Keep holding on.
Rest the toe on the floor so that there is more weight on one leg.
43
SECTION 7
Cool Down
After the exercises it is important to spend some time
winding down as this will help you to relax. While your
muscles and joints are warm it is an ideal time to
stretch again – this will help to improve your
flexibility/suppleness.
Repeat the exercises from section 1 (Warming Up/Get
Moving) and the Stretching exercises (section 4) but
hold each stretch for slightly longer if you can.
This is also a good time to do the Pelvic Floor Exercises
(See next page)
You might find it helps to put some music on to help
you to relax.
44
Strength Exercise 12
Pelvic Floor
The pelvic floor is a large sling (or hammock) of
muscles stretching from side to side across the floor of
the pelvis. It is attached to your pubic bone in front
and to the coccyx (the tail end of the spine) behind. It
forms your "undercarriage". The openings from your
bladder (urethra), your bowels (rectum)
What does it do?
• It supports your pelvic organs and abdominal
contents, especially when you are standing or exerting
yourself.
• It supports the bladder to help it stay closed. It
actively squeezes when you cough or sneeze to help
avoid leaking. When the muscles are not working
effectively you may suffer from leaking ("urinary
incontinence"), and/or urgent or frequent need to pass
urine.
• It is used to control wind and when "holding on"
with your bowels.
45
How to do pelvic floor exercises
Exercise 1
Tighten the muscles around your back and front
passage and lift up inside as if trying to stop passing
wind and urine at the same time.
It is very easy to bring other, irrelevant muscles into
play, so try to isolate your pelvic floor as much as
possible by
•
•
•
•
not pulling in your tummy,
not squeezing your legs together,
not tightening your buttocks and
not holding your breath.
In this way most of the effort should be coming from
the pelvic floor.
Try holding it as long as you can. Build up to a
maximum of 10 seconds. Rest for 4 seconds and then
repeat the contraction up to a maximum of 10 times.
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Exercise 2
It is important to be able to work these muscles quickly
to help them react to sudden stresses from coughing,
laughing or exercise that put pressure on the bladder.
So you need to practice some quick contractions,
drawing in the pelvic floor and holding for just one
second before releasing the muscles. Do these in a
steady manner: aim for a strong muscle tightening
with each contraction up to a maximum of 10 times.
Aim to do one set of slow contractions (exercise 1)
followed by one set of quick contractions (exercise 2)
at least every day.
Get into the habit of doing the exercises. Link doing
them to some everyday activities - for example, when
you are making a cup of tea, to help you remember.
Practice the exercises when you are lying, sitting and
especially standing.
Try to get into the habit of tightening your pelvic floor
before activities that are likely to make you leak - such
as getting up from a chair, coughing, sneezing or
lifting.
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Many thanks to the Checkland family and friends for making it
possible to produce this book.
If you would like to know more about the exercises contained in this
pack or would like information on the Chair Based Exercise Leaders
Course please contact –
The Falls Team,
Chesterton Medical Centre,
35 Union Lane,
Chesterton,
Cambridge.
CB4 1PX
For more information on Exercise classes please contact
NAME
CONTACT DETAILS
All the exercises in this book are taken from the Chair
Based Exercise Programme, original text from Later
Life Training www.laterlifetraining.co.uk
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