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3 Upper Body Exercises You Can Do at Home

By Stephanie Clamer

During this time of self-quarantining, you might be looking for ways to be active and exercise in the comfort of your own home. Go4Life from the National Institute on Aging has great resources on how older adults can stay active. Here are 3 simple exercises that can be done at home to build upper body strength:

Hand grip

Do you have trouble picking up items or holding things? This exercise helps strengthen your hand muscles so that you can pick up or hold items. Additionally, it can easily be done while reading a book or watching TV.

Equipment needed: tennis ball or a foam ball.

Step 1: Hold a tennis ball or other small rubber or foam ball in one hand.

Step 2: Slowly squeeze the ball as hard as you can and hold it for 3-5 seconds.

Step 3: Relax the squeeze slowly.

Step 4: Repeat 10-15 times.

Step 5: Switch hands and repeat 10-15 times.

Step 6: Repeat 10-15 times more with each hand.

Overhead arm raises

Looking to strengthen your shoulders and arms? Try this exercise, it makes swimming and other activities such as lifting your grandchildren much easier.

Equipment needed: weighted object such as a bottle of water, a can of vegetables, or hand-held weights.

Step 1: You can do this exercise while standing or sitting in a sturdy, armless chair.

Step 2: Keep your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.

Step 3: Hold weights at your sides at shoulder height with palms facing forward.

Step 4: Breath in slowly.

Step 5: Slowly breathe out as you raise both arms up over your head keeping your elbows slightly bent.

Step 6: Hold the position for 1 second.

Step 7: Breathe in as you slowly lower your arms.

Step 8: Repeat 10-15 times.

Step 9: Rest; then repeat 10-15 more times.

Chair dip

This exercise helps strengthen arm muscles, even if you are not able to lift yourself completely up off the chair.

Equipment needed: sturdy chair with armrests.

Step 1: Sit in a sturdy chair with armrests with your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.

Step 2: Lean slightly forward; keep your back and shoulders straight.

Step 3: Grasp arms of the chair with your hands next to you. Breathe in slowly.

Step 4: Breathe out and use your arms to push your body slowly off the chair.

Step 5: Hold position for 1 second.

Step 6: Breath in as you slowly lower yourself back down.

Step 7: Repeat 10-15 times.

Step 8: Rest; then repeat 10-15 more times.

For more tips and tricks on staying active visit the Go4Life website at: https://go4life.nia.nih.gov/.

 

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