Class #1499

Chair Exercises for Seniors

65 min - Class


Sherri Betz teaches a Pilates workout designed for older adults who lack the mobility to get down and up from a Mat without assistance, and therefore cannot participate in the traditional Mat Pilates class. This home program can be done anywhere with a sturdy chair, and also implements props such as a broomstick with rubber stoppers, a tennis ball, Theraband, Fletcher Braided Towel, Rubber Tubing, and an 8" inflatable ball. If you don't own any of these props, Sherri encourages you to perform the exercises without them, using your own body weight and control. Enjoy!
What You'll Need: Table Chair, Pilates Pole, Theraband

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Hi, I'm Sherry bets and I'm excited to present a home program for people who are unable to get down to the floor and back up again without assistance. So I used to get calls at my studio all the time about what class should I take? Should I be in the seniors class? Should I go to the intermediate mat class? Which class should I take? I'm 75 years old, so I typically qualify as a senior. But in my estimation, a senior is actually someone who cannot get down to the floor and back up again without assistance. So they would not be able to participate in a traditional PyLadies mat class down on the mats, getting back up again.

So I've created this class that can be used in a nursing home. It can be used in a recreation center. It can be used in a Palati studio for older adults on an assisted living center. And um, you can certainly do this class at home with all the things you have at home. So I'm going to introduce you to the products that you'll need. Um, you'll need a broomstick.

And if you're doing the class on a hard floor or a tile floor, you'll need rubber stoppers on each end and you can get those at any hardware store. And then you'll also need a tennis ball. And if possible, two tennis balls. So you can kill two birds with one stone. Not that I want to kill any birds, but uh, killing two birds with one stone or multitasking, you can roll your feet with, with the balls at the same time. So you'll see that in just a moment. Um, we also use some rubber tubing, so this can be just surgical tubing or you can buy fancy tubing from a company called power systems. I get these from there and you can use these for your leg strengthening exercises that we'll be doing. We have theraband, which is the flex band or the stretchy bands for the upper body work that we'll be doing. And we also have a very special product that's very dear to my heart called the Fletcher Towel.

Ron Fletcher developed this for a woman named Betsy Bloomingdale many years ago who could not use good body mechanics or good shoulder mechanics as she raised her arms overhead. So he put a towel on her hands and Voila, the towel work was born. So I certainly owe him credit for the towel work that I learned from him, which is brilliant for shoulder girdle and upper body organization as well as posture. So you can use that type of towel as well. All right. We'll also be using a an eight inch ball and this is actually a special ball that can be um, a sturdy enough to lay on. So these, for this particular class, you don't have to have special balls, you can use a children's ball, any kind of inflatable ball that's around eight inches in diameter. We'll be using that for posture during the seated exercises. So those are the toys that we're going to be using.

And if you don't have those toys, you can certainly improvise and just do the exercises without them and do the movements of your body without the props. So it's, it's always accessible to you. Always have a broomstick. Always have a towel around and probably have a children's ball somewhere in the, in the area. Okay, let's get started. All right, so what we'll do first is we'll put the tennis balls on the ground and we'll have, and we'll put the other ball underneath the chair and have a seat. You can leave the theraband there and we'll hang the tube on the back of the chair. We can also put the dowel behind the chair as well. So we just want to make sure all the accoutrements are out of the way so you don't trip over anything. I love to start with the feet and what we'll be using is either a tennis ball or pinky balls. I teach this class at the recreation center, so the tennis balls are great because the tennis coach loves to recycle his tennis balls.

So he brings me a garbage bag full of tennis balls every so often and I distribute them and give them out for free to everybody. So they're always accessible. Um, the tennis balls do have air in them and they get flat over time so they won't be as mobilizing as a pinky ball. All right, so place your foot on the ball and on the tennis ball and you're going to put it on the ball of your foot underneath the ball of your foot in between your first and second toe. So the idea behind this is to spread the first and second toe apart. And this is great for Bunyan's and, and foot problems like that. So you get your feet to widen. I call it the Anti Geisha foot.

So we want a big foot, not a little fit. My grandmother used to always say, if you had a big foot, you had a good understanding. So, so from the ball of your foot to the heel and you're going to go and what I call longitudinal lines so that you're thinking of spreading the metatarsal bones apart, those are the small bones in the forefoot and rolling all the way to your heel. Okay? And then when you get good at it, you can do it with both feet, but let's just do it with one at a time for right now. So then between the second and third toe, I do three or four passes and the deeper you go, the more you get the release and the massage to those deep layers of the foot and then the third and fourth toe. And if you find some sore spots, you might want to go more slowly and just spend a little more time on some sore spots. And those are sometimes some fashional restrictions that you'll find there.

If you've ever heard of plantar fasciitis, this is a great exercise for it. You can do it while you're sitting at your computer. It's just great looking at your Facebook, um, grandchildren of Facebook on Facebook or answering email or watching television. All right, so now let's change feet. Let's go to the other foot and then we'll do it with both.

It's kind of like a little balance exercise and we do it with both. So any in between the first and second toe all the way to the heel. And then if you want it to do this eventually in standing, if you feel more comfortable in standing doing it, then you can do it in standing and get a little more pressure on the foot. But it's good to start in sitting so you don't press too hard and gradually increase the amount of pressure. So he should be down to the third and fourth toe by now and then to the fourth and fifth toes spreading them apart and just thinking of widening the toes. Good. All right.

Hopefully that feels good. Now we don't have the benefit of being on that. Pilati is reformer foot bar. So we're going to do the parakeet now. So place the heel in front of the tennis ball there and then put the tennis ball pretty much under the arch of your foot. So the whole, all your toes are kind of hanging off the ledge there and then wrap your toes around and see if you can get your toes to touch the ball. So if you notice that you get all five metatarsal heads showing, and that's the ideal is that you can get all of those to flex. If you've ever heard of Hammertoes, it's when the toe is flexed at the or extended here at the the metatarsal Phalangeal joint.

So that little joint right there and it makes the shape of a hammer. This is a great exercise to get those to flex so that you, you preserve the integrity of those joints of your feet. So your goal would be to get those little joints to, so I can see the first one, I can see the fifth one and the fourth one is often missing in people. So then you can do both at the same time. If you want, you want to try to do both. Um, just put the balls underneath the arch of your foot, let the ball of your foot hang over the tennis ball and then wrap it around and see if you can get all five metatarsal is to show. So that would be your goal and wrapping around. So this would be something that's good for people that have weakness in the feet. So some, um, decreased, uh, strength in the arch of the foot.

So really trying to get a bit more strength. I find too that people that grip the floor and when people start to lose balance, they grip the floor. And this exercise also is great for helping them lengthen the toes and really flex through here. So both those are good for grippers. Okay. All right. So now that we're going to roll a little bit, just kind of roll back and forth, waking up your feet and then you can do it both on both. Yes, that's it. Yeah. And cause we really want to wake up the feed in this class cause we're going to be focused on balance. We're gonna be focused on posture and leg strength.

Okay. And now if you're sitting in place right now, you can put the balls underneath the chair. I'll actually take 'em from you just so you don't trip over them. We won't use them again. Normally in class we have a little box, a shoe box that we put everything in. So that, so it doesn't trip you when you're trying to get up and down. All right, so then let's do some little jumping. So we're going to little, little jumps in place and actually make a sound on the floor. Yeah. And so you just jump, jump, jump, jump like that.

And thinking of sitting really tall as you're doing it, letting your hips do the movement and so that your spine is not bouncing back and forth and you're just jumping in place, getting your legs warmed up on your feet. Live and dead. Good. All right. Excellent. All right, our next activity is going to be with this ball. So we're going to graduate from the small ball to the bigger ball. We're going to put the ball behind the back. Now we've got chairs here that we've added a little bit of a backrest to the, the ideal situation is to get a high back chair so that the ball goes way up on the back. Okay. So yeah, let's have you turned sideways so we can see.

Let's go this way. Okay. And you can go this way too. And so if the ball were for her, if she was in a high back chair, if the ball were up here, that would be really great for getting that upper thoracic extension. But for right now, we'll do the ball in the middle back there. Great. And if and we can go even higher for you, I think, then we go. And then take your hands behind your neck, interlace your fingers together and bring your elbows forward so that you're not, you're not trying to widen your elbows too much.

Now give yourself a little length by drawing the head towards the ceiling. So pull with your hands and pull the back of your head towards the ceiling. And again, elbows forward because if the elbows are wide, you'll, you won't be able to stretch your, your joints of your spine. You're going to limit the joint movement in the thoracic spine if you have your elbows wide, right, there'll be more of a chest stretch. And then if you have your elbows forward, then you're going to get more of a spine mobilization.

And that's what I'm after right now. We'll do a chest stretch later. Okay. So from here we're going to take a breath in and lengthen the spine. As we go back, we think of the breast bone being like a seesaw, going over the top of the ball and then acts hill, return to vertical, eyes forward. That's it. Inhale to lift up and exhale and return to vertical. So your, your neck is pretty much not really involved.

It's just going along for a ride as your middle back and your breastbone move. Yeah. And one more time. Inhale, reaching up and over and exhale. Return to vertical. Now for a moment, go ahead and widen your elbows length in the spine and then press back and you're going to feel the stretch across the chest, but you won't go back as far. So usually those chest muscles will not allow you to go back quite as far. Okay.

And so if I were helping her heal up on the breastbone, that's it. And then return to vertical without curling forward. Exactly. All right. Bring your arms down, roll your shoulders. And sometimes we have a bit of a shoulder problem and if you want to just do it with one hand, you certainly can. If you have a shoulder problem on one side and you can't get back there. Okay, so we're going to go down a notch. We won't go down too much. We don't want to go into the low back, but we'll go down a notch.

You can go a little lower. There we go. Now that's great. So she's got that right in the mid back again, hands interlace behind the neck, elbows forward and then inhale, reach up and over. Exhale, return to vertical and take your time. So the lower you are on the ball, the more those abdominals are going to be working to support your spine. Yeah, that's it. And if you feel like you don't have enough control, like with Amy here, she's pretty low with that ball.

So she's got to really control that upper body with the abdominals. Yeah, that's it. So if she doesn't have the strength to be able to do that, you might want to make the movement a little bit smaller or bring the ball up higher. Okay, nice. Very nice. Beautiful, beautiful. Really getting that thoracic mobility. Very important with posture. Okay, so let's take the ball. We would do that. Two or three places on the middle back.

And now we're going to take the ball to the low back. So you're going to scoot forward in the chair, Karen. There you go. Okay, so the ball is going to be in the low back. All right, so we're going to sit tall thinking of the ears right over the shoulders and over the hips and hands resting in on the thighs and then scoop back, rolling the pelvis like a wheel pressing the low back into the balls. You're going to feel your abdominals working there and then roll the pelvis back up to the sitting bones and then rolling back. So the whole body is staying in that length and position. You're not collapsing down, you're just going back like a conveyor belt.

So think of your rib cage going back like a conveyor belt over the pelvis. Yeah, that's it. So you're not losing the length in your spine as you do the curl. Beautiful. And on the exhale, curling back and inhale, rolling forward. Nice. And then exhale, curling back and then inhale back up to vertical and excellent.

Excellent. Very good. All right, I'll take the balls and put them aside. Now let's take the dowel and put it behind your back. So we'll put it here and what I'd like is for it to touch your tailbone and your sacrum at the base of your spine, your mid back and your head if possible. Sometimes it's just not possible to get it against your head and that's okay. If you have a rounded upper back and forward head posture and maybe you can't even reach the Dow, it's fine. You could use your theraband, actually tie it around your waist if you wanted to.

And if your head was forward, you could just have it touch the two points to do the same exercise and you would just hold the dowel with your hands below. Okay. Or tie it to your back. All right, so here we go. So the idea is to hinge at the hip joint folding at the hip joint and keeping those three points of contact. Exactly. So we hinged forward. And then coming back to vertical notice, if you put your thumb in between the stick and your back and your low back, you might notice that if you go too far, the stick or the the stick actually presses against your thumb or your, your small of your back will press against your thumb.

So you want to maintain that space in your spine so that you don't round your spine. We'll see this a lot where you round your back and then the whole dowel comes off the tailbone. So we don't want to have that happen. We want to keep it against the tailbone and this is much easier said than done at home. So they're doing a very good job of keeping those three points of contact. So this is going to be really important with our lifting exercises, getting up out of chairs so that we preserve the health of our spine, that we don't let the spine collapse or really contract in the front to compress the vertebral bodies. So I want to preserve the integrity of those bodies.

All right, very good. Now take the dowel out in front of you. So I was gardening one day and I was driving a shepherd's crook into the ground and I thought, hmm, this would be a great exercise. So this is the shepherd's crook exercise, I call it. All right, so you're going to sit up tall, arms length away. Yes. And then draw the shoulders down, crown of the head reaches up and just gently press the dial into the ground as if you were pressing a shepherd's crook into the garden. And what do you feel? Yeah, you feel your abdominals working a little bit. Yeah.

That's always the right answer in plays. You know, I feel my abs working. Okay. Arm pits, pulling down, yes. And abdominals. So I want that to be the main focus. And then release. Inhale. And then exhale, press the armpits down. Crown of the head moves up. Feel the length in your spine, and then release. Inhale, one more time. Press. That's it.

Now this is a interesting, um, little piece of wisdom. So hinge at the hip joints. Allow your elbows to bend, keep hinges, but keep that length in your spine and notice that when your head touches the stick, yeah, it's not because your head touches the stick. That's the point at which it would be easy to get up off the floor. Okay, are off the chair. Okay, so come back to vertical. So if you were arms length away, right? You have to bring your head all the way forward so that you're over your toes.

Some people say nose over toes in order to be able to get up out of a chair. So what happens as we lose balance when we age is that we don't want to do that anymore. It's like that's really far forward and it feels really off center and off base. So people will often make their base of support smaller as they age. So if we hinge, we need to get the nose over the toes and then that's going to be an easier way to stand up. Okay. All right, so now we're going to go to standing.

So let's move the feet back a little bit underneath. Yeah, underneath your knees. There you go. That's gonna be a little easier. Do that same hip hinge. Inhale here. Exhale, tail bum lifts to get you up and you'd boom you pop up. So that's going to be a lot easier. Now, back up all the way to the chair so that you feel the chair behind your legs. Arms out straight with the dowel vertical. Yeah. All right, and let's do that same idea. Bend the elbows, hinge at the hips, and then I want you to see if your thigh, the back of your thigh can actually touch the chair.

You stop there and then stand back up and let's do it again. Inhale to hand back of the five touches the chair, and then exhale to stand back up. Good. One more time. Inhale to hinge and exhale. Stand back up. And the next one. We're going to stay going to get really warm now. Yup. Suddenly the room's going to get a little warmer. Okay, so hold that position. Shoulders down, spine lengthened.

One of my friends says Ducky, but not tucky button. Yes, you don't want to Tuck your button, this position, you want to do a ducky button? Breathe in and breathe out. One more time. Breathe in and breathe out. Standing back all the way up. Oh, shake it out a little bit. Feel those. Yes, exactly. Very nice. All right, let's walk around and place your left hand on the back of the chair and on the backrest of the chair. Your right hand will be holding the dowel. Okay, let's stand with our feet as close together as we can.

Sometimes people have the Valgus knee alignment where they can't get their feet all the way together and I suggest that you get a tennis ball or even a larger ball and put it between your ankles so that you can connect your feet together for the next exercise that we'll be doing. All right, so now let's inhale, lift the toes. Notice how the arch of the foot lifts when you do that. Yes. And this is how our arch is supposed to be used. And people say they have fallen arches, but it's because you didn't keep them lifted, but no one told us, you know, no one told us we had to keep our arches lifted. My mother told me to hold my shoulders back and stand up straight, but that was about the extent of it. All right, place the toes back down. Inhale, lift the toes and exhale. Place the toes down and again, inhale and exhale. I think of the fringe on the carpet.

You're vacuuming and the fringe goes up and fringe goes down. One more time. Inhale, lift and exhale lower. And now inhale, lift the heels this time and see if you can keep heels connected together instead of letting them splay apart. So keep them together or use a tennis ball in between. And we go up and down and inhale up and exhale down.

One more time. Inhale, up and down. All right, now spreading those toes wide. Shift your weight to your left leg. Lift up your right knee. Okay, hold in place stretched tall length in the space between your ribs and pelvis. Breathe in and breathe out. Now see if you can lift one hand off the chair, just hovering it above the chair and lift the doubt X-acto Lee and breathe in and breathe out and breathe in and Murray that great and then take it down and then shift your weight to the other side. You'll need to allow that shift to occur to get onto that leg and then lift the right knee, left knee, excuse me, and then however the hands, however the Dow one inch off the floor if you can, and then breathe in and breathe out.

Four breaths here to more focus on a vertical line in front of you that is very helpful with managing your balance and keep your eyes focused on one spot and then police the feet down. All right, now we go up on the tippy toes again and then place one foot down and then up and change and up and change and up and change up and change. Nice. So just like walking in place. All right. Now we get to go up onto one foot, shift the weight to the left and lift up that right knee, holding steady there. Breathe in, breathe out. And we go up and two and three and four and five and six, seven, two more. That's it. And release. Exactly. Holding steady. All right. And then place it down.

So just making sure that you're not falling down as you're doing it. Okay, now we're going to shift our weight to the right foot and then lifting up, holding in place, breathing, lengthening the spine. Exhale, reach two and three and four. Lifting up. Stretch the crown of the head so that you become light two more like this last one. And slowly lower holding in place and exactly. So what we're doing here is the knee pain routine.

You haven't even bent your knee yet. Now we start the knee bending. That's when the trouble starts, right? Most people say, oh no, my knee hurts. I can't bend my knees. So we're going to go to the other leg and then let's have that inside leg. That's right. The one that's by the chair.

And then lift the the knee length in the spine so that you feel light. And now what I want you to do is fold at your hip just like you did when you're sitting in the chair. Fold at your hip and inadvertently the knee bends. So it's not a forced knee band. It's a very light feeling of that wheel rolling back. So think of the hip deepening in the socket and just hold in place.

As long as this is not painful hold in place. Okay. And then when you're ready, lift the hand, lift the Dowel, and then balance here. With that knee bent, it's a little trickier to stay balanced, but keep your eyes focused on that vertical line in front of you. Exactly. Holding there and then coming up so you can find a place that you can actually bend your knee to that doesn't hurt, that's not painful and just hold. Then we can do the up and down. Okay, let's try the other leg. So going over to the right leg, lifting that left leg up length and first fold at the hip, feeling like there's olive oil in your hip.

And you're just rolling that we'll have the hip joint back in the socket and then lift the hand if possible. Lift the Dow and hold and we breathe in and breathe out. And if you can see if you can lift your big toe any off the floor, that will ensure that you're not collapsing the arch. Okay, so then put it back down if you can. Yes, that's it. You don't want to be gripping the floor. You want your toes to be lengthened and relaxed if possible and lifted.

All right, now that the whole leg is burning and then we come back up. Okay. And one more progression before we take a little rest. All right. Shift the weight over. Lift one leg. All right. And then if possible, lift the hand, just hovering it above the chair and then the dowel and then fold at your hip melting down. That's it. And then exhale to reach up. It's like you're trying to keep your head glued to the ceiling, but yet you're still folding at the hip and then back.

That's it. The knee going straight forward over the middle of the foot. So you could put your dowel down and check that if you wanted to. When you look down, you should be able to see your big toe. Okay. If you can't see your big toe, your knee might be going inward. So you want to make sure you can see your big toe.

The other insurance policy that you have, the right alignment is to lift the big toe. So if you can lift the big toe and still do the movement, you're probably good because you're keeping that ankle joint in the right position, which we call technically tailor neutral position. We want to keep that. All right. And one more time and then back up. Okay. And then shake it out. We'll change sides. Alright, shift over to the other side and I'm going to give a little cue.

So right leg is supporting you. Yes. Length and spine ribcage lifted off the pelvis and that's it. And fold. And let's go eight times with fat. And I'm just gonna give a little cue to bring the rib cage more over the back of the pelvis. That's it. And then keep that whole ribcage centered over the back of your pelvis.

That's it. Bring that last vertebrae down here back a little bit. Good. You might feel your abdominals a little bit more if you have the ribcage centered over the back of the pelvis and you're doing a really great job keeping the pelvis aligned and keeping the lower extremity aligned. Yes, and if you can lift your big toe, that's great. You don't have to do the whole thing with your toe lifted, but if you can lift it, it's a good idea. It gives you a good idea that you have the ankle joint in the right position.

Excellent. All right. Probably time for a little rest. Okay, so let's have a seat and we'll, we'll take these away. We won't need these right now. Okay. Okay. Now let's take the red towels in your hand. Again, this is the wonderful work of Ron Fletcher.

We'll start with the back against the chair. So notice that most chairs are leaned back at a little bit of an angle. I remember when you put your broomstick on the floor that you keep your spine in that optimally aligned position. Okay. So you can see that their bodies are a little bit leaned back, right? So it actually makes you work the abdominals a little bit to get back there.

Okay. So we're gonna use the chair is a little feedback right now. So think of holding your towel like you're holding a serving tray. Okay. And then just have your elbows lower down by your sides at your waistline. Shoulders back and down. So feel your shoulder blades against the back of the chair. So I think you can, yeah, and it depends on the chair height, but for these chairs, these are great feedback tools for that. Okay, so now we're going to wrap the hands around the towel.

Fingertips are wrapping around the towel. Thumbs are not. Okay. So no thumb here. And when you wrap around like that and it gives you that connection of to the shoulder that I'm looking for. All right, so this was not actually an exercise developed by Ron. This is him. What curious even called Sherri's shoulder setting exercise. And it's like a preparation for getting the shoulder joint in the right position before we start the towel work and uh, and Kurian Ron really liked it. So, so here it is. So wrapping the fingers around, thumbs are loose.

Think of pulling or stretching the towel and notice what happens. What I'd like you to feel is that back of that rotator cuff, actually pulling the head of the humerus back in the socket. So if you watch Amy's shoulder here, pull the towel, you see that the shoulder migrates backward, we all tend to hold the shoulder too far forward in the socket as human beings. So what we want to do is get this area of the shoulder joint more active and it's not about squeezing the shoulder blades together. It's more about getting that shoulder joint, the actual ball of the socket, um, ball and socket joint to move into a better position where it's more congruent in the socket and it's fitting nicely in the socket there. Great.

That looks great. Let's check Karen, see how she's doing here? Okay, yeah. Good. And then release and then that shoulder joint migrates back. Yes, you can see that beautifully. Really well done. Okay. Separate your hands a little bit more on the towel is going to put you into a little bit more external rotation. So go as far as you can without changing your elbow position. And now pull the towel again. There you go. Now you're going to end range. Yes.

It's a little more challenging to get a pull there, right? Cause you're putting that, that muscle in that shortened position. So it's hard to generate a contraction there, but that's good. It's really opening the front of the chest and working that shelter. Good. All right, I love it. Okay. Now what we get to do is a little coordination.

Now throw the towel up and change your hand position. Nice. Very good. Let's do it again. Palms up, palms down. Excellent. All right. You got to throw a curve ball at you all right now and then take the towel forward. The ideal position for the towel is to fold it in half and then place it from shoulder to shoulder so that you, that you hold the towel double the width of your shoulder girdle. Yeah, exactly. So you'll want to hold yours about right there. Yeah, yeah, exactly.

And you can adjust it a little bit, but that's an ideal position, so that way you're consistent with all the towel work. All right, now you're still leaning back in the chair because we're going to have you use the chair as some feedback for your body position. Okay, so let's keep the firm's loose. Yeah, the tendency is to hold it like this and we want to hold it with our fingers. Thumbs are loose. Flatten the wrist, reach the fist forward. That's it. Shoulders down. Okay. Now think of making a parenthesis shape out of your arm. So instead of a locked elbow, so if you pull with a locked elbow, try it.

Like try it once. Lock your elbows. Now pull. You're gonna feel it mostly in your elbow and your tricep area and the upper arm. Okay? If you make the arms like a circle, so think of doing a hug a tree. So bring that fist together and do a little hug a tree and then reach the fist four to make a nice oval there. Now keep the arms in that shape and bring them out. Now pull the towel and see where you feel the action.

You should be feeling it in the back. So you want to try to connect the back to open the front. All right, so let's pull the towel and then really, so it's not strong pull, it's just a gentle pool. Stretching the towel and release. That's it. Exhale to pull and release. One more time. Pull and release. We'll do four times with an inhale and feel your shoulder blades against the chair. You're going to keep your shoulder blades wide on the chair so they shouldn't be sliding together.

So that that's the feedback as you keep your scapula or shoulder blades wide on the chair. One more time pulling there. Okay. Keep a gentle pole. Now I'll see if you can bring the towel over her head. Usually it's a little easier to bring the towel over head when your back against the back of the chair because you're leaning back a little bit. Okay. So see where you get to. And then what we want is to have you slide that scapula forward and I like to call it the golf ball on a tee position.

So you've got this big golf ball on this small tee and that's kind of how the shoulder joint is. So if you can get your tea of your scapula facing upward, then the shoulder will just balance in that socket. Okay. So what we would want to do is wrap that scapula around and down. Yes, that's it. And then that should be a little easier to hold the towel overhead.

It should just balance there and you don't even have to do a whole lot of work. Bring your hands in a little closer so that your, yeah, your towel doesn't hit you. Yeah, that's it. Okay, so wrapping around like that. Exactly. So now your t is facing the ceiling and you flex through the wrists a little bit. There you go. And now pull the towel and I want you to feel this action here.

Pulling the shoulders down and wide, so down and why they should go down and wide away from your ears because a lot of people think we should go down and end, but really down and wide is what you want to feel. The armpit right here, pulling down on my tickling you is your shoulder's best friend, so they aren't. Pitt is your shoulder's best friend. If you can learn to engage the arm pit a little bit more and to work from the armpit, then that's really helpful. Okay, so I know your arms are tired of being up there, so let's come down, roll the shoulders. But as you get better at it and as the mobility increases, it's going to be a lot easier to have that towel overhead. All right, so now sit to the front of your chair and we'll do one set without having the support of the back of the chair. Okay, so let's do a top towel. Pull in the front, flex to the wrist, shoulders down, elbows wide. That's it.

All right. Now take the towel up overhead and then by bringing the scapula forward, like you have a smiley face in your armpit and you want it to show, or you have a really cool tattoo down there, you want to show it. So I'm from Santa, they have a lot of tattoos there. And then we're having this gap. Yellow round thumbs reaching the ceiling. That's it. Parenthesis, arms. And now pull in the towel and notice how it might be easier to hold the towel up that you're not holding it up with your neck or your upper shoulders should be a lot easier to hold it. Now Shrug the shoulders toward the ears. Inhale, and then on the exhale, let's make it sure.

So we're really working. They get the air out of the lungs. Breathe into the reach up and exhale. Nice. One more time. Breathe in, reaching the shoulders up. Keep the towel slightly taught. That's it. And back down. All right, now bring the towel all the way down and roll the shoulders.

Excellent. That looks great. Okay. So go ahead and come on up to standing and keep the towel and we'll do one more towel exercises when my favorite, so combine your chair and we always have the chair here for our safety. Okay, excellent. So we're going to take the towel across the front of the pelvis. So this is a top towel. Pull up the hips, reaching the fist toward the floor.

So you think of showing your rings off to the floor. There you go. So you're the back of your wrist is straight and you have your parenthesis, arms, shoulders down. That's it. Now take a moment and wrap the towel around your hips. And this time you do want to bring your shoulder blades together, opening through the collarbones. Yes. Opening through the chest and then return. And then exhale, wrap the towel around. Yes, that's it.

Good and return. And now we're going to wrap the towel around. Inhale, lift the chest and exhale returned to vertical. That's it. And if it's hard for you to look at the ceiling, you can keep your eyes focused forward if you need to for balance. Okay. And then wrap the towel around and then inhale, lift the chest. Exhale, returned to vertical. Yeah. And then reached the towel back to the hips. All right.

Wrapping the towel around. Shoulder blades down and back. And let's pulse the arms. I'll do a pulsing breath. Ready and yeah, and release and take it down. Roll the shoulders. Very nice. All right, excellent. Take the towel and just throw it over the back of your chair. And now we're going to take the tubes and throw them on the floor so we get to play with another toy now. Okay.

And let's take your dowels in your right hand. That's it. Step into your tube without actually touching it with your hands and get it around your ankles. Yup. Excellent. That's it. So I'll use imaginary to here. Okay. So what I want you to do is shift your weight to the left, step forward with your right foot without actually taking a step.

So you're going to hover the heel off the floor. That's it. So you're standing tall on that left leg. You're reaching your rib cage up towards the ceiling. And then Karen, let me have you bring your ribcage back over your pelvis just a little bit. There you go. Nice. All right. And then let's bring the foot up and release.

Now if it's too challenging, which Amy has, the red tube, which is a little more challenging than the Yellow Tube, you can actually take the tube and put it up above your knees. So let's show that to the folks at home. Excellent. Okay. And then reach up and barely touch the skin of your heel to the floor and up and return. Exhale, lift and return hindering at the hip. That's it. Okay.

Keeping the knee as straight as you can. This is also a great knee exercise. Wonderful for bone building. Yeah, and you're going to notice which leg is working very soon. Yes. It's really about the standing lag. It's not about the moving leg. So those of you at home, if your standing leg is burning, that's the right leg to be burning. All right. These are our posture muscles. These are our balanced muscles. All right.

Now we're going to do a pulsing breath with the pulsing leg. Ready and sure. Last set. Sure. And take it down. Shake it out. We get to do the sexy stretch here. This is our gluteus medius stretch.

So if you didn't know about your gluteus Medius, welcome to PyLadies. Hell, that's it. All right. Okay. Now out to the side. So I reach out. Now, make sure that that that foot that's moving, the leg that's moving has a foot that's pointed straight ahead because if you turn out, you've already done that, that movement. Okay. So we want you to do the abduction with a small amount of movement. So it's not a big movement, but a very important movement. This movement helps with prevention of falls so that if you have to step out to the side, you'll be really strong and mobile in catching yourself if you were to trip and fall to the side. Okay. Exhale, lift and lift. Let's do two more like that.

And then we'll do the pulses ready and yeah, and rest. All right. Side to side stretch. Oh yes, that left hip is feeling it now. Okay. Very good. All right. Now then one of the most important moves, let's face that's face the chair. Put the dowel in the chair for this one. Okay. Left leg extends. Okay, so left leg extends pelvis is like set of headlights pointing straight ahead. So what we want to be careful for is that we don't arch the back with this one. Okay, so I want to get that front hip or that that left hip open in the front and then lift through the pubic bone so that you feel the length in the front of the hip.

So you should feel a little bit of a stretch in the front of this hip. Okay? Now if possible, see if you can lift your leg off the ground and your foot off the ground at least an inch or so. That's going to be pretty difficult. It seems like it should be easy, but it's not. Okay, so then when you lift that leg, if it feels like it's going into your back or you're having to arch your back or your pelvis is moving, then you can bend the standing leg until forward. Just a little bit. That'll give you a little more room in this hip to move. Okay. So, um, Amy, why don't you stay tilted forward like that and then Karen, you stay upright and do your extension. Okay, so you can see both views of that.

All right, so here we go. Lift and touch, lift and touch, and really think of keeping the back of that knee open because it's really easy to let the hamstring dominate. I'd like to say the hamstrings have a type a personality disorder. You know, they want to do everything. We'll do it, we'll do it them in the upper trapezius. And so our glutes tend to go, oh no, somebody else will do it, you know? So I want really to get that glute action happening there. And you can see that good contraction that Amy's getting there. This is our, our version of booty bar here.

You have I give a plug to Tracy. Yeah, that's it. Yes. Bring those booties back. All right, now let's do a pulse. Ready and set. Good. All right. Coming down. Yes, I know your pelvis is feeling it now. All right. Now we're going to face the other direction. Yeah. So you're going to face the other direction. You'll face the camera now. Okay. That's it. All right. Yes. Yeah. We're, where are we?

Okay. Now we're going to do the left leg forward. Lift the toes, standing tall, a member to organize that ribcage over your pelvis. All right, so here we go. We're gonna lift and hover and lift and hover. Three and four using the breath, lengthening the spine. Excellent. Last one like that. Keeping that knee really straight.

And we're going to do the pulses ready and, hmm. Sure, sure. Take it down and shift it side to side. Little sexy stretch there. All right, good. Okay. Now keeping the foot parallel. So if you had a wall next to you, your whole foot would touch the wall. Okay. The whole side of your foot. Okay, so here we go.

We're hovering that leg just one inch off the ground so that the skin of your heel might even graze the ground. We want that because we don't want to hike the pelvis up into the hip or up into the rib cage. Yeah. So I want to keep the length between the ribs and pelvis. We only have at best two to three fingers in between the ribs and pelvis. We want to keep that sense of length the rest of our lives.

We don't want our ribcage sitting in the pelvis. That's it. Two more like that ax hail reach and then the pulse is ready and okay and take it down. Shifted side to side one more like this. And you can shoot these bands at me if you want. Okay, so now we're going to bring the left leg back. Yeah, I'm sorry. The right leg back. Extend through that hip. So get a little stretch first and then bring out pubic bone up so that you really feel the length across the front of the pelvis and you want to also feel the length in the spine, the back of the spine there, the lumbar spine. Okay, good. So no arching in the back.

So Amy's going to bend that standing leg until forward as a modification. If you can't lift the leg without the back arching, that usually means that the front of the hip is tight. This is the magic kingdom right here. We want to have that hip extension the rest of our lives that keeps our stride length long. Very important for overall health and wellbeing. Okay, so now that you had a little bit of rest while I blather on. Okay. Now reach and touch. I know my students like it when I go off on a tangent, so they get a little rest. Three and four. I try not to do that though.

So I'll keep you moving five, six and reach it. Really feeling that buttock lifting as you work. Last one, and hover. Ready and pulsing. Breath. Okay. And down. Yay. I know. So I'm sure we have some osteoblastic activity going on there. All right.

You can step out of your tubes and place it underneath your chair. You can wiggle out of it. Yep, that's it. And Yeah, you don't even have to touch it with your hands. All right, have a welcome rest. Now we'll take the theraband out. So you've got the blue Theravent and let's have it so that you have, you have about maybe six inches of length at the end of the bands. All right, now scoop all the way back in your chair and your, your bottom will touch the dowel. And that's okay because we won't be there long. All right?

So what I'd like you to do is place your right foot into the theraband and extend the leg and so forth. There you go. At your own risk. Exactly. You need to wear a little face mask, you know. All right. So then sit up really tall. Roll the pelvis forward. Yeah. And, but keep your back against the chair. Okay.

So notice that you're going to get a little stretch in that hamstring. Maybe you also get a little bit of support for the leg. Okay. Um, but with, for the chair from the chair, okay. So first thing you might be feeling something going down your leg. So tingling, numbness, pain. And that can be a problem. So if, if you do have that, bring the body forward and let the leg hang down a little bit. So you can actually sit if you want to come forward and then let the, the leg be on the floor and then extend. That's it. There you go. Okay, so you could do that and modify if you need to. Okay, so then here we go. Shoulders down and back. Yes.

And you feel the shoulder blades kind of hugging the back of the chair. You're lengthening your spine, your pelvis is rolling forward just a little bit into that anterior tilt. All right, so here we go. We're going to pull back. Elbows are going to be kind of close to the waistline. So draw the elbows and a little bit [inaudible] and then stop there for a moment and take another breath and old and through the collar bones.

Kind of like we did when we had the towel in our hands. Good. And then release forward, keeping the shoulder blades against the chair. That's it. Now pull back, keep the shoulder blades against the chair and then forward. Exhale to pull back. Inhale forward and exhale, pull back and just keep the palms down and a straight line between the elbow and the and the whole band there. There you go, just like that. Now that's it.

And if you need to, for arthritis in your hands, you can take washcloths and tie them inside the band and hold onto it like that. Or you can wrap the, the bands around your hands or make knots in the ends and just slip your hands in there. Those are lots of different options that you can use to modify if you have arthritic hands. Okay. Now, so you've done a lots of those now. All right, so let's do this. We're going to keep the elbows back and down and stay elbows and a little bit more. That's it. Lower on even more. That's it. There you go. Now release just your right hand forward and then exhale to pull back.

Inhale forward. Just the right hand. We're going to do four times on the right. Yeah. And then forward. That's it. And back. And you could alternate if you wanted to, but yes, that's it. Exactly. One more time. Now we're gonna pull back and rotate like we have a bone arrow. Yes, and rotate. Bow and Arrow reaching back.

Exactly and reaching back and really get that shoulder blade back and down in the socket. That's it. And let that sh that shoulder blade to come back and down in the opposite pocket and the shoulder is in the socket. [inaudible] and you can actually rotate a little bit. Okay, now, so you notice that the chair is blocking your rotation, right? And I that was purposeful because I wanted you to keep your back against there. Now come forward to the middle of the chair.

Now this means though that you've got to hold your leg up, your legs going to be a lot heavier. Okay, so you got to hold the leg up. Now we're going to pull back, release one arm, and then rotate. Yeah, there you go. Now you've got the space to do your rotation. Beautiful. That's it. There you go. And you're going to rotate until you feel the back of your arm against the chair. That's it. Or in your case, you're a little taller.

You're going to feel the bottom of your arm and think of putting your right shoulder blade in your left pocket. One more time like that. Breathe in and breathe out. And I would take this band and put it down a little lower on your foot just so it doesn't come off good. All right, shake it out a little bit. Now let's do the other side. So step into the loop on your left foot. Uh Huh. And you can choose where you want to be for this set so you can either come forward if you want to challenge yourself a little bit more, or you can say back if you need a little bit more support. Okay. So here we go.

So four times, let's pull back. That's it. And release. Yes, I can see these are type a personality disorders now. Just kidding. No, these girls are hard workers. That's it. And exhale the pullback. Yes, that's it. No laziness in this room. All right. And Pool. Exactly. That's it. Oh, opening through the chest. There Ya go. Beautiful. All right.

Now pull back and stay and we'll do four plane poles with the left arm. Inhale and exhale to pull back and think of pulling back from here. That's it. Yeah. Good. Nice. Amy, that shoulders opening up. Got It. There you go. Waken up the back of that rotator cuff. Exactly. Nice. All right. Now add the rotation, bow and Arrow.

That's it. Nice. And again, exhale, reaching back. That's it. So you have a headlight on your breastbone and you want it to shine all the way to the front of the room. Yeah. Beautiful. I get that. Lower Thoracic rotation and return. All right, shake it out. Very good. All right, everybody up to standing. You can put the, the theraband back down on the chair under the chair, and we're going to stand facing the front with one hand on the chair and left hand will be holding the doubt. Okay. All right, so our next event is the dreaded lunges so that no one ever thinks they should do.

So what we're going to do first is stand and pretend like you're standing on a set of railroad tracks. You're going to step forward with your right foot. And what I would like is if I had a tape measure out, I would love it to be about three feet. So if you were standing on a yoga mat, Yoga mats are six feet long. You would stand halfway forward on the mat. Okay, both like straight. That's it. All right, now from there, see if you can get your pelvis square to the front, especially that left hip. That left pelvis wants to be turned out. So bring that pelvis around, lift through the pubic bone and hold that position. There you go. So now you're going to rise up just with the back foot. Yeah.

So front foot stays down and then stretch down and rise up and down. And what I want you to think of is that your pubic bone is Rory ching up. And that's it. Exhale, lift and release down. One more time. And lift and hold. Now fold at your hip. That's it. Without dropping in space. Yes. Can you do that now?

Straighten and fold. That's it. And straighten without lowering your body in space. Beautiful. Hat's it. So you're keeping the length here and then fold at that hip. Yes, without going down. Exactly. Now, one more time and then keep that back leg straight and I'll do the same with your front leg fold at the front hip. Uh Huh. And then, but no going forward. Okay. So folding at the front hip [inaudible] staying vertical. Stay vertical. Okay. Yes, that's it. So you're not going down or forward.

So it's a beat. It's tiny little movement, really tiny movement. So you're basically just trying to unlock that knee and get the hip to move and the knee moves inadvertently. Okay. All right. Now with the backne folded front, me folded, think of going straight down like a piston, a quarter of the way down. If you were going to go all the way down and then exhale back up, you might be here for several weeks and that's okay. So we go quarter of the way down and exhale up.

Inhale to a quarter of the way down and uh, and if possible, let's go to half. Inhale to half and then back up. And again, halfway down and up. And three quarters and up again, three quarters and up. And then if you can go all the way and see if you can touch one, they, the floor certainly doesn't have to happen today. So all the way to the floor and so you divided into what works for you.

So you may only go 50% and that's fine. Or You may not even bend your knees today. It's fine to do the whole thing with straight legs. Just doing this while we're doing the knee bends, okay? But the goal would be to go into what I call the marriage proposal lunge so that you are coming all the way to the ground without going forward and without having to put weight on the front leg. Okay? All right. Now one step forward, step together as it and then step back with the other leg.

That's how one more set. All right. Here we go. Square off the hips. Find that length in the spine, lifted a pubic bone, both feet pointed straight ahead. And then here we go. Stretching back and lifting up little calf stretch, a little front of the hip stretch. This is what I want you to imagine when you're walking long strides when you walk, the speed of your walking is so important for your overall health and vitality. There is a relationship between the speed of walking to overall health.

Yes. So people that walk less than one meter per second end up having to go into assisted living. So we want to keep that speed up and the way to do that as to keep that stride length long. All right, so here we go. Fold the back knee. Inhale, exhale, straighten and fold and straight. That's it. And fold and stirring, keeping that length last one. All right. And the front knee without going forward or down. And that's it.

And hold that position. That's it. And straight. Great. There we go. Okay. And now we fold both and we go quarter of the way down and up. So we test the waters, make sure we can get back up. You always want to make sure he can get back up. Yeah. And if you need to, you can go forward and push on your leg if you need to help yourself get back up. Okay. Now, halfway down, inhale and exhale up.

Use your breath to help you generate the power for your movement. That's it. And three quarters and nice and three quarters and up. And let's do full. See if we can touch and up. And again, you don't have to go all the way today. This may take several months or a couple of lifetimes to get to the point where you can do the full lunch. Once you can do the full lunch, then you start putting weights in your hands.

So I need to give yourself a little more resistance. One more time. Everybody inhale, touch and exhale to lift. Step together. Very good. All right, let's finish up with a little stretch. So go ahead and have a seat in your chair and let's face the chairs forward. Yeah, and you can put the dowel behind you. You might need it.

We'll face the chairs to the front. Um, that this is fine. [inaudible] that's it. Perfect. All right. Both of you turn to the right, right cheek is on the chair. Left cheek is off the chair. Okay. And so you're in a marriage proposal position now.

So back knee is pointed straight down. Front knee is forward. So this is one of the ways to help you get into the lunge. If you're having a hard time with that. So keep the ribcage centered over the pelvis. You might notice that that pulls on the front of the hip when you do that. Okay, now from here, see if you can stretch that back leg further back.

Yeah, that's it. So keeping the pelvis forward and the right leg or left leg is going back. That's it. And that's plenty. So once you get to the point where you're feeling a deep stretch in the front of your hip, you're going to stay there and then reach the left arm up and take it over. So think of lifting the rib cage up and not so far over, but more up. Yes, that's it.

So up and lengthen. You're going to feel that deep stretch probably in your, so as muscle maybe. Yes. The one that starts with a p, that's it. Go ahead. That one that really has an effect on our spine. Breathe in and breathe out to come down. Nice.

Bring the arm down, turn around to the other side, must do the other one, and that's it. Extend the leg back. Nice. Find the pelvis position first, then start to extend the leg back, keeping the pelvis in the same position where it started. And then once you get that leg back a little bit, renew the focus on lifting the pubic bone. That's it. Draw the tailbone down slightly and then feel that stretched to the front of the hip. And then once you get there, take a breath in and then reach the arm up and then take it over. Yeah, so length in the rib cage off the pelvis, really feeling that sense of length in the spine and the right side of your waist. And then shrug the shoulder up. You feel a deeper stretch there.

And then take it back down. You might feel a release and then up. Inhale and [inaudible]. And then take the arm all the way down. Beautiful. Returned to face the front of the room. All right. Sit back in your chair and then close your eyes and feel the buzzing and vibration in your body. Yes, and feel, I know you can feel those osteoblasts really working here. You've stimulated osteoblasts, you've simulated sarcomeres and muscle cells and really done a lot of wonderful things for your body. Stimulated your proprioceptors of your balance, and then again, take a breath in and then just let the air out easily feeling the shoulders melt away from the ears, feeling the chair supporting you in that length and spine position.

And then repeat in your mind, may I be happy, may I be well, may I be strong, my all my friends in this room. Be Happy, be well, and be strong. And let's share that message with all beings on the planet that all beings be happy, be well, and be strong. And now bring a smile to your pelvis, a smile to your ribcage, a smile to your collar bones and the smile to your face. Thank you very much.


1 person likes this.
This was wonderful information, Sherri! I have a few seniors I have been working with and this workout will be perfect!! Love your cue to bend at the hip and the knee will automatically bend. Changes with quality of movement for sure! I am a Fletcher Teacher so LOVE that you use the towel work in your program! :)
Sherri Betz
1 person likes this.
Thanks so much Bonnie! I am so happy that you found the information useful for helping older adults maintain their independence and quality of life!
3 people like this.
I taught some of these exercises yesterday with great success! One lady of 93 and another lady with Parkinson's really enjoyed their class. Thank you Sherri!!
1 person likes this.
dear Sherry
Thank you for being here in PA.
You think is a good idea doing this heel raise sequence before repeating the same with the Chair during the same session or it would be too much ?
In the case the two sequences are too much which one of two is the best starter ?
Hoping you understand my words ...
Monica italia
Sherri Betz
Dear Monica,
Thank you for your question. I think it is fine to repeat a series. Just watch your students for signs of fatigue (Knee bending, pelvis dropping, pelvis thrusting forward) to see if they can handle the second set of heel raises. When I start with a new class, I have to give fewer exercises in standing and divide the class into 4 series in standing and 4 in sitting until they build their standing tolerance and endurance. As they improve I give 3 longer standing sessions and only 2 seated sessions. (Basically, if I could teach the WHOLE class in STANDING, I would, but I have to give them breaks at first)
Sherri Betz
1 person likes this.
Another consideration is that more variety of exercises in different positions challenges the nervous system. I feel that variety should be another part of exercise prescription (intensity, duration, frequency and VARIATION)
2 people like this.
Thank you Sherri , this is a great class for senior that i'll use for sure. :)
1 person likes this.
This was great, thank you, Sherri. I have been teaching a seated / standing class for a few months now and this has given me some ideas for further exercises and variations. I particularly like the idea of using a dowel to ensure good alignment of the spine in the hinging exercises. Looks like I will be visiting my local hardware shop very soon!
Sherri Betz
Great news Gabrielle! I am so happy that folks like you are out there teaching this very underserved population! Where do you live? I would be happy to help promote your class. Please send me your details about the classes you teach. I get questions from folks all over the US, looking for a safe exercise class for osteoporosis and older adults. I post links to teachers here: //
Sherri Betz
Jean, I am so happy that you were able to share the exercises with your client with Parkinson's and your 93 year old client! Where do you teach the classes?
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