Walking Tall: Mobility Drills for Seniors

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1 Walking Tall: Mobility Drills for Seniors What is Functional Mobility Training? Selecting exercises that improve the foundation for movement Working in multiple planes Teaching reaction time, decision making and deceleration Cardio Training 4 6 Times per Week minutes per session Improving Mobility Improving ROM in ankles, hips and shoulders/t-spine will enhance ambulation and decrease fall risk. Step 1: The Joint-By-Joint Approach to Mobility Joint Mobility Stability Ankle Knee Hip Lumbar Spine Thoracic Spine Cervical Spine Stability & mobility are different sides of the same coin. Increasing flexibility at joints that need mobility improves stability in adjacent joints Improving stability where it is essential increases flexibility in adjacent joints Ankle Mobility Drills reserved. 1

2 Mobility Exercises For Seniors: Plantar Fascia Release Roll a tennis ball gently beneath arch of foot to improve ankle mobility. Roll the ball for 1 3 minutes. This will dramatically increase ROM in the ankle. Hip Stretches: Pendulums & Hip flexor Stretch Piriformis, Hamstring Stretches Mobility Exercises For Seniors: Shoulder & T-spine Practical Application: Understanding How We Walk Weight transfers from heel to ball of foot and then to the toes. Stride allows for full range of motion in the ankle. Foot does not lift until the big toe of the opposite foot has made contact with the ground. Pelvis is squared & spine is neutral, head is level. Toes point forward. Feet are 3 5 apart. The swing foot lands forward of the stance foot. Elbows are bent at 90 degrees, arms are close to the body and pump for momentum and balance Breathing is from the diaphragm 10 Suggested Drills to Improve Gait These can all be done on unstable surfaces too! Heel & toe taps Ankle strength & ROM Long steps To improve stride Knee lifts with arm pumps To improve swing arm efficiency & leg turnover Stagger steps To improve weight shifting Butt kicks To improve hamstring strength Tandem walks To decrease step width & improve stability Marching To reduce shuffling Walk with head rotations Improve balance Walk with U-turns To strengthen hip rotators Resisted walking To increase total strength reserved. 2

3 Walk and Walk Fast The Grim Reaper Study correlated walking speed to longevity. The faster older adults can walk, the lower their mortality rate. Goal: Try to walk 4.5 feet per second (3 mph pace) 135 feet in 30 secs. The Grim Reaper s maximal walking speed is just under 3 mph. (British Medical Journal, December, 2011.) Multi-directional Walking Drill 2 cones, 10 or 20 feet apart: Fast walk A to B Pivot and fast walk B to A Side shuffle A to B Side shuffle B to A Repeat Speed Walk Drills Deceleration Drill Have two lines 5, 10 or 20 feet apart. When whistle blows fast walk from the start to finish as quickly as possible. Do NOT over-run finish line. Lines are 18 apart. Goal is to cover the 18 in 4 seconds or less. (3 mph) Deceleration Drills Resisted Movement Speed walking while balancing ping pong ball on a spoon. When the whistle blows she must stop without dropping ball. Speed walking while carrying a bucket of water. When the whistle blows she must stop without spilling any water. reserved. 3

4 Resisted Walking Complex Set Exercise 1 Walk forward Resisted Retro Walk To Deceleration 2 Walk backward 3 Side shuffle left 4 Side shuffle right 5 Grapevine left 6 Grapevine right 7 Repeat Resisted Marching Resisted Shuffles Perform in place or moving Helps improve arm and leg drive Feet should make contact under the hips not in front of the body Resisted Walking Lunges Try it with lateral resistance! Deceleration Lunges Walk backward, lunge forward Band increases the demand to decelerate Increased eccentric forces Improve core & lower body stability and strength reserved. 4

5 Try Any of These Drills on a Ladder Lateral Acceleration/Deceleration Clap once to stop; twice to start; three times to change direction.* Tables create lanes for stability. Ladder drill with lateral resistance. * Outside, use a whistle. Multi-directional Resisted Agility Training Lateral Shuffle Safety is your first priority Warm up first Alternate hard with easy drills Integrate scheduled rest breaks Have fun!!! Obstacle Courses The Essentials Good Posture Obstacle Course Set up an obstacle course in the manner of your choosing, Participants complete course with a paper plate balanced on the head. Can also be done while holding a teaspoon on which a ping pong ball is balanced. reserved. 5

6 Obstacle Course Whistle Drill To improve reaction time, deceleration Functional Lunges: Hurdle Stepping When whistle blows, stop as quickly as possible When whistle blows again, start again Indoors clap once to start, twice to resume C I Strength & Agility Squat Course Weave around chairs From A to B and from C to D. B Sit in each chair From B to C and from D to A. Obstacle Course Drills Use a variety of objects: hurdles, rings, dots, cones, straight tape lines. Have them walk while carrying ping pong ball on teaspoon. A D Relay Races Stable / Unstable Challenges reserved. 6

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