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A Simple Seated Isometric Exercise Workout For Seniors
First, I will tell you that I am 70 years old and have been doing this basic exercise program for several years, along with a few other activities.
Since you may not be familiar with isometric exercises, just take a short tour.
These are exercises where one muscle group, for example the biceps (front of the arm…rolls the arm), pulls or pushes against any other muscle group, for example the triceps (back of the arm…extend the arm). ), or an immovable object.
The muscle is tensed in contraction or extension for between seven and ten seconds.
I always do a slow count to 10 myself.
Please note, although the recommendation for faster results is to tense the muscle at 75% of its maximum capacity, you have no way of measuring this and you are at greater risk of injury early on, so, as you begin, just tighten until you feel resistance and gradually you will begin to feel the “sweet spot”. Also, the supporting muscles may not be as strong as the main muscle being exercised, and you don’t want to have to stop because you’ve injured a smaller muscle.
There is a tendency during extreme exertion to hold the breath.
This is another little rule of thumb of mine. If I have to stop breathing to do that particular isometric exercise, I’m pushing myself too hard and risking injury…not just to the muscle, but to the heart.
The goal is to help you get and stay in shape, not turn you into a professional athlete. Isometric exercises should never be your only exercises. You should be walking or doing other aerobic activities, at a minimum. It’s also a good idea to do some exercises that require movement, since an isometric exercise contraction doesn’t work a particular muscle through its full range.
That’s why, by the way, I do some exercises of the same muscle in different positions.
At the end of the workout itself, I’ll give you a couple of tips to improve your result, both with the isometric training itself, and by adding some aerobic activity in the process.
Get a sturdy chair without arms. Kitchen table style will do. Put it in position.
Now, walk around the house for a minute or two to “get the blood flowing.”
You’ll want to do the exercises back-to-back once your body has acclimated to isometric training, but don’t push it at first and always rest as much as needed between exercises. This is supposed to help you be healthier…not push you to become an Olympic level athlete…or have a heart attack.
Slowly lower yourself into a seat on the chair…BUT…
Just before you are seated and still in a sort of skier’s pose, stop and hold the position for a slow count of 10.
To save time, and typing, from now on I won’t say “slow count of 10”, I’ll just say hold charge.
Sit in the chair as far forward as you can, as later on you’ll want to rock back and forth a bit.
ARMS, CHEST, BACK
These exercises will be done in three sets of three to let individual muscles rest a bit between exercises. At the same time, this allows you to get a small amount of aerobic results from isometric exercises, which is difficult to do.
Arm exercise 1:
Hold one arm so that it’s at your side and forms a 90-degree angle at the elbow in almost the classic “look at my muscle.” Place your palms together and reach up with one arm while pushing down with the other and holding. Reverse hand positions and repeat.
Chest Exercise 1:
Place the fist of one hand in the palm of the other in front of the chest. Push them against each other and hold them.
Back exercise 1:
With your hands still in front of you, grasp, stretch and hold.
For set 2, repeat the isometric exercises with your hands in a low position, at or below your waist.
For set 3, repeat the exercises with your hands in a high position.
Don’t worry about the shape. You’re doing this for you, and how you look doesn’t really matter. Also, as you get stronger, become more familiar with the exercises and how they feel, you’ll begin to realize that you can focus the contraction wherever you want.
I used the word “more” because while the focus of the next few exercises is on the core, or mid-body, you’ll also be doing some things for other parts. We will not make multiple positions of these.
Basic exercise 1:
Place your hands on top of your knees and, using your abdominal muscles as much as possible, press down and hold.
Basic exercise 2:
Place your right hand on the outside of one knee and pull to the other side as if trying to turn in that direction. Try to use your core muscles and just use your arm as a “stick”. hold on Then repeat going to the other side.
In addition to exercises 1 and 2:
At this point, to take a short break from my core exercises, I place my hands between my legs, press the backs of my hands against the insides of my knees, press out, and hold.
When this is done, place your hands on the outside of your knees and press in and hold.
Basic exercise 3:
Place one hand on the opposite knee (right hand on left knee or left hand on right knee). Using your core (abdominal) muscles, press down and hold. Reverse and do with the other hand and knee.
Neck Exercise 1:
Place your hands against the front of your forehead. Push forward with your neck and resist with your hands.
Neck exercise 2:
Put your hands behind your head. Pull back with your neck muscles and stretch with your hands and hold.
Start to stand up, BUT, just as you clear the chair, stop and hold this slow count to 10.
Get up, leave your chair and walk around the house for a couple of minutes.
While at first you may want to just do the isometric exercises and leave the rest, if you want to get a little more aerobic effect and at the same time make the exercises more effective, add some movement to each exercise , just before the “hold”.
For example, in arm exercises, I alternately curl and straighten my arms about three or four times before I bring them into the “hold” position. In the chest exercise, I move my arms in and out before getting ready for the exercise. I try to do each movement as if I were moving into the position and keep doing three or four times.
I mentioned sitting forward in the chair. This is so you can rock back and forth before the ab exercises. For the neck, I move my chin to my chest and lift it, or I look up at the ceiling and pull my head up.
Because I can really push myself in each “hold”, I only do this workout four times a week, two days on, one day off, two days on, two days off. However, you may have to gamble, especially at first.
One thing to be very careful with is pain. While there can be some soreness with any form of exercise, especially a new one, if you’re really sore, you’re pushing yourself too hard. In fact, I recommend that you keep the pressure fairly light for the first few weeks and gradually increase it until you experience real resistance.
There’s no hurry. The fact that you are doing this small program of isometric exercises, which probably only takes about 10 minutes or so, on a regular basis will soon start to show results. Now, you might not lose a lot of weight, or increase your strength a lot, but you should notice a little more energy and a looser fit in your clothes after a few weeks.
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