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How to Start Moving

Updated: Jun 8, 2022

We have all heard that we should exercise and about the importance of keeping moving. "You don't use it, you lose it." But, sometimes things in life get in the way and we STOP! Then what? How do we get started again? When the new year started, we had great intentions and went to the gym or did our exercises regularly. Then, for some reason, we stop.

Do those scenarios sound familiar? It is difficult to get moving again and get the rhythm going. In our Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions, Pain and Diabetes classes, we address making action plans to make changes that we want in our lives. The format is:

  • Something YOU want to do

  • Is it action specific – answering the questions, What? How much? When? And how often?

  • Is it achievable and on a scale of 1-10 how confident are you that you can accomplish this goal? We like to make sure that it is at least a 7. If it is under a 7 then the goal may be too hard. If it is a 10 then maybe it is too easy.

Now that we have our action plan, we need to get started.

Here are some basic, fairly easy exercises to start with. They can even be done sitting in a chair. Once you have them mastered, add more repetitions or do them standing.

  • Head turn – turn head to side looking over your shoulder- hold for the count of 3, return to center and pause. Turn your head to the other side and look over your shoulder – hold for the count of 3.

  • Side neck bend – tilt head sideways towards shoulder until you feel a gentle stretch- hold to the count of 3. Return to center and repeat on the other side.

  • Shoulder raises – raise both shoulders up towards your ears. Slowly lower and relax. Do this for 5 movements and increase over time.

  • Shoulder Backward circle – slowly move shoulders up, back and around in a circular motion. Do this for 5 rounds and increase as you can.

  • Diagonal Arm Reach – Sitting, raise one arm across body above opposite shoulder or as high as you can and stretch as if you are picking an apple from the tree. Repeat with your other arm. Do 5 then increase over time.

  • Shoulder Arm Lift – Lift arms straight out to side just below shoulder level, palms down. Hold to the count of 3 then lower and repeat. Do this for 5 movements and then increase the hold time as you can.

  • Side Arm Circles – rest hands on shoulders, elbows pointed out. Make circle with elbows. Vary the size and direction of circles.

  • Overhead arm sweep – Cross arms in front of your body, reach up over your head straightening your arms and reaching up. Bring back down. Do 5 movements.

  • The Hug – lift arms to the side of the body, palms facing up. Bring them forward and cross in front of your body and touch shoulders with the opposite hands to hug yourself. Do this again with the opposite arm on top. Do 5 movements.

  • The Row – Sit with elbows bent and tucked to the side. Bend slightly forward from the hips, keeping your back straight. Lower hands slowly toward the floor by straightening the elbows. Row elbows up and back, pulling shoulder blades together. Do 5 movements.

  • Trunk Rotation – Cross arms in front of you. Rotate trunk to look over one shoulder. Come back to center and repeat to other side. Make sure that you are twisting at the waist and not the neck or hips. Do 5 movements on each side.

  • Hip walk – sit up straight against back of the chair. Walk forward to the edge of the chair by alternately lifting one hip up and moving forward. Walk back. Do this 3 times forward and 3 times back.

  • Abdominal Strengthener – Sit on edge of chair, arms straight out in front. Keeping back straight lean back until you feel your abdominal muscles tighten. Don’t touch the back of the chair. Pause and return to starting position.

  • March – Sit up straight, alternate lifting knees up and down as if marching in place. You may need to put your hands under your thigh to help lift. Do 5 movements.

  • Butterfly – sit up straight, spread knees apart and bring knees together. Repeat 5 movements.

  • Knee bend – sit up straight, knees bent, extend one leg and point toes up. Hold for the count of 5 bring back floor. Do this 5 times with each leg.

  • Point and Flex Toes – Sit up straight, one foot extended in front. Moving at ankle joint point toes out front and pull toes back toward shin. Do 5 movements with each leg.

  • Ankle circles – Sit up straight, one foot extended in front, move foot around in a slow, large circle 3 times then change directions for 3 circles. Do the same thing with opposite leg.

These and more exercises are taught in our AFEP (Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program) classes. The St. George Senior Center currently has AFEP classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays that you can join. Escalante also has ongoing classes. We are also looking for volunteers who would like to be trained to teach this class to others. You can also check out our video of some of the exercises taught in the class.

For class information or volunteer opportunities, call 435-673-3548 X103. RSVP – Retired and Senior Volunteer Program has a variety of classes that we train and certify leaders to teach.

Maria Bailey is the director for the AmeriCorps Senior RSVP program with the Area Agency on Aging - Five County. Maria has been with the program for two years. While new with the RSVP program, Maria is not new to working with older adults. She has been working with older adults for over 15 years!

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