Endurance: Improves your breathing, heart rate, and stamina.
Strength: Builds muscles. Increases the metabolism. Tones the body.
Balance: Helps prevent falling.
Flexibility: Helps keeps your body limber, stretches important muscles, keeps movement fluid.
PRESCRIPTIVE STRETCHING. Kristian Berg. 2011. This book gives authoritative information about the bone structure and musculature of the human body. It provides solid background information that is helpful. The stretches are fairly easy to follow and the illustrations are also clear. It is a user friendly book. One of the best sections, “Results of Inactivity,” provides strong motivation to “GET MOVING.” Having arthritis of the neck, I regularly practice stretches. They are better than a pain pill. The exercises reinforce what I had learned during physical therapy.
15 MINUTE GENTLE YOGA. Louise Grime. 2008.
This is a book that also has a DVD with four fifteen-minute workouts. All the asanas are clearly explained and illustrated. The book also gives you different ways to lessen the strain, using props and blankets, etc. I would not suggest this DVD for anyone who has not had some yoga practice. Watch the entire DVD. Check the book and then gently experiment. ANY PAIN, STOP. One of the better sections teaches you breathing techniques that anyone can do. I tried the workouts, but I did not force myself in any way. I cannot sit on my feet, so I used blankets to fill in the gap. It worked.
YOU: STAYING YOUNG WORKOUT. Joel Harper. 2007.
This is a level four workout. This “easy” workout requires a high degree of balance and flexibility. You have to be selective in doing the strenuous stuff. The Chi Gong level is softer. Use chairs for support. Not a good starter DVD.
DISCOVER TAI CHI FOR BALANCE & MOBILITY. Scott Cole. 2010.
I highly recommend this DVD. It is a good starter DVD for everyone. Why? As we age we need to mind our balance. I hear of so many people having falls. This DVD guides you through a continuum of breathing exercises with gentle movement, then simple Tai Chi stretches, and chair exercises. These exercises are easy to follow and fun to do. Having a variety of programs prevents boredom and keeps you motivated.
JANE FONDA PRIME TIME. TRIM, TONE & FLEX. 2011.
An aging Jane Fonda is the instructor. Remember her? She set off a flurry of exercise videos that started the home exercise trend, and now she joins the boomers for keeping fit. Two twenty-minute workouts take you through non-invasive exercises. One or two of the moves might be challenging, but you do not have to do them. She does offer alternative moves. The program is user friendly, but cardio work is not included. Must be reasonably fit.
WALK AWAY THE POUNDS. Leslie Sansone. 2006.
Sansone’s DVDs always get a thumbs up from me. Half the staff swears by her. When it’s raining or the sun is too hot, you can still maintain your exercise program in the comfort of your own home. Walking in front of your television may seem strange, but it works. The pace changes, the moves change, and in no time at all you have walked one or two miles (Your choice.) There is also a section, “Muscle Mile One,” that includes strength training, which I love. This DVD is aerobically sound and boosts your metabolism. It doesn’t matter if you’re out of shape. Start slow and soon you’ll be fast stepping with the best of them.
LET’S GET STEPPING! Debra Mazda. 2009.
This Shapely Girl DVD is self-advertised as fun and safe with easy-to-learn steps, which it is. However, they neglected to tell you that you will need a special step platform to really benefit from it. I checked the cost of these steps, and they run from $20 to $40, and truthfully, I can’t think of a replacement. Aerobically it‘s a bit tough. Most of us would need to practice for weeks to finish it comfortably. The moves are clearly explained, but the pace is challenging.
CARDIO FOR BEGINNERS. Petra Kolber. 2008.
This DVD is another winner that I recommend to start your aerobic training. The first two sessions are short (10 min.). Depending on your degree of fitness, you may want to continue. The second segment has a little aerobic dance routine that is fun. Watch this DVD first. Select one of the five options. The last option, the stretches, I was also able to do with a little cheating. There is a booklet with tips to maximizing your workout.
YOGA WEIGHT-LOSS WORKOUT FOR DUMMIES. Andrea Ambandos. 2005.
For strength building and toning, this DVD is an oldie but a goodie. It has four fifteen-minute workouts that are vigorous and challenging: abs, arms, buns, and thighs. The help out tips, such as using a mop for stability, take you to a safe place. There are alternate choices for difficult moves (e.g. pushups, etc.) which made me feel better. Armed with a good cardiovascular workout, this DVD is a keeper. View first.
CHAIR PILATES. Susan Tuttle. 2009. (Need a large ball, about $2.)
Don’t think because you’re sitting on a chair that this is a pushover workout. Susan Tuttle takes you through two brisk 30-minute Pilates exercises that are pretty serious, but the moves are manageable, leaving you feeling good, but maybe a little tired. I liked this DVD. As in every case do what you can, knowing that you will improve as you go along. Just remember to hang on to the ball. People in wheelchairs need to experiment.
LESLIE SANSONE’S WALK AT HOME. WALK THIS WAY! Leslie Sansone. 2009.
This is a five star beginners DVD. There are four basic moves: walk, kick, knee raises, and side steps. Start with the one mile walk, and you cannot go wrong. Here is a DVD with aerobics for everyone–safe and healthy. You can also tune out the voice and just stick with the music, which is also a bonus.
GENTLE YOGA FOR SENIORS. (Yoga Therapies for Seniors and the Physically Challenged.) Mary Cavanaugh. 2008.
For the physically challenged, there are three sections: Yoga from a bed, Yoga from a chair, and Yoga standing poses. These are not sissy exercises, but if you just start by doing a tiny bit, you will take pride in the progress as you improve.