Having good muscle tone helps us to walk tall, look good and feel great. It affects our postural control and stability that is necessary to keep us upright and able to move about as and when required. We need our muscles to do what we want at exactly the right speed, without wasting energy or effort, so with toned muscles we can stop and start on command. The right amount of muscle tension is essential in our everyday lives to do the daily chores such as walking, shopping, gardening or playing sport. As the years go by its essential to maintain toned muscles if we want to enjoy physical independence into older age. Let’s help our postural stability by working on 3 main upper body areas:
- To tone neck and shoulders
Sit or stand with good posture, shoulders back, chin up and parallel to the floor. Turning head only look over your right shoulder as far as possible – feel the stretch. Take head back to centre and slowly look over your left shoulder and hold stretch for 5 seconds. Repeat 5 times with control. Now drop chin down to chest and stretch out your neck for 10 secs.
- To tone chest and front arm (biceps)
Sit or stand as before. With palms uppermost hold hand weights or small full water bottles out in front of you at waist level. Now tuck elbows tightly into your waist, stretch out your chest and pull shoulder blades together. Keeping this position lift weights to shoulders and lower back down 10 times with control.
- To tone core (trunk)
Stand or sit upright with good posture, shoulders back, and tummy tight. Bend your elbows out to sides bringing hands up with fingertips together in front of chest. Keep elbows up, twist from your waist only and take upper body, arms and head to look around to your right… as far as possible. Hold for 5 seconds. Come back to centre and continue twisting arms, shoulders and upper body around looking to left side. Repeat 5 times to each side.