10 daily “use it or lose it” physical activities
For a long time I was very overweight and started to do things to make my life easier. At my worst, I was considering using tools to put on my shoes because I was having trouble doing it and I was doing the opposite of everything on this list. Now I consciously do all of the things on this list. I also looked at my aging parents and saw daily activities they could no longer do and noticed how muscle atrophy negatively impacted them. By continuing to do these micro skills beyond your 40s, you will keep your independence longer.
Most of these focus on balance.
1. Get completely dressed while standing up ( including shoes and socks)
Pants can take some practice! This helps you train and maintain balance and build strength and body awareness. Also flexibility
2. Hold a plank pose to look under a car or bed
Handy to see what that dragging noise might be without getting your pants dirty.
3. Get out of a chair without using your hands
This forces you to be aware of your balance.
4. Get up off the floor without any assistance
Yoga classes are great for getting used to this and learning new ways to get up.
5. Reach to the back of a cabinet by kneeling and reaching your arm out in front of you
There is a name for this stretching pose: I can't think of it now.
6. Open bags, jars and boxes with your hands as often as possible
This will help maintain your grip strength. I thought that opening things with scissors was smart and neater, and it is, but I started losing the ability to open things on my own. I have some ulnar nerve damage and had been losing grip strength.
7. If you have stairs go up and down throughout the day
Don't put things on the stair to take them up later: walk up and down every time.
8. Go up and down stairs without using the banister
Works your balance.
9. Don’t hesitate to kneel, sit, squat or lie on the floor
This could be to recover a pet toy, play with a pet, clean a spill, look for something in a low cabinet or to sort paperwork. Afterwards, you will have to get back up again!
10. Don’t hesitate when putting away laundry or doing dishes.
This can help your mindset but also helps with physical stamina. If you carry laundry into a room, put it away without stopping to "rest."