Regular exercise is a great way to improve your fitness and your
health. Athletes have learned that they must train the way they compete.
That is also sound advice for the rest of us as well. Training the way you
live helps strengthen the muscles you use for ADLS allowing you to
perform better and reduce injury.
Here are the 5 best whole body exercises to help strengthen your ADL
muscles. If you don't know how to do these exercises properly or not sure
if you are capable of doing the exercises listed, please check with your
Start With a Dynamic Warm-Up
Starting with an 8 to 10 minute dynamic warm-up prior to this or any
workout that synchronizes your body and brain. This workout will include heel
and toe walks, high knees, side shuffle, skipping and other activities
designed to warm-up your muscles. Warming-up the body and brain before your
workout provides the opportunity for maximum muscular strength and prevents
injuries associated with multi-movement patterns.
1. Legs and Hips
Squats: To squat safely, place the bar across your shoulders (not your
neck) and keep your back straight, bending slightly at the hips through the
squatting motion. Keep your heels heavy and your head up to maintain good
form. Dumbbells can also be used either hanging at your sides or placed at
shoulder height. These variations are more advanced and should only be
tried after the basic squatting motion is mastered. Proper form is crucial
with this exercise. Breathe in as you go down and out as you come up.
One Leg Balance: Stand erect, back straight and head up. Lift one leg and
try to stand quietly as you balance. Keep your standing leg knee slightly
bent. Do not use your arms to stabilize unless you cannot balance without
them. If you find this easy, place a dumbbell or medicine ball in your
hands. With your standing knee straight, take the dumbbell and try to touch
your knee with it. Make sure to keep your back straight at all times
and hinge at the hips. Breathe out as you come up from your knee or toe
3. The Core
Plank or Prone Bridge: Start on your elbows, knees and toes face down
on the floor. Lift your knees off the floor and keep your back flat and head
facing down in line with the rest of your body. Breathe regularly and do
not hold your breath. Hold this position for up to 3 minutes. If you feel
your back start to sag, lift your hips and try to maintain a flat back. If
you cannot maintain a flat back, stop the plank at once.
4. Whole Body Strength and Cardio
Star Jumps or Jump Rope: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and
hands at your sides. Jump into the air and as you do, spread your legs and
arms apart so that your body looks like a star. If this seems too much, grab
a jump rope and do several 1 to 2 minute segments or until you feel like you
need to stop. Breathe regularly. Do not hold your breath.
5. Whole Body Strength and Endurance
Walkouts on a Fitness Ball
Start by lying face down on a fitness ball with your legs straight and
hands in a push-up position. Walk forward on your hands, keeping your legs
straight, until your toes touch the back of the ball. Keep your back straight
and head down looking at the floor. Return to the starting position and repeat.
If you want a little more challenge, when your feet reach the back of the ball,
tuck your knees to your chest. Breathe out each time you walk out on the
Don't forget to stretch at the end and stay well hydrated by taking in
water at 15 minute intervals throughout your workout.