In 2020 many of us have been stuck at home and our normal routines shifted. A positive from this is that more people have gone outdoors to exercise, or initiated home workout programs. Frequently, many people omit plyometrics (exercise focused on power, speed, and strength) from their routine, especially older adults. However, below are the top plyometric exercises for active older adults.
Many older adults do not feel safe doing plyometrics or do not know where to begin. However, switching up your routine and adding in plyometrics is a great way to reach most wellness and fitness goals. Adding more robust and variety into your workout routine will not only improve muscle mass but keep you nimble. It will lower your risk of falling and improve the overall quality of life. Still hesitant? Active older adults usually sell themselves short, but slowly incorporating plyometrics can be a safer way to start. See below for 6 exercises that you can start to incorporate into your routine.
Top Plyometric Exercises
1. Step Up or Step up March: You only need 1 step. The elevation allows for you to build more power and if you are feeling confident, add in a march with the trailing leg.
2. Knee Raises: This is an easy replacement for the first exercise, but you can increase the challenge as you increase your speed. To perform, march your knees up to your chest, increase the speed and height as able.
3. Jumping: There is a variety of jumping you can do, this includes squat jumps, jumping over a line forward/backward, or lateral, or to take it to the next level, try single leg jumping. If you don’t feel comfortable jumping, try the other exercises first.
4. Medicine Ball Toss: You will need a 4-10 Lb medicine ball for this. You can do it by yourself by throwing it at a wall, or throwing it with a friend.
5. Mountain Climbers: On your hands: drive one of your knees up toward your chest, switching each time
6. Push Up to Stand: If push ups were not enough, do a push up and stand as quickly and safely as you can repeating for time or repetitions.
As with any new exercise, injury is a risk if you jump in too quickly. My advice would be to add only 1 or 2 of these exercises into your normal routine, try just 1 set of 5-10 once or twice a week, and slowly increase frequency, repetitions, and speed. The exercises above are different levels of difficulty, start with what you are comfortable and add in as able. Always check how your body is feeling, Soreness is a normal response, especially to a new exercise, however, pain is not. If there is pain or you do not feel comfortable starting a new program, check-in with a trusted Physical Therapist and they can help guide you to your goals.