In this exercise you'll let your fingers, hands, and arms do the walking. This will help strengthen your upper body and your grip, and increase the flexibility of your arms, back, and shoulders.
- Stand or sit forward in an armless chair with feet on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
- Movement 1: Imagine there is a wall directly in front of you. Slowly walk your fingers up the wall until your arms are above your head. Hold them overhead while wiggling your fingers for about 10 seconds and then slowly walk them back down.
- Movement 2: Next, try to touch your two hands behind your back. If you can, reach for the opposite elbow with each hand—or get as close as you can. Hold the position for about 10 seconds, feeling a stretch in the back, arms, and chest.
- Movement 3: Release your arms and finger-weave your hands in front of your body. Raise your arms so that they're parallel to the ground, with your palms facing the imaginary wall. Sit or stand up straight, but curl your shoulders forward. You should feel the stretch in your wrist and upper back. Hold the position for about 10 seconds.
- Repeat this three-part exercise three times.
Research has shown that strengthening exercises are both safe and effective for women and men of all ages, including those who are not in perfect health. In fact, people with health concerns—including heart disease or arthritis—often benefit the most from an exercise program that includes lifting weights a few times each week.
Strength training, particularly in conjunction with regular aerobic exercise, can also have a profound impact on a person's mental and emotional health.