An Old Chick Named Hazel

Meet Hazel, a spunky 80 year old who wants to age gracefully in her own home.   This blog series provides tips and links to products to help seniors live independently in their current home.  

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Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, Knees and Toes

Updated: Feb 28, 2019

Happy new year. We made another trip around the sun which means new resolutions and a fresh start. Commonly people will decide to get fit and exercise more at the beginning of the year. Easier said then done, but this old chick named Hazel found ways to exercise right at home.

We know that exercise can benefit every area of your life from improving the ability to do what you want to do, improving your balance, and helping you manage other health issues. Hazel has a stationary bike that she uses to exercise her arms and her legs. The bike can sit on the floor to exercise her legs or on the kitchen table to exercise her arms. Some come with a digital monitor so you can see how far you have cycled. Often Hazel will watch a favorite TV show and do her cycling during the commercials. This allows her to rest in between cycles.

Hazel also gets her exercise in by walking around inside the house through the living room, dining room and kitchen. She keeps small pieces of paper in her pocket and every time she passes the dining room table, she puts a piece of paper down on the table. At the end of the day, she counts the number of pieces of papers to figure out how far she walked. You can use any type of paper. We used different colored paper sometimes with a relative's name on it just to keep it interesting. If she walks the path 50 times, she has walked a mile. Here's an easy calculation for you to figure how far is a mile in your house. On average, 2000 steps equal a mile. To figure out how many laps are needed, make a path and count the number of steps in one lap. Plug in the numbers to figure out how many laps are needed for a mile.

example: 2000 (number of steps in a mile) divided by 40 (number of steps in Hazel's path) = 50 (number of laps needed to complete a mile). Plug in your own numbers - use 1000 for half a mile.

I remember coming home one day and asking Hazel "So what did you do today?" . With a big smile and a little attitude she said "I walked a mile today, how about you?" It was a good day.

Aunt Roberta, another family member of Hazel's, is 90 years old. Ever since we could remember, she would challenge young folks to touch their toes. She always got a kick out of showing young folks 60 and under that she could still touch her toes. Then she would challenge them to touch their toes. Many couldn't meet the challenge. The moral of her story being, always do some stretching exercises to keep yourself forever young.

Check with the doctor about any limitations on exercising. The National Institute on Aging has a number of free videos and a great book with simple exercises for seniors with pictures to follow.

Meanwhile, remember there is some good in the old childhood song, Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, Knees and Toes. Try it! Just don't fall over!




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