Fitness test: If you do not pass 4 exercises, you will have problems in old age

Column by TV host Vera Cordes: Fitness test: If you do not do these 4 exercises, you will have problems in old age

When asked about their physical condition, most will say they are in shape. But are they real? Four short exercises determine your fitness – and show whether you even in old age have problems with strength, mobility, endurance and coordination.

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It’s amazing how easy it is to misjudge one’s own abilities. You may also know people who consider themselves to be above-average drivers, but who are actually only average at best. Others practiced competitive sports in their youth and therefore still feel like superman even at 50 plus, but are actually already at their limit when it comes to carrying two boxes of mineral water to the first floor. If they falter or even fall on uneven terrain, it is definitely someone else’s fault.

Particularly embarrassing: You only notice your own unfitness when everyone else reaches the subway, while you yourself are still breathing and stumbling down the stairs to the platform.

About the expert

Vera Cordes has been the face of health magazine “Visite” on NDR TV for more than 20 years. She studied German, education and sports science. She then graduated from the Axel Springer School of Journalism and worked as a news editor and presenter for radio stations in Berlin and Hanover.

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Four exercises from fitness experts

So how is your fitness really? Check yourself and practice at the same time! Because with the following four simple basic principles, testing and training are the same. The Hamburg fitness educator Maria Jäger and sports doctor Helge Riepenhof have put together these exercises, which I also do regularly and gladly recommend.

The specialist in sports orthopedics, prevention and rehabilitation at the trade association clinic in Hamburg daily treats people who have often been seriously injured due to their lack of fitness. For many years he has also advised international top athletes in a wide range of disciplines and knows what is important for you to move safely and trust your body at any age and in any situation.

Honestly, if we do nothing, we gradually relax. Where should speed, endurance, mobility and coordination come from if we only move a few hundred steps a day on average between home, car, work and back again. Not to mention the widespread immobility in the home office.

Over time, we underestimate more and more how much strength it takes to be able to stop a fall in a fraction of a second. Denying that coordination is also fleeting if you do not practice it. In an emergency, strength and mobility are only useful if both are optimally coordinated.

Be honest with yourself and get started – preferably today! Then you are one step further tomorrow.

1. Strength test and train with plank or push-up

Start in a supine position and push yourself into the plank position. Toes and elbows not too far apart. Then lift your body, pull on your stomach, tighten the bottom and hold your body tension. Nevertheless, look casually towards the ground. Hips and back on one level.

Hold this exercise for 30 seconds. Even when your arms and legs start to shake. This is extremely exhausting, but also extremely effective. Indispensable for fall prevention and for a well-trained core.

If it is easy for you, repeat the exercise, extend or hold on to one leg while doing this. Push-ups are also an increase.

You must be able to handle at least one passport. Older people in particular should exercise as much as possible every day in old age. If you are lying on the ground after a fall, you must, after all, be able to support yourself with your arms to get up again.

2. Test endurance and train with the knee lifter

To do this, march briskly on the spot and alternately lift your knees up for each step, if possible to hip height. Bend your toes and pull them towards your body. The arms swing easily.

You should be able to do 100 knee raises in two minutes. This perfectly challenges the thigh, calves, buttocks and abdominal muscles. But the test also shows if the heart and lungs are OK. Anyone who can easily endure for two minutes, shows good endurance, will probably not have problems walking on stairs and will be able to cope with longer distances in everyday life without many breaks.

Read more from Vera Cordes

Test and train coordination with leg circles

To do this, place an object on the floor in front of you, lift one leg and circulate the foot in the air around this object for 30 seconds. Then change legs and circulate with the other for 30 seconds. Then repeat the whole thing with circles in the other direction. This balance and coordination exercise sounds easier than it is. Get on with it, increase the level and try to complete the exercise on your toes.

This leg rotation can be a real challenge, especially for older people, because the ability to keep balance decreases with age. This is a major reason why older people fall more often and seriously injure themselves. If you feel unsafe, be sure to hold on to a chair or wall to get a secure grip in the beginning.

4. Test mobility and exercise extensively

You should do this exercise at the end because you need to warm up for it. For standing exercise, bend your torso forward and try to touch your toes with your fingertips. The feet are hip-width apart, the heels are on the ground, and the legs are straight.

Do the exercise slowly five times in a row. If you do not succeed right away, keep practicing carefully every day. Over time, you will become more flexible and gradually get closer to your feet as your hips, Achilles tendon and spine become more flexible. In principle, everyone must be able to reach their feet with their hands in order to be able to tie their shoes while standing alone, wash their feet themselves and, especially if they are diabetics, even check them for injuries.

Stick around! Because then you will be successful and your strength, endurance, coordination and mobility will be improved. Have fun!

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