Weather Forecast


Every day at 12 o'clock

She’s absolutely my inspiration! I hope you all read the article on the front page of the Brainerd Dispatch on Feb. 7. The article recapped the life experiences so far of Dorothy Janes, now a century old. What an amazing lady — the things she accomplished in an era that really didn’t allow women to accomplish much! So many things I jotted down as an inspiration to me. One of the smallest items in the article stated that “she still exercises every day at 12 o’clock.” Oh my!

Last month I wrote about wishing each other to “be well” on holiday greeting cards, our New Year’s Resolutions and our quest for improving our health. Our list more than likely included eating healthier, losing weight and exercising more. We’re now in that second month after those holiday greetings and our New Year’s Resolutions. I’m not doing so well either!

Last month I listed 10 staples for a healthy diet, especially for those seniors in our lives. I’d like to now share a few the exercise tips. These tips are from Jeannie Hannan, a wellness manager at EngAge Wellness, located in Omaha, Neb. They can help older adults build strength and improve their overall wellness without any expense and without overdoing it. What could our excuse possibly be when Dorothy, age 100, exercises every day at 12 o’clock?

Encourage Exercise

First of all, check with your loved one’s doctor to figure out what types of exercise are best for your their physical abilities and needs. For example, seniors who have osteoporosis or arthritis have more difficulty moving. Strength exercises can be good for arthritis sufferers, helping them strengthen their muscles to do the work again. Get started with this list of activities that can maintain and improve your senior loved one’s health.

Power Grip

Having the strength to grip can impact the everyday lives of seniors. Seniors can do this squeezing exercise with a tennis ball while watching TV.

• Hold a tennis ball or other small rubber or foam ball in one hand.

• Slowly squeeze the ball as hard as you can and hold it for three to five seconds.

• Relax the squeeze slowly.

• Repeat 10-15 times.

• Repeat 10-15 times with the other hand.

• Repeat 10-15 times more with each hand.

Incorporate this skill by opening a jar of pickles or olives. Or suggest playing fetch with the dog before naptime. Keep hands and fingers limber by folding towels or the laundry.

Walking Strong

The leg curl is designed to help make walking and climbing stairs easier for a senior. Here’s what to do:

• Stand behind a sturdy chair, holding on for balance. Lift one leg straight back without bending the knee or pointing the toes. Breathe in slowly.

• Breathe out, slowly bringing the heel up toward the buttocks as far as possible.

• Bend only from the knee, keeping hips still. The leg you are standing on should be slightly bent.

• Hold position for one second.

• Breathe in, slowly lowering the foot to the floor.

• Repeat 10-15 times.

• Repeat 10-15 times with the other leg.

• Repeat 10-15 more times with each leg.

Leg Strengthening

This activity helps strengthen thighs and may reduce symptoms of arthritis of the knee. Here’s what to do:

• Sit in a sturdy chair with back supported by the chair. Only the balls of feet and toes should rest on the floor. Put a rolled bath towel at the edge of the chair under the thighs for support. Breathe in slowly.

• Breathe out and slowly extend one leg in front as straight as possible, but don’t lock the knee.

• Flex the foot to point toes toward the ceiling. Hold that position for one second.

• Breathe in, slowly lowering the leg back down.

• Repeat 10-15 times.

• Repeat 10-15 times with other leg.

• Repeat 10-15 more times with each leg.

As the senior progresses, he or she may want to add ankle weights. Encourage your older adult to try walking from one end of the house to another or, if they’re up to it and the weather is nice, take a jaunt around the block, through the mall or to the gym!

Circle Scarves

If a senior is confined to a chair for much of the day, try to find ways to encourage movement in his or her daily life. All you need are two colorful scarves:

• With a scarf in each hand, extend arms straight out in front.

• Make circles in the air with scarves, going from small to large circles.

• Continue on with the circles by going down from large to small.

To help a senior, sing or count to the beat. It will make loved ones feel as though they’ve participated in an exercise plan.

Day At The Beach

This mobility activity can be made easier for seniors with eyesight problems if the family caregiver describes the actions:

• Hold a beach ball at chest level in both hands.

• Stretch arms out straight.

• Then pull arms back to the chest.

• Repeat while counting to 10.

Put this skill to work while doing something a senior enjoys. When watching TV or listening to the radio, march to the beat of a favorite song on TV or the radio while in this sitting position.

A great way to stay accountable to this is to track activity progress with the printable calendar and activities booklet. To download the calendar and for more information, go to Click on caregiving topics, fitness and nutrition, and then “Get Mom Moving.” If you are unable to connect with this, please call us at 824-0077 and we will mail the information to you.

Good luck on your new goals. Don’t wait until Monday — start today — at 12 o’clock. Thank you for the inspiration Dorothy!

DEB CRANNY is the executive

director at Home Instead Senior

Care in Brainerd.