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Seven Valentine’s Heart Reminders

If the classic symbol for Valentine’s Day this past week has been the heart, then the older loved one in your orbit should be their own valentine!  By that, I mean they should be taking care of their own heart. I spoke with a gentleman last week who is well only over 70 years old, and he was offering his advice on how to train for a triathlon.  I am going to tone it down a bit here and offer some advice from the American Heart Association on a combination of small steps and exercises that can help your older loved one to get into better shape and that goes for more than the heart.

From what the American Heart Association recommends, I offer six different exercises that can be done with or without these little guys in the picture.  And I encourage your older loved one to take these seven exercises seven times each and then repeat for a total of three times.  The first step however is a visit to the physician.  If the physician signs off on what the American Heart Association recommends, then you and your loved one are on the way to not only better heart health, but also better fitness overall.  Please let me offer a big caveat: ask the physician how many times per week they put into working out.  If they do not exercise, you may want to look for a second opinion.  Recall my earlier blog posting when I warned against “taking it (too) easy.”

You will note that there are no numbers on the weights in my picture here.  Find a weight that allows your loved one to successfully complete the seven times for each of the weight exercises…and maybe start with one set of seven per exercise before progressing to three rounds for each.  But here are the seven:

  1. Arm Raises: With a weight in each hand let the weights down on each side. Then, lift each arm until parallel to the floor.  Hold for only a second and then slowly return to arms at sides.
  2. Biceps Tone: With arms at the sides and extended, raise the weights up to just touch the front of each shoulder. Lower gently back to fully extended at the sides.
  3. Triceps Tone: Starting with a weight in each hand extend arms to the ceiling. Then, gently lower backwards so the weights are behind the head on either side of the neck.  Raise vertically again and repeat.
  4. Leg Muscles: Without the weights and while sitting, lift a leg from the foot on the floor to the leg parallel to the floor…hold for a few seconds before lowering the foot slowly to the floor. Then try the other leg.  Seven times per leg.
  5. Stomach Muscles: Again without weights and while sitting lift both feet a few inches off the floor; hold for a few seconds before lowering the feet once again to the floor.
  6. Balance: Using a wall or hall rail to steady themselves have your loved one walk heel to toe steps, each foot just ahead of the toe of the other foot for ten steps.
  7. Chest stretch: While sitting with their back to a wall, have your loved one clasp their hands behind their neck and gently bring their elbows to touch the wall. Relax and repeat for seven times.

Okay, hit the showers if you wish, and do it again tomorrow.

Charlotte Bishop is a Geriatric Care Manager and founder of Creative Care Management, certified professionals who are geriatric advocates, resources, counselors and friends to older adults and their families in metropolitan Chicago.  Please email your questions to


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