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Get Strong: Your Monthly Fitness Challenge March 2022

Several months ago, I introduced my monthly fitness challenge, explaining my "inspiration" and why I think it's so important to do strength work ESPECIALLY as we age. (You can read all about that here.)


How are you doing? By now, I hope you're having some success with my challenges. Keep up the good work. Every day! (And if you haven't started yet? Well. You can begin today!)


Here's this month's Fitness Challenge:

Challenge #6 -- Get your feet off the ground! (And make it an everyday practice.)

I know I tell this story all the time, but it was such an eye-opening experience for me - and it changed my entire approach to fitness so much - that I can't quite let it go yet. About 10 years ago, my mom fell off a counter stool in my kitchen and broke her ankle. She lived with Tom and I for 6 weeks following her surgery while recuperating. It was . . . kind of a nightmare. She was unable to put any weight on her foot for four weeks after surgery, which meant she needed a walker, crutches, or a wheelchair. We needed to go with the wheelchair option because she (a) didn't have the upper body/arm strength for crutches, and (b) she was unable to "hop" to scoot around with a walker. 

And that was shocking to me. Because my mom appeared to be in good shape for a 75-year-old woman. She was active. She worked out regularly. But . . . she didn't do any strength work. And . . . she had lost the ability to get her feet off the ground.

Through the physical and occupational therapists working with her during this time, I learned that many people - as they age - lose the ability to get their feet (and, therefore, their bodies) off the ground, even for the quick moment it takes to "hop" with a walker. They explained that while we have lots of opportunities to run and hop and skip when we're children, we just . . . lose that "airborne state" as we get older.

Not only does this lack of an "airborne state" impact the ability to use a walker, but it also impacts gait - the way we move our feet when we walk. I'm sure you've noticed older folks "shuffling" when they walk? Their feet are no longer leaving the ground -- and that makes them more susceptible to tripping over uneven floor surfaces and rugs.

Why does this happen? Like so many other things, it's lack of muscle tone. It takes effort to lift a heavy leg off the ground! And, like all muscles, if you don't use it . . . you lose it.

This month's fitness challenge is a simple one: do something to get your feet off the ground every day. Maybe you . . . skip down the hall. Or gallop on your way to the laundry room. Maybe you'd prefer to do a couple of jumping jacks. Or hop up and down a few times before you load or unload your dishwasher. It doesn't have to be "fancy" or for very long. Just . . . get your feet off the ground!

(And if you discover you're not able to skip, hop, gallop, or do jumping jacks . . . make sure you practice lifting your feet off the ground while you're sitting in a chair. Once you get your leg used to lifing off the floor again, then you can try the skipping again.)

Practicing this fun - and rather silly - movement every day just may keep you away from a wheelchair someday. (And it should help you avoid that "old person shuffle" when you walk.)

So pick up those feet.
Every day!


Previous Get Strong Monthly Fitness Challenges:

Challenge #5: Get down on the floor. And then get back up again! (And make it an everyday practice.)

Challenge #4: Identify your core, learn how to engage it, and . . . do your Kegel exercises every day!

Challenge #3: Increase your physical activity every day.

Challenge #2: Stretch your hamstrings, activate those glutes . . . and spare your back just by changing the way you bend over.

Challenge #1: Strengthen Your Lower Body by Doing Body Weight Squats . . . All Day Long




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I have been diligently working on getting myself up from the ground... the struggle is real, but I have improved since you suggested it - it is not perfect, but it is a work in progress! :)

The jumping though... it is really really important. (and you are so right, we really need to all free our inner 5 year old and do some skipping... )


I recently had knee replacement surgery. Since working with PT, I've added some new equipment to my home gym: hurdles, cones, and an agility ladder. There are a wide , variety of things you can do with them, search agility training for adults. It's fun and challenging to try new sequences.

One other comment I will make related to aging and fitness. One of the requirements for having my surgery as an outpatient was a cardiology release. The cardiologist was the most enthusiastic cheerleader for the knee surgery of anyone on my team. His words: "You are doing exactly the right thing. Unaddressed orthopedic issues are one of the leading causes of the downward spiral in older people's health. They have joint pain, they limit their mobility, and a cascade of metabolic issues ensue."


Does skipping steps as I go up the stairs count? Maybe not. Perhaps it's time to start doing some old-fashioned jumping jacks again!


I love this!! I'll be skipping to the laundry room from now on!!


I used to love doing jumping jacks as a kid...it's time to bring out my inner child!


I earnestly considered doing a cartwheel the other day. We were walking the dogs, it was a beautiful spring evening, and the sun was just setting. I didn't do it because we were in the middle of the street and a complete fail would have been more than just embarrassing. Jumping jacks, however, I believe I can do...

Thanks for all the encouragement!


I'll admit that I thought, "Now what is Kym having me do this month?" when I saw this post, but this sounds like a fun one! Like Kat, I'm working on getting up from the ground (still practicing with a stool but getting better), and I will now add skipping to my repertoire. I still remember the feeling of joy when I learned to skip so this is a good one. Thanks!

kim in oregon

In the workout that I do, there's a 'warrior three' position where you stand on one leg with your knee up in front of you and then you bend over and stretch your leg out behind you. I'm working on getting up to five reps each leg, and it is a great exercise for both legs and core. But I can do some skipping too!


I loved to skip as a kid! I know I will feel foolish doing it now but I will anyway - maybe I'll skip around the library when I'm there alone in the morning! I'm consistently doing the sit/rise exercise every day. Still on the bottom step at my house but it's getting easier so I hope to switch to the floor soon.


I skip at the lake sometimes on our walks as there’s no one out there. Such good advice Kym - and I do love me some jumping jacks!


Great tips here, I hope I can still skip when I am 80!


Getting my feet off the ground -- oh, yeah. Several of the PT exercises I am doing now are intended to strengthen the quad in my left leg with its new knee. And the therapist recommended that I do they with my other leg at the same time.

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