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Workout: Balance, core exercises give seniors stability

<strong>Herb Elins</strong>, 84, stretches out at the Tucson Racquet &amp; Fitness Club, 4001 N. Country Club Road, on Tuesday morning.

<strong>Herb Elins</strong>, 84, stretches out at the Tucson Racquet &amp; Fitness Club, 4001 N. Country Club Road, on Tuesday morning.

“I was never a jock,” claims Herb Elins, but exercise was something he liked, and it’s no different at 84.

In fact, it’s vital if Elins wants to continue an active retirement with good general health, body mobility and balance.

“Balance is very important for seniors,” says Brian Colwill, who manages a total body workout for Elins twice a week at the Tucson Racquet & Fitness Club.

“Seniors start losing balance later in life because they stop using it. They used it when growing up – playing games – and later but not now with a more sedentary lifestyle.”

Elins, who has both knees replaced 15 years ago and still has full range, uses balance exercises in stretching workouts, strength training and his least favorite, the cool-down standing on one leg at the end of his hour workout.

“Balance plus good core workout means stability,” says Colwill, who assists Elins in some of the exercises in which his client may lose balance.

The workout involves eight minutes of cardio, although Elins habitually gets at least a half-hour in on a recumbent bicycle and elliptical machine before he starts with Colwill.

After stretching for 15-20 minutes he works on strength stations including machines, dumbbells and an exercise ball. Colwill “mixes up” exercises on different days to keep it fun and interesting and likes to go from upper body to lower body and back, working the major muscle groups.

Elins, who worked for the Kodak Co. in Rochester, N.Y., for 35 years, takes only a little time off for traveling with wife, Jane. Otherwise, he has been a faithful weekly client for five years.

“He has kept me alive,” Elins said of Colwill.

<strong>Elins</strong> works out with help from personal trainer <strong>Brian Colwill.</strong>” width=”366″ height=”500″ /><p class=Elins works out with help from personal trainer Brian Colwill.

<strong>Elins</strong> integrates weighted exercise balls into his workout.” width=”500″ height=”452″ /><p class=Elins integrates weighted exercise balls into his workout.



● 15 minutes recumbent bike: steady cadence

● 12 minutes elliptical bike: steady cadence

● eight minutes upper body pedometer: arm-pedal forward two minutes, backward for two and repeat, alternating resistance

20 minutes total/ two sets of 15 reps each

● Head tilt: left to right, right to left, forward and back

● Hamstring lift and hold: alternate legs (assisted by trainer)

● Hold wood bar behind neck and rotate shoulders

● Leg raise on mat: lie on back, alternate leg lift and hold (assisted by trainer)

● Leg stretch lateral: lie on side, alternate sides and stretch hips and legs out

● Lie flat, bicycle motion holding balance chair behind

● Crunches holding balance chair behind

● Bicycle motion and pause at top inward movement holding balance chair behind: alternate legs

● All fours backward leg left: alternate legs

● Sit position against wall and leg lifts: alternate legs


● Exercise ball: sit and move back and forth, then forward and back (assisted by trainer)

● Exercise ball: leg lifts out: alternate legs (assisted by trainer)

30 minutes total/ two sets of 15 reps each

● Incline dumbbell bench press (chest, shoulders, triceps)

● Hamstring curls (machine)

● Squats (leaning against exercise ball holding small ball in front (quadriceps)

● Hip adduction (machine)

● Hip abduction (machine)

● Dumbbell front raises (shoulders)

● Dumbbell biceps curls

● Triceps pulldowns (pulley)

two minutes

● Stand supporting body with hand and alternate leg lifts (for balance)

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