Balance & Strength Exercises for Seniors: 9 Practices, with Traditional Exercises, and Modified Tai Chi, Yoga & Dance Based Movements.
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Improve your balance, strength, and overall fitness while enjoying the beauty of Glacier National Park! This dvd has 9 completely different practice sessions, each 8 to 31 minutes long. The practices draw upon the best traditional exercises, tai chi based movements specifically developed to improve balance in older adults, modified yoga poses, and easy dance-based stepping movements. Your balance will be challenged in many different ways to help you move safely with grace and confidence. All movements are taught in mirror image with clear easy-to-follow instructions and demonstrations. All practices are done standing except where indicated.
The practices are:
• Chair-seated practice to gently strengthen your entire body (17 min.)
• Classic stationary balances performed holding onto a chair for support & seated core-strength work (31 min.)
• Practical walking balances & dance-based stepping movements to improve your ability to react quickly and improve cardiovascular health, performed using a chair for support (16 min.)
• More challenging walking & stepping balances, without a chair (18 min.)
• Leg strength exercises (13 min.)
• Upper-body seated strength & mobility exercises (12 min.)
• Lower body stretches (13 min.)
• Tai Chi easy full-body mobility practice (17 min.)
• Tai Chi practice with 8 forms, similar to traditional tai chi, but modified to make it easier to learn and to emphasize the balance improving aspects of tai chi (8 min.)
• Also includes a separate short (3-7 minute) tutorial for learning each of the 8 tai chi forms.
Designed and taught by expert instructor Jane Adams. Good balance and a strong body are essential for living an active, independent life and to prevent falls. Jane's goal in producing this was to bring together the most helpful balance & strength exercises for seniors in one affordable dvd.
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This DVD is approximately 3 1/3 hours (200 minutes) of instruction. Jane could have split this into two DVDs and because she didn't we can get a bargain. Even if you were to think you might not do everything she offers on this DVD I'd highly recommend you get it as even if you only did half of it you'd still get a lot of expert instruction for your money. I have completed all the routines once through and using the notes I made feel confident I can give this DVD a fair review.
Jane instructs by voice over on all the exercises. She does not speak as she demonstrates the routines, instead you will hear her voice in the background giving thorough detailed instruction. All demonstrations of the routines are in mirror image meaning that she will appear on the screen as if you were looking at yourself in a mirror. For example, she will say move your left leg and she will move her right so that she mirrors your movements thus making it very easy to follow her movements. The camera doesn't move about to different angles, upper body, lower body, etc as some other exercise DVDs do. Instead the camera stays steady showing Jane from head to foot and with the gorgeous lake and mountains in the background. The music is instrumental and never overpowers what Jane is saying. Those viewers with large television screens will appreciate the natural beauty of the location.
When you pop the DVD in you are going to get extensive menu choices which will make it so easy to get to where you want to get to once you become familiar with what is on the DVD. I will review using the selections on the menu as follows:
 Introduction / Understanding Balance (10 minutes)
Jane starts the DVD standing by Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park in Montana where the whole DVD is filmed. It is a beautiful day, the water is blue and looks peaceful, the mountains have some snow on the caps and are in full view across the lake. The whole series of exercises which follow are filmed at this spectacular location. This section provides some important information and tips and should be viewed at least once before starting the exercises.
 Seated Chair Practice (17 minutes)
You will be seated for almost the entire routine with just a little standing at the end. Example exercises: side to side stretches with airplane arms, leg extensions, arm circles. (A chair with arms is recommended for this section as there is one exercise called chair push ups).
 Stationary Balances & Seated Core Work (31 minutes)
This section has exercises that are done while seated and balancing exercises that are done standing behind or beside a chair. The routine ends with a nice stretch. Example exercises: while sitting heel toe your feet out to the side then back together, standing on one leg then move other leg front, side back, yoga tree pose, modified yoga warrior 3 pose using the chair. Finish with a nice stretch.
 Walking & Stepping Balances WITH a Chair - easier (16 minutes)
All exercises are done standing using a chair to assist as necessary. Sample exercises: walk on toes, walk on heels, walking turning head side to side, side to side stepping (like step touch), hamstring curls.
 Walking & Stepping Balances WITHOUT a Chair - harder (18 minutes)
No equipment and all exercises are done standing. Mildly aerobic exercises which are great for balance. Example exercises: walk moving head side to side, walk over imaginary large objects, walk heel to toe, walk backward heel to toe, V-step, knee lifts
 Lower Body Strength (13 minutes)
Chair is used for some exercises. Sample exercises: wide leg squats with chair, up on toes and rock back and forth, leg extensions, Ends with a nice stretch sitting in chair.
 Upper Body Strength & Mobility (12 minutes)
Chair and hand weights (weights are optional, could instead use bottles of water or no weight at all). Sample exercises: bicep curls, overhead press, front raise with alternating arms, arm circles with no weights.
 Lower Body Stretches (13 minutes)
Chair used. Sample exercises/stretches: forward bend holding chair, modified yoga pigeon pose siting in chair, supported runners lunge in chair. Ends with a sit and relaxation with smooth breathing and closed eyes.
"Filmed along Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park, Montana".
 Tai Chi Menu
Press this selection and it opens to a whole new set of options as follows:
[10.1] Introduction To Tai Chi (4 minutes)
Jane discusses what is to follow on the Tai Chi selections. The Tai Chi is modified but will still take some time to learn each of the 8 forms. She gives excellent pointers and explains that practicing Tai Chi is so good for balance.
[10.2] Tai Chi Full Body Mobility (17 minutes)
As for all the Tai Chi that Jane teaches she is dressed in clothing which allows you to clearly see the movements in her body so that you know how to move. I've seen other Tai Chi DVDs where the instructor dresses in very loose fitting garments that do not allow the viewer to see subtle bends in the knees, foot movements, etc. I had little problem doing this routine the first time I saw it but I certainly didn't do it as smoothly and beautifully as Jane does. For those not familiar with Tai Chi I would say it is a series of very slow moving standing movements. It is not physically demanding but does require focus. I've heard it described as a moving meditation. The movements feel good, gentle stretches, stepping out with feet and moving arms. Jane's instruction is excellent. Again, as in the previous section, instruction is by voice over as she demonstrates the movements. My advice is to just go with it and have fun. Tai Chi is calming to the mind and also requires you to work on your balance skills. Don't take yourself too seriously.
[10.3] Practicing the 8 Forms (8 minutes)
For those familiar with Tai Chi you might try this without first going through the sections that follow that will teach you the 8 Forms one by one. I tackled this section last. It was evident to me that I need to further practice the individual forms before doing all 8 forms in one short routine. Jane makes the routine look so easy and almost effortless as she goes through the 8 Forms one by one. Again, the instruction and video here is excellent, just best to practice a little more first with the 8 short tutorials.
[10.4] Form #1 Holding A Ball (6 minutes)
Form #1 as with the other 7 Forms is done standing. You are holding an imaginary ball, not a real one. As with the other Forms Jane's instruction is excellent. You'll first do the arm movements with her, next the leg movements, then combine the arm movements with the leg movements. Jane is shot from head to toe and you will do the movements as if looking in a mirror. You'll see when she bends her knee, lifts her toe and so on.
[10.5] Form #2 Parting The Wild Horses Mane (5 minutes)
All standing. Arm movements, then leg movements, then arm and leg movements combined.
[10.6] Form #3 Single Whip (5 minutes)
Again, all standing. Arm movements, then leg movements, then arm and leg movements combined.
[10.7] Form #4 Waving Hands Like Clouds (6 minutes)
So relaxing. Imagine your hands are clouds and you watch them go from side to side. All standing. Arms, Legs, Combined.
[10.8] Form #5 Repulse Monkey (4 minutes)
Same instruction method. Arm movements, Leg movements, Combined arm and leg movements.
[10.9] Form #6 Brush Knee (3 minutes)
Same instruction method. Arm movements, Leg movements, Combined arm and leg movements.
[10.10] Form #7 Fair Lady Works The Shuttles (5 minutes)
Same instruction method. Arm movements, Leg movements, Combined arm and leg movements
[10.11] Form #8 Grasping The Peacock's Tail [7 minutes]
This one is a little more complicated but very doable. You'll watch Jane first then do the movement with combined arm and leg movements. By learning the previous 7 Forms it will make this one much easier.
Because this DVD was shot outside in the natural beauty of Glacier Park it is unlikely to appear dated for many years. I plan to age gracefully with it. For those that stayed with me through this long review, thank you! The review is long because there is so much on the DVD which is a good thing. Also thank you and congratulations to Jane Adams and the expert production team that worked with her to make this DVD available.
I have tried many other exercise DVDS in the past but in my opinion none compares to Janes. She explains each move well and has you exercising at a perfect pace. When I finish the exercises I feel like I have a new body. I am grateful to Jane for the wonderful products she has produced. I like being able to stay home and exercise when it is convenient. gf42