As people approach retirement age and have less responsibilities due to not having to go to work or care for young children, they may become physically inactive. However, to keep our minds and bodies sharp throughout our lives, it is very important that we do some form of physical activity based on our abilities. No matter how old you get, there are appropriate exercises and activities that can keep you physically active.
Light exercises can have many benefits for seniors. Some of these benefits include increasing their bone density, maintaining their muscle mass, improving balance, posture, and flexibility, improving control of chronic disease symptoms, decreasing feelings of pain and depression, and most importantly, preventing falls. All these benefits help seniors stay independent and living in their homes longer.
To make sure that seniors exercise safely, they can seek help from a healthcare/fitness professional before they start. Seniors can work with these professionals to improve balance, flexibility, and strength and make sure that they do not injure themselves. Seniors should never start a new exercise routine without first consulting with their doctor.
There are many exercises that seniors can do at home. Below are some options:
Strength training is very important for seniors to help strengthen their muscles so they can slow the process of muscle loss. One of strength exercises that seniors can do is squats. To do squats, stand straight with toes forward, then bend knees until in a crouched almost seated position, then repeat the exercise to get more muscle mass in calves and quads. If it is helpful to them, they can hold on to a chair if needed to help with balance. Lower body strength is very important for seniors as it helps prevent falls therefore preventing injuries.
Walking is a great exercise for seniors as it is beneficial for them to go outside and enjoy the fresh air while getting some exercise. It is always a good idea to get sun some when it is nice outside. However, walking does not have to be done outside. Seniors can use a pedometer and walking inside their house. They can play their favorite music and pump their arms and lift their knees to get the most out of the exercise.
Cycling is a great low-impact aerobic exercise that helps promote overall health, including cardiovascular health and brain health. It has been shown that cycling can slow aging and provides many benefits for the body. Seniors can ride bikes outdoors with a group of friends or indoors in gyms on a stationary bike, depending on the physical level. Remember to use proper protection like knee pads and helmets to lower chances of injury when riding bikes outside.
There are many aerobic exercises available online that seniors can do, or they can use aerobics DVD’s with exercises developed specifically for seniors. If there is a preference to do the exercises alone, they can do 5-minute intervals of jumping jacks and knee lifts instead. This type of exercise is great for the cardiovascular system as it gets the heart pumping.
Yoga is a great exercise to help seniors with balance, strength, and flexibility. They can do simple yoga poses such as downward facing dog, seated forward bend, and warrior. If a senior is not very mobile, they can do chair yoga. Chair yoga is low-impact and does not stress out the muscles and joints as much as regular forms of yoga. There are many resources available online for this type of exercise. A doctor should always be consulted before starting any exercise.
Keeping core muscles strong is important for seniors as it helps reduce back pain and the risk of injury. Simple sit-ups will help improve their core strength. Seniors can lie on their back with their knees bent at an angle, then put their hands behind their head and put their head up all while keeping their stomach muscles engaged.
Training with weights
This type of exercise helps build muscle mass and retain bone density without putting stress on the muscles. If they have weights handy, seniors can use 2-pound weights to do shoulder presses and arm raises. If they do not have weights available, they can use objects around the house they already instead have such as water bottles and cans of food.
Exercises Seniors Should Avoid
Seniors should always be careful with what types of exercises they do to ensure that they do not injure themselves. There are many popular exercises that are not suitable for seniors and should be avoided, especially by those seniors that have underlying conditions such as joint pain, atrophied muscles, posture issues, or issues with balance.
Here are some exercises that should be avoided for those over 65 years old:
- Bench press exercises
- Squats with dumbbells or weights
- Long distance running
- Abdominal crunches
- High-intensity interval training
- Rock climbing
Exercise is a great way for seniors to stay in shape and keep their bodies strong and healthy. Regular exercises combining with a good diet can greatly protect one’s health. Remember, it is crucial that seniors do all exercises safely and under the supervision of a health care provider or caregiver to avoid injuring themselves.
Elderly Care Services
If you have a loved one that may require senior care, we can help. Our reputable home care agency provides seniors with dedicated elder care services. Our companion caregivers engage with care recipients on a daily basis and can encourage your loved one to engage in exercises or accompany them on walks.
Assisting Hands Home Care provides home health care services in Park Ridge, IL, and the surrounding Chicago suburbs to help your loved ones with personal daily activities. To learn more about our services give us a call at (847) 915-6186 or visit our website to see all the services we provide.