When it comes to exercise, everyone can benefit, from the youngest toddler to the oldest elderly. The key is customizing it to the individual and what they’re able to manage. Exercise for seniors are plenty, and they can make many moves that won’t be harsh on their joints and bones.
Before we carry on with this beautiful and innovative exercise for older people, let’s see why physical activity matters for older folks too.
Advantages Of Exercise For Seniors
Like with younger adults and children, seniors can perfectly work out, provided it’s designed for their fitness and physical abilities. Our bodies have the inherent ability to heal itself, which makes physical activities and dedicated exercise programs critically important.
When it comes to best exercises for seniors, then we first want to discuss these benefits. Exercising does a world of good that is not limited to the following:
May Lower Blood Pressure
Hypertension or high blood pressure is one of the most common conditions people face as they age. Some of the most common culprits that lead to hypertension are eating foods rich in sodium (salt) and trans fat. Other factors that could lead to high blood pressure are smoking, alcohol, age, and a family history.
High blood pressure patients are sometimes prescribed diuretic medication to prevent excess water retention, cholesterol medication and diabetic medication if they have diabetes.
Better Strength Through Exercise
Exercises for the elderly also includes strengthening workouts to help strengthen their muscles which is essential for day to day activities. Strong muscles will help reduce risking injuries.
Flexibility exercises are another important type of exercises for the elderly because they make the muscles supple and increase balance and posture. Posture and balance are crucial when walking and doing things like lifting, pushing, sitting and getting out of a chair or bed.
Exercise May Lighten Mood
Depression and anxiety is something seniors also struggle with. If being diagnosed with a condition or simply not being able to be the active person you once were can be devastating.
Doing exercise can help uplift a low mood because it stimulates hormones like endorphins. Endorphins are known to work like the body’s natural pain medication and act similar to opioids or morphine. While managing pain, it also increases a feeling of pleasure.
Exercise To Improve Balance – The Workout Routine For Seniors
Certain exercises are more targeted to balance than it is to muscle strength. Adding various elements of exercise into senior workouts routine will help to improve their physical fitness and wellness on a wide scale.
Walk Heel To Toe
You may be wondering what the “heel to toe walk” is and how it is seen as a beneficial exercise for seniors; well, wonder no more. Heel to toe walk activates muscles and improves the balance as it creates a form of balance. Essentially, the exercise requires the person to walk, putting toes behind the heel of the other foot and carrying on in a straight line.
The single-limb stance is, as its name suggests, and requires the person to balance on one leg. This can be a hard one for folks with balance instability difficulties. With time and practice, it will improve.
Rock The Boat
The rock the boat exercise is great for balance and is simple to do. Using a chair for balance, the senior will stand with both feet firmly on the ground. Next, they will bring one leg out to the side and bring it back to the ground before doing it with the opposite leg. It looks similar to pendulum steel balls.
Marching in Place
Marching in place is yet another exercise for older adults that works well to target balance. It also strengthens coordination. You can also upgrade this march in place to do some side steps, leg lifts and more as you are able to manage. Side steps and leg lifts will help improve balance too.
Exercise To Help Improve Overall Muscles, Joints And More
As we age, we also tend to lose range and motion in our joints due to arthritis and other rheumatoid conditions. Not being active enough can also lead to muscle weakness. Here are some exercises that can help improve joint mobility, range and strength.
Exercise for seniors such as chair yoga is another great way to build strength, balance and energy flow. Chair yoga requires moves that allow the person to be seated throughout the process, and this is ideal for elderly people. Even while seated, there are many moves that will help to increase blood circulation, and it incorporates breathing exercises to soothe anxiety and stress.
Some chair yoga moves include seated twist for spine flexibility, overhead stretch, seated cow stretch and seated mountain pose, to name a few.
Hand exercises for older people are extremely important but often overlooked compared to other workouts. We use our hands for everything, and mobility plays a vital role. With hand stretches and exercise, you’ll improve the flexibility in the hands as well as the strength.
Bed stretches are ideal for seniors with less mobility. However, it is still perfect even if they have motion and range. Bed stretches are also wonderful if you’re just waking up from a long night’s rest and your body feels stiff and sore. These stretches are also not harsh on the joints.
Aerobic exercises are fantastic to help strengthen endurance, build stamina, improve the heart and respiratory system. Water aerobics is especially suited to seniors because of its gentle nature. While being gentle on the limbs also helps in addition to reducing excess weight.
Some water aerobics include moves like aqua jogging, leg lifts, arm curls, standing arm push-ups and flutter kicks.
The chest stretch is very good to help open the chest muscles, strengthen the core and just improve overall muscle strength. As with all exercise for older adults, chest stretches should be done gently and slowly.
With bent elbows, you’ll gently open your arms from each other, and fingers are showing to the ceiling. This stance looks like a goalkeeper trying to save a ball. There are also other variations of this chest opening stretch that continue to be good for seniors and are easy to perform with no impact. Another variation is also arms open from the chest wide and long.
Resistance bands are great when starting out and looking to have a lighter yet tension strengthening exercise for your body. Resistance bands have various strengths, and starting off with light or very light ones is essential. As you progress and become stronger, you can move to heavier bands. Try not to rush the process.
Pilates for seniors
Senior Pilates is another great exercise because it aids with flexibility, balance and strength. It helps create a full-body workout that’s gentle. Some moves used in Pilates for seniors include leg circles, side circles, mermaid and step-ups, to name a few.
Senior Workouts With Safety In Mind
With all exercises, safety is critical. Now that you’ve read these exercise moves for seniors, you can try and do them as well. Bear the following Saftey first in mind:
Don’t exercise alone
Seniors may exercise by themselves if they can manage, but it’s always a good idea to have someone there to oversee the process.
Warm-up before starting the exercises
Warm-ups before exercise may include shoulder rolls, neck rotation and light cardio. Warm-ups will help get the muscles warm and lower the risk of injury due to exercising straight away.
Check with the doctor before you begin
Getting clearance from a medical doctor before diving into any of the exercises for seniors mentioned in this post is vital.
Don’t strain and push too hard
Never strain to get the stretch or to make the workout move. Straining will only lead to injuries and also reduce mobility.
Give your body a rest
Even if the exercises don’t feel or seem strenuous (which it shouldn’t), taking a rest in-between workout sessions is critical to help the body and muscles recover.
If you’re working with a trainer, nurse, or physiotherapist, they will help you manage your breaks between workout sessions. That will also help you perfect your posture so that you don’t risk getting hurt.
Taking it slow will allow your body to adapt to this new lifestyle and process the exercises you’re doing.
Exercises with low impact are vital for seniors since they don’t strain joints and don’t’t push the muscles hard. Water aerobics is excellent, as well as gentle chair yoga.
There are many exercises gentle enough for seniors to burn belly fat, get the heart rate up and ensure a good workout.
There is a variety of exercises for seniors that caters to all categories. Just like with other exercises, you can start with workouts more suited to your physical fitness. For example, 70 year old seniors may enjoy the benefits of bed stretches, chair yoga and water aerobics.
Seniors may lift weights (lightweights). As a beginner, it may also be great to start with resistance bands too. Before starting any weight training, it is critical to talk to the doctor first to verify what will be okay bearing health conditions capabilities in mind.
The thing with effective exercise is consistency, patience and motivation. Many workouts may promise weight loss in x amount of days, but this depends on the person. Weight loss factors in health conditions, hereditary conditions, age, gender and metabolism.
Along with aerobic exercise, eating a balanced diet will also help to improve the goal to lose the mid-section.
Conclusion To Exercise For Seniors
Seniors should always take care when doing physical activity. While some seniors who have been active all their lives might not have the same precautionary concerns, safety applies to them still. Working with a trainer or physical therapist is a good way to safely practice exercises for elderly.