Fitness experts everywhere agree that getting 30 minutes of exercise on a daily basis is key to a healthy lifestyle no matter your age. Getting regular physical activity keeps your heart and bones strong, improves your strength and flexibility and is a known mood-booster. For seniors, who are facing loss of muscle mass which can impair balance, mobility, and ultimately, independence, it’s vital that you add some physical fitness into your daily routine.
If you’re just getting started back up in a senior fitness routine, it’s understandable that you might be slightly hesitant to jump in full speed by joining a gym. However, there are plenty of options for incorporating physical activity into your day, and the best part? These exercises can be done out of the comfort of your own home.
First, before getting started in any type of senior exercise, talk to your doctor about any limitations you may have. For instance, if you recently had any sort of elective surgery, like hip or knee replacement, there are specific exercises you could be doing to ensure you’re strengthening your new joint. Likewise, if you have any chronic conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis, you want to be sure you’re doing the correct type of fitness plan to help strengthen your joints and bones while helping to alleviate any pain you’re experiencing.
So, what types of home exercise can seniors take part in to help build strength, improve balance and increase flexibility, right from their living room? Here are just a few of the best options:
Stretches: Stretching is essential before beginning any type of workout to help reduce the risk of injury and prepare your muscles for more strenuous exercises. Take your time, easing yourself into the stretch and avoiding bouncing.
Chair squats: Please consult with your doctor should you have any issues with your knees before doing these. Squats are perfect for strengthening the entire lower body as well as your core, so it’s easier to do things like climb stairs and get in and out of the car. Stand directly in front of a chair, pushing your hips back as you bend your knees to lower your body to the chair while keeping your chest upright. Pause for a moment, even sitting down lightly in the chair if you need to, before returning to a full standing position.
Wall push-ups: Strengthen your arms and chest so you’re better able to carry in all those groceries by doing wall push-ups. Face the wall and stand about two feet away, placing your hands on the wall at shoulder height. Keep your body straight, then bend your elbows to your sides to bring your chest close to the wall, letting your heels come off the floor. Press back to straighten your elbows and repeat.
Toe and chair stands: Increase your balance by completing these home exercises for seniors. Sit down in an armless chair and extend your arms parallel to the ground, slowly standing up. Repeat this move 10 to 15 times. For an added benefit to further improve balance, try a toe stand, in which you stand behind the chair and slowly raise up onto your tiptoes. Only use the chair for support as needed.
Knee extensions/lifts: Another great balance exercise is knee extensions, which can be done from a chair. Sit with good posture, keeping your back straight and your knees bent, then slowly extend your leg out in front of you. Hold for a few seconds and then lower back to the starting position. Repeat with each leg for 10 repetitions.
Arm raises: This senior exercise can be done from a standing or seated position and helps increase your upper body strength. Add some light weight or resistance bands for additional benefits. Stand or sit with your feet flat on the floor, holding weights at shoulder height with your palms facing forward, then lift the weights above your head. Try to complete two sets of ten repetitions.
Another fun option: Love music? Pick your tempo and just move to the beat! You may be a great dancer or have two left feet, but who will notice? The faster the tempo, the better the cardio benefit. Use your arms, your legs, bend, stretch, breathe deeply and have fun!
Information provided by American Senior Communities