Exercise is important no matter what age you are. But, for people over 65, it may be extra beneficial. Regular motion and activity helps increase strength, supports mental health, and promotes mobility. Follow along with these exercises for seniors at home to continue leading your best, most independent life.
Important Potential Health Benefits Of Exercise For Older Adults
You don’t need strenuous exercise to stay active in your older age. Small amounts of moderate exercise, like walking, can be beneficial for older adults. In many cases, a slower and more controlled activity is ideal, since it may help mitigate the risk of injury.1 Of course, you must get your doctor’s approval before giving any new exercise a try.
Performing some combination of aerobic, strength, and flexibility training can have a tremendous impact on your physical and mental well-being. Some of the most common potential benefits include:
- Bone health support
- Heart and stomach health support
- Joint support
- Promotes a sense of well-being2
Additionally, regular activity may help you maintain your independence. Studies suggest that inactivity tends to be the most common reason people can no longer perform tasks independently. Inactivity can also contribute to more doctor visits, medication, and hospitalizations.3
General Exercise Strategies For Older Adults
As you begin your new exercise regimen (and have gotten your doctors approval), start with short interval training (5-10 minutes) if you haven’t exercised or been active for some time.4
Ideally, your exercise routines should all be low impact and include these three components:
- Endurance and aerobic exercises
- Resistance and strength exercises
- Stretching and flexibility5
Please speak with your doctor and/or physical therapist before beginning any new workouts to ensure they are safe.
Great Home Exercises For Elderly People
These great home exercises for seniors at home can safely get you up and moving every day. They all offer unique potential benefits and can help you achieve those three areas of focus: aerobic, strength, and stretching. Follow along to get started.
Note: Always consult a doctor before beginning any new exercise program.
This age-old practice’s deep breathing and steady movements provide an easy activity for just about anyone. Tai Chi’s slow and graceful movements are gentle on the muscles and joints while still providing flexibility training. A Tai Chi practice is particularly well-suited for anyone just getting started with physical activity. Studies show that Tai Chi may help ease stress, and it might also help support balance, mobility, and strength in older adults.6
Some experts consider walking to be among the best exercises for older adults. It is a low-cost and enjoyable way to support heart health, healthy blood sugar levels, and good mental health. Walking is also an indication that someone is capable of living independently. So, grab a pair of supportive shoes, and pick a smooth path to get some quality aerobic exercise in the fresh air.7,8
You don’t have to hit the gym to build muscle strength and endurance. Gardening is a pleasurable pastime that provides crucial aerobic and resistance exercise.
All that bending and lifting in the soil can help strengthen your muscles and promote flexibility. Plus, you’ll be burning calories out there in the tomato patch, which can help with weight management. If you are new to gardening, be sure to start slow and avoid overexerting yourself.9
Chair yoga allows you to do many beneficial yoga stretches without lying down on a mat. The stabilized motions and basic stretches have been shown to help support strength and mobility. The seated position also reduces the risk of falling, so you can exercise with more confidence and comfort. Plus, you’ll build muscle mass, support better balance, and potentially ease stress — all from the comfort of a chair.10
Get started by trying out a simple seated twist in a straight-backed, sturdy chair:
- Sit up straight in a chair for the starting position. Place your right hand on your left knee, and reach your left arm over the back of the chair.
- Be sure that you’re in a stable position. Then, turn your head slowly to the left, and look over your left shoulder.
- Take several long, slow breaths. On the inhale, lengthen your spine, and let the exhale stretch you into a deeper twist.
- Hold for 4-5 breaths, and return to center on an exhale. Switch to the other side.11
Your ankles work hard all day as they absorb lots of force from walking. So, it’s important to keep the muscles and ligaments in your ankle strong. Maintaining ankle integrity can help support mobility and balance. Plus, a strong base at the ankles also works up the chain to reinforce your knees and hips.12
You can do these two simple ankle exercises from a comfortable position in bed at night or in the morning.
- Lift one leg while lying on your back and draw the alphabet with your toes. This should flex your foot and work the ligaments around the ankle. Repeat with the other foot.
- Start in a prone position with your toes pointing toward the ceiling. Slowly point your toes down and away from you. Hold when you can’t push any further. Repeat 10-12 times.
Shoulder rolls are another great seated exercise for seniors that may help ease tension in the neck and shoulders. These simple arm movements encourage blood flow, bringing oxygen to tight and sore muscles. Follow the instructions to get started:
- Sit in a chair with your chest up high. Pull your shoulders down and look straight ahead.
- Shrug your shoulders to your ears without bending your back or neck forward. Bring your shoulders as high as you comfortably can.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together so that it draws your shoulders back. Continue the motion and pull your shoulders down and then forward. This is a complete “roll.”
- Repeat the roll, and try to complete 10-12 in one sitting.13,14
Workouts For Seniors: Essential And Beneficial
These home exercises for elderly people are a great way to stay active in your later years. A bit of exercise can get your blood flowing and help keep muscles loose. Exercise on a more regular basis can potentially do wonders for your physical and mental health, helping to support cardiovascular health and build additional muscles.
Incorporate a few of the ideas above into your daily routine to enjoy some of the great potential health benefits associated with exercise. You may find it also contributes to increased independence — so you can keep doing the things you love from the comfort of home. And, remember to always speak to a doctor before embarking on any new fitness regimen.
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