It is important for all of us, including seniors, to try to maintain a regular exercise routine. Daily exercise can improve mobility, increase energy, boost mood, support weight loss goals, and so much more. We realize that the thought of exercising can sometimes be overwhelming. The good news is that there are several simple exercises which older adults can do from the comfort of their home. Here is a list of easy exercises that are beneficial for seniors.
Please note that you should check in with your healthcare provider before starting any exercise program, to ensure it is safe for you to do.
Low Impact Exercises for Seniors
Balance Exercises. As we get older, our risk of falling increases. Balance exercises are the perfect antidote to help minimize falls and resulting injuries. Try the following exercises with the senior in your care to improve stability and strengthen balance.
Single Limb Stance with Arm
- Step 1: Start out with both feet on the ground and your arms by your sides. Stand next to a chair or something sturdy that you can hold onto.
- Step 2: Lift your left hand to the side of your head.
- Step 3: Slowly lift your left foot off the ground. Remain in that position for about 10 seconds.
- Step 4: Repeat this process with your right hand and foot.
- Step 1: Select a destination to walk towards or use tape to create a straight line.
- Step 2: Extend your arms out to your sides and begin walking slowly.
- Step 3: Walk along the line of tape (or try to keep your feet in a straight line). Pause for a few seconds each time your back leg lifts off the ground.
- Step 4: Walk from heel to toe for about 15 steps.
- Step 1: Start out by standing straight with your hands on your hips.
- Step 2: Step forward with your right foot and bend your knee. Try to lower yourself until your thigh is parallel with the ground (or as far you can safely go).
- Step 3: Take a deep breath and hold this pose for 10 seconds.
- Step 4: Slowly return to your starting position.
- Step 5: Repeat this process with your left foot.
Stretching Exercises. Stretching exercises can help improve your joint and muscle health. They can give you better range of motion and assist with posture. Try these exercises to help older adults maintain flexibility and muscle control.
Hula Hoop Stretch
- Step 1: Start out standing up straight with your feet together on the ground. Stand near a counter or something similar you can hold onto just in case you feel unsteady at any point.
- Step 2: Place your hands on your hips.
- Step 3: Rotate your hips as if you were spinning a hula hoop around your waist.
- Step 1: Sit down in a chair.
- Step 2: Slowly move your right foot up and down to stretch your ankles.
- Step 3: Hold each position for 30 seconds.
- Step 4: Repeat this process with your left foot.
- Step 5: Slowly move your right foot from side to side to stretch your ankles (instead of up and down).
- Step 6: Repeat this process with your left foot.
- Step 1: Place your elbows and palms together.
- Step 2: Turn your hands and face your palms toward you.
- Step 3: Place your hands on top of your head.
- Step 4: Slowly lower your chin to your chest.
- Step 5: Hold this position for several seconds and then slowly return to an upright position.
In addition to balance and stretching exercises, seniors can also gain many benefits from doing yoga or aerobics. There are DVDs which have been designed with older adults in mind that contain exercises to perform at home. These types of exercises can help seniors get their heart pumping and improve cardiovascular health. Swimming is also an excellent form of exercise for older adults who have access to a pool.
For seniors who are limited on time, even a short daily walk can make a difference. Remember to take deep breaths and focus on pumping your arms or lifting your knees with each step. If the weather is too hot or cold to go outside, you can even walk around inside!Exercise provides many benefits for older adults. It can improve both physical and mental health and even promote deeper relaxation. At Homewatch CareGivers, we can help seniors and their families maintain an active lifestyle. Call a location near you to learn more about how we can assist you or your senior loved one.