The focus of this article is to provide gentle exercises for seniors to try to help maintain an active lifestyle. As the body ages, it usually experiences more discomfort when moving and can also have a higher risk of injury. However, according to the CDC, this is largely due to the fact that more and more older adults reduce their daily physical activity. Keep in mind there are lots of fun physical activities for older adults.
However, physical activity is very important for people of all ages, as it promotes the health of all who take time to participate in one of its many forms.
Physical activity doesn’t have to be vigorous for it to be effective in improving the lives of older adults. If you are a senior who wants to know what activities you can do to improve your life without exerting too much energy, keep reading.
One of the best, low-impact ways that seniors can improve their physical health is by taking a daily 15 to 30-minute walk. According to Harvard Medical School, there are five main benefits to walking daily. These include:
- 1. Counter-acting obesity-promoting genes.
- 2. Controls your sweet tooth.
- 3. Reduces the risk of developing certain cancers.
- 4. Eases joint pain.
- 5. Boost immune system functions.
Many of these issues that walking helps to fight are issues that seniors typically face in their golden years. Specifically, many seniors will face an increased risk of developing cancer and osteoarthritis.
For this reason, you should be sure to take some time to take a walk around your neighborhoods or even just take a walk on a treadmill inside the home or at a gym.
2: BALANCE EXERCISES
There are a number of gentle exercises that can help address balance issues in older adults, one of the top ten issues seniors admit has become a problem in their old age.
The first gentle exercise that seniors can try is a simple weight shift. This involves standing with your feet a hip-width apart with your weight evenly distributed. With your hands to your side, shift your weight to one side with your foot a few inches off of the floor. You should hold on this foot for 10 seconds before shifting to the other foot.
For safety, seniors who have unsteady balance should do this in front of a sturdy chair, just in case they need to balance themselves during the exercises.
A similar exercise would be the single-leg balance. This exercise works in the same way to improve balance by shifting weight to one leg. However, with this exercise, you should keep one foot firm on the ground and lift the other foot, bending at the knee.
This exercise is recommended for seniors who don’t have severe balance issues. Hold for about 10 seconds on one leg before shifting to the other.
The goal for both of these exercises should be for you to balance for 30 seconds before shifting your weight.
3: STRENGTH EXERCISES
Another common issue you may deal with is a weakening of strength in the arms, shoulder, legs, and core. This weakening can lead to difficulty in performing everyday tasks and can also cause muscle and joint issues that can be painful and hard to manage.
WALL PUSH-UPS FOR ARM & SHOULDER STRENGTH
To increase strength in your arms and shoulders, stand three feet from a wall. Stand to face the wall and place your feet a shoulder-width apart. Lead toward the wall, placing your hands float and in line with your shoulders.
Keeping your spine straight, lower yourself to the wall and repeat up to 10 times. This will help you improve muscle strength in your arms and shoulders.
A FEW SEATED EXERCISES FOR LEG STRENGTH
To keep your legs strong, take a seat! That may sound strange, but these two exercises are sure to help you further develop the muscles in your legs, making walking and moving much easier and less painful.
For the first exercise, toe taps, sit in the chair with your feet flat on the ground. Keep your heels on the ground as you lift your toes into the air. Stretch your toes upward until you can feel the muscles in your shin contracting and expanding as you move through the exercises. Do this exercise 20 times for the best results.
To build strength in your calves, try heel raises. This is essentially the opposite of what you were doing. Plant your feet flat on the ground and, keeping your toes on the floor, lift your heels. While the first exercise worked the front of your lower leg, this one will work the muscles in the back of your leg.
ABDOMINAL CONTRACTIONS FOR CORE STRENGTH
Everyone relies on their core strength, specifically for balance. For this exercise, seniors can lay on the floor or even on a bed. With the back flat and knees bent with feet planted on the floor, take a deep breath the tighten your abs.
Hold this breath for a bit and release it. Repeat it 10 times for the best effect.
4: WATER AEROBICS
Lastly, a great way for seniors to exercise gently is by doing so in water, specifically in a pool. With the body submerged, you will feel pretty weightless. This provides a sort of gentle resistance that can help build strength quickly.
Additionally, there is less of a risk of falling or getting injured when exercising in water. Because of these benefits, water aerobics is one of the most popular forms of exercise for seniors.
A ton of citizen centers have pools where seniors can take group water aerobics class. Check with your local center or with your gym to see if there is a water aerobics class offered for seniors.
As you can see, there are a number of great exercises for seniors that are gentle yet beneficial. Physical activity is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle, but must be addressed in a safe, cautious, and gentle way with aging bodies. Engaging in strength-building, balance, and cardio exercises like the ones mentioned in this article are the best ways for seniors to keep their bodies healthy and strong.