As you age, it’s very important to stay healthy and in shape. Check out this guide to learn about the best exercises for seniors.

28% of the population over the age of 50 are physically inactive!

Just because you are getting older, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take care of yourself or exercise regularly.

Physical inactivity is known to shorten your life span, increase your risk of disease and health problems and even contribute to depression. The World Health Organization has linked inactivity to over 3.2 million deaths.

Exercise is known to boost your mood, along with boosting your metabolism, increasing your cardiac fitness and getting oxygen to your muscles.

Targeted exercises for seniors can help to maintain your muscles, improve your balance, prevent falls and even improve your bone density.

Get yourself fit and active by following our recommendations on the best exercises for seniors.

Walking

If you are still able to walk, do it! Walking is a great form of exercise that builds muscle and improves your fitness.

Take a friend or grandchild out with you and get some much-needed fresh air and vitamin D. Walking is an underrated exercise, that can improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis and other joint conditions.

Chair Boxing

If you aren’t able to walk anymore, don’t worry! You can still improve your fitness by completing a few rounds of chair boxing.

This is where you remain seated, with your abdominals engaged and punch out in front of you. It won’t take many repetitions to get the blood pumping. If you enjoy this exercise, you can find full chair workout classes at your local gym.

Squat to Chair

This exercise is great for building your leg muscles, glutes, and your balance. It will improve your ability to go up and down flights of stairs, get out of chairs and pick up objects off the floor.

How?

Place a stable chair in front of a wall. Face away from the chair with your legs hip-distance apart from each other and your feet parallel.

Keep your chest and face upright, start to bend at the hip and knee to a ‘sit’ position. Slowly bend further until you reach the chair. In the same position, use only your leg strength to push yourself out of the chair and back to your starting position.

Ensure you always keep your feet flat on the floor, and push through your feet, especially when trying to stand back up.

As you get stronger, you can keep the chair there just in case, but don’t actually sit into it.

Wall Push-Ups

This exercise will strengthen the muscles in your arms, chest and upper back. You will benefit from the push-up activity without having to worry about getting up and down from the floor.

How?

Begin with standing 1 foot away from a wall. Place both your hands, at shoulder height, flat onto the wall. While keeping your back, hips and feet aligned, bend from your elbows to bring your face closer to the wall.

Once your nose is close to the wall, extend your elbows back out to press your whole body back to the starting position.

When starting this exercise for the first time, ensure you have someone there to support you. For an extra challenge, stand further away from the wall.

Heel Raises/Tippy Toes

Heel raises will improve your balance and build up your calf muscles. This is important for stabilizing your ankle, feet, and legs while walking.

How?

Stand in front of a solid chair and hold onto the backrest for balance. Raise your body weight up onto your tippy toes and hold for 5 seconds. Slowly release back down to the floor.

If you find this too easy, try doing this without holding onto the chair. Be careful of your body weight influencing your balance.

One Leg Stand

This exercise will help to build your balance and flexibility in your leg muscles. Always focus on a single fixed point in front of you. This will help you keep your balance and prevent a fall.

How?

Stand to the side of a sturdy chair and hold onto the backrest. Raise your leg furthest from the chair in front of you to a 90-degree angle with your knee at hip height.

Swap around and do the same on the other side. Once you are able to hold this for 1 minute, you can progress onto the more difficult type of One Leg Stand.

For increased difficulty, instead of bringing your leg out in front of you, bring it behind you and pull your ankle into your glutes. Do this while holding on the chair with your other hand and remain balanced on one leg. Challenge yourself by trying to do this for 1 minute.

Once you can do both safely, without any wobbles, then you can attempt to do this exercise without holding onto the chair.

Resistance Training

Staying active is important for seniors, but can be difficult if your movement is limited by age or disease.

Resistance training focuses on building muscles while also moving your body and increasing flexibility. There are many different forms of resistance training. As a senior, you should consider signing up to water aerobics. This allows you to train intensely, without putting any strain on your joints.

Another class to consider is Reformer Pilates. Unlike regular mat Pilates, you have more freedom and support from the reformer when performing the Pilates exercises. The instructor can also tailor the strength of the reformer to suit you.

Reformer Pilates also places minimal strain on your joints while building the surrounding muscles.

Complete the Best Exercises for Seniors to Improve Your Health and Well-being

For the above exercises that you can complete at home, try doing a few of these each day to keep you supple and mobile. Consider the help of a younger family member and personal trainer to get you started with the best exercises for seniors.

For more information on senior health and well-being, check out the other articles on our blog.

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