Madeline Hogan for televeda.com
Staying active is important for all ages, but it’s especially important to do as we age. Exercises has various important benefits for seniors, including:
- Improving muscle and bone strength
- Boosting mood
- Reducing stress
- Maintaining brain function
- Lowering risk for heart diseases, diabetes, and obesity
Starting (or augmenting) a fitness routine is a great way to support healthy aging, but it’s important to find workouts that work for you. Do you have a tough time standing for a while? Do you want to improve your balance? Are you looking for something fun, or more relaxing?
Here are five exercise ideas for seniors to try at home, with some options for everyone!
Safe Exercise Ideas for Seniors
- Chair Yoga
Chair Yoga is a great exercise routine to help with flexibility, strength, and balance. It’s accessible for everyone, while still providing numerous health benefits including: increased flexibility and strength, reduced stress, and improved pain management.
Essentially, Chair Yoga is a modified version of yoga where you are doing most, or all, of the moves while seated in a chair. From arm strength to core work, to flexibility, Chair Yoga offers a wide range of movements you can try from the safety of a chair.
- Other Chair Workouts.
While we’re on the topic…! If you have any limited mobility or are recovering from an injury, all chair workouts are a great option to keep active. Chair workouts offer a lot of variety, meaning they can provide cardio or muscle-strengthening benefits.
Some cardio chair workout ideas:
- Seated tap dancing
- Marching in place
- “Running arms” in place
Some strength-building chair workout ideas:
- Leg Lifts
- Arm raises
- Side crunches
- Strength Training
Speaking of strength training, this exercise form is incredibly important for people of all ages to include in their workout routines. Regularly including strengthening exercises in your workout routine is essential to staying strong and vital during older adulthood.
Strength training movements are relatively to learn, and have been proven safe and effective through years of research.
Strength training has a variety of benefits for older adults, including:
- Reducing the rate at which you lose muscle as you age (sarcopenia)
- Reducing symptoms of health conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia
- Lowering inflammation and pain
- Improving your glucose control and making it easier to manage your weight
- Improving balance and therefore reducing fall risk
- Help prevent osteoporosis and frailty by stimulating muscle and bone growth
Note: you don’t have to start lifting heavy weights! Resistance training–using your body weight as weight–is very effective too. Plus, feeling strong physically helps promote mental and emotional strength as well.
- Tai Chi
Tai Chi is a blended mind-body practice that began in China. It’s one of the most popular exercises for older adults, and helps with balance, flexibility, and strength, as well as promotes longevity.
It also provides mental benefits, such as improved memory function and reduced cognitive decline.
There are several different Tai Chi styles to choose from, depending on goals and ability level. You can check out these beginner Tai Chi videos to get started.
It’s not just about having fun! Dancing improves agility, posture, and muscle memory. Studies have also shown dancing regularly reduces dizziness and helps prevent cognitive decline.
So, whether you want to learn a dance routine, or just enjoy swaying to a favorite tune, dancing is a great cardio exercise for seniors to do anywhere, alone, or as a group activity.
Flexibility is a very important (and sometimes forgotten) aspect to one’s health, especially as we get older. Increased flexibility allows for a larger range of motion in the joints, improves posture, and reduces chance of injury.
Stretch after some light cardio to make sure your muscles are “warm,” before pushing them. You can also check out these full body stretches that are perfect for seniors to increase their mobility.
Conclusion: Working Out Can Work Out For You!
Note, before starting any new exercises or exercise routines, check in with your primary care physician. Especially if you are recovering from an injury or have a fairly sedentary lifestyle, you want to make sure that the exercises you start doing are safe for you.
Once approved, get started with any of these exercise ideas. Staying active, building strength, and growing your flexibility will help you stay safe and healthy for longer.