Safe Exercises for Seniors that Help Increase Strength, Energy, Balance, and Flexibility
Exercise and intake of healthy nutrition are vital to staying healthy and active in your life. However, as you become older, you need to reconsider your diet and exercise. It is normal to lose stamina, agility, and strength to perform even the routine tasks with aging. When you enter your forties, you lose 3% to 5% of your muscle mass each decade of your life.
Muscles play a critical role in maintaining your strength and balance. With the loss of muscle mass, your independence and mobility are compromised. According to CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), seniors, including both men and women, can take advantage of moderate regular physical activities. Even older adults experiencing medical conditions like obesity, heart disease, blood pressure, and arthritis can benefit from it.
What are the Benefits of Exercising for Older Adults?
There are several benefits of exercising for seniors. Regular physical activity has a positive impact on your physical and mental health as well as emotional wellbeing. It boosts your self-confidence, independence, and energy, enabling you embrace your age confidently. However, you need to ensure home safety for seniors to help them perform these exercises in their living space.
Improve Functionality and Health
Regular exercising helps to improve the functions of your body while improving your body and bone health. It gives you physical strength to fight infections and recover from health conditions in a better way.
Prevents Loss of Bone Density
As you age, your body loses its bone density. Research study shows that strength training prevents this loss and helps to restore your bone density. Stronger bones decrease the probability of fractures and also improve your body’s balance.
Prevents Development of Chronic Diseases
Through regular exercises, it is possible to prevent the development of several chronic conditions like colon cancer, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, and diabetes. If you already suffer from any chronic health condition, exercising can minimize its symptoms.
Slows Down Cognitive Decline
Many seniors experience a decline in cognition as they age. Exercising has been shown to slow down cognitive decline in seniors aged 60 and above as they showed fewer biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease when they did exercise daily for 30 minutes.
Enhanced Life Quality and Expectancy
Physical activity not just improves physical wellbeing but also improves psychological health in seniors. Exercising regularly helps to relieve depression symptoms and uplifts mood. The seniors can maintain their independence through moderate regular exercising, which enhances their life quality and expectancy.
Improves Leg Balance, Coordination, Flexibility, and Mobility
Light to moderate physical activities improves the strength and flexibility of your body. This, in turn, helps you maintain coordination and balance while reducing the risks of falls and slips.
Elite Care at Home provides in-home skilled nursing and care services along with a facility of in-home health care physiotherapy to help seniors lead a comfortable life in their homes.
Exercise For Seniors Can Also Boost Immune Function
It’s not precisely known how exercise boosts your immune function; however, a study conducted in 2018 shows that regular moderate exercising reduces the incidence of developing acute respiratory illness. This may be because regular exercise reduces inflammation in the body, which improves the immune system’s performance.
To harness all these and many other benefits of regular light to moderate physical activity, we give you a detailed overview of the best exercises for seniors. These exercises for older adults not just keep them healthy but also enable them to live a better, happier, and more independent life.
Best Exercises for Seniors by Type
Exercising regularly can benefit anyone irrespective of age. It is especially critical as you age, but it’s often difficult to know how and where to start. Moreover, the exercises you’ve done in your younger age are not usually ideal for your older age. The best exercises for seniors should be a combination of mobility, balance, flexibility, and strength.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that senior adults should do at least 150 minutes of light to moderate exercises per week. Here are some of the best exercises for older adults to help them improve their overall health, wellbeing, and life quality.
Stretching Exercises for the Elderly
Flexibility is vital to achieving independence, strength, and mobility. As you get older, flexibility helps you reduce the energy costs of walking and standing. In your exercise regime, you should integrate stretches that target hips, legs, and shoulders because these body parts are generally responsible for gait and balance problems.
You can try the following stretching workouts to improve your flexibility, mobility, balance, and strength, lowering the risks of falls and injury. You can perform them while sitting on a chair or standing. While doing stretch exercises, remember to hold each of your stretches for 30 seconds.
Standing Quadriceps Stretch
By doing this exercise for seniors, you can improve the mobility of your lower body to walk, climb and get out of a chair. Plus, it enhances your ability to recover from balance loss and may help reduce pain in your lower back.
- Hold a chair, table, or wall for support.
- Bend your right leg back to lift your heel towards your buttock.
- Hold heel in this position with your hand while increasing stretch towards your thigh front.
- Repeat this lower body stretch exercise with your left leg.
This stretching exercise for older adults improves torso and upper body mobility to reach out, bend and twist. With improvement in posture, you accomplish better circulation and breathing.
- Raise one of your arms above the head.
- Lean gently on your opposite side, increasing the stretch.
- Repeat the same with your other arm.
Upper Back Stretch
The upper back stretch exercise for seniors improves your upper body’s forward reaching mobility while decreasing tension in shoulder and neck muscles.
- Bring both your arms in front of you and join hands together.
- Tuck your chin.
- Reach forward and round your upper back.
This exercise improves your upper body’s mobility to reach your sides and improves the posture of the rounded shoulder, which often results from the use of tablets, computers, and smartphones. Plus, it enables efficient circulation and breathing.
- Open your arms out to your sides.
- Bend your elbows.
- Point your fingers in the upward direction.
- Squeeze both your shoulder blades.
This stretch exercise improves the mobility of your torso to reach, twist, and look above your shoulder. It may also improve your posture while reducing the pain in the lower back.
- Put your arms across your chest while sitting or standing.
- Rotate your upper body to the left as if looking to your left shoulder.
- Repeat it with the right side.
Standing Calf Stretch
Standing calf stretch exercise improves the mobility of your ankle necessary to walk on various surfaces and climb stairs. It also helps in enhancing your ability to recover from balance loss.
- Hold a chair, table, or wall.
- Stand as if you’re ready to jump.
- Bend front leg.
- Put your weight on your front leg.
- Press the heel of your back foot on the floor.
- Repeat this position by putting your other leg forward.
This exercise helps to improve your posture, mobility of the upper body and helps in efficient breathing.
- Lift one arm over your head.
- While bending your elbow, bring your fingers to your shoulder back.
- Gently push your elbow backward with your other hand.
- Repeat this tricep stretch with your other arm.
Seated Stretch Exercises
Hip Rotator Stretch
This stretch exercise is good to improve mobility and flexibility of your lower body to avoid obstacles, step aside and get out of the car. Additionally, it enhances your ability to recover from balance loss.
- Sit at the chair edge.
- Put your left foot over the right knee.
- Place both hands on your left thigh (above your knee)
- Push gently downwards to the floor.
- Repeat this stretch exercise with the other leg.
Sitting Hamstring and Lower Back Stretch
By doing this stretching exercise regularly, you can improve the mobility of your lower body to walk, get out of the chair and climb stairs. Plus, you can better recover from balance loss and may reduce your lower back pain.
- Sit at the edge of the chair.
- Bent your one knee while placing your foot flat on the floor.
- Straighten your other leg.
- Flex your foot to point up to your toes.
- Place your one hand over the other hand in this position.
- Reach down to your toes.
Sitting Quadriceps Stretch
This stretch exercise for older adults improves the mobility of your lower body to walk, get out of a chair, climb and recover from balance loss. It may also help to reduce lower back pain.
- Turn to your sideways while you’re in a chair.
- Hold onto the chair back.
- Drop your knee towards the chair front down to the floor.
- Slide your leg backward, increasing the stretch in your thigh’s front.
- Repeat the same with your other leg by turning to the other side.
Sitting Knee to Chest Stretch
This seated stretch is suitable for improving your hip mobility to walk, maintain balance, avoid obstacles, and reduce pain in your lower back.
- Sit at the chair edge.
- Place your hands behind your one knee and pull it gently towards your chest.
- Then do this stretching exercise with the other knee.
How Can Seniors Improve Their Balance?
When you’re strong, steady, and mobile, you can stay independent and enjoy your life. By doing balance and strength exercises, you can feel more comfortable and stand tall while walking confidently. Several balance exercises help you stay upright. You can perform these exercises by using objects that you find around your home to balance your body weight.
Balance with Single Leg
This simple exercise improves your balance. If you’re starting with the balance exercising, you should hold onto a chair to do this exercise.
- Place your feet shoulder-width apart while standing.
- Extend both arms outwards to your sides.
- Lift your right knee slowly upwards.
- Straighten the leg in your front and hold this position for about 30 seconds, then relax.
- Repeat with your left leg.
For this exercise, you only need to hold onto something and have something to step onto.
- Place feet at hip-width apart while standing in front of any object or staircase to step up.
- To keep your balance, you can hold a chair back or place your hand on a wall.
- Don’t assist your movement with your hand. Use it only to balance.
- Lift your foot slowly to tap the object or stair with your toe and then put it back down.
- Challenge your balance by slowing the movement.
- Repeat with other foot.
Body Weight Workouts
Lifting light weights not just improves your body’s balance but also increases your strength.
- Place your feet apart at hip-width while standing.
- Shift your body weight on the right foot.
- Gently raise the left foot.
- Stay in this position for 30 seconds.
- Repeat with your other side.
Walk on a Tightrope
With this simple exercise, you can improve your core strength, balance, and posture.
- Lift arms upwards and extend to the outsides.
- Choose a fixed point to focus your gaze in the distance and start walking in a straight line.
- When you take a step, keep your foot in a raised position for 2 to 3 seconds.
- Take about 20 to 30 steps in this way.
Strength Exercises for Elderly
Strength exercises for seniors help them to retain as much muscle mass as possible. These exercises also promote mobility, increase bone strength, help to maintain posture, and prevent falls. You can also check out videos of exercises for seniors on YouTube.
This simple strength exercise for seniors improves the strength of your entire upper body, especially of your chest and arms.
- Stand at some distance from the wall (almost 2 feet)
- Place the hands against the wall at your shoulder-width apart and shoulder height.
- Bend elbows diagonally on your side, lowering your chest towards the wall while keeping your body straight.
- Move your heels off the floor and pause.
- Slowly straighten elbows while pressing with your hands.
- Return to your straight position and repeat.
This type of strength exercise is suitable for improving the strength of your upper body.
- Place your palms on the floor right under your shoulders and lie on the stomach.
- You can raise your lower legs and cross ankles if you want.
- Straighten your elbows while keeping your knees on the floor and push up yourself.
- Don’t bend your back and keep it straight.
- Come down in this position until the chest is just above the floor but don’t touch it.
- Repeat this 10 to 15 times.
Circles Lying on Your Side
This is a quick and simple strengthening exercise. It improves your mobility and gives strength to your hips.
- Lie on your side on a flat surface, placing your body straight.
- Extend the bottom arm straight, right beside your head.
- Place your head on the bottom arm.
- Gently squeeze your abdomen and pull it towards your belly.
- Lift the leg on your top to the height of your hip.
- Move your leg in the air making small circles in a clockwise direction.
- Pause and then do the same movement in an anti-clockwise direction.
- Repeat the same with your other side.
When you’re planning your workout plan, always consult your practitioner first. At Elite Care at Home, we have trained and experienced physical therapists and occupational therapists who can help you plan your exercise regime. You don’t need to do all types of exercises. Depending on your needs and goals, our in home PTs design a customized plan to include senior exercises that help to improve your overall mobility, strength, flexibility, and endurance.
- Relaxing & Fun Activities for Seniors in Miami-Dade County - December 1, 2021
- Symptoms of Malnutrition in the Elderly & What to Look Out For - December 1, 2021
- Senior Citizens and Stretching: What Are the Best Tips? - November 15, 2021