It’s easy for any of us to slowly slip into a sedentary lifestyle. Regular exercise is vital for older adults, though it can be challenging to know where to begin. If the senior in your life hasn’t exercised in a while, getting back into an active lifestyle can be daunting. It’s also possible that the exercises they used to enjoy are no longer ideal for them as seniors.
Here, in no particular order, are some low-impact exercises perfect for aging-in-place seniors.
Chair yoga is a low-impact exercise that improves mobility, balance and flexibility, and strength – all of which are necessary for an active lifestyle. It’s an accessible form of yoga that provides less stress on bones, joints, and muscles than other forms of yoga. All that’s needed is a chair and a live instructor or a DVD. It’s a low-cost way to get started.
Studies have shown chair yoga to improve mental health in older adults and help seniors sleep better, have lower levels of depression, and enjoy a general sense of well-being.
Walking is one of the least stressful and most accessible forms of exercise for seniors. For some, it’s a bigger challenge than it is for others, so pace, distance, and step goals will be different for each person. Health experts recommend 10,000 steps per day for a healthy lifestyle, but those with joint pain or that have difficulty walking may need to set a more conservative goal.
Walking strengthens muscles and promotes a healthy lifestyle while lowering their risk of stroke, diabetes, colon cancer, and heart disease.
A popular low-impact form of exercise, Pilates was developed more than a century ago. While doing Pilates, concentration, breathing, core strength, and alignment are emphasized.
Pilates involves using a mat, pilates balls, and other inflatables that help build strength without the stress of higher-impact exercises. It’s been shown to increase flexibility, develop core strength, and improve balance in older adults.
Resistance band workouts
Available in most sporting goods stores or online, resistance bands are stretchy strips of rubber that add resistance to a workout while reducing stress on the body. They’re easy to use and perfect for beginners.
Resistance band workouts are increasing in popularity with seniors because of the low up-front costs and how easy they are to do at home. These exercises strengthen the core, which improves posture, balance, and mobility.
Dumbbell strength training
Strength training has been shown to alleviate back pain symptoms, osteoporosis, diabetes, and depression while also helping with weight control. Strength training raises the metabolism and enhances glucose control.
Using dumbbells is one of the best ways for seniors to strength train. Dumbbells allow older adults to isolate certain muscle groups for increased strength while improving flexibility and balance.
Muscle loss is often debilitating for seniors and can lead to hormone problems, a decrease in the body’s ability to metabolize protein, and other problems. Around 1/3 of seniors live with severe muscle loss.
A key benefit of bodyweight workouts is its affordability. The materials required are minimal – workout clothes and a mat to soften the impact with the floor are all that’s needed.
Make sure seniors are up to these exercises
Before they get back into an exercise regiment, have your senior visit a physician to ensure they’re healthy enough for exercise and to get the doctor’s advice on which exercises are suitable for their current level of fitness.
We Love Helping Seniors in Chevy Chase Stay Active
Help At Home has been providing in-home care for seniors in Chevy Chase, Maryland for over 20 years. Learn more about us at www.helpathomecare.com or call us at (301) 654-6789. We’ll be happy to visit with you about your needs and let you know how our friendly, professional caregivers can help you and your loved one.