There is a growing body of research showing how important exercise is for seniors. Researchers have also found that more and more seniors are choosing an active lifestyle over a sedentary one.
Let’s look at the “why’s” and the “how to’s” of senior exercise.
Why Should Seniors Exercise?
Researchers and physicians alike say that seniors should remain physically active as long as possible, without overexerting themselves. Few would argue that exercise helps older adults live longer, healthier, and happier lives.
Other benefits of exercise for older adults include:
More independence – regular exercise promotes a senior’s ability to walk, cook, bathe, dress, and use the bathroom. If self-reliance is important to them, exercise will make a difference.
Improved balance – according to the National Council of Aging, every 11 seconds, an older adult is admitted to an emergency room for a fall-related injury. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the likelihood of falling by 23%.
More energy – exercise promotes the release of endorphins, which are linked to pain relief and a feeling of well-being. Endorphins also promote healthier sleep and make an older adult feel more energetic.
Helps counteract and prevent disease – a more active lifestyle can reduce, or help control, the symptoms related to heart disease, diabetes, depression, and osteoporosis.
The Best Exercises for Seniors to Do at Home
Seniors should try to exercise at least twice per week; three is preferable. Whether they have limited mobility or are still active, they can find exercises that meet their physical fitness needs. Here are five exercises seniors can do from the comfort of their own homes.
1. Light Weight Training
Retaining bone density and building muscle mass without putting undue stress on joints and muscles can easily be done at home. Two-pound weights are perfect for exercises like arm raises and shoulder presses. Household objects like cans of food or water bottles can be substituted for weights if needed.
As people age, they can often lose flexibility in their joints. Yoga helps seniors stay limber because it focuses on balance, flexibility, and strength. If getting down on the floor to use a mat isn’t possible, chair yoga is an excellent alternative.
A senior taking a walk conjures up images of them taking a stroll around the neighborhood or power-walking at the mall. But, seniors don’t need to leave the house to go walking. Instead, they can turn on some music, strap on their pedometer, and power-walk through the house. Pumping their arms and lifting their knees as they walk is very beneficial.
Some lower body strength training shouldn’t be neglected since it can prevent slips and falls leading to injuries. They’re also easy to do – just point the toes forward and bend the knees until they’re in a nearly seated position. If balance is an issue, they can do squats holding onto a chair.
A gym membership isn’t needed to do aerobic exercises. There are many DVDs and online videos that are designed specifically for seniors to follow a routine. Older adults who prefer to exercise on their own can do intervals of exercises like jumping jacks and knee lifts to get the heart pumping and promote cardio-health.
Let Us Help Your Loved One Stay Active!
AmeriCare Plus caregivers can help the senior in your life do low-impact exercises at home. They are available a few hours per day, a few days per week, or offer round-the-clock care. Our goal is for seniors to age at home and enjoy a high quality of life.
Call us today to arrange a free in-home consultation. We’ll outline our services and see how we can help. We’re here for you.