A recent study found that only 15% of senior citizens exercise. Daily exercises help increase flexibility, build strength, and enhance balance. However, what exercises are safe for senior fitness? Don’t worry! We’ve investigated everything you need to know about exercises for seniors. That way, you or a loved one can stay active and healthy.
Now, are you ready to get started? Here’s an in-depth look at our senior fitness guide:
Pilates is a great, low-impact exercise everyone can do. It uses breathing, alignment, and muscle strength to enhance balance and flexibility in older adults. It generally uses mats, exercise balls, and other accessories so seniors can build strength without performing high-impact exercises.
Some common exercises include:
- Side Leg circles
- Mermaid movement
Side leg circles are easy to complete; all you need is a mat. First, lay on your right side with your right arm propping up your head. You can place your left arm on your side or gently on the floor next to you. From there, lift your right leg and rotate it, doing large slow circles in the air for 30 seconds. Then flip to your left side and repeat the exercise.
Mermaid movements are perfect for stretching your back; however, they can be a little difficult for some. All you have to do is sit on the floor and place your legs in a 90/90 position. For those that don’t know the 90/90 position, it involves bending your right leg in front of your body at a 90-degree angle where your lower leg is resting on the ground. Then you’ll bend your left leg beside you also at a 90-degree angle, with your shin and ankle on the ground. From the 90/90 position, let your right arm settle on the ground next to you. With your left arm, reach towards the sky, and lean to the right to stretch your back and sides. Repeat the exercise two to three times, then alternate sides.
2. Chair Yoga
Chair yoga is a low-impact exercise, meaning it puts less stress on your muscles, bones, and joints. It’s shown to increase strength and improve balance and flexibility if done on a regular basis.
There are several exercises you can do, including:
- Overhead stretch
- Seated Twist
- Seated cat/cow stretch
To do these exercises, all you have to do is find a chair and sit in it. Start with the overhead stretch; interlock your fingers and raise your arms to the sky.
Another easy exercise is the seated twist; all you have to do is bring your left hand to your right knee and place your right hand on the seat. Twist and hold the position for a few seconds, then repeat with your right side.
The seated cat/cow stretch is a bit more difficult since it focuses on your breath. To complete this exercise, place your hands on your thighs, then inhale and arch your back while lifting your chin up. Hold the position for a few seconds, then slowly exhale as you round your back and bring the chin downward.
3. Resistance Band Workouts
For those that don’t know, resistance bands are stretchy rubber elastics that add some weight and force to increase muscle strength. Resistance band workouts are perfect for beginners and great to do at home to achieve your fitness goals. Workouts typically strengthen the core, which enhances posture and helps with mobility.
Common resistance band exercises include:
- Bicep Curl
- Band Pull Apart
- Leg Press
To do a bicep curl, simply stand on the band with your feet shoulder-width apart. Then hold the ends of the band, and curl your arms towards your chest.
To do a band pull-apart, stand with your feet hip-width apart and bend your knees slightly. You’ll want to hold the band at your shoulders. Then pull the band at each side, evenly distributing your weight and gripping the floor with your feet.
Leg presses may be difficult for some, so make sure you do them carefully. To start, sit with your legs extended and put the band around one foot.
Hold the band as you push your feet into the band and recline back to a laying position. Repeat the process for the other foot and then together with both feet.
One of the most accessible forms of exercise is walking. Walking can strengthen muscles and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Generally, doctors recommend walking a minimum of 5,000 steps a day to promote seniors’ fitness. With that said, walking can be harder for some, so step goals and distance differ from person to person.
Walking may sound boring, but here are a few ideas to make it fun:
- Walk through a park
- Find music or an audiobook to listen to
- Walk with a friend or relative
- Walk with a dog
5. Light Dancing
Dancing is a great way to get up and be active. After all, it’s a type of aerobic exercise that helps stretch muscles and improves flexibility. Some studies have even shown that regular dancing decreases stress and depression and helps boost energy levels. Plus, it’s something you can do in your home. Just put on some music and show off your moves. Of course, if you don’t want to dance alone, there are classes you can take for senior fitness and light exercise.
Popular classes include:
- Soft Shoe Tap
Try These Exercises For Seniors Today
Daily exercises are imperative to keep seniors in good health. You or a loved one can do water aerobic exercises, chair yoga, and resistance band workouts – the possibilities are endless. Of course, exercises for seniors can be challenging, with some needing assistance. Thankfully, we at Inspired Living, a senior living community, are here to help. We offer independent living, assisted living, and specialized memory care, all with fitness classes and more perks.
Contact us today to learn more about our senior living services.