Often, getting older results in a big decrease or complete stop in exercise and activity. However, it has been proven that exercise can offer seniors a variety of key benefits that improve overall quality of life. The National Institute on Aging reports that regular physical activity can actually help delay or even prevent some chronic age-related conditions like heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, stroke, and more. Also, when your body is strong and healthy it is far more likely to fight off infection and recover from illness or injury.
Exercise is also a well-known mood booster and can help relieve feelings of depression, anxiety, and sadness. Experts say exercise is one of the most beneficial options seniors have to improve their overall memory and brain health.
So, what are you waiting for? Get moving!
If it is possible for the person, joining an active group can be a great way of staying social as well as keeping fit. Look into local classes geared towards seniors such as gentle yoga, water aerobics or a walking group. These are all ways of getting your loved one out of the house and having some fun whilst also keeping fit.
If it is not possible for your loved one to get out and join a group, don’t worry! There are lots of home-based gentle exercises you can do at home that will keep you active. See below for 5 easy to follow exercise.
- Marching in Place
Marching is a great balance exercise for seniors. If you need to hold onto something, do this exercise in front of a counter.
Standing straight, lift your right knee as high as you can. Lower it, then lift the left leg. Lift and lower your legs 20 times.
- Shoulder Rolls
You can do this exercise seated or standing.
Rotate your shoulders gently up to the ceiling, then back and down. Next, do the same thing, but roll them forwards and then down. Try to do this 20 times.
- Wall Pushups
As long as you’ve got a wall, you can do this strength training exercise.
Stand an arm’s length in front of a wall that doesn’t have any paintings, decorations, windows or doors. Lean forward slightly and put your palms flat on the wall at the height and width of your shoulders. Keep your feet planted as you slowly bring your body towards the wall. Gently push yourself back so that your arms are straight. Do twenty of these – or if you can’t manage 20, just do as many as you can.
- Toe Lifts
This strength training exercise for seniors also improves balance.
Stand straight and put your arms in front of you. Raise yourself up on your toes as high as you can go, then gently lower yourself. Don’t lean too far forward. Lift and lower yourself 20 times or as many times as is comfortable.
- Hand and Finger Exercises
The following are exercises to improve flexibility. You don’t need to stand for these.
In the first exercise, pretend there’s a wall in front of you. Your fingers will climb the wall until they’re above your head. While holding your arms above your head, wiggle your fingers for ten seconds. Then, walk them back down.
During the second exercise, touch your hands while they’re behind your back. Reach for your left hand while your right hand is behind your back. Hold that position for ten seconds, then try with your other arm.