We all know how important exercising is, but it can be difficult to keep up with intense workouts as we get older. However, ageing certainly needn’t mean giving up working out entirely. While seniors may not feel up to exercising like they did in their twenties, rest assured that for the elderly people, incorporating daily exercise is by no means impossible.
If you’re a senior who would like to exercise more, or you know one who might, try the following exercises to get started:
Fancy being able to exercise while sitting down? There are plenty of exercises out there that can be undertaken without having to get up, which is ideal for seniors with limited mobility or for those who haven’t exercised in a while. Even just daily stretching can do wonders for a person’s body. Popular stretching exercises for seniors include chest stretches, in which the senior sits upright, extends his or her arms to the side, and pushes his or her chest forward for ten seconds, repeating several times; and ankle stretches, in which the senior holds on to his or her chair and points a raised leg outwards, moving his or her toes back and forth.
- Exercise with the help of equipment
Exercise equipment can make maintaining fitness levels easier for seniors. Cardio exercises can improve a person’s mood as well as their fitness, and there are several machines designed to minimise injury and simulate real-life environment. Seniors may like to try an elliptical for a workout that will exercise his or her muscles while lessening the risk of the issues that going for a run can cause.
- Balance exercises
Improving our balance can help in other areas of our lives, such as walking up and down stairs, and it can also reduce the risk of falls. Seniors who wish to improve their balance might like to try balance exercises such as a one-leg stand, in which he or she holds on to a chair, stands with his or her feet together, and lifts one foot off the ground, balancing with the other for 10-15 seconds; or a walking exercise in which he or she walks across a room by putting one foot in front of the other, as closely as possible.
- Water aerobics
Exercising in a pool can be a great way for seniors to work out – water puts less stress on the joints than regular exercise, and many pools hold classes specifically for seniors. Some pool exercises particularly appropriate for older adults include leg lifts, in which the senior stands in the pool and lifts a leg up and down, alternating between left and right; aqua jogging, in which the senior jogs from one side of the pool to the other for however long feels comfortable; and arm circles, in which the senior makes circling motions with his or her arms for ten seconds in each direction.
Performing even a few exercises every day can help immensely with flexibility and quality of life, and there are a lot of ways for older adults to exercise. Indeed, senior fitness can be a lot of fun! For example, there are plenty of people well into their fifties and sixties still practising exercise routines like Crossfit, which is made to be adapted to different fitness levels. Group classes like these are a good option for seniors who wish to be more social.
It’s important to remember that elderly people should always try to be aware of their limits when it comes to exercise; it might be a good idea to have someone else around, especially if they are trying new activities.
Article Credits – Alex Cordier (guest)