Easy and Safe Exercises for Older Adults

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Exercise are essential parts of a healthy lifestyle throughout one’s life, and  as we age, our requirements are ever changing. They can help strengthen your legs, enhance flexibility, and also reduce the pain in your lower back. A growing body of research illustrates how regular exercise is especially important for seniors, and how more seniors are opting for an active lifestyle instead of a sedentary one. Let’s see some of the exercises below,

1.Stationary Cycling

Stationary bicycles can be found easily at most gyms, including the ones at community centres. Stationary cycling is a great form of aerobic exercise and the best part is that it doesn’t exert any impact on your joints, so there’s a very minimal chance of injury.

2.Calf Raises

If you want to strengthen your leg muscles, doing calf raises can help. It involves standing straight and rising on the toes as high as possible without your heels touching the ground, then returning to your normal position. This can help you walk on leveled and uneven ground and improve your overall health.

3.Toe and Chair Stands

Building muscle mass and focusing on better balance can help reduce the risk of falls and broken bones. A good balance exercise for older adults is the chair stand: Start in a seated position in an armless chair. Keeping your back and shoulders straight, extend your arms parallel to the ground and slowly stand up, without using your hands. Sit down and repeat the move 10 to 15 times, rest, and then complete another set of 10 to 15 reps. You can further improve your balance with the toe stand: Stand behind the chair  use it only for support  and slowly raise up on your tiptoes. After holding the position for a moment, slowly lower your heels back to the floor; repeat two sets of 10 to 15 reps.

4.Regular Stretching

Stretching should be done every day because it’s an essential exercise to keep your muscles in top condition. Make sure you stretch all the different muscles in your body: neck, back, chest, abdomen, sides, arms, thighs and calves. Also, work the joints in your body regularly to keep them from getting stiff. These include your shoulders, hips, knees and ankles.

5.Brisk Walking

Brisk walking is a less intense type of aerobic exercise as compared to jogging, but it’s still a very beneficial exercise that gets your heart rate up and your muscles working. Brisk walking also has advantages over jogging in that it exerts less impact on your joints, so if you have weak knees or ankles, brisk walking will be a much better choice of exercise than jogging.

While brisk walking might not sound like a proper exercise, you’d be surprised that there are actually techniques to master this sport. Unlike normal walking, brisk walking is about improving your gait  that is, how fast you switch legs  as well as increasing your stride by swinging your hips slightly every step you take. Brisk walking is also about maintaining good posture: your back should be held straight, and shoulders should be set back for maximum benefits.

6.Knee Extensions

This exercise can help seniors to improve their balance and the ability to stand. Knee extensions can also help enhance the motion in their knees. You can sit in a chair and straighten out the right knee for a few seconds. Then, do the same with your left knee. Repeat these steps 12-15 times for each leg.

7.Pilates

Pilates is a popular low-impact form of exercise that was developed a century ago. In pilates exercises, breathing, alignment, concentration and core strength are emphasized, and typically involves mats, pilates balls, and other inflated accessories to help build strength without the stress of higher-impact exercises. Pilates has been shown to improve balance, develop core strength and increase flexibility in older adults.

8.Squats

Squats are a simple and effective way to get your daily dose of balance exercise. You won’t need any equipment to do a squat other than your bodyweight at first. This exercise requires you to lower yourself from a standing position into a semi-sitting position. Squats are sometimes done wrongly so it’s important to monitor your form. To keep your back straight as you squat, you can hold your arms out in front of you. Another variation of the squat is to start from a sitting position in a chair and to slowly get up, with your arms held out parallel to the ground and not gripping anything for support.

9.Ankle Circles

It is an excellent warm-up exercise. Depending on your comfort, you can sit or stand to do this exercise. Lift your right leg off the floor and rotate the ankle around 5-7 times. Do the same in the opposite direction. Perform this exercise with your left ankle as well to improve flexibility.

10.Swimming

Like cycling, swimming is a great form of aerobic exercise because your joints aren’t put under heavy stress since your body weight is supported by the water. This makes swimming a great exercise for those suffering from arthritis and osteoporosis. Furthermore, the additional resistance provided by the water grants some strength training benefits.

Even if you don’t know how to swim, you can still benefit from being in the pool. For example, using a swimming board as an aid while you paddle some laps can help you train your core and leg muscles. You can also join an aqua aerobics class – you’ll be doing a series of water exercises while standing in the pool, so a familiarity with swimming isn’t necessarily required.

11.Arm Weights

Lifting arm weights doesn’t only give you stronger arms, it also strengthens your upper back muscles and shoulders, so you’ll build a better posture and gain a stronger upper body. Lifting these weights is really simple: you just start from a sitting or standing position with the weights held at shoulder level and then lift them up all the way before lowering them back down to the original position.

12.Step Up

If you want to improve your coordination and balance, this is an excellent exercise. Use a high box or a step and step up carefully with your left leg. Hold yourself and balance until you count to three, then lower yourself down slowly. Do the same with your right leg. You can hold on to some support, if necessary.

13.Yoga

Yoga is a more structured practice of regular stretching exercises which also helps with muscle building at the same time. While you’ll be working your muscles to support your own weight during yoga, this stress won’t be exerted too much on your joints, so yoga is great for those who experience issues with their bones or joints. Like Tai Chi, yoga classes can be a great way to find friends to exercise and bond with and it also trains mental discipline and focus.

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