According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, only 35-44 percent of adults aged 75 or older are physically active. While older adults may not be able to do all of the activity they once could, it is still vitally important that seniors keep up with their physical fitness.
Many older adults may feel discouraged from exercise because of a negative experience at a gym or the competitive environment of exercise classes. That’s understandable, but it’s important that seniors find ways to stay active.
There are plenty of great exercises for seniors to do at home, where they feel comfortable and confident. Being able to exercise at home also means that it can fit into your schedule at any time of day, which can be helpful when trying to commit to a new routine.
Read on to learn some of the five of the best exercises for seniors.
Walking or Running on a Treadmill
While cardio exercises for seniors are an important part of a fitness regime, it can be hard to find one that works. Not all seniors will feel comfortable going for a run in their neighborhood or finding a trail to hike on a regular basis.
A treadmill that you can keep set up in your home is a great alternative. Try to find a space for it out in the open, so that you’ll see it and be encouraged to use it.
Start by walking at a comfortable pace that you can maintain for at least 30 minutes.
As you build up your stamina, you can increase your speed or add more time to your work out.
Squats are one of the best exercises for seniors to do at home because they promote important lower body strength. Mastering the correct form can also be a process of trial-and-error, which is why seniors might feel more comfortable performing this exercise away from others.
In order to reap the benefits of this exercise, look online for tutorials on the proper form. Fitness blogs, exercise apps, and YouTube videos can help by providing a visual guide.
Weight-training exercises are some of the best exercises for seniors because they combat the loss of muscle mass. And you don’t have to use a lot of weight in order for the exercise to be effective!
Stand comfortably with your feet flat on the floor, and a lightweight in each hand. Raise your arms out to the side at shoulder height, or lift arms straight out in front of you. You’ll start to build your upper-arm strength, and may eventually graduate to heavier weight.
Traditional floor push-ups can be difficult for some seniors, but that doesn’t mean that you should avoid push-ups completely. Instead, try modifying to get the same benefits without the stress.
Stand arms-distance from a blank wall and place your palm flat on its surface. Bend your arms to slowly bring your upper body closer to the wall. After holding for a moment, push yourself away until your arms are straight again.
Because yoga can be a gentler and less strenuous form of physical activity, a yoga practice can be especially beneficial for seniors. While it used to be that you had to go to a studio or group class to practice with an instructor, streaming services now make it possible to do yoga at home.
With a computer set-up, you can be following along to high-quality yoga classes from your own home, making your practice as comfortable for you as possible. You can follow along at your own pace, take breaks, and find what works best for you.
Getting back into exercise can not only give you more confidence as an older adult, it can also significantly improve your health and quality of life. Working out in a space where you’re comfortable will give you the motivation to stick with it.
For more on this subject, read our blog “Cooking Together: 5 Tips on Cooking with Seniors.”
Seniors Helping Seniors is a unique care program that matches seniors to other seniors in need of assistance, to continue activities they enjoy and remain independent and safe in familiar surroundings.