As we age, mobility decreases and we struggle to find a means of not only exercising, but restoring this mobility. However, it’s been proven that slow, safe exercises can be beneficial for older age groups. It can help maintain or boost muscle, develop better balance and prevent the risk of falls, improve mental health and reduce symptoms of dementia, prevent strokes and so much more. But finding the right exercises can be tough.
Luckily, we’ve developed this guide to help. We’ve found the best exercises for elderly individuals to help restore mobility and increase overall well-being.
Tips for Elderly Exercise (And What To Avoid):
Before we jump into the exercises, it’s important to know a few things first. While exercise may be highly beneficial, there’s a couple of things to keep in mind:
- Start slow and use the first 5 minutes of your exercise routine to warm up and get the body ready
- Make your exercise more social and do so in groups – this can be as simple as walking with a group or friends or digitally connecting during your workout routine. It’ll help keep you accountable and make the entire process much easier (and more enjoyable)
- Though it may sound counterproductive; try to sit in a comfy chair while exercising. It can be really beneficial to those who struggle while standing or with balance – sitting helps you remain upright and is a great jumping-off point for your exercise
- If you’re over the age of 65, avoid squats with weights, bench presses, leg presses, long-distance running, abdominal crunches, deadlifts, upright rows, high-intensity interval training and power cleaning… Unless your doctor has specified otherwise
If you keep these points in mind, you’ll make exercising an easy, safe and enjoyable process!
Elderly Exercise #1: Stretching
Stretching is an easy way to keep falls, aches and pains at bay, as well as for developing better flexibility. There are a range of different stretches you can do, such as:
- Tricep Stretches: Start by lifting your left arm over your head and bend your elbow, placing your palm against your back. Use your right hand to clasp your bent left elbow. Hold it for 10-30 seconds before switching arms.
- Shoulder Stretches: Stand straight, bring both hands behind your back and clasp your fingers together. Hold it in that position and push your hands further away from your lower back. Lean backwards to take this stretch to the next level – then return to a standing pose.
- Back Stretches: While sitting on a chair, cross your right leg over your left, with your right ankle resting on your left knee. Relax the right side of your hip and gently press down on your right leg and knee. Hold for 20-30 seconds.
Elderly Exercise #2: Walking
Light walking is an easy cardio exercise that anyone can do and is often recommended for older individuals. This is the perfect exercise to do in groups, by yourself, or even with a member of the family. Flat ground and smooth paths are ideal for the elderly, but try to find trails with great views to get the best out of your exercise routine.
Elderly Exercise #3: Lightweight training
Lightweight training can help maintain our muscles and increase our strength and endurance. As we get older, we start to lose some muscle fibre, making this the perfect non-strenuous workout for seniors. If you already have light weights lying around the house, this option is ideal for you.
Elderly Exercise #4: Wii Console
Okay – a Wii Console may not sound like an exercise, but it’s actually the funnest and easiest way to integrate fitness into your life.
Video games like the Nintendo Wii involve big movements and are a fun way to engage spatial awareness and encourage physical activity in a comfortable manner. It’s especially beneficial for the elderly as it can be made into a social event – grandkids will love the chance to play a game of Wii Tennis with you. There have also been studies into the benefits of video games for seniors, finding they stimulate parts of the brain that handle reaction time and spatial awareness.
Elderly Exercise #5: Chair Yoga
Chair yoga is a low-impact form of exercise that improves muscle strength, balance, mobility and flexibility. It puts less stress on the muscles, joints and bones than more conventional forms of yoga, making this an accessible form of yoga in old age. Great chair yoga exercises include the overhead stretch, seated cow stretch, seated cat stretch and seated twist.
Elderly Exercise #6: Water Aerobics
Water aerobics are an incredibly popular form of exercise for all ages, but it’s a particularly great exercise for seniors. When you work out in the water, the buoyancy of the water means there’s less stress on your joints. More so, it brings natural resistance, which eliminates the need for weights without being strenuous. It can improve your strength, flexibility and balance.
There are many classes available across Australia but if you don’t want to exercise in a group? Aqua jogging is the way to go. It’s simply jogging or walking up and down a pool – simple but a lot more beneficial than it may sound.
Elderly Exercise #7: Balance Ball Training
Balance balls are perfect for developing and maintaining core strength and balance. They work your core, strengthening the associated muscles so that your spine is supported. It results in better posture and overall stability and it’s one of the best balance exercises for seniors. There are a wide variety of online tutorials and classes to help guide you through the process, all from the comfort of your own home.
Elderly Exercise #8: Dancing
Dancing is actually a really effective (and enjoyable) exercise for seniors. It involves coordination, rhythm and spirit, with the same results as walking, stretching and toning. There are so many different styles of dancing to choose from and better yet? If you have a significant other (or even a best friend who likes trying something quirky and new!) this is the perfect exercise for bonding time. There are even Zumba classes you can do! All you need is 10 minutes of dancing at regular intervals to get the best out of this exercise.
Elderly Exercise #9: Resistance Bands
If you didn’t already know, resistance bands are those stretchy strips of rubber that add resistance to workouts with reduced stress on your body. They’re user-friendly and accessible for all ages. It’s a great way to strengthen your core and improve posture, mobility and balance. You can easily do no-strain workouts with these resistance bands which is exactly why they’re growing more popular among seniors. They’re also cheap and perfect for at-home exercise.
Elderly Exercise #10: Power-Assisted Workout Machines
Get the benefits of physical therapy, a gym and a salon without the discomfort of a gym or the costs of a physio or chiropractor. Power-assisted machines, like the ones at Easy Exercising’s clinics, replicate pilates movements, stimulating your body’s metabolism so that fluid retention is removed.
They realign your body into the correct position and then gently exercise those muscles and joints that have been incorrectly stressed or require healing. You’ll experience a gentle, full body workout to stretch your muscles that may have degenerated. The machines carry the bulk of the exercise load so that your muscles and bones can exercise without worsening your injuries.
For optimum results? Try Easy Exercising on for size!
We offer the support of a qualified practitioner who will monitor, assist and offer suggestions while you exercise. Every time you need it, we offer one-on-one support to make sure you’re on the right track. You’ll receive an exercise and nutrition plan specifically tailored to relieve symptoms of cardiovascular health, posture, joint and injury pain.
Oh, and we have a pretty friendly community of familiar faces that’ll have a nice chat while you do it all…
“Easy Exercising has everything you need to get up and moving. They help you to exercise, without stress and strain on your body. They offer you a chance to talk, laugh and have fun with other people, like yourself. They have really been there for Ross, my husband, and me, we couldn’t have done it with out them. So if you are sitting at home, feeling that this is it, that it was only going to get worse, as you get older. Well this is how we were, before we heard about EASY EXERCISING.” – Sandra
It’s common, as we age, to lose our ability to move and exercise. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Safe exercises can be super beneficial for the health and well-being of the elderly and there are so many more options than it may seem.
If you need the support of a qualified practitioner and power-assisted machines that’ll do the work for you? Contact Easy Exercising today.