Find out, which are the best exercises for elderly to do at home?
Staying healthy even in your senior years is important.
Your body loses its youthfulness and vitality as it starts to deteriorate with old age. As your strength diminishes, your body gets weaker.
However, you can slow down the deterioration process by keeping your body fit and healthy with proper diet and exercise.
Importance Of Exercise For The Elderly
There is no truth to the myth that exercise is not good for seniors because it is unsafe.
Here are a few of the benefits that older people can gain by continuing to practice their exercise habits even in their old age.
- Exercise can help you live longer. According to the World Health Organization, lack of mobility can cause death and disability. In fact, physical inactivity is one of the leading causes of death.
- Exercise can help prevent osteoporosis. Strength exercises can help reduce the development of bone fractures and osteoporosis. According to the National Osteoporosis Society, the ratio of American adults age 50 and older who will break their bones due to osteoporosis is 1:2 for females and 1:4 for males.
- Reduce the risk of heart attack and diabetes. Doing cardiovascular or endurance exercise increases the blood flow in your heart which leads to overall health improvement.
- Exercise empowers your body. Doing physical activities will give you the freedom of mobility and independence. You can do what you want and go wherever you want without being limited by any physical disability.
- Doing balance exercises can help prevent accidental fall.
Recommended types of exercises for the elderly
There are five recommended types of exercises for the elderly:
- Self-massage exercises
- Balance exercises and lower body exercises
- Strength exercises
- Stretching and flexibility exercises
- Endurance and cardiovascular exercises
Here are easy-to-do exercises for elderly to do at home. NB!! Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.
16 Exercises For Elderly To Do At Home
Read also: Top 6 Health Benefits Of Self-Massage
Video: A very effective upper back massage (lying down)
Video: No 1 Self Massage Exercise to Release Tension in the Lower Back
Video: A simple head massage
Video: A self-massage exercise to relieve muscle tension on the sides of the neck
Before you start an exercise, you can use stretching exercises as warm up exercises.
Some of the benefits of stretching exercises are:
- Improve your flexibility which allows you to move freely.
- Loosen some of your tight muscles, making it easy to do other exercise routines.
- Warm up exercises to prepare you for a heavier exercise routine.
Learn more: Health Benefits Of Stretching In The Morning
Here are some stretching exercises for elderly to do at home.
Upper back stretch
This exercise targets your shoulder and upper back. It loosens tight muscles and stiffness.
- Sit on a steady armless chair.
- Keep your feet flat on the ground a shoulder width apart
- Extend your arms in front of you keeping it at shoulder height and your palms facing outward
Keeping your shoulders relaxed and your body still then extend your arm and reach forward and feel the pull and discomfort.
- Hold your position for ten to thirty seconds.
- Then slowly relax and sit back.
- Repeat the exercise three to five times.
Thigh stretch exercise targets the hips and the thighs. It loosens muscle aches caused by strain.
- Position yourself behind a chair and keep your feet apart in line with your shoulder width.
- Keep your legs straight but do not lock your knees.
- Place your hand on the back of the chair to keep your balance.
- Bend one leg back and add resistance by grabbing your foot with your hand.
Gently add resistance by pulling your leg close to the back of your thigh until your thigh starts to stretch.
- Hold your position for ten to thirty seconds before lowering your leg.
- Repeat the process with your other leg.
- Do this three to five times.
Lower back stretch
Lower back stretch helps to stretch the muscles at your lower back. It also helps loosen the muscles of your hips.
- Place a mat on the floor and lie down on your back.
- Position your legs upright with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
- Slowly lower your legs to one side while keeping your knees locked together and your feet firm on the ground.
- Hold this position for ten to thirty seconds and wait for the feel of stretch on the side of your lower back.
- Bring your legs back up and repeat this time on the other side.
- Repeat three to five times on each side alternately.
Some of the benefits of doing balance exercises are:
- Keep your balance.
- Give strength to your legs.
- Keep you from falling.
- Help you walk safely without tripping.
Here are a few balance exercises for elderly to do at home.
The single leg stand
Take a chair or stand near anything you can hold onto.
- Balance yourself by lifting up one leg off the floor and standing only on the other leg.
- With one hand on the chair, stand for a minute.
- Then do the same with your other leg.
- Repeat this several times and every time, try to let go of the chair bit by bit until you can completely stand without holding on to anything.
Heel to toe walk exercise
- Place the heel of one foot in front of the toes of the other foot with your heel and toes touching.
- Focus on a spot and walk towards that spot.
- Move one step at a time by putting your heel in front of your toes with your feet moving alternately.
- Do not look down just keep staring ahead.
- Repeat 20 times.
Strength exercises can strengthen your muscles and tone your body.
Some of the general benefits of strength exercises are:
- Increase metabolism
- Reduce diabetes risk
- Maintain your weight
- Strengthen muscles
You can do various upper and lower body strength exercises at home.
Upright front row
This exercise will strengthen your arms and back as well as increase mobility on your shoulder.
- Stand straight, your feet shoulder-width apart. Push your buttocks out with your knees slightly bent.
- Place dumbells in each of your hand and position it in front of your hips with your palms facing inward towards your body.
- Lift your hands with weights slowly up until it reaches your chin.
- Engage your core and avoid pulling your shoulders up, just stand straight.
- Repeat ten times.
Doing squats improves flexibility and strength in the hips and quadriceps. It improves your balance and lets you stand up from a seated position. It can also improve your balance and stability.
- To start off, practice doing a half squat. Place yourself behind a chair and use the back as support.
- Slowly bend your knees and push your buttocks out and hold the position for a few seconds before getting up again.
- Repeat the squats ten times or until you are comfortable with it.
- Once you got used to the half squats, perform a full squat against the wall.
- Stand against a wall with your legs spread wider than your shoulder width.
- Bend your knees with your buttocks sliding against the wall. Do not bend your knees past your toes but keep your knee caps align with the middle toe of your foot.
- Hold the position for a few seconds before getting up.
- Repeat the squat 10 to 20 times.
Quadrupled arm and leg balance
This exercise for elderly can improve your coordination and balance as well as boost strength in your abdominals and your back.
- Get on all fours.
- Keep your knees aligned with your hips and your hands under your shoulder.
- Squeeze in your abdominals while keeping your back flat.
- Slowly extend your left arm in front of you and lift your right leg straight behind you.
- Hold the position for a few seconds then slowly go back on all fours.
- Repeat the process alternately lifting your arm and leg.
- Do this ten times.
Endurance exercises are aerobic exercises that help increase your heart rate.
Some of its benefits include:
- Improve the circulatory system
- Improve the health of your heart
- Help reduce risk of diabetes, osteoporosis and heart attack
Walk around the house several times. You can move from the kitchen passing through your back door and then out to the porch before going back in.
Water your plants to make walking in the garden more enjoyable.
- You can dance at home with your grand children.
- You can take up dancing lessons with an instructor.
- You can watch a dance video lesson.
Use of gym equipment at home
If you have a stationary bike or a treadmill at home, take a 15-minute to 30-minute ride to get your heartbeat rate going.
Exercise is not just for the young. Do not be misled by the myth that age matters when it comes to strenuous activities.
There are a lot of easy and safe exercises for elderly to do at home without causing any muscle strain or discomfort.
Image: Seniors Card