Best Exercises for Seniors

Best Exercises for SeniorsPhoto Credit: Peter Pereira

Exercise can be a great way for a senior to stay healthy as he or she ages. If you are a senior’s loved one, it’s important to continue encouraging the senior to stay active. Not only does exercise keep the body strong and resistant to disease, but it also helps in overall mood and energy level.

Answers to Excuses

Seniors will at times give reasons for why they can’t exercise. While there may be times it is better for a senior to slow down and take it easy, it’s often more important for a senior to keep moving.

“I might fall or get injured.”

While a senior does need to be careful during exercise, the reality is that falls and injuries often come as a result of weak muscles and lack of balance. Exercise increases muscle development and improves balance.

“I’m disabled and have to sit all day.”

While exercising will be a limited for a senior who is partially disabled, there are still many options for chair-based exercises. There are many ways to do stretching, weight lifting, and light aerobics even from a seated position.

“I’m just going to get old anyway.”

Exercise can be a perfect way to combat the feeling and effects of aging. Yes, aging is inevitable, but exercise can do a lot to keep the mind active, give the senior more energy, and help the senior keep a feeling of independence.

Our Short List of the Best Exercises for Seniors

There are a lot of options when it comes to exercises for seniors. As long as a senior remains fairly active, he or she will benefit from everyday activities like walking in the grocery store or picking up grandchildren. That being said, there are a few categories of exercise a senior can benefit from.

  1. Stretching Exercises: This is a great way for seniors to ease into exercising. At any age, stretching is a healthy thing to do. Simple stretches like the neck roll and hands to toes can be combined with more advanced moves like the lunge or standing calf stretch.

  2. Basic Weight Lifting Exercises: Whether in the gym or at home with dumbbells, seniors can help keep their arms toned and strong by doing a few curls and tricep extensions each day. Even those who are confined to a chair can do these exercises or put on weighted anklets and do leg lifts to support blood flow to the lower body.

  3. Cardio Exercises: Walking or light jogging does the trick here. A senior can have fun doing this with friends and family or alone at the mall or local park.

  4. Balance Exercises: This kind of exercising isn’t complicated but can help a senior maintain balance during everyday life. To perform these exercises, the senior can simply stand on one leg at a time and then rotate to the other leg while holding onto a counter or chair for support. For a more advanced exercise, the senior can hold a light dumbbell in the opposite hand while standing on one leg.

  5. Water Exercises: For many seniors, water provides an easier place to move around and keep balance while still getting in a great cardio workout that helps build muscle. Many water classes are specifically offered to seniors at local rec centers.