From contributing to general fitness, muscle control, and coordination to maintaining adequate blood flow to the brain and generally improving wellbeing and quality of life, physical exercise has an immense number of benefits.
An active lifestyle is especially essential for older adults because it lowers their risk of conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, joint issues, and even some forms of cancer. We’ve collated a few exercises for seniors to do at home from easy to a little bit more advanced, including super simple ones that even people with a medical condition can try. Before encouraging your elderly loved ones to do a specific exercise, try consulting with their doctor to see what they are allowed to do safely.
Doing something as simple as lifting our arms up and down – even while seated – has many benefits from increasing upper body strength to boosting blood flow. If your elderly loved one is able and is allowed to, they can also hold light weights during this exercise.
Whenever the mood strikes, dancing is a great and fun form of exercise for seniors. There aren’t any right or wrong ways of doing this, but it’s best done together. Dancing can increase circulation, enhance lung function, and boost mood.
Hand And Finger Exercises
As people get older, they may find it harder to grip and carry things with their hands. Hand and finger exercises are a great way to help them keep strength and flexibility in their hands and even prevent arthritis. You can do things like making a gentle fist, wrapping your thumb across your fingers, holding for 30 to 60 seconds, then releasing and spreading your fingers wide. Other exercises to try are making your fingers climb an imaginary wall up and down in front of you, or placing your hand flat, palm down, on a table or other surface, gently lifting one finger at a time off of the table and then lowering it back down.
Leg raises not only improve leg strength, but also help with balance. If your loved one is unsteady, leg raises can be added to chair exercises. If they can do them while standing, it’s advised that they hold onto a chair for balance.
While it sounds like too much fun to count as a form of exercise, playing ping pong has multiple benefits for seniors, including enhanced coordination, flexibility, and arm strength. Ping-pong can also sharpen their mental skills and it’s an activity you can do together, or they can even do with friends and other family members like grandchildren or nieces and nephews.
Yoga is not only physically, but also mentally beneficial. There are several videos available online or on the TV that you can use, and this is certainly something you can do together, which your loved one will certainly appreciate. For those that can do a little more, yoga can boost flexibility and support joint health, but learning deep breathing techniques alone are hugely beneficial.
Shoulder workouts help seniors to be able to lift things more easily. They can slowly roll their shoulders forward and backward while maintaining the best range of motion possible. Note that if your loved one has shoulder problems, this exercise should be avoided not to cause further issues.
Stepping Over An Imaginary Box
To increase muscle strength and boost coordination and balance, imagine there’s a box on the floor in front of you and lift your feet up and down as if you were stepping over it. It’s best to hold onto a chair for balance when doing this exercise.
Doing some easy stretching exercises can help seniors relieve some types of chronic pain while also increasing flexibility. Be very careful around hips and knees and only do stretching exercises if the doctor allows.
Toe lifts are one of the best ways for seniors to strengthen their feet and improve balance and mobility. It’s best if they hold onto a chair to avoid falls, then lift on their toes and then lower back down and repeat a few times.
For more tips and ideas on older adult care, browse our blog.