One of the best things you can do for your health and well-being is to exercise. Exercise becomes increasingly crucial as you age, regardless of the number of candles on your cake.
Including exercise in your regimen can have a significant impact on your strength, mobility, and balance. Additionally, it can mean the difference between continuing to be independent and depending on others for daily tasks. In actuality, your exercise regimen might need to change slightly from what it did when you were younger. Experts have recommended these safe and healthy exercises for senior citizens.
Is it Safe for Elderly People to Exercise?
The older population has a widespread notion that exercise is dangerous and ought to be avoided. This is incorrect and hinders the pursuit and maintenance of optimal health among older persons. The secret to healthy aging is fitness.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, aging unfortunately raises the risk of numerous diseases. Engaging in regular physical activity lowers the chance of developing similar diseases as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and dementia.
When done properly, physical activity is safe for older persons and essential for maintaining good health. The CDC, physical therapists, and personal trainers worldwide all firmly believe that older adults need to exercise.
Professor of orthopedics and kinesiology Kevin Robinson, DSc, is a physical therapist. He provided the following general recommendations for safe exercise for senior citizens:
- Put your attention on low-impact exercises like ellipticals, stationary cycles, and water aerobics.
- Frequently offered in nearby health clubs, enroll in SilverSneakers classes. These are intended especially for senior citizens and are typically covered by insurance. Making friends is another advantage of these programs, which will encourage regular attendance.
- Recognize your limitations and concentrate on specific muscular groups, such as your quadriceps (thighs), biceps, abs, and gluteals.
- Include balancing and stretching activities in your routine workout regimen.
The Top Workouts for Senior Citizens
The activities that are best for you will vary depending on things like your level of fitness right now and any medical issues that call for a modified or restricted approach. It’s never too late to start a fitness regimen that works.
For persons 65 and older, the CDC suggests the following weekly physical activity:
- 150 minutes required per week of strenuous exercise, like jogging, or 150 minutes minimum of moderate aerobic activity, like brisk walking.
- Lifting weights is a minimum of two days a week dedicated to strengthening workouts.
- Activities that improve balance include one-foot balancing.
These are some illustrations of possible workout regimens for senior citizens.
Moderate aerobic activity, or cardio, is defined by the CDC as being between a sitting still score of one and a working hard score of six or seven. For some people, certain activities that are light cardio may be considered moderate cardio.
One common moderate cardio exercise that is particularly well-liked by senior citizens is walking. Robinson remarked, “Walking can be a great activity.” However, a lot of arthritis sufferers find it intolerable to walk long distances. This is due to the fact that a person’s knee typically experiences ground response forces that are 1.2 to 1.5 times their body weight. Thus, an action that looks to have little influence may actually have too much.”
Robinson suggests exercising in the water for people who have arthritis in their feet or legs. “This reduces the forces through the knee by 50% to 75% as compared to walking on land,” he stated.
Hiking, errand running, doing specific tasks (such raking leaves), some forms of yoga, riding a bike, and utilizing an elliptical are further examples of moderate cardio exercises.
Light Strength Exercises
Functional movements, according to personal trainer and group fitness teacher Erin Stimac, are the cornerstone for preserving independence, lowering your risk of injury, and improving your general quality of life. Erin suggests including strength training that targets key functional movements:
- Squatting exercises, which may be done both sitting and standing, are essential for day-to-day living and help with stability and mobility.
- Hinging (bending down): Exercises that involve hinging strengthen the lower back and increase flexibility, making them ideal for jobs like picking up goods.
- Pushing (body weight or items): Pushing strengthens the upper body and facilitates movements like lifting objects or rising up off the ground.
- Pulling (inward): This keeps the back muscles strong and is essential for good posture and balance.
- Carrying: Moving things from one place to another is a common task in life. It has been demonstrated that decreased grip strength is more predictive of early death than blood pressure when it comes to mortality.
The CDC specifically recommends bodyweight exercises like push-ups and pull-ups, weightlifting, working in a garden, using tension bands, and various yoga poses as mild strength workouts that can integrate useful movements.
Activities to Improve Your Equilibrium
It is typical for older persons to experience balance problems. Fall risk is decreased by having good balance.
“To improve balance, you need to perform balance activities for short periods of time throughout the day, as opposed to 10 to 15 minutes once a day,” Robinson stated. The following balance exercises, which are often safe to perform at home, are recommended by him:
- In front of a counter, stand upright on both feet. See how long you can stay balanced without holding onto the counter by letting go of it. Throughout the day, repeat this exercise three to five times until you can perform three 45-second bursts. Proceed to the following exercise once you’ve accomplished this.
- Close your eyes and repeat the above balancing practice.
Additionally popular and shown to help with balance is yoga, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Exercises Older Adults Should Avoid
Are there any particular workouts that elderly persons should completely avoid? Stimac says that the answer is usually no.
“Contrary to common beliefs, there’s no need for older adults to shy away from any specific movements,” Stimac said. “The fear of injury should not deter them from engaging in strength training. Instead of focusing on limitations, we should explore what movements are suitable for each individual.”
You should always follow your doctor’s advice if you have a sickness, condition, or accident that limits your movement, but you can still find strategies to get physically healthy. It just has to be adjusted and directed.
According to Stimac, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy and each senior citizen should receive a customized program that builds strength and ability while taking their specific needs into account. “By embracing personalized plans and debunking myths, we empower older adults to lead active and fulfilling lives,” she stated.