Staying active is essential for people of all age groups however, the intensity of a workout depends on the ability of the person to perform it. For elderly people, it is suggested to spend around 150-200 minutes a week to exercise. Although seniors who are more active and fit can spend more time exercising according to their strength.
Older adults who exercise are said to have a good immune as well as digestive function for a longer time. They are less likely to get diabetes, osteoporosis, and many heart diseases. Many other benefits like improved flexibility and balance can also be achieved through regular exercise. Below given are 8 exercises that seniors can perform at home safely and easily.
- Tadasana (Seated Mountain)
Chair yoga is a great way to start with yoga for elderly people who have flexibility issues or knee problems. Many poses such as tadasana can be performed using a chair as well. To perform tadasana :
- Sit straight on a chair with a little space between your legs, take a deep breath, and start extending your spine. While exhaling return back to your previous position.
- Ensure that your legs are at 90 degrees angle and knees should be in a line with your ankles.
- Take a deep breath and push your shoulder back while exhaling. Pull your belly button towards your spine and keep your arms down and relaxed.
- Use your legs by lifting toes and firmly press your feet.
- Wall push-ups
Wall push-ups are a great way to gain strength as well as to have a stronger upper body. This exercise does not put any strain on your spine hence it is a great choice for elderly people.
- Stand in front of a wall with a distance slightly more than arm’s distance. While facing the wall lean towards the wall and place your palms against the wall. Keep your hands at shoulder width length with fingers pointing upwards.
- Slowly lower your body and bend your elbows towards the wall in a controlled motion while keeping your feet flat on the floor.
- Push yourself back until your arms and elbows are straight. Initially repeat this exercise for one minute.
- Step up & step down
This exercise is performed on the bottom step of the stair. Wear sports shoes or any other supportive shoes and step up and down.
- This exercise only uses the bottom stair to minimize strain on the knees.
- Step up and down on the bottom stair at least 20 times.
- Take rest for around 30 seconds-1minute and repeat the exercise.
- This exercise helps to improve mobility as well as strengthen the core muscles.
- Weight Shifting
Weight-shifting exercise can improve coordination as well as helps with strengthening muscles.
- Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart and ensure that your weight is evenly distributed. Relax your hands at the sides.
- A chair can also be used as a support in case you need to grab something to maintain balance.
- Start by shifting your weight to the right side and lift your left foot off the floor. Initially hold the position for 10 seconds and then gradually increase the time to 30 seconds.
- Now return to the initial position and repeat the exercise with the other leg. Repeat the exercise 3-5 times
- Knee Lifts
Knee raises or knee lifts can help you strengthen thigh muscles as well as core muscles. The exercise if performed correctly can give you better balance, posture, and coordination as well. Knee lifts can be performed by standing straight on the ground or by sitting in a chair. For seniors who have trouble maintaining balance on one foot it is recommended to start with the sitting knee lifts and gradually work up to standing knee raises.
- Sit straight on a chair and relax your arms at the sides. Try not to use the armrest to relax our arms. Tighten your right quadriceps muscles and lift your leg off the ground.
- While keeping your leg off the ground ensure that there is a gap of 2-3 inches between the seat and your leg.
- Hold the position for 3-5 seconds and slowly lower your leg. Repeat the exercise 10-12 times and then repeat the same with the other leg.
- Chair Squat
Squats are not only a great exercise for young people but also for seniors. It helps in strengthening the entire lower body as well as core muscles. It is also beneficial for people who are willing to perform proper squats as chair squats help you maintain balance.
- Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart in front of your chair. Keep your chest raised and lower your body while pushing your hips backs.
- Bend your knees and slowly lower your body while maintaining balance. Lower your bodies until your bums touch the chair or sit properly on the chair.
- Ensure that your upper body is only slightly bent while squatting. Hold the position and then return to the position while putting some pressure on the feet.
- Ensure that your weight is evenly distributed on your feet while performing the exercise and repeat the exercise 10-12 times.
- Side-lying leg circles
Side-lying leg circles are good for your hips, glutes, and thighs. It also strengthens the core muscles and also keeps the hip joint healthy. The exercise is ideal for the people who sit for a long time and whose muscles aren’t active.
- Lie on the floor or preferably a yoga mat with one side supporting your body in a straight line.
- Support your head with one hand and use the other hand to push the floor to maintain balance. Now lift the leg that is on top of the other leg and keep your knees straight.
- There should be a slight bend at the hips and the leg should be raised around 6-8 inches off the floor.
- Start to make circles with the leg engaging the hip as well and form at least 6 circles. Now change the direction and make circles in the opposite direction. Lower your leg slowly while keeping the knee straight and repeat the same with the other leg.
- Wall Angles
Wall angles can help you fix back pain and also help with stiff shoulders. For people who continuously sit for long hours, this exercise can help them relax their upper back muscles.
- Stand straight against a wall with your back flat and slightly bend your knees to 20 degrees.
- Make sure that your lower back is flat against the wall and not bending. Support your head with the back of the wall while keeping your face forward.
- Now raise your arms at 90 degrees angle to your side and keep the elbows bent and hands up in such a manner that elbows and hands are against the wall.
- Breathe in and extend your hands up until you feel some stretch. Breathe out and lower your arms at 90 degrees. Repeat the exercise 4-5 times or until you feel your shoulders feel less stiff.
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