Simple Exercises Seniors Can Do at Home
In the face of COVID-19, gyms and fitness centers are among some of the last businesses that are allowed to reopen. That means that the usual exercises classes older adults may have been attending have likely been cancelled, suspended, or moved online. But just because you can’t physically go to the gym or recreation center doesn’t mean you can’t stay physically active and get in your 30 minutes of daily exercise.
There are plenty of activities that seniors can do right from the comfort of their home with little or no equipment. October is National Physical Therapy month, and a great time to highlight some simple exercises.
First and foremost, pay attention to your body and your own abilities. Don’t overdo it – if an activity is too difficult, start with something easier and work your way up. Go at your own pace and do what you are able.
Strengthening your arms doesn’t have to involve getting down on the floor. Find a nice clear section of wall, stand up to two feet away, and place your hands flat against the wall directly out from your shoulders. Then, tighten your core to keep your body straight, bend your elbows, and slowly lean in and push out from the wall fully extending your arms when you return.
Another way to work your arms is to use some light weights (or objects from around your home such as water bottles or soup cans) and do some gentle arm raises, shoulder presses, or bicep curls.
If you can do a regular squat without any assistance, that’s great! Keep strengthening your legs and core while improving your balance. However, if you need a little support, don’t be afraid to grab a chair to help. Stand in front of the chair with your feet hip-width apart. Keep your back straight and core tight as you bend your knees and lower yourself down to sit on the chair. Then, use your legs to gently push yourself back up into a standing position.
Get your heart pumping and lungs working with a variety of aerobic exercises such as jumping jacks, knee lifts, jump roping, jogging in place, burpees, or dancing. Create a short circuit where you do each exercise for a certain length of time or number of repetitions. Change things up and try different exercises to keep things interesting.
Practice your balance while strengthening your legs and core by standing on one foot. It is a good idea to start out by holding on to a counter or stable piece of furniture when you first begin. Hold on and raise one of your feet off of the floor a few inches and keep it there for a few seconds before carefully putting it back down. Then switch feet. As you become more stable, you can increase the amount of time your leg is raised, then try it without holding on and build up your time.
Stretching can also be a wonderful source of exercise to keep your muscles limber and improve mobility. You can sit on the floor and gently bend and stretch, or do some exercises while standing. Try raising yourself onto your tip toes to stretch your calf muscles, or rotate your ankles in slow circles. Yoga can also be an effective way of stretching and enhancing balance and coordination.
There are plenty of online videos and classes geared toward seniors as well. Start out slowly and build your stamina, strength, and flexibility. You may also want to talk to a personal trainer who works with seniors to see what they recommend based on your needs and abilities. Always talk to your doctor before you start any exercise regimen.
If you have difficulty doing things around your home due to poor or limited mobility, working with an in-home caregiver in Cedar Valley IA can provide you with the support and assistance you need to age in place more safely and comfortably. Check out the wide array of services Always Best Care offers, and contact us today to schedule a free consultation.