When it comes to exercise for seniors, many believe they have reached a point where its too late to begin an exercise routine. Don’t worry though, it’s never too late to start. Staying active at an older age is vital to stay fit and healthy. This article is for my senior viewers who have asked for a nice and simple low impact routine they can perform to keep their health conditions at tip top shape.
As with any exercise for seniors program, no matter what age you are, start slow and gradually increase your intensity. Stretching and core strength are vital as we age. Keeping flexibility and posture at healthy levels will greatly reduce many health problems that occur through life.
Before beginning any exercise for seniors routine, it is advised to talk with your doctor. If you have chest pain, trouble breathing, joint problems, or any other debilitating condition it is a must to talk to your doctor before beginning any regimen.
Before I show you a set routine, here are some forms of low impact exercises that I approve seniors to do.
Yoga Like I mentioned before, stretching is vital for injury prevention in all stages of life. Yoga is an excellent tool for increasing flexibility. Core strength quickly develops when doing a yoga routine. Yoga is also great for improving your mood, easing symptoms of arthritis, and decreases stress along with many more benefits. The combination of motion and breathing exercises helps give a demanding physical and mental workout.
Walking Many people don’t realize the power of simply walking. The pace is slow and not extremely demanding so it is an excellent low impact exercise. Many seniors practice “mall walking”. Indoor shopping malls are a great place to walk because of many things. There will never be a problem with weather, security personnel ensure safety, and there isn’t a worry of automobile traffic.
Water Aerobics This is the most popular form of low impact exercise for seniors in this day and age. The small resistance applied from water aerobics is perfect for increasing posture, balance, flexibility, and muscle development. The water reduces the risk of heat stroke and prevents accidental falls.
The following routine can be performed 3 times a week. It will include stretching, balance, and a strength exercise for seniors.
Side Bend This can be performed either seated or standing. Keep good posture during this exercise with a straight back and eyes focused forward. Raise both arms above your head and lock your fingers together. Slowly lean to the right keeping the neck and spine in line while leaving your hands above your head. Only bend as far as you comfortably can. Focus on keeping your abdominals tight throughout the movement. Slowly come back to the center position and repeat the motion towards the left. Complete 8 stretches to each side
Toe Touch This stretch can also be performed seated or standing. Keep your feet hip width apart and slowly bend at the waist towards your toes. Once you feel tension in the back of your legs, hold this position for 15 seconds. Perform this stretch 5 times. Try and reach farther each time, but don’t over do it.
Lying Hip Twists Lie down with your back on the floor. Raise your right leg into the air and bend your knee to form a 90 degree angle. Slowly move your right leg over to the left side of the body trying to touch the floor with your knee. Bring the right leg back to the floor and perform the same movement with the left leg. Hold each stretch for 15 seconds and perform 5 repetitions on each leg.
Single Leg Stance This exercise will help build balance and stability. Its a great exercise for seniors. Stand near a chair to grasp until your balance improves. Keep your feet hip width apart. Bend your knee upwards toward your chest only raising your foot about 6 inches from the ground. Hold this position for 15 seconds. Repeat this movement with the opposite leg. Perform 10 repetitions on each leg. As you progress you can increase the difficulty of this balance exercise by bending your knee closer toward your chest, holding each rep for a longer time period, or even closing your eyes.
Wall Pushups This is another good exercise for seniors. Lean against a stable wall with both hands place flat against it about shoulder width apart. Slowly push your body away from the wall in a controlled movement then followed by lowering the body towards the wall. Perform 3 sets of 20 repetitions of this exercise. As your strength increases, increasing the angle you lean against the wall will make the exercise more difficult. As your strength increases, start doing knee push ups from the floor.
Chair sits Find a sturdy chair to perform this exercise. Start in a seated position in the chair and slowly raise yourself up only using your legs. Keep the movement balanced on both sides. Try not to favor one side over the other and don’t use your hands to help. Keep a controlled movement as you lower yourself to the starting position. Perform 3 sets 15 repetitions.
Leg Kickbacks Get down on your hands and knees with your arms and legs supporting your weight on the floor. Slowly straighten one leg behind you, like you are kicking backwards. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds while keeping your abs tight and back parallel to the floor. Repeat the motion with the opposite leg and perform 3 sets of 10 repititions.
Hip Raises Lie with your back flat to the floor. Bend both legs keeping your feet on the floor. Slowly raise your hips as high from the ground as comfortable. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Bicep Curl Using either dumbbells or an smaller object from your house, hold the weight in each hand with your arms down to your side. Raise the weight bending the arms at the elbows lifting towards your shoulders. Keep proper posture and focus on isolating the bicep muscle. Lower the weight to the original position and repeat. Perform 3 sets 10 repetitions
I recommend doing 30 minutes of cardiovascular work twice a week. It would be best to perform the cardio on your off days. Keep the cardio exercise light and simple. Consider the options I mentioned above. And remember its never to late to learn exercise for seniors.
If you’re having trouble with injuries from too much training or need help reducing you rehab injury time, then check out my blog, Go Healthy Fitness.