It is essential to keep active and exercise often if we want to maintain a healthy lifestyle. And contrary to popular belief, this is especially important for seniors as staying active provides many benefits. As we get older, doing everyday activities can become more difficult as our metabolism starts to slow down, which can lead to an increase in weight.
Exercising regularly can help with all these issues and more. While getting back to exercising and working out can look like a daunting task, you can start with a simple routine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is recommended for people to do around 150 minutes of physical activity every week.
These simple exercises can help improve many aspects of your life by staying active, independent, healthy, and safe. Additionally, by staying active you can greatly reduce your risk of falls, which is the leading cause of injuries and deaths among older adults.
There are plenty of benefits to gain from keeping an active lifestyle. Seniors who exercise can favor from all of the following:
- Improved strength & mobility
- Lower chances of developing chronic diseases
- Maintain muscle mass
- Increased bone density
- Reduced pain
- Improved balance, posture, and flexibility
- Decreased risk of depression
Balancing is a great way to reduce your risk of falling, which is of great concern to seniors. There are two simple balancing exercises that can help.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart
- Slowly raise your right foot and hold it for as long as possible (up to 30 seconds)
- Bring your foot back down to the floor
- Repeat the process with your left foot
If you’re more comfortable, stand behind an unmovable object like a chair or a counter to grab onto while you balance on one foot. You can ease your way into this exercise and eventually do it without having to hold onto an object.
Another good balancing exercise is:
- Stand with your arms spread out by your side
- Place your right foot in front of your left foot
- Your right heel should be touching your left foot’s toes (Sort of like balancing on a tightrope)
- Tighten your core and hold this position for 30 seconds
- Repeat stance with your left foot
For this variation of the traditional push-up:
- Stand in front of a wall at a distance just a bit further than arm’s length, with your feet hip-width apart
- Stretch out your arms in front of you and place your palms flat on the wall at shoulder height and maintaining shoulder length as well
- Slowly bend your elbows and bring your chest close to the wall
- Keep your feet flat on the floor, maintaining your body, and eyesight straight
- Get as close to the wall as possible
- Slowly push yourself back up to a standing position
- Repeat this process up to 10 times
Walking is a great easy way to stay active. You can start off by taking a brisk 15-minute walk each day and slowly work your way up to 30 minutes.
If for any reason you are unable to go outside for a walk, walking in place in your living room is a great alternative to walking outdoors.
Stand up straight and slowly push yourself up until you are standing on your toes.
For better balance, stand behind a chair or counter to hold on to and use it to push yourself up on your toes, providing you support.
Hold the position until it is comfortable and repeat up to 15 times.
If you’d prefer to sit, you can sit in a chair while keeping a straight posture.
Keep your toes and balls of your feet flat on the floor and lift your heels.
Stretching – Shoulders/Back/Neck
While sitting in a chair, maintain a straight posture:
- Place your arms on your lap
- Squeeze your shoulder blades towards the middle of your back
- Keep your shoulders down and do not hunch
- Hold for 5 seconds and repeat up to 15 times
Sit in a chair with your back straight and hands by your side:
- Slowly turn your head to the right until you feel a slight stretch on your neck
- Hold that position for 5 seconds and turn your head to the left
- Repeat this process up to 15 times
- Stand in front of an armless chair with your feet hip-width apart
- Put your arms straight in front of you for better balance
- Slowly bend your knees, while keeping your back straight and sit down
- Push yourself back up into a standing position
- Repeat up to 15 times
Recover with South Coast Post Acute
While these simple exercises can be of great benefit to you, sometimes you need the help of a professional to get back to feeling your best and living the life you deserve. At South Coast Post Acute, our expert staff provides exceptional care to each and every one of our patients, providing an outstanding rehabilitation experience. Contact us today and learn why we’re the rehabilitation center of choice in Southern California.