Exercise is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle for any age, but it is especially important for aging adults. Regularly participating in physical activity helps seniors maintain muscle mass, increase bone density, maintain balance and flexibility, control chronic disease symptoms, decrease pain, improve moods, and prevent falls. Exercising helps you feel better, enjoy a higher quality of life, and continue doing the things you love and need to do. However, many senior adults do not exercise because they are afraid of injuring themselves. That is why we have composed a list of some of the easiest and safest exercises for older adults to do so they can improve their strength, balance, and flexibility.
Yoga is a great exercise for seniors because it is low-impact and helps build strength, core stability, mobility, and flexibility. It provides aerobic fitness, which is important for aging adults, while also being gentle on the joints. Yoga is a weight-bearing exercise because your body must support its weight with each pose, which helps to strengthen your muscles and your bones. There are yoga classes available for all ages and skill levels, so you should have no problem finding one that suits your abilities. Senior yoga often provides chairs so that older adults can do the poses either sitting or standing. Some other helpful yoga options are restorative, hatha, and lyengar classes. You can speak with the instructor about any physical limitations you may have so that they can provide tips and poses that will be most helpful for you.
Swimming is known as the perfect exercise, and for good reason. It provides cardiovascular fitness and strengthens muscles without putting strain on your bones and joints, which is great news for those with osteoporosis or arthritis. Whether you are swimming laps, participating in a water aerobics class, or splashing around with your grandkids, being active in a swimming pool is one of the best exercises for seniors. A study performed by the Journal of Aging Research in 2012 states that swimming is also beneficial for keeping the mind sharp. If you are not a swimmer, you can still reap the health benefits of swimming by taking water aerobics classes in the shallow end of the pool.
Similar to yoga, Pilates is also a form of low-impact strength exercise. Pilates focuses on core stability, which is especially beneficial for aging adults because it helps improve balance, thus reducing the risk of falls. You can find Pilates classes at most gyms, or you can do at-home workouts on your own if you feel confident. When you take a Pilates class at the gym, you may also have the benefit of using a reformer, which is an exercise machine that utilizes bars, springs, and straps to increase resistance. Whether at a gym or at home, a Pilates workout can help aging adults increase their core strength, stability, and mobility to improve quality of life.
- Bodyweight Training
Roughly 1/3 of aging adults experience severe muscle loss. Additionally, according to a Harvard study, strength training is more time-efficient for fighting age-related belly fat than cardiovascular exercise. To avoid muscle loss and fight age-related abdominal fat, seniors should partake in bodyweight training. This type of exercise is a safer form of strength training. Forget about lifting a bunch of extra weight on a bench press; you can achieve the results you need with smaller amounts of weight such as beginning with only your bodyweight. Some of the easier bodyweight training exercises for seniors are chair squats, single-leg stands, wall pushups, tippy toe lifts, and stair climbing. These exercises will help aging adults avoid muscle loss and increase strength so they can continue doing the things they love to do for many years to come.
- Resistance Band Exercises
Resistance bands are beginner-friendly exercise tools that can be found in most gyms, or you can get your own to use at home. Resistance band exercises challenge your muscles in different ways that you would not experience with equipment-free exercises. To strengthen your back and improve posture, pulling motions such as rows and other exercises are key, and these motions are much more beneficial when done with resistance bands. You can find out more about which type and strength of resistance band will be best for you by asking an instructor at a gym or by doing research online.
Doctors typically recommend that most people take around 10,000 steps each day. Doing this is a great step toward leaving behind a sedentary lifestyle. Going for a walk is a free exercise that takes up less time out of your day than going to a gym, and people who increase their activity levels by walking 10,000 steps a day show an increase in life expectancy, according to PLOS One. Even though 10,000 steps may not be possible for all aging adults, especially those with chronic conditions, walking just a little extra each day can help seniors make strides toward improving and maintaining their physical health.
Senior Care at a Nursing Home in Dandridge, TN
An active lifestyle is one of the most important things for good senior health. Exercise and other physical activities prevent muscle loss, improve stability, and allow aging adults to keep their mobility for much longer. Muscle strength and good balance also reduce the risk of falls and other harmful accidents. Here at Jefferson Park at Dandridge, our top priority in senior care is maintaining the health and wellbeing of aging adults. That is why, in addition to long-term care, our nursing home also offers physical and occupational therapy for seniors. This helps promote independence and improve quality of life for our residents. We want all of our residents to live happy, healthy, long lives, and we do everything we can to help make that happen. To find out more about our long-term care or physical therapy services, reach out to Jefferson Park at Dandridge for more information. Call our skilled nursing facility at 865-397-3163 or contact us online today.