Can seniors (generally referred to as individuals aged over 60 years or above) do regular exercises?
People are often asking this question all the time.
Whether their senior parents or they themselves as seniors, I believed they CAN like the younger ones.
They need some sort of motivation and encouragement to get them started, with NO need for any equipment.
So, what are the best no-equipment exercises for seniors? How can they perform it at home?
Let’s find out more.
Why Seniors Are Avoiding Exercises?
Even though they are already into their golden years, they may be missing some kind of activities to keep them active and independent throughout.
It can be a little difficult and challenging to get them on board.
Why? I think mainly because of the cultural mindset.
They think that this is their time to have more peaceful moments with their loved ones like holidays, or just having that quiet time at home.
Besides, some may not be trained or have no experience in the past, this can be also difficult to persuade them.
It could also be due to loss of strength or vitality which is part of the aging process.
Without moving too much of a single muscle all day all week, may put their aging body at potential health risk.
We need to encourage and get them to understand more about how all these simple exercises can impact their lives such as lessening the symptoms or the severity of some illnesses (e.g. heart disease, arthritis, depression, osteoporosis, or back pain).
Explaining these concerns to them, hopefully, can open up their minds, feeling less intimidated, and get them started.
Which Exercises For Seniors To Begin?
We can suggest exercises that target strength or body weight.
They can start slowly, with two to three 15-minute exercises per week, and may increase the frequency, depending on their mobility and flexibility.
It is best to start with lower body strength exercises for more independent movement and to prevent possible falls. This is all about strengthening the legs which will improve the coordination and posture of the lower body.
THE LOWER BODY STRENGTH EXERCISES
1. Sit To Stand
The starting position is to distribute both feet equally.
Stand tall in front of the chair with the back of the knees touching the seat. Slowly lean forward and bend the hips toward the chair. Do not sit down. Pause, and slowly raise your hip back into the standing position.
This counts as one repetition. Repeat for 10 reps. If you cannot stop right before your buttock hits the chair, you can just sit down and go up from there.
2. Side Leg Raises
Grab a chair and hold onto it for balance. Stand behind the chair with the leg slightly apart. Keeping your back straight, slowly lift the right leg to the side and then lower it back to the standing position.
This is counted as one repetition. Repeat the same for the left leg. Do for 2 – 3 sets of 10 reps and rest for a minute in between sets.
3. Back Leg Raises
Again, stand behind a chair. This time lift your right leg straight back. Do it slowly and don’t bend your knees or point the toes. Then, gently move the leg back to its original position.
It is counted as one repetition. Repeat the same for the left leg. Do for 2 – 3 sets of 10 reps and rest for a minute in between sets.
Start in a standing straight position. Lift the right knee as high as can, then lower it back to the original pose. Repeat the same for the left leg. This is one repetition.
Do this lift and lower leg in place for ten repetitions. You may hold onto a chair for balance purposes.
THE UPPER BODY STRENGTH EXERCISES
For seniors exercise targets upper body strength which is good for arms, shoulders, and upper back. It does help to improve their ability to lift, reach something overhead, or overall daily activities at ease.
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5. Wall Pushups
Facing the wall and standing 2 feet away from it. Straight out your hands from the shoulders against the wall. With your body in a straight line, bend your elbow diagonally slowly as you move the chest nearer to the wall.
At this point, you may lift off your heels from the floor. Then, press through your hand slowly to straighten the elbow and return to the start position. This is counted as one repetition.
Repeat 2 – 3 sets of 10 reps and rest for a minute in between sets.
6. Shoulder Rolls
Very easy exercise. Sitting up tall and straight on the chair or just standing is ok too. Rotate the shoulders gently up to the ear and roll them back and down. Next, this time does this forwards and down. This is one rep.
You can do this repetition for five minutes duration.
7. Biceps Curls
Sitting tall and straight, place the right hand straight next to you. Slowly, from the elbow, fully bend the arm all the way up to the maximum, pause, and lower it back down. Repeat the same for the left hand.
You can do this for both hands at the same time. Work on each hand for ten reps. For more effective movement, get a small weight (a pound or less) if strength improves.
8. Overhead Press
Sitting with the feet slightly wide apart, the hands forward, settle in at chest level. Slowly raise the arms together straight up to the top. Then, lower them back to the starting position.
Repeat this repetition ten times.
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Which Exercises Seniors Should Avoid?
Better to be safe first than sorry.
I know its sounds a bit harsh but seniors are not younger anymore. That means their bodies are more fragile than the younger ones.
Any injury due to the wrong exercises could mean a longer time to heal or some complications to them.
This is why we need to know what type of exercise could be hazardous for seniors.
1. Crunches are quite risky because their back is becoming increasingly fragile. If done incorrectly may injure the joints and muscles in the back. Instead, try to work on the leg raises exercise.
2. Squats are a good exercise but if done incorrectly, for example, the knees are too far over the toes when squatting, which could give pressure on the knees joints. This is bad for those with balance issues as they might lose balance and fall easily.
3. Climbing Stairs are also not a good option. Imagine marching back and forth on the stairs could pose the risk of falling and being injured because they are unable to maintain a proper balance.
There are other potential exercises with equipment that could pose injury risks like deadlifts (carrying weights) or leg presses (pushing against the weight on a flat bench). This should be avoided too.
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My Overall Thoughts On Best No-Equipment Exercises For Seniors
Aging is definitely not part of poor health or weakness.
We can always change how we age.
As I mentioned earlier, remaining active and independent, is by getting the seniors to engage more in a healthier lifestyle through frequent exercise.
Research also shows that exercises will help with bone density, stronger joints, and better coordination for day-to-day activities.
Exercises for seniors are vital in preventing any possible tiredness or inactivity for a long time.
Just remember, do a warm-up, at least 5 – 10 minutes prior to starting these exercises, by simply stretching the body to prepare the muscles and joints for flexibility.
As always, talk to the healthcare experts before deciding to do these exercises for seniors as they could be on medications or have past medical histories.
Do leave me a comment below and I am happy to reply back within 24 hours.
To your awesome home workout.
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