Yoga is a low-impact and gentle, yet holistic approach to fitness. While yoga poses seem like they are focused on flexibility at first look, every posture is weight-bearing. Yoga helps build bone and muscle strength, improves core stability, and enhances total body mobility – all of which are very important as you age.
Like Yoga, Tai-chi is a low-impact exercise, but one that flows slowly from pose to pose. Practicing Tai-chi is said to be effective at increasing muscle strength while improving the flexibility of the arteries. The flowing movements tone and stretch the muscles, while the different poses improve balance. According to studies, practicing Tai-chi is beneficial for people with Parkinson’s disease and arthritis.
The great thing about these exercises is that they’re also meditative. The focus on breathing helps improve concentration, reduce stress, and calm the nervous system. And though some of the poses look complicated, they can be modified to work for beginners.
If you love being outdoors, then cycling is definitely an activity you will enjoy. Cycling is a great cardiovascular workout that can also improve balance, strengthen the leg muscles, and enhance cognitive performance in seniors. And because it’s low-impact, it’s an ideal choice for seniors who can’t engage in running or other high-impact activities due bone or joint issues. The best part is – you can do it almost anywhere!
Riding a bike in parks or around town shouldn’t be a problem if you live in the suburbs or rural areas. If there are cycling trails near your home, consider scheduling weekend bike rides with your family or friends. For seniors living in cities or busier neighborhoods, however, you may want to give indoor cycling a try.
5. Chair Exercises
It may seem odd to see the word chair paired with exercise, but you’ll be amazed at how working out while sitting can be just as beneficial as the other exercises in this list.
Old age comes with plenty of physical limitations. That being said, a large part of the elderly population are experiencing mobility issues and or unable to remain standing for long. For this particular group of seniors, seated exercises provide a way for them to remain mobile and engaged.
Simple exercises like ankle and wrist rolls, calf raises, seated torso twists, arm exercises with stress balls, and many others can improve strength, flexibility, cardiovascular health, mobility, and balance in seniors. All these from the comfort of a sturdy chair.
How much exercise is recommended for seniors?
The health, physical condition, and cognitive abilities of seniors can vary greatly. Thus, the type, amount, and frequency of their exercise routine differ as well.
As a general rule, you should aim for the amount that makes you feel good physically and mentally. Any level of physical activity is good, so long as you don’t overexert or push yourself too hard. Remember to start slow and gradually increase the time or intensity of your exercise routine to avoid injuries.
To make these activities safer and more enjoyable, do them with your friends and family or join a class and use it as an opportunity to connect and bond with others. After all, exercising isn’t just about adding years to your life, but life to your years.
Fun Exercises to Get Seniors in Shape — With Seniors In Mind is written by Jane Rohde for www.withseniorsinmind.org