Movement is paramount to every wellness program, and the health benefits of staying active are abundant. This is especially true for the senior population. But, whether due to a lack of transportation, lack of mobility or something in between, getting to a dedicated fitness facility isn’t always doable for seniors. The good news is that physical activity for older adults doesn’t have to be intense to make an impact. There are more than enough low impact exercises for seniors to do at home that have far-reaching benefits.
Simple, At-Home Exercises for Seniors
When considering exercises for seniors to do at home, the goal is to promote movement without overdoing it. Here are a few of our favorites that do just that.
Exercises to Improve Balance for Seniors
Resiliency declines with age. Bones become brittle, tendons and ligaments heal slowly, immunity wanes. This means it is more important than ever to prevent falls, which can lead to injury and illness. Balance exercises for seniors don’t need to be intricate to promote overall wellness and longevity. Examples of balance exercises include:
Tai Chi. Originally developed for self-defense, tai chi is now known as a graceful form of movement used to enhance serenity and reduce stress. The movement itself promotes balance and spatial awareness, and the slow pace makes it great for seniors.
Weight Training. Maintaining muscular strength, specifically the strength of stabilizing muscles surrounding major joints, is an important component of exercise and aging. The more stable our joints, the more balanced we’ll be. The more balanced our bodies, the lower the chance of slips, trips and falls.
Resistance Bands. Resistance bands offer strength benefits similar to weight training, but without the actual weight. This reduces the risk of injury from overtraining and accidentally dropping weights onto a foot or finger.
Mobility Exercises for Seniors
If you ever wonder why physical activity is important for older adults, mobility is the answer. Mobility allows us to move without restriction and, like balance, often declines with age. Think about the aches and pains we all experience when we get up in the morning. Those little annoyances would just get worse without movement. If you only consider one of our geriatric exercise recommendations, mobility-enhancing activity should be the one.
Walking. This is the simplest of all age-appropriate activities for older adults, exercise or otherwise. Walking increases heart rate, puts positive stress on bones, loosens joints and can even improve mood.
Shoulder rolls. A few shoulder rolls each day will work wonders for upper back and neck pain, posture, and the ability to reach that jar on the top shelf of the pantry.
Arm Raises. Shoulder rolls improve flexibility in the joint, and arm raises improve shoulder strength. The combination offers the mobility and stability seniors may lack.
Chair Exercises for Seniors
Sit-down exercises for seniors are a favorite, especially if balance or mobility is a challenge. Many exercises can be adapted for those who prefer to begin in a seated position, but chair yoga is perfect for this population. Chair yoga is full of safe exercises for seniors that help build strength, balance and mobility over time.
What Exercises Should Seniors Avoid?
We often wonder how much exercise for seniors is too much. The truth is that appropriate home workouts for seniors have much more to do with ability than age. As humans grow older, the focus shifts from making fitness gains to maintaining current levels of health and wellness. Simply put, seniors should avoid exercises they have never done before, and activities that cause pain or discomfort.
Taking Low Impact Workouts for Seniors to the Next Level
Add Technology to the Mix
21st Century advances are great when you need to find the best exercises for seniors to do at home. For instance, SmartCompanion is compatible with several Alexa skills including My Chair Exercise and Senior Workout, both of which offer progressive, low impact exercise instruction for seniors using SmartCompanion technology.
Find a Program
If you’re not quite comfortable with these exercises for seniors to do at home while unsupervised, consider a group exercise class. Visit a senior center for options like aqua aerobics or tai chi, or maybe the local VA chapter for their Gerofit program. Whatever you choose, simple movement is the goal. It will pay dividends in the long run.
Home Care and Exercise
Finding home care for elderly loved ones doesn’t just have to be about help with chores. The VA’s pension with Aid and Attendance can provide the assistance seniors need to thrive. Whether they need reminders about when and how to complete their exercises, are more comfortable exercising with someone nearby in case of a fall, or could use help preparing nourishing meals after exercise, the right home care can open new doors for aging adults.
Contact Veterans Home Care at (888) 314-6075 to learn about how the VA Pension with Aid and Attendance can benefit the Veteran in your life. Our exclusive Vet Assist program even helps Veterans and their surviving spouses apply for, and get started with, this little-known benefit.