Last week, we talked about the importance of exercise throughout one’s life to help maintain health and preserve independence. But, did you know that many seniors are afraid to exercise at home because they fear falling or injuring themselves?
And of course, this is a valid concern!
Before you or your senior loved one takes on any new physical activity, it is important to consult with your physician.
That being said, however, here are a few exercises that might be appropriate for the senior members of your family:
No – we are not talking about pumping iron at the gym! But stronger muscles mean more independence in day to day tasks from walking up the stairs to getting in and out of bed unassisted.
Simple strength exercises may include:
- Chair squats – holding onto the back of a chair for support and squatting as if sitting in a chair, remembering to keep your back nice and straight.
- Wall push-ups – standing a couple of feet away from a sturdy wall and using hands to do “push-ups” against the wall.
Since falls can be especially dangerous for seniors, working on some simple balance exercises may help prevent such accidents.
Balance exercises may include:
- Single foot lifts – while holding onto the back of a chair or wall for support, simply lift one foot to help strengthen stabilizing muscles. Repeat on the other side.
- Tippy toe lifts – again, holding onto something for support, raise yourself up on the balls of your feet to work on balance.
Tight and sore muscles can limit a person at any age, but they can be especially problematic for seniors. According to a study in the International Journal of Physical Therapy, seniors who did flexibility exercises 2-3 times per week saw improvements in spinal flexibility and a steadier gait within just 10 weeks.
Simple flexibility exercises may include:
- Wall snow angels – just like it sounds! Standing about 3 inches in front of a wall with the back of your head resting on the wall, slowly extend your arms and raise them as high as is comfortable.
- Head turns – sitting in a chair, turn your head slowly from one side to the other as far as is comfortable.
It is always best to have some instruction when getting started with an exercise program. Many gyms and community centres have classes geared to seniors, and these days you can also find some good online instructions.
And, if you would like your senior loved one to have someone that will help guide them through the exercises, consider getting a qualified instructor from Vera Home Care.