We exercise to help us build muscle, increase endurance and boost endorphins. These goals don’t change as we get older, but we focus more on balance and agility. Our balance decreases, and we lose muscle to perform everyday activities like climbing stairs and other functional activities.
Here are our top exercises to help seniors build strength, improve balance and prevent falls.
Try these workouts in a circuit, make them more challenging by increasing repetitions, sets, or time, and adding weights. Always start slow, and amp up the intensity as you feel fits.
- Sit to Stand – Many seniors experience stiffness, poor balance, weak legs, and ankles when performing sitting exercises. A sit-to-stand exercise is a great starting workout to build lower body strength and balance.
- Resistance Band Bicep Curl– Resistance bands are stretchy strips of rubber that add resistance to workouts with reduced stress on your body. Either seated or standing, perform a bicep curl with the resistance band. This exercise is ideal for seniors to strengthen their core, improving posture, mobility, and balance.
- Calf Raises– Standing with feet hip-width apart, raise your calves up and down. Pause at the top and move slowly down. This is a beneficial exercise to help with balance and stability.
- Walking– One of the best and most accessible exercises is walking for seniors. IT’s recommended that people walk 10,000 steps a day; however, those struggling with joint pain may set a lower goal. Walking is a perfect low-impact exercise for cardio and improving stability.
As you age, it’s important to stretch as well. Some critical areas that decrease mobility are your calves, hamstrings, hip flexor, and quadriceps. For example, many seniors find themselves “shuffling” due to reduced mobility in the hips as they age. When your hip flexors (the muscles that connect your torso to your legs in front) get short and tight, they limit the range of motion your legs can take. The good news is that this can be aided with stretching exercises!
Although we don’t always find the time to stretch, the more important it gets as you get older. Other benefits of flexibility include:
- Decreases nagging pain in your upper back
- It helps relieve and prevent lower back pain
- Stretching improves posture
Try fitting in at least 10 minutes a day to stretch! This short amount of time is perfect for helping regain flexibility and improve mobility as you age.
Some easy and effective stretches for seniors include:
- Standing Quad Stretch
- Seated Knee to Chest
- Hamstring Stretch
- Overhead Side Stretch
- Tricep Stretch
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