What Are The Most Important Exercises For Seniors?Desire Wellness2023-02-28T22:28:28-09:00
What Are The Most Important Exercises For Seniors?
Exercise for older adults is essential to maintain good health, prevent chronic diseases, and enhance quality of life. As we get older, our bodies change, and so should the way we exercise. The most significant workouts for seniors will be covered in this article, along with advice on how to get started.
Can Seniors Perform Exercises for Physical Therapy on Their Own?
Physical therapy exercises can be performed at home on your own. If you have safety concerns, a consultation with a physical therapist is advised. They can evaluate your skills, offer advice on proper technique, and provide guidance for specific workouts if necessary.
Top 10 Balance Exercises for Seniors
An exercise program is important, especially as we age. Physical activity is especially important to help you maintain balance and flexibility in your older years. Balance can be affected by certain conditions such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, or vision impairments. Even medications and migraines can affect your balance if they are serious enough.
It can be difficult to live or do daily activities without assistance if you find yourself unsteady on your feet. By choosingspecific exercises to target your balance, you will be able to find the confidence and strength to live independently again.
Some exercises to help your balance can include:
Standing on one foot
Balance board or disk
Seated balance exercises
Tips to Help You Balance During Exercise
Find out which leg is dominant and start each exercise with the opposite leg. You will notice you can do less with the non-dominant leg; this is normal. Simply do as much as you can with the non-dominant leg and match the amount of exercise with the dominant leg.
No matter which exercise you choose to do, always maintain good form. Your physical therapist will assist you in finding the best form for the exercise so that you do not injure yourself.
When you are balancing, try to focus on an object straight ahead. Avoid looking up or to the side to avoid falling. You can start to look around once you have perfected an exercise, but always exercise caution when doing so.
Try placing your feet farther apart or bending your knees if you feel you are losing your balance.
It is important to consult a physical therapist who will help you regain flexibility safely and comfortably. If you opt to participate in ourDesire Wellness Physical Therapy Online Programs, we highly suggest selecting a Platinum Level course that includes a live consultation with a Doctor of Physical Therapy. This will provide you with access to a specialized professional that can give you direct advice to get the most from your program.
The Best Flexibility Exercises for Seniors
Everyday activities such as bending to pick up something from the floor or reaching for something on the top shelf require flexibility. Unfortunately, as we age, we can start to lose our flexibility. You will notice your body feels stiffer and more rigid. You might not have the same full range of motion as you once did. It is a process that happens when soft tissue is affected by aging conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or a frozen shoulder.
Even with healthy tissues, you can experience stiffness due to being immobile, which will affect your flexibility.
Flexibility issues don’t have to hold you back from everyday activities. By addingflexibility exercises to your daily routine, you can slowly increase your range of motion and reduce stiffness in your muscles and joints.
Some exercises you can use to increase flexibility include:
Stretching (hamstrings, calves, hips)
Arm and wrist stretch
Like balance exercises, it is important to consult a physical therapist who will help you regain flexibility safely and comfortably. If you opt to participate in ourDesire Wellness Physical Therapy Online Programs, we highly suggest selecting a Platinum Level course that includes a live consultation with a Doctor of Physical Therapy. This consultation can help get the most from your program.
Tips to Help You Gain Flexibility During Exercise
Don’t forget to warm up before stretching. To reduce stiffness and injury, try walking or other forms of movement before attempting flexibility exercises.
You can hold stretches for as long as you can, but it’s best to keep passive stretching within 20 to 30 seconds.
If you are having trouble getting into a pose, try using aids such as yoga blocks or resistance bands. You can remove the aids when you have perfected the exercise.
Don’t stretch more than your limit. If you feel any pain during the stretch, come out of it slowly or ease up to a better position.
Best Strength Exercises for Seniors
Strength training is the foundation of healthy bones and muscles. As we age, we lose muscle mass, and our bones start to get weaker. Strength training helps seniors avoid excessive muscle loss and bone degeneration. It can also help you stay strong, and maintain your balance and flexibility.
Strength training plays such a vital role that it has even been added to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) and American Heart Association’s (AHA) list of daily recommended exercises for seniors. According to the AHA, seniors should aim for two days of strength training a week to help them see the benefits of strength training.
Here are some examples of strength-training exercises that you can try:
Dumbbell exercises (bicep curls, tricep extensions, etc. Start light!)
Although strength training is essential for seniors, it can also be dangerous if not performed with proper form or if you take on too much weight for your body. A physical therapist will help to ensure you are practicing an exercise with the correct form.
If you opt to participate in our Desire WellnessPhysical Therapy Online Programs, we highly suggest selecting a Platinum Level course that includes a live consultation with a Doctor of Physical Therapy. This consultation can help get the most from your program.
Tips to Help You Gain Strength During Exercise
Start slow. If you are using weights, start with light weight. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t do a lot of sets. You will slowly progress with time.
Use sets and reps to monitor your progress. Sets are the number of times you do an exercise, while reps are the number of repetitions. A good example of an average set and rep will be three sets of bicep curls for 10 reps.
Always warm up before you do an exercise. Use similar movements to get your muscles ready before you start a set.
Rest between sets to let your body recover. Ideally, you should rest at least a minute between sets, but this can be longer if needed.
If you are using weights with pre existing or previous injuries, consult a physical therapist to ensure you won’t cause damage to your joints.
The Seniors Stretching Plan
Warm up with 5–10 minutes of light cardio (walking, cycling, etc.).
Stretch all major muscle groups, including the neck, shoulders, arms, back, hips, legs, and feet
Why Squatting Is One of Seniors’ Most Important Exercises
Squatting is a multi-joint exercise that works the legs, hips, and back, among other muscle groups. It is a crucial activity for older adults because it helps with balance, mobility, and strength. Squats can also help improve posture and lower the chance of falling. Squats done with only your body weight are a good place to start.
Best Aerobic Exercises for Seniors
Exercises Seniors Should Avoid
High-impact exercises (running, jumping, etc.)
Full sit-ups or crunches
Sudden, explosive movements
Jerky or twisting motions
Physical activity is essential for aging adults for several reasons. As we age, our bodies go through changes that can result in decreased mobility, balance issues, and an increased risk of chronic diseases. Regular physical activity can help counteract these changes and provide numerous health benefits physically, mentally, and emotionally for older adults.
Contact our experts to learn more about our programs that help aging adults today!