The Best Exercises for Elderly People

An active lifestyle is paramount for good health in every stage of life, and especially as you grow older. There are various conditions associated with old age such as diabetes, depression, and heart disease. Experts recommend regular exercisers for the elderly that will not only lower the risks of these diseases but also improve your balance and strength. According to health professionals, a healthy body is a happy body. To help you stay healthier for longer and reduce pain from conditions such as arthritis, we’ve compiled a list of activities that will have a positive impact on elderly people.

Walking

Don’t underestimate the power of walking. It may seem like a no-brainer but it’s actually a powerful activity that improves cholesterol levels, keeps you in shape, and prevents certain conditions such as diabetes, blood pressure, and heart disease.

What’s more, walking doesn’t require special equipment or gym membership. All you need is a pair of comfortable and well-fitting shoes and a schedule.

If you’re just starting out, walk for about 10 – 15 minutes at a time. As you progress, you can increase your walking time as well as pace. Set a realistic target and try to stick to it. The more you walk, the more your body adjusts.

Swimming

The buoyancy that water provides takes away arthritis pain so you can move without straining. Swimming is an all-around exercise with greater benefits such as reducing the chances of stroke, keeping your weight in check, boosting your mood, and preventing heart disease.

If you don’t know how to swim, there’s no age limit and you can start taking lessons today. The good thing is that most pools cater to all age groups, gender, and people with special needs.

To make swimming more fun, you can take a friend with you or join a class where you can get support from other members.

Strength Training

Strength training doesn’t have to involve lifting heavy weights. Light weights are also available to tone up those muscles. Experts say that your muscles lose strength over time if they aren’t put to use.

Having more muscles will help burn more calories which makes it easier to keep your body weight under control.

When planning on a weight lifting routine, start slowly with weights that you can lift up to 10 times without hurting. Do this for a few weeks to allow your body to adjust, and then start increasing one to two pounds.

When you feel comfortable lifting those weights with the added pounds, move up gradually. Strength training can be accompanied by light aerobics to improve both your strength and flexibility.

Leg Raises

This exercise targets the thighs, buttocks, hips and the lower back muscles. It’s also an ideal exercise for gaining or regaining balance.

Instructions for side Legs:

  • Stand behind a chair
  • Holding the chair for balance, and with your left leg straight, lift it out to the side as far as possible.
  • Slowly lower the leg.
  • Keep your back straight all through and slightly bend your supporting leg.
  • Do at least two sets of 10 repetitions on each leg.

For back leg raises:

  • Using the same chair, lift one leg backward without leaning forward.
  • Hold for a few seconds and then lower the leg.
  • Do at least two sets of 10 repetitions on each leg.

Tai Chi

Known for its effectiveness on both the body and mind, Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art that combines slow movements with relaxation. It’s a great form of exercise for all age groups and is offered in stages. Older people stand to benefit a lot in terms of balance which is a major issue as you age.

Tai Chi involves a series of movements that transition seamlessly into the next. You can enroll for lessons at your local community and get your balance back on track.

Stretch Your Upper Body

This type of activity helps with flexibility. Your body’s ability to stretch without feeling pain will make your exercises smoother. With your feet apart, your chest raised high, and you face looking up, slowly bring your arms behind your back and grasp your hands. Hold for about 30 seconds, and then release slowly. Repeat for a few minutes.

For the upper back, shoulders and neck muscles, hold the same standing position. Clasp your hands in front of you with the palm facing the ground. Raise your arms shoulder length so that they are stretched out in front of your chest. Try to pull the hands apart and hold that position for about two minutes and then release. Repeat a few times.

Push-Ups

These exercises are common and have been around for a long time. You can substitute the traditional push-ups by trying out wall push-ups where you face a wall while standing a few feet from the wall. Do the same as with the normal push-up, only that you’ll be pushing against the wall. Do a set of 10 -15 repetitions and repeat until you reach your limit.

All images via Pixabay

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