Safe And Effective Exercises For Older Adults
A major key to staying young and healthy as your body grows older is keeping it flexible and strong. Aging does not need to include becoming weaker and stiffer. Increasing your flexibility and strength as you grow older is easier than you may think; there is no need to join a gym or go running in order to keep fit. There are certain exercises for older adults that you can do in your own home that will only take a few minutes a day and that can make all the difference to your quality of life and your health.
These are exercises you can do while seated and they are ideal for those who either cannot stand up at all, or who have not yet developed the strength or balance for standing for periods of time. In all of these exercises, you will need to sit with your back away from the back of the chair, and with your back as straight as possible.
Start with your arms either side of you, hanging straight down and slowly lift them above your head so that they are straight up towards the ceiling. Hold them there for two counts, and then slowly lower them to the starting position. The key to this exercise is that it needs to be done very slowly and in a controlled manner; this will make sure you are making the most of your muscles.
Keeping one foot flat on the floor, lift the other leg with the knee bent up to a height where it feels comfortable then slowly lower it to the floor. Do the same with the other leg. It is important in this exercise, as with the previous one, to use a slow and controlled motion in order to get the benefit from the activity.
Stand behind a chair and hold onto the back of the chair with both hands. With your feet shoulder width apart and your toes turned just slightly out slowly lower yourself, pushing your hips out behind you as if you were going to sit down on a low wall. When you reach a comfortable level, slowly straighten your legs to bring yourself back to the standing position again. Make sure that you are not putting weight on your arms – the reason you are holding onto the back of the chair is only for balance, not to help with the squat.
Standing in front of a wall arm’s length away from it, place both palms on the wall at shoulder height. Slowly bend your elbows, bringing your body closer to the wall in a controlled movement until your face is almost touching the wall, and then slowly straighten your elbows again. The more slowly you do this exercise, the more benefit you will get from it.
Do each of these exercises for older adults as many times in a row as you can without pain. There should be no pain, only a stretching of the muscles. Take a little rest and then see if you can do the same number again. Keep note of how many times you did that particular exercise today, and see if you can add one more next time. Give yourself at least one day rest in between exercise sessions to allow your muscles to repair and build up strength.