Best Exercises For Seniors

Ian George
Ian George
Writer at Seniors Bulletin

Exercise and nutrition are the key parts of living a good, healthy lifestyle. No matter your age or the stage of life you are in, exercise holds many benefits, including better endurance, increased energy, and better mood.

For seniors, getting older does not mean you have to stop exercising! Although it may be harder for older adults to perform high-intensity workouts, there are many less intense but equally effective exercises for seniors out there for you to try!

Highlights

  • Chair yoga and Pilates improve balance, flexibility, and core strength with minimal equipment needed.
  • Walking and water aerobics are perfect for cardiovascular health and joint pain relief.
  • Resistance bands, dumbbells, and body weight workouts strengthen muscles and improve posture.

As people get older and their bodies change, it can be hard to figure out what exercises work best for them. Before anything else, it is important to receive the all-clear from your physician to exercise. Once that’s done; here are some awesome options as exercises for seniors and elderly adults, some of which can also be done at home:

Chair Yoga

Chair yoga is a low-impact exercise that helps to improve balance, muscle strength, flexibility, and mobility in older adults – the best part is these balance exercises can be done at home!

Chair yoga is an extremely accessible form of exercise as it can be done at home, and the movements are fairly easy to remember – all you need is a chair, and you are good to go! Chair yoga classes are a great way for seniors to be social, but if you cannot afford it, there are many online videos that you could follow.

Some chair-yoga exercises include seated mountain pose, overhead stretch, and seated cat stretch.

Pilates

A Pilates workout focuses on core strength, breathing, and alignment. There is not a lot of equipment involved, but Pilates will usually include the use of an inflatable ball, mats, and other inflated accessories.

Pilates is also a low-impact workout that has been seen to improve balance, flexibility, and core strength in older adults. If you are new to Pilates, it would be best to join a class, but these movements are also easily done at home and require minimal equipment.

Some Pilates movements include step-ups, side circles, and leg circles.

Walking

Walking is a great exercise for all ages; the best part is it’s free!

Walking improves mood, improves balance, and reduces the risk of several diseases in senior adults. It is a great way to get out of the house and get some fresh air and sunshine, which has been linked to several health benefits, mental and physical.

Seniors can go for walks at any time of the day they prefer; they can walk with friends or go by themselves – the possibilities at endless! Thirty minutes a day is all you need to reap the benefits of walking!

For even better balance while walking, seniors could walk from heel to toe and do toe raises on their regular walks.

Water Aerobics

Water aerobics is the ideal exercise for seniors that are struggling with arthritis and other types of joint pain. Being in the water also brings some natural resistance into the workout, reducing the need for extra equipment such as weights and dumbbells.

However, water aerobics is not as accessible as the others. For such workouts, you will likely have to join a class, and there may or may not be one close to where you live. If you do choose to join one, you will be able to improve your strength, balance, and gain flexibility while putting your body through a minimal amount of stress.

Some water aerobics movements include aqua jogging, water pushups, and leg lifts.

Workouts With Resistance Bands

Workouts with resistance bands focus on improving posture, balance, and core strength. They do so by using a resistance band, which is a stretchy strip of rubber, or an extremely large type of rubber band.

Since these workouts require minimal equipment, they make for great at-home workouts. You could learn some of the movements beforehand or follow a workout video, whatever works for you! A workout class that features resistance bands is a great way for you to get out of the house and interact with others.

Some movements with resistance bands include bicep curls, pull-aparts, and leg presses.

Strength Training With Dumbbells

Strength training, as the term suggests, can help seniors improve their strength and muscle while also improving symptoms of diabetes and osteoporosis. Strength training is great for those that struggle with back pain and have trouble with glucose control.

These are not recommended as exercises for seniors using heavy weights; low weights, such as those of two kilograms, are ideal for older adults.

Some strength training movements include triceps extensions, bicep curls, and front raises.

Body Weight Workouts

Body weight workouts are ideal for those seniors who suffer from muscle loss. Body weight workouts work to counteract the effect of muscle atrophy while also improving balance, strength, and mobility.

Such workouts do not require much equipment, making them more accessible. Usually, you will only need some good workout clothes and an exercise mat.

Some body weight movements include step-ups, hip bridges, and squats.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi, an ancient Chinese martial art, is celebrated for its numerous health benefits, particularly for seniors. This gentle form of exercise emphasizes slow, flowing movements and deep, rhythmic breathing, which together foster physical and mental relaxation.

Regular Tai Chi practice can enhance balance and flexibility, reducing the risk of falls among the elderly. It also improves cardiovascular health, aids in pain management, and strengthens the immune system.

Furthermore, Tai Chi is accessible to seniors of all fitness levels because it can be adapted to individual needs and performed at various intensities. Its meditative component also supports cognitive health, helping to reduce stress and promote a positive mood. This holistic approach makes Tai Chi an ideal exercise choice for seniors seeking a healthier, more active lifestyle.

Exercises For Seniors Are Low Impact But High Benefits

The workouts mentioned above are best exercises for seniors. They are all low-impact and work to bring the benefits of exercise at a minimal stress level. If done regularly, seniors can reap the health benefits of exercise and alleviate many of the symptoms that they suffer from, the most common being back pain, joint pain, trouble with balance, depressed mood, low stamina, and low energy.

Exercise is also a great way for seniors to socialize and gain independence. However, some exercises for seniors that they should avoid include:

  1. Workouts involving heavy weights
  2. High-intensity and long-distance running
  3. High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
  4. Rock climbing
  5. Hiking on extreme terrain
  6. Fast-paced workouts

Before you begin to exercise, it is best to see a doctor to determine if you are fit to exercise. If you are, you should work with your physician to determine what level of exercise is best for you. Make sure to follow the advice given to you to avoid any injuries or permanent damage.

The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and they do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the providers being reviewed. The providers and SeniorsBulletin assume no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this site. The information contained in this site is provided on an “as is” basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness and without any warranties of any kind whatsoever, express or implied.
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