The ideal workout includes stretching, aerobic exercise, core and strength training. That sounds like a lot, especially if you’re working out from home. But it is do-able with these targeted exercises you can adjust to your fitness level.
These at-home exercises for seniors and their family members don’t require a gym or special equipment. They’re low impact, but will add up to a big difference in your health and fitness.
Yoga isn’t just for the super-flexible. Yoga benefits all flexibility levels because it stretches muscles and connective tissue, increasing range of motion and restoring blood flow.
Yoga is also great for improving balance and centering your spirit. And if you tend to sit a lot, the deep stretch feels wonderful.
This full-body pose is a good warm-up to get your energy flowing:
When it’s not convenient to take a long walk or jog outside, these run in place knee lifts are aerobic and muscle-building.
Aerobic workouts flood your body with oxygen and get your heart pumping. The addition of knee lifts will work your entire core.
Although running in place is easier on knees and joints than a regular run, try this on a carpet or pad for even less impact.
First, start jogging slowly in place. Then, begin lifting first one knee and then the other as you run. You can lift them a little or a lot, depending on your balance and comfort level. Pump your arms as you run to give them a workout, too.
Do this exercise in 10-minute intervals with a 5-minute rest, gradually building up to longer intervals. This type of interval training gives you a break between cycles and is an excellent way to strengthen the heart and lungs.
A regular push-up is hard for most people. This modified wall push-up is an adapted home exercise that’s a better fit for seniors. It works the arms and chest without too much strain.
Put your palms on the wall at shoulder height with arms straight. Place your feet about 24 inches away from the wall. Keep your body tight and begin doing push-ups, bending and then straightening the arms. Start with 15 pushups every other day.
As you increase your strength, do push-ups against a heavy table or countertop. Then, graduate to knee push-ups. Get on your knees on the floor, lean forward and do push-ups.
While push-ups work your arms, squats are excellent for toning your legs and glutes. You’ll start to see everyday benefits from the added strength and balance this exercise will give you, as well. Traditional squats involve sinking deeply towards the floor and can create a serious muscle burn. Unless you have excellent balance, it can also be hard to get back up again. Instead, try a modified squat.
Squats have the reputation of being tough and taxing. However, they work your quads, glutes, hamstrings and lower back all at once, so they’re worth the extra sweat and effort.
Weight training is essential to build bone density and muscle mass, both especially important for seniors. It’s also a fast way to tone your body.
At home, you can use a dumbbell or wrist weight if you have one. If not, a heavy can of soup that you can easily grip will do. For heavier homemade weights, fill small plastic milk jugs with water or sand.
The classic arm exercise is the bicep curl. To do a bicep curl, hold a weight in each hand with palms up and arms extended. Then, slowly raise the weights up to your shoulders and back down again.
Studies have determined the following as the average weight seniors should use when doing bicep curls:
You can use these averages to help guide your own exercises, working up to peak physical condition for your age. You can also vary this exercise by holding the weights with palms turned inward and facing each other, lifting the weights to your shoulders, as shown above.
Faithfully working out can be a game-changer that lifts your mood, boosts energy and motivates you to be more active in everyday life. But it’s important to be patient with yourself as you get started. Working out at home can be difficult. There will be days when you don’t feel like working out. Don’t give in to the all-or-nothing mindset and try to do some exercise on most days, giving yourself a break when you need one. You’ll feel energized and renewed in no time.
If at-home exercises aren’t working for you, consider a retirement community like Aspire at Carriage Hill. Our independent living community in Richmond, Virginia, has a state-of-the-art fitness center and group activities that keep you motivated and make working out fun.
We’re committed to our residents’ health and safety, and we vary programs based on each resident’s individual health needs. We also adapt to changing times and protocols, such as social distancing, to make sure everyone stays healthy. For more information about our Virginia retirement community, call (804) 384-9358 or contact us online.