Exercises for Seniors – What Is Best for You
In this article Exercises for Seniors – What Is Best for You we will be looking at various types of exercises that are all available for senior citizens to do depending on their level of fitness.
We will also include a small bonus section on Mental Exercises.
You will learn what about different types of exercises so that you can work out an exercise program to discuss with your family and your medical advisor.
Will cardio be the best for you or a more sedate type of exercise like seated exercises.
Possibly Yoga or Tai Chi.
Read on to look at different possibilities.
You will find some exercises here to suit your fitness level.
Exercise is very important for senior citizens.
It can help with several conditions including heart problems, mobility and diabetes.
Exercise can also be a great benefit for those suffering Arthritis.
If you are looking to decrease blood pressure you probably need to exercise.
Do you have balance or flexibility problems? Then exercise for these as well.
Mentioned above is that exercise is good for arthritic conditions.
This is because it reduces the joint pain associated with arthritis as well as increasing flexibility and strength.
You will find your levels of fatigue are also lowered.
You are never too old to begin an exercise program.
Important : Please consult your Doctor before beginning or increasing any exercise program.
I am not a medical person or have had any medical training.
You may like to refer to this article on Wikipedia regarding Exercise.
You may also like to refer to this site of The Victoria State Government Healthy Living
This is an Australian State Government Site but has many great tips and ideas on exercise and better health in general.
Some Popular Exercises for Senior Citizens
There are a few different exercises that fall under the Cardio heading.
Before we discuss the different types it is important for you to understand if this is the way that you wish to proceed then it has been recommended that senior citizens complete a minimum of 2.5 hours of moderate cardio exercise weekly.
When beginning start with around 10 to 20 minutes and build up slowly.
I am just coming back to walking after 5 months off and attempted to come back too much too soon.
I had previously been walking at a moderate pace for three and a half to four hours daily in a morning and afternoon session.
After 3 days when returning I decided to increase the distance dramatically on the fourth day.
Woke up the next morning suffering mild angina, very tired and sore joints.
Saw my doctor later that day and was advised to do a small distance.
If I could handle that then I should do that distance for a week and build up slowly doing the longer distances for a week at a time before going to the next distance.
This is working well for me.
As you can see from my above comments I love walking.
My son told me a long time ago to walk to my letterbox the first day.
On the second day walk to my neighbours letterbox and back.
Keep improving this distance by 1 letterbox each day.
I understand this is not in line with what my doctor advised me to do but I was a lot younger, in my 40’s, when he gave me that advice and I am now almost 70.
If I had taken his advice then I probably would not have suffered a heart attack in my late 50’s.
So if you are looking at a walking program start off at a moderate pace and a moderate distance that you feel comfortable with and then slowly increase it over time.
In no time at all you will be walking a much longer distance than you ever thought was possible for you to achieve.
Another thing you could do is join a walking group or start one off with your friends and neighbours.
By joining a walking group you will be safer than walking by yourself.
Remember the old saying Safety in Numbers
If you are in a group when walking and have a fall or some other medical problem there are others to get help for you.
Swimming is one of the exercises you can participate in where you put very small amounts of stress on leg and back muscles.
If you are looking to lose weight try to advance over time to being able to swim 500 meters non stop. Swimming burns around 200 calories every 30 minutes.
Are you able to swim at a high level of intensity?
Swimming is an exercise that will strengthen your heart and lungs.
Research has shown that swimmers in fact live longer than walkers or runners.
It really is a great way to exercise.
You will look and feel younger.
Your cholesterol levels will show signs of improving as will your bodies blood pressure.
Swimming is an excellent form of exercise for those of us who are suffering arthritic pain.
Running is another cardio fitness exercise.
As you age you will find your speed will be lower than at a younger age.
The prime age for runners is around 26 years old.
Only you and your doctor will know if you are right to run.
This slowdown is due to physical changes in a person’s body.
You could find that instead of running you may be better off jogging.
This is done at a lower pace while still getting many of the benefits associated with running.
Have you enjoyed cycling previously.
Maybe in a group that rides to a favorite coffee shop of a morning for social activity.
Cycling is a very good form of exercise if your stamina is able to hold up to it.
Out in the fresh air and exercising.
Because cycling is considered to be an aerobic type of exercise your heart and lungs will benefit from the workout.
All in all your cardiovascular system will get great benefits from cycling.
You will need to learn correct breathing techniques which once learned you will benefit from this knowledge for the rest of your life.
These techniques are not all that difficult to learn.
Pilates is an exercise that tones your core and builds lean muscle while improving your posture.
It is a low impact form of exercise.
After a while you will notice your body becoming more flexible and strong.
Pilates can be done everyday but after you get used to it then cut it back to say 3 times a week.
Should you be looking to lose weight Pilates may not be the exercise for you.
Try walking, running or swimming instead.
Yoga is really a very good form of exercise.
This popular form of exercise was developed in India in around 3000 BC.
During a Yoga session blood flow increases to the muscles bringing oxygen and essential nutrients to the active tissues.
Over time you will; notice your muscles becoming more flexible.
Much of Yoga includes controlled breathing.
It is a very spiritual form of exercise as well as being physical and mental.
If you suffer chronic pain you will benefit from yoga.
Seated Exercises for Seniors
The beauty of this form of exercising is that it can be done any time you are sitting in a chair.
Think of when you are sitting.
At a table, watching television or even at a desk.
Probably if you are a senior you won’t be at a desk at a place of employment but you could spend hours on a computer playing games or writing your memoirs.
Need to stretch your back or neck and shoulders then there are exercises you can do for these.
I find it to be a tremendous benefit for my lower back pain that I suffer from an old injury.
You may even find benefit in joining a group of people who do chair exercises for seniors with music.
These groups will probably play invigorating and motivating music that you will be able to move your body to.
If you are at home doing these exercises by yourself search You Tube for chair exercises for seniors with music.
There are quite a few videos you can choose from.
These exercises can also be good if you are in a wheelchair.
Just amend the search to Exercises for people in wheelchairs.
Tai Chi was originally and still is primarily a martial art.
Many people who practice Tai Chi today are doing it for the health benefits that this art provides.
It is a graceful form of exercise that is suitable for older people to practice.
Even though the movements are gentle it is still important that you get your medical advisor’s approval before starting on any exercise program including this form of exercise.
Some of the benefits of this exercise, Tai Chi for Seniors, are:
- Can reduce blood pressure
- Has a beneficial affect on arthritis
- reduce stress symptoms
- Can aid with recuperation from strokes and heart attacks
- An improvement with your balance
For an easy form of exercise Tai Chi has many benefits.
Many people forget to include dancing as a form of physical exercise.
Dancing is not only a benefit to you physically but also has a great mental side to it as well.
This is because of the social contact you will make not only with your partner but also with other dancers. It is also a great deal of fun.
Because dancing, physically, is a whole body workout you will benefit from an improvement to both balance and coordination.
As you become more immersed in dancing you will find that your strength increases and you will then be able to dance for longer periods continuously.
Your bones become stronger and you may combat the onset of osteoporosis.
Dancing will help with your heart and lungs as well as may be of assistance in lowering the amount of back pain you suffer.
You will be feeling more energetic and could start to lose weight.
Being a dancer you will burn about 120 calories for every half hour of dancing that you participate in.
It is simple to burn more calories.
Simply increase the duration and intensity of your dancing.
To do the minimum you should dance a half an hour every day.
Please remember that there are dangers associated with dancing as with all forms of Physical Activity.
Apart from the risks of suffering a fall dancing can do damage to the muscles.
You may suffer stress fractures, shin splints and muscle spasms.
You can find many exercise machines for sale everywhere.
Why are so many used ones for sale?
Sometimes it is because the original buyers have tired of them and other times it is to allow the original buyer to upgrade.
Don’t worry they can be good for senior citizens.
My doctor didn’t want me on a treadmill but this was because my balance is not the best.
Always discuss with a Medical Doctor that you are looking at working out on an exercise machine prior to beginning using one. A good idea is to have a carer or loved one with you when having this discussion.
Using one of these exercise machines will provide a low impact form of exercising.
You will still be exercising which is important.
Make sure when looking at one of these that it is strong and sturdy.
It should also be ergonomic.
They are available either in a full size model or as a model that will fit on the floor where you are seated in your own chair.
The full size model gives you a full body workout.
The chair model gives your legs a good workout.
Rowing Machines are an excellent way for senior citizens to exercise.
They are good for not only increasing your strength and stamina but also for increasing bone density.
Overall Rowing Machines will workout most if not all muscle groups in the body.
Make sure there is someone helping you when you are making the final decision on which one to buy.
There are 3 main types of exercise bikes that you can get.
One is an upright exercise bike which is similar to a road bike.
The second is a recumbent exercise bike.
A recumbent exercise bike is more like being in a reclining position while pedalling.
The other type is an indoor cycle which is very similar to the upright exercise bike.
You are also able to get a set of pedals for placing on the floor under your desk so that you are able to exercise while working.
Our research indicates that an exercise bike can give a good exercise session.
Bonus Section – Mental Exercises
For a more thorough article on read this article on this site. Group Activities for Senior Citizens – You Deserve to Have Fun
To look after your brain and mental situation one of the most important things you can do is to socialize.
This involves mixing with other people.
Whether it involves outings or having coffee or tea with friends at home it doesn’t matter.
Outings to the movies or shopping can provide plenty of brain stimulation.
I enjoy going on bus trips with others from the community center where I live on a monthly basis.
Joining an exercise group is another thing you can participate in.
This will provide physical exercise as well as socializing.
Other forms of brain stimulation include:
- Jigsaw Puzzles
- Crossword Puzzles
- Playing Cards
- Playing Board Games
- Golf – Mini or Full Course
- Eating Well
I hope this has provided a few ideas for you.
Thank you for your interest in our article.
By now you should have some new ideas on what you wish to do and have a few tips on what to look out for.
As you would be aware my favorite form of exercise is walking but yours could be different as you have possibly been involved with exercising in some other fashion in earlier years.