10 Ways Elderly People Can Exercise at Home Safely
January 4, 2015
People aged 65 years or above often lead a life that has restricted mobility for fear of slips and falls that can cause more damage than when they were younger. If these seniors live alone, their lifestyle becomes all the more sedentary as they are afraid of managing emergency situations on their own. If this sounds like you, remember that leading an inactive life can have disadvantages just as bad.
There's an inevitable loss of energy, strength, and fitness as people age, but physical inactivity can make your situation even worse. Not only will you become more prone to injuries, slips, and falls, but you will also have an increased chance of suffering from hypertension, heart attacks, diabetes, strokes, and cancer.
As such, people aged 65 years or more shouldn't stop exercising – they should exercise more! Regular exercise can improve their:
- Strength: Due to stronger legs and torso owing to activity, these seniors can enjoy increased stability and minimize chances of a slip or fall.
- Mobility: With improved strength, moving around becomes an easy task.
- Safety: Thanks to increased level of physical fitness, seniors can easily climb the stairs, rise from a chair, exercise and walk.
- Stamina: Elders who once enjoyed bike riding or tennis can revel in their passion once again.
- Sociability: Rather than living holed up in their den, seniors can enjoy going out, meeting new people, forging new friendships, and even visiting friends and family living away.
Perhaps you are now wondering about what type of exercises you can do at home that will help you to stay fit. I know many seniors who don't like going to the gym because they're afraid of injuries and muscle strains. A few don't even like setting up their own home gym or using exercising equipment at all for these reasons. If you belong to such categories, don't worry – exercising doesn't require fancy gadgets.
All staying fit requires is a bit of motivation on your part to start an exercise schedule and stick to it. So, here is my list of the top 10 most effective home exercises that you can perform without the need to hit the gym or use fitness equipment:
- Walking: This is one of the easiest exercises to begin with. You can take a walk in the park or in your neighborhood if the weather is nice. If the weather doesn't cooperate, you can always walk indoors. If you have a flight of stairs, climb it up and down a few times. This will not only help you get toned legs, but also give a low impact workout to your muscles. For those who don't have any stairs, simply take a 15-20 minute walk around the house to give your body some much needed exercise.
- Jogging: Invest in a good pair of shoes and start jogging. You may either do it at home or go outdoors. This is a great exercise for your heart. Just make sure that you don't get your legs stressed or jog too much in your enthusiasm. Start small, and once you are comfortable, you can increase the time.
- Squats: Did you know that you can strengthen your legs and buttocks by simply sitting and standing up a few times from a regular chair? It may sound too good to be true, but believe me, a few repetitions of this simple exercise every day will provide great benefits to your body.
- Leg lifts: While sitting in a chair, try raising your legs up and down while keeping them straight. If you find it difficult to keep your legs straight, try bending your legs slightly while doing this exercise. A few reps each day will help you build up muscle and strength in your legs.
- Light weight lifts: If you are a woman, hold about 2 pounds of weight in your arms, and raise them up and down while sitting in a chair. Men can do this exercise with 1 pound weights. As always don't overdo it. Make sure to begin with what you are comfortable doing. Many fitness experts suggest using something lighter in the initial days, like a can of peas. Once you get into the groove, you may work yourself up to heavier items such as laundry detergent bottles or milk jugs.
- Single limb stance: This is a great exercise for fall prevention because it makes you improve your standing balance. To begin with, hold on to a chair with both hands and balance your body on one foot. Hold the position for a few minutes, and then repeat with the other foot. As your balance improves, you can use one hand to hold the chair, then move on to one finger and finally, if you feel comfortable, let go completely. However, I would advise against letting go completely if you are exercising alone to prevent any accidents.
- Back and waist exercise: As we age, many of us start to suffer from back or lower back pain. If you find yourself in this category, or just want to steer clear of such pain in the future, this exercise can help. While sitting on a chair, try twisting your upper body back and forth at the waist.
- Seated rows: Sit on a chair and mimic a rowing position, first for 10 repetitions on the left and then for the right. Slowly, you may increase your reps depending on your comfort level. This is a great exercise for your upper body.
- Stretching: While you sit on a chair, bend down to touch your head in your lap, while keeping your hands stretched toward the floor. Make sure that you don't strain yourself or bend forward too much, as both may be risky.
- Dancing: You don't need to be a pro to put on your dancing shoes. Simply play some music that you like and start dancing. This will not only keep your heart in great shape, but also give your spirit a boost.
Apart from these exercises, medical alert devices can also complement our desire to live a normal life as we get older. Since a slip or fall may take place despite your precautions, it pays to get quick help in case of an emergency. One-push button medical devices that you can wear on your hand or around the neck can act as a trusted ally and let you live and exercise without fear. So, my advice is to invest in a reliable medical alert system and get started with your exercise schedule to live an active life during your golden years.