Exercising regularly can provide a variety of health benefits to seniors. Improved blood pressure and reduced risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, etc are a few obvious ones. It has also been proven to help prevent physical injuries and improve mental health.
However, the type and intensity of the exercises advisable for seniors differ from the younger age groups. This is because their body is neither flexible nor strong enough to endure high-intensity workout routines.
So, here is a list of some fitness workouts for seniors.
1. Brisk Walking
Brisk walking is an aerobic exercise and a less intense form of jogging. It exerts less pressure on our joints and heart which is why it is the easiest and safest workout for seniors. Brisk walking focuses on improving the speed at which you switch legs along with your stride by swinging your hips slightly with each step.
However, we understand that for some seniors even normal walking can be a painful task. Therefore, we suggest that the daily goal (whether in terms of distance or the number of steps) should be set only after consulting with a doctor.
2. Ankle – Wrist Rolls
Impaired circulation in the extremities is common among seniors. This often leads to painful and restricted mobility, along with major balance issues. Ankle muscles that are either tight or too weak can put the bones and ligaments at risk of injury as well. Ankle and wrist rolls can help reduce such problems.
To perform this exercise, sit on a chair and keep your back straight. It should not lean against the chair back. Now, flex your fingers, opening and closing your fists several times. Then roll your wrists at least 10 times in each direction. Do the same with your feet. Roll each ankle 10 times both inside and outside, one at a time.
3. Seated Hip Marches
It is a type of cardiovascular exercise that is modified to better suit the body of an ageing person. It aims at improving flexibility and mobility, and is often recommended by physiotherapists. Seated hip marches can be performed separately as a cardiovascular exercise or included in your pre-workout routine to warm up your body for more intense exercises.
To perform this exercise, sit in a chair and place your feet flat on the floor. To keep your body tall, hold the chair’s edges or armrests with both hands and tighten your core muscles. Now imagine you are doing a high-knee march and lift your right leg as high as you can with a bent knee. Get your foot back on the ground and repeat the same action with the other leg. You should try to achieve at least 20 successive marches.
4. Heel Slides
Heard of Hamstring Curls? Well, this is a modified version of the same. It works at strengthening the muscles at the back of the thigh. It can also help in improving abdominal strength.
To perform this exercise, sit on a chair with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Now stretch the right leg and flex the right foot while the heel stays in contact with the ground. However, the toes should be pointing upward. Now use your glutes and hamstrings to drag your right heel back towards the chair. Reverse the movement and do at least 10 to 12 repetitions before switching legs.
Everyone has a right to stay fit and healthy. Therefore, you should not let age be a hindrance in the fitness journey of you or your loved ones. We hope that you follow the fitness workouts mentioned above and live a fit and happy life.