By Maria Burke, RN, Owner Celtic Angels Home Health Care
Staying active keeps us healthier, eases aches and pains, and even helps fight depression. But it’s not always possible to go to a gym or participate in organized activities. So, what can you do? Exercise right where you are! Here are five safe and easy exercises seniors can do at home.
1. Sit and Stand
One thing many seniors begin having difficulty doing is sitting and rising from a chair. That’s why this exercise is such a good one to add to your routine. The longer you can keep your muscles in shape, the less likely you are to have trouble sitting down and standing back up again. Here’s how to do it.
First, make sure you have a strong chair that won’t wobble or shift. Stand about 6 inches in front of your chair, place your feet shoulder width apart, and raise your arms in front of you, hands in line with your shoulders. Keep your stomach muscles tight to hold your body steady, bend your knees, move your hips back, and lower yourself until you touch the chair. Stop for a second. Then, push up again with the back two-thirds of your feet to rise to a standing position. Repeat 10 times.
Yoga is one of the best forms of exercise seniors can do, because it can be adapted to every skill level. And you can even do chair yoga if you use a wheelchair, have unsteady balance, or need to exercise from a chair for any other reason. Yoga also incorporates breathing techniques, so it’s a wonderful stress reliever, too.
Don’t worry if you’ve never tried yoga before. There are loads of books and videos available to help you get started. And you can even take an online yoga class from home!
Walking is an excellent way to get some exercise in, and it can be done right at home. You can walk around your neighborhood, your back yard, or just your room. Any amount of walking you do is beneficial. So don’t feel like you can’t participate if you’re unable to walk a mile.
Try making time for an evening stroll with a family member or friend. Challenge yourself to walk around your yard five times. Or just commit to walking around your living room during commercial breaks. Anything helps!
If you have space available, try gardening. It’s a surprisingly good workout. In fact, it’s classified as moderate-intensity cardio. You’ll get your heart pumping while also building strength and working on balance. Plus, you’ll have delicious food when harvest time rolls around, or beautiful flowers to enjoy.
Seniors with mobility challenges can also participate in gardening. Raised beds allow you to work above ground level and can be built to accommodate wheelchairs.
5. Wall Push-ups
Maintaining your strength is important as you age, and wall push-ups are a great way to do that. They’re much easier than traditional push-ups, but they still work well for keeping your muscles strong.
Position yourself an arm’s length away from the wall, then place your hands shoulder-width apart and palms down against it. Next, step back with both feet, keeping your legs and torso straight. Tighten your stomach muscles to stabilize your body. Bend your elbows and bring your chest to the wall. Finally, use your arms to push yourself back up to where you started. Repeat 10 times.