As we get older the first thing we might notice is how slow we start to get, or how hard it might be to reach for certain objects. Of course, we could always work out but as seniors what options do we really have?
What if we told you that senior workouts don’t have to be so limited to those brisk walks at the park? The thing is, the whole pandemic situation showed us what is truly possible in our own homes.
Using that insight, we’ve figured out a few ways to help motivate the average senior and to help get that body moving. But first, why is this even important?
Importance of exercise for seniors
Why exercise? After all, as seniors, you are able to hire the service of caretakers and the like to help you out in your daily life. Alternatively, there’s always your family member or friend to rely on, right?
What we’re trying to say is that you don’t have to be so dependent on others to experience your life to the fullest. Seniors prioritizing their health and wellness are able to move more independently and feel fresher every day.
Of course, other people might have limitations particular to their situation. We’ve accounted for that with these tips. Read on if you’re interested in learning more about how you can establish a home workout routine that won’t end up causing you harm.
Top 5 exercise tips for seniors
1. Start slow
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. When you start working out at home, approach everything with some patience. After all, we’re not as young as we’re supposed to be and at home, there are no gym spotters to help us out.
Start with the lightest weight you can carry. Try to remove any semblance of pride here. What we’re focusing on is safety. Only increase weights after building confidence in the previous one. Besides, you can be guaranteed some improvement even with light weights.
2. Quality over quantity
This tip actually targets more than just exercises for seniors as everyone can benefit from it. Focus on the quality of each rep rather than the total amount of reps you can squeeze in.
What this does is force you to focus on your form. Thus, each exercise that you do yields just as much, or more, compared to high-rep sets. Plus, each rep you do technically counts for more since you’re paying attention to your form.
With the proper form, all the right muscles are involved. Again, focus on quality rather than quantity.
3. Don’t push it
We’ve got to accept that we won’t always be as young as we used to be. With that said, let’s not force things especially when we talk about working out at home.
If you feel like a certain joint is having a hard time keeping up, take a break. If it still hurts after your break, maybe it’s time to throw in the towel for the day or maybe work out a different part of your body.
The thing is, our bodies will have a harder time keeping up with our minds. Take care of all those joints by making sure you’re keeping them in check.
4. Don’t forget to stretch
Speaking of our bodies, don’t forget to stretch! Do some active stretching before the workout and save the full stretches for after.
Stretching provides the benefit of no cramps, toning the muscles, and generally just helping your body stay nimble. If you developed a habit of forgetting to stretch when you were younger, now is the time to fix that.
5. Consistency is key
Lastly, stay consistent with whatever workout plan you develop for yourself. More than anything, this will help you build that discipline and strength to keep up with both the workout as well as the daily stresses of life.
It would only be too easy to take a cheat day or to just skip a whole week. Try not to make excuses and fit these workouts in. The effort is well worth it.
Best exercises to get started
We’ve also compiled a list of exercises to get you started. Don’t limit yourself to the following list as we’re sure there are way more available to everyone. Senior Strong’s list of activities for seniors notes how there are plenty of exercises seniors can do, from light walking to even just cooking. Aside from that, here some other suggestions to start:
1. Resistance band workouts
Using a generic resistance band, take up the form of a typical curl and work your way up from the lowest resistance “weight” all the way to the weight where you start feeling sweat pop out.
The great thing about resistance training is how well it maintains your joints. With that, try using resistance bands instead of the typical free weight. You’ll find that these bands come in a varied set of “weights”, different grips, and can be used for different exercises.
2. Aquatic aerobics
Another way to workout at home while taking care of your joints is through aquatic aerobics. That’s because the water will help take some of the stress away from your joints and to allow you to move more freely.
Of course, this would mean you’ll need a pool at home. Secure that, and you can be sure that this daily routine can come easily.
3. Chair squats
Your typical squat but with the assurance of having a chair to catch you. Take an average chair and place it behind you. Square your legs and proceed to do squats. Remember, quality over quantity.
You can vary this workout by changing the height of the chair. A higher chair will make it easier for you while a lower chair will do the opposite. Find the right height for you so that you don’t overwork yourself.
4. Wall push up
Imagine doing a pushup but staying vertical. That’s pretty much the gist here with this variation of the standard pushup. What will affect the degree of your workout is the angle at which you approach the wall.
Start this one off by staying as vertical as you can. Work your way down to an angle that you deem appropriate for your strength level and get those pecs moving.
5. Single foot stand
It’s exactly what it sounds like. Dedicate some free space and make sure the area immediately surrounding you is clear of hard objects or anything with a sharp corner. Pick a leg to work on and lift the opposite leg to get started.
Again, pace yourself. Start with a few seconds then work your way to longer sets. While it may seem like a simple task, this one challenges both the old and the young. It’s a great way to improve both your balance as well as leg and core strength.
Benefits of regular exercise
1. Improve sleep
Seniors are known to have peculiar schedules, with others complaining that they have a hard time managing their time. One benefit that people don’t really talk about is how well working out can improve their sleeping habits. As a senior, you’d be able to appreciate this.
The trick with individuals at this age is finding a schedule that fits them. Once they do though, the workout should come in easily. Again, just make sure you can keep the schedule consistent and everything should be fine.
2. Mood booster
Another bonus with exercising is the number of hormones that get released during and after the workout. These do a variety of different functions but one of them is improving the mental well-being of the individual.
Find yourself feeling glum? A short workout should get you sorted. Of course, it won’t work like magic. The trick with this one is being able to zone in on the workout. It’s pretty therapeutic.
3. Get moving easier
With all the work you’ll be putting on exercising your limbs, stretching out your muscles, and working on your balance, you can be guaranteed that moving around will be much easier for you on the whole.
An obvious reminder would be that this won’t be too immediate. The effects and the degree to which they affect you will vary depending on the quality of your reps as well as how often you are able to do your workout.
4. Improved immune system
As we get older, we tend to get sick more often. For others, the situation is more complicated with hereditary diseases and similar afflictions that may catch up later on in our lives.
One benefit of a consistent workout is that it improves our immune system. What this means for you is a hardier immune system that allows you to do more with yourself. For those with illnesses, you can expect that your routine improves how badly the illness will affect you.
5. Keeps the brain active
When we talk about working out, the brain is actually one of the main benefactors to these activities since it is forced to focus on the task at hand lest you do something wrong or worse, hurt yourself.
Keeping to your routine will show you just how much of a difference this might make. You’ll feel fresher every day as your brain will start to adapt to the strenuous activities of your workout.