Gone are those days when people used to believe exercise only works for young people. Now it’s scientifically proven that exercising can help you live a longer, healthier, and more joyful life even in old age. Older people usually face many physical issues that can prevent them from exercising, such as reduced joint flexibility, injury, muscle loss, etc. Luckily, there are several exercises that older adults can do safely. This article gives you the 9 best forms of exercise for older adults.
Importance and Benefits of Exercise in Old Adults
As we get older, we think this is the time to rest and not have to work as hard as we once did. However, you will quickly lose your ability if you don’t keep moving. We all need to keep moving, it doesn’t have to be strenuous, but it is important for various reasons.
This is when so many people take their “golden years” and spend most of their time relaxing, playing golf or cards, and doing other activities that don’t involve a lot of physical strain. But this type of thinking is wrong as a lack of physical activities can lead to deadly diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, Alzheimer’s, high cholesterol, etc. We can easily avoid these diseases by exercising regularly. Exercising is the best thing older adults can do to maintain physical strength and well-being. Some benefits of exercise are:
- Great Cardiovascular Health
- High bone density
- Less stress and improved mental health
- Great sex life
- Improved sleep
- Better social life
- Improved brain function and reduced risk of dementia
The Best Exercises for Older Adults
Cycling is a low-impact and low-stress exercise for seniors. Cycling has a lot of health benefits. It helps to burn calories easily and maintain a healthy weight. Once you get comfortable with cycling, the more distance you go, the more weight you can lose. Cycling is also great for our hearts. It is a great way to improve our heart’s capacity. When we ride a bicycle, due to the increased need for oxygen, our heart pumps more blood, making our heart stronger. A strong heart can easily fight diseases like stroke and heart attacks.
Cycling is excellent for our memory too. It sends oxygen to the part of the brain responsible for memory. For seniors who are worried about memory loss, cycling can be a great help for them. In the end, we can say that cycling is not only a good exercise for older adults but also a great fun activity that can be safe with the use of adult tricycles when you are not comfortable using a regular bicycle.
Cycling doesn’t have to be an outdoor activity either. It can also be done indoors on a stable indoor bicycle, allowing you to be in climate control. As we get older, the heat might bother you from time to time. It is also hard to get out and cycle when there is snow on the ground, making the indoor stationary bike a great option.
Walking is the most accessible and simple form of exercise for older adults. It is also great for spending time in nature with your friends. The best thing about walking is that it’s not strenuous like other exercises and you can do it without any equipment. Walking strengthens muscles, lowers blood pressure, and keeps joints flexible. Moreover, walking can reduce depression, anxiety, and mental stress. Walking also increases our stamina and endurance. Walking is a great way to enrich our social life as we meet new people daily.
Some older adults choose to walk on a treadmill indoors, which is similar to an indoor bike. You have climate control. However, you can also walk at malls or in parks in your neighborhood. You don’t have to have a gym membership to walk. It is a free exercise that anyone can do. If you need to use a walker to help you along, that’s okay too. Walking simply around your home or up and down your driveway to get started can help build your stamina safely. You can also have your caregivers help you with walking from Rent a Daughter.
It’s never too late to get started with dancing. Dancing is an excellent exercise for seniors who are seeking enjoyable activity. Dancing has a lot of health benefits. Some of them are – improved balance, flexibility, increased memory, improved mental health, and happiness. Dancing also creates social opportunities for seniors. Seniors can meet new people in dance class. Those who cannot attend in-person classes can take online classes and learn from YouTube. But it’s always better to have a human instructor to avoid any injury while dancing. There are different types of dancing for seniors, such as ballet, salsa, line dancing, seated dancing, and more. Let’s take a look closer at some of these options:
Line dancing – A line dance is a choreographic dance in which a group of people dances to a series of repeated steps while arranged in one or more rows or columns. Country songs are most popular for line dancing. While it is often done with a group, you can enjoy line dancing at home following a video and learning the different dances as well.
Ballet – it’s a type of Italian dance that is used to tell a story. There are special ballet lessons that are tailored for seniors.
Seated dancing – Seated Dancing is great for seniors who have joint issues. This dancing aims to maximize calorie burn and maintain a healthy weight, all while not leaving your seat. This is a great form of exercise if you live alone and are concerned about falling.
Swimming is another low-impact exercise for seniors. Swimming can be a great stress reliever. The best thing about swimming is that it lowers your heart rate and decreases blood pressure instantly. Lower blood pressure decreases the risk of stroke and heart attacks. Swimming is an excellent option for seniors with joint pain and discomfort. Because swimming is gentle on joints, it keeps hips, knees, and spine free from any type of pressure. There are different types of swimming, such as butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle. Among them, freestyle swimming is the most suitable for seniors.
Swimming is also very healthy for our brains. It improves mood, cognitive function, and focus. It helps repair damage caused by stress and build new neural connections in the brain. Another vital benefit of swimming is that as we move in water, our bodies become more flexible, which increases our range of motion.
Yoga is a 5000 years old exercise which was originated in northern India. Due to its simplicity and effectiveness after so many years, it is still popular. Moreover, its popularity is increasing day by day. However, traditional yoga exercises may seem daunting to seniors, as most have flexibility issues. This is where chair yoga helps older adults get yoga’s health benefits. Chair yoga is a type of yoga that can be done while sitting in a chair. Almost every regular yoga pose can be adapted for chair yoga.
Chair yoga has a lot of health benefits, such as increased strength, flexibility, better sleep, and improved self-awareness and breathing. As safety and comfort are the top priority for older adults, chair yoga is a great choice for their health without risking any type of health injury that may occur from regular yoga.
Pilates has grown in popularity as a low-impact type of exercise. This practice dates back over a century and focuses on increased body strength, core body strength, concentration, body alignment, and breathing.
Pilates exercises are intended to develop endurance and physical strength, but they have also been demonstrated to improve posture and balance. Pilates is good for bone density, which we lose as we age. It is also great to improve mobility.
You might be asking what makes Pilates different from yoga. Both are low impact and use mat exercises that are similar. Pilates, on the other hand, concentrates on specific muscle strengthening exercises. It frequently uses a specialized machine known as a reformer. This machine has a sliding bed-like surface with springs and pulleys for resistance.
Step-ups, side circles, and mermaid movements are some Pilates exercises that are great for elderly people.
Paddleboarding is a sport that uses your entire body, including your core, arms, and legs. You’ll improve your balance and strength while connecting with nature – plus, unlike surfing, no waves are required! It’s a terrific pastime for anyone, including seniors, because you may paddle on a calm body of water with as much (or as little) effort as you like.
As long as they take care to ensure their health allows them to participate, paddleboarding is a great exercise for seniors. It is an excellent way to stay active, maintain muscle strength, and retain flexibility while giving a low-impact form of exercise frequently advised for adults over 50.
Many sports are tough to maintain throughout our golden years, but golf is not one of them. People of all ages enjoy the sport because it is both ageless and enjoyable! You can learn to play golf as a youngster or later in life and continue to do well into your retirement.
Golfing at least once a month reduces the incidence of early death among seniors. Other advantages include stress relief and relaxation, which golf appears to be more suited for than other activities.
In addition to the mental health benefits of being outside and the physical benefits of swinging the club, many golfers go the extra mile by walking the course.
Lifting weights, utilizing resistance bands, or engaging in a schedule of various bodyweight exercises are popular options for seniors seeking enhanced energy or weight loss. Incorporating this form of strength exercise into your regimen can boost bone density and range of motion, enhance balance, and prevent other aging effects.
Strength training benefits can be transformational in just a few weeks. It has been found that women aged 65 and older with low bone mass increased their bone strength and function by participating in twice-weekly 30-minute high-intensity resistance exercises.
Strength training can be combined with other forms of exercise as well. You can lift weights while walking to do two exercises at the same time. Lifting weights is very beneficial to your health and doesn’t take a lot of time out of your day to see the results. If you consider adding exercise to your life, you will want to look at some strength training.
Improve Your Lifespan with a Healthy Lifestyle
Maintaining an active physical lifestyle is an important part of staying healthy. Physical activity ranks high among the things you can do to boost your chances of living a long, healthy life when combined with eating well and getting enough sleep.
Being physically active becomes increasingly vital as you become older. On the other hand, doing the same physical activities you did in your 20s and 30s is probably not a good choice in your 60s and 70s. It is critical to discover exercises and activities for older folks that are healthful, enjoyable, and safe.
Living a healthy lifestyle will also help with your mental health as well. Golf, line dancing, and yoga are some ways you can get out and take classes with others and have some socialization done. We hope our list has inspired you to find something to help you get out and start leading an active lifestyle. Rent a Daughter understands the importance of exercise and wants to help our clients get up and be more active.
While some of these suggestions might be above your abilities, with some practice, you might be able to get there. Remember, everyone has to start somewhere. If you don’t feel you can walk on your own, go with your walker or use a cane. Always exercise in a safe manner and don’t overdo it. Be sure you are doing things properly so you don’t injure yourself when exercising. Speak with your doctor about what exercises would be best for you.