6 Great Forms of Exercise for Seniors

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Regular enjoyable exercise fosters wellbeing, independence, and longevity in seniors. It also reduces fall risk. Ideally, seniors should get at least 20 minutes of moderate activity daily. Here are six fun forms of exercise to consider for your aging loved one.

1. Chair Yoga

This is one of the safest exercises for older adults, suiting all fitness levels. Your loved one can do seated and standing poses with synchronized breathing and chair support. Thus, the chances of falling are low.

2. Benefits

  • Increases flexibility
  • Reduces muscle tension and pain
  • Increases circulation
  • Helps with balance and posture
  • Provides a calming effect

Many libraries and senior centers offer chair yoga classes. First, an experienced instructor demonstrates the moves. Then the participants do the exercises with the teacher’s assistance.

Depending on your loved one’s health and level of mobility, he or she may require assistance with everyday activities. There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Assisting Hands Home Care is a leading Miami Beach homecare provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life.

3. Tai Chi

As an offshoot of martial arts, tai chi combines focus, deep breathing, and slow, graceful movements. The poses may involve standing or sitting.

4. Benefits

  • Builds shoulder, abdominal, and leg muscle strength
  • Promotes flexibility and balance
  • Eases arthritis pain
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Enhances breathing and concentration
  • Lessens the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease

Your loved one can enroll in tai chi classes at a yoga or martial arts studio. 

4. Swimming

Swimming can be especially fun for seniors. The water supports 90 percent of your loved one’s weight, minimizing joint pressure. With water aerobics, your loved one does gentle exercises, and the water provides resistance. Another option is aqua yoga, which features smooth, relaxing poses performed against the force of water.

5. Benefits

  • Soothes joint inflammation
  • Boosts circulation to the heart and brain
  • Heightens cognitive function
  • Builds stamina
  • Stretches joints and tones muscles
  • Raises metabolic rate, aiding weight loss

Many fitness and community centers offer water aerobics and aqua yoga for seniors. 

If your loved one has mobility challenges or other health issues that make following an exercise routine difficult, he or she may benefit from the assistance of a dedicated caregiver. home care Miami Beach experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.

6. Strength Training

Your loved one can do strength training in three ways: with weights, resistance bands, or against gravity without weights.

7. Benefits

  • Spurs metabolism, burning calories and fat
  • Enhances muscle tone and strength
  • Moderates blood pressure, lowering heart disease risk
  • Builds bone density
  • Boosts mood and self-esteem

First, get a doctor’s referral for a physical therapist (PT) to evaluate your loved one. The PT will determine the optimal method and frequency of strength training. Most PT facilities accept various types of insurance coverage, including Medicare.

The PT may choose color-coded resistance bands for your loved one, or he or she might recommend exercising with body weight resistance. Examples are wall push-ups, calf raises, and squats with wall support. Another option is using dumbbells or weights secured to the wrists or ankles.

5. Chair Pilates

Pilates exercises work the whole body. Accompanied by paced breathing, they align the joints, sculpt muscles, and streamline movement.

Typically, Pilates entails doing floor exercises on a mat or with a machine called a reformer. However, this regimen involves spinal twisting and weighted bending. Such moves are hazardous for seniors, especially those with osteoporosis. Chair Pilates is a safer alternative similar to chair yoga but more challenging.

6. Benefits

  • Features postural exercises and balance training
  • Increases bone density, preventing fractures
  • Facilitates rising from chairs, walking, and exiting cars
  • Promotes supple joints
  • Directs blood flow to the brain, enhancing cognitive function

It’s best to start a chair Pilates program with a certified instructor who works with seniors. This way, the teacher can modify the exercises for your loved one’s comfort and safety.

6. Walking

This is the simplest form of exercise for seniors. Your loved one doesn’t need a gym membership, special equipment, or an instructor.

Moreover, walking is convenient. During unpleasant weather, your loved one can amble through a mall, taking the stairs if possible. When it’s nice outside, your loved one can enjoy invigorating fresh air and sunshine.

7. Benefits

  • Boosts mood
  • Reduces high blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar
  • Fortifies immunity
  • Lubricates joints, alleviating stiffness and pain
  • Strengthens bones and muscles
  • Promotes sound sleep

First, provide your loved one with supportive shock-absorbing shoes. If your loved one uses a cane or walker, ensure all the parts are secure.

Encourage your loved one to walk at a comfortable pace, aiming for 10 minutes. Gradually, as your loved one builds stamina, he or she can increase the time and pace.

8. Exercise Precautions

Before your loved one begins an exercise program, get the doctor’s consent. If the physician approves, designate a responsible person to oversee your loved one’s activity. If your loved one takes an exercise class, make sure to inform the instructor of any medical conditions your loved one has.

If your older loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, a trusted provider of Miami Beach in-home care. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping. To hire a compassionate, dedicated caregiver, call us at (305) 564-6251 today.