Exercise Plan for Seniors


Exercise Plan for Seniors

Nutrition and exercise are necessary for a good and healthy lifestyle. Throughout one’s life, a person needs to live happily and healthy and as one starts to age, their needs begin to change too. Multiple scientific research show that regular exercise is necessary for the senior citizens and many seniors are going forward with an active lifestyle rather than a sedentary one. Various Health Benefits of Exercising in Old Adults

Our body’s biology changes as and when we get old. That leads to many reasons for seniors to be in the right shape compared to the older generation. Of course, physical fitness provides huge amount of benefits at any age, still the health perks that senior citizens get are more notable.

Many researchers and physicians recommend that senior people need to be active as much as possible, and that too without overexerting oneself. For older adults, exercising would help them to live healthier, longer and lead a happy life.

The major benefits of exercising for older adults are –

More Exercising Leads to More Independence for Seniors

When seniors exercise regularly, they are less likely going to depend on others. Studies show that regular exercising can allow older adults to bath, walk, cook, dress, eat and even use the restroom. In case of self-reliance for old people, exercise is important and the best means for maintaining the require independence.

Exercising Helps to Improve Balance Among Older People

For old people, falling is a huge deal compared to the younger ones. Multiple research show that every 10 seconds, a senior citizen is admitted to the emergency room of a hospital for fall-related injuries. Not only that, every 19 minutes, a senior citizen dies from the fall.

Even though no two falls are the same, and at times preventing the fall would be complex, but exercising can help to lower the likelihood. Somewhat you can say that it would be around 30 %.

Regular Exercising Leads to More Energy

Somewhat this would seem counter-intuitive, but when you are inactive, it can make you feel too tired but being active would provide you with a good amount of energy. Keep in mind that any amount of exercise that you do would release endorphins. These endorphins are necessary and important neurotransmitters that are linked to pain mitigation. Also, they are the sense of well-being.

Endorphins can easily combat the stress hormones. It can help to promote healthy sleep and make one feel more energetic and livelier.

Exercise Would Prevent and Fight Against Diseases

Depression, heart diseases, osteoporosis, and diabetes are some of the common diseases that are present among the older adults. Also, they are very much deadly. However, when you adopt a healthy lifestyle, it would lead to the prevention of such diseases and even reduce the unwanted symptoms of the diseases that old people have in them. So, if you are at the risk of suffering from such diseases, then exercising can be the best means to ward off the unpleasant conditions.

Regular Exercising Leads to Proper Brain Function

The most awesome development in the health science is the understanding that the mind and body are very much intricately linked. When you have a healthy body, it leads to a healthy mind. Old people who regular exercise daily can improve their cognitive health. As per the doctors, sometimes exercising can even reduce the risk of having Alzheimer’s disease and even dementia to around 50%.

Do You Know the Mental Health Benefits of Exercising Among Old People?

Exercise helps in the mental health development of old people. The following are the benefits involved –

Improves One’s Sleep

A good quality sleep is important for the overall health as and when you get old. When you are doing regular exercising, you would fall asleep faster. Your sleep would become deeper, and you would wake feeling more refreshed and energetic.

Boosting Your Mood and Self-Confidence

For old people, exercising can be a great stress reliever and the endorphins would help to reduce the feeling of depression, sadness, and anxiety. When you are active, you would feel strong and even you can feel more self-confident.

Improving the Functions of Your Brain

Activities like crossword puzzles and Sudoku would help to make your brain active. However, little comes too close to the beneficial effects that exercise has on the brain. Exercising would help the brain to function much diversely like creativity and multitasking. Also, it can help to avoid memory loss, dementia, and cognitive decline. Becoming active would slow down the progression of the brain and even avoid Alzheimer disease.

Overcoming Major Hurdles for Becoming Active as You Age

It can be challenging to maintain and start a regular exercise routine. Well, it does not get easier when you become old. Sometimes you would feel discouraged due to the health issues, pains, aches, etc.

Now you would not have exercised before, in that case you will not know where to begin, or you would think that you are too frail or old. Sometimes you would feel that you cannot live up to the standards that you could have set when you were younger. At times, you would feel that exercising is boring.

Best Exercises for Seniors

For older adults, exercise is necessary, however, it can be hard to know when or where you should start. Sometimes you would not have worked out for some time, in that case, coming back to the active world would be a tough task. Even there are chances that exercise that you were accustomed to will not be ideal when you are an older adult.

Even though these would seem to be a good reason to slow down and take it easy, still when you age, there are other major reasons to be on the move. When you are active, your mood gets energized and that would help to relieve your stress. Also, it can help you to manage the symptoms of the illness and pain that you would suffer from.

For old people aerobic exercise can help to improve the overall sense of well-being. The best part is that reaping the reward of exercise will not have any strenuous workouts and trips to the gym. There are added benefits where you can add more amounts of movements and activities to your life and that can be in a small way. Well, the best part is that whatever your age or physical condition is, it is never too late to get your body moving.

The following are the best exercises for older adults –

1) Water Aerobics

In the past years, water aerobics have become one of the popular kinds of exercises among all ages, and that too among seniors. Do you know that exercising in the water is good for living? Old people suffering from arthritis and other major kinds of joint pains can benefit from the buoyancy of the water. That would put less stress on your joints.

Furthermore, water can bring out the natural resistance. This would allow you to remove the requirements of the weights in the strength training. Water aerobic exercise can easily improve your strength, balance, and flexibility. All these would be done with less stress on your body.

Some of the best water aerobic exercises for senior people are –

  • Flutter Kicking
  • Aqua Jogging
  • Leg Lifts
  • Arms Curls
  • Standing Water Push-Ups

2) Resistance Band Workouts

Resistance bands are just a stretchy strip of rubber that adds a good amount of resistance for any workouts and even reduces the stress of your body. Frankly, resistance band workouts are very much user-friendly and greatly accessible for beginners. 

This form of exercise is becoming hugely popular among many senior people. The major reason is that it is very much cheap and has very less up-front costs in terms of materials. This makes resistance band workouts best for at-home exercise. Furthermore, such exercises are best for those people that want to strengthen their core. 

This exercise can help you to improve your mobility, posture, and balance. Some of the best resistance band training workouts for old people are – 

  • Triceps Press
  • Leg Press
  • Lateral Raise
  • Band Pull Apart
  • Bicep Curl

3) Chair Yoga

Just like the water aerobics, you can do the chair yoga as it is a low-impact kind of exercise. This one would help to improve your mobility, muscle strength, flexibility, and balance. All these factors are necessary for the crucial health needs of seniors. 

Do you know chair yoga is one of the best accessible forms of yoga? It provides and leads to less stress on your joints, muscles, and even bones. Some people even feel that it is one of the more conventional forms of yoga. 

A bonus of doing chair yoga is that it can help to improve your mental health. When old people do regular chair yoga, they get better sleep and even reduce the chances of getting depressed. 

Some of the best chair yoga exercises for old people are – 

  • Seated Cow Stretch
  • Overhead Stretch
  • Seated Mountain Pose
  • Seated Cat Stretch
  • Seated Twist

4) Pilates

Pilates is one of the popular and low-impact kinds of exercise and that was developed somewhat centuries ago. During the Pilates, alignment, breathing, core strength, concentration is emphasized. Also, this exercise would typically contain Pilates balls, mats, and other major inflated accessories that can be used for strength building and leading to very less stress. 

Various doctors feel that Pilates can help to improve the balance of old people. It can even help to develop the core strength and increase the flexibility among the older adults. 

Some of the best Pilates exercises for the old people are – 

  • Mermaid Movement
  • Food Slides
  • Side Circles
  • Step Ups
  • Leg Circle

5) Body Weight Workouts

No doubt, muscle loss would be very much devastating, and it is debilitating for old people. Somewhere around one-third of seniors suffer from severs muscle loss and that leads to huge hormone issues. Also, it can reduce the chances to metabolize the proteins and other major issues. 

Body weight workouts are one of the best means for counteracting the effects of the muscle atrophy among the old people. The major key benefits of the body weight are that it is affordability. 

The materials needed for the body weight workouts are less. Most of the body weight workouts needed is just workout clothes and even a soft mat that can soften the impact of the floor. 

Some of the major body weight workouts for seniors are – 

  • Step up
  • Squats to Chair
  • Bird Dog
  • Side Lying Circles
  • Lying Hip Bridges

6) Walking

One of the accessible and least stressful types of exercising is the walking. For some people especially the seniors, walking is one of the biggest challenges compared to other activity. Most importantly, distance and step goals can differ from one person to another.

Walking helps to promote a healthy lifestyle and it strengthens the muscles, and reduces the risk of heart diseases, diabetes and stroke. Some of the ideal walking exercises for old people –

  • Find a walk-friendly race for training
  • Find a moderate trail through the park
  • Walk to the perimeter of the familiar building

Exercises That Senior Need to Avoid

Some of the major percentage of the best mainstream workouts will not be ideal for older people. These popular workouts are much suitable for younger adults but when you are old and unhealthy to an extent, then you need to avoid them. Well, such exercises would lead to posture issues, atrophied muscles, and issues in terms of balance.

Some of the exercises you can avoid are –

  • Heavy Bench Press
  • Squat with Dumbbells and Weights
  • Leg Press
  • Upright Row
  • Long-Distance Running
  • Abdominal Crunches
  • Deadlift
  • Power Clean
  • Rock Climbing

Getting an Exercise Buddy Would Be Great

Well, the above given exercises would be the great ones that you can do. Plus, try to do these exercises with a friend or anyone who is interested in being healthy and mentally fit. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and try them.


Saravavan Nadarajan (Vanan)

Vanan, fitness expert and leader at EzFit Singapore, specializes in holistic training—home-based, boot camps, and corporate fitness—with over a decade of industry experience.

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