Highly Effective Exercises for the Elderly
Most people completely underestimate the importance of exercise, especially for the elderly. The truth is that once we reach the age of 65, exercise and regular physical activity is critical for a number of reasons. First, it allows for increased blood flow and circulation throughout the body, this oxygenates muscles and bones to alleviate aches and pains. Second, exercise can increase dopamine levels in the brain, which are essential to cognitive thinking and actually decrease stress.
What it comes down to is that just because your body isn’t as active or flexible as it used to be, it doesn’t mean that you can’t exercise. There are many exercises for the elderly that are not only easy to do, but also easy to stick to. The following is a list of ten highly effective exercises for the elderly.
Walking. This is by far one of the best exercises for elderly individuals, because it is a low impact way to get your blood pumping and circulating. In fact, out of all the cardio exercises, walking is one of the easiest for the elderly, because there isn’t any strenuous physical exertion involved.
It is recommended that you walk at least twenty minutes each day. However, if walking twenty minutes a day is too much for ou, try to do some light walking every other day. It may help you to stay motivated if you find a quiet street or park to walk in,somewhere safe and with beautiful scenery or friendly people to talk to.
Stair climbing. Even if it’s only a couple of stairs that you are walking up and down, it can be a great way to strengthen the leg muscles and build up your general strength. Not only that, but stair climbing is a great cardio exercise that will get the blood flowing.
Unlike walking, stair climbing requires a bit of exertion, but it can be a great way to get the body in shape and to maintain activity. just remembernot to push yourself too hard, because falling is a real threat. Only climb as many stairs as you are able to.
Swimming. This is another type of whole body exercise that strengthens multiple core muscle groups all at once. Swimming is one of the few exercises that can be done without putting too much impact on your joints and bones. That means it is it an excellent exercise for people who suffer from osteoporosis, arthritis and other joint problems. Oftentimes, these conditions can make it difficult to do any physical exercise, but you may find swimming to be a relaxing and enjoyable way to get much needed physical activity.
Cycling. Some elderly people may scoff at the idea of riding a bike, but it is actually easier than you think. That old adage about never forgetting how to ride a bike is true. If you are elderly, try to find a bike with multiple gears and practice on your street first. Soon enough you’ll be able to ride short trails, bike around your neighborhood and more.
If you are a homebound senior, you may want to think about purchasing a stationary exercise bike. There is very little risk of falling off and most can be programmed according to your physical fitness level.
Rowing. This is another great exercise for individuals who want to build up their upper body strength. It is a perfect exercise for elderly individuals, because it is low impact and enjoyable. If you live near a large public park or a lake, there is a good chance that you can rent a boat to take out on the water for an hour or a day. You don’t necessarily have to spend a long time on the water and you can take breaks regularly. Simply taking your time to row yourself from point A to point B will be great exercise.
Tennis. Although this type of exercise may be too physically demanding for some elderly people, if you are able to play, you should. If you can fit it into your fitness regimen, it can be a great way to stay active and alert.
Tennis helps to build muscle while at the same time building up cognitive strength as well. Another great thing about tennis is that you can play it with a friend, which makes the sport a fun, social exercise as well. While you don’t have to play tennis competitively, engaging in a few rallies will make you feel great and energized.
Dancing. This is another great, social exercise and it is a wonderful way to stay physically active. Whether you waltz, tap dance or the two-step, dancing is also a great way to feel young again. The best part about dancing is that you can do it anywhere and you can do it with anyone.
There is a good chance that your town or community has some kind of dance hall or dancing class that you can take. If it doesn’t, your living room makes for the perfect dance hall. Just put on your favorite music and dance til your heart’s content.
Stretching exercises. Another fantastic low-impact exercise is stretching. Stretching not only strengthens your muscles and loosens your joints, but it will also decrease stiffness. For those suffering with arthritis and other health conditions that cause soreness in the joints and bones, this can be a real Godsend. It is recommended to do a few simple stretching exercises in the morning when you get up and again before you go to sleep at night.
Weight lifting. You don’t necessarily need to lift enormous dumbbells to feel the benefits of weight lifting. Having a few light weights around can provide great exercise for the elderly, especially for keeping the strength in the arms and other core muscles. Also, lifting weights is an easy exercise to do wherever you are and you can stop whenever you want. This is perfect for individuals who may get tired easily from too much strenuous activity.
Yoga. This is one of the best exercises for the elderly, because it helps to strengthen the mind and body at the same time. Many people believe that you have to be ultra flexible to practice yoga, but there are actually many yoga positions that are easy and not very strenuous. Yoga is also great for the mind, because it can increase concentration and other cognitive functions.
Lastly, just because you are in a certain age bracket that is more commonly associated with bingo and staying in to watch television, it doesn’t mean that you can’t take some time out of your day to complete some exercises. When it comes down to it, physical fitness will keep your mind active, your body strong and it will increase your overall wellbeing. Don’t you think you owe it to yourself to feel the best you can feel and live a longer, happier life?