The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that at least 300,000 older adults are hospitalized and treated for hip fractures each year, mainly following a fall. While fractures take a long time to heal in younger adults, bedrest time will likely triple for older adults because of their weakened bones. Bedridden seniors are more vulnerable to a slew of health issues aside from fractures, such as hindered blood circulation, bed sores, and depression.
At the end of the day, it is never too late to start something new. By embracing a consistent senior fitness program, older adults can stay fit and cultivate more happiness and lasting memories years into retirement. We have compiled a list of 15 exercises for different mobility levels.
Keep Seniors Firm On Their Feet With 15 Exercises Tailored for Different Mobility Levels
Senior Fitness: Understanding Frequency & Solid Advantages
As the risk of falls elevates around 65, keeping the body active is more vital than ever for seniors to enjoy their golden years with confidence and resilience.
According to numerous research, the impact of physical activities on seniors is immeasurable. It is a pathway to improve overall health and achieve healthy aging, whether they walk around the block or float underwater doing aqua aerobics. Several studies have revealed that exercise is the key to longevity, meaning seniors can expect to live longer and feel livelier over time. In senior women, exercise is the key to stronger bones because their bones deteriorate faster than men.
Health experts describe that seniors’ optimal exercise routine should include a diverse blend of exercises, from stretching to strength training. Regarding the frequency, seniors should aim for at least 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise 5 days a week. Some life-changing benefits of moving more regularly for seniors include:
- Encourages independent living
- Maintains healthy weight
- Increases energy levels
- Supports the immune system
- Enhances mobility, balance, and flexibility
- Relieves joint pain and discomfort
- Improves sleep quality
- Mitigates cognitive decline
- Boosts brain power
- Prevents bone loss
- Reinforces social connections
- Elevates moods and confidence
- Support everyday activities
- Reduces stress and anxiety and stave off depressive symptoms
- Reduces the impact of age-related ailments, such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancers
Senior Fitness Program: 15 Mobility Exercises for Seniors
Discover our list of top 15 exercises for seniors to regain balance and improve mobility.
Exercise 1: Shoulder Blade Squeeze
- You can do shoulder blade squeeze while sitting or standing: sit up straight with two hands resting on your lap or stand right up with two arms at your sides.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades toward one another, then release.
- Keep your shoulders down and relaxed for 3 seconds.
- Repeat 8 to 12 times.
Exercise 2: Shoulder Rolls
- Stand up with two feet spreading apart about the width of your shoulders.
- Roll your shoulders in a forward motion for 30 seconds.
- Release and roll your shoulders backward for another 30 seconds.
Exercise 3: Arm Circles
- Stand up with two feet shoulder-width apart.
- Extend your arms to both sides and keep them straight out.
- Start rotating both arms in backward and forward motions for 30 seconds in each direction.
Exercise 4: Neck Stretch
- Sit in the chair while grabbing the side edges or stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and two arms relaxed at your sides.
- Keep your neck straight, meaning no tipping your head forward or backward.
- Slowly turn your head to the right until you feel a stretch.
- Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds.
- Repeat for the other side.
- Repeat 3-5 times.
Exercise 5: Wall Push-ups
- Stand upright and 3 feet away from the wall with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Extend your arms to the front and on the same level as your shoulders.
- Place the palms of your hands flat on the wall.
- Start leaning forward while focusing on keeping your spine straight.
- Lower the body toward the wall and push back as if you are doing a push-up on the floor.
- Repeat 10-15 times.
Exercise 6: Shoulder and Upper Back Stretch
- Stand in an upright position as usual.
- Extend your left arm and raise it to the chest level.
- Place your left hand on the right shoulder.
- Use your right hand to grab the left elbow.
- Gently pull your left arm across the chest to the right.
- Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat the other side.
Exercise 7: Ankle Flexion
- Sit up straight in a sturdy chair with two hands on your lap.
- Extend one leg to the front until the heels sit comfortably on the ground.
- Remain in this position while pointing the toe forward as far as possible.
- Point the toe upward to the ceiling.
- Repeat 20-30 times for each side.
Exercise 8: Chair Squats
- Sit upright in a sturdy chair with your legs spreading shoulder-width apart.
- Keep the knees at a 90-degree angle.
- Gently stand up and sit back down with a straight back.
- Use an armchair for extra support.
Exercise 9: Knee Lifts
- Sit in a chair with two hands gently grabbing the edge for support.
- Keep the knees at a 90-degree angle.
- Lift one leg at a time while contracting your right quadriceps muscles.
- Keep the back of your thigh off the seat for a few inches.
- Keep the position for 3 seconds and lower your leg.
- Repeat 8-10 times and repeat the same steps for the other leg.
Exercise 10: Heel Raises
- Sit in a firm chair with two hands relaxed on your lap.
- Gently raise your heels while your toes are fixed on the floor.
- Repeat 20 times.
Exercise 11: Ankle Rotations
- Sit in a sturdy chair with two hands grabbing the edge for support.
- Lift your left foot off the ground and rotate your foot 5 times on each side.
- Repeat with the other foot.
Exercise 12: Toe Taps
- Sit in a chair and place your heels firmly on the ground.
- Gently lift your toes upward until you feel the muscles along the shin working.
- Repeat 20 times.
Exercise 13: Upper Back
- Sit in a sturdy chair.
- Place your feet flat on the floor and shoulder-width apart.
- Extend both arms to the same level as your shoulders.
- Press the backs of your hands together, meaning the palms face outward.
- Focus on relaxing your shoulders, no scrunching up.
- Reach your fingertips until your back moves away from the back of the chair.
- Pause and hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds.
- Repeat 3-5 times.
Exercise 14: Standing Side Bends
- Stand straight up with legs and feet together.
- Reach both arms overhead while inhaling.
- Lower your left arm to your left side.
- On an exhale, lengthen your right arm over your head while bending your torso to the left.
- Repeat the same steps for the other side.
- Do 6 to 10 times per side.
Exercise 15: Shifting Weight
- Stand upright with your feet spreading apart roughly the width of your shoulders.
- Relax both arms to the side. Use a chair for support at the front if needed.
- Slowly shift the weight to the right and lift your left foot off the ground for a few inches.
- Remain in the position in 30 seconds.
- Repeat for the other side 3 times.
- Stand upright with your hands on your hips or lean backward to the back of a sturdy chair for extra support.
- Lift one foot off the ground, bend the knees, and keep the heels between the floor and your buttocks.
- Remain in the position for 10 seconds.
- Resume the starting position and repeat the same steps for the other side.
- Repeat 3 times and try to work up to 30 seconds.
Safety Tips to Consider
Before starting an exercise routine, adhering to doctor’s recommendations and warnings is important to ensure your safety. Some safety tips and things to consider include:
- Get in touch with the doctor if your parents have health concerns that make them unfit to exercise, such as shortness of breath, an infection, blood clots, chest pain, joint swelling, recent surgery, a hernia, etc.
- Always check with the doctor if you have trouble breathing, dizziness, difficulty with balance, and nausea while exercising.
- Start slowly if your parents aren’t used to being active.
- Only do exercises that your parents feel comfortable with.
- Wear breathable clothes and well-fitting sports shoes. Such shoes are built with arch support and shock absorption, preventing ankle injuries.
- Skip exercising and rest for a few days when feeling unwell or sick.
- Always drink water, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
Senior Fitness Programs
While we can’t deny the tremendous benefits of exercise for seniors’ aging journey, sticking to an exercise routine can be a difficult task for some. Chronic diseases, poor joint health, laziness, and a lack of motivation can all prevent seniors from performing their best.
In addition to online tutorials, seniors can now become more active and monitor their fitness routines with various fitness programs tailored to their needs, requirements, and mobility levels. Some physical activity programs for seniors to consider include:
- Active Living Every Day (ALED)
- Active Choices
- AEA Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program
- AEA Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program
- Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less
- Fit And Strong!
- Healthy Moves For Aging Well
- Stay Active And Independent For Life (SAIL)
- On The Move (OTM)
- Tai Chi For Arthritis
- Tai Chi Prime
- Tai Ji Quan: Move For Better Balance
- Walk With Ease
If you have questions about senior fitness or any topics discussed here, connect with us and learn more.
At 12 Oaks, our team of caring professionals is dedicated to keeping residents safe, engaged, and connected to their families and friends while leading fulfilling lives. 12 Oaks Senior Living Communities are an ideal place to enjoy the encore season of life.
For questions or to schedule a personalized tour, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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