14 Best exercises for Seniors for Strength, Flexibility, and Balance
Seniors are living longer than ever before. However, longer may not be necessarily better in all cases. If you want your parents to age healthier and happier, consider including these exercises in their weekly regimen. There are 14 exercises to help seniors improve their health. Regardless of age or fitness level, research has shown that these activities help seniors’ health by preventing falls and illness while remaining active and independent for extended periods. Make it a habit to complete the suggested exercises for strength, balance, flexibility, and cardio activities at least once a week. It is recommended that seniors follow the below mentioned weekly practices, and those are:
- Walk or do other aerobic exercises for at least 150 minutes every week.
- Strength training should be conducted 2-3 times a week, but never twice in a row.
- Every day, practice stretching and balancing exercises.
- Just make sure to check with your doctor before starting any workout programme.
Activity 1: Single Limb Stance
For seniors, it is preferable, to begin with, a simple balancing practice. This one is very simple: stand behind a table or a chair and grab the back of it. Raise your foot and balance on the other foot. Hold that stance for as long as possible before switching feet. The objective is to stand and balance your weight on one foot for a minute.
Activity 2: Heel to Toe Walking
This workout strengthens your legs and allows you to walk without falling. Place your left foot in front of the right foot such that the heel of one foot meets the top of the other foot’s toes. Place your foot in front of the other and put the weight on your heel. Then transfer your weight to your toes. Repeat the previous step with another foot. Take 20 such steps in this direction.
Activity 3: Rock the Boat
Stand on both feet with shoulder-width apart. Here, one should firmly plant both feet on the ground with even weight. Stand up straight and keep your head level, looking forward. Start to shift your body weight to your right foot and gradually raise your left leg off the ground. Maintain this posture for 30 seconds. Slowly place your left foot back on the ground and shift your weight to this foot. Now lift your right leg slowly and hold for 30 seconds. Begin by performing this balancing training five times on each side, and then gradually increase the number of repetitions.
Activity 4: Clock Reach
This workout also requires a chair. Consider yourself to be at the centre of a clock. The number 12 is right before you, while the number 6 is behind you. With your left hand, hold the chair. Raise one leg and extend the arm so the number 12 is visible. Then, point your arm towards three and six. Bring your arm back to three, and then back to the number twelve in front. Always keep your gaze straightforward and breathe normally. Repeat with the other side, and do this routine twice on each side.
Activity 5: Back Leg Raises
This strength training workout increases strength in your middle and lower back. Position yourself behind a chair. Raise your leg straight back without bending your knees or pointing your toes. Hold that posture for one second, and then gradually lower your leg. Repeat with the other leg, do this exercise ten to fifteen times per leg.
Activity 6: Arm Single Limb Stance
This senior balancing activity promotes physical coordination. Stand straight next to a chair with feet together and arms at the sides. Hold the chair for support if required, and extend your left hand over your head. Then, slowly lift your left foot off the floor. Maintain that posture for 10 seconds. Repeat the process on the opposite side. Breathe normally.
Activity 7: Side Leg Raise
This balance practice will need a chair. Plant your feet shoulder-width apart behind the chair. Lift your right leg to the side slowly. Keep your back straight, your toes forward, and your gaze fixed forward. Slowly lower your right leg. Repeat this activity ten to fifteen times per leg.
Activity 8: Balancing Wand
This senior balancing movement may be done while sitting. You will need a cane or a stick to help you. A broomstick is ideal; simply remove the broom’s head before beginning. This drill’s purpose is to maintain the stick upright for as long as possible. Switch your hands to maintain the balance of your body.
Activity 9: Wall Pushups
One may do this strength training workout for seniors anywhere there is a wall. Plant your palms at arm’s length in front of a blank wall at shoulder height and breadth. Now, slightly move or lean forward. Maintain your footing as you progressively move your body to the wall and then push back gently, keeping your arms straight. Perform twenty repetitions of these.
Activity 10: Marching in Place
Marching is an excellent balancing workout for seniors. Lift your right knee as high as possible while standing straight. Lower it, and then raise the left leg. Repeat twenty times this alternate lift and drop of your legs.
Activity 11: Toe Lifts
This senior strength training activity also improves balance. You will require a chair or a counter. Stand up and extend your arms in front of you. Rise high on your toes, and then slowly lower yourself. Avoid leaning too far forward on a chair or counter. Repeat this 20 times.
Activity 12: Shoulder Rolls
It is an easy senior freehand practice. You can do it sitting or standing. Gently rotate your shoulders up towards the ceiling, then bring them back and down circularly. Do the same procedure again.
Activity 13: Hand and Finger Workouts
The workouts listed below can help you increase your flexibility. Pretend you are facing a wall in the first movement. Your fingertips will climb the wall until they reach the top. Wiggle your fingers for 10 seconds while stretching your arms straight over your head. Then bring them back down. Take one hand behind your back and reach the other hand. Hold that position for 10 seconds, and then switch arms.
Activity 14: Calf Stretches
These senior strength training routines may be done sitting or standing. Find a wall to do calf stretches while standing. Stand straight, facing the wall — position one leg behind the other. Maintain your left heel on the floor while bending your right knee. For 30 seconds, hold the stretch. Repeat this two to four times for each leg. Use a towel to stretch your calves while sitting. Sit with your legs straight on the floor. Wrap the towel over the soles of your right foot, holding both ends together. Hold the towel in front of you for 30 seconds while maintaining your knee straight.
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Geriatric hardships are not unavoidable. These 14 leg exercises have been shown to assist the elderly stay healthy, active, and independent for a more extended period. The formula is straightforward. Do 150 minutes of cardio each week, at least two times a week of weight training, and a balancing or stretching workout every day. Whether it is a stroll, swimming, or dancing, these workouts are enjoyable and will make your parents feel fantastic.
Walking strengthens your lower body, which is where your body’s centre of gravity is located. Muscles in your hips, abdomen, and lower back help to stabilise your motions and enhance your overall balance. Walking is also an aerobic exercise.
Vitamin D is essential for postural equilibrium. Not only is vitamin D necessary for bone health, but studies suggest that a shortage of this vitamin in the body can lead to impaired muscular performance and falls.
Balance training activities for the elderly assist in building up their muscular strength, enhancing flexibility, posture, and coordination, and so improving their balance.
Long-term medical disorders, cardiac difficulties, certain drugs, vision impairment, and a general deterioration in bodily functioning related to ageing contribute to seniors’ poor balance.