These Elderly Exercise Ideas Can Help Seniors Thrive, Regardless of Activity Level

Even as we age, the benefits of exercise far outweigh any barriers faced, and it’s critical for older adults’ overall health to keep up with as active a lifestyle as possible. Although it’s especially challenging for seniors who are bedridden or spend most of their time in a wheelchair to exercise, there’s still a full range of elderly exercise options available to strengthen, improve resistance and flexibility.

Be sure to first check with the older adult’s physician to get a recommendation and his or her approval for an elderly exercise program that can be implemented for the individual. When first beginning the exercises, keep in mind that even as little as a few minutes per day, repeated several times throughout the day, can greatly impact the senior’s health.

Below are a few different kinds of exercise to take into consideration for older adults:

  • Aerobic Exercises: If full body movements are not possible for the senior, there are exercises that can be done from a seated position to help build cardio strength. If possible, these options are good to try:
    • Swimming or water aerobics
    • Dancing
    • Walking
    • Tai Chi
    • Bowling
  • Resistance Exercises: To strengthen muscle tissue, exercising with resistance weights, such as elastic bands, can be helpful. These bands are available in a variety of tensile strengths for varying strength levels. The Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences outlines that even as little as one day each week of strength training helps older adults maintain independence and reduce the risk of injury.
  • Flexibility Exercises: Stretching helps improve flexibility and freedom of movement. Look for yoga classes at your area’s local senior or recreation centers.
  • Alzheimer’s Exercises: In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, an array of exercise options can be tried that can work well for the senior, and with increased supervision and modifications, can be continued even as the disease progresses. Since repetition is often comforting to those with Alzheimer’s disease, activities such as folding laundry, walking, and riding a stationary bike are helpful both to the person’s physical and mental state.

Encouraging your senior loved one to start and then stay with an elderly exercise program is the key to the program’s success. These tips can help make it something fun that he or she will look forward to:

  • Participate in the exercise program with your loved one. It’s always more fun to exercise with a friend.
  • Incorporate his or her favorite, upbeat music.
  • Schedule dedicated time each day for exercise, and make sure it’s a priority.
  • Incentives or rewards for attaining milestones can provide great motivation.

For more guidelines on helping older adults increase activity levels, contact Home & Hearth Caregivers in Chicago. Our professional in-home caregivers are experienced in helping older adults thrive and enhance their overall wellbeing, and we love nothing more than knowing the seniors within our care are healthy and enjoying life to the fullest! Contact us at 800-349-0663 for more information on setting up an elderly exercise program to improve life for your senior loved one!

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