10 Exercises for Seniors to Do at Home
Warm up is a crucial part of exercising at any age. As you age, the tendency to getting injured by pushing your joints and muscles too far increases. That makes warming up appropriately even more important.
Warming up helps to increase the amount of synovial fluid in the joints. It also helps to improve muscle flexibility to reduce chances of injury.
Walk around with your hands in a circular motion
If your living room is not big enough, you might need to create some space. You need to start walking around while swinging your hands in a circular motion. You don’t need too much space. You can walk in circles.
Count the reps of the circular motion of your hands to ten reps before you change and swing the hands in the opposite direction.
A good five minutes of walking around while swinging your arms should get you all warmed up and ready for your routine.
1. Single Foot Stand
Get a sturdy, immovable chair or any other kind of support to hold onto. Stand behind your support and lift your right leg balancing on your left foot. You can hold your right leg with the left arm behind your back.
While in this position, you can try to let go of the chair if you’re confident enough. If not, hold on to the chair but put as much weight on the left foot as possible.
You can hold the pose for about 20 seconds before switching and balancing on the left foot. You should aim to stand on one foot for up to a minute with the least possible weight on the chair.
2. Single Limb stance
With your chair still in front of you for support, you can easily switch to this workout. It focuses on balance and strengthens muscles in the feet and around the waist.
Stand behind the chair and hold on to the back. Lift your left leg as high up as possible. Hold the position for as long as possible before switching the feet and using the other foot. This work out is perfect if you find the first one a little challenging.
3. Walking heel to toe
Still, on lower body workouts and balance – this exercise makes your legs stronger, allowing you to walk with more confidence without falling.
With this exercise, you don't need the chair so you can put it aside. Place your right foot in front of your left foot, so the heel of your right foot touches the toes of your left foot. While putting weight on the heel of your left foot, move the left foot in front of the right making sure the heel and the toes touch.
Putting the weight on your right heel, move the right foot in front of the left foot. With each move, make sure the weight moves from the heel to the toes as if you're walking while pressing your foot as hard as possible into the floor.
Keep walking this way and count 20 steps. Take breaks of about a minute before trying another set. If you're not confident in your balance, you can have someone hold your hands but don't put pressure onto the support.
4. Clock reach
You will need the chair once more. Imagine you're standing at the centre of a clock with number 12 directly in front of you and six behind you. Hold the chair with your right hand, lift your left leg and extend the left arm so it's pointing to 12. Point your arm towards number three and then towards number six which should be behind you. Bring the arm back to number three then back to 12. Make sure you look forward the whole time.
Once the arm back to the original position, switch hands. This time the left is holding on to the support and the right hand is reaching out to the clock.
5. Wall push ups
All you need for this work out is a wall. Make sure your feet are resisting on a stable surface that won’t slip.
Face the wall and stand at an arms distance from the wall. If there are any paintings, it's safer to remove them first. Lean forward and place your palms on the wall at the height and width of your shoulders. Keep your feet firmly planted into the ground and slowly bring your body towards the wall, make sure your elbows bend outwards.
Push yourself back so your arms are straight again. Do as many as comfortable before taking a break. It’s advisable to start with at least ten as you get accustomed.
6. Shoulder Rolls
Shoulder rolls are another great upper body and arms work out. It’s simple but extremely effective. You can do this exercise while sitting or standing which makes it perfect for seniors with even the least mobility.
Rotate your shoulders towards the ceiling then back down. You can roll them in a circular motion but, to make it more effective, try moving them up then down, forward, then back down and then back then down.
7. Shoulder blade squeeze
This is another way to work your upper body. Sit up straight in your seat and rest your hands in your lap. Squeeze your shoulder blades towards one another.
Try as much as possible to keep the shoulders down and not hunched up. This allows the exercise to work better. Hold for about three seconds before releasing the squeeze. Repeat 10 times.
8. Hand and finger exercises
You should incorporate some flexibility exercises into your routine to help release stress and lactic acid that builds up in the muscle when you work out. These exercises should be done while seated.
Pretend there’s a wall in front of you. Use your fingers to climb the imaginary wall until they are above your head. With the arms above your head, wiggle the fingers for about ten seconds. Then walk them back down.
While still sitting, clasp your hands at the back of the chair and try to reach your right hand with the left hand. Hold the position for about ten seconds before attempting to reach for your left hand with the right hand and hold for the same amount of time again.
9. Head Turn
This is one of the simplest exercises to do. You only need to move your head from side to side as if you’re saying no.
You can do this while standing or sitting. Your back should be straight, and your shoulders should be relaxed. Turn your head to the left until you feel a stretch. Hold the position for a few seconds before slowly turning to the left.
It helps to keep the neck muscles strong and mobile.
10. Abdominal contractions
Core muscles play a vital role in movement and balance and need frequent exercise to remain toned and strong.
Abdominal contractions are easy but effective. Lie down and take a deep breath then tighten your abdominal muscles. Hold for three breaths then release the contraction. Repeat these 10 times for three sets.
With these simple workouts at the comfort of your home, you can give yourself a rigorous workout, keep your muscles in shape and improve balance. It's best to have the exercises done in the morning, so you give your body enough time to rest and build.
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