For those of you who have grown up with healthy grandparents, Have you ever asked them what the secret to their health is? Well the answer will likely be diet and exercise.
Some of us are in a misconception that as we begin to age, we are too sick, or out of shape to exercise. While a few believe that exercise is not meant for older people as they might fall or break a hip. But the truth is regardless of your age, staying active can surely keep you feeling and looking your best. Research shows that exercise is the most important factor for maintaining good health, lowering risk of heart, lung diseases and also preventing injuries.
Have you ever thought about- What happens to our body as we tend to age? There’s a lot that can go wrong. Our body is likely to experience a significant number of changes. One of which is our body tends to become stiffer as the years go by. Along with our body, our vital organs- Cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive systems will also become weak.
The movement of the spine is vital especially for those who are in their late 60’s as the central nervous system, starting with the brain is continuously sending signals to the entire body through the spinal cord. The only way to make sure all the vital organs in our body are functioning well is by indulging in some kind of physical workouts. Medical experts suggest that older adults must incorporate moderate 150 minutes of workout in their schedule. This can be exercises to improve flexibility, strength and balance, walking, cycling or swimming. Not only does exercise improve all physical health but it also improves mental health. This is the best way to combat stress and lead a happy life.
So lets get started with some easy exercises for senior citizens to practice at home in order to maximize their quality of life.
Before starting any exercise, one must perform some simple warm-ups to avoid injuries-
• Shoulder movement- Sit in a comfortable position, place your fingertips on your shoulders and move your shoulders in the forward direction. Count till ten. Now reverse the movement and circle backward for ten counts. This warm up will lower the risk associated with shoulder injury.
• Head movements- Sit in a comfortable position. Gently tilt your head up and stretch. Hold for a few seconds and release. Now gently tilt your head facing downward direction and stretch. Perform five repetitions.
• Neck movements- To perform the next set of warmup, again sit in a comfortable position, tilt your neck towards your right shoulder until your feel a stretch. Hold this position, while extending your left arm downwards. Release and repeat on the other side. This exercise is good for warming up with neck muscles and the muscles at the top of your back.
1. Cardio exercises- Indulging in a few simple cardio exercises is a great way to keep your body active at any age.
• Recumbent Bikes- This is an useful stationary equipment found in all the gyms for improving cardiovascular fitness. Studies show that senior citizens who exercise using recumbent bikes have stronger muscles. Recumbent bikes is nothing but a stationary bike that places the rider in a laid-back reclining position. Some of the benefits of using this safe equipment are:
It’s one of the best workouts for people who have cardiovascular problems or have injuries.
Riding this bike does not exert too much pressure on your joints.
Full back support during a high or low impact workout Working out with a recumbent bike is recommended for people with lower back problems.
Lowers muscle fatigue and upper body tension.
It lowers of risk of pain and in turn builds lower body strength.
• Step-ups - Another effective cardiovascular workout for seniors is step- ups. Step-up is a set of workout that combines the action of the lunge with stepping upward movement. This exercise strengthen your upper hamstrings and butt.
To do this workout, you must use a chair or a step. If your using a staircase, begin at the very bottom step or you may also use a chair. Place your left foot no the step, then left with right foot off the floor and hold it in the air for about one second. Now step down to the normal position with your right leg then the left. Repeat with the opposite leg. Do 7-8 times with each leg.
2.Chair exercises- Exercises performed by sitting on a chair are crucial for senior citizens as these set of workouts strengthens muscles, increases flexibility and develops cardio fitness.
• Arm exercise- To perform this workout, you must sit in an upright position. Hold a ball with both hands, in such a way that your palms are facing each other. Extend your arms forward so the ball rests on your legs with your elbows slightly bent. Gently raise your arms to lift the ball to shoulder level, keeping lower back down. Repeat this exercise for about 10 times.
• Twist your tummy- Sit in an upright position, hold a ball with your hands close to your stomach and elbows slightly bent. Now slowly rotate your torso to the right side as much as you can, while keeping the rest of your body straight. Return to the normal position and repeat on the left side. Repeat for about 7-8 twists per side.
3.Strength exercises- Strength exercises are mainly meant for strengthening lower back. They also aid in better sleep, improves balance and glucose control. Lowers the risk of diabetes, osteoarthritis, and back pain.
• Upright front row- To do this exercise, you must keep your feet and shoulder width apart, with knees slightly bent and partially bending forward.
Now hold one dumbbell (heavy enough but make sure you are able to do the workout without exerting too much pressure on your body) in each hand , keeping your palms facing towards your body.
Lift both the dumbbells towards your chin. Keep your back straight and shoulders motionless.
Return to starting position. Repeat this workout for about 7-8 times.
• Partial squat- To perform partial squat exercise, using a chair as support, bend your knees as much as you can, making sure that your knees pass your toes, hold this position for a few seconds. Repeat for about 8 times.
• Knee extensions- This is an excellent workout for those suffering from knee pains. This easy excise is ideal for strengthening legs. It also helps maintain a good balance and increases functional independence. All one has to do in order to perform this exercise is sit with your back straight and knees bent. Slowly extend your right leg in the forward direction and hold for a few seconds. Repeat this with your left leg. Do 10 times with each leg.
Exercising will surely make you fitter and stronger, well you don’t need any fancy equipments, all you need is a bit of determination. Remember before embarking on this journey, do consult your physician.
- Akhila Kakarala
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