Participating in a fitness routine and improving your health does not have an age restriction. In fact, an exercise routine does not vary too much, regardless of age. Now, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t some training considerations that need to be acknowledged and worked around. Seniors can, and should, participate in regular physical activity. If you are an older adult who’s gathering information on what exercises are good for you; consider these 5 great low-impact exercises for seniors.
Exercises For Seniors #1: Lying Hip Bridge
The hip bridge is a great low-impact exercise for seniors that can be performed anywhere. It is easy on the knees and develops strength in your glutes, lower back, and core. This can translate into a better overall balance.
To perform a lying hip bridge:
- Lie flat on the floor with your feet hip-width apart.
- Place your feet flat on the floor and bring your heels up until your lower leg is completely vertical.
- With your hands on your hips, drive straight up in the air with your feet, raising your hips in the air.
- Squeeze your glutes tightly at the top of the motion.
- Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.
Exercises For Seniors #2: Squats
Performing squats is very important for those who are looking to strengthen their hip flexors and quadriceps. Squatting is also a good way to increase hip flexibility, which can improve walking ability and reduce the risk of falls.
To perform a squat:
- Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Slowly squat down and raise your hands in front of you for balance.
- Keep your shoulders back, maintain proper alignment in your back, and return to the standing position.
For added assistance try any of the following accommodations:
- Squat in front of a sturdy object and hold on to it to improve balance.
- Place a chair behind you and add pillows to reduce the range of motion and limit knee involvement. As you get stronger, gradually remove a pillow to increase your range of motion.
Exercises For Seniors #3: Overhead Press
Strengthening your upper body will be crucial in maintaining your independence. Opening doors, moving household items, and day-to-day activities will all require muscular strength.
The overhead press can deliver great strength benefits without harming your shoulders. Light resistance (dumbbells) can be used as you continue to get stronger.
To perform an overhead press:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Raise the dumbbells up to the front of your shoulders.
- Keeping a tight grip, raise the dumbbells over your head.
- Fully extend your arms, then return to the starting position.
Exercises For Seniors #4: Elliptical Exercises
Cardiovascular conditioning benefits include improved heart health, increased metabolism, improved hormonal profile, increased recovery ability, and diabetes management. The problem that faces many seniors is that many cardio exercises are not very joint friendly.
This is precisely why training on an elliptical machine is an ideal choice for a low-impact way to improve cardiovascular fitness levels. They are available in most fitness centers and can easily be stored in your home.
Using an elliptical machine can improve aerobic fitness when used as little as 20-30 minutes a day, at least 3 days per week.
One of the main reasons that it is so accommodating to older adults is because your feet never leave the gliding platforms. This eliminates the stress on your joints and greatly reduces the chance of injury.
To perform an elliptical exercise:
- Slowly step onto the gliding platforms.
- Grasp the handles with a tight grip.
- Move your feet up and down in the circular motion that the machine follows.
- Pull and push your arms against the handles, following the movement of the machine.
Exercises For Seniors #5: Seated Hip Stretch
Strengthening your muscles, improving range of motion, and increasing cardiovascular levels are all extremely important goals. It’s also important that you don’t discredit the role that stretching exercise will have on your health either.
The seated hip stretch is very nice because it can be performed while sitting in a chair. It is an important stretch for increasing range of motion in your hips. Tight hips can become a debilitating issue for many seniors.
To perform a seated hip stretch:
- Sit upright in a chair maintaining good posture.
- Cross your right leg over your left leg. At this point your right ankle will be on top of your left knee.
- Relax your hips.
- If you require a deeper stretch, then gently press down on your right knee.
- Hold this stretch for 20-30 seconds.
- Return you right leg to the floor and repeat on the other leg.
Don’t forget that there are absolutely no age limits on improving your fitness levels. Although we only went over 5 low-impact exercises, there are much more to choose from!