How Should Seniors Go About Exercising at Home?
This year has been a peculiar one, to say the least. Most of us have been spending a lot more time in our homes as we navigate this new world. A lot of our usual daily activities have been canceled and some even moved online. This includes exercising. In this article, we cover how to exercise at home.
One aspect of our lives that has been greatly affected by this global pandemic is our exercise practices. Gyms closed and we began living inside more, which normally means being more sedentary and less physically active. This can lead to loneliness and also to over-eating.
We still need to keep in shape and maintain a healthy body and mind, because one day we will get back to our normal outside lives. That means eating healthy, staying occupied, getting enough sleep and participating in regular exercise and physical activities.
According to the CDC, “Regular physical activity is vital for healthy aging. It can help delay, prevent, or manage many costly chronic diseases faced by adults 50 years or older.”
Can you exercise at home? Yes, absolutely. All you need is to find an activity that you enjoy and some motivation to keep at it.
Why Exercise at Home?
Keeping active and fit as we get older is crucial to keeping our bodies functioning properly. We want our bodies to stay strong and our muscles flexible so we can remain autonomous as long as possible.
Adopting regular exercise can help maintain flexibility, increase muscle mass, improve balance and even elevate your mood.
You don’t need to hit the expensive gyms or attend group classes to get your exercise. You can exercise at home, at your own pace, alone, or with a partner.
Types of Exercises to Do at Home
Tai Chi is a popular activity among seniors because of the health benefits it provides and also because of the low impact movements that are easy for all levels of physical fitness.
You can practice Tai Chi in your home or out in your yard, weather permitting. Visit Tai Chi Health for more info about Tai Chi and how to get started.
Yoga is another accessible exercise that you can do from your home without needing too many accessories. A yoga mat and some stretchy clothes are all you need to get started.
Some yoga practices are geared towards seniors to help with flexibility and balance. Make sure you find the right type of yoga that suits your health and needs.
Healthy muscles provide better mobility and flexibility. At-home stretching exercises can keep your muscles strong and agile and help with your posture.
Daily stretching is recommended to keep muscles strong. Common stretches you can try are:
Resistance or weight training is also a good way to stay strong. Push-ups can be done with a wall in your home, or bicep curls can be done sitting in a chair with small weights. You can purchase light hand weights online or at your local department store.
You can look into doing some chair exercises if your mobility is limited. Make sure to warm up first and try these routines:
- Dumbbell curls
- Dumbbell overhead press
- Side bend holds
- Squats with chair support
- Lateral hip raises with chair support (standing)
- Heel raises (feel free to hold onto the chair)
- Standing hip extensions with the support of a chair
Online Exercise Classes for Seniors
The next best thing to attending group exercise classes is attending live classes online. Many classes are offered online with a qualified live instructor using a video platform like Zoom. All you need is your computer or tablet and an internet connection. It’s a good way to get a sense of accountability and to also (virtually) meet new people.
You can also watch pre-recorded videos and go at your own pace. Make sure that you chose an instructor who does senior activities specifically.
Silver Sneakers (we love the name!) has an excellent YouTube channel with tons of videos of activities that you can do in the comfort of your own home.
Also, you can check with your local gyms if the instructors in your community are offering online classes.
Let’s Get Moving!
Make sure to choose activities that are in your comfort zone and physical capacity. There is no use to start a new exercise that is too demanding and that can put you in danger of injury.
Always listen to your body and don’t over-exert yourself. Find something that is enjoyable and that you look forward to doing. That way, there is a better chance that you will stick to it and you will effortlessly incorporate it into your life.
Remember to always consult with your doctor or healthcare advisor before starting new exercise programs.