Seniors, especially those suffering from debilitating joint diseases, usually have issues with their mobility and many times require the use of mobility assistance devices. As they age, they won’t have the vigor to do things on their own as their physical abilities are limited. And while hiring professional help can be an option to alleviate the situation, it’s not the only solution — there are several exercises that can improve the mobility of senior citizens. These exercises are simple and can be accomplished by seniors within the comforts of their home. Injecting these exercises into their daily routines is a better option as this allows them to experience long-term benefits, even without the aid of a caregiver. Introduce the following mobility exercises to seniors right away:
1. Single limb stance: Exercises to improve a senior’s mobility don’t need to be rigorous. The single limb stance, for example, is one of the most basic exercises that can supplement a senior’s balance. This will only require a sturdy chair and a few minutes of the senior’s time.
To do this exercise, seniors will just have to stand behind the chair, hold on to the chair’s backrest and lift one foot. They should hold this position as long as they can and then switch feet. The goal is to stand on one foot without using the chair for balance and hold this pose for at least one minute.
2. Walking heel to toe: Contrary to popular belief, walking does improve the mobility of seniors. This works because walking and other related exercises can make legs stronger. As a result, seniors can walk with ease without the fear of tripping and falling.
This exercise can be done anytime, anywhere. Seniors will just have put one foot in front of the other, making sure that the heel touches the top of the other foot. They should maintain this kind of footing as they walk. For this exercise, the goal is to transfer the weight from the seniors’ body to their heels and then toes.
3. Back leg raises: This exercise aims to strengthen the bottom and the lower back of seniors. This can be challenging at first — especially for seniors who are suffering from joint disease — but with practice, this can be done. This exercise will only require a chair and some space.
Seniors should stand behind the chair and lift their right leg straight back without bending their knees or pointing their toes. They have to hold the position for one minute, bring the leg back down and continue with the other leg. This should be repeated 10 to 15 times per leg.
4. Side leg raise: Similar to back leg raises, this exercise improves seniors’ balance. Still done with a chair, seniors will just have to stand behind it with feet slightly apart. They should slowly lift one leg to the side while keeping their toes facing forward. The leg should stay in the air for a minute, before switching to the other leg. This should be repeated 10 to 15 times per leg.
5. Wall pushups: As its name suggests, seniors will just need to have access to a sturdy wall to do this exercise. Aside from balance and mobility, wall pushups serve as strength training for seniors. This exercise works just like the typical push-up exercises, but instead of pushing against the floor, it’s done against the walls. Seniors will have to put their hands in front of them until their palms can lay flat on the walls. They should keep their feet planted as they bring their bodies closer to the wall and push themselves back. They can do this exercise twenty times or more if they are physically capable.
6. Marching in place: Almost every human being in the world knows how to march in place. This might be done as playtime for children but for seniors, this exercise can drastically improve their balance. Seniors will just have to lift their right knee as high as they can and hold the position for a minute. Once done, switch legs and repeat for about twenty times. If the senior needs to hold onto something, consider using a chair or doing this in front of a counter.
Consistency Is Key
Although beneficial for senior citizens, exercises aren’t the only thing that should be added to a senior’s daily routine in order to improve mobility. Seniors should also have a healthy diet, maintain their vision and understand their limits. Investing in safe and comfortable footwear and having an active lifestyle should also be included in their to-do list. Consistently working on these can pave the way for seniors to improve their mobility — which also means less slip and fall accidents and better quality of life!