As we age, our bodies become less capable of certain types of physical exertion. While this can make it more difficult to exercise, the aging process does not have to mean a slower lifestyle.
These five exercises for seniors are excellent for anyone over the age of 60 looking to stay in shape. Even better – all of the movements are perfect for anyone looking to exercise at home.
1. Farmer’s Walk
The farmer’s walk is an outstanding exercise for anyone looking to build functional strength. It entails lifting two weights of appropriate heaviness and carrying them a set distance before returning the weights to the starting position.
Make sure that you lift and return the weights using your legs and with a straight back. Using your back to lift this weight in a way that arches the spine is likely to lead to injury.
2. Modified Squats
Squats are a staple of almost any workout routine. Squats build whole-body strength and balance with a compound motion that mimics healthy, efficient load bearing.
With or without weights, stand with a straight spine. Inhale and slowly begin lowering yourself by bending your knees and pushing your hips back. Do your best to keep your knees from passing the vertical plane formed by the tips of your toes. When your knees are at a 90-degree angle, exhale and straighten your legs.
While performing this exercise, ensure that your knees aren’t buckling (bending inward toward the center of your body). Also, keep in mind that the majority of your weight should be shifted into your hips since your hips are typically stronger than your knees. When bending into the squat position, move your hips backward, allowing your glutes (butt) to slowly reach toward the ground). This is proper squat form.
It can be beneficial to modify this exercise for your routine. If extra weight on your shoulders doesn’t sound like a good idea, there are several modified squats that might be perfect for you.
If you do still want that weight training aspect, consider holding dumbells on each side of your body instead and resting them atop your shoulders while you still hold onto them.
This is also an excellent exercise to do without weights. You’ll perform the same motions as a weighted squat; however, to maintain your balance, you’ll also probably need to hold your arms straight out in front of you for the duration of the modified squat.
If weightless squats give you pause, consider adding a chair into the exercise. We’ll go over more chair exercises in the next sections, but for now, you can minimize any risk to your joints or back by positioning a chair at the bottom of your squatting movement.
3. Knee-to-Chest Chair Exercise
There are tons of great chair exercises for seniors out there. For this one, sit in your chair and lean against the backrest. Put your fingers under the seat and hold yourself in place.
Now, hold your legs out as straight as you can. This is your starting position. From here, bring your knees to your chest while inhaling. Exhale and push your legs back to the starting position. Repeat for the recommended number of repetitions and then return your feet to the ground. Here’s a how-to video to help you along.
4. Tummy Twists Chair Exercise
For this exercise, sit in your chair with a straightened back. You may need to move to the edge of the seat depending on how much arm room you’ll need.
With a weight or medicine ball, rotate your torso by twisting your core. First, twist right, then left. Repeat for the recommended number of repetitions, try starting with ten then increasing if necessary. Here’s another how-to video for this exercise.
5. Breathing Meditation
There are countless types of exercises that work different parts of your body. Two of these target areas that may go unnoticed in an exercise routine are the lungs and mind.
Breathing meditation is an excellent way to build controlled lungs and a healthy mind.
If you search, you won’t have a hard time finding one that works for you. You may enjoy the 4-7-8 exercises, particularly if you are prone to nervousness.
For this exercise, breathe in for four seconds. Now, hold your breath for seven seconds. Finally, exhale for the eight count. Repeat this three times, preferably at the beginning or end of your routine.
This is also a great exercise for anyone who has a hard time falling asleep.
Remember that the ultimate goal of exercise is to stay healthy. There is never a good reason to try anything that might put your health in jeopardy. If something feels off when carrying out these movements, stop immediately and take a break. This goes double for anyone who likes to exercise at home by themselves.
Stay healthy and safe!
Joseph Jones has been writing senior care and aging-related articles for years. He got his start while writing for a personal blog before he was offered to work at California Mobility in 2018 as the Content Marketing Manager, creating highly informative guides and health awareness articles for aging adults.
He’s currently contributing to a variety of blogs in the senior health industry in hopes to spread information about taking care of seniors and what to expect in the aging process.