Best Low Impact Exercises for Senior Health
Science keeps finding more and more reasons why we should all keep moving and grooving at all ages. In fact, just a few of the benefits of exercise for seniors include:
- Longer life span
- Improved bone density
- Better balance to prevent falls
- Higher-quality sleep
- Lower heart attack and stroke risk
- Delay or prevent disease
- Improved mental and emotional health
- Better flexibility and range of motion
- A stronger immune system
Add all of these together and it’s easy to see how seniors who work on staying fit as they age can enjoy a much better quality of life, more independence and generally just stay happier and healthier for many more years. Exercise is also a way to spend enjoyable time with family and friends, which can strengthen social ties.
Of course, it’s important to talk with your doctor about any health conditions that may affect which exercises would be best for you, or which ones you should avoid. Work with your doctor, physical therapist and occupational therapist on developing a regular, enjoyable low-impact exercise plan that could include some of the following activities, and contact At Home Personal Care at (703) 494-3989 about help from an in-home caregiver. We can help as you follow these tips for helping relieve their symptoms safely:
Walking is the classic, low-impact exercise that most people do without thinking about it. If your doctor has no objections, a 30-minute daily walk can bring a host of wonderful health benefits for seniors. These include better cardiovascular health and help managing blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels. As a weight-bearing exercise, it can also help your bones maintain their density, and it can increase your stamina. It’s a great activity to do outdoors with friends and family, or you can do it at a local senior center, gym or even a local shopping mall. The only equipment required is a good pair of supportive walking shoes and some comfortable clothing. You can start out at a comfortable, slower pace and work up to faster walking for longer amounts of time as your body gets accustomed to it.
2. Water Exercise
Swimming and water aerobics are wonderful no-impact exercises that many seniors enjoy because they take stress and weight off of bones and joints while boosting the metabolism. Like walking, swimming and water exercises improve cardiovascular health and mood significantly. The water can also be a good place to start if you want to exercise after an injury because the water makes you weightless. To prevent slipping and falling before and after pool exercises, a pair of grippy, water shoes can be a good investment.
Yoga has a host of mental and physical health benefits for seniors. As a low-key, low impact exercise, many physical therapists or occupational therapists recommend and even instruct their patients to try certain yoga stretches and poses that can improve flexibility, balance and even mental focus and calm. Yoga can help lower anxiety, improve stamina and gradually improve range of motion, all of which can improve overall health and prevent imbalance problems like falling.
4. Tai Chi
Even if you feel like you can’t find any way to exercise, there are more low-impact exercises available to seniors than you realize. Talk with your doctor about recommendations tailored for your particular health needs and concerns, and then to talk with one of our in-home physical therapy or occupational therapy professionals about guided physical activities that can boost your health and overall wellbeing today: (703) 494-3989.
You’ve probably seen pictures and videos of people, young and old, in parks across China, moving together with slow, rhythmic grace. If you’ve always wondered about tai chi, but never tried it, now might be a good time, if your doctor agrees. This low-impact exercise has shown benefits for helping seniors with arthritis and even Parkinson’s disease. It improves mental focus, breathing and lowers blood pressure. Some studies show that it also has promise as a natural form of pain relief. It’s definitely worth a try!
5. Strength Training
Light strength training with weights, accompanied by a professional trainer or physical therapist, is a great way to shore up the muscle tone that tends to flag over the years. Posture and form are very important for getting the most benefit and reducing injury from light strength training, but those benefits include: regulating blood-sugar levels, managing weight, improved sleep, better cardiovascular health, stronger muscles, better control and more balance.
Pilates focuses on building strength and agility in the core (abdominals and back), as well as improving balance – again, these are great things to have if you want to avoid trips and falls that can cause injury. Start out with small movements and then move on to bigger ones, which can improve your strength and range of motion.
Taking a senior dance class with friends not only gets you up and moving, it is a lot of fun! In addition to improved mood, learning dance steps can help improve balance and stamina, boost cardiovascular health and improve social bonds that can keep you mentally healthy and happy.
Best Low Impact Exercises for Senior Health
Even if you feel like you can’t find any way to exercise, there are more low-impact exercises available to seniors than you realize. Talk with your doctor about recommendations tailored for your particular health needs and concerns, and then contact At Home Personal Care to talk with one of our in-home physical therapy or occupational therapy professionals about guided physical activities that can boost your health and overall wellbeing today: (703) 494-3989.