Exercise is important at all stages of life, but it is especially important if you are a senior. Seniors need exercise to maintain muscle mass, strengthen aging bones, increase circulation for blood flow to both the heart and the brain, and to help maintain balance to prevent falls. You should try to exercise thirty minutes each day. Here are 10 easy exercises you can do if you are 65 or older:
1. Push the Wall.
Wall pushes strengthen your arms and chest. To do a wall push, stand about three feet away from the wall, place your hands flat on the wall, then lean in and push back from the wall. Complete this movement 10 times.
2. Stand on One Foot.
This exercise is often called “The stork” and is used to improve balance. Stand straight, and then lift one foot by bending the knee. Hold the position for 30 seconds, then switch feet. If you have trouble maintaining your balance, use a chair or the wall for support.
3. Do Dumbbell Curls.
Dumbbell curls will strengthen your biceps. Start with a light weight, such as 2 or 5 lbs., and then lift the weight toward your shoulder by bending your elbow. Repeat 10 times with each arm.
4. Lift Your Heels.
Heel lifts will stretch and strengthen your calves. From a sitting position, keep your toes on the floor and lift your heels. Repeat 20 times.
5. Sit…Then Stand.
The sit/stand exercise is great for balance, but it will also strengthen leg muscles and the buttocks. Start in a sitting position, then without using your hands, rise to a standing position. Hold for 5 seconds, sit, and repeat 10 times.
6. Do Toe Laps.
Toe taps will strengthen your lower legs and also increase blood flow. Sit with your feet on the floor, and then with your heels still on the floor, slowly lift your toes until you can feel a comfortable stretch in your leg muscles. Repeat 20 times.
7. Stretch Your Neck.
Stretching your neck will release tension in your neck and shoulder area and increase strength. Start by tipping your head forward until your chin touches your chest to stretch the back of your neck. Next, tip your head to each side, leading with the ear to the shoulder. Hold each stretch for 3 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
8. Lift Your Knees.
Knee lifts will strengthen your thighs. From a sitting position, raise your knee so that the back of your thigh is 2-3 inches off the chair. Hold it for 3-5 seconds, then place it back down. Repeat 10 times, then switch to the other leg.
9. Raises Your Arms.
Arm raises will stretch your arms, shoulders, and back. Place your arms at your sides from a sitting or standing position, then slowly bring them up, pausing for 3 seconds when they are extended out, then continue to lift them straight above your head, pausing for another 3 seconds when they are straight up. Slowly return them to your sides and repeat 10 times.
10. Squat at Your Chair.
Stand with your feet apart, in front of a chair. Raise your arms, then squat down slowly in front of your chair. As you slowly move down to your chair, slowly return to a standing position. Chair squats help strengthen your hamstring muscles, as well as other key muscle groups.
In addition to these easy exercises, you can take daily walks, swim laps at the pool, or participate in senior group exercise classes like yoga or low impact aerobics at a local gym. Staying active will lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, dementia, stroke, and other debilitating diseases and improve your overall quality of life. For more information on other areas of healthcare, follow the Avidity Medical Design Blog.