Simple Senior Fitness Workouts

Maintaining health and independence as you age may be easier than you realize. For most of us, it simply takes committing to adopting healthy habits and a regular exercise regimen.

But if you dismiss the thought of exercise because you or a loved one has mobility issues, you should know that the National Institutes on Aging believes “Even moderate exercise and physical activity can improve the health of people who are frail or who have diseases that accompany aging.”

As you are about to see, there are many benefits in committing to Senior fitness workouts and just about everyone can participate in some form of exercise regardless of their current fitness level.

Senior Fitness Benefits

senior-fitness-in-copyThe biggest downside stemming from inactivity is that our muscles naturally weaken and, consequently, we become frail as we age. Fortunately, the solution to fighting off this frailty is simple: regular exercise.

The Mayo Clinic recommends 150 minutes, (two and a half hours) of moderately-intense exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. This relatively small amount of time can result in big health benefits – even for Seniors who may be dealing with disease and disability. In just a matter of weeks, you will see improvements in…

  • Controlling weight
  • Improving heart health
  • Reducing high blood pressure
  • Sleeping more restfully
  • Boosting your overall outlook

Types of Senior Fitness Routines

Best of all: Senior fitness workouts do not require you to make a trip to the gym and most can be tailored to most mobility issues.

Here are some simple methods of incorporating senior fitness workouts into your daily routine:

Chair and Isometric Exercises

If you or your loved one are unable to stand, consider chair exercises that will enable muscles to get stretched and strengthened all while seated in a wheelchair or straight-back chair. These exercises fall under the heading of isometrics.

Isometrics exercises allow you to strengthen muscles by tightening a muscle group and holding for several seconds, then releasing. You don’t even need to own a set of dumbbells. You can simply do isometrics by pushing against an immobile object, such as a wall, with your hands, arms or feet and hold the position. As your strength increases, hold the pushing or tightening action longer.

Light Cardio and Weight-Bearing

If your mobility is mildly restricted (or you haven’t been active for many years), begin your fitness routine gradually. Walking offers a cardiovascular (lungs, heart) workout that helps strengthen your lower body even if you rely on a walking aid, such as a cane or walker.

Consider using a pedometer to keep track of daily steps. As you become stronger, you can increase your total steps, or exercise time, to continue increasing your strength.

Moderate Cardio and Weight-Bearing

Bicycling, swimming and power-walking can be great additions to your senior fitness routine when you are ready to take on more vigorous activities.

Bicycling and power-walking are classified as cardiovascular exercises, meaning they primarily strengthen the heart, but they can also help strengthen bones. Swimming is particularly effective because it utilizes all your major muscles groups without putting a strain on sore backs or joints.

Need Motivation to Exercise?

If motivation is holding you back, you might want to consider group fitness classes offered at your local gym or the neighborhood YMCA. Or visit Silver Sneakers, a website specializing in bringing together a community of Seniors – made up of all fitness- and mobility levels – to get together with others and exercise. Classes can include fun variations such as Zumba dancing, or other classes that combine cardio exercise and light weight lifting.

No matter what your age or fitness level, there is some activity that you can find that will help you maintain fitness, health and independence.

Of course, this is only one step in aging in place. Another important step is to evaluate your home to ensure that the proper upgrades are made to ensure your safety. Home elevators are becoming an increasingly common way to make a home safer for Seniors who want to be fit and continue living in their homes for the long run. If you’d like to learn more, download our free guide, Your Home Elevator Guide, and learn all about the home elevator process from start to finish.