Healthy eating and active lifestyle are the keys to good health; this makes exercise important for people of all age groups as it imparts strength, keeps one fit and active and also provides protection from a large number of diseases and conditions. Seniors should, however, be careful while exercising because they may hurt themselves while trying out something too vigorous. Certain low impact exercises can be very useful for the elderly as they have a wide array of health benefits.
Here are top 10 best exercises for seniors and the elderly:
Gentle stretching exercises can be very useful as a simple and easy workout for the seniors as it gives them flexibility. A morning and evening routine involving stretches of chest, back, neck, shoulders, upper body, legs, calves and hips can be helpful in this respect. Slow and deep breathing can also relax the mind too, making it a comprehensive exercise.
Difficult as it may seem for the seniors, cycling happens to be one of the best exercises for them as it is quite easy in the joints and gives the right posture as well as exercise to the back, neck, arms, shoulders and legs. Moreover, one can pedal around outdoors in fresh air or carry out the same on a stationary bike, as per one’s preference. It also helps uplift the mood and lower blood pressure, in addition to being a heart friendly exercise.
8. Lifting weights
Next on the list of top 10 best exercises for the seniors is weight lifting, which not only builds muscles but has a positive effect on overall health. But seniors need to take it easy, starting with lighter weights and slowly moving to heavier ones as their strength builds up. Half an hour of weight training twice a week is enough for the elderly but remember not to overdo.
7. Tai Chi
Tai chi, like yoga, is a low impact exercise which involves smooth flow from one pose to another, with focus on flexibility, balance and strength. Special tai chi classes are available at gyms or by independent instructors, who are qualified enough to suggest the right poses for the seniors. The exercise is not only beneficial for the body, but also relieves stress and improves concentration. It is also gentle on the body.
6. Water Aerobics
Water aerobics make an extremely safe and effective exercise for the elderly because it is a full body exercise with extensive cardiovascular and muscular benefits. Water exerts minimal pressure on the joints while this exercise also helps them build endurance.
Another amazing exercise for old people is golf, which is as beneficial as it is entertaining. Golf imparts strength and flexibility and is fun too. It not only involves stretching exercises but also a great deal of walking, making it a perfect cardiovascular workout.
Tough gardening is not a conventional for of an exercise, but it can be an excellent workout for the elderly because it not only moves the joints and muscles but promotes mental peace and calmness. Plus the happiness they find in the flowers grown by them is immense.
Featuring next on the list of top 10 best exercises for seniors and the elderly is swimming, which promotes both flexibility and endurance. It also minimizes the stress on bones and muscles because it is done in water, in addition to having a lower risk of injury. Post menopausal women can counter bone loss with this exercise. It strengthens the muscles of arms, legs, shoulders and back.
Yoga is another highly beneficial for the people of any age and seniors can reap greater benefits as compares to others as the exercise form blends balance, endurance and strength training at its best. It is advisable to choose an experienced instructor who can recommend poses according to the age and physical condition of the person.
One of the best low impact exercises which can be easily followed in routine by the elderly is walking. Walking should be done in the right posture, with a straight back and shoulders rolled over. It should be started with a short distance and gradually increased as the endurance level builds up. Seniors should invest in a comfortable pair of shoes so that they can walk safely, without any chances of fall or injury.
Taking all these exercises in routine can help the elderly live healthier and fitter, but they should all be done with great care.