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Great Exercises for Seniors to Do at Home!

While exercise is always an important part of life, staying active gets increasingly important as we get older. When caring for seniors, helping them to maintain their exercise routine is crucial for many reasons. One significant factor being muscle loss is a common side effect of aging. But don’t worry, exercise doesn’t have to be boring or tedious—some of these are quite fun and most you can do while watching your favorite television programming.

Here are some simple yet productive at-home exercises to help you or your loved one stay active. But before we get started, keep these safety tips in mind!

Talk to your doctor about what is right for you.

If there is one person you should talk to about your exercise regimen, it’s your doctor! Your doctor will be able to give you specifics on what types of exercises will be particularly helpful and what kinds you should probably stay away from. If you have senior personal care, asking your caretaker to monitor you is a great step as well.

Don’t forget to stretch.

Stretching is very important when it comes to injury prevention. Especially before more vigorous activities, be sure to spend an appropriate amount of time stretching your body.

Start off slow.

Don’t feel pressured to just jump right into the more physically demanding workouts. Take your time and start off slowly and then work up to a level of exercise that you are comfortable with.

Don’t forget to breathe.

It can be easy to forget to breathe during exercise. Make sure that you are not holding your breath to avoid changes in blood pressure (and passing out!).

Drink lots of H2O!

Unless your doctor says otherwise, drinking-water-after-workoutbe sure to increase hydration when
working out. Keep your water bottle full and by your side to prevent dehydration!

Keep in mind your ability level and be careful not to overexert yourself.

If you experience any dizziness, chest pain, extreme shortness of breath, or joint swelling, STOP immediately. This exercise is likely too strenuous. Take a break, have some water, seek help from your senior assistance if necessary, and try modifying the exercise so that it is easier to do.

Alright! Let’s jump in!

Upper Body Exercises:

Chair Dips

  1. Have a seat in a sturdy chair that has armrests with your feet flat on the floor and shoulder width apart.
  2. Keeping your shoulders and back straight, lean forward, with your hands grasping the armrests.
  3. Slowly and carefully, use your arms to push your body out off of the chair.
  4. Slowly and carefully lower your body back into the chair.
  5. Do this 10 times.
  6. Repeat for two or three sets.

Arm Curls 

(This exercise requires 1-, 2-, or 3-pound weights)

  1. To prepare for this exercise, two-seniors-exercising
    the first thing you do is stand up with your feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Pick up the
    weights and hold them down by your sides with your palms facing forward.
  3. Take a slow deep breath.
  4. As you release your breath, slowly bend your elbows and lift the weights upward towards your chest.
  5. Take another deep breath as you put your arms back down to your sides.
  6. Repeat 10 to 20 times, resting whenever you feel necessary.

Wrist Curls

  1. To begin, take a seat in a nice and sturdy chair that has armrests.
  2. Put your forearms on the arms of the chair leaving your wrists to hang over the edge.
  3. Starting with your right side, slowly bend your wrist up and down and repeat 10 to 20 times.
  4. Repeat on your left.
  5. Do two or three sets of this exercise.

Elbow Extensions

(This exercise requires 1-, 2-, or 3-pound weights)

  1. Decide if you would like to do this exercise standing or sitting. (This exercise is effective either way!)
  2. Place your feet flat on the floor and keep them shoulder width apart throughout the exercise.
  3. Pick up one weight with one hand and raise that arm towards the ceiling, just above your shoulder while using the other arm as support.
  4. Breathe in.
  5. As you release your breath, without locking your elbow, slowly straighten your arm towards the ceiling.
  6. Repeat 10 times with each arm.
  7. Do two or three sets of this exercise.

Lower Body Exercises:

Ankle Circles

  1. Have a seat in a sturdy, comfortable chair and place your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Starting with your left side, extend your right knee so that your foot is off of the floor.
  3. Move your foot in a circle, and do this 10 to 15 times.
  4. Repeat on your right side!
  5. Do two to four sets of this exercise.

Calf Raises

  1. Using a sturdy chair, stand behind it, holding on to the back side with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. When you’re ready, raise up on your toes as high as you can go.
  3. Return back to flat foot position.
  4. Repeat 10 to 20 times.

Knee Curls

  1. Find a sturdy chair and stand behind it, holding on to the back side.
  2. Without bending your knee or pointing your toes, lift one leg straight back.
  3. Lift your back leg up, bending your knee and bringing your heel towards your buttocks. Try to get as close to touching your buttocks with your foot as possible! Feel free to slightly bend your standing leg for more comfortable mobility.
  4. Slowly lower your foot back down to the floor.
  5. Repeat this 10 times for each leg.
  6. Do two sets of this exercise.

Heel Stand

  1. Once again, holding the back side of a sturdy chair, place your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Once you feel balanced, using a rocking motion lift the front of your feet off of the floor, putting all of your weight on your heels.
  3. Place your feet back to flat on the ground.
  4. Repeat this 10 to 20 times.

Balance Exercises:

Including balance exercises in your workout routine not only is great for your health but also can help decrease the risk of falling.

Eye Tracking

  1. You can do this exercise either standing or sitting!
  2. Place your thumb about four to five inches in front of your face.
  3. Following your thumb with your eyes, move your thumb far to the right side. Stop once your eyes can no longer follow along.
  4. Then move your thumb as far to the left side as you can go while still tracking with your eyes.
  5. Keeping the same general idea in mind, move your thumb upward and then downward.
  6. Repeat this eye-tracking routine two to four times.

 Staggered Stance

  1. Grab a chair and stand behind it with your feet flat on the ground and your arms down by your side.
  2. Step forward, with your right foot passing the right side of the chair and hold this position for 10 seconds.
  3. Switch feet and repeat the same movement with your left foot.
  4. Repeat this 5 to 10 times.

Knee Marching

  1. Begin this exercise with your feet flat on the ground and your arms straight by your side.
  2. Maintaining your balance, lift up your right leg to bend your knee in marching position.
  3. Lower your leg back down to the floor.
  4. Switch legs and repeat this movement.
  5. Repeat this process 15 to 20 times.
  6. Feel free to speed up or slow down your marching tempo as you feel is comfortable for your activity level.

Whether you are living independently or with full service home care, exercising should be a staple in your life.