The perks of physical fitness don’t dissipate as we grow older, and it’s crucial for older adults to preserve as active a lifestyle as possible. Even those who are bedridden or wheelchair-bound have a full range of opportunities available to strengthen and develop flexibility and resistance. The initial step is always to check with the physician to get a suggestion on the preferred exercises for older individuals that fit with your loved one’s activity level and medical history. At first, exercising even for as little as a couple of minutes each day, repeated several times throughout the day, can significantly enhance the older adult's health and wellbeing. Following are a few examples of the best exercises for seniors:
- Aerobic Exercises: If whole body movements aren’t feasible, exercises from a sitting position can be used to build cardio strength. When possible, ideal choices include:
- Swimming or water aerobics
- Tai Chi
- Resistance Exercises: To strengthen and build muscles, resistance exercises can be performed with elastic bands, which can be found in a number of different tensile strengths. The Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences shares that even just one day every week of resistance training helps older individuals retain independence and reduce the risk of injury.
- Flexibility Exercises: Stretching exercises help bolster flexibility and freedom of movement. Search for yoga classes at local senior or recreation centers.
- Dementia Exercises: In the first phases of dementia especially, an assortment of exercise options are possible, and with additional supervision and some modifications, can be continued as the disease progresses. Given that repetition is oftentimes comforting to those with dementia, activities such as walking, riding a stationary bicycle, and folding laundry are helpful to both the senior's mental and physical state.
- Participate in an exercise program with the senior. It’s always more enjoyable to exercise with a buddy.
- Include favorite, upbeat music.
- Schedule dedicated time each day specifically for physical fitness, and make it a priority.
- Create incentives or rewards for attaining goals.
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