Workouts and healthy diets are crucial factors in maintaining a healthy style of living during one’s existence, and our needs change as we get older.
This article will talk about the advantages of working out for older adults, the 7 amazing exercises for older adults, as well as some exercises that can be harmful to the wellness of elders.
With an increasing number of studies demonstrating how essential regular physical activity is for older adults, there are nowadays more and more elders that are choosing an active lifestyle over a physically inactive one.
If you are one of them, then you should keep reading below as we go through some of the best exercises for you as well as the ones you should avoid!
Exercise’s Health Advantages For Older Adults
Because our biology keeps changing as we age, older adults have different motivations for staying fit than youngsters.
Even if physical conditioning benefits people of all ages, the health benefits that fit and healthy elderly people have are more evident.
According to doctors and researchers, older adults must stay as active as they can without overdoing it. Physical activity helps seniors lead healthier, better, and more joyful life.
Some of the advantages of staying active when you are older are:
More Freedom And Greater Autonomy In Life
Seniors who work out on a routine basis are far less likely to be dependent on someone else.
Regular physical activity improves a senior’s life as it improves his/her abilities to walk, take a shower, prepare food, eat, dress up, and go to the toilet.
Falling is a considerably bigger issue for older people than it is for young folks.
Even though no two falls are one and the same and preventing a fall is a multistep concept, regular physical activity decreases the chance of a fall by around 25%.
Increased Energy Levels
While it may appear paradoxical, leading a sedentary life causes fatigue while being productive provides more energy.
Endorphins are important neurotransmitters connected to pain relief and a feeling of well-being and they are released in response to any amount of physical activity.
Endorphins fight stress hormones, improve the quality of our sleep, and generally make us feel more alive and energized.
Boosted Brain Activity
The ancient Greeks said that a healthy mind needs a healthy body, and they were right.
While it might not be that noticeable in young people, older adults who exercise regularly have better cognitive health as, according to a study, regular physical activity reduces one’s likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s or cognitive impairment by almost 50%.
The 7 Best Exercises For Older Adults
Exercise is essential for older adults, but it can be difficult to figure out where to start.
When you haven’t exercised in a long time, re-entering the active community can be intimidating. There is also a chance that the exercises you used to do aren’t appropriate for older people.
Before beginning a workout routine (see also ‘Simple & Effective Workout Routines For Women Over 40‘), consult with your doctor to make sure you’re healthy enough to work out and to determine which activities are appropriate for your current level of fitness.
Walking is among the best, safest, and most convenient types of physical activity.
Walking is more difficult for some older adults than others, so distance and step goals differ from one individual to another.
For the wider public, 10,000 steps daily are recommended for a healthier life, but individuals who have trouble walking or body aches can have a lower goal.
It was thus suggested that walking helps you live a healthier lifestyle by building strong muscles and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, diabetes, and colon cancer.
Here are some ways you can make walking a daily habit:
- Find or create a path in any park you want that you will walk (see also ‘Does Walking Build Muscle?‘) every day.
- Find a marathon or race that is also for people who prefer walking to running (see also ‘How To Start Running After 40‘).
- Walk around the outside of a familiar structure.
- Pick a podcast or make different playlists to listen to while walking.
2. Chair Yoga
Chair yoga, like walking, is a low-impact type of exercise that helps to improve muscular strength, range of motion, and body alignment, and makes us more flexible, all of which are important health factors for older adults.
It is a simple form of yoga that puts less strain on the muscle fibers, joints, and bones than several other typical forms of yoga.
Chair yoga has also been found to enhance cognitive health among older adult people….making it one of the best exercises for older adults.
Routine chair yoga practitioners have also reported improved quality of sleep, fewer cases of depression, and an overall feeling of well-being.
The following are some excellent chair yoga exercises for older adults:
- Overhead stretch
- Seated cow stretch
- Seated Twist
3. Water Aerobics
Water aerobics has evolved into a widely famous exercise option amongst people of all age groups, particularly among older adults, especially in recent decades.
Water activity is perfect for those who suffer from osteoarthritis or other types of arthritis pains because the buoyancy provided by the water reduces the strain on one’s joints.
Furthermore, water provides natural resistance, eliminating the necessity of dumbbells and machines in resistance training.
Water aerobics movements improve one’s strength, agility, and alignment while putting the least amount of strain on the body.
- The following are some excellent water aerobics exercises for older adults:
- Flutter kicks
- Leg raises
- Arm curls
4. Resistance Band Workouts
A resistance band is made from material like rubber so that it can be stretched and function as resistance for your workout while putting less strain on your body.
Resistance band workouts are simple to do and suitable for newbies.
The reason why they are becoming increasingly common among older adults is the low initial price of the materials.
This is something that also makes these bands great for those who prefer to work out in their own space at home.
Furthermore, exercising with a resistance band is an excellent way to strengthen your core and thus improve your posture, range of motion, and body alignment.
Some resistance band exercise ideas are:
- Leg extension
- Bicep Curls
- Triceps extension
- Lateral raise
Pilates is an easy and low-impact exercise that was invented over 100 years ago.
Breathing, balance, mental focus, and core stability are the main emphasis of pilates workouts, which usually require a mat, a pilates ball, and other inflatable pieces of equipment that help build strength without the strain of high-impact workouts.
Pilates has been proven to increase stability, strengthen the core muscles, and improve flexibility in older people.
Some excellent Pilates exercises for older adults are:
- Side circles
- Leg circles
6. Strength Training With Dumbbells
Weight training (see also ‘5 Reasons Over 40s Should Try HIIT Training‘) has been proven to assist you in controlling your weight while also alleviating the symptoms associated with diabetes, osteopenia, backaches, and depression.
Weight training also promotes a faster metabolism and better blood sugar control.
If done correctly, dumbbell workouts are one of the best approaches for older adults to strengthen their muscles.
Older adults can also isolate different muscles and make them stronger while continuing to improve their balance and mobility with the use of a light or heavier dumbbell.
The following are some excellent dumbbell workouts for older adults:
- Bent-over rows
- Tricep extensions
- Bicep curls
- Front raises
7. Bodyweight Workouts
Muscle loss in older people can be detrimental and disheartening.
Around 30% of older adults suffer from significant loss of muscle mass that can cause hormonal dysfunctionalities, a drop in protein metabolizing capacity, as well as other issues.
Bodyweight exercises are among the most effective ways to combat the consequences of muscle loss in seniors.
One of the primary advantages of bodyweight workouts is their low cost. Bodyweight exercise requires nothing but workout attire and a mat for some exercises.
Some excellent bodyweight exercises for older adults are:
- Tricep curls
- Leg side circles
What Exercises Must Older Adults Avoid?
Many popular and mainstream exercises are not appropriate for older adults.
These common exercises are ideal for young folks trying to add muscle and look bigger and stronger or lose weight quickly (check out our tips for shedding pounds after 40).
These common exercises are ideal for young folks trying to add muscle and look bigger and stronger or lose weight quickly.
However, no matter how successful these exercises are at yielding the desired results for the younger ones, they can add undesirable stress on seniors who have joint pain, have lost a great amount of their muscle mass, have bad body alignment, and have issues with their posture, or have poor mobility.
So, if you are over the age of 65, you should consider avoiding exercises like:
- Dumbbell or weighted squats
- Bench press
- Leg extension
- Straight leg raises
- Running long distances
- Romanian deadlifts
- Pigeon Pose
- Interval training at maximum effort
The Bottom Line
Older adults need to exercise daily if they want to lead a longer and healthier life.
These 7 exercises in this article are the best ones to do daily, so now that you know how important and beneficial working out is at an older age, wear those sneakers and start exercising!