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Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle — at every stage of life. And most exercises are easily modifiable for people of ages, even if you're nursing new or old injuries.
For seniors, exercise is crucial as it can improve balance and reduce the risk of falls, improve cognitive function, prevent disease and improve overall health. Physical activity for seniors has also been shown to decrease cardiovascular mortality. In addition, strength training for seniors is encouraged to prevent loss of bone mass, which is necessary to prevent osteoporosis and other major health problems.
These exercises for seniors are all great ways to improve strength and achieve these health benefits while adding physical activity into your daily regimen — all in the comfort of your own home!
Dead bugs are a great way to hit the core in a low-impact way without overstraining your body and joints. For this core exercise, lie down flat on your back. Ensure your shoulders and low back remain flat on the floor. Next, lift your hands above your shoulders. Then, lift your legs and bend your knees, with your knees over your hips at a 90-degree angle. Exhale, engaging the core, as you slowly lower your opposite arm and leg (left leg and right arm), hovering them above the floor. Return to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side (right leg and left arm). Repeat for 5 repetitions on each side.
A senior-friendly exercise, the glute bridge targets the glutes, hitting the quads and hamstrings as well. To perform this exercise, start by lying down flat on your back. Next, place your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent. Ensure your feet aren’t placed too far away or too close to your butt. Place your arms flat on the floor at your sides. Drive your hips up by pressing down through your heels to create a straight line through your shoulders, hips and knees. Squeeze your glutes at the top. Slowly return back to the starting position. Repeat for 10 repetitions.
Seated overhead press
This exercise works the shoulders, which are important to keep strong for tasks such as lifting objects and preventing shoulder injury. For this exercise, sit on a chair keeping your back straight and core engaged. With a dumbbell in each hand, hold the dumbbells at shoulder joint with palms facing away from you. Keeping the wrists straight, press the dumbbells overhead in a straight line until arms are fully extended. Slowly lower back to the starting position. Repeat for 10 repetitions.
Chair calf raises
For this exercise that works the calves, I recommend using a chair or wall for balance if needed. Begin in a standing position with your hands on a chair back or the wall. Next, push your weight onto the balls of your feet, heels coming off the floor, so your weight is on your toes. Then, slowly return to the starting position. Repeat for 10 repetitions.
It’s important to strengthen the lower body to make everyday tasks easier, like bending down to pick something up, and bodyweight squats are an excellent method of strengthening the legs!
For this exercise, I recommend placing a chair behind you for better balance and stability. To begin, step your feet shoulder-width apart from a standing position. Next, engage your core, keeping your chest up as you slowly squat until your thighs are parallel or close to parallel to the floor. Finally, press down through the heels to return to the starting position. Repeat for 10 repetitions.
Wall pushups are a great low-impact way to hit the upper body muscles, including the back, triceps, biceps and shoulders. Start by standing an arm’s length from a wall. Next, position your hands a little wider than shoulder width on the wall with palms flat. Then, take a step backward with both feet, maintaining straight legs. Your weight should be centered on the balls of your feet in this position. Engage your core, keeping your body straight and tight as you slowly lower your chest to the wall by bending your elbows. Push away from the wall to return to the starting position. Repeat for 10 repetitions.