Physical activity is crucial for everyone, and especially for seniors. After all, physical activity for older adults boosts self-confidence, prevents or delays chronic disease, improves mobility, and leads to better sleep, more energy and more happiness. These are just some of the benefits, and they can make a drastic impact on the lives of the elderly.
Now that we’ve gone over why physical activity is important, let’s go on to learn some types of physical activities for the elderly as well as some specific physical activities for elderly adults.
Read also: 6 benefits of exercise for older adults.
Types of physical activities for the elderly
- Endurance exercises. Endurance exercises get your body moving and your heart rate up. These are often in line with ‘aerobic activity’.
- Balance exercises. Seniors are more prone to falls, which is where balance exercises can make a significant difference. Balance exercises help to reduce the chance of falling and move more freely. They also help to prevent avoidable injuries.
- Flexibility exercises. Flexibility is crucial to encourage better mobility in your body.
- Strength exercises. Strength training exercises help to build up muscle and strengthen the body overall. It is important to work all the major muscles, as muscle strength is necessary for daily movement. These exercises do not need to be done at an intense level, even moderate training or 1 complete movement done at whatever level a couple times a week builds up muscle strength.
Physical activities for seniors
- Endurance: dancing, bike riding, walking, water aerobics, housework, yoga, gardening, hiking, swimming laps, walking the dog.
- Balance: tai chi, toe lifts, flamingo stands.
- Using a walking aid while you exercise, may be beneficial so you can build up and regain your balance.
- Flexibility: shoulder rolls, neck rotation, arm raises, standing quadriceps stretch.
Example: Standing quadriceps stretch.
- Begin by standing upright with your feet shoulder width apart and arms by your sides.
- Begin to raise on leg behind you while bending it.
- Grab onto the raised leg with the arm of the same side, bending at the knee slightly further.
- Maintain this position for the duration of the set, alternating limbs in subsequent reps.
- Strength: knee extensions, partial squat, bicep curl, shoulder exercises.
Each type of physical activity is important, so it is all about finding the right combination for you. Luckily, you can easily mix up your activity routine so that you can get outside, have fun and get activity when and where is convenient for you.
Before starting any exercise regime, consult with your doctor.