These Are the Best Exercises for Older Adults

senior african american couple exercising in park

Exercise is important for health at all ages. Though we may modify the way we exercise based on age, physical fitness, or risk of injury, there are ways for every person to stay active and healthy. To maintain fitness without risking overexertion, it’s always best to start with less intense physical activities and work our way up.

A sufficient workout can start at as few as ten minutes and can be very low impact. For seniors who want to do everything they can to stay strong and independent, there are many recommended exercises to promote wellness throughout the years. Read on to learn about types of exercise that are safe and practical for older adults.

Stay Fit With Exercises for All Ages

In all stages of life, it’s important to make time for physical activity. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) encourages older adults to engage in four kinds of exercises to maximize health and quality of daily life:

  • Endurance
  • Strength
  • Balance
  • Flexibility

Endurance Exercises

Aerobic exercises keep your endurance up and make everyday tasks easier. These blood-pumping exercises also improve heart health, lung function, and the health of your circulatory system.

Better endurance (particularly in the elderly) can also delay or prevent diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis.

Examples of endurance exercises include:

  • Walking at a moderate to brisk pace
  • Playing tennis
  • Swimming laps
  • Water aerobics
  • Going for a bike ride

Strength Exercises

We gain strength by lifting or pushing weights (this can include our own body weight). Building more strength means working muscles, and it can make daily activities like lifting groceries or opening jars a little easier.

It’s important not to overestimate weight lifting abilities, especially when you’re first starting out on a new exercise routine. Start with simple exercises and small weights before working your way up.

Examples of strength exercises include:

  • Squats on a chair
  • Bicep curls or rows with resistance band
  • Side or overhead arm raises
  • Wall push-ups

Balance Exercises

It is well known that older people experience the biggest consequences from losing their balance and falling to the ground. Whether walking down stairs or just cleaning up around the house, better balance can help us avoid tripping over objects or making unsteady movements.

By practicing and improving balance through exercise, seniors can reduce their risk of losing their footing and prevent injuries related to falling.

Examples of balance exercises include:

  • Side or front leg raises
  • Calf raises
  • Stand on one foot (use a chair or wall for support)
  • Heel-to-toe walk
  • Strength exercises for legs

Flexibility Exercises

Stretching can help us avoid injury and make it easier to complete other kinds of exercise. Additionally, stretching will improve flexibility and may simplify tasks like getting dressed or reaching items high up on a shelf.

Stretching is a way of taking care of our muscles, and allows us more freedom to move without pain or tightness.

Examples of flexibility exercises include:

  • Neck rotations
  • Arm rotations
  • Calf stretching
  • Toe touches
  • Twisting back stretch
  • Simple yoga

Maximize Your Wellness, Live Independently

Prioritizing physical fitness and incorporating exercise into your everyday life not only promotes health and wellness, but also increases your chances of living independently for longer. As always, you should consult your doctor before engaging in a new physical activity or trying difficult exercises.

At Cambridge Village of Apex, we know the importance of physical activity in the quality of life for our residents. Please consult a staff member if you have questions about our wellness center and health club, or want to learn more about how you can safely stay active.

Reach out to us at (919) 363-2080 to learn more about our facilities, wellness programs, or how best to incorporate exercise into your daily life. We look forward to hearing from you.

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