Like everybody else, adults aged 65+ need plenty of exercises every week to stay fit and healthy. Sadly, painful medical conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis, and back injuries keep many seniors from exercising as they should. Notably, for those experiencing chronic pain, low-impact workouts provide a safer alternative that won’t stress out sensitive joints and muscles. What follows are six low-intensity exercises that should help keep your aging loved one happier, healthier, and more active for many years to come.
What Are Low-Impact Exercises?
High-impact exercise is when both feet leave the floor at the same time – for example while jogging or jumping rope. And although high-impact workouts boost one’s heart rate and get the blood pumping fast, they are not recommended for those with a history of joint problems or a recent injury.
Conversely, low-impact exercises like walking, Pilates, and Yoga involve one foot always being in contact with the floor. Other low-intensity workouts like water aerobics are performed in an aquatic environment that compensates for gravity. Even though it might take a little longer to see the benefits, low-impact workouts also improve cardiovascular health, balance, and strength.
How Regular Exercise Benefits Older Adults
Once they’ve been medically cleared by a doctor, exercising for at least 20 minutes 3 to 5 times a week benefits older adults in these ways:
- Strengthens their natural immunity against illnesses, infections, and diseases
- Heightens mental acuity and slows the progression of cognitive decline
- Provides much-needed socialization
- Decreases one’s risk of falling
- Relieves stress, and helps prevent anxiety and depression
- Boosts self-esteem
Best Low-Impact Workouts for Seniors
Here are six low-impact workouts that your aging loved one can benefit from at home or the local gym:
Practiced for thousands of years, Yoga improves flexibility, balance, and muscle strength. Its meditative aspects also help cleanse negative thoughts and sharpen mental acuity. If your senior is up for it, Power Yoga is a faster-paced version that boosts cardiovascular endurance. Based on a participant’s goals, there are also many different types of Yoga, including Laughter Yoga, or Hasyayoga.
Water’s natural buoyancy supports body weight, which makes water-based exercises like aerobics or swimming ideal for someone with chronic joint or back pain, along with those recovering from acute injuries. Best done in warm water, exercising in an aquatic environment stimulates the release of feel-good hormones that leave a participant feeling refreshed and relaxed.
The repetitive movements that rowing provides boost one’s heart rate and build muscle endurance, especially for muscle groups located in the body’s core (mid-section), shoulders and arms. Increasing the speed of the rowing will build cardio endurance and burn fat even faster. In addition to using a rowing machine at home or the gym, outdoor activities like canoeing or kayaking are great low-impact forms of exercise for elderly participants.
As one of the safest low-impact exercises, walking at a steady pace for 20+ minutes elevates one’s heart rate, burns calories, and reduces stress. For active seniors, adding some hills or inclines to a walking routine will deliver even more health benefits.
Named for its creator, Joseph Pilates, Pilates is a method of exercise that consists of low-impact flexibility and muscular strength and endurance movements. The emphasis of this series of exercises is proper postural alignment, along with improving core muscle strength and balance.
For seniors that live with mobility issues, seated, or chair exercises, are an effective and safe low-impact workout that helps build muscle, increase blood circulation, and improve joint flexibility without overstressing tired, achy joints.
We Love Keeping Seniors Active and Entertained!
Helping an aging loved one stay active, fit, and healthy can be challenging when you’re busy or live far away. At HomeChoice Home Care Solutions, we deliver peace of mind to clients and their families by providing compassionate and dependable in-home care that’s second to none. Our top-notch caregivers and office staff provide personal levels of care that will make you and your loved one feel like family – because you are.
At HomeChoice Home Care Solutions, our mission is to enrich the lives of those we serve by providing caring, compassionate, and wellness-focused in-home care within a supportive environment that allows everyone involved to thrive. To schedule a FREE Care Consultation for a senior in Raleigh, Durham, or Cary, NC, today, please visit us at www.homechoicehomecare.com.