10 Physical Activities to Keep Seniors Moving

Tai-chi for seniorsAs we know, exercising will greatly benefit everyone—whether you are a child, adult, or a senior. Not only does it keep our blood flowing and heart pumping, but also promotes good skin. However, not everyone is suitable for certain types of exercise. For example, hyperactive children can do exhaustive activities, like running for long periods. Adults can do strength training, like muscle building. Seniors, on the other hand, might not be able to do what children and adults do, as their bodies are not able to handle these exercises anymore—or they will have problems doing them.

Here 10 gentle and suitable exercises for seniors 65 years old and above. Do take it easy. Before starting on any exercise regiment, be sure to consult with your doctor or medical adviser the suitability of your chosen exercise program.

1. Lyengar Yoga

In regular yoga poses, like the scorpion, the down dog and the triangle with chair would not be appropriate for elders and would only cause injury. There is a type of yoga called “Lyengar Yoga,” which involves the uses of ropes, belts, and cushions. The director and lead researcher of Gait Study Center, Jinsup Song, says that elders who are doing this yoga display great improvement in their balance, flexibility in the legs and feet, and motion. He also added after nine weeks of training, elders have decreased the rate of falling.

2. Tai Chi

To improve the body’s core, leg joint and hip, then tai chi works best for seniors. A study published in 1996 by Journal of the American Geriatrics Society has found seniors ages 70 and up, doing the tai chi had reduced the risk of falling by almost 50% after 15 weeks of training.

3. Pilates

The good thing about Pilates is that it does not involve rapid and snappy movements, which is perfect for senior citizens, as it improves body posture and rebalancing the body.

4. Walking

Everybody can this exercise, including elders and it burns calories and promotes healthy cardiovascular health, also improves flexibility and balance. It should be done for at least 30 minutes a day, however, you do not need to do it all at once, for example, try walking 15 minutes in two separate sessions during the day.

5. Cycling

This can be both beneficial and damaging for seniors. Cycling is a low-impact exercise that improves cardiovascular system. If wrong size of bike is used, it may cause injuries rather than proving benefits.

6. Swimming

Swimming is a good way to keep body in tip-top shape and boost strength. Since it is a whole-body exercise, it will tone almost every muscle group in the body. Swimming at a continuous pace will greatly affect the body, including the loss of weight.

7. Bowls

Bowls may not be an energetic game, but everyone will definitely enjoy this low-impact exercise, even if you are a new to it. Bowls promotes posture, balance, flexibility and hand-eye coordination.

8. Lawn Mowing

Lawn mowing may not be an inviting activity for everyone but for seniors who are not able to do any intense activity anymore it is a perfect exercise. It can improve strength, flexibility and balance.

9. Aqua Aerobics

From the name itself this low-impact activity requires your body (slightly higher than the waist) to be within the swimming pool. Aqua aerobics teaches varieties of techniques, including running backwards and forwards, walking, various arm movements, and jumping jacks. These are good for improving flexibility, endurance, and balance.

10. Nordic Walking

A good physical activity that is suitable for all fitness levels and ages. Nordic walking is a whole body workout that gives your body the ability to lose weight and tone up. It is also good for seniors with joint problems.

The above exercises have the tendency to strengthen the muscles and joints and increase the ability to balance by increasing awareness and alertness. These positive results all combine to drastically reduce the chances of falling.

See Liesel, a 99 year old trainer, teach sitting exercises to other seniors in this video.

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