We all know exercise is important for a strong, healthy body, and even a more positive mental outlook, but not all exercises are right for all ages. As a trusted Bay Area home care agency catering to seniors and their families, we want to share some of the best and worst exercises for seniors.
Walking is one of the best exercises for seniors, because it gets you moving; helps to stabilize knees, feet, ankles, and hips; and is a natural activity that puts the lumbar spine in the right position, while encouraging good posture. While it doesn't burn a lot of calories, unless you're walking at a quick clip and climbing hills, it's one of the best physical activities for seniors.
Squats are another great exercise for the aging, and improves lower-body strength (thighs, hips, buttocks). Squats can be done a number of ways, but the safest for seniors is to hold on to the back of a dining room chair while lowering down as if to sit, pushing hips back and returning to a standing position by straightening hips and knees once they are parallel to the floor. Alternately, you can use a bench that's between 18" and 24" high, squatting as you would if you were to sit down in a chair, then standing back up once your bottom touches the bench.
What exercises should seniors avoid?
Running. Unless you've been doing it all your life, running at a fast speed isn't a good idea for seniors, as the impact on joints, bones, and muscles could result in damage.
Crunches and leg presses aren't a good idea, either. Why? Both can damage the lower back, which is pressed flat to the pad or floor when performing these exercises. There is a natural arch shape in the lumbar spine, so flattening the lower back into what is an unnatural position can result in damage to the discs in the spine.
To strengthen the arm and chest muscles, seniors can do push-ups, and you can even modify them if you can't perform them the traditional way. Pushing away from a wall, the kitchen counter, or even performing push-ups on the floor using a step or box will provide beneficial upper body strength.
Seniors can improve their fitness while helping protect their bodies from injury by working joints and muscles!
At Care Indeed, our mission is to help seniors in Palo Alto, Walnut Creek, Menlo Park and throughout the Bay Area enjoy their healthiest, most fulfilled lives. If you need in home care for a few hours a day or around the clock, give us a call!
Home care is derived from the belief that older adults should be able to age at home with the level of care they need to be safe and comfortable.