Besides the COVID-19 quarantine there are many reasons why seniors can’t quite get to the gym. Maybe transportation is an issue or your spouse needs you. That’s totally understandable. The important thing to know is that all adults, including older and senior adults, should exercise and can do so at home.
Exercise improves your cognition as well as your physical state. It is also known to help you sleep and keep up your healthy, active lifestyle.
“While any movement is always better than none, there are certain foundational exercises that need to be performed on more than designated workout days, says Ann Phelps, D.P.T., a physical therapist at Athletico Physical Therapy in Chicago.” Silver Sneakers
Yoga is one of the best practices for anyone regardless of age or ability. It helps keep your mind focused as well as maintaining flexibility and balance. Some yoga flows keep the heart rate up. If you're a beginner stay away from "power yoga." You'll thank us later.
Low-impact, yoga is a great exercise at home. Your downstairs neighbors won’t complain and the equipment necessary is minimal: a yoga mat.
Pair your yoga mat with a glass of cucumber mint water, exercises found for free on YouTube, and you’re off to a great start. Ten minutes of stretch yoga is achievable for anyone – no matter your skill level.
“The research on yoga is preliminary, however, initial studies have found a yoga practice to positively correlate with both physical and mental wellness.” DoYogaWithMe
Calisthenics, pilates, and tai chi are also great exercises at home. Most of these types of activities are group in nature but now you can find classes on YouTube for free. If you have a pool in your backyard, you can also swim and do water aerobics which is great because it doesn’t stress your joints.
Always talk to your doctor when approaching a new exercise regimen, especially if you have high blood pressure, heart issues, or diabetes.
Not everyone can be Jack LaLanne but, in moderation, any exercise is good. Build up your strength with a personal trainer or an exercise program through your gym. If you're qualified, you can attend live classes online on Silver Sneakers website.
SeniorLifestyle.com recommends against exercises that are meant for young people to lose weight and gain muscle quickly. These include high intensity interval training, bench press, squats, and more. Talk to your doctor for sure.
Exercise is a good thing to add into your daily routine. It helps set the day right for many retired people. Many active retirees advocate for treating the weekends differently. This helps you from a mental health standpoint. So maybe save water aerobics for Saturday and a brisk walk for Sunday in your neighborhood. If you have to stay home, a treadmill is a good option.
“Seniors age 65 and older should get at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking) every week. That averages out to about 30 minutes on most days of the week. Or you should get 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous exercise (such as jogging) each week.” FamilyDoctor.org
Try to choose exercise that makes you feel good about yourself and don’t forget to hydrate! Even when it’s not that warm outside, you could be losing water. Keep your electrolytes balanced and always consult your doctor. No matter what, exercise should be fun – this is your time to live your best life.