If you are an older adult looking to increase your daily activity, this list of senior-friendly forms of exercise can help you get started.
Exercise is important at every stage in life. As we grow older, however, remaining physically active helps us maintain flexibility, strength, balance, and range of motion. These are key to preventing falls, staying safe while driving, and maintaining independence.
The general recommendation for adults is 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days a week and a few weekly sessions of strength training. The good news is it doesn’t have to be completed in one 30-minute workout. You can break exercise down into two 15-minute workouts per day to earn the same health benefits.
If you or a loved one is looking for safe forms of senior exercises, here are a few to discuss with your physician.
7 Senior-Friendly Forms of Exercise
- Chair yoga: This popular form of exercise has been adapted to allow older adults to perform yoga from a seated position. Senior centers and local YMCA organizations offer classes. If you or your senior family member prefers to exercise at home, you might want to explore DVDs or gentle yoga videos on YouTube.
- Water aerobics: Swimming, especially in a warm pool, offers older adults many mental and physical health benefits. Seniors with osteoarthritis often find this gentle form of exercise helps reduce pain and inflammation while improving damaged joints’ range of motion.
- Go4Life: The National Institute on Aging created this program especially for older adults. From guides to videos, the site includes a variety of free resources to help seniors stay active and fit.
- Tai chi: This ancient form of Chinese martial arts helps build strength, stamina, and flexibility. Because it is comprised of slow, controlled movements, it is generally safe for older adults.
- Pilates: Another form of slow, deliberate exercise is Pilates. Physical therapists sometimes use Pilates movements with patients recovering from an injury or illness. You can likely find a senior-friendly class at your local senior center or fitness club.
- Walking: The health benefits of walking range from an improved cardiovascular system to lower incidence of depression. If you find walking a little boring, these walking workout tips from Silver Sneakers can help you shake it up.
- Resistance bands: Strength training is an important part of every older adult’s workout. But seniors may feel intimidated by the idea of using weights. That’s where resistance bands can assist. Start with a less restrictive band and work up to one that has greater tension. Some of these exercises can even be performed from a seated position.
As is true of any new form of exercise, talk with your primary care physician before getting started. Share exercises you are considering and ask for their guidance.
Wellness Programs at The Wesley
At The Wesley Community, we know how important physical activity is to aging well. That’s why you’ll find a variety of wellness programs taking place every day. From daily morning exercise class to our Walking Club and Yoga, residents have a choice of fitness programs to participate in.