Seniors & Exercise (Part 2): Physical Activities

Do you want to help your elderly loved one increase their energy levels, boost their appetite or manage pain?

An active lifestyle can help your senior in many ways. Seniors should engage in at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-to-vigorous exercise in bouts of 10 minutes or more to achieve health benefits and improve functional abilities. That’s less than 25 minutes per day to live a happier, healthier and longer life!

Since you have read Part 1, you are already aware of the benefits of engaging in daily physical activities for your elderly loved one. Now you are probably wondering what are the best and safest activities for them to engage in. Here are some examples of daily exercises for your senior:

  1. Water Aerobics – the perfect exercise for those living with joint pains and arthritis among other ailments. Water aerobics exercises improve strength, flexibility and balance with minimal stress on your body! Join a class or do it alone! Either way these exercises are ideal to help your elderly love one stay active and keep their bodies strong and healthy.
  2. Swimming – like water aerobics, swimming is an excellent form of exercise with minimal to no stress on your body. Even going for a walk in a swimming pool will help your elderly loved one reap all the benefits of aqua fitness.
  3. Yoga or Chair Yoga – another low impact way to get the exercise your senior needs. Yoga exercises, whether in a chair or not, improves muscle strength, flexibility, mobility and balance. Chair yoga does provide less stress on joints, muscles and bones than the more conventional yoga.
  4. Walking – an accessible and low impact way to engage in regular exercise is walking. Just put on some comfortable walking shoes and they will be on their way. For some seniors, walking can be more of a challenge so distance and steps goals will vary from person to person. Invite a friend or neighbour to join your senior on their walk for a chance to socialize while maintaining a healthy body and mind!
  1. Pilates – similar to yoga, Pilates is a low impact style of exercising with emphasis on breathing, alignment, concentration and core strength. Increased flexibility, improved balance and developed core strength are a few of the benefits your elderly loved one will receive from engaging in Pilates!
  2. Body Weight Workout – like walking, body weight workouts are accessible and convenient as all that is required is yourself (and maybe a mat to soften floor impact)! These workouts are one of the best ways to counteract muscle atrophy in seniors. Squats and step-ups are great examples of body weight exercises.
  3. Cycling – a no-impact form of cardio exercise that is beneficial for your heart and lungs. Whether you use a stationary bike or an outdoor bicycle, this is a great way for seniors who are struggling with joint or muscle pain to get the required physical activity they need!
  4. Dancing – is known to improve balance, strengthen multiple large muscle groups as well as lift your spirits! Line dancing, salsa dancing, and Zumba are great examples of dancing for exercise. It can also be a good social experience if you join a class at a local recreational center, but it can also be done in the comfort of your own home.

Not all of these examples of physical activities will work for your elderly loved one, or maybe they will. The most important thing to remember is to engage in any physical activities daily! Again, please consult with your senior’s doctor before engaging in any exercises they are unsure of and ask what he recommends for them.

For our next blog we will dive deeper into the different types of physical activities for seniors: Seniors & Exercise (Part 3): Cardio, Strength, Balance and Flexibility Exercises

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