Top 5 Exercises for Older Adults

Improving strength and balance is key to preventing slips and falls for older adults. One of the most common types of injuries for senior citizens is falling which can then lead to anything from a broken hip to a traumatic brain injury. Fractured bones and soft tissue injuries are several of the most common injuries for older adults. Minor trauma can require hospitalization, and many never regain the level of functionality and confidence they enjoyed before the incident. So are there ways that we can help prevent loss of balance and maintain a good healthy bone structure? Yes, by aiming to add some physical activity to your everyday routine can help.

One of the core recommendations is to at least try adding thirty minutes of moderate physical activity to your day. Primarily strength training as it helps prevent bone and muscle loss. Always stretch as a warm up to help reduce the risk of muscle strain and help improve mobility and flexibility. There are numerous other benefits to being flexible besides just increasing your strength potential. Flexibility helps prevent injury, relieves pain, and promotes good posture. It’s also helpful for just moving about daily life. Here are some warm up stretches that you can start off with:

  • Triceps stretch-Pull your left elbow gently toward your right side until you feel a stretch in your left triceps. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and repeat on the other side.
  • Seated floor twist-Sit on the floor in a cross-legged position. Elongate your spine, and as you inhale, place your right hand flat on the floor behind you and your left hand on your right knee. When you exhale, move deeper into the twist while looking over your right shoulder.
  • Toe touch-Stand straight with your legs about hip width apart. Keep your legs straight and bend down as far as you can reaching for your toes.
  • Standing biceps stretch-Clasp your hands behind your back with your palms together, straighten arms and then rotate them so your palms face downward. Raise your arms up and hold until you feel a stretch in your biceps.
  • Spinal stretch-Sitting on the floor with your feet wider than your hips, nod your head forward and begin to bend forward by hinging at the hips. Breathe normally. As you go down, draw your chin into your neck. Your hands should not reach past your toes-you’re not aiming to lie on the floor-and you shouldn’t feel as if your back and spinal ligaments are being pulled. Once you feel the stretch through your back, slowly return to the starting position.

Once you are completely stretched, you can then either start off with a cardiovascular exercise, four times a week with two days of strength training. Alternating activities every cardiovascular days with these suggested activities:

  • Aerobics
  • Swimming
  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Biking
  • Rowing Machine

On the alternating days, you can then include strength training which can be performed twice per week, including legs, back, shoulders, arms, chest, and abdomen. These exercises may improve your strength and balance. Some of these simple exercises can include:

  • Shoulder rolls-Rotating your shoulders up and down reaching for the ceiling. Also rotating your shoulders forwards and backwards.
  • Back leg raises-While standing, lift your legs straight back and hold that position for several seconds while repeating the other leg. This is done best with a chair to help you balance.
  • Marching in place-Standing straight, lift your right knee as high as you can. Lower it, then lift the left leg. Lift and lower your legs 20 times.
  • Side leg raise-Stand behind the chair with your feet slightly apart. Slowly lift your right leg to the side. Keep your back straight, your toe facing forward, and stare straight ahead. Lower your right leg slowly. Repeat this exercise ten to 15 times per leg.
  • Wall pushups-Stand an arm’s length in front of a wall that doesn’t have any paintings, decorations, windows or doors. Lean forward slightly and put your palms flat on the wall at the height and width of your shoulders. Keep your feet planted as you slowly bring your body towards the wall. Gently push yourself back so that your arms are straight. Do twenty of these.

With these exercises you are improving your body from aches and pains while also helping you reduce your chances of slipping or falling. Make physical activity fun, try working out with friends or family. Do activities that you enjoy and have fun socializing. Exercise should not be seen as a form of punishment but as a tool to help improve your well being. Always be sure to check with your healthcare provider first to see what is the recommended amount of exercise you should participate in and what your limits may be.

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Pharmacy Solutions
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