While safe exercises are vital in different stages of life, it’s particularly essential to healthy aging. It improves muscle strength and mobility, making it easier for seniors to perform activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, eating, and using the restroom. Additionally, regular physical activities can prevent many health conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, that may come with age.
However, not all exercises are safe for aging adults. For example, high-intensity exercises may increase the risk of cardiac arrests in older people. Therefore, a guided program should ensure they practice fitness safely. This article highlights four safe exercises to consider for your aging parents:
1. Aerobic Exercises
Seniors should receive at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activities each week. These exercises boost cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, and alleviate other disorders, such as insomnia, that affect older elders. The following are the types of aerobic exercises to consider for your senior parents:
It’s a less intense aerobic exercise that gets your muscles working while exerting less impact on the joints. If your parents have weak knees or ankles, walking is safer than jogging. And if they have balance issues, they can use a cane or walker for support.
They can use an outdoor or stationary bike. Cycling involves using larger muscles and mainly targets the quadriceps and hamstrings. It improves leg strength, so the seniors can move around more efficiently and support a good posture. Also, cycling enables the heart and lungs to get a workout, increasing blood flow and promoting cardiovascular health.
It involves moving different body parts, including the hands, shoulders, or hips. Ideally, it’s a whole-body workout that strengthens multiple body muscles, improves balance and coordination, and elevates the heart rate. Also, dancing releases feel-good endorphins and can make your parents happier.
Luckily, the best assisted living facilities include moderate and lower-intensity physical and mental exercises in their senior activities program. Therefore, if you want to move your aging parents to an assisted living community, you’d like to choose the best care solution, like the luxurious Newport beach or other service providers that offer a full activity calendar tailored for each resident. This way, you can ensure they maintain an active and healthy lifestyle and still get the help they need.
2. Balance Exercises
General health declines with age. And due to muscle weakness and balance problems, falls become more common for older people. However, balance exercises can strengthen the muscles, improve stability, and prevent falls. They include:
It involves lowering the body from a standing position into a semi-sitting posture while keeping the back straight. It’s an effective way for seniors to stabilize their muscles and thus maintain balance.
Tai Chi is a low-intensity sport involving gentle movements, physical postures, controlled breathing, and meditation. This form of exercise generally enhances the body components required to stay upright. That includes leg strength, range of motion, and flexibility. Also, it’s beneficial for relaxation and focus and thus assists the body in being cautious in space.
Most importantly, the above exercises should be supervised, especially if the fall risk is high.
3. Stretching Exercises
Stretching exercises are ideal for seniors since they’re low-impact physical activities. Besides, they allow more significant joint movement and can help reduce muscle tension. Regular neck, hips, legs, arms, and back stretches increase flexibility, improve mobility, and strengthen muscles and bones. In that case, daily activities like getting in and out of bed, standing up, bathing, and eating become simpler for your loved one. Also, it reduces back, shoulder, hip, and leg pain.
4. Yoga Exercises
Yoga is a mind-body practice that includes physical exercises and meditations. It’s a more structured exercise that improves flexibility and physical balance and adds strength through muscle building. Some of the best yoga poses safe for seniors include simple reclining twist, tree pose, overhead stretch, side warrior pose, and standing knee-to-chest pose.
And for seniors with mobility issues, it’s recommended they do chair yoga exercises. They include low-impact exercises that put less stress on muscles and joints than other forms of yoga—for example, seated twist, seated mountain pose, seated cow stretch, and seated cat stretch.
Notably, yoga exercises significantly improve mental health by reducing stress hormone levels. Instead, it elevates the production of feel-good brain chemicals such as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and endorphins. These beneficial chemicals can boost mood, relieve depression, and reduce anxiety.
Exercise should be a priority for aging parents as it improves their mental and physical health. Ideally, exercising boosts a person’s immune system, so it’s recommended for older adults since, with age, the human immune system becomes less effective. Above are four forms of exercise safe for older adults. Altogether, ensure your loved ones receive the best combination of exercises to provide all-around fitness.