May 29, 2020
Exercise is good for everyone, including seniors. It is helpful for your loved one’s home care professional to work with them for about 150 minutes weekly to make sure that regular physical activity helps with health and wellness overall. However, transportation can be a challenge, so it is often easier to stay active right there inside the house while building endurance, muscle strength, balance, and flexibility for the improvement of fitness and health.
Home care is helpful in bringing exercise to your loved one’s daily routine. With all of these different options, it is easy for your loved one to get the habit of exercising to improve endurance, strength, and flexibility. Home care can assist in keeping these activities safe and effective while also making sure they take place correctly and regularly.
Walking in place – Walking is one of the best and easiest ways to keep the heart and lungs healthy and build strength in the legs and lower body. Even walking in place in an uncarpeted area can be beneficial. Stand up straight and tighten your abs. Move naturally, and as you build stamina, try lifting your knees higher. You also can pump your arms as you march.
Step exercises – Step exercises are an aerobic workout that strengthens legs and keeps the knees limber. You step up, around, and down an elevated platform. Keep the step at a comfortable height, sturdy, and with proper foot space to avoid falling while exercising. If balance is hard, stay next to a wall to help you maintain your balance.
Strength exercises – Strength and resistance training work your muscles by using resistance. This can include body weight by doing push-ups, wall push-ups, pull-ups, crunches, or leg squats. There are also weights, resistance bands, or weight machines at a gym. Benefits to strength training exercises include the prevention of age-related muscle loss, bone strength, preventing falls, and promoting mobility and balance.
Chair sits – This easier variation of basic squats strengthens the thighs, buttocks, and abdominals and lower back. Sit on a sturdy, armless chair with both feet flat on the floor hip-distance apart, knees pointing straight ahead, hands on the thighs just above the knees. Squeeze thigh muscles upon rising, releasing the hands. If there is knee pain upon standing, stop upon rising. With continual repetitions, strength will increase, and knee pain will reduce.
Wall push-ups – A variation of push-ups using bodyweight, this builds strength in the chest, shoulders, upper back, and arms without getting down on the floor. Stand facing a wall, feet hip-width apart, just close enough to stretch arms straight out to the wall. Keep your feet flat on the floor with your upper body straight, then get as close to the wall as you can without losing your form, then slowly press yourself back to standing. Starting with 5 to 10 repetitions at a time, increase as you are able to do more and your strength builds.
Stretching – Flexibility is as important as cardiovascular health and muscle strength, improving functionality and feeling of health. Many moved are needed for stretching your entire body, with many easy stretches available without any equipment. DVDs and videos for workouts like tai chi or yoga can help with balance as well.
At-home exercises – A home gym does not require a lot of equipment cardio equipment that may help, while there are resistance band and body weight that can be used for strength. Many at-home exercises are available through videos, video games like Nintendo Wii, and fitness apps.
Balance exercises – Balance training exercises strengthen the muscles that help keep you upright to improve stability and help prevent falls. Older adults at risk of falls should do balance training three or more days a week and do standardized exercises from a program demonstrated to reduce falls. Balance exercises include:
With all of these indoor exercise options available at home, there is no need to keep a gym membership or work for transportation through traffic to a gym that may be busy, or a place where your senior may find themselves shy or uncomfortable. With home care, all of these exercises can be completed on a daily basis to help improve strength, flexibility, and overall health.