10 Home Exercises for the ElderlyStaying active in old age is a key means of staving off debilitating conditions and diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. This is why exercising for the elderly is so important. What’s more, improving flexibility, strength and endurance are necessary for regulating blood sugar, maintaining strong bones and a healthy weight in old age. As such, consistent and routine physical activity every day is recommended by the NHS for all older adults. Of course, you need to tailor these activities to capabilities and be wary of restrictive health conditions. From strengthening routines to aerobic exercises, these activities can be done from the comfort of your own home in the morning or evening as part of a daily routine.
10 home exercises for the elderly
- Chair exercises
- Arm curls
- Push ups
- Toe and leg lifts
- Home stretches
- Simple head turns
- Snow angels
1 – WalkingWalking is perfect for incorporating into a weekly exercise routine as a moderate aerobic activity – and it can be done almost anywhere, including inside the home, around the garden or just down the street. It is a great way to get the body moving without being overly strenuous. Try incorporating walking when listening to a podcast, audiobook or radio show around the house.
2 – YogaYoga classes for the elderly offer perfect low-impact exercise routines tailor suited for older individuals. Yoga is well-known to improve posture, sleep, mood and lung capacity (with breathing exercises), all of which are very beneficial in older age. Far from being intimidating, yoga is for everybody to try and can be easily incorporated as a home workout for the elderly, provided you don’t push yourself too far. Although a class will bring a more social dimension to yoga, yoga routines can be found on video and throughout the internet for practice at home. Here is a video that shows you some routines you could use.
3 – Chair exercisesExercises for the elderly at home can include the simplest of routines that don’t even require you to stand up. These can be performed throughout the day as a great way of improving circulation and mobility, as the simplest home exercises for the elderly. One of the best is the easy ankle and wrist roll, involving the flexing and rolling of your feet and hands when seated. You can incorporate these movements into almost any daily situation, making them ideal for everyday practice when watching your favourite television programme. You can read more about the different types of chair exercises here. Here is a video with some chair exercises that you could do.
4 – Arm curlsThere are many strength exercises to do at home for the elderly, including training with dumbbells or even jugs of water. Arm curls are a perfect exercise to help strengthen muscles through slow arm movements. Not only can arm curls be performed either seated or standing, but they are also perfect for amateurs. Simply hold your weights down to the side and bend your elbows to lift them toward your chest. This can be performed as a set of reps to suit the needs of the person.
5 – Push-UpsAnother staple home workout for the elderly, push-ups work the muscles throughout the chest and arms. As one of the top home exercises for arms for elderly patients, they needn’t be performed strenuously on the floor. For a lower-impact, try a wall press-up. Here, you still strengthen your arms and upper body but you don’t need to get all the way down to the floor or risk getting an injury. Standing two feet away from the wall and with plenty of space, perform a push-up against the wall whilst keeping your body straight as you lean in. Remember to perform the push-up as you would on the floor, getting your chin as close to the wall as possible without touching it.
6 – Marching ExercisesThis is a great means of improving balance during your daily routine. When standing up straight, lift your knees one at a time as high as you can get them. You can incorporate this into a set of 20. If you feel you need to hold onto something, you can place your hands on a kitchen counter or high chair.
7 – Toe and Leg LiftsLeg and toe lifts are muscle builders. With leg lifts, you strengthen your hips, lower back muscles, hips and buttocks, whilst improving balance and control. Take a chair and hold onto it for balance. Lift one of your legs out to the side whilst maintaining a completely straight back. Hold the pose before moving your leg back into place, repeating for both legs. You can then move on to perform toe lifts by standing straight behind the chair and raising up on the tip of your toes as high as possible and holding your position. Incorporating this routine into a set of reps is one of the best home exercises for the elderly which requires yourself and a chair only. Here is a video that shows you some very useful leg exercises. 8 – Home Stretches Stretching routines are necessary daily exercises for the elderly at home. To work your quadriceps, take your chair and stand behind it, grabbing the back with either right or left hand. Take your opposite leg and pull it behind your back with your free hand. Whilst remaining perpendicular to the floor, you should hold the stretch for 30 seconds, releasing and repeating with your other foot. This exercise is perfect for strengthening the lower body and maintaining strong calf muscles. Similarly, you can stretch your upper body by simply standing up straight with your hands clenched together your back. Pulling your shoulders back and holding the stretch for 30 seconds will help exercise the muscles in your upper back, neck, arms and shoulders. 9 – Simple Head Turns Keeping your neck and head mobile is very important in old age. Sometimes the simplest of exercises is the most overlooked. Simply move your head in an exaggerated and prolonged “no” movement, holding your head in place at each side rather than performing it rigorously. Make sure your back is straight and your shoulders relaxed. You can then move on to performing circular movements with your neck. This is important for maintaining a mobile neck in situations like driving where you need to remain aware of what is going on around you. 10 – Snow Angels You needn’t get on the floor in a big pile of snow to perform an effective snow angel. Simply take a wall and lean against it with your lower back and head. Keeping your back straight, stick your arms completely out to the side, palms to the wall and move them up and down slowly against the wall as you would a snow angel. This exercise will help with chest and mid-back flexibility, as well as being great for arm mobility. Home exercises for arms for elderly are important and you mustn’t be afraid to get your arms all the way up in the air for the most effective stretches and exercise routines. Here is a short video that shows you how to do this.
This article was first published on the UK Care Guide and you can read it here.