Want to Get in Shape for Winter? Here Are 6 Easy and Safe Exercises for Seniors
While many people think that winter is a time to put on weight and to soak up all of the foods and treats from the holiday season—this doesn’t have to be the case. If you are a senior who is sick of the holiday weight gain, and all of the health (and cosmetic) issues that it can cause, then there is no better time than the present to start getting an exercise plan going.
The great thing about senior-friendly exercise is that it doesn’t have to be difficult and it doesn’t require an expensive gym membership. There are many easy, in-home senior-friendly exercises that any senior can start doing this winter to not only beat the winter weight gain but to help them get in shape and stay in shape for season to come.
Why is Physical Activity For Seniors Important?
Sure, beating holiday weight gain is an important part of starting to exercise, but it isn’t the only important thing. Regular physical activity can help deliver other benefits for seniors, including the following:
- Maintaining healthy muscle mass, which can help with strength and prevent falls.
- Increase bone density, which will lessen the chances of breaks or fractures.
- More core strength to improve balance, posture and flexibility.
- Improved control of chronic disease symptoms, and better immunity.
- Decreased chances of depression (especially in the winter) due to the release of endorphins.
- Better cardiovascular health.
These are all great benefits of regular exercise. However, according to the CDC, nearly 30% of adults age 50 and older and not physical active. If you are ready to start ramping up your physical activity, here are some fun and easy workouts you can do right in your own home.
The best part about doing these exercises in the home is that they are safe, convenient and affordable. Not only do you not have to pay for a gym membership, but with these workouts, you also don’t have to worry about getting out of the house and traveling to the gym—especially in the winter.
At Home Strength Workouts For Seniors To Try
Ready to start working up a sweat at home? One of the best ways to do this is through strength training exercises. Strength training isn’t just for body builders or those who are looking to add bulk—it is actually very important for seniors as well.
Regular strength training can help seniors with all of their everyday activities and can help the littlest things become much easier. From walking up the stairs to getting in and out of the car—the more muscle strength you have the better. Plus, muscle strength is essential for helping prevent falls—which is the most common reason that seniors end up in the emergency room.
Strength training can not only improve muscle mass, but bone density as well and can actually reduce your risk of complications from heart disease.
Here are some easy and effective strength training exercises for seniors to do right at home this winter.
Wall Push Ups
Push ups can be a lot of work for any adult, especially seniors, but you can get similar arm and core benefits by doing wall push ups instead.
- Stand straight up, facing the wall about one foot away.
- Place your palms facing forward in front of you resting them on the wall.
- Lean forward, using your arms as support and do a “push up” as you would on the ground.
Repeat this exercise 10-15 times and push yourself to do several sets.
- Stand in front of a chair with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Bend your knees as though you are sitting in a chair, and keep your shoulders and chest forward and upright.
- Lower yourself down as though you are about to sit and push yourself back up right before you bottom hits the chair.
- Use the chair itself for extra stability, if needed.
Repeat this exercise 10-15 times in a row and work your way up to three sets.
Grocery Arm Curls
You don’t have to use heavy weights in order to do bicep curls. Instead of pushing yourself in this manner, grab some everyday groceries like water bottles, canned vegetables or gallons of milk and use them as “weights” as you perform basic and easy arm curls.
Balance Exercises For Seniors
Much like strength training, balance is also very important for seniors. Here are some easy balance exercises any senior can do at home.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart near a chair for support.
- Life yourself up on your toes as high as you can, you should feel a pull in the back of your calves.
- Carefully lower yourself back down so your heels touch the ground.
Repeat this 15-20 times, taking time to rest in between. This will not only help your balance, but will give you a great calf workout as well.
This is an easy, yet effective exercise to help build balance, and it is something you can do while watching TV or listening to the radio.
- Stand straight up with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Pull one knee up to your chest and hold, challenging yourself to balance on one leg.
- Use the chair for support if needed.
- Hold for 3-5 seconds, lower your leg and repeat.
When you are done, try this exercise on the other leg.
Sit in a chair with strong posture, the core engaged and your shoulders up and back. You should feel tightness in the core.
- Hold a cane, stick or broom out in front of you, the palm of your hand, keeping it flat.
- Let the cane balance as long as you can, until your arms grow tired.
As you continue to get better at this exercise, start moving your arms, in sync, up and down for more of a challenge.
These safe, easy, indoor exercises are all great ways for you to get in shape this winter and stay in shape all winter long.
- Lori Thomas has decades of experience as a caregiver. Her writing for SeniorAdvice.com is informed by years of research as well as hands-on family experience caring for her now late mother, who had chronic health issues for most of her life. Lori is an integral part of the SeniorAdvice.com management team, acting as Vice President of Marketing and Chief Editor.
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