Exercise can be very beneficial for seniors who wish to maintain a healthy quality of life. But is it possible for seniors who have limited mobility to participate in exercise activities? Yes, it is! In fact, staying active for these seniors is essential to keeping their bodies flexible and strong. Exercise also stimulates blood circulation, and it can be an excellent mood booster. Here are some exercise tips to help seniors who have limited mobility stay active.
Choose Light Exercises
Exercises that do not require repeated strenuous movements are the best choices for limited-mobility seniors. Let’s take a look at some popular ones:
- Cardiovascular exercises – These exercises get the heart pumping and muscles moving. Instead of walking, cycling or dancing, seniors can do seated cardio movements from a chair or wheelchair.
- Chair workouts – All that is needed to get started is a comfortable, sturdy chair. Some popular low-impact chair exercises are seated front shoulder raise, seated chest press, seated leg raises and modified push-ups.
- Light strength training – Seniors who add light weights to their exercise routines can build and maintain good muscle strength. Get a set of light hand weights to hold during routines. Routines can also revolve around resistance bands that stretch when pulled.
- Water aerobics – Seniors who have regular access to a local pool can enjoy the ease of exercising in the water. The buoyancy of the water acts as a soothing cushion for muscles and limbs.
Protect Injured Areas
The decision for seniors to work out when they have any form of injury should be carefully thought out and discussed with a medical professional. Any exercises that involve using the injured body part or area should be avoided. Exercise movements may prolong the healing process or cause additional injury. Seniors under the care of a doctor or physical therapist should ask for advice about safe ways to exercise with their specific injury.
Start Slow and Gradually Increase
A common mistake people of all ages make when starting a workout routine is doing too much too quickly. To help avoid potential injuries and fatigue, it’s best to ease into a workout routine. Start off slowly and perform movements at a pace that feels easy-going and natural. Everyone is different, and just because a partner or friend can do 10 reps of an exercise doesn’t mean everyone else should try to keep up with that pace.
Seniors should focus on their individual health goals, and if they can only do a few reps, or need to modify a movement, that’s perfectly fine. Over time, a senior can gradually add more exercises and reps.
Do Warmup Stretches
Stretching before a workout is highly recommended. Doing a series of simple stretches gets the blood flowing and limbers up muscles and joints. Stretching can also help prevent cramping.
Staying consistent with exercise is the key to improving overall health and mobility. Experts recommend that people ages 65 and over do a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise during the week. Exercising three to five times a week is also recommended.
Be Mindful of Your Body
While there may be a few aches after starting a new workout, exercising should never be painful. Be aware of ongoing discomfort or sharp pains while performing movements. Changes to the exercise routine may be necessary for safety.