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Blog Feature

By: Marissa Salvesen on February 6th, 2014

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4 Daily Exercises Every Senior Should be Doing

assisted living | senior living | caregiver information | aging seniors | 60-day stay trial | exercise tips for seniors | Aging & Caregiving

4-activities-seniors-shouldExercising, for seniors, helps maintain flexibility, endurance and strength, all while improving heart health, which is important for older adults. Exercising, when chosen carefully and found to be in line with what the senior body can handle, helps improve overall quality of life, lessen problems from balance and coordination issues and aids in maintaining strength.

Of course, before your aging loved one begins any exercise or fitness program, have a chat with their doctor. As long as you have the doctor’s approval, these four exercises can be incorporated into any senior’s daily life to improve health and well-being.

1. Side Leg Lifts

According to the CDC, 258,000 people age 65 and older were admitted to the hospital for hip fractures in 2010. Over 95 percent of those fractures occurred because the individual experienced a fall. Slide leg lifts are an excellent way to improve your loved ones balance and strengthen muscles to help prevent and fight falls.

To perform this exercise, stand straight behind a table or chair with your feet slightly apart. Holding onto the table or chair, lift one leg 6 to 12 inches to the side, keeping the legs and back straight. Hold the position for a 30-second count, then lower the leg and repeat with the other one. Repeat the exercises for 8 to 15 reps every day to improve the strength of the lower body and eliminate balance problems. 

2. Tricep Stretches

Next, improve range of movement with a tricep stretch. For this exercise, hold one end of a towel in your right hand, then raise the arm, bending at the elbow, so that the towel drapes down the back. Then, reach behind the back to grab the bottom of the towel with the other hand. Gradually use the left hand to creep up the towel, pulling the right arm down, until the arms touch or the move is not comfortable. Repeat three to five times, holding the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds, with each hand. 

3. Cardio Exercises

Few exercises for seniors focus on rapid, complex movements, but that doesn't mean you should ignore cardio when planning for active senior living. A brisk walk or a ride on a comfortable exercise bike are both safe and healthy activities that can be done daily. For those whose joints can't handle extensive cycling or walking, swimming is a viable alternative. 

4. Chair Stands

Keeping the core muscles strong is another important aspect of aging gracefully. Chair stands help with this. To do this exercise, sit in a chair, supporting your back with pillows. Lean back onto the pillows until you are in a half-reclining position, with your shoulders and back straight. Use your core muscles to raise the upper body to a sitting position, then slowly stand, using the hands as little as possible, but still maintaining your balance. Sit back down and repeat 8 to 15 times. (If you have difficulty maintaining your balance, try doing this exercise with another person who can assist you if needed.)

 Key Takeaways

  • Exercises for seniors are the key to active senior living.

  • Exercises that improve balance help prevent falls.

  • Incorporate cardio into daily life to improve endurance and heart health.

  • Add strengthening exercises to keep muscles strong.

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About Marissa Salvesen

My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!

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