The best way to stay healthy and look your best is to stay physically active. An active lifestyle is important for senior health because it will help prevent diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer, and it can even help reduce pain associated with arthritis. But that’s not all, improving your strength, flexibility, endurance, and balance will help you live longer and maintain independence.
Experts recommend that you get about 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise every week. This can be broken up into 20-minute workouts seven days a week. But how do you know which exercises are best? That’s where we come in. We’ve compiled a list of 10 quick & easy exercises seniors should do every day to feel and look great! Just be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
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Go For A Walk
Walking is a great exercise you can do daily because it offers plenty of health benefits, is free, and doesn’t require any fancy equipment. Some of the health benefits include boosting brain health and improving your mood. This is because when we walk, the body releases endorphins which is a chemical that makes us feel happy.
Walking regularly is also great for heart health, lubricating joints, strengthening muscles, and for managing a healthy weight. As you can see there are so many benefits you can gain from walking every day. If you want to make the most of your workout check out these tips for a better walking workout!
Low-Impact Cardio Exercises
Aside from walking there are plenty of other cardio exercises that you can do every day too. Some of these include jogging, swimming, and biking. You may also like our low-impact cardio workout created by our senior fitness expert, Meredeth Chen.
This workout is designed to elevate your heart rate, keep your body moving, and leave you feeling great! Better yet, you can do this workout in the comfort of your own home and without any equipment. We’ve also included a video so you can follow along. Give our low-impact cardio workout a try today!
A squat is arguably one of the best exercises for seniors. They’re great because they help strengthen and increase flexibility in your glutes, knees, and calves. Strengthening these muscles will help you stand up from a seated position with ease! Practicing this exercise daily may help prevent the need to use grab bars by your toilet and prevent you from using your back to pick items up off the floor.
Squats can be performed anywhere, anytime! To get started grab a chair and stand in front of it with your feet hip-width apart. Next, bend your knees as if you’re sitting down. Allow your body to lean slightly forward and engage your abdominal muscles. Be mindful of your posture and make sure you aren’t hunched over. You can lower your bottom so you sit down and then push your body back up to return to the starting position. Repeat for 10 repetitions.
To make this exercise more challenging you can lower your bottom but right before you hit the chair push your body back up. Or you can perform the squats without the chair but make sure you have the strength to do this because you don’t want to risk a fall!
Push-ups are a great exercise that will help strengthen your entire upper body with a focus on your chest and arms. Thankfully, you don’t have to get on the floor to perform this exercise, there are ways to modify it!
Begin by facing a wall about an arm’s length away. Place your hands on the wall shoulder-width apart and slightly below shoulder height. Next, bend your elbows to lean towards the wall but make sure you keep your body straight. Once your face is close to the wall, straighten your arms to push your body back to the starting position. Try to perform 10 reps.
To ensure you’re performing this exercise properly there are a few things you need to be mindful of. For starters make sure your elbows are pointed slightly towards your sides not out — this will protect your shoulders. Next, make sure you are engaging your glutes and abdominal muscles while performing the exercise. Finally, move with slow, controlled movements to prevent injury!
Lifting heavy objects can become more difficult as you age, especially if you don’t maintain strength in your arms. Bicep curls will help strengthen your arms to keep them strong and working as they should. You can perform biceps curls anywhere, even when you’re watching TV. So grab a couple of weights and let’s strengthen those arms!
You can perform this exercise seated or standing — your choice! If you have trouble keeping your balance then we highly recommend you perform it seated. Begin (seated or standing tall) with your palms facing forward and your elbows tucked in. Take a deep breath and as you exhale curl your palms up toward your chest. Hold this position for about one second and then slowly lower your arms back down. Try to repeat for 10 reps.
A quick tip: if you don’t have weights on hand, get creative! You can always use cans of soup, water bottles, or anything that you can comfortably hold in your hand.
Leg raises will help strengthen your thighs, hips, glutes, and lower back. Strengthening these muscles is important for walking and ultimately maintaining your independence. But that’s not all, this exercise can help improve your balance too which is very important for seniors. There are two types of leg raises you should be performing daily: side leg raises and back leg raises. Let’s explore those next.
To begin a side leg raise, stand behind a chair, and hold onto it for support. Next, lift one leg out to the side, ensuring it’s completely aligned from heel to hip. Then slowly lower the leg back down. You also need to be mindful of your posture — keep your back straight and maintain a slight bend in the supporting leg.
For back leg raises you’ll want to stand behind the same chair and hold onto it for support. Slowly lift one leg behind you and hold that position for a second before slowly lowering the leg. Make sure you aren’t leaning forward during this movement. Try to complete 10 reps per leg for each exercise.
Glute bridges are an easy exercise you can perform daily that targets not one but several muscle groups at once! You’ll be working on strengthening your legs, hamstrings, glutes, and abdominal muscles all the while improving your stability. This is important if you want to stay strong, prevent falls, and climb stairs with ease!
You will need to perform this exercise lying down but you can do it anywhere whether that is on the floor with a cushioned mat or in your bed. Start by lying on your back with your arms by your side and your palms facing down. Next, bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart. As you inhale, press your feet into the floor and lift your glutes up as high as you can without arching your back or lifting your feet. Hold this position for about five seconds and then slowly lower back down. Try your best to complete 12 reps.
A quick tip: to make this exercise more challenging you can perform the same exercise with both arms reaching up towards the ceiling. You can also try lifting a leg a few inches off the floor to make it even more challenging.
Heel raises target the calf muscles and will help strengthen the alignment between your foot and ankle. This is important for gaining a better balance, reducing the risk of falls, and preventing foot, ankle, knee, or back pain. The best part is you can perform heel raises anywhere and any time, making it a great exercise to perform daily.
Beginners should perform this exercise seated in a chair. Sit up tall and keep your feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart. Then lift your heels to rise on the balls of your feet and then lower back down to the starting position. If this feels too easy then try it standing behind a chair. Hold onto the chair for support and repeat the above steps for 10 reps.
Once you’ve built up strength you can perform this exercise standing without the chair. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and elevate your heels the same as above. You can even hold onto weights in each hand to increase the difficulty.
Balance training is so important for seniors because it helps you stay mobile for longer, improves muscle tone and bone strength, and helps prevent falls. One of the best balancing exercises you should perform daily is practicing balancing on one leg. When we walk and climb stairs we spend a lot of time on one leg so ensuring you have the strength will help prevent accidents and injuries.
Start by standing close to a wall or chair just in case you need the support if you lose your balance. Then practice standing on one leg and hold it for as long as you can before switching to the other leg. If you practice this daily you’ll be well on your way to feeling more confident when walking.
Stretching is important for everyone but especially for seniors because we start to lose our flexibility as we age. Stretching will help improve movement in your joints and it helps improve your posture too. It’s also great for releasing tension and soreness in muscles. All of this plays an important role in improving balance and coordination.
Yoga and Tai Chi are great ways to stretch your body while working out. You may also enjoy these exercises that can increase flexibility.
A quick tip: when stretching, always make sure you are performing smooth, gentle movements and never bounce or jerk. You should also focus on your breathing and ensure it’s slow and steady during each stretch.