Aging is an inevitable part of life, and it's essential to maintain an active lifestyle to enjoy a healthy and happy life. As we age, we become more sedentary, leading to various health issues, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. However, regular exercise can prevent these health problems and improve overall well-being. This blog will discuss the benefits of exercise for seniors, easy activities for older adults, and physical therapy exercises recommended for elders.
We have covered the benefits of physical exercises for elders and the best exercises for the elderly in this blog. However, more than exercise may be required for a healthy lifestyle if complemented with the right nutrition plan. Hence, read our next blog to learn about the nutrition plan for the elderly.
What Are the Benefits of Exercise for Seniors?
Regular physical exercise has numerous benefits for elderly people. Here are some of the benefits:
● Improves Balance and Coordination
Our balance and coordination may decrease as we age, making us more susceptible to falls and injuries. Regular exercises, such as yoga or tai chi, can improve balance and coordination, reducing the risk of falls.
● Increases Muscle Strength and Flexibility
Older adults may experience muscle loss and decreased flexibility, leading to mobility issues. Strength training and stretching exercises can increase muscle strength and flexibility, allowing seniors to perform daily activities efficiently.
● Enhances Cardiovascular Health
Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in older adults. Regular aerobic exercises like walking or cycling can improve cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
● Boosts Cognitive Function
Exercise has been shown to improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline in older adults. Aerobic exercise, in particular, can improve memory, attention, and processing speed.
● Improves Mood and Reduces Stress
Regular exercise can improve mood and reduce stress in older adults. Exercise releases endorphins, which can promote feelings of happiness and well-being.
What Are the Best Physical Therapy Exercises for the Elderly at Home?
Here are some of the best physical therapy exercises for elderly people to do at home:
● Daily Walking
Walking is a simple yet effective exercise that improves cardiovascular health, strengthens muscles, and improves balance. Walking is a low-impact activity, making it ideal for seniors with joint pain or other health conditions. It's important to start slowly and gradually increase the duration and intensity of the walk over time.
● Chair Squats
Chair squats are an excellent exercise for strengthening the lower body, particularly the legs and hips. To do a chair squat, stand in front of a chair with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower yourself as if sitting in the chair, then stand back up. Repeat for several repetitions. Chair squats can help improve balance and coordination and make standing up from a chair easier or getting out of bed.
● Wall Push-Ups
Wall push-ups are a modified version of the classic exercise that can help strengthen the chest, shoulders, and arms. To do a wall push-up, stand facing a wall with your arms extended and your palms flat against the wall. Slowly lower your body towards the wall, then push back up. Repeat for several repetitions. Wall push-ups are a low-impact exercise that can help improve upper body strength, making it easier to perform daily tasks like lifting and carrying objects.
● Leg Raises
The leg can help strengthen the hips and legs, reducing the risk of falls and improving mobility. Stand behind a chair with your hands resting on the back to do a leg raise. Slowly lift one leg to the side, then lower it back down. Repeat for several repetitions, then switch to the other leg. The leg can be modified by holding onto the chair for support or adding ankle weights for additional resistance.
● Seated Rows
Seated rows are an excellent exercise for improving upper body strength and posture, reducing the risk of shoulder and back pain. To do a seated row:
Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
Hold a resistance band or weights with your arms extended before you.
Pull the band or weights towards your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
Slowly release and repeat for several repetitions.
Seated rows can be modified using a lighter resistance band or weights or adjusting the arm position to target different muscle groups.
Watch How One of Our Senior Patients Performing this Easy Therapy Exercises at PHE Healthcare, Mumbai!
Which Exercises Should Be Avoided by Elderly People?
While exercise is essential for maintaining good health, specific exercises may not be safe or appropriate for the elderly. Here are some exercises that seniors should avoid or modify, along with the reasons why:
❖ High-impact Exercises
High-impact exercises such as running or jumping can be challenging on the joints, especially for seniors with arthritis or other joint conditions. These exercises can increase the risk of injury or pain and should be avoided or modified.
❖ Heavy Weightlifting
While weightlifting can be beneficial for building muscle and bone density, heavy weightlifting can be risky for seniors. Lifting heavy weights can strain the joints excessively and increase the risk of injury. Seniors should focus on lighter weights and more repetitions to avoid injury.
❖ Exercises that Require Bending or Twisting
Exercises requiring bending or twisting, such as sit-ups or toe touches, can strain the back excessively and increase the risk of injury. Instead, seniors should focus on exercises that maintain a neutral spine, such as planks or bridges.
❖ Exercises that Require Balancing On One Leg
Balancing on one leg can be challenging for seniors, especially those who have balance issues or a history of falls. Exercises such as lunges or single-leg squats should be avoided or modified to reduce the risk of injury.
❖ Exercises that Require Sudden Movements or Rapid Changes in Direction
Exercises that require sudden movements or rapid changes in direction, such as plyometrics or agility drills, can be risky for seniors. These exercises can increase the risk of injury or falls and should be avoided or modified.
Dos and Don'ts for Exercise Safety for the Elderly
✔️ Consult with a healthcare provider or physical therapist before starting any new exercise program.
✔️ Warm-up and cool down before and after exercise to reduce the risk of injury.
✔️ Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of exercise.
✔️ Listen to your body and modify or stop exercises that cause pain or discomfort.
✔️ Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise.
❌ Don't push yourself too hard or exercise to exhaustion.
❌ Don't exercise if you're feeling sick or have a fever.
❌ Don't ignore pain or discomfort; it could be a sign of injury or overexertion.
❌ Don't exercise in extreme weather conditions, such as extreme heat or cold.
❌ Don't skip the warm-up or cool-down, as it can increase the risk of injury.
Ensure Safe and Effective Exercises for Your Elderly Family Members with PHE Healthcare
Suppose you are concerned about the exercise routine of your elderly family members and want to ensure that they are performing safe and practical exercises that are appropriate for their age and health. In that case, you can look for physiotherapists' at-home options.
PHE Healthcare provides physiotherapists at home in Mumbai to better assure your loved elderly ones have safe exercise at their home. Our experienced and qualified physiotherapists can assess the individual needs and limitations of your elderly family members and recommend the best exercises that can improve their overall health and well-being.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our expert physiotherapists and learn more about our services. Let's work together to ensure that your elderly family members can enjoy an active and healthy lifestyle for years to come!