Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that older Americans engage in moderate to mild aerobic exercise for at least 2.5 hours per week. If you were to spread that time out over seven days, it translates into about 20 minutes a day. Listed below are five exercises that can be done in the home or outside with little to no equipment to help you get those 20 minutes in. Start today!
1. Single Leg Raise
Leg raises help to improve thigh, hip, buttock and lower back strength. This exercise can be done with or without a chair depending on your comfort level. For side leg raises, you will stand behind a chair and lift one leg out to the side while keeping it aligned from heel to hip. Posture is also important for this exercise in order to get the maximum benefit. You should maintain a straight back and a slight bend in the supporting leg. For this exercise, complete two sets of at least 10 reps for each leg, alternating legs between sets.
Squatting is a great strength training exercise to help build muscle in senior citizens. You can build lower body strength by squatting in front of a sturdy chair. Keep your arms in front of you and make sure not to extend your knees past your toes as you bend to an almost-sitting position. Hold the position for a few moments, then raise yourself back to a standing position and repeat for two sets of 10 reps. Hold onto the sides of the chair if the exercise is too challenging.
3. Arm Curls
Although lifting everyday objects can be increasingly difficult as you age, doing arm curls can can assist with the muscles that are used during the lifting movement. You can do this exercise either seated or standing. You will need to hold cans or hand weights down at your sides with palms facing up and elbows tucked in. Then you will bend your elbows and raise the weights toward your chest. Hold each raise for about 1 second, then slowly lower the arms; do a set of 10 reps and repeat another set. Don’t forget to rest in between reps.
Walking is one of the easiest ways to get in shape and stay fit for seniors, as it has been shown to increase circulation and support joints. Although you may already be familiar with this form of exercise, there are still some tips that can lead you on a successful walk. Make sure that you warm up and start slowly before actually going on your walk. You should also map out your route on a flat, even surface if you are a beginner.
5. Arm raises
Arm raises are very similar to arm curls because this exercise builds arm strength and can also be done sitting down or standing up. Sit or stand with feet flat on the floor and hold weights at shoulder height with palms facing forward, then lift the weights above your head. Hold for about 1 second, then lower arms back to shoulder level. Aim for two sets of at least 10 reps for each of this exercise.
There are many different exercises and forms of exercises to get you up and moving. Let us know your favorites!