Revitalizing Senior Fitness: The Top Exercises for Building Strength and Improving Health

Senior Adult Jogging Running Exercise Sport Activity Concept

It’s important to keep yourself fit and healthy regardless of your age. While older adults may find it challenging to stick to an exercise regimen, they must force themselves to move and make it part of their daily routine.

Let’s talk about seniors exercise, its benefits, and what physical activity you can do to improve balance and flexibility, improve strength, and avoid developing medical conditions. Fitness levels do not matter in this case because you can always start slow. However, you can gradually increase the difficulty of your exercises until your body becomes accustomed to the routine.

Whenever you feel like the couch seems too tempting to doze off instead of doing physical activities, shake it off, go outside, and exercise. Singapore has launched a program encouraging people to adopt a more active lifestyle. This is done through active participation in the initiative of the National Steps Challenge.

If you’re ready to commit to the steps to become healthier or help a loved one become more physically active, read on.

The Positive Effects of Exercise and Fitness for Seniors on Health

It’s a known fact that exercise promotes hoards of health benefits. A more active lifestyle is also good for bone mass, muscle strength, and mental health. You don’t need strenuous strength training exercises, especially if you haven’t exercised for a long time. You can begin with simple exercises or any light-intensity physical activity.

The effects of having an exercise routine transcend beyond strength and muscle formation. It helps with posture problems, balance and flexibility issues, and more.

Besides, doing exercises is a common nursing home activity. This physical activity helps older adults in many ways, including the following:

  1. Lower risk of developing age-related health issues

Degenerative disorders like dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s are frequently linked to aging. How does exercise prevent these chronic illnesses?

The cognitive faculties of the mind are kept active by doing regular exercise. And an active mind delays the symptoms of dementia or memory loss. Exercise also helps improve daily motor abilities, which helps in combating the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

  1. Improved balance due to stronger bones

The loss of bone mass in many older adults results in weaker bones. If you won’t do anything about it and won’t consider catching up on your physical activity or having an active lifestyle, the bone problem may develop into osteoporosis.

Aside from unpleasant symptoms, such as joint pain, balance problems, and weaker bone density, osteoporosis increases your risk of falling. This can be dangerous, especially to an older adult, and it will take a long time to recover.

Exercise helps by strengthening your bones, which your body can use to prevent falls while developing core strength and improving your balance.

  1. Healthier immune system

Becoming physically active by regularly doing exercises boosts your immune system. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer old folks exercise, brisk walking, aerobic exercise, seniors exercise, or a moderate-intensity activity; doing regular exercise will benefit your health.

Older adults with a strong immune system do not get sick easily. Their bodies can fight off infections and viruses. It also eliminates joint pain and makes it easier for your body to heal from diseases and injuries.

Making It Easier for Yourself to Develop a Regular Exercise Routine

There is no need to go to such extremes to reap the health advantages of exercise, especially when you’ve reached retirement age. In fact, the World Health Organization advises that 150 minutes of exercise each week is enough. When divided into brief intervals of 10 to 30 minutes, this is manageable and something you can easily get used to.

However, keep in mind that workouts shouldn’t last less than 10 minutes. You won’t see any results when you only exercise for the heck of it without minding the benefits you will gain if you do it right.

A better understanding of your limits and strengths will make choosing the best exercises easier. Exercises are divided into four subcategories: flexibility, balance exercises, strength training, and aerobic exercises.

  • Flexibility exercises

These are the exercises that improve mobility and reduce stiffness.

  • Balance exercises

The best balance exercises boost the strength of your muscles responsible for keeping your balance.

  • Strength training

Doing strength training exercises regularly helps build bones and muscles.

  • Aerobic activity

This kind of exercise training is intended to develop one’s endurance and fitness.

You don’t need to include all these four main types of exercises in your routine all at once. Depending on your physical condition and fitness level, you can modify the types to follow or their proportions per session.

If you have chronic conditions, heart disease, and other health issues, ask your doctor’s advice first before making an exercise plan. Older adults can also hire a fitness trainer to ensure that whether they do simple exercises, strength exercises, or core exercises, they are doing it right.

The Best Exercises for Older Adults and Why

Regardless of age, each individual has a definition of the best exercises. Or what you may deem as the best exercises when you were younger no longer apply now that you’re past your prime.

Older adults must develop an exercise regimen suited to their health and fitness levels. First, you have to define your goal. Is it to reduce body weight or maintain your ideal body weight? You may also want to make your leg muscles stronger or maintain strength by following moderate-intensity exercises at your own pace.

Here’s a look at the best exercises for most older adults and the health benefits you can gain from the following exercises:

  1. Yoga (strength training, improving balance, flexibility)

This exercise is like a structured form of stretching, which helps make your bones stronger and develop your muscles. This is beneficial for older adults who have joint or bone problems.

By doing yoga, you will support your body weight with your muscles while relieving pressure from your joints.

Moreover, exercises like yoga and tai chi can be done in a group. This means that you can use the chance to socialize and meet friends while doing yoga. This is also effective in keeping your mind and body at peace. As a result, you will find it easier to concentrate and improve your mental health.

  1. Regular stretching (flexibility)

Stretching is part of any exercise. It’s typically the starting position of yoga, strength training, any light activity, and other forms of exercise. Stretching helps prepare your body, so you won’t likely experience injuries once you begin your exercise routine.

When you stretch, make sure you do it all over your body, including your calves, right foot, left foot, thighs, arms, sides, abdomen, chest, back, and neck. Stretching improves the flexibility of your upper and lower body, preventing the joints from getting stiff.

  1. Calisthenics (Balance, strength training)

You can do various exercises in calisthenics, but the easiest ones are lunges, sit-ups, and push-ups.

In making lunges, step forward and stand tall. Position your leg as if you’re half-kneeling while keeping the back of the other knee just above the mat.

On the other hand, ask someone to hold your feet, so they won’t lift or move as you do the exercise. Last, push-ups are effective for the arms. You can do this on the floor or do wall push-ups if you find this easier. You can also use a sturdy chair to support your weight while doing the push-ups.

  1. Arm weights (strength training)

This exercise suits those who want to strengthen their upper body. It also hones your posture and strengthens your shoulders and upper back muscles. For a safe start to this exercise, begin in a standing or sitting position. Then, lift weights to the level of your shoulder before pushing them up and slowly lowering them to where you got them.

  1. Tai chi (flexibility, balance)

This is among the best exercises recommended by many experts worldwide. It is effective in improving your flexibility and balance. This is also suited for older adults who can no longer commit to heavy lifting or too many movements.

Another thing that makes tai chi one of the best exercises is that you must do it with a group. This will make the exercise routine more enjoyable. Moreover, tai chi is good for mental health, improving your focus and relieving stress.

  1. Squats (Balance)

This simple exercise is beneficial to older adults who are beginning to develop weaker knees. This is easy to do and does not require any equipment.

You can half-sit or start in a standing position. Make sure that you keep your back straight as you do the exercise. Extend your arms to the front to sustain your balance, or hold to a chair for support.

  1. Swimming (water aerobics)

It’s the water aerobics version of cycling. In both exercises, the bike or water supports your body weight. The movements relieve pressure from your joints. This is why swimming is a good therapeutic exercise for osteoporosis and arthritis.

You can benefit from this aerobic activity even if you can’t swim. You can use props, such as a paddle board, or pool noodle, to paddle without drowning. Another way to enjoy this exercise is by doing it with an aerobic class. Having companions in swimming makes it easier to learn the steps and more fun as well.

  1. Stationary cycling (aerobic activity)

You can do this at gyms, or you can also opt to buy a stationary bicycle so you can use it at home. This is convenient to use for older adults who are having a hard time cycling outdoors. This will allow you to perform the exercise without leaving your home.

  1. Brisk walking (aerobic)

This is less intense than running or jogging. This makes it an ideal exercise for older adults. It helps in honing your muscles and is generally beneficial for the heart.

Brisk walking sustains good posture and helps in developing your leg muscles. It may be easy to do, but as long as you do it regularly, you will benefit most from this exercise.

Final Words

Older adults will gain many health benefits from exercising regularly, same as with the benefits of therapy for elderly. It’s ideal to make it part of your routine. To reduce the risk of injuries, always start slow in your practices. Perform stretching exercises before going all out in your planned exercises. And always wear the right clothes to make the experience more comfortable.

If you need any help regarding monitoring or elderly care in Singapore, reach out to us at RC Caregivers. The health of the older adults under our supervision is our top priority. This means we plan their exercise routines according to their fitness levels and overall health.

Joshua is the founder of RC Caregivers. Having been the primary caregiver of his father, he has been undertaking ways to provide affordable and quality care, not just to his father, but to all elderly in Singapore. He has founded multiple care companies, such as Red Crowns Senior Living, and has been featured in Straits Times, Zaobao and Money 93FM. He has also been lauded by DBS, with the company being the recipient of the DBS foundation grant.
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