What is the best exercise for the elderly?
As you get older it can be harder to keep fit and active. Exercising for as long as you can is a great way to improve your health and mobility so it’s important to find a type of exercise that you enjoy.
A daily constitutional keeps the doctor away to paraphrase the famous saying about apples. Walking is the easiest form of exercise to take up as it requires no special equipment other than a pair of comfy shoes, and perhaps a good coat. Timing your walk with when your home care services come to help with the cleaning will let them get on and will also allow them to send out a search party if the unthinkable happens and you should fall.
As exercises go it requires a bit more organisation to start swimming. It’s a good one for your whole body though as the water supports your weight meaning you can strengthen your muscles and cardiovascular system without risk of falls or strains. If you have live in home care then they will be able to accompany you into the pool – some pools even let carers come for free! It’s also worth asking about special sessions for older swimmers where the water might be warmer and without children dive-bombing the deep end.
Many older people find they become increasingly anxious as the get older. This can be a side-effect of medication but whatever the cause taking time to concentrate on Yoga, Mindfulness or Meditation can offer some relief.
Yoga aims to balance mind and body and by relaxing the mind allow the body to strengthen. There are plenty of variations of the standard poses that allow for any limitations in mobility you may already have. Whilst your days of “Downward Dog” might be past seated positions such as “Seated Forward Bend” (Paschimottanasana) or “Simple Seated Twist” (Parivrtta Sukhasana) can improve your mobility, flexibility and circulation.
Zumba is an especially popular form of aerobic dance-based exercise class but there are many others that also cater for older participants. Zumba combines short dances – maybe only three or four minutes long – with break periods and it’s easy to tailor the workout to your activity level and fitness. If standing and walking are tricky you can even just join in with the arm movements from a chair.
Another slightly more adventurous option is cycling. If you don’t fancy the open road – or have balance issues that make using a bike dangerous – then you can always remain warm and dry on a stationary exercise bike. Cycling is a low-impact activity that gets your legs moving which in turn improves circulation and by making you slightly out of breath it can improve your cardiovascular fitness. And if you do want to get out and about there’s always the option of using a e-bike to allow you to rest from time to time and still be home in time for tea.