As we get older, our mobility tends to decrease. Whether it’s caused by a loss of muscle strength, flexibility, or balance, it can be difficult to stay healthy and active. But that doesn’t mean you should stop exercising—in fact, it’s crucial that seniors try to stay active. Fortunately, there are several options for staying active with reduced mobility.
Some of the physical activities seniors with limited mobility can enjoy include:
- Chair-based exercises
- Tai Chi
- Water-based exercises
- Resistance band exercises
The Importance of Physical Exercise
Physical exercise is about a lot more than just staying in shape. It’s an important part of taking care of yourself. Regular exercise helps to:
- Manage your weight
- Reduce your risk of heart disease
- Strengthen your bones and muscles
- Reduce the risk of falls
- Maintain your coordination
It even helps to release endorphins—a natural feel-good hormone—to help improve your mood. These benefits make regular exercise an important part of life!
Chair-Based Exercises for Seniors
When you want to exercise, you don’t have to start running and jumping around. In fact, chair-based exercises can be a great way for seniors with limited mobility to stay active. These exercises can provide stability and support while still giving the body a good workout.
Some of the chair-based exercises seniors can enjoy include:
- Arm Lifts: While sitting straight in a chair, raise your arms above your head. Slowly lower them back down to your sides. Repeat this around 10–15 times.
- Leg Extensions: With your feet flat on the floor, lift 1 leg until it’s straight and parallel to the ground. Hold it for a few seconds, then lower it back down. Repeat with each leg around 10–15 times.
- Shoulder Rolls: Roll your shoulders forward in a circular motion, then backward. Do this around 15–20 times in each direction.
- Seated Marching: While seated, march your legs up and down one at a time, lifting your knees as high as possible. Do this for about 1 minute.
- Ankle Rotations: Lift one foot off the floor, and slowly rotate your ankle clockwise, then counterclockwise. Repeat with the other foot.
These low-intensity activities can help build muscle, flexibility, and overall strength—all important parts of staying healthy!
How Resistance Bands Can Help Seniors Build Strength
Have you heard of resistance bands? They’re stretchy bands that you can pull and tug at to build strength. They’re lightweight, portable, and perfect for gentle yet effective workouts.
Resistance bands can be extremely handy for seniors dealing with limited mobility since they can be used while sitting down. Seniors don’t need any fancy equipment or a gym membership to stay healthy—they can take it easy, use these bands, and begin building and maintaining their muscles.
Water-Based Exercises for Seniors
There’s a helpful type of exercise that many seniors enjoy: water-based movement. Water can take the weight off your joints, helping make movements easier and less painful. The resistance of water can also give your muscles a good workout.
You don’t need to dive in and start swimming laps or become an Olympic-level diver. Instead, you can simply get in the pool and walk. The water can make the activity much easier while still helping you stay healthy. If you’d like something a little more intensive, you can always try water aerobics!
Tai Chi & Yoga for Seniors
Tai Chi and yoga might sound intimidating, but they’re actually great options for seniors. They focus on slow, controlled movements and deep breathing, which can help improve balance, flexibility, and relaxation. Tai chi and yoga can also promote a sense of meditation and peace, making them great options for reducing stress and improving mental health.
Both Tai Chi and yoga can be adapted to suit any level of mobility or fitness. Many of the poses or movements can be performed while seated or with some kind of physical support like a chair or a wall, making them accessible to seniors with limited mobility.
Nurturing Personal Growth for Seniors
At Parsons House La Porte, we’re dedicated to helping our seniors stay healthy, active, and engaged. Remember, it’s never too late to start exercising, and every little bit counts. We believe in nurturing personal growth for our residents, and we offer access to fitness classes designed for seniors at every level of fitness.
We’re here to help, so book a tour with us today to learn more!