9 Ways Seniors Can Stay Active When Stuck Inside the House

As we face a far-reaching viral pandemic, we must accept that senior citizens are even more vulnerable than usual. Saying home is crucial to avoiding spreading or contracting the virus, which means many of us aren’t getting the same amount of exercise we’re used to. And, as you know, a body that’s able to fight off disease is a healthy, physically fit one, so it’s not a good time to cut back on working out. Instead, seniors must focus on getting their daily recommended exercise allowance each day from inside their homes.
Three Types of ExerciseAll exercise is good exercise, especially when you’re cooped up. It’s important to remember, though, that your body needs multiple types of exercise to thrive. Incorporate endurance (cardio) exercises, strength exercises, and balance and flexibility exercises to keep you physically fit from head to toe.
  1. Cardiovascular Exercises
The first type of exercise you need to do a few times per week is cardiovascular exercise, which conditions the heart and helps you build endurance so you can do things like easily climb stairs and chase your grandkids. The U.S. Department of Health says older adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week (that’s about 20 minutes a day or 30 minutes five times a week) or as much as your health will allow.
  • Zumba – Dancing is one of the very best ways to get your heart pumping and have some fun. And why not try Zumba? This Latin American dance fitness craze incorporates elements of salsa, merengue, flamenco, hip-hop, tango, and more. You can do guided Zumba classes with streaming fitness services or DVDs.
  • Stationary Cycling – If you suffer from any joint issues, such as arthritis, you need to make sure you’re doing relatively low-impact aerobic exercises so you don’t put too much strain on the joints. One of the best ways to do this is with a stationary bike, which helps get your heart rate pumping without the hard-hitting impact on the knees, hips, or ankles.
  • Low-Impact Aerobics – Use YouTube or the streaming fitness app of your choice to find low-impact aerobic exercise routines that don’t involve a trip to the gym or going outside period. Some good options are this 30-Minute Senior Workout Routine with seated and standing options and this 10-Minute Full-Body Workout.
  1. Strength Training Exercises
Building and maintaining muscle mass is essential, especially in old age. The older we get, the more our body relies on our muscles to help ward off back pain and prevent injuries. Be sure to follow-up any strength training regimen with a period of muscle recovery and relaxation so you reap the full benefits. This can be achieved with massage sessions or pain relief treatment with laser light therapy belts.
  • Free Weights – Free weights are a great way to build strength from home because they’re affordable, portable, and not especially complicated to learn how to use. Invest in a series of graduated dumbbells or kettlebells and use a guided exercise program to help you learn how to use them to safely build up strength.
  • Resistance Band – A resistance band is a firm, elastic band used for strength training. These affordable, lightweight, and uncomplicated bands can help you build strength with a very minimal investment—you just need to know how to use them. There is a wide variety of resistance band content available online to help you master this method from home.
  • Chair Exercises – Using a chair during upper body weight training is a good way to give your body some extra support as you build up your strength. You can modify many strength and aerobic exercises by simply doing them sitting down and then, once you feel strong enough, transitioning them to standing.
  1. Balance and Flexibility
Balance and flexibility exercises are important for seniors, as they help build coordination and prevent injury. Your muscles need to be flexible in order to complete a range of day-to-day tasks, from driving to making dinner to getting dressed. Balance can be compromised by many age-related medical conditions—including Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease—but is key to preventing injury every step of the way.
  • Yoga – Yoga is a fantastic exercise for adults at any age because it helps keep the body balanced and flexible while also providing some measurable mental health benefits, including reduced stress. The great thing about yoga is that it’s very simple to modify so it can suit all body types and conditions.
  • Balance Exercises – You don’t need any fancy equipment or a personal trainer to master balance exercises at home; just make sure you don’t put yourself in a position where you could fall and not have access to help. Some great balance exercises include the flamingo stand or tree pose. Always practice your balance movements near a wall so you have a good safety net.
  • Tai Chi – Tai chi is a Chinese martial art that is aptly described as “medicine in motion.” It employs slow, gentle, and controlled movements as well as deep breathing exercises to help build flexibility, balance, strength, and endurance. In tai chi, you are almost never fully extending or bending your joints, and the muscles generally stay relaxed rather than tensed, which helps reduce strain and the risk of injury.
Safety Is KeyUnfortunately, our risk for injury rises as we age, so it’s crucial that we do everything we can do to stay safe during an at-home workout routine. If you’re exercising by yourself and you live alone, make sure to keep a phone within arm’s reach at all times in case you need to call for help. Pay attention to your body and don’t push yourself too far if you’re not feeling your best. Do these few things, and you’ll be able to enjoy older adulthood with minimal complications!