Exercise and the Elderly: Benefits and How to Get Active Again

Staying healthy, fit, and active is just as important (if not more!) as you get older each year. Although many older adults begin to neglect exercise over time, it can actually make a huge difference in your quality of day-to-day life.

Don’t believe the myths that older people are frail and weak or that the human body doesn’t need as much exercise as it ages! Those myths are simply not true and hold you back from reaching your potential at any age.

Stopping Exercise with Limited Mobility

Unfortunately, many older adults stop exercising altogether once they begin experiencing limited mobility. If you have more trouble getting around than you used to, you’ll obviously need to adjust your workout routine. But that certainly doesn’t mean that you should stop exercising altogether.

In fact, doing so could put you more at risk of injury, illness, and depression. Studies have shown that living a sedentary lifestyle after age 50 leads to more doctor visits, hospitalizations, use of medication, and medical bills.

Benefits of Exercise at Any Age

Exercise is healthy and beneficial at any age, and there are many workouts that you can continue to do well into your golden years.

These are some of the many benefits of exercising as you get older:

  • Increased energy and stamina
  • Manage symptoms of pain and illness
  • Maintain your independence
  • Boost your mood and mental functioning
  • Keeps you flexible to prevent muscle strains
  • Keeps you strong to prevent falls
  • Helps control weight and appetite

Great Exercises for the Elderly

It’s important that older adults consult a trusted medical professional before starting any new fitness routine, especially if there’s a preexisting condition to consider. Always start slow and try to stick to the same exercise schedule for a few weeks to turn a commitment into a habit. And focus on short-term goals to stay motivated and combine elements of cardio, strength training, balance, and flexibility into your routine.

These are some of the best exercises for senior citizens:

  • Walking outdoors or on a treadmill
  • House cleaning and running errands
  • Water aerobics for low-impact cardio
  • Yoga for balance and flexibility
  • Tai Chi for balance and mental stamina
  • Dancing – anything from the tango to ballroom dancing or square dancing!

Exercises for Wheelchair Users

Just because you use a wheelchair to improve your mobility, doesn’t mean that you can’t stay fit and active.

These are some great exercises that wheelchair users can do in the comfort of your own home:

  • Free weights (dumbbells) for repetitive sets
  • Stretches that involve bending and twisting to increase range of motion
  • Guided swim pool therapy sessions for wheelchair users
  • Resistance bands for arms and legs (try leg extensions for lower body and pull-downs for upper body)
  • Organized wheelchair sports like basketball, golf, and even skiing
  • Wheelchair-focused yoga and Tai Chi
  • Seated crunches (curl your shoulders, head, and chest to your thighs) for core strength

With regular exercise and convenient mobility equipment, like Dermer’s stairlifts and vehicle lifts, you can maintain your independence and live the healthy and happy life you want in your own home.