To stay fit and healthy, adults aged 65+ need to get plenty of exercise each week. For many seniors, painful medical conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis, and back injuries keep them from exercising as they should.
Fortunately for those same individuals, low-impact workouts provide a safer alternative that won’t stress out sensitive joints and muscles. What follows are some low-intensity exercises that should help keep your senior happier and happier for years to come.
What Are Low-Impact Exercises?
High-impact exercise is when both feet leave the floor at the same time, for example when jogging or jumping rope. And although high-impact workouts boost one’s heart rate and get the blood pumping fast, they are not recommended for those with a history of joint problems or a recent injury.
Conversely, low-impact exercises like walking, Pilates, and Yoga involve one foot being in contact with the floor at-all-times. Other low-intensity workouts like water aerobics are performed in an aquatic environment that compensates for gravity. Even though it might take a little longer to see the benefits, low-impact workouts also improve cardiovascular health, balance, and strength.
How Regular Exercise Benefits Seniors
Once they’ve been medically cleared by a doctor, exercising for at least 20 minutes several times a week benefits older adults in these ways:
- Strengthens immunity against illnesses, infections, and diseases
- Heightens mental acuity and slows the progression of cognitive decline
- Provides much-needed socialization
- Decreases one’s risk for falling
- Relieves stress, and helps prevent anxiety and depression
- Boosts self-esteem
Best Low-Impact Workouts for Aging Adults
Here are some of the best low-impact ways for seniors to exercise:
Practiced for thousands of years, Yoga improves flexibility, balance, and muscle strength. Its meditative aspects also help cleanse negative thoughts and sharpen mental acuity. If your senior is up for it, Power Yoga is a faster-paced version that boosts cardiovascular endurance. Based on a participant’s goals, there are also different types of Yoga, including Laughter Yoga, or Hasyayoga.
Water’s natural buoyancy supports bodyweight, which makes water-based exercises like aerobics or swimming ideal for someone with chronic joint or back pain- or those recovering from acute injuries. Best done in warm water, exercising in an aquatic environment stimulates the release of feel-good hormones that leave a participant feeling refreshed and relaxed.
The repetitive movements that rowing provides boost one’s heart rate and build muscle endurance. Those muscle groups located in the body’s core (mid-section), shoulders and arms are especially targeted. Increasing the speed of the rowing will build cardio endurance and burn fat even faster.
As one of the safest low-impact exercises, walking at a steady pace for 20+ minutes elevates one’s heart rate, burns calories, and reduces stress. For seniors who are more active, adding some hills or inclines to a walking routine will provide even more benefits.
Named for its creator, Joseph Pilates, Pilates is a method of exercise that consists of low-impact flexibility and muscular strength and endurance movements. The emphasis of this series of exercises is proper postural alignment, along with improving core muscle strength and balance.
For seniors that live with mobility issues, seated, or chair exercises, are an effective and safe low-impact workout that helps build muscle, increase blood circulation and improve joint flexibility.
We Love Keeping Seniors Active and Engaged!
Helping aging-in-place seniors exercise can be hard when you’re busy or live far away. When you need a hand, contact New Wave Home Care. As a fully licensed home care provider, our friendly professionals love keeping seniors active and engaged, whether it’s taking them for a walk, playing a game, or just some good old-fashioned conversation. While serving as an extended family in the home, our highly skilled caregivers use a unique approach that’s all about connection and compassion, delivered with an added personal touch that allows our clients to experience a degree of joy.
In addition to companionship, we support clients and their families with personalized in-home solutions like respite care, personal care, transitional care, specialized care, medication reminders, dementia and Alzheimer’s care, and hospice support. At New Wave Home Care, it’s not just about caregiving. It’s about heart! To learn more now or to schedule a FREE in-home assessment for a senior in Pasadena, CA visit us today at www.newwavehomecare.com.