It doesn’t take all that much to signal your body that it has to remain strong and flexible. Our bodies have no choice but to assimilate the messages we send to it. If we do nothing, we are telling our body there is no need to strengthen muscles because we don’t need them.
So it does what comes naturally. It allows our muscles to atrophy and grows soft. Our heart weakens as it has no need to vigorously pump blood to vibrant working muscles because the muscles are not working. A home exercise program for seniors is the ideal way to stay in great shape.
Two or three times a week would be optimal. Always allow a rest day in between workouts. For instance, you might exercise on Tuesday and Thursday if you choose two days, or Monday, Wednesday, Friday if you decide to try three times a week.
As you go about your daily routine, you might seldom ever raise your arms as high as your shoulders. You cook, do the dishes, clean the bathroom sink, or vacuum the floor. None of these chores require you to raise your arms very high. This, in turn, could limit how much upper body strength you have. Your shoulders and arms could very well get weaker and lose their flexibility.
Here is a simple exercise to combat loss of strength and flexibility. You can do this sitting in a chair if you like. If you prefer to stand, that’s okay as well. Get a couple of books about the same size. Try to avoid the 15 pounds Webster Dictionary. On the first repetition, you’ll be yelling out words that probably didn’t make it into that dictionary.
Get a couple of paperbacks or maybe some small water bottles. You can also purchase very light hand weights. Spread your arms out to the side like you’re going to take off and fly. Raise your arms to shoulder-length, hold if for about a three-count and then raise your arms over your head. Slowly lower your arms back down to shoulder-length with arms spread out again, hold for a three-count and then back down to waist level.
Try to repeat this exercise eight times. These are called repetitions. The eight repeats are called one set. If possible, try to do two sets of eight repetitions. Don’t worry if you can’t finish all eight repetitions. You will get stronger over time. If the books or bottles you are using for weight seem too heavy, then try doing the exercise without weights for the first set.
Most seniors will use a chair for leg extensions. A chair will help you maintain your balance as you perform the leg exercise. The chair should be beside you. Start with the chair on your left. That means you will be extending your right leg first. Get a firm hold of the back of the chair with your left hand.
Bend your left leg slightly as you raise your right leg. Try to raise your leg to waist height. There’s a good chance it will feel tight. If so, just raise your leg as far as you are able if your waist height is too difficult to maintain. Try to finish two sets of eight repetitions. Then put the chair on your right side and do the same exercise with the opposite leg.
If you were unable to raise your legs very high, don’t worry about it. If you stick with exercising on a regular basis you will gain strength and flexibility over time. Eventually, you will be able to lift your legs higher. This is an example of an exercise that requires no weights.
This exercise will really help with your lower back. It will also strengthen core muscles. The best part is, you get to lay down. The trick is to lay on your back knees bent. Your arms should be flat on the floor at your sides.
Push down with both arms and hands and raise your hips off the floor. Hold it for a three-count and lower hips back down to the floor. Try to do two sets of five repeats. If you can’t manage five times at first, no problem. Just do what you can manage. Like every exercise you do, if you stick with it you will become stronger and more flexible.
All seniors want to avoid the dreaded broken hip. That goes without saying. But how do you do this? Well, there are some hip exercises that will fill the bill. It’s a great way to gain muscle strength, improve balance, increase the flow of blood, and it can even help in losing weight.
You’re going to use a chair again.
Face the back of the chair. Make sure the chair doesn’t swivel or you’ll do a flying cartwheel. For balance, grab the back of the chair with both hands. Start with your right leg. Keep your knee as straight as you can and move your leg backward. Try doing two sets of eight repetitions with each leg.
YOU DID A GREAT JOB!
You worked on your arms, legs, back, and hips. Remember not to force any of the exercises. You can challenge the muscles a little because that’s how you improve your strength and flexibility.
If you find you can do ten repetitions after several weeks at eight, then go for it. If you start out with twice a week and feel you could do more than increase it to three weekly workouts.
This home exercise program for seniors will do wonders for your strength, flexibility, and balance. Remember that no matter what exercises you do, the key is consistency. You have to send your body the message that there is still work to do. It will respond if you are consistent.
If you exercise two days one week and then take a month off, there will be very little gain. It’s true that any exercise is better than no exercise, but true success and improvement will be found when one is consistent.
If you want to really improve your fitness, consider getting yourself a treadmill.
Here is an important article on Being Physically Active and the benefits derived from it.
Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions.