Aging can impact the body in various ways. The Carrington at Lincolnwood, IL, lists senior exercises to keep you and your body feeling great!
The Carrington at Lincolnwood celebrated Healthy Aging Month in our September Blog to draw attention to healthy lifestyles for adults 45-plus. The blog presents helpful information for seniors to reach their goals for active aging.
In this month’s blog, we take our healthy lifestyles message one step further with the help of The Carrington’s fitness instructor, Arthur King. Arthur is just one of the many senior living resources available for professional advice on health and fitness-related topics.
EXERCISE ACTIVITIES FOR SENIORS—From Concept to Reality
Here, Arthur turns the concept of healthy aging into a tangible reality by suggesting and sharing a low-impact approach to exercise for seniors. You can do many of the following routines at home or in The Carrington’s wellness gym with state-of-the-art cardio/strengthening equipment.
Arthur addresses these three general areas: common low-impact exercises for seniors, easy exercises to promote good balance and low-impact exercises to do while sitting. He specifically promotes these low-impact workouts:
· Aquatic exercise
· Indoor cycling
· Chair exercises
“Low-impact exercises are the best way for seniors to stay fit, healthy and strong,” says Arthur. These exercises are joint-friendly, focus on breathing, build core strength, provide resistance, and are easily adaptable for seniors of different fitness levels. For seniors who are accustomed to high-impact exercises, some of the low-impact workouts I suggest are great performed at home, keep the blood flowing and reduce the risk of injury.”
Arthur cautions everyone to remember that a general workout starts with a warm-up, then moves on to exercises that target specific muscle groups and always ends in cool down.
Common Low-Impact Exercises for Seniors
· GENERAL ROUTINES
Numerous low-impact routines are available on the internet like this 15-Minute Senior Low-Impact Routine we found on YouTube. Note how the instructor suggests using weighted objects like water bottles and cans of soup you’ll find around the house to increase the effectiveness of your workout.
This is one of the most popular low-impact exercises for seniors—highly recommended by Arthur. “Walking is a weight-bearing activity and doesn’t put much stress on joints and muscles,” he says. It’s easy on the back and great for overall conditioning. “Walking for 5 minutes or longer every day keeps bones strong and is a great way to stay in shape. More and more, I find that seniors want to incorporate walking into their ADL (activities of daily living) in order to increase their independence.”
A good, supportive pair of properly laced walking shoes are critical for this activity. If you’re walking outside, vary your terrain by walking on a sandy beach or hiking trail. RESOURCE: 10-Minute Indoor Walking Workout for Seniors.
· AQUATIC EXERCISE
Many older adults with back pain or joint pain benefit from swimming as a low-impact exercise. Your joints are supported and there is minimal resistance to the muscles. There’s little risk of injury, and aquatic exercise improves heart health, flexibility, strength, tone and even mental health by reducing stress.
Individual swimming for 30 minutes in one stretch is the most beneficial. You may have to work up to it or sign up for a class to brush up on your stroke technique, but it will be worth it. Many seniors also enjoy organized water aerobics classes and also regularly do water resistance exercises—curls, calf raises, etc.—where water provides the resistance in place of the strength training weights you get in the gym. “Walking and moving in water is great for weight management and to restore energy from injuries,” says Arthur. “It’s easier for feet, knees and hips than walking on land. Most of my one-on-one clients prefer water aerobics.”
If you have access to a pool at home or at a membership club, you’re set! Residents of The Carrington enjoy access to an indoor swimming pool and helpful aquatic exercise options for individuals or groups on a resident-centered activity calendar designed for seniors.
· CYCLING: INDOORS OR AROUND YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
If you enjoy cycling as a low-impact, calorie-burning, heart-pumping workout that keeps you off your feet, and have the space in your home, set up your own private area for the stationary bicycle or recumbent equipment of your choice. Be sure to set a relaxing mood, too. Position your cycle facing a window with a view and make sure inspiring music is incorporated into your workout. Many seniors also use their cycling time for reading.
If your cycling prowess is better suited to the great outdoors, make sure you’re outfitted with comfort and safety in mind. Your bicycle should be in good working order and adjusted to your body. (“In a gym environment, read the instructions posted on the equipment before using it,” cautions Arthur.)
A helmet is a must for outdoor cycling, so are knee pads, gloves with good grippers, and layered clothing you can adapt to the season or the intensity of your cycling workout. Organize a cycling group for a fitness excursion together. This is a great way to catch up with friends and to combat isolation and inactivity, which can become common later in life.
3 Easy Exercises to Promote Good Balance
Seniors report that personal stability and coordination improve through a regular Yoga or Pilates workout. These routines focus on breathing and core exercises for steady gait and to promote balance. Yoga promotes being one with your body through the flow of movements and a series of postures and breathing exercises that help with good posture. Pilates strengthens the spine and promotes body alignment.
The slow and measured movements of a Yoga or Pilates routine can promote better balance, movement and help prevent falls, too. As a mood-booster, the movements, breathing and meditation involved can help create an overall sense of well-being.
· THE BALANCE BEAM
Try this easy exercise regularly to stimulate and support good balance. Pretend you’re walking on a balance beam by putting one foot in front of the other while walking in a straight line.
· THE STORK
Arthur endorses this 2-3-minute exercise commonly used by many seniors to check and promote their balance:
- Find an open wall to stand by.
- Raise and bend one leg and press it against the other leg—stork style.
- Steady yourself against the wall if you start to sway.
- Hold this position as long as possible, then switch legs.
- Increase the difficulty by doing it with your eyes closed or by standing on a thick pillow.
Pull Up a Chair—Easy Exercises to Do While Sitting
“Chair exercises are categorized by upper body and lower body routines,” says Arthur. “Done regularly, they increase range of motion in your joints and are often accompanied by resistance bands, rubber balls of varying sizes and weights (even water bottles or soup cans) to increase the effectiveness of the exercise.
Chair exercises cater to physically challenged seniors with chronic joint pain or those who may have injuries and want to work on feeling better. Again, there are a number of routines available, and I’d be happy to provide a handout of at-home chair routines to anyone I can help.”
FINAL THOUGHTS ON STAYING ACTIVE AS YOU AGE.
When it comes to his work with seniors, Arthur has a specific wellness philosophy. “I just want to help all area seniors meet their fitness goals: stay fit, be healthy, improve mood and enhance the quality of life,” he says. “Seniors tend to gain more confidence when they have a look good and feel good attitude. It brings out their happy hormones (serotonin and endorphins). Group exercises also do wonders to help seniors socialize and improve their quality of life.”
Senior living communities like The Carrington promote healthy aging across all dimensions of wellness—physical, intellectual, social, spiritual and more—through various activities for seniors. Increased programming and choice, as well as learning opportunities, give residents the chance to get together, enjoy each other’s company, stay involved in the community, and ward-off elderly isolation and loneliness. The Carrington takes great care in promoting a culture of engagement and well-being under an umbrella of safety and security.
Think of The Carrington as an extension of your current way of life . . . only better . . . and healthier than you ever imagined. Schedule an in-person tour today, and we’ll show you exactly what we mean.