Four Important Exercises for Seniors

Tai chi and yoga are great exercises for seniors, as they help with balance and flexibility.
Four Important Exercises for Seniors

Last update: 20 May, 2021

Becoming a senior citizen doesn’t mean you should give up on exercise even if you have certain problems. On the contrary, as long as it’s within one’s means, people can engage in physical activity, but always with moderation.

There are several low-impact exercises for seniors, such as yoga, tai chi, swimming, among others, which are good options. Practicing them on a regular basis is good for both mind and body.

Here we’ll share with you some exercises for the elderly, don’t miss out on them!

Important exercises for senior citizens

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends physical exercise for people over 65 years of age. According to its fact sheet, physical activity in this age range should consist of recreational or leisure activities, especially those that can be practiced in groups. In addition, activities should help to effectively improve cardiac, respiratory and muscular functions.

The WHO also recommends:

  • Doing between 30 and 40 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity.
  • In cases of elderly people with mobility problems, moderate physical exercise 3 days a week is advised. This, in order to improve their balance, muscle strength and flexibility.
  • Likewise, if physical activity isn’t an option, the WHO suggests to keep up leisure activities. For this purpose, they propose board games, such as cards or ludo.

A study carried out on elderly people by the School of Nursing of the University of São Paulo showed that physical activity optimizes the life of the elderly, not only physically, but above all it helps them maintain their social activities.

These are the pillar of emotional well-being of those who are in this stage of life. The better the relationship of the elderly with people of the same age, the better will be their quality of life and the physical, emotional and spiritual balance.

There are a series of great, specialized exercises that limit the risk of injury and are indicated for this age group.

1. Aerobic exercise

Water aerobics: exercises for seniors.

Aerobic exercises are often low-impact, and are recommended for senior citizens.

  • Water aerobics
  • Cycling (stationary or otherwise)
  • Walking or jogging (on a treadmill or outside)
  • Aerobics class (for seniors)

Many of these exercises can be done in a group setting, making them even more enjoyable and beneficial to mental health.

2. Tai chi or yoga

Tai Chi: another of the exercises for seniors.

Yoga and tai chi are terrific exercises for seniors because they can be adapted to their requirements and don’t demand a lot of effort.

Yoga is a highly recommended discipline, as it’s a combination of stretching, conscious breathing and meditation that helps gain flexibility and tranquility.

Tai chi, on the other hand, is a martial art that also includes some meditation. This practice is highly recommended because it increases strength and agility. In addition, it’s beneficial to enhancing balance.

Take a look at this article: Yoga Poses That Help You Slim Down Fast

3. Swimming: another of the exercises for seniors

Aqua aerobics has already been mentioned, but there’s another lower impact activity: swimming. It’s suitable for the elderly, and is therapeutic and relaxing.

Swimming is a type of sport that puts all the muscles of the body in motion. Thus, it works on synchronization and tones the body. In addition, the risk of injury is very low, so it’s highly recommended.

Swimming relaxes and is ideal to combat sadness and depression. Having contact with water combined with exercise will foster better physical and mental well-being.

4. Dance!

Dancing: another of the exercises for seniors.

Dancing is an activity that greatly favors the elderly because it brings joy and cheer, as well as entertainment.

It allows them to work the body in a gentle way, as well as the mind. It’s a fun and spontaneous practice that’s worth putting into practice to gain balance and a smile.

A study conducted by a group of experts from the Academy of Christian Humanism University showed that older adults feel self-esteem when dancing, as it’s linked to having fun and trying something new. In addition, dancing helps them maintain good social relationships and facilitates acceptance and free expression through the body.

Important note: it doesn’t matter the amount of time spent doing physical activity, but the quality of the movements. To achieve this, knowing the muscles that are involved in each activity can be helpful to know the most appropriate routine to follow.

Benefits of exercises for seniors

Three organizations joined forces to conduct this study published in 2017. Here it’s explained that aging constitutes a complex process that is best understood when seen from a perspective that encompasses the entire life of the person.

The main benefits of exercises for seniors would be the following:

  • Longevity.
  • Better musculoskeletal health.
  • Lower risk of cognitive impairment.
  • Lower risk of suffering from heart disease, hypertension, stroke, type 2 diabetes, etc.
  • Significant improvement in overall physical fitness and mental health.

In short, the benefits of physical exercise will be in general positive in the medium and long term. Of course, it’ll depend on some other factors, such as nutrition, attitude and specific ones, as in the case of those who may have diabetes, hypertension, etc.

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