Great Exercises for Seniors to do Safely at Home

Alongside a healthy diet, regular exercise is also a vital part of maintaining our physical and emotional wellbeing as we age. In this article, we discuss the benefits of stretching, balancing, and strengthening exercises for seniors, explore a few basic options that are great for keeping seniors strong and healthy.

Read on for inspiration and discover simple yet extremely beneficial exercises for seniors that can be completed from the comfort of your 1-bedroom retirement flat at Settlers!

Stretch Exercises for Seniors

Stretching is an excellent form of physical exercise for everybody, no matter their age. We need flexibility to maintain the range of motion in our joints and stretching or flexing a specific muscle or tendon helps not only to improve muscle elasticity and flexibility, but it also helps keep tendons strong, too. Here are two stretch exercises seniors can easily do from the comfort of their own homes:

Neck Stretch

Neck stretches are great for relieving tension accumulated in the neck and upper back.
1.Stand with your arms relaxed at your sides, and feet shoulder-width apart.
2.Slowly turn your head to the left shoulder (avoid tipping it backward or forward).
3.Hold it for 15-30 seconds when you feel a good stretch.
4.Repeat this motion with your head turning to the right shoulder.
5.For the best results, do 4-5 repetitions.

Upper Back Stretch

An ideal stretch for the upper back and shoulders, this exercise needs only you and a chair to complete!
1.First, sit on a chair with your feet positioned shoulder-width apart.
2.Raise your arms out straight in front of you until they are level with your shoulders. Do this with your palms facing outward and the back of your hands pressed together.
3.Reach with your fingertips to deepen the stretch and feel your back move away from the chair.
4.Hold for 15-30 seconds.
5.Complete 4-5 repetitions for best results.

Balance Exercises for Seniors

Balance exercises help to strengthen our stabiliser muscles which help us stay upright. Stabiliser muscles include the core and legs, and exercises for these muscles are very important for improving stability and preventing falls. Simple balance exercises for seniors include single-leg balance exercises and shifting-weight exercises.

Single leg balance

1.Stand up straight with your hands by your side and feet placed hip-width apart. Weight should be evenly distributed on both feet.
2.Shift your weight to the left foot and lift the right foot just off the ground behind you.
3.Bend at the knee and move the heel to halfway between the bottom and floor.
4.Hold for 12 seconds (eventually increase this to 30 seconds).
5.Return to the starting position and repeat for the opposite leg.
6.Complete around 3 repetitions.

Single limb stance with arm

1.Stand with your hands relaxed at your side and feet together next to a chair.
2.Lift your left hand up over your head.
3.Slowly, raise your left foot off the floor.
4.Hold for 10 seconds. Then return to the starting position and repeat for the opposite leg.
5.Complete 3 repetitions.

Strength Exercises for Seniors

Strength training (otherwise known as resistance training) involves physical exercises that improve your muscle strength and overall endurance. When it comes to independent senior living and maintaining physical mobility, strength exercises to maintain muscle mass are particularly important. As we age, we tend to lose a lot of the muscle mass we had in our youth—couple this fact with the ever-increasing sedentary state we find ourselves in, and it becomes very easy to lose what independence and strength we have in our senior years.

To prevent muscle loss and maintain independence as we age, staying active, mobile, and strong is essential. There are so many exercises that seniors can take up to improve their muscle mass, for example:

Wall Push-ups

Wall push-ups are great for improving strength in our shoulders and chest.
1.Stand in front of a blank wall, about 3-feet away, with feet placed shoulder-width apart.
2.Put your palms flat on the wall, level with your shoulders. Your body should be in a plank position, with a straight spine (not sagging or arched).
3.Lower your body toward the wall while supporting your weight and then push back again.
4.Repeat this 10 times.

Abdominal contractions

Abdominal contractions are great for increasing strength in the abdominal muscles.
1.Lie on your back on an exercise mat.
2.Take a deep breath and while breathing out, focus on clenching the abdominal muscles—but don’t stop breathing.
3.Hold this clenched position for 3 more breaths and then release.
4.Repeat this 10 times.

Maintain independent senior living in Settlers Lifestyle Village

We hope you found this useful and motivating! If you’re looking for ways to increase the independence and opportunities for you or an aging loved one, Settlers’ retirement community is here for you. Our one, two, and three-bedroom apartments are spaciously designed and have every amenity and convenience for independent living. Contact us today if you’re interested in living in our lifestyle village in Auckland and we’ll happily answer any questions you may have.