13 Exercise Routines For Seniors That Improve Strength And Balance

by Team Scary Mommy
Originally Published: 
Exercises for Seniors
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The category of “seniors” (“senior citizens,” “older adults”) is a really big tent. Hypothetically, you could have someone aged 65, and another person aged 95 grouped together — even if the 65-year-old has more in common with a 45-year-old. It’s hard (and kind of unfair) to group everyone over a certain age together, especially given the wide range of physical capabilities, energy levels, and interests. But one thing we all have in common, regardless of age, is that we need to do some sort of exercise to stay healthy. Such is the case for the 65 plus community. Whether you’re over 65, 70, 75, or higher, you can find exercises for seniors involving chairs, balance, and strength. Bonus? They can be done from the comfort of home.

If you’re not sure where to start, well, we get it. There’s a lot of information out there — and, depending on which generation you’re part of, you may not be keen on spending your time scouring the internet. Or perhaps you’re a caregiver for a loved one aged 65 or older, and you’re already stretched so thin that you just don’t have a ton of time for Google searching. Don’t worry; we did the legwork for you. Keep reading to discover some of the best exercises for seniors.

Excellent Exercises for Seniors

1. Go for a Walk

We’ll start with a classic. Walking is great for seniors — who can do so — because you can do it at your own pace, and it doesn’t require any fancy equipment or membership fees. You can give it a social element, though, inviting friends along for the ride (well, walk). And if you’re dealing with balance issues, use a cane, or walk with someone who can offer you some level of (physical) support.

2. Chair Exercises for Arthritis

While there are plenty of options on YouTube offering exercises for seniors in chairs, this one from Mary Root and her guest Helen “Cookie” Cooke is pretty great. Move along while they demonstrate various seated exercises for arthritis. Not only are they a delight, but they have the best workout outfits.

3. Balance Exercises

This video featuring Cynthia Allen provides seven easy tips for improving balance that you can do (or walk a loved one through) at home.

4. Balance Exercises to Prevent Falls

If you’re specifically concerned about improving balance to help prevent falls, these six simple exercises used by physiotherapists may be what you need. The idea is to keep muscles strong and stay mobile and independent throughout aging. Try out heel raises, toe raises, heel-toe stand, one leg stand, heel-toe walking, and sit-to-stand exercises.

5. Senior Chair Yoga

This 30-minute energizing chair yoga class incorporates warm-ups, upper body stretches, standing and balancing poses, and some great sequences for flexibility. Plus, who doesn’t love a good stretch?

6. Exercises to Strengthen Legs

This 10-minute leg-strengthening workout gets the job done but doesn’t make you feel like you’re spending a whole chunk of your day exercising. There are five exercises of 10 repetitions. All you need is a sturdy chair.

7. Exercises to Strengthen the Upper Body

Why should your legs have all the fun? This five-minute upper-body strengthening workout routine is easy enough to incorporate into your day. And let’s be honest, upper body strength is pretty useful.

8. Daily Exercises

You know you’re supposed to move every day, but it can be hard to think of things to do. Leave it to Bob and Brad — who are the “most famous physical therapists on the internet,” according to their jingle. In this video, the pair demonstrates five exercises that seniors should do every day. They’re quick and come with instructions for different ability levels.

9. Morning Chair Workout

Here are Bob and Brad again — this time demonstrating their seven-minute “Good Morning!” chair exercises. They can be done at home, alone, or in a group, and no equipment is needed (other than the chair… but you probably have one of those sitting around somewhere.)

10. Do it Debbie’s Way

OK, so this may not be exactly what you came here for, but how could you possibly resist Debbie Reynolds?! Her all-star lineup of guests includes Dionne Warwick, Shelley Winters, Teri Garr, Virginia Mayo, Pat Van Petten, and Terry Moore.

Water Aerobics for Seniors

Water aerobics is ideal for older adults because it helps improve their balance and coordination. It can also reduce heart disease. Exercise is work, but doing water aerobic puts way less pressure on aging joints. Working out in a pool is a low-impact activity that also reduces the risk of fracture and injury. There’s no need to worry about slips and falls or dropping a weight on a toe. Older adults are mighty but delicate, and activities that minimize risk and keep them stay healthy are always a win. So, if you’re looking for pool exercises, we have several that won’t put pressure on their bodies and a lot of fun!

11. Aqua Jogging

Who said you can’t jog in a pool? This is basically when a person runs in the water. It’s a low-impact exercise that builds cardiovascular strength and gets the heart pumping.

12. Leg Lifts

Lean against the side of the pool and make sure you have a stable grip. Raise each leg 10 times and do a set raising both legs.

13. Arm Curls

Swim out to the deeper end of the pool until the water is up to your chest. You want to be able to dip your arms underwater with ease. You can use water weights or hold your arms out in front of you with your palms facing up. Curl your arms until they’re underwater, and then slowly pull them out until you touch your shoulders. The weight of the water will be an extra challenge that will help you build strength.

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