As we get older, exercise becomes even more important to our everyday life. Being active and exercising can help improve your quality of life as you get older.
Exercise can really help reduce health problems, especially in old age. The ways exercise can help is endless, but the main ones are helping prevent heart disease, reducing the pain of arthritis, reducing the risk of cancer, and lowering the incidence of diabetes.
But how can you safely exercise at home when you’re elderly? Fear not, we’ve got a few different things you can try, broken down by the type of exercise you want to do, so you can find the right routine to suit your lifestyle.
Exercises that improve your heart rate and increase your endurance are known as cardiovascular exercises.
A study in the biology journal Cell Metabolism found that high-intensity interval training programs (like the one below) are particularly effective at improving your cardiovascular health.
Don’t be scared by the phrase “high-intensity”. This just means that there are bursts of activity, followed by periods of stillness. You can do these in your living room, with zero gym equipment.
However, if you struggle with balance, or are unable to put a lot of strain on your joints, this may be too difficult.
If this is the case, you can always consider doing a seated workout. Seated workouts, such as the one below, can still be very effective at helping improve your cardiovascular health.
Strength exercises do exactly what they say on the tin – they build muscle and bone mass. But strength exercises don’t just help to increase strength, they also prevent the loss of muscle. This can be crucial as you get older, especially as muscle is harder to build naturally.
Again, if you suffer with weak or stiff joints, try a different exercise that exerts less pressure on your joints. There are a number of easy aerobic exercises you can do if you’re lucky enough to have access to a pool. The water allows there to be less strain on the joints, while still improving your overall strength.
Using exercises like this to help improve your balance can be really important to prevent falls, especially if you’re suffering with something like dementia, which can affect your ability to balance properly.
If you need to improve your balance but don’t feel like doing strength exercises, consider practicing tai chi. Similarly to yoga, the slow, controlled movements of tai chi can really improve your strength, balance and endurance. To practice tai chi, all you need is an open, clear space – such as your living room or back garden.
Flexibility exercises help improve the range of motion that your joints are capable of, as well as reducing pain in those joints.
Exercises that help with flexibility can really help those who are suffering with stiffness in their joints, for example those with arthritis.
Yoga is the perfect exercise to do at home, as all you’ll need is a yoga mat. Make sure that you are slow and gentle at first, without overexerting yourself.
However, if you do not have the space to practice yoga, there are plenty of flexibility exercises you can do with just a chair.
Overall, you should be looking to regularly practice a balanced combination of all three types of exercise. But fear not, you don’t need any gym equipment to do any of the exercise videos listed here.
By working on your cardio, strength, and flexibility, you are setting yourself up for a long, healthy and happy life.
We always suggest that you talk to your doctor before you starting any new exercise program, especially if you have any existing medical conditions.