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6 Safe and Effective Exercises for Seniors

Incorporating these moves into your daily routine can improve your overall health and prevent slips and falls.

Senior couple exercising

Being active plays an important role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but some exercises can lead to injuries if not performed safely. By improving your balance and overall strength, you’re more likely to avoid accidents or falls. Be sure to check with your physician before starting a routine to discuss which exercises best match your current fitness level. Here are six simple movements for seniors: 

1. Toe Lifts

If you’re looking to improve your balance, try strengthening your legs by standing on your tippy toes. Place your hands on a chair or counter for support, raise yourself up onto your toes as high as you’re able to while keeping your legs straight, then gently lower back down to flat feet. Repeat this motion 20 times or slowly work your way up to that goal over time.  

2. Chair Yoga

Many seniors with disabilities or physical limitations are turning to chair yoga as a great alternative to traditional forms of yoga. It puts less stress on muscles and joints while still improving circulation and reducing stress. All you need is a comfortable chair that you feel stable in. Seated exercises such as mountain pose, overhead stretch, or cow stretch, help you focus on your breath, engage your core and improve flexibility.  

3. Walking

One of the easiest and most accessible forms of exercise for seniors is walking. It improves cardiovascular health, boosts your immune system, promotes healthy weight and improves mental health. Several walking exercises such as a stroll through your neighborhood, a walk with friends and family or listening to an uplifting playlist or audiobook during a walk through a local park are many ways you can get your body moving.  

4. Resistance Band Exercises

Incorporating resistance bands—elastic bands used for strength training—into your workouts can improve balance, flexibility, coordination and range of motion. They’re lightweight, inexpensive and compact, making at-home or outdoor exercising easy and convenient. A simple way to start off is by holding the band with both hands, extend your arms straight out in front of you and pull your hands apart as far as you can before slowly reversing the movement to return to starting position. Repeat this exercise, also known as the pull apart, as many times as is comfortable.  

5. Wall Push-Ups

This variation of push-ups—which doesn’t require you to get down on the floor—strengthens your entire upper body including your arms, chest and back. Face a sturdy, empty wall and place your hands directly up against it at the height and width of your shoulders. Then slowly bring your body towards the wall and gently push yourself back. Start with five repetitions and work your way up to 20.  

6. Water Aerobics

Aerobic exercises are a fun way to get moving without any equipment. Water acts as a form of resistance which increases flexibility, strength and balance. Its buoyancy also puts less stress on the body and its bones, making it an ideal form of exercise for older adults with joint pain. Aqua jogging, arm curls and flutter kicks are great water aerobic exercises for beginners. 

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