Everyone deserves to lead a lifestyle that engages the mind, spirit, and body. Residing in an assisted living community does not mean that your active days are over. Seniors have just as much of an ability to get moving as anyone else. Even if you rely on assistance for some daily tasks, check out these simple exercises for older adults to stay active!
Exercise 1: Single Leg Stands
This simple exercise is phenomenal at improving your ability to balance and perform everyday activities. Single leg stands can help seniors with their ability to climb stairs, walk, and stay mobile longer.
How To: Before starting the single leg stand exercises, stand next to or behind something stable. By holding onto the stable object, slowly lift up one leg and hold for 5 seconds. After putting the foot on the ground, repeat 3 times and then switch legs!
As your balance improves, you can modify this exercise with longer standing times, only using one hand to hold onto the stable item. Be sure that there is a physical trainer or fitness coach with you during exercises to increase balance and prevent falls.
Exercise 2: Sit to Stand
Living in an assisted living community does not mean that you are losing your independence. To ensure you remain independent, practice this sit to stand exercise daily. The only equipment you will need for this older adults’ exercise is a sturdy chair that will not easily slide.
How To: While sitting down, scoot up to the edge of the chair. With your toes under your knees, lean forward bending your head slightly down to look at your toes and push with the legs to stand up. To sit back down, slightly bend the knees, push the hips towards the chair and lower back to seated position. Repeat 5 times.
As you begin to gain strength, you can increase the difficulty of this exercise by keeping your arms crossed, utilizing a shorter chair or holding a light-weight medicine ball.
Exercise 3 & 4: Tandem Balance and Walking
The combination of these two exercises for older adults, especially those in assisted living, is excellent for improving balance. According to MedBridge, practicing these two exercises in unison can prevent falls.
How To: Start by standing with your feet together and your arms out for balance (be sure to have something sturdy next to you, in case you need support). Slowly place one foot directly in front of the other, heel to toe. Then, slowly move the same foot directly behind the other, toe to heel. Once you have completed the tandem stances, return to feet together. To begin tandem walking, just take one step directly in front of the other in a straight line for about 10 paces.
As you gain ability and confidence, you can attempt tandem walking backward with assistance. Another way to increase the difficulty of this exercise is to tandem stance and walk with your eyes closed.
Exercise 5: Farmer’s Walk
At first, this exercise may sound underwhelming, but the truth is even bodybuilders and athletes practice the farmer’s walk and other variations of this technique! This simple exercise will benefit various areas of your life and strengthen your core and upper body to be able to add new activities to your regimen continually. You will need a set of light weights to perform this exercise properly.
How To: Stand with your feet hip-width distance apart, with a lightweight in each hand and palms facing inward, flex your core and slowly walk forward. It is essential that your back and neck stay straight, and look straight ahead while walking for 30 seconds. Turn around and repeat.
This exercise can be increased in difficulty by simply adding more weight. There are more variations of this exercise, but before any are attempted you should check with your primary care physician.
If you are interested in learning more about assisted living in Georgia or want to live in a community that implements exercises for older adults, then visit the Oaks Senior Living website and contact your closest communities!