Easy exercise for seniors guide
Home Instead Senior Care in-home care for older Australians has created ‘Exercise for Seniors: A guide to help seniors move, mobilise and maintain fitness’ with Fitness Expert, Michelle Bridges.
With 44.7% of adults aged 65 years and over not sufficiently active, this emphasises the importance of encouraging seniors to be active and improve their health from the comfort of their own home.
Seniors, more than any other age group, require exercise and fitness to maintain independence, recover from illness and reduce the risk of disease.
Regular exercise assists with bone density, muscle mass, higher level of functional health and wellbeing, improved cognitive function and more. Even more gentle, consistent exercise such as walking or swimming can increase one’s lifespan by about three to five years.
A sedentary lifestyle in later years can increase the risk of developing dementia.
The ‘Exercise for Seniors’ guide provides seniors straightforward and easy exercises that mirror their everyday actions and can be completed in just five minutes.
Sit to stand
“Repetition of this basic movement (ideally three times) is great for your whole body strength as it uses your legs and core and is beneficial for your heart and lungs. Start by sitting in the chair feet flat on the floor, looking straight ahead. Push down through your feet, squeeze your bottom and stand up. Try and do it without using your hands.”
Push ups against a wall
“Adjusting this popular exercise by doing it on the wall makes upper body strength training achievable for older people and also helps keep the range of movement through fingers too. Stand facing a wall, and put your hands on the wall about shoulder width apart and elbows just below shoulder height. Bend your elbows and lower your chest towards the wall, then push through your hands, squeeze with your chest and return to your start position.”
Single leg balance
“Balance deteriorates as we age, so practising this exercise helps guard against common balance issues such as falling. Holding the chair or using the wall, put your weight on your outside leg and lift your inside leg so you are just on its tippy toes. Look straight ahead, press into your outside foot and squeeze your bottom as you do this. Count to three, then put your foot down flat, turn around to do the same thing on the other side.”
Side steps with arms reaching overhead
“This movement targets strength, mobility, balance and coordination. Make sure you have enough clear space to take three spaces side to side. Ensure there are no tripping hazards in the way. Step out to the side as you raise your arms into the air over your head then step your feet together as you bring your arms back down. Take two more steps like this, then step back three steps so you are back at your starting position.”
“I have seen time and time again the importance of providing seniors with support to improve their lifestyle,” says Martin Warner, CEO of Home Instead Senior Care. “Educating seniors about the benefits of exercise with some simple steps is just the beginning. We are thrilled to partner with Michelle Bridges and her mum Maureen for this Exercise for Seniors guide.
“You are never too old to get moving and we hope this resource helps seniors move, mobilise and maintain fitness for better health, wellbeing and quality-of-life as they age.”
For more information, see www.homeinstead.com.au/resources/exerciseforseniors
To view the instructional video featuring Michelle and her mum: www.youtube.com/watch?v=22cy2Uj87Cs
20 February 2019.