With daylight savings minimizing our sunny days, getting the exercise you need might feel harder than ever before. Well, don’t despair, because we’ve got easy and accessible ways to keep you active while you’re stuck indoors. Thanks to technology, not only can you stay connected to your loved ones, but you can also stay moving—one of the keys to aging well, feeling stronger, and being more energetic.
You may be cozy and curled up under a blanket and wonder why it’s important to get a move on. Physical exercise is a pathway to improving balance, mobility, strength, endurance—all extremely important to maintaining (and increasing) when aging.
You don’t need fancy equipment or vast spaces to get started. From gentle yoga to strength training, you can maintain your physical fitness from the comfort and safety of your home.
Indoor exercises that are ideal for seniors include:
While developing a regular yoga practice may sound intimidating, yoga for seniors isn’t about standing on your head or contorting your limbs into pretzel shapes. A gentle yoga practice can bring many health benefits, including increased mobility, balance, strength, and stress relief.
Try it Out: With over 10 million subscribers on YouTube, Yoga with Adriene is a popular and easy way to incorporate beginner yoga into your daily routine.
Known for slow, gentle movements, Tai Chi can improve balance, and build stability, muscle strength, and flexibility.
Try it Out: Developed by therapists at Toronto Rehab’s LEAP Service, this gentle routine has a variety of adaptations to ensure the routine is both safe and comfortable for seniors of all fitness levels.
Gentle stretching is a great way to increase flexibility and mobility in seniors, providing you with a wider range of motion and allowing you to continue performing everyday tasks with ease, such as bending down to tie your shoelaces. From morning to night, you can incorporate stretching into your day. Before getting out of bed, start off on the right foot, get your endorphins going, and warm up your stiffened joints by doing gentle stretches, such as lying on your back and pulling one knee to your chest for a few seconds, releasing, and then stretch the other. See? You’ve already started!
Try it Out: The National Institute for Aging is a great resource, providing many free YouTube videos aimed at older adults that focus on stretching, strength, and balance.
Because muscle strength decreases with aging (according to studies, after age 60, adults start losing 3% of their muscle strength each year), it’s important to incorporate light weights and bodyweight exercises that can help regain that muscle.
Try it Out: Tune in to Senior Fitness with Meredith on YouTube for her free online hub that serves up a wide variety of workouts (from cardio and weights to chair exercises and resistance bands) for older adults.
Yes, you can dance like nobody's watching for both fun and fitness in the comfort (and privacy!) of your home. What are you waiting for…shake a leg!
Try it Out: SilverSneakers offers up countless senior fitness classes on YouTube that can improve posture, balance, and cardiovascular fitness.
How To Stay Safe and Stick With It
You’ve taken the first step in reading this article, but what should you do before you hit the ground running? Consult your physician before embarking on an exercise routine; your doctor can help you set realistic goals and highlight any chronic conditions or medications that could affect your balance or wellness. As far as staying motivated, we recommend that you:
Follow a simple routine and match your workout to your capabilities; too complicated or overwhelming will have you stopping before really starting,
Stop before you get sore as you don’t want to risk injury or delay recovery; you should feel better after exercise, not worse,
Schedule movement into your day to keep yourself committed and accountable,
Keep it fresh; whether discovering a new workout video or trying a different exercise, incorporating variety into your fitness routine will help to keep you engaged, and finally,
To fuel yourself for movement, click here to check out the wide variety of nutritious and delicious meal options at Heart to Home Meals.