Physical activity is a key factor in healthy aging and long life for seniors. A study shows that personal activity acts as a protective measure against noncommunicable diseases such as strokes and cardiovascular disease. It can also drive improved mental health and overall well-being. At Autumn View Gardens, we advocate an active lifestyle for our residents, and while we offer some exercise programs, our residents can also do some exercises in the privacy of their living rooms.
Often considered one of the best low-impact exercises, walking can be done almost anywhere. If only the lounge is available, put on some high-energy music or your favorite TV show and power-walk on the spot. For the best results to get that heart rate up, employ extra movement such as pumping your arms and lifting your knees.
It's also worth noting that modern treadmills don't take up much space and can easily be incorporated into small areas, even living rooms. For those who find it hard to leave the house, a few walking sessions on the treadmill per week can go a long way.
You don't have to train for a bodybuilding competition to get the full benefits of weight training. Strength training builds up lean muscle, which is important to support the body and prevent injuries and frailty. Building muscle mass supports mobility, preserves bone density and improves mental sharpness. Weight training can easily be incorporated into a daily routine and done in the comfort of your home.
For those who want to improve their flexibility and core strength throughout their senior years, Pilates is a great low-impact option that's easily adaptable to every level of fitness. It's a bone-safe approach to exercise that's geared toward building long, lean muscles and improving overall strength. While there are several pieces of equipment you may need as you progress in Pilates, you simply need a mat and resistance bands at the very basic level, which makes it suitable for home exercise.
Similar to Pilates, yoga makes use of special movements and poses to increase your overall strength. It incorporates breathing into the routines, which can have a positive effect on overall well-being. Over time, yoga can improve mobility, balance and range of motion as your flexibility increases. Thanks to its effect on oxidative stress, yoga might be a good exercise routine to incorporate if you're struggling with high blood pressure or anxiety.
For those with mobility issues, there's also chair yoga to consider. This lets you improve your range of motion safely while being seated in a chair. As you improve your core strength and balance, you can make your way to floor work.
A stationary bike is a great addition to your exercise regimen if you want to increase your endurance and leg strength. Stationary bikes are small enough to fit into most lounges. The appeal of a stationary bike is that you still have your hands free to do other stuff, such as catch up on some light reading. You can also use this time on the bike to do some light weights just to work strength and cardio at the same time.
Aerobics has long been a lounge-friendly exercise, with home workouts that range from dance routines and martial arts to typical fist-pumping fast-paced movements aimed at getting the heart rate up. Aerobics often target entire muscle groups for a full-body workout. Keep an eye out for the different types of aerobic workouts for seniors or those with mobility issues to get the most out of your workout.
Joint pain and arthritis are common ailments as we get older. One way to ease some of the discomfort in your hands and fingers is through targeted exercises that stretch the muscles and increase strength. Simple objects such as elastic bands and stress balls can be used to add variety to the workouts. These exercises are often simple enough to perform while you're watching TV.
Tai chi is a martial arts exercise that incorporates a series of 19 movements and one pose into a relaxing, low-impact routine. The slow, focused movements concentrate on mindfulness and breathing, which is ideal for all ages. For seniors, tai chi can help improve range of motion, balance and strength.
Other benefits of tai chi include lowered levels of anxiety and stress, improved breathing and reduced bone loss in women, and it may help those with memory illnesses and reduced cognitive function.
Simple leg raises practiced on a daily basis can improve balance and strength in the legs. These are also simple to do at home as you only need a chair or couch as support. There are several different types of leg raises you can do, such as seated leg raises and calf raises.
Arm raises are ideal when you're looking to improve shoulder strength or recover from a fall or an injury. They also improve the shoulder's stability and range of motion, which is important for independence as you're better able to take on daily tasks.
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