The coronavirus has had a huge impact on our day to day lives and we have all needed to adapt. Many of us have been restricted to going out only once a day to get essentials. So, how can we maintain a healthy lifestyle and ensure we are getting enough exercise when confined to the house? With this in mind, we've put together some simple yet effective exercises for older people to do at home.
Firstly, remember that stretching before and after exercise is an important part of any routine. Warming up prepares your heart, lungs, and muscles for a workout. Just five minutes spent stretching before exercise can save you days or even weeks of recovery from an avoidable injury.
Single Limb Stance
Here is the first of our simple exercises for older people:
- Stand behind a sturdy chair (not one with wheels).
- Hold on to the back of it.
- Lift your left foot and balance with your right.
- Hold the position for as long as you can.
- Switch feet and repeat.
The goal is to stand on one foot without holding onto the chair and holding that pose for up to a minute. However, do not remove the chair until you feel completely confident that you can manage. This exercise is particularly good for improving your balance which can reduce the risk of slips and falls.
Arm curls are a simple but effective way to incorporate exercise in your daily routine. You can use everyday objects to help strengthen your muscles. Slow arm curls are enough to help improve strength and can be performed standing up or sitting down. You can also incorporate tins of food or bottles of water in order to add weight to your routine.
Firstly, hold one weight in each hand, with your hands by your sides. Then slowly bend your elbows to lift them towards your chest. Finally, lower your hands back to your sides and repeat. You can do as many or as few repetitions as you feel able to do.
Marching is one of the best exercises for older people because it improves balance, which helps to reduce your overall risk of slips and falls. When standing up straight, lift up one knee at a time, as high as you can get them. Aim to make a right-angle with your knee, and have your thigh parallel to the floor. If you need to, place your hands on the counter or on a sturdy chair to stabilise yourself. As you get more confident, aim to increase the number of repetitions you do.
We know it can be harder to stay active as we get older. Stretches can be great exercises for older people in their own right. We recommend a daily routine of stretches, which can be done sitting or even lying down.
To work on your quadriceps, stand behind a chair and grab it with either your right or left hand. Take the opposite leg and pull it behind your back with your free hand. Try to hold the stretch for 30 seconds, release and then repeat with the other foot. These exercises help to strengthen the lower body and improve mobility.
For the upper body, you can stand up straight with your hands interlaced behind your back. While looking straight ahead, pull your shoulders back and lift your hands away from your tailbone. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds to aid the muscles in your upper back, neck, arms and shoulders.
Looking after your mobility in later life is very important, but it's easy to forget that mobility means more than just our arms and legs. To keep your neck and head mobile, simply move your head from side to side in an exaggerate and prolonged “no” movement, pausing to hold your head in at each side. Ensure that your back is straight, and your shoulders relaxed. Maintaining a mobile neck is important when it comes to activities such as driving and for general comfort.
Leg and Toe Lifts
This exercise is a great way to improve hips and lower back muscles whilst also improving balance and control. Take a chair and hold on to it for balance. Then lift one of your legs out to the side whilst maintaining a straight back. Hold the pose and then bring your leg back down and repeat for both legs. Don't worry about how high you can lift your leg. Instead, it's better to aim lower and maintain the position for longer.
Toe lifts are another simple exercise to maintain mobility. Either sitting or lying down, lift your toes towards your shin, flexing your ankle, and hold this position for a few seconds. Then point your toes away from your ankle and hold this position for a few seconds. Repeat with both feet.
Daily Exercises for Older People
We all know that daily exercise is vital to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. However, given the need for isolation and social-distancing, it has become increasingly difficult to stay active during the pandemic, especially for the elderly and disabled population.
Nevertheless, we all need to find ways to take care of our health and wellbeing, particularly as we get older. Today's tips give you a great starting point for including exercise in your day-to-day routine. Above all, remember that exercise can help you to maintain your independence as well as your physical and mental health.
Are you worried about falls while exercising?
It is important to realise that many older people might abstain from exercise for fear of having a fall or injuring themselves. If you or someone you know is concerned about falls or accidents at home, it could be time to think about a Careline personal alarm. For more information, call 0800 101 3333 to speak to our friendly Customer Service Team.