6 Safe and Easy Exercises for Seniors
Exercise isn’t just about getting fit and trim to look good in a bathing suit. For seniors, it’s about staying healthy and safe, and maintaining strength and coordination.
New York City dance- and fitness-expert Celeste Carlucci started a fall-prevention and strength-building program called Move Strong to help seniors optimize their fitness levels and stay safe while performing everyday activities. She created the following 6 safe and easy exercises to help seniors age gracefully.
Keep in mind that each individual is different and if you have any concerns at all, please consult your doctor before performing these exercises.
Exercise #1: Stepping over the suitcase
Stand with feet together, hands on hips. Lift one foot up, knee high, and step to the side as though over a large suitcase. Go slowly to maintain balance. Repeat 10 times and then switch to the other foot.
Benefit: improves strength, balance, and coordination
Exercise #2: Windshield Wiper
Sit tall with your buttocks at the edge of a chair. Engage your abdominal muscles. Start with your legs together and your hands on the outside of your knees. Open your knees and legs to the side, providing resistance with your hands. Then, once your legs are in the open position, move your hands to the inside of your knees. Pull your knees and legs together, again providing resistance with your hands. Repeat 10 times.
Benefit: improves leg-strength
Exercise #3: Reach down and reach high
Put one foot behind the other, and reach down to pick up something from the floor. It might help to use something real (any lightweight small item you can easily grip in your hand will do), but you can also use an imaginary item. Be sure to bend your knees as you pick up the item from the floor. Then, reach high to “put it away,” as though in a high cabinet. Be sure you keep one foot in front and one behind to help maintain a strong stance and keep your balance. Repeat 10 times.
Benefit: improves coordination
Exercise #4: Pump the Gas
Sit tall at the edge of the chair. Point and flex your feet 5 to 10 times. Do this before you get up from the chair or the bed anytime you’ve been sitting or lying down for a long time. It will help prevent dizziness and fainting.
Benefit: improves circulation
Exercise #5: Side leg lifts
Stand behind a chair, and hold on to the back of it. Stand tall, and put all of your weight on your left foot. Keep your left hip nice and strong as you lift your right leg out to the side. Repeat 10 times. Then switch legs and do the same on the other side.
Benefit: improves leg strength
Exercise #6: Bicep Curls
This one can be done sitting in a chair or standing. Keep your back straight, and stand or sit tall. Holding a lightweight dumbbell in each hand, start with your arms hanging at your sides, palms facing forward. Bend both arms at the elbow and keep your palms facing upward as you lift the weights toward your shoulders. Then slowly lower them back down to your sides. Repeat this 10 times. Over time, you may want to increase the weight of your dumbbells.
Benefit: improves arm strength
Want more? Carlucci’s Move Strong YouTube channel has some fun videos, doctor testimonials, and exercise how-to’s.
We love our seniors!
At Bella Vista Health Center, we provide whole-person care for all of our residents. This means we make it a point to address their nutritional and exercise needs as well as their medical needs. We offer activities to help keep our residents active, in good spirits, and in their best health.
If you are looking for skilled nursing care for yourself or a loved one, we invite you to come visit our 5-star facility in Lemon Grove and see what we have to offer. Bring a pair of sneakers, though, because if you catch us exercising, we might ask you to join us!