Staying active can keep you feeling and looking your best – at every stage of your life. It is the key to healthy ageing. Here are 9 easy exercises for adults over the age of 60.
- Raise Your Arms
- Leg Raises
- Toe & Chair Stands
- Stretch Your Lower Body
- Stretch Your Upper Body
Muscle building is one the most important exercises because by building muscle your body burns more fat. The process of building muscle takes time, but the benefits are immense. Not only does it take time, but the strength training moves have to be done properly in order to make a difference. Start with some basic low-impact exercises like squats. Perform squats in front of a sturdy chair, keep your arms out in front of you and be sure to not extend your knees past your toes. You will be in an almost-sitting position. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then stand back up and repeat for 2 sets of 10 reps. If this move is too difficult hold onto the sides of the chair for support.
Adding resistance with light weights or elastic bands helps build muscle and upper body strength. Sit or stand with your feet flat on the floor and hold weights at shoulder height with your palms facing forward, then lift the weights above your head. Other upper body strength exercises include side arm raises – hold the weights at your side with your palms facing inward and raise your arms out to the sides. Front arm raises – hold the weights at your side, palms facing behind you, and raise your arms to shoulder height. Try to 2 sets of 10 reps for each of these 3 exercises.
Lifting everyday objects can become more difficult as you age. That’s why working out your arms is very important. Arm curls will strengthen the muscles involved with these movements. Either seated or standing, hold the hand weights at your side with your palms facing up and your elbows tucked in, then bend your elbows and lift the weights toward your chest. Hold each repetition for 1 second, then slowly lower your arms. It’s important to lower them slowly so you have control over the weight. Do a set of 10 reps, rest and then repeat one more time.
Traditional push-ups work your arms, shoulders and chest, but they can be difficult to complete correctly. If you’re not able to do a push-up correctly then the exercise can be modified with wall push-ups. Face a blank wall while standing about arm’s length away, lean forward, and press your palms flat against the wall. Bend your arms and slowly bring your upper body toward the wall, hold for a few seconds, then push yourself away from the wall until your arms are straight again. Do a set of 10 reps, rest, and repeat again.
Leg raises work your thigh, hip, buttocks, and lower back muscles, as well as help with your balance. For side leg raises stand behind a chair and hold on for balance, lift one leg out to the side, keeping it completely aligned from hip to heel, then slowly lower the leg. It’s important to keep your back straight and to have a slight bend in your supporting leg during this exercise. For back leg raises, use the chair for support and slowly raise your leg behind you without leaning forward, hold for a few seconds, then lower your leg. Do not bend the lifted leg or point your toes, and keep the standing leg slightly bent. Complete 2 sets of 10 reps for each exercise, alternating legs between sets.
Building muscle mass and balance can help reduce the risk of falls and broken bones. A good balance exercise is the chair stand. Start in a seated position in an armless chair, keeping your back and shoulders straight, extend your arms parallel to the ground and slowly stand up, without using your hands. Sit down and repeat the move 10 to 15 times, rest, then complete another set of 10 to 15 reps. In order to further improve your balance try the toe stand. Stand behind the chair, using it only for support, and slowly raise up on your tiptoes. After holding the position for a few seconds, slowly lower back down to the floor. Repeat 2 sets of 10 to 15 reps.
Stretching is just as important as exercising because it can improve your physical activities and decrease your risk of injuries. It also increases blood flow to the muscles. To stretch your quadriceps, stand behind a chair and grab it with your right hand. Bend your left leg behind you and grab it with your left hand. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, release the foot and repeat on the other side. To stretch your hamstring find a firm surface to sit on, such as a window bench or the edge of a bed. Extend one leg out onto the surface, slowly lean forward and reach for your thigh, knee or ankle. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat with your other leg. To stretch your calf muscles, stand facing a wall about 2 feet away and place your hand on the wall. Step forward with your right foot, lean your hips toward the wall, keep your back leg straight and heel on the floor. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
Flexibility is important if your want to get the most benefits out of your exercise program. To stretch your arm and chest muscles stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides, then bring both arms behind your back and clasp your hands together. Hold your shoulders back and hold this position for 30 seconds, release, and repeat once more. To do another helpful stretch that starts in the same position, clasp your hands together in front with your palms facing the ground. Bring your arms up to shoulder height, press your palms outward away from the body, and hold this move for 30 seconds, release and repeat. This exercise in beneficial for the muscles in your neck, upper back, and shoulders. To stretch your lower back stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, place your hands on your hips with your palms against your buttocks, and arch your spine backward. Hold this position for 10 seconds then repeat 3 times.
Aerobic activity helps burn calories, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, maintain joint movement, improve heart health, and increase overall energy levels. It may take some time to build endurance depending on your health and your level of activity. For beginners, try starting with 5 minutes of cardio a few days a week to raise your heart rate. Eventually work toward 30 minutes of aerobic activity 5 days a week. Some examples to get you started are walking briskly, tennis, and swimming. For more intense workouts try hiking, running, or jumping jacks.
Limited mobility and pain can make a difference in the types of exercises you’re able to do. Low-impact exercises allow for less strain on the body while still staying physically active. They can also ease you into a new workout program. Exercising in water, like swimming or water aerobics, is a great way to exercise if you have joint pain. Gentle forms of yoga, pilates, tai chi, stretching and light weight training are also great options. Most exercises can be modified to accommodate low-impact needs.
Exercise not only benefits the body, it can also improve your mental and emotional health. If you have fun while staying active, it’s more likely that you’ll want to continue doing so. Join a walking group or designate a work-out partner. Take a water aerobics class with a friend or join an organized sport.
Stay active, and you’ll stay healthy!