Fun Exercises for the Elderly to Stay Active and Healthy

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Fun Exercises for the Elderly to Stay Active and Healthy

There are many substantial benefits to regular physical activity as you age. It allows you to enjoy day-to-day activities and maintain your independence longer. An ideal workout routine includes some combination of aerobic exercise, balance and flexibility, and some muscle and bone strengthening components. Get started today with these fun exercises!

Dancing

Dancing is a fun way to forget that you are even exercising! It covers the aerobic component, providing great cardiovascular benefits. Dancing can also improve balance and coordination, which is one of the key ways to prevent falls.

The social aspect is another plus, and there are many classes you can attend where you do not even need a dance partner. Zumba, for example, is a salsa dance-inspired fitness class for any age! In Little Rock, CareLink provides a fitness schedule specifically for seniors with many Zumba classes and times available, as well as partner with senior and wellness facilities in their six-county region to help Central Arkansas’s aging community get stronger.

Swimming

A workout in the water can be refreshing on hot days, and it is great for the older population, since the low impact nature of swimming laps and other general water aerobics takes it easy on joints. If there are stairs in the pool, you can sit on the edge of the stairs and do kicks underwater, or you can simply walk back and forth in the water.

Any type of swimming can easily become a fun, healthy habit for the elderly. To combine the fun and benefits of both swimming and dancing, consider taking an Aqua Zumba class!

Bowling and Beanbag Baseball

Another way to stay active as you age is to head down to the local bowling alley. You can even join a league for an added social aspect. Bowling can build upper body strength and endurance, making it a great exercise for active older people.

Many senior and wellness centers around Arkansas offer Beanbag Baseball to members. The teams have regular practices and competitive schedules. There’s even a state tournament! Beanbag Baseball boosts camaraderie, offers a sense of belonging, and helps with hand-eye coordination.

Yoga and tai chi

Another low impact fitness class with incredible benefits are those centered around yoga and tai chi, or a mix of both. Increased flexibility, improved balance and coordination, stress reduction, and increased strength can all be expected from ongoing participation in these moves. All ways to help reduce the risk of falls.

One great feature of yoga and tai chi is that you can modify them to your fitness level. For example, one participant may be able to reach the ground in a stretch, and one may be able to reach to their knees. In fact, there are entire yoga classes for the elderly that take place in chairs!

Mall walks

Window shopping while you stroll through the mall can be another fun activity for the elderly. The comfort of the air conditioning, as well as protection from the elements, make mall walking a great option for seniors. Some malls even open their doors early for active older people who want to participate in this activity.

Chair workouts

Many senior fitness classes provide the option to participate in fitness classes from a seated position. Many exercises can be done with this approach, providing all the benefits of the exercise but with a much lower impact.

Chair workouts can be one of the best ways for the elderly to safely incorporate strength training. Seated shoulder press, biceps curl, and torso twists are some great examples of exercises that can improve upper body strength. Lower body movement can also be done from a chair by doing exercises, such as moving from a seated to standing position, seated calf raises, or seated hip marches.

Home workouts

There are many exercise videos on YouTube that you can follow along with at home. You could also consider getting a Nintendo Wii to do some video game-style exercises, or you could go for a walk when the weather permits. Before hitting play, check the area for fall risks.

If you choose to walk or exercise outside, it’s important to know the risks of weather-related illness whether in the winter or summer. Always check the weather forecast before going outside and dress accordingly.

Additional tips

Always check with your doctor before getting started on a new fitness program to make sure it is safe for you. When you can, attend a fitness class over a home workout, since you will have the guidance of a fitness professional, the added bonus of a social component, and help readily available should you find yourself in need.

Your fitness instructor can review your health conditions or any past injuries, and give recommendations for any necessary modifications. For a list of senior fitness classes in Little Rock ad surrounding areas, check out our complete fitness class schedule.

For more information

Call CareLink’s Information and Assistance department at 501-372-5300 or toll-free at 800-482-6359 to learn more about fitness and wellness options in your area. CareLink is a nonprofit organization in Central Arkansas that provides resources to older people and their families. We provide vital services that allow homebound older people to stay at home, activities for older people to stay active, as well as many resources for caregivers.