Best 5 Exercises that Every Older Person Should Do

As we age, our bodies become less active and more prone to illness and injury. Our bodies get weaker, and we succumb to gravity. However, with proper exercise and an active lifestyle, older people can remain healthy and enjoy a better quality of life. Exercise has numerous benefits for seniors, from improving physical health to providing mental stimulation.

Many older people see us at Surrey Physio for joint pains, aching muscles, injuries, falls, fractures, and rehab after surgery. We see people every day who need help and guidance to support them with getting back to full mobility. The one big thing that older people want to do is to walk comfortably. As we age, walking becomes harder, and freedom becomes more restricted. Regaining the leg strength and co-ordination to walk is key for personal independence.

Here are just a few reasons why seniors should exercise regularly.

1. Improve Strength and Flexibility

As we age, our muscles, bones, and joints naturally become weaker and less flexible. Exercise can help combat this by strengthening muscles and increasing flexibility. Regular exercise can also help reduce the risk of falls by improving balance and coordination.

Knee Extensions: Sit upright with good posture. Slowly straighten your left leg out in front of you as far as feels comfortable. Slowly lower back to the floor, then repeat with the right leg. If you suffer any cramp in your upper thigh, do not straighten your leg fully and keep a small bend. This exercise will help mobilise your knee and improve strength in your leg. Repeat 15 repetitions each side, twice per day.

Side Flexions: Sit in a comfortable but upright position, and place your hands on the side of your waist above your hips. Bend your spine to one side, and repeat to the opposite side. This will help mobilise your spine. Repeat ten times each side, twice per day.

Hip and Back Stretch: Lie flat on your back, and bend your knee towards your chest. Hold this position and feel a gentle stretch in your back. If you get any groin pain while doing this exercise, stop and inform your therapist. Repeat to the opposite side. Hold for 15 seconds, three times each side, twice per day.

Standing Extension: Standing up with good posture, extend your back by arching your spine backwards. You can place your hands on your hips, or in the small of your back for support if you require. Start gently, and keep the exercise within your comfort zone. Repeat ten reps, twice per day.

Marching on Spot Supported: Stand upright with good posture, holding on to a wall or table for support. March on the spot. Keep your knees up as high as feels comfortable. This exercise is good for knee mobility, endurance, balance and co-ordination. March for one minute, twice per day.

2. Reduce Risk of Chronic Diseases

Exercise and healthy living can help reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. It can also help manage existing conditions, such as high blood pressure, arthritis, and depression.

3. Improve Mental Health

Exercise has been shown to increase levels of endorphins, which are hormones that can improve mood and reduce stress. Regular exercise can also help improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline.

4. Enhance Quality of Life

Exercise can help improve self-confidence and self-esteem by enhancing physical appearance and the ability to complete everyday tasks. Regular exercise can also help improve sleep quality and reduce fatigue, helping seniors feel more energized and alert during the day.

Exercising regularly is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Older people should engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day to reap the benefits of exercise. This can include activities such as walking, swimming, and yoga. For people who are more restricted, contact your GP surgery Link Worker to find out more about group exercise classes, chair classes, or falls prevention locally.

(Physios and Therapists: these videos are provided by Rehab My Patient – the best exercise prescription software for therapists to prescribe exercises Patients: if you are a patient needing advice, call Surrey Physio to book a telephone/video consultation with one of our expert physios or osteopaths, or book in face-to-face for an appointment. You can call us on 0208 685 6930 or book online by clicking the link at the top of the page).