Exercise You Can Do Anywhere
No bike? No free weights? No problem! You already own one of the best pieces of workout equipment around — it’s your body. Bodyweight exercises for seniors are gaining popularity since they can be done anywhere, anytime with no equipment and no cost. Using nothing more than your own frame and poundage, you can get a great strength training workout that fires all major muscle groups while also working your heart and lungs and improving your flexibility.
Excellent research supports the bodyweight exercises for seniors’ trend. Studies have shown that a bodyweight workout can be as effective as training with free weights or weight machines.
So how much bodyweight exercise do you need? Experts at the Department of Health and Human Services suggest aiming for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week, which is essentially 30 minutes of walking every other day. Then mixing a few bodyweight exercises into your routine at least two times a week.
Fitness experts are equally enthused about bodyweight training for seniors. Bodyweight exercises for seniors are all about gaining strength and, as Gavin Hale, a certified exercise physiologist who works primarily with older adults, puts it: “Strength is the fountain of youth.”
Hale adds that the “benefits of resistance training, and subsequent strength gains, in older adults include better control of symptoms of chronic disease, pain and depression, as well as prevention of falls, maintaining existing muscle mass, improving posture and stability, increasing bone density, and remaining functional.”
10 Bodyweight Exercises for Seniors to Try Now
Now that you know all the excellent benefits of bodyweight exercises for seniors, check out the list below of 10 excellent home workouts to help get you motivated!
- Arm Circles
- Stand with your arms extended by your sides, perpendicular to your torso.
- Slowly make clockwise circles about 1 foot in diameter for 20—30 seconds.
- Then reverse the movement, going counterclockwise.
- Wall Pushup
- With your feet shoulder-width apart, stand about an arm’s length away from a wall.
- Place your palms on the wall as you lean forward into a standing plank position. Your arms should be shoulder height and shoulder-width apart.
- Inhale as you bend your elbows and slowly move your upper body toward the wall while keeping your feet flat on the ground.
- Hold this position for a second or two.
- Exhale and use your arms to push your body slowly back to your starting position. 10 – 15 reps
- Lie facedown with your forearms on the floor and your hands clasped.
- Extend your legs behind you and rise up onto your toes.
- Keeping your back straight, tighten your core and hold the position for 30—60 seconds (or as long as you can hang).
- Stand with your hands on your hips and your feet hip-width apart.
- Step your right leg forward and slowly lower your body until your left (back) knee is close to or touching the floor and bent at least 90 degrees.
- Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
- For a variation, try stepping backward into the lunge.
- Find a step or bench.
- Place your right foot on the elevated surface.
- Step up until your right leg is straight.
- Return to the starting position.
- Repeat, aiming for 10—12 reps on each side.
- Shoulder Bridge
- Lie faceup with your knees bent and your feet hip-width apart.
- Place your arms at your sides and lift your spine and hips. Only your head, feet, arms, and shoulders should be on the floor.
- Lift one leg, keeping your core tight.
- Slowly bring your leg back down, then lift back up.
- Try to do 10 reps per leg, then lower your spine back onto the floor.
- Wall Sit
- Slowly slide your back down a wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Make sure your knees are directly above your ankles and keep your back straight.
- Go for 60 seconds per set.
- Calf Raise
- From a standing position, slowly rise up on your toes, keeping your knees straight and heels off the floor.
- Hold briefly, then come back down.
- Add a challenge: Try standing on something elevated (like a step) to achieve a wider range of motion.
- Contralateral Limb Raise
- Lie facedown with your arms outstretched and your palms facing each other.
- Slowly lift one arm a few inches off the floor, keeping it straight without rotating your shoulders and keeping your head and torso still.
- Hold the position, then lower your arm back down. Repeat on the other side.
- For an extra challenge, lift your opposite leg a few inches off the floor at the same time.
- Superman Pose
- Lie facedown with your arms and legs extended.
- Keeping your torso as still as possible, simultaneously raise your arms and legs to form a small curve in your body.
- Lower your limbs, and repeat.
Calling All Active, Independent Seniors …
Meadow Lakes is a vibrant senior living community focused on helping residents live an active, independent lifestyle. Most important, as a Life Plan Community, we provide our residents the security of knowing a continuum of care is available right on campus should they ever need it.
Browse our beautiful independent living options, which include one- and two-bedroom apartments as well as cheery two-bedroom cottages. Then complete the contact request form to have one of our Meadow Lakes representatives give you a call. We can answer your questions and schedule a tour at your convenience. We look forward to meeting you!