Whether it’s because the winter weather has us cozying up on the couch or there’s not a gym within sight, there are plenty of reasons for not working out on a regular basis. Yet research shows that physical activity as we age is important to maintaining a healthy, independent lifestyle, especially for seniors. You don’t need a fancy gym membership or beautiful weather every day to accomplish your exercise goals. Here are some simple at-home workouts any senior can perform that will boost your health all from within your living room:
Stretching is by far one of the easiest ways to stay active by loosening your muscles and increasing your flexibility, and just a little every day can go a long way for seniors. According to the Mayo Clinic, stretching daily is an easy way to improve your performance in physical activities or decrease your risk of injuries, by enhancing your muscles’ potential and increasing the overall range of motion within your joints. Everything from shoulder shrugs to ankle circles will do wonders for your body, and can literally be performed anywhere in the house.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy exercise that will enhance all components of your lower body while boosting your balance and mobility, doing some squats at home should be an essential part of your workout routine. They’re also a quick way to burn fat and gain muscle without having to pick up a weight or dumbbell. Merely standing up and planting your feet shoulder-width apart while slowly bending your knees up and down for a few reps a day can do wonders for your posture as you age.
One of the best ways to get in a quick yet extremely healthy workout anywhere in your home is doing lunges. These exercises add tone and shape to your lower body, while also increasing flexibility within the hips, hamstrings and quads. To get set up with a sufficient lunge workout, head to the living room and slowly lunge across from wall to wall, making your knee almost touch the ground with every step while keeping your back straight as possible. If you want to increase the intensity, pick up a few light-weighted objects around the house during your lunges, which can include everything from a dumbbell or a milk jug.
Balance tends to slowly decline as we age, which is why performing exercises that specialize in improving your posture and gait are essential. Leg raises are one of the easiest exercises that specifically target your lower body and works to strengthen your balance and mobility. For starters, grab a chair and, while standing on one foot, slowly raise your other leg, keeping your heel and hip perfectly in line. Give each leg at least three to five reps each. This is a perfect at-home workout to knock out right after getting out of bed in the morning.
Of course, as with any exercise, follow your doctor’s guidelines and trust your own comfort level.