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Exercises You Can Do at Home

Regular exercise provides an assortment of physical and mental health benefits, including the management and prevention of some chronic health conditions. And yet, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 percent of people over age 50 are physically inactive. Why aren’t more seniors remaining active?

While the idea of going to a gym or signing up for a yoga class at the local senior center may sound simple, it can sometimes be prohibitive for seniors. Transportation may be an issue or the thought of working out in a public space could be too intimidating.

The good news is that seniors don’t need to leave their home to reap the benefits of daily exercise. There are simple exercises that can be done at home to improve strength, balance and flexibility, and many of these exercises do not require investing in gym equipment. Here are a few to try:

Strength Training

It’s not just for professional athletes and bodybuilders. Stronger muscles help seniors perform simple daily activities, such as walking upstairs or getting out of a chair. Chair squats and wall push-ups are outstanding ways to strengthen your entire body.

Chair squats help strengthen your lower body. Stand in front of a chair with your feet as far apart as your hips. Bend your knees while keeping your shoulders and chest upright. Lower your body as though you are about to sit down and then push your body back up to a standing position.

Wall push-ups help strengthen your upper body. Place your hands against the wall and, while keeping your body straight, bend your elbows to lean towards the wall. Stop when your face is close to the wall, straighten your arms and push your body backward.

Balance

For seniors, falls are one of the leading health risks, resulting in bone fractures and a hastened decline in health. These simple exercises help maintain good balance.

Standing on one foot is a good way to maintain balance. For safety, use a firm grip to hold on to a steady, immovable piece of furniture. Lift one foot and remain balanced for as long as it’s comfortable. Alternate between feet. The goal is to be able to do this exercise for one minute.

Tippy toe lifts will strengthen your legs. For this exercise, stand beside a counter and place your hands on the surface for support. Push yourself up on your toes as high as possible before returning back to a flat foot.

Flexibility

Are your muscles so tight in the morning that it’s a chore pulling on your socks? Here’s an exercise that will help, and it’s one of the easiest you can do.

Stand or sit with your back straight and your shoulders relaxed. Turn your head right until you feel a stretch, hold that position, and then do the same to the left. Just think of shaking your head from side to side as though you were saying, “No.”

While you should always check with your physician before embarking on any new exercise routine, these easy and simple exercises can help you remain on the road to being physically active without ever leaving your driveway!

If you are looking for more ways to maintain your health through simple exercises you can do at home, AARP (www. aarp.org) is a great resource that provides a whole series of exercises that will help you stay active as you age.

Life has a lot to offer for seniors. Stay healthy and enjoy it!

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