Exercise for the Elderly: Things to Consider

Exercise is important at any age. Whether you’re 9 or 90 years old, we can all benefit from moving around a little more.

The importance of exercise for the elderly and the health benefits of exercise for the elderly cannot be overstated. Physically, it can help you avoid putting on weight or even help you lose some excess pounds. Maintaining a healthy weight will help to prevent a whole host of issues, from heart disease to diabetes. It is also known to have a hugely positive impact on a person’s mental health, improving mood and cognitive ability.

There are plenty of options when looking at ideas for exercise for the elderly, even if our bodies can’t move as fast as they used to. This is especially the case if you suffer from an illness or disability that may limit or prevent certain kinds of movement. Nonetheless, there’s plenty you can do to keep fit and active well into your senior years. After all, you don’t need to run a marathon in order to get a great workout.‍

Here’s just a few of our tips to help you stay in shape in a fun, rewarding and maintainable way.

Know Your Physical Condition

The first step for coming up with an exercise program for the elderly, whether it’s for you or your loved one, is to make sure you’re aware of any physical limits. It’s important that you are not going to be putting yourself into any physical danger with a new routine.

The easiest way to find out, if you don’t already know, is to have a chat with your doctor about your mobility and any potential physical limitations. Ask what they would recommend as a reasonable amount of exercise without risk of injury or exhaustion.

Once you have all this information, you can start doing some gentle exercises. Then, if you feel comfortable, you can start building yourself up to things that are a little more challenging, as long as there’s no discomfort and it doesn’t go against the doctor’s orders. There are plenty of gentle exercises for the elderly, including seated exercise for the elderly, which is ideal for those with mobility issues.

Make Your Exercise Routines Fun

It may sound obvious, but you’re much more likely to stick to something if you enjoy it. Plenty of people start an exercise regime, push themselves too hard on the first day, have an awful time and never want to do it again. While you might have burned a few extra calories, in the long term, it’s just not a worthwhile trade.

Instead, try sticking to an easy, enjoyable exercise routine that consists of activities you want to do, whether it’s walking, swimming or playing a round of golf. If there’s a type of exercise that you’re particularly interested in or you find fun, then go for it.

At Melrose Care Home, we keep things interesting by having a wide variety of exercise classes for the elderly, from Sit, Fit and Sing to a relaxing walk in the park.

Balance Exercise With Other, More Relaxing Activities

‍Variety is the spice of life. So if you want to really enjoy your exercise routine, it’s important that you balance out a more active lifestyle with some more time spent relaxing. Essentially, make sure you’re exercising your mind as well as your body. 

We have a great range of options and classes that makes exercise for the elderly in care homes an easy and fun routine to stick to. Everything is better in moderation and the best way to stay healthy and happy is to have a wide variety of activities to keep you occupied. Whether you want to do a spot of gardening, pick up a paintbrush or indulge with a massage, our activities can help provide mental stimulation, which perfectly complements any exercise routine.

Come Up With Clear, Achievable Goals

Much like overexerting yourself on that first day of a new exercise program, another big but well-meaning mistake people often make at any age is setting unrealistic fitness goals. ‍

This, of course, all ties in with knowing your physical condition. When you set goals, make sure that they seem achievable. If, for whatever reason, you’re struggling to reach them, don’t then push yourself too hard as a result. When it comes to exercise, it really is a case of slow and steady wins the race.

Some examples of good, simple goals to set yourself would be, if you can walk for five minutes, then aim to walk for ten minutes after a few months of exercise. If you’re working on strength, aim to increase your reps by one or two every fortnight. If you find yourself doing less or more than you aimed for, adjust accordingly. The same goes with any element of your exercise regime: if you’re not enjoying something or finding an exercise uncomfortable, be adaptable and you’ll soon find that you can make exercise work for you.