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Safe and Effective Exercises for Senior Citizens

senior exercises

By: Cierra Washington, ATC

Getting older certainly has its perks! There’s retirement, more time for family events and activities, opportunities to travel, and the ability to finally sit back, kick your feet up for a while and let your hard work pay off. Along with those many benefits though comes the challenge of remaining physically active. Inactivity increases with age. In fact, statistics show that roughly about one third of people 65-years-old is physically active.  That’s in contrast to the roughly 80 percent of the general population. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, folks over the age of 65 should be doing 150 minutes of exercise each week.  This can be broken up into three 10-minute sessions of moderately intense exercises. Other benefits include:

  • Helping to maintain independent living and reduces the risk of falling and fracturing bones
  • Reduces the risk of dying from coronary heart disease and of developing high blood pressure, colon cancer, and diabetes
  • Helps reduce blood pressure in those with hypertension
  • Helps to improve stamina and muscle strength in those with chronic, disabling conditions
  • Reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression and fosters improvements in mood and feelings of well being
  • Helps maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints
  • Helps control joint swelling and pain with arthritis

While pushing to be a more physically active senior citizen, there are some safety precautions that need to be addressed. Getting a physician’s clearance to allow the patient to exercise is the most important step when looking to increase someone’s physical activity. Once they have been cleared, it is important to find a safe location to perform the exercises to limit any additional injuries. Proper posture is a key component to exercising and must be mastered before increasing exercises. For instance, if one cannot perform and exercise in the standing position due to balance issues, then the program should be modified and performed in a seated position, which is safer. Our main focus is building strength, endurance and balance effectively, all while maintaining a safe environment for patients of all ages.

Try incorporating the following stretches and exercises into your daily routine so you can start gradually improving your health and wellness.

  • Upper Trapezius Stretch
    1. Look Forward
    2. Tilt your Right ear down to your Right shoulder.
    3. Hold for 20 seconds, 3 times
    4. Repeat on the Left side.
  • Levator Scapulae Stretch
    1. Rotate head to Right
    2. Look down towards Right armpit
    3. Hold for 20 secs. 3 times
    4. Repeat on Left Side
  • Scapular Squeezes
    1. Sit up tall with Shoulders upright
    2. Pull your shoulders back
    3. Hold that squeeze for 20 secs. 10 times.
  • Starting Position for Bicep Curls and Shoulder Flexion
    1. Stand Upright
    2. Arms By Your Side
    3. Palms Up
  • Bicep Curls
    1. Starting Position
    2. Bend Elbows bringing your hands to your face
    3. Repeat 10 reps for 2 sets
  • Shoulder Flexion
    1. Starting Position
    2. With elbows straight, extend arms towards the ceiling
    3. Repeat 10 reps for 2 sets
  • Seated Hamstring Stretch
    1. Sit upright on the table.
    2. Extend your leg out front
    3. Reach for your toes.
    4. Hold for 20 secs 3 times
  • Seated Marches and Kicks
    1. Sit upright
    2. March one knee up to your chest and back down.
    3. Extend one knee out front and back down.
  • Standing Abduction
    1. Stand upright with your feet shoulder width apart.
    2. Shift onto the right leg
    3. Slowly raise your left leg towards the ceiling.
    4. Repeat 20 times on each side.
  • Mini Squat
    1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart.
    2. Place your hands on the table in front of you.
    3. Slowly sit your bottom back and bend your knees.
  • Standing Heel Raises
    1. Stand with your feet together.
    2. Hands on the table.
    3. Slowly raise your heels off the floor.
    4. Slowly lower your heels back down.
    5. Repeat 20 times

If you or someone you know is dealing with any kind of pain, don’t wait. Call Loudoun Sports Therapy Center TODAY at 703-450-4300 and speak with one of our clinicians about how physical therapy can help you live life pain free.

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