The lockdown, social distancing and shielding for older people has placed certain limits and restrictions on the movements and activities of older people everywhere, but especially here in the UK. The older community has been advised to stay at home as much as possible, rely on others to run their errands and limit contact with other people as much as possible. At the same time the research is clear: exercise is crucial for good physical health and wellbeing of older people and has a great many benefits.
The Benefits of Exercise for Older People
Getting regular exercise is good for us all but especially so for older people as it can help with many things including:
- Muscle health
- Bone health
- Heart and physical health
- The release of serotonin and happiness
We know that a lot of older people enjoy visiting public places, swimming pools and gardens to get their exercise, but there is still plenty to be done safely at home or in a care home to ensure maximum health.
Indoor Exercise for Older People
Indoor exercise for older people might include dancing – especially to older music that brings a lot of memories, stretching to activate and warm up muscles, yoga or even some Pilates depending on the level of physical health. For seniors who are mostly chair-bound, there are now a great many resources online about chair-workouts, so that older people can stretch and move their bodies.
Outdoor Exercise for Older People
Now that the weather has improved and we’re seeing many more sunny days, it’s a great pick-me-up for older people to get outside if it is safe to do, such as if they have a garden. At TLC, we really appreciate the great outdoors and work hard to keep our gardens accessible to residents, both for exercise, activities and gardening. Outdoor exercise for older people might include walks, balance exercises or any activity that has the body moving such as golf and badminton.
There are a few activities that older people can do from the safety of indoors, with just a chair and a wall for equipment, that help aid balance. Here are a few to try:
- Wall push-ups (stand two feet away from a sturdy wall but leave your hands shoulder-width apart and flat to the wall. Bend elbows to lean in towards the wall and then straighten to push the body away and repeat).
- Chair squats (stand in front of a chair with feet hip-width apart and bend your knees and lower the bottom until you’re sat down, then stand up and repeat).
- Single foot stands (stand behind a steady chair and hold the back, lift your left foot and place on top of the right foot for a minute then put the left foot down and the right foot on top for a minute).
- Tippy toe lifts (stand behind a chair and place your hand on it for support, then push up onto your toes as high as is comfortable, hold, then return to flat foot and repeat).
With careful consideration and some good encouragement, older people will still be able to maintain health, strength and mobility through exercising at home during lockdown. Let’s all do our bit to keep everyone happy and healthy!