Stay at Home Workouts: In-Home Exercise for Elderly People

Guest post from Kelly Carson, At Home Fitness

In these trying times, having to stay at home can wreak havoc on your physical and mental well-being.  I’m here to tell you there is something you can do to help with both of those things –  exercise. There are a variety of things you can do at home to keep, and/or get yourself in better shape, regardless of the shape you are in! (EasyLiving sidenote: We share some inspiration from older fitness role models in our Fit Over 50 post.)

An important thing to keep in mind when it comes to exercise and home workouts is – don’t worry about how much you do; it’s all about being consistent.  As we age, it gets harder to do a lot of activity or exercise at one time. But, the good news is, doing short bouts of activity/exercise off and on throughout the day can be just as beneficial.

We at At Home Fitness develop exercise programs for people in their homes.  Our client base is people in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.   The clients who are the most consistent with their home workouts are also the ones who maintain the most independence, have less pain, and feel less stressed. And during this time with COVID, exercise is also good for the immune system. Just like the commercial says “A body at rests, stays at rest. A body in motion stays in motion”. It is really that simple!  It’s important to stay as limber and flexible as you can because it directly affects your mobility and balance.

To stay safe at home, also be sure to download our free Aging in Place checklist, a room-by-room guide to home safety. Avoid falls, stay safe and independent at home.

Tips for Home Workouts

A few tips to keep in mind when you’re exercising:

  • More isn’t always better. More reps means more wear and tear on the joints. Listen to your joints, not your brain!
  • Don’t let your brain write checks your body can’t cash! Quality over quantity EVERY time.
  • Be mindful of your posture and body mechanics. When you can’t maintain good posture and good body mechanics, stop the exercise!
  • Always consult with a physician before starting any exercise program.

Exercise for Elderly: Simple Daily Home Workouts

Here are a few good ideas to stay strong and mobile:

  • While you are sitting and watching tv, you can go up on your toes and back on your heels. You can straighten one leg and pump that foot back and forth, then hold the foot back for count of 10 for a good calf stretch.
  • You can also squeeze your buttocks together and pull your navel in tight, hold and count aloud to 5.
  • A terrific functional exercise is to stand up from your chair, and then sit down slowly. Do 5 times with control, no flopping!!!!
  • All of that sitting compresses your spine, so when a commercial comes on, stand up and reach your arms up in the air as high as you can to lengthen that spine. Alternate arm lifts if lifting both bothers your shoulders. Think about making your trunk longer when you reach. Reach up and down 5 times. If you can’t stand independently then do it from a sitting position, or at the kitchen sink for safety.
  • When you get up to go to the bathroom, on the way back take the long way back, maybe do an extra lap or two through the house. Getting up every hour and taking a lap or two through the house is a terrific way to keep mobile and decrease stiffness. If you have a stairwell where you live, do 1-2 flights.
  • On the way back from the bathroom, stop at a nearby wall. Put your back against the wall with the back of your hands against the wall. Squeeze your shoulders back, keep looking straight ahead, hold for 5-10 seconds. Both are good for your posture and your spine.

A few good websites with more ideas and resources for home workouts, and exercise for elderly people especially:

American Council on Exercise: This site has a wonderful exercise library.

Silversneakers.com

EasyLiving’s Senior Fitness Tips

About the author:

Kelly Carson, CPT, RPTA, AIFE Kelly Carson

Kelly Carson graduated from Florida Southern College with a B.S. degree in Health/Recreation. Four years after graduating, Kelly went back to school and received her A.S. as a Physical Therapist Assistant from St. Petersburg College, while at the same time working in a sports medicine outpatient setting including aquatic therapy. Upon completing her second degree as a PTA, she worked in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and in home health care. Kelly has been in the health care field since 1991. And in 1999 Kelly established At Home Fitness.

Kelly later became a Certified Personal Trainer through the American Council on Exercise. She is certified as a Strength Training Specialist through the International Weightlifting Association (IWA). She also received a Certificate of Achievement in Older Adults Fitness through the American Institute of Fitness Educators (AIFE).