When you’re stuck at home, one of the last things you might think about is exercise. It’s easy to put exercise to the side, when you may not have much room or your favourite tv show is on, but it’s important to incorporate it into your daily life, especially if you’re a senior. Here are some of the best exercises for seniors at home!

But first, why should we exercise as we get older?

When you exercise, you improve your overall strength, balance, and health. This means fewer falls (and faster recovery from falls), and more energy. With consistent exercise, you promote good circulation, which can also help to work out joint aches and pains!

10 exercises for seniors to do at home.

Stretch it out.

Regular stretching strengthens balance and improves functional strength. It also can reduce the need for medical treatment and assistance.

One of our users, Liette, recently needed hip surgery. Mere days later, she was already doing some modified stretches as a home workout! WeStretch offers several types of stretching routines and customizations, so she was able to filter out the poses she couldn’t do and got back to her regular stretching habit!

Get walking- wherever you can!

If you are able to get outside for a brisk walk and some fresh air, absolutely do it. Enjoy the sunrise or the blue skies of the afternoon. If you can’t make it outside, however, get walking around your house!

If you have a treadmill, turn on your favourite show and walk while you walk.

No treadmill? No problem! Try the art of walking in place or doing laps around your kitchen table. A little bit of movement will do you good!

Lift what you are capable of.

If you have weights at home, go ahead and pump the iron. (Need to learn how? Check out this video!)

You can also do the basic motions with soup cans if you don’t have weights or are concerned about lifting too much. How much you can lift is not as important as doing the motion properly.

Stand as much as you can.

While standing isn’t a form of exercise, the motion of going from standing to sitting is. Standing helps to negate some of the health concerns that come from sitting too long. Many people are concerned about the hours we spend sitting down, leading many to wonder if sitting is the new smoking.

Hop on a stationary bike and pedal away into the sunset.

Okay, you may not actually be going anywhere, but pedalling is good for your health. It strengthens your heart and lung capacity and works on several of the muscles in your body. If you can make it outside to go for bike rides, that is wonderful. If you can’t, getting a stationary bike or even a desk cycle can keep you moving and feeling great.

Dance like no one is watching- and enjoy every second of it!

One of my grandma’s favourite hobbies is going square dancing. Before dance halls were shut down, she would go out at least once a week, and I’d occasionally catch her stepping across her kitchen floor. Watching her light up as she’d dance and hum along always brightened my day.

You don’t have to square dance. You could do the twist, lindy hop, or pull out some good ol’ disco moves! Dance how you want to dance. Just because you are exercising at home, doesn’t mean it can’t be fun!

Hey good-lookin’! Whatcha got cookin’?

One of the easiest ways for seniors to get exercise at home is to get into the kitchen. Cleaning the grill after BBQing is arm and back strength training. Bending over to get the cookies out of the oven is a full-body experience, using several muscles to shift your weight and safely retrieve the goodies. The bonus is that you come to appreciate what you’re eating since you knew the effort put into it!

Squeeze the stress ball or the hand strengthener for dear life.

Even if you want to sit on the couch, squeezing something in your hand is an easy way to incorporate movement. While playing with the stress ball isn’t high-intensity exercise, it does have health benefits!

By strengthening your hands, you become less likely to drop things and more able to keep yourself from falling. Dropping your pen on the floor may be a good excuse to bend over, but it also carries the risk of you falling and being unable to get back up. Besides, even if playing with a stress ball doesn’t seem like much, you are still moving more than you were before!

Use this time at home as an opportunity to redecorate and reorganize.

The best kind of exercise at home is one that accomplishes a second goal. Just as vacuuming is a great way to get your steps in, redecorating keeps you active and gives you something fresh to look at. Reorganize your bookshelf and switch up the art on your walls. Be careful when moving big pieces of furniture, though, so as to not get injured.

Find little ways to move more, wherever you are.

We often think that exercise is something you have to do for a specific time, with specific clothes and activities. While this is true for things such as running or swimming, that isn’t the only approach to physical health. In the “Blue Zone” areas of the world, where people live longer and more fulfilling lives, they have found that many people get their exercise in from daily tasks, not going to the gym for hours.

Seniors can exercise at home, simply by being aware of how much they are already moving and increasing that. Try things like beating your heels to the music you’re listening to or leaving items outside of your arm’s reach. Incorporating movement into your day doesn’t have to be difficult. The littlest motions will add up over time to improve your overall physical health and boost your immune system!

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This article is not intended to act as or replace medical advice. Please talk to your healthcare practitioner if you have any concerns.

Written by Kayla Willsey

Updated June 22, 2021