Exercising is essential to maintaining good physical health, especially as you age. However, when temperatures drop or adverse winter weather arrives, it’s often difficult to get out to go to the gym or even walk around the neighborhood.
Fortunately, you can do plenty of exercises indoors at home to help strengthen your muscles and bones, improve balance and flexibility, and get a cardiovascular workout. Here are 10 of them.
Adults should do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise spread throughout the week, according to the Department of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Older adults should include balance training and muscle-strengthening activities within those minutes.
Before beginning any new exercise routine, always consult your doctor to discuss physical limitations or restrictions. Follow professional medical advice and safety tips for your specific circumstances.
Walking or Walking in Place
Walking is a simple aerobic exercise that strengthens your muscles and bones and gets your heart pumping. While you’re at home, walk up and down the hallway or from room to room as you can.
Walking in place is also fantastic exercise, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The best part is you can do it anywhere—even while watching TV or cooking dinner. If you walk in place for 30 minutes, you’ll burn 100 to 200 calories.
Doing household chores like vacuuming, dusting, laundry, and anything that gets you up and moving, bending, or stretching is good for your body. Putting on music while you’re working might even put some extra pep in your steps!
Chair exercises are low-impact, and there is a wide variety of them for different skill levels and abilities. In fact, you can do a whole-body strengthening workout while sitting.
Shoulder rotations, shoulder raises, biceps curls, marching, and heel taps are five examples in this series of videos from Silver Sneakers. Doing two sets of 15-20 reps of each exercise engages your core and provides about a 15-minute total-body chair workout.
Practicing yoga is good for your body and mind. Research published in Advances in Geriatric Medicine and Research shows that data from multiple studies prove that “yoga practice has positive effects on cellular aging, mobility, balance, mental health, and prevention of cognitive decline—all areas of concern for older adults.”
Simple home poses include a chair pose, tree pose, cobbler’s pose, and half chair at the wall, according to AARP.
Resistance Band Workout
Stretchy resistance bands offer varying amounts of resistance. Shorten or lengthen the strap to increase or decrease tension.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, resistance band workouts build muscle strength and lower body fat. Plus, they’re lightweight and inexpensive, and you can use them sitting down or standing up. Five easy exercises are squats, chest presses, biceps curls, clamshells, and elastic band rows.
Have fun while moving by playing some of your favorite tunes and dancing with a partner or yourself. Don’t worry about precision, either. Just sway, shimmy, and move your body to the beat however you want. Dancing will boost your heart rate and, most likely, your mood!
To reduce the risk of falling, the National Institute on Aging recommends doing different types of balance exercises regularly. One example is standing on one foot while holding onto a chair or counter for support.
In a video, NIA advises you to draw your abs in, pull your shoulders back, lift one leg and hold it for 10 seconds. Rotate this move from one leg to the other for 10 to 15 reps.
The ability to rise from a sitting position is essential to maintaining independence as you age, especially for going to the bathroom. Doing sit-to-stand exercises helps strengthen your quads and glutes simultaneously, according to Harvard Health.
To do this:
- Sit in a chair and place your feet hip-width apart.
- Press your hands on your thighs.
- Tighten your abs and buttocks.
- Breathe out slowly while you stand up, then inhale as you slowly sit down.
- Repeat 10 times.
Soup Can or Water Bottle Lifts
According to the CDC, strength training helps boost strength, maintain bone density, improve balance, mobility, and coordination, reduce fall risk, and more. You don’t even need fancy equipment. A pair of soup cans or water bottles make an excellent set of hand weights.
Squat, chest press, deadlift, scaption, and row are five essential dumbbells (or soup can) exercises for seniors, according to Livestrong. Do them daily or multiple times a week.
Online Fitness Classes
Learn various exercises from a fitness instructor and follow along at home with an online fitness class. Do a Google search for “online fitness programs” or “online exercise programs” for seniors. Some fitness videos and classes are free, and others may charge a fee. Silver Sneakers is one popular option.
Don’t let chilly weather interfere with staying active. These at-home exercises will keep you moving, build muscle and strength, and improve your balance and mobility while the winter wind blows.
The Active Aging Series is brought to you by our partner, Cambrian Homecare. Cambrian Homecare has been assisting individuals to stay independent in their homes for 25 years. Flexible experience you can trust, when the best place is still at home.