Home Exercises for Older Adults

27th March 2020
With the coronavirus pandemic, we should all be staying at home to prevent propagation of the virus. In this spirit, here are some great tips for older adults staying at home to exercise without having to leave the house.

Long stays at home for whatever reason tend to discourage people from doing exercise. In a situation like the one we’re in now, it’s important to stay active, especially for the older adults among us. Learn more about some of the best home exercises for older adults.

The elderly are especially vulnerable. Without exercise, their quality of life can quickly go downhill. In this article, we’ll offer some tips for home exercises that are specially designed for older adults.

Exercises for older adults

The importance of exercise for older adults is especially appropriate in the current situation of obligatory quarantine. Among its numerous and obvious benefits, you can include a speeding up of metabolism and the prevention of degenerative processes such as osteoporosis or muscular atrophy.

Other benefits of exercise for older adults:

  1. Strengthening of muscles and joints.
  2. It gives them increased strength and autonomy, limiting the necessity of canes and walkers.
  3. Greater protection from cardiovascular diseases such as a heart attack or stroke.
  4. Older adults can avoid thrombosis or edema in the legs.
  5. Exercise reduces inflammatory diseases in degenerative processes such as arthritis.
  6. It prevents the advancement of pathological processes such as diabetes, high cholesterol, or hypertension.

How to adapt exercise for older adults to the current situation

We’re living in a situation now without precedence, in Europe as well as the rest of the world. Coronavirus is an extremely important topic now that we can’t ignore. It’ll be ruling our lives right now and we have to adapt to it.

So, the purpose of this article is to get you to not abandon your regular exercise. You can even take advantage of the mandatory quarantine to enjoy more exercise at home than you might have done otherwise!

Let’s look at some exercises that you can do at home to both burn calories and work your muscles. You don’t need to leave your home, especially since going out for walks and runs aren’t viable options now either. You can do any of these exercises inside or in your yard or patio.

Squats

The noble squat is one of the exercises that will strengthen the lower half of your body the most. With it, you can work your glutes, quads, and your lower back.

A woman performing squats.

This is an incredibly complete exercise that can help older adults strengthen the muscles in their legs and therefore become more independent. Since it strengthens the back as well, it can prevent and treat chronic back pain associated with age.

In the case of arthritis or even sciatic nerve pain, you’ll have to be careful and perform them under the supervision of a professional.

Jump rope: exercises for older adults

Jumping rope is another great exercise that burns calories and works your calf muscles. You can do it at different intensities and incorporate double jumps or cross jumps.

A woman jumping rope.

When older adults perform this exercise, it strengthens joints such as the knees and ankles, helping to prevent arthritis that often arrives with age. And since it burns so many calories, it speeds up metabolism and prevents the accumulation of body fat.

Push-ups

Push-ups are without a doubt the best exercise to work the upper part of the body using only your body weight. They stimulate the pectoral muscles, triceps, shoulders, and abs, and are just generally fantastic full-body moves.

A woman performing push-ups on a yoga mat.

If your fitness level doesn’t let you do full push-ups yet, you can put a pillow on the floor to make the “trip” shorter, or support yourself on your knees instead of your feet.

Exercises for older adults: burpees

The burpee brings together the three previous exercises all in one very difficult, but very effective move. It consists of throwing yourself to the ground, doing a push-up, and standing back up to a squat, then finishing off with a vertical jump.

This exercise requires some practice, but once you’ve got it, it’s easy to execute. It burns so many calories and is truly a full-body workout. One session of 100 burpees could burn between 200 and 300 calories depending on your weight and the intensity with which you perform them.

Strength exercises

On the other hand, it’s possible to perform several different strengthening exercises similar to what you could do in any gym using common items found around the house. With chairs, bottles of water, or even the handle of a broom, you can combine plenty of exercises. If you have a pair of light hand weights, then you can do even more!

It can be fun to do some circuits a few times, combining different exercises with rest in between. That way, too, you can stimulate your muscles and get an aerobic workout as well!

Conclusion

All of these exercises are perfect for people of any age, but the majority of them are especially beneficial for older adults. Those that are younger or in better shape can add more complex exercises. Exercises such as pull-ups, variations of push-ups, and one-legged squats can be added too! Good luck, and get working!

  1. Evans WJ. Exercise training guidelines for the elderly. In: Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 1999. p. 12–7.
  2. Takahata Y. Usefulness of circuit training at home for improving bone mass and muscle mass while losing fat mass in undergraduate female students. Lipids Health Dis. 2018 May 9;17(1).
  3. Roberts CK, Segovia DE, Lankford DE. Effects of Home-Based Exercise Training Systems, Combined with Diet, on Cardiometabolic Health. Int J Exerc Sci [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2020 Mar 17];12(2):871–85. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31156746