4 Exercises Older Adults Can Safely Perform

Age doesn’t have to be a barrier to staying fit. In fact, according to the AARP, older adults who start exercising later in life can reap the benefits of physical activity. Studies show that individuals between the ages of 80 and 90 can still reap health and longevity benefits while adults who become fit between the ages of 49 and 50 reduce their risk of having a stroke by half. Researchers from Harvard University even reported that it only takes 15 minutes of exercise each day to boost your lifespan by three years. Older adults who want to keep their bodies in shape can engage in safe, low-impact exercises such as walking, Pilates, tai chi, and yoga.

1. Walking

Sometimes, exercise really is just a walk in the park. Though walking isn’t a physically demanding activity, it still improves many aspects of your health, such as your heart, mood, circulation, endurance, or even posture. Certified exercise physiologist John Ford even recommends walking as a workout over running for individuals with knee, back, ankle, or weight problems. This is because walking is a low-impact exercise, which puts people at a lower risk of injury than running. Older adults can take long walks at moderate intensity, which will reap similar benefits to going on a run.

2. Pilates

According to our previous article ‘7 Great Benefits of Pilates for Seniors’, older adults can use Pilates exercises to improve muscular balance and slow the muscle loss that occurs naturally with aging. Pilates also improves their coordination and reduces their risk of falls. And because these exercises can be performed while sitting or reclining, they’re light on the joints, which makes it safe for adults with bone or joint conditions, such as osteoporosis and arthritis.

3. Tai Chi

One of the most accessible exercises for seniors is tai chi. The martial art of tai chi involves going through a series of slow, gentle movements. Seniors can use tai chi to improve upper and lower body strength. Trusted health website SymptomFind suggests in one of their posts that tai chi can help improve bodily awareness, core stability, and balance, which can help seniors prevent falls. Tai chi is also easy on the joints, meaning older adults can use it to manage muscle and bone pain from conditions like osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.

4. Yoga

Seniors can do yoga to improve their muscle tone, balance, strength, and even mood. By following its stress-reducing breathing exercises, older adults also increase their lung capacity, thus improving respiratory health. And according to the NCHPAD, there are also adaptive forms of yoga designed for individuals with limited mobility. Seniors who have difficulty standing for long periods can do chair yoga, which allows them to do poses with extra support. This also applies to those confined to wheelchairs. On the other hand, older adults with arthritis can do water yoga, as the water improves the body’s range of mobility while being light on the joints.

Forget the saying, “no pain no gain.” Though higher intensity exercises like running and weight training might have more obvious impacts, exercises that are easy on the body will still provide very useful benefits. And this is especially the case for seniors with a limited capacity for physical activity.

If you’re interested in learning more about fitness, you can check out more on the Absolute Pilates website.