5 Fun At-Home Workout Routines for Older Adults
Did you know a sedentary lifestyle is one of the top ten causes of death worldwide? But did you also know that by adding just a small amount of exercise to your routine—like walking or swimming—you can extend your life by three to five years?
Exercise is not just a crucial component to living longer, though. Working out on a regular basis also helps you stay healthier and improves your quality of life.
There are benefits to regular exercise!
The benefits of workout routines for older adults are well-documented:
- Experience fewer falls. Exercise improves muscle strength and bone density. When you work out on a regular basis, you’re less susceptible to osteoporosis and reduce your risk of hip fracture by 40 percent.
- Reduce your risk of a heart attack. The American Heart Association says cardio exercise in 30-minute intervals five times a week reduces your risk for heart attack. The more you work out, the lower your risk.
- There’s less chance of developing dementia. A recent study by the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found seniors who exercise are less likely to develop dementia than those who don’t.
- Build more than muscles. According to the American Geriatrics Society, seniors who exercise have greater confidence and independence because of their reduced fear of falling.
5 workout routines for older adults
While the excellent results of regular exercise are undeniable, finding a workout routine geared toward senior fitness can be a challenge. So here are five at-home workout routine for older adults to get you started.
Workout #1: Online fitness fun
It seems like everything is online these days, and fitness is no different. Don’t worry, online classes aren’t just for the super fit or young. There are many online classes featuring workout routines for older adults. Whether you’re looking for intense interval training or a fun dance class, there’s something for you and your skill level.
Before picking a class, think about your goals. Do you want to tone, strengthen or just burn calories? If you’re looking to tone, any beginner strength training class will do. For a more intense strengthening workout, find a boot camp-style class geared toward seniors. If burning calories and fat are most important to you, an aerobic-style class, including fun dance classes like Zumba, will suit you well.
Workout #2: Walking
Walking is the most versatile of all senior workouts and has some serious proven benefits. Research in 2015 determined people who walk about 10,000 steps per day were 46 percent less likely to die within 10 years compared to sedentary adults.
We consider walking as an at-home workout even though you probably can’t get in that many steps just inside your house. That’s because the best part of walking is that you’re also improving your mental health by getting out of the house. You can walk whenever, wherever you please, inside or outside, with a friend or by yourself. You can go for distance or speed, both or neither!
The possibilities with walking are only limited by your imagination. And walking often coincides with other errands, so you can easily get those steps in even if you’re out and about.
Workout #3: Yoga
Yoga is another workout routine you can do at home that incorporates low-impact strength training with cardio. This is also a great way to build core strength, an important part of keeping your balance and preventing falls.
If you’re new to yoga, don’t worry! Start by finding a beginner class to help you ease into this routine. Here’s a great beginner yoga class for seniors you can watch and do at home.
Workout #4: Swimming
If you have access to a pool in your community, swimming is a great workout for older adults because of its low impact. Swimming doesn’t put additional strain on your joints, yet serves as an excellent cardio and strength training exercise. Solo swimming is also ideal if you’re not interested in taking a class or participating in group training.
Swimming also has some surprising cognitive benefits! A 2012 study from the Journal of Aging Research linked sharp minds to swimming in older adults.
Workout #5: Weight training
You might feel intimidated by weight training, but you shouldn’t! Just because you’re using weights, doesn’t mean you’ll be bench pressing 150 pounds.
Using small weights you feel comfortable with is a great way to prevent muscle loss—a chronic issue for many seniors. Experts recommend starting small and building up to more weight as you feel comfortable. Listen to your body, and don’t push yourself too hard to prevent injury, muscle soreness and cramping.
You can purchase a small weight set, but you don’t have to! Soup cans, water bottles or even your own body weight works just as well.
No matter what kind of shape you’re in or your future fitness goals, there are many easy and fun at-home workout routines for you to choose from. Experiment with what you’re interested in before committing to a workout routine that’s just right for you.
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