Exercise continues to be important in later life. Experts say to be as active as possible, for as long as possible. This may sound difficult to do, especially as you develop more aches and pains and drive less often. But, this doesn’t mean that you have to give up leading a healthy, active lifestyle. There are plenty of safe, low-impact exercises you can do from home.
Before you start any exercise program, be sure to talk to your doctor. In the meantime, here are our top 10 exercises that we recommend for older adults who receive senior home care in NJ.
1. Quadriceps Stretch
Quadricep stretching maintains the health and stability of your knee joint. It also improves overall balance and mobility. Use a chair for balance, hold your foot and pull it toward your buttocks until you feel stretching in your thigh. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat with the other leg.
2. Floor Hamstring Stretch
Hamstring stretches improve flexibility and balance when standing and walking. We recommend doing a floor hamstring stretch for added stability. Lie on the floor and lift one leg over the body. Grab the leg with both hands and pull it toward your body until you feel a stretch.
3. Ankle Flexion
We see many seniors who have weak ankles, and this can lead to poor mobility and balance. Ankle flexions help this. Sit in a chair and place one foot out as far as you can. Rest the heel, but point the toe out. Move the toes back and forth 20 times.
4. Leg Raises
Leg raises work many parts of the body, including the abs, groin and hip flexors. Lie on the ground, place your hands underneath your back and slowly raise your leg. Hold for 10 seconds and switch legs.
5. Single Foot Stand
Similar to the flamingo stand, but safer, the single foot stand is done by standing on one foot and using a chair for balance. The single foot stand supports balance and coordination, reducing the risk of falls.
6. Head Turn
One of the simplest exercises to do, the head turn promotes mobility and relaxation. Stand or sit with your back straight and shoulders relaxed. Slowly turn your head to the right until you feel a stretch. Then turn to the left.
7. Walk Heel to Toe
Walking heel to toe makes your legs stronger. Put your right foot in front your left so that the heel of your right foot touches the toes of your left foot. Move your left in front of your right and repeat for 20 steps.
8. Back Leg Raises
Back leg raises make your lower back stronger. Stand behind a chair and slowly lift one leg back. Try not to bend your knees or point your toes. Hold for a second and repeat with the other leg. Do this 10 times.
9. Wall Pushups
Wall pushups are a great way to strengthen your upper body. Stand an arm’s length from a wall and lean forward so that the palms of your hands are on the wall. Push yourself back with the arms straight and the feet planted. Repeat 20 times.
10. March in Place
Marching isn’t just good for balance – it gets the heart moving! Stand straight, lift your knees as high as you can and march in place. Repeat 20 times.
These 10 exercises are safe for most people receiving palliative care in NJ, but be sure to discuss them with your doctor first.