Staying Active is Key in your Golden Years
It’s something you hear all the time, but it’s true. Staying active in your senior years is crucial to maintaining a high level of health and wellness. We’ve discussed in the past how important it is for seniors to engage in daily walking exercises, but what about general mobility?
To maintain your mobility is to keep your body working and functioning as pain-free as possible in order to enjoy everyday activities. Dealing with sore joints when you’re trying to go about your daily routine can really put a damper on things. Incorporating mobility exercises into your daily routine can do a lot to keep soreness and pain in your joints at bay.
There are a variety of mobility exercises for seniors at home that do a great deal of good, but we’ve narrowed it down to a few crucial choices. Read below to discover 5 mobility exercises for seniors that will keep you mobile and agile for years to come!
1: Neck Half-Circles
It’s easy to forget how important the neck is to overall range of motion and mobility. Issues that start in the neck can easily float down into the back, which can cause major mobility issues in the years to come. Neck exercises are vital to maintaining good mobility, and few are more important than neck half-circles.
This is one of the best mobility exercises for seniors at home because it requires no equipment and can be done any time you choose! Below, you’ll find the steps required to perform this exercise.
- Neck half-circles can be performed sitting or standing, whichever is most comfortable. It’s important to keep your hands on your lap for this exercise.
- Tilt your head to one shoulder until you can feel a stretch.
- Slowly roll your head forward to bring your chin to your chest. Only go as far as is comfortable and painless.
- Continue rolling your head to the other shoulder. Stop when you feel a stretch in the opposite side of your neck.
- Repeat the motion three times, making three half-circles, moving slow and smooth.
2: Heel-Toe Raises
One of the best balance exercises for seniors is also one of the best leg exercises for seniors, and can be performed easily with or without a balance aid, such as a walker. Heel-toe raises are incredibly beneficial for all muscles in your feet and legs. By keeping those muscles strong and limber, heel-toe raises help you ensure that you retain good gait for a long time.
Below, you’ll learn how to accurately perform heel-toe raises.
- For those of you who do not use mobility aids, stand up straight with legs together or a hip’s width apart.
- For those of you who use mobility aids, such as a walker, stand with both hands on your walker.
- Raise both heels off of the ground and balance on the balls of your feet for three seconds.
- Slowly shift the weight onto your heels and raise your toes, hold for three seconds.
- Continue the exercise for 10 to 20 repetitions.
3: Cactus Arms
Because it’s essentially a gentle Yoga move that works with your body to promote flexibility and mobility in many different ways. The fact that you can perform this exercise while standing or sitting makes it one of the most crucial exercises for seniors at home.
Here’s how you get the most benefit from Cactus Arms:
- If you do not require the assistance of a chair, stand straight and tall.
- If you do require the assistance of a chair, sit tall and straight with good posture.
- Raise your arms at the sides, bending at the elbows. Your arms should look like the “arms” of a cactus.
- Inhale and bring your arms together, tucking your chin to your chest and rounding your back. This move is almost like taking a slight bow.
- Exhale, slowly raise your head, and open your arms and chest.
- Perform this exercise for eight to 10 repetitions.
4: Hip Bridges
Of any hip mobility exercise, few will yield better results than a simple hip bridge. This exercise may seem like a tough try at first, especially if your hip flexors have started showing signs of weakness or if you have issues with your legs. With time, though, you’ll see a great improvement in the strength and flexibility of your hips, glutes, and core.
That’s right, the hip bridge serves more of a function than being a hip mobility exercise. It’s also a stellar core exercise for seniors, and one of the easiest to perform exercises for seniors at home. If you want to give hip bridges a try, check out the tips below.
- Lie flat on your back. You can lie on your bed, or if you’re able, the floor for extra stability. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on whichever surface you’re lying on.
- Raise your hips. Hold for three seconds at the top of the motion.
- Lower your hips. Perform 10 repetitions of this exercise for best results.
Again, this can feel like a fairly tough exercise to perform for seniors who already have mobility issues. If you are insistent on performing the hip bridge, take it slow. Do not worry about the number of repetitions, and make sure to stop if you feel any pain. If you have serious mobility issues, it’s a good idea to consult with your doctor before performing this exercise, or any of the other exercises for seniors you see on this list.
5: Heel-to-Toe Walk
The last of the exercises on our list is one of the easiest, and most effective, leg exercises for seniors. The heel-to-toe walk can be done with or without the assistance of mobility aids, making it one of the most adaptive balance exercises for seniors around. It’s definitely a must-add in a routine of exercises for seniors at home!
For the heel-to-toe walk, you’ll be treating any surface like you’re walking on an invisible balance beam. Let’s take a look at how the heel-to-toe walk works.
- Start with your heels pressing against a wall.
- Put your left foot in front of your right foot, touching your left heel to your right toes.
- Then, place your right foot in front of your left, touching your right heel to your left toes.
- Repeat this for 20 steps.
Remember – Take All Exercises Slow and Easy
No matter how easy an exercise may seem, it’s never a good idea to just jump in and tackle an exercise routine of any kind. If you have mobility issues, or you just haven’t been super-active in a while, it’s important to consult your doctor before starting an exercise routine. Your doctor can help you identify the best types of exercises for seniors at home that may work for you, including:
- Mobility exercises
- Hip mobility exercises
- Knee exercises for seniors
- Balance exercises for seniors
- Core exercises for seniors
- Leg exercises for seniors
It’s true that it’s important to stay healthy and active. It’s also important to engage in exercise at a level that will keep you healthy and active. Taking on anything too strenuous for your fitness level will have the opposite effect!