Exercise For the Elderly

Exercise is important, but there are times when standard exercises are impossible. What can you do if walking is not possible? There are actually several options depending on the reason standard exercises are not possible.

I should also point out that inability to use standard exercises is not limited to the elderly. When I shattered my knee, I was unable to do much in the way of any activity involving leg movements for several weeks. I used some of these suggestions to try to remain healthy.

Chair-robics: There are several routines that can be done from a seated position. Make sure the chair is sturdy enough to support movement and that you are safely and securely seated before beginning. Some of the activities that can work include moving the feet from side to side, imitating jumping jacks (without the jump), by lifting the arms over head and moving the feet.

Water Exercise: If you can move enough to get into a pool, there are a bunch of things that can be done. Simply walking back and forth in the shallow end of the pool can help. Swimming, and water aerobics can also be done. If you can’t swim (I can’t), you can use noodles or stay in the shallow end. One exercise I did was to hold onto the rail and kick my legs in order to rebuild the strength after the bone had healed.

Senior Centers: Many senior centers offer exercise classes for seniors. These are designed for the various abilities of those who need the service. The good thing about using a specifically designed routine is that proper techniques are followed.

Tips: Always consult your doctor before beginning starting a new routine. The doctor can help you choose which activities are best for your medical condition. Make sure the doctor knows of any medical conditions that you might be seeing another doctor for, and also any medications and supplements you use.

Don’t forget to warm up and cool down. Even low impact activities require this in order to prevent injuries.

Start slowly, don’t expect to do a half hour routine on your first day. The doctor or a trainer can tell you how long you should work out as well as how many days a week.

If you stop for a while, don’t punish yourself. However, when you start again, don’t try to go back to the level you were on when you stopped. Cut the time at least in half for the first week or two and gradually build back up.

If something changes, see the doctor again to make sure your work out routine is still appropriate for you.

Keep a journal of what you do and how long you do it. There are two reasons for this. One is that it’s encouraging to see the improvements and the other is for your doctor. You can take the record in to show him what you’re doing and he or she can help fine tune it for your benefit.

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