Just because you are above 50 that doesn’t mean you have to be careful and do some light training like walking. The fact is, as you grow older, it is all the more essential to take care of your body and stay healthy for a long and disease free life. Lifting weights or senior workouts can benefit the older adults by giving them a strong and healthy body. When you have a strong body it prevents falls, pain, injuries and several other health issues that are related to old age.
If you live a sedentary life, then you will tend to lose all the muscle mass. To remain healthy there are various exercises for older adults that will keep and gain more muscle. Senior workouts will definitely make you live longer and you will definitely live a healthier life.
This total body workout is ideal for older adults to begin with the daily routine of workouts that will surely benefit the body. The following exercises are tuned in such a way that it builds the total body strength and improves stability, balance and flexibility all of which are essential as you grow older.
The key factor to starting any workout is to get used to lifting weights gradually even if you are new or an expert. Soreness is a part and parcel of lifting weights, which is pretty normal, but make sure that it should not cause you too much pain and discomfort. Visit a physician before you begin with any new workout. A physician will guide you if you have any pain, illness or injuries. Take your time with your workouts and increase weights only when you feel comfortable with the exercises.
Dumbbells of different weights, resistance band, exercise ball, medicine ball, a chair, a step or staircase.
How to do the senior workouts for total body strength
- Before you begin any workout, start with a 5-10 minute warm-up exercise that can be a light cardio workout.
- Do the exercises as shown for 1 set using a light weight or no weights to get used to the exercises. Each set of exercises have weight suggestions, but you may include them according to your fitness level. Get comfortable with the exercises first and go light on weights if you are a beginner.
- As you go ahead, add a set each week and once you get comfortable start with 3 sets of each exercise with 30 seconds dedicated for rest in-between each set.
Do these workouts one or two nonconsecutive days a week, taking at least a day of rest between workouts.
- If you feel pain after a workout that makes it difficult to carry on, then take rest as and when needed.
- Squat is a movement we all do throughout the day, like getting up and down the chairs, moving in and out of vehicles and many more such activities. We do squat unknowingly many times in a day. Squat is a good form of exercise that helps build the glutes, thighs and hips, all of which are essential to strengthen the body.
- Stand in front of a chair with the feet held shoulder width apart.
Bend the knees; send the hips back and the arms held straight out in front of you for balance.
- Sit down and as soon as you make contact with the chair stand back up.
- Try to stand up without losing your balance. Put your weight on your heels and push into the floor to stand up.
- Repeat this for 12 reps.
Easier: To make it easier you can hold your hands on your thighs for support or sit next to a rail if you need support to stand up.
Harder: To increase the intensity of the workout, you can consider holding some weights in your hands.
Knee Lifts with a Med Ball
- Dumbbells and kettlebels are a nice way to amp up any routine, but these are not the only weights available in the gym. Medicine ball is the best thing that can be used to strengthen the upper body. The knee lifts with med ball is great for working on upper body endurance as well as increase balance and stability.
- Hold a medicine ball of 2 to 5 pounds in both hands and hold it straight up over the head.
- Lift the right knee up to the waist level while bringing the arms down, touching the weight or the ball to the knee.
- Slowly lower the right knee and take the ball all the way up.
Lift the left knee up to the hip level, bringing the ball down to the knee.
- Come back to start level and repeat, alternating sides.
- Continue for 30 to 60 seconds
Harder: To increase the intensity you can speed the movement upwards without losing balance and stability. Maintain control of the weight and your body as you lift the knees higher.
Easier: To make the senior workouts easier, you can use no weights at all or hold the weight at chest level as you lift the knees.
If you are suffering from back or knee problems, it is better to avoid the upper body portion of the move and just continue with the knee lifts.
Side Leg Lifts
- The side leg lifts is a workout that improves balance and strength of both the legs. The standing leg has to use more muscles for stabilization and to keep your body stable. The lifting leg helps in building strength in the hips and glutes. For this you can use resistance band around the ankles to add more intensity or do it without any resistance.
Stand sideways to a chair or wall for added support. Tie a resistance band around your ankles (this is optional). You can also use light ankle weights of 1 to 5 pounds as well.
- Shift the weight onto the right leg and slowly lift the left leg out to the side, foot flexed and hips, knees and feet in alignment. The toes should be facing the front of the room.
Try to lift the leg without tilting the torso. Hold the torso upright as you lift the leg a few inches off the ground.
- Lower it down again and repeat for 12 reps on each leg.
Lat Pulls with Bands
- This exercise for the elderly is aimed at strengthening the lat muscles on either side of the back. This region is used by the body everyday for pulling movements like picking up things or for opening of doors.
- Stand or sit holding a resistance band in both hands up over the head.
Hold your hands wider than the shoulder-width so that there is tension on the band. To reduce some tension you may have to adjust your hands a bit.
- Keep your abs engaged and make sure your back is flat.
- Keep the left hand in place and contract the muscles on the right side of your back to pull the elbow down towards the rib cage.
- Press the back up and repeat for 12 reps on the right side.
- Switch sides and do 12 reps on the left side.
- As the name suggests this exercise strengthens the biceps. This muscle is used daily whenever you carry things, open doors or even pickup things.
- Stand with your feet hip width apart and hold dumbbells in your hands.
Women can hold dumbbells of weight 5 to 8 pounds and men can hold dumbbells of 8 to 15 pounds. You can even use kettlebells.
- Hold your palms facing out, contract the biceps and curl the weight up towards your shoulder. Try not to move the elbow when you curl the weight up.
- Lower the weight back down, keeping a slight bend in the elbow at the bottom. Don’t swing the weight and hold the elbows static as you curl the weights.
- Repeat this for 12 reps.
- Any pushing movement involves the use of triceps, which means you will need both the sides of the arms to be balanced and strong.
- Sit or stand while holding a medicine ball or weight in both the hands. Suggested weight for women is 4 to 10 pounds while men can hold 8 to 15 pounds.
Take the medicine ball straight up overhead with your arms held straight and next to the ears.
- Slowly bend your elbows and take the weight back behind the head until the elbows are at 90 degree angle.
- Squeeze the arms to pull the weight back to initial position without locking the elbows.
- Repeat the exercise for 12 reps, keeping the back straight and the abs in.
- This workout is done to strengthen the abs as well as the glutes and lower back. If your knees hurt or you are not able to kneel, try the workout lying flat on the floor and lifting the opposite arm and leg.
- Begin on your hands and knees with your back held straight and the abs pulled in.
- Lift the right arm up until it is in level with the body and at the same time lift your left leg up and straighten until it is parallel to the floor.
Lower, after holding for several seconds and repeat the same on the other side. This time lift the left arm and right leg.
- Continue with alternating the sides for 12 reps.
- If you are losing balance, then start initially with just the arms and legs separately until your feel comfortable.
- Ball taps is a great workout that is aimed at the core for balance and stability.
Sit on a chair and hold a ball in front of both feet. If you don’t have a ball, you can even use a small ball or any other object.
- Sit straight and make sure you are not resting your back on the chair. Keep your abs contracted and the back straight.
- Begin with your hands held behind your head (optional) and slowly lift your right foot and tap the top of the ball.
- Take it back to the floor. Switch sides and repeat the same with your left foot, alternating each foot for all the repetitions.
- Repeat for 30 to 60 seconds
- Step ups are a workout that strengthens the muscles that support the knees. If you have any problem related to the knee or if your knee is hurting a lot, then you may skip this workout.
- You can do this work out on a staircase with rails or on a step if you have one.
- If you are doing this exercise on a staircase, then stand at the bottom step and step up with your right foot. Bring your left foot up on the stair next to the right and then step back down on the floor. You can do this work out holding the rails if you want to.
- Hold your right foot on the step the entire time as you move up and down with your left foot.
- Do 12 reps on that foot and then switch. Keep your left foot on the step as you step up with the right leg.
- Repeat for 1 set of 12 reps on each leg.
- This exercise is designed to strengthen the back of the legs and the muscles that support the knees. Instead of the resistance band you can even consider using the ankle weights.
- To start off, stand in front of a chair and hold onto it for balance if you want to.
- Loop a resistance band around the ankle (optional), keeping it looped under the standing foot.
- Bend your right knee; bring your foot up behind you as if you are going to kick your butt.
- Keep your right knees pointing towards the floor and just next to the left knee
- Slowly lower back down and repeat for 12 reps on each leg.
- Pushups are designed to work the upper body and usually the wall pushup is an easier version of the much difficult floor pushup. As you get comfortable with the wall pushups you can slowly perform the floor pushups.
- Stand a few feet away from the wall or a stair rail and tilt forward with your back flat and abs in.
- Place the hands on the wall at the chest level and a bit wider than the shoulders.
- Pull the abs in and keep the back straight, bend your elbows and lower your body towards the wall until the elbows are at a 90 degree angle.
- Push back to start and repeat.
- The farther away from the wall you are, the harder it will be to perform this workout. Make sure the abs is tight and the back is flat.
- Repeat for 12 reps.
Chest Squeeze with Med Ball
- This exercise for older adults strengthens the upper body, which includes the arms and chest.
- Sit on a chair with back straight and abs in
- Hold a weight or medicine ball of weight 4 to 6 pounds at chest level
- Hold the weight so that the elbows are bent and protruding sideways. Put even pressure on the ball while holding with both hands, squeezing the chest
- Holding the pressure, slowly push the ball straight out in front of you at chest level until the elbows are straight
- Continue with the pressure on the ball. It should feel harder as you go farther
- Bend the elbows and pull the ball back to chest
- Repeat for 12 reps
- This workout helps the shoulder muscles. These muscles are used extensively whenever you lift any item or put it onto a shelf.
Stand with the feet hip width apart and hold the weights in both hands at the sides. For women the suggested weight is 3 to 8 pounds while men can lift weights of 5 to 12 pounds
Keep a slight bend in the elbows and the wrists held straight, lift the arms up to the sides
Stop at shoulder level with your palms facing the floor
Lower back down and repeat for 12 reps
- Seated rotations work for all the muscles of the torso, which also includes the abs and the back.
- Sit straight on a chair and hold a medicine ball or weights. Men can hold weights of 8 to 15 pounds while women can hold 5 to 8 pounds weight
- Hold the weight at chest level with your shoulders relaxed and the elbows out to the sides
Keeping the hips and the knees facing forward, rotate the torso to your right as much as you can comfortably
- As you do this focus on squeezing the muscles around your waist
- Rotate back to center and now slowly move to the left keeping the movement in control
- Continue alternating the sides with 12 reps. One rep is to the right and left
Exercise for the elderly need not be difficult.
With the above senior workouts you can achieve a healthy and flexible body even at an older age. Make sure you perform all the workouts as mentioned and most importantly, try to enjoy the whole exercise schedule. You will surely notice a big difference in your overall health.