As we get older, working out or exercising can seem more of a chore, whether you’re turning 40 or 60.    However, remaining sedentary can lead to many different metabolic disorders as a result of the lack of physical activity.   Therefore, it is very important to exercise regularly for both the physical and mental benefits that exercising produces.

In fact, exercise can help with arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, dementia, sleeping disorders and even depression.  The benefits are endless which is why most seniors should exercise daily or start to implement a new exercise routine.

As with any exercise program, it is very important to start slowly, consult a doctor and make sure you have someone to work out with you.  It is equally important to have or to wear a medical alert band or have a medical alert device close by in case of emergency. You cannot always count on your phone to be in close enough proximity and you want to be able to request help if you need it.

Below are some different exercises that seniors can do to get moving and to help increase mobility:

Endurance and Aerobic Exercise

Most physicians recommend a minimum of a half hour of aerobic or endurance exercise daily for seniors.  The whole goal is to get the heart rate up and enhance breathing.  Some examples of endurance exercise are walking, swimming or even riding a stationary bicycle.

If 30 minutes is too much at the start, try a few 10-minute spurts throughout the day to get to 30 minutes.  After committing to a routine, after a few weeks, it will be much easier to finish the daily exercise in just one session.

Strength Training

Strength training can be especially important for seniors to build bone strength and to help improve balance.

There are many different ways to increase strength by using light weights, resistance bands, nautilus equipment or even just the walls or furniture as a base for resistance.  A few short sets at the start is the best way to ease into strength training.

Lunges, sit-ups and leg raises are also a great way to increase strength if there isn’t any weight equipment handy.  Two sets of 10 to 12 repetitions of any of these exercises can help to increase a senior’s strength.

Make sure to have a trainer to watch and guide you through the routine or to at least help you get started until you feel comfortable lifting or resisting on your own.


Stretching is an important addition to any exercise program.  Stretching helps to warm up the muscles as well as prevent injuries.  Stretching can also help with mobility and flexibility while helping to reduce stiffness and muscle soreness.

Pilates and yoga are both excellent and gentle strength training exercises because they isolate specific muscle groups.  Most of the exercises in both yoga and Pilates are designed to help strengthen the core.

The core muscles connect the stomach to the spine and lower back.  By strengthening the core muscle, it can help with balance, posture and overall muscle pain.

Exercises for Seniors with Limited Mobility

There happen to be many people, not just seniors, who are more limited than others by either injuries or frailty that make it more difficult to exercise.  But, this does not mean that exercise should be avoided.  In fact, exercise is even more important for these individuals since they are more prone to falling, broken bones, or obesity.

For those who do have some physical limitations, exercise classes under the instruction of a trained professional is the safest way to get started on a routine.  There are different classes, senior centers or even the local YWCA or YMCA that have classes designed specifically not only for seniors, but for those who have more limited mobility.

There are many more exercises that seniors can try, but the overall goal is to increase strength, flexibility and have fun in the process!

The best way to start any routine is slowly and with caution.  If you are sore at the start, this is a good thing and to be expected.  But with time, practice and a consistent routine, the exercise will become much easier and the benefits that much more rewarding.

Make sure to discuss any new exercise regimen, even merely walking for a half hour a day, with your physician.  Your doctor is the best guide to know which exercises are best suited for your specific physical condition as well as which activities should be avoided.




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