Keeping fit is important for senior citizens. However, as you grow older, it’s not unusual for you to develop conditions that limit your mobility and make some exercises painful or difficult. Don’t give up—there are exercises that can accommodate any mobility limitations you may have.
Tai Chi is great for seniors with limited mobility because it involves slow movements. In doing Tai Chi, you stand mostly in one place, while moving the arms, shoulders, heads, legs, and trunk in deliberate, choreographed movements. It stretches your muscles and joints gently.
The benefits of Tai Chi are numerous. It strengthens the core, leading to improved balance and muscle strength. Good balance helps prevent falls. Tai Chi also lowers blood pressure and improves circulation. It may encourage better sleep and mental health. Just a few minutes of Tai Chi each day can make a difference in your health and fitness.
Swimming takes the pressure off your joints and allows you to move more freely. The water in a pool provides gentle resistance, which is part of why swimming is gentle on your joints. Movements that are painful on land are easy to do in the water. At the same time, swimming can give you a good workout and keep your muscles and bones strong.
If mobility limitations make traditional swimming difficult, seniors can also benefit from swim-walking and water aerobics. Swim-walking in the shallow end of a pool gives you aerobic benefits and increases your endurance. A water aerobics class is a fun way to work out all parts of your body.
If standing, walking, or balance is difficult, you may benefit from chair yoga. This is typically done in a class, but there are several videos available you can follow along with at home. With chair yoga, you do all exercises while safely seated.
Most chair yoga exercises involve stretching the upper body, focusing on muscle strength and flexibility, as well as deep breathing, although there are also some exercises for the lower body. Like traditional yoga, chair yoga improves circulation, lowers blood pressure, and reduces depression.
As you grow older, mobility limitations don’t mean you have to give up exercising. You can benefit from any type of fitness that involves moving and stretching your body. Many traditional forms of exercise can also be easily adapted to suit your needs.
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