Exercise You Can Do Anywhere: Beginner Bodyweight Exercises for Seniors
Strength training and exercise are vital to a senior’s well-being, balance, cardiac wellness and flexibility. With those benefits in mind, it’s important to have a series of bodyweight exercises you can do anywhere, even without gym equipment.
Without a trainer present, you have to be conscious of your own form and limits. Before you begin, practice supporting your lower back in preparation for bodyweight exercises. Make sure you’re engaging your abdominal muscles so your lower back doesn’t experience too much strain. Using your deep core muscles, draw your navel toward your spine, and keep these muscles activated during each different move of your bodyweight workout.
10 No-Gym Exercises for Seniors
1. Wall Pushups
Stand facing the wall. You can stand about 2 feet away, or you can move closer to the wall as needed. Raise your hands to the wall, straight out from your shoulders. Bend your elbows diagonally as you bring your chest closer to the wall. You may allow your heels to lift off the floor. Then, press into your hands to bring your arms straight once again.
2. Chair Squats/Sit-to-Stands
Stand in front of a chair, with your back to the chair. Bend your knees to lower your seat onto the chair. Touch your seat down and push through your feet to raise yourself back to standing.
If your body is not ready for squats yet, sit-to-stands are a great alternative. Using the same technique as a squat, sit all the way down into the chair, then, use just the strength of your legs and abs to stand up.
3. Standing Marches
Stand tall with a chair or a wall beside you, in case you need support. Raise one knee until your foot is off the ground. If possible, keep raising your knee until it is hip height. With control, place your foot back on the floor and switch to the other leg.
4. Leg Lifts
a. Side Leg Lifts
Holding on to the back of a chair, stand straight with your feet hip width apart. Shift your weight onto one leg and raise the other leg laterally. Touch your toe back to the ground and lift the same leg again. Repeat on both sides.
b. Backward Leg Lifts
Holding onto the back of a chair, stand straight with your feet hip width apart. Shift your weight onto one leg and raise the other behind you. Touch your toe back to the ground and lift the same leg again. Repeat on both sides.
5. Bicep Curls
If you have free weights, you can use them. If not, you could use water bottles or soup cans, or you can simply use your own internal strength by adding slight resistance to your movements. Stand straight with your arms by your sides, palms facing forward. Raise both arms simultaneously toward your shoulders and slowly lower the hands back down.
6. Tricep Extensions
Again, you can use free weights, a household replacement, or your own internal resistance. Stand tall or sit straight in a chair. Lift your arms above your head and hinge them at the elbows until your hands are behind your head. Without arching your back, straighten your arms until they are once again above your head.
7. Step Ups
If you have stairs or a sturdy low box, stand directly in front of it. Raise one foot — your starting foot — onto the step and then the other foot, so both feet are resting on the step. Then lower your starting foot back to the floor, and then the other foot, so both feet are resting on the floor. Do several repetitions with the same starting foot, then switch.
8. Seated Twists
Take a seat in your chair with a straight, supported back. Hold your arms to your sides and raise your hands at a ninety-degree angle. Keep your lower body still and rotate your torso slowly to each side.
9. Toe Lifts
Stand straight, holding on to the back of a chair. Raise up onto your tiptoes and lower down with control.
10. Seated Toe Taps
Sitting in a chair, tuck your feet beneath you. Then, keeping your stomach muscles tight, stretch your legs out in front of you and touch your toes to the floor. Lift your legs again and tuck them back under your chair, and repeat.
When not working out at home, our residents adore the beautifully designed walking paths and daily fitness programs here at Freedom Pointe at The Villages. If you would like to learn more about our senior living community’s wellness offerings, please contact us.