Staying fit and active as we age is important but you might not know what to do. This is even harder if you are confined to the house. If you are not used to going to the gym or exercising regularly these simple exercises to do at home will give you a safe and easy programme to do in a few minutes a day.
Some people think that they can’t exercise because of aches and pains and that exercise might make these problems worse. This is rarely true. Actually, doing the right exercises with the right intensity can allow big gains in movement without aggravating other symptoms. In fact, aches and pains often improve a lot. These exercises have also been chosen as they will protect your back. So if you suffer from back pain you can do these without upsetting a back problem.
As we get older the freedom to get out and about is as important as ever. Stiff joints and painful muscles can often hinder normal activity and the less we do, the less we are able to do. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Knowing the right things to do can lead to big gains in function and mobility.
You can improve fitness, balance and activity
Only a quarter of older people get enough exercise and on average spend 10 hours a day sitting down(1). The more time you spend sitting down the worse your health will be. Use it or lose it is always true, even at 70, probably more so. Regular exercises can improve just about all health conditions. Heart problems, diabetes, cancer, mental health, osteoporosis and balance all benefit – often more than the drugs used to treat these conditions and without the side effects! Well, that is not strictly true as anyone who has had sore muscles the day after exercising will tell you. You’ve probably experienced that yourself and this is normal. To watch, click below:
Side effects of exercising if you are older
If you find that you are sore on the day of doing these exercises then you have probably overdone it. In that case, leave it a few days and resume the exercises but choose the easier ones, choose just one or two and do them for a shorter time, say 15 seconds each rather than 30 seconds. As your body gets used to exercising again you can introduce a few more exercises and then do them for the full 30 seconds. If symptoms persist or if you are worried that these exercises are appropriate for you then see your chiropractor or other healthcare professional.
- Hoogendijk EO, Deeg DJ, Poppelaars J, et al. The Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam: cohort update 2016 and major findings. Eur J Epidemiol. 2016;31(9):927–945. doi:10.1007/s10654-016-0192-0