Exercise Ideas for Older Folks Stuck at Home

Gentle exercises can help vulnerable seniors maintain muscle mass
May 25, 2020 Updated: May 30, 2020

The longer you’re at home isolating, the larger the toll it can take on your health. This is especially true if you’re spending a lot of time sitting around.

Older folks, in particular, are at a higher risk of potential damage from inactivity. The more inactive you are, the higher the chance for illness and injury you have. Loss of muscle, strength, and endurance are also major concerns that can increase chances of frailty.

So, how can you increase activity in your home? It’s a lot easier than you think. Finding little ways to incorporate fitness into your day can make a big difference in helping to maintain and strengthen muscle.

The results could be less joint pain, a healthier heart, lower risk for falls, and a healthier metabolism.

Including activity into sedentary periods is one place to start. So, when you’re chatting on the phone, walk around your home. Hit every corridor and staircase if possible and try to move throughout the duration of the phone call.

You can also commit to doing laps of your home during commercial breaks of your favorite television shows. If you’re more into streaming, get up every 30-minutes for a few laps before flipping it back on.

It’s pretty easy to get sucked into a Netflix hole, so set a timer if need be.

Aerobic activity like walking and climbing the stairs can help lower blood pressure and improve heart health. But it’s also important to focus on muscle strength.

For the lower body, the squat is a terrific exercise and there are a few easy ways to do it. One is to stand up with your back against the wall. Have your feet slightly in front of you (about a foot or two from the wall) and shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and slide your back down, keeping it against the wall the entire time.

Go as far down as you can (with knees aligned with your foot) and hold it. Slowly slide back up the wall and repeat.

Another way to include squats into your day is to do a few every time you get up from a seated position. So, sit and stand a few times before moving on to your task.

For your upper body, you can do some counter-pushups whenever you walk into the kitchen (place hands on the counter’s edge and perform standing pushups). You can also use soup cans or water bottles to perform arm curls. Those items can also be pressed over the head to activate your shoulders.

Short bursts of activity meshed into your day can help you stay strong and healthy at home. Take advantage of this time to boost your activity levels.

Mohan Garikiparithi holds a degree in medicine from Osmania University (University of Health Sciences). He practiced clinical medicine for over a decade. During a three-year communications program in Germany, he developed an interest in German medicine (homeopathy) and other alternative systems of medicine. This article was originally published on Bel Marra Health.