There is no denying that moderate physical activity can help prevent a few chronic diseases, improve mood, and lower chances of injury. As we age, the cells in the body take longer to rejuvenate; therefore, we need something other than medication to provide the body with what it needs to operate at its optimal best.
When seniors find safe ways to work out, regular exercise can do wonders for the long-term preservation of bone and joint health, neurocognitive function, immunity function, heart and vascular function, metabolism, and digestive health. But when is it unsafe to work out, and what exercises are unsafe for our aging loved ones? Keep reading.
5 Exercises That Seniors Should Avoid to Reduce Risk of Injury
Before a senior embarks on a new workout regimen, it is imperative to discuss the move with a physician who can recommend appropriate physical activities. Exercises that should be avoided include;
1. Lengthy Runs
Even for avid runners, lengthy runs may have cardiovascular benefits. Still, on seniors, long runs put undue pressure on the legs and may lead to injuries that bring on mobility challenges. Instead of running, the elderly can opt for swimming or using joint-friendly elliptical equipment.
2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
This training method involves doing several bouts of maximum intensity cardio workouts with short rests in between sets to achieve a very high heart rate and metabolic stress in a span. A good example of HIIT is sprinting or doing a 100-yard dash, walking back then repeating the exercise 5 to 10 times.
This requires maximum speed, high-power output, and anaerobic stamina to perform high-intensity interval training for several beneficial metabolic effects successfully.
HIIT may not be ideal for seniors as the workout increases a person's heart rate and may lead to dangerous cardiac events or musculoskeletal injuries.
While pull-ups are less about age and more about strength, and they can be tough on seniors who have diminished core and grip strength, thus may leave them vulnerable to injuries. Band-assisted or machine-aided pull-ups and pull-downs can be ideal for seniors as such workouts displace a good percentage of your body weight on the machine or band during pull-ups.
4. Isometric Exercises
While these staple fitness exercises strengthen the core and provide stability and balance, too many repetitions on a frail body can harm the spine and lower back as quite a lot of load is shifted on the hip flexors.
The safest, most comfortable way the elderly can reduce the pressure on their spine when performing isometric exercise by using a Swiss ball.
This compound exercise with massive weight resistance targets several muscle groups involved in trunk stabilization, greater strength gains, and rehabilitation. Seniors should avoid this workout as it requires stability, balance, and core strength. The kettlebell swing is much safer for the elderly to help them build core strength, increasing endurance, and enhancing balance.
Recommended Workouts for Seniors
Tempting as it may be, it would be unsafe and unrealistic for seniors to engage in many of the newer, rigorous workout regimens that come easy for the younger generations. Senior workouts should be a fun routine that helps them in the long run; not cause more harm than good.
Senior exercise regimen must consist of workouts that are strictly adapted to their unique stamina and physical capabilities.
- Exercises such as restorative yoga and Pilates during meditation do wonders at improving and maintaining joint flexibility, mitigates injury, decreases workout muscle pain and stiffness, etc.
- Walking, stationary biking and swimming are all excellent examples of cardiorespiratory endurance exercise for seniors.
- Calisthenics or body weight exercises do not require any specialized equipment; therefore, they help prevent bone mass loss and improve overall balance.
Jacaranda Trace is proud to support healthy, active lifestyles for our residents and we’d love to show you everything we have to offer from dining to amenities. Contact us today to speak with a member of our team or to schedule a private tour.