As we age, getting adequate exercise is an important part of staying healthy. Exercise helps maintain strength and improve balance and flexibility. Keeping physically fit reduces fall risk, strengthens the immune system, and improves quality of life. Exercising at home can have risks for older adults, but during a pandemic, it is a safer option than participating in group exercise classes or visiting a public gym.
There are four types of exercise that have benefits for overall health and well-being: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Endurance exercises help improve stamina for tasks like climbing stairs and doing chores. Strength exercises help with activities like lifting and carrying. Balance and flexibility exercises help prevent falls and make it easier to do things like drive a car or get dressed.
The National Institute on Aging offers the following tips for exercising safely at home:
Listen to your body. Always warm up before exercising and cool down afterward. Gauge your level of effort with the “talk test”. You should be exercising at a level that allows you to talk, but not sing.
Be aware of your environment. Make sure you are in reach of a counter, back of a couch, or a sturdy chair that is pushed up against a wall in case you lose your balance and need to hold on to something. It may also be helpful to put a chair/couch behind you in case you need to sit or lose your balance.
Hydrate. Drink water before, during, and after exercising, even if you do not feel thirsty.
Wear appropriate shoes and clothing. Choose shoes that are made for the type of activity you want to do and choose clothes that work with your activity and the temperature of your environment.
Healthline.com has an easy to follow exercise plan here:
Go4Life has easy workout videos here: