As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it is encouraged that seniors and other vulnerable people remain at home as much as possible to stay healthy and safe. The adjustments required to do so can be challenging, and physical activities are often overlooked during such transitions. It is important for seniors to exercise and keep active, and by doing so, they actually can lower their health risks.
Here are light-impact indoor exercises that require minimal equipment.
Lower Body Exercise
This exercise contracts and strengthens the muscles in your arms and chest. Begin by holding a ball in front of you. Squeeze the ball together as if trying to push the air out of the ball, releasing and repeating ten to 12 times. The intensity can be increased by pushing the ball straight out in front while squeezing the ball, then pulling the ball back to the chest.
Inner Thigh Squeeze
This exercise activates the thigh muscles. Sit on the edge of a chair, keeping your posture straight. A ball should be placed between your bent knees. Squeeze the ball by pressing your knees together for one to two seconds. Release while keeping some tension on the ball to keep it from falling. Do two sets of eight to ten repetitions.
This exercise strengthens multiple muscles in the legs. Start by sitting near the edge of a chair with knees bent and straight posture. Hold onto the sides of the chair. The right knee should be extended out with your toes pointed toward the ceiling. The knee should be slightly bent but not locked. Lower the leg to the starting position, repeating eight to ten times. Switch to the left leg and do eight to ten repetitions.
This exercise works stomach muscles, the muscles that flex the hips, and the quads, which are important muscles for sitting and standing. Lift the right knee slowly towards the chest, then slowly lower the knee back to the beginning position. Repeat the motion using the left leg. Alternate the legs, performing the exercise eight to ten times on both sides.
Upper Body Exercises
Overhead Arm Raises
This exercise strengthens the shoulders and arms. Sit in an armless, sturdy chair, holding one-pound hand weights in both hands. Make sure your feet are flat on the floor and that your back is straight. Bend your arms with your palms facing forward and weights to the sides of your shoulders. Raise arms slowly above the head, pause and then lower them to the starting position. Repeat eight to ten times.
This exercise works the upper back and chest muscles. Sit on the edge of a chair and hold your arms out to the front of you. Your elbows should be bent with your thumbs pointing towards the ceiling. Draw your elbows back, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Return to start and repeat eight to ten times.
Seated Tummy Twist
This exercise works the core muscles. Sit in a chair making sure your back is straight, and hold a ball with both of your hands close to your body with your elbows bent. Slowly rotate your torso to the left as far as comfortable, keeping the rest of the body still. Rotate back to the middle and then rotate to the right. Two twists is one set, and beginners should start by doing eight sets.
For more resources regarding COVID-19 and wellness, visit our caregiver resources page.