In general, elders should follow the same guidelines for weekly physical activity levels as adults. 22 minutes a day or 150 minutes a week. The intensity of the activities are the only thing that might change. For people above the age of 65 focusing on bone health and balance is most important, and there are a number of exercises that don’t put too much stress on the body but still lead to great health benefits.
Sustaining bone health
Many of the exercises for bone health can be completed with the help of household items like a chair or even a tennis ball.
Hand grip: Hold a tennis ball or other small rubber or foam ball in one hand.
- Slowly squeeze the ball as hard as you can and hold it for 3-5 seconds.
- Relax the squeeze slowly.
- Repeat 10-15 times.
- Repeat 10-15 times with other hand.
- Repeat 10-15 times more with each hand.
Side Leg Raise
- Stand behind a sturdy chair with feet slightly apart, holding on for balance. Breathe in slowly.
- Breathe out and slowly lift one leg out to the side. Keep your back straight and your toes facing forward. The leg you are standing on should be slightly bent.
- Hold position for 1 second.
- Breathe in as you slowly lower your leg.
- Repeat 10-15 times.
- Repeat 10-15 times with other leg.
- Repeat 10-15 more times with each leg.
For elders, avoiding falls is really important and the best way to avoid injuries that can lead to loss of independence or costly medical bills is by working daily to keep a strong balance. Like the exercises for bone health, working on balance can be done in the home with everyday objects.
Tai Chi in your home
Balance is important to help you perform many of your daily activities and prevent falls. Research has shown that tai chi can significantly reduce the risk of falls among older people. In Tai Chi, which is sometimes called "moving meditation," you work to improve your balance by moving your body slowly, gently, and precisely, while breathing deeply. Other benefits from practicing Tai Chi include:
- improvements in bone and heart health
- easing of pain and stiffness from osteoarthritis
- better sleep
- improvements in overall wellness