If going to the gym isn’t really your thing, you can still get a great workout at home with this easy indoor exercise plan.
We all know sitting still is the enemy of good health. Work places are implementing standing desks and encouraging their employees to be active during the day. Those needs don’t end at age 65. If anything, it’s even more important to stay active as you get older.
Working out is good for your health in many ways: it can help keep your blood sugars in check, keep your weight consistent, ward off chronic illness and some diseases. Most importantly, working out helps with three main areas of personal fitness: strength, flexibility and balance. With a moderate amount of exercise, you can increase your body’s abilities while reducing stress, getting better sleep, increasing your endurance and stamina. *As always, if you’ve been sedentary for a while, check in with your doctor before starting any new physical fitness routine!
Why are strength, flexibility and balance important for seniors?
As we age we start to lose bone density and muscle mass, circulation deteriorates, and our ability to balance gets wobbly.
News would have us believing that the biggest concerns for seniors are conditions like diabetes or heart disease, but in reality more seniors may be seriously injured from a slip and fall accident. Age-related muscle loss, reduced bone strength, flexibility and balance results in becoming more frail and can contribute to a fall with disastrous consequences for your health and wellbeing.
By having an easy indoor exercise plan in place, you can create a routine that will help slow muscle loss, maintain flexibility, improve balance and maybe increase strength as you get older.
Workout at Home With This Easy Indoor Exercise Plan
Warm it Up
Before exercises any specific muscles or doing any stretching it is important to be a little warmed up.
- Simple brisk walk around the house, up the stairs, then down
- Sitting in a chair, then standing a few times to engage your legs and core
- Raising your arms up, then down, then in front, in behind and some large circles to get your arms and shoulders warmed up.
Start with Stretching
After warming up your muscles it is beneficial to do some stretching prior to exercise to prevent injury. Holding specific stretches can even help strengthen and tone your muscles, and besides, it feels great.
- Stretch your neck by turning your head slowly to the right, as far as you can, and holding for 15 seconds. Repeat the same on the left.
- Stretch your shoulders and upper back by holding your arms straight up above your head, slowly lean from the waist to the left. Hold the position for 10 seconds, release and repeat, leaning to the right this time.
- Stretch your hamstrings and back of the legs by standing, bending at the waist and hanging towards your toes. Hold for 10 seconds without bouncing. Bend at the knees slightly.
- Stretch your thigh muscles from a seated position by standing, then sitting, standing, then sitting. Repeat 5 times.
Body Weight Exercises First
Using your own body weight to create resistance are the best low impact strengthen exercises you can do and should be a part of an everyday easy indoor exercise plan. For those that are already working out, doing these exercises daily will strengthen and tone core, arms, and legs:
- holding plank position for 30 seconds
- 10-20 push ups from knees or toes
- 25 sit ups
- 25 squats
- 10 lunges on each leg
However, if the idea of dropping to the floor and doing 20 push ups doesn’t sound realistic, there are some effective alternatives:
- Wall push ups— Stand two feet from a wall, with your feet positioned shoulder width apart. Lean forward and place your palms flat in front of you, at shoulder height so that your back is straight. Then lean in and push back. Repeat 10 times.
- Chair dips— Sit in a chair that has armrests. Place your hands on the rests and lift your body weight out of the chair, hold for a second and then lower yourself back down. Repeat 10 times.
- Leg raises— Lie on your back in a relaxed position, start with bent legs and left your feet off the floor, at a height of about 6 to 10 inches with the help of your abdominal muscles. Hold that position and release. Repeat 10 times. When it becomes easy, try with straight legs.
- Shoulder Circles – holding your arms straight out to eat side, shoulder height, making a ‘T’ position, do 10 tiny circles to the front with straight arms, then 10 tiny circles to the back. Keeping arms shoulder height the entire time.
Add Some Weight
Small handheld weights and resistance bands are great tools to help you you to build some muscle strength. The key isn’t to overdo the weight or the resistance but to be consistent and repetitive.
- Bicep curls – use small weights or a band can help with arm strength. Hold the weights in each hand, with your arms straight out in front of you and your palms up. Then curl the weight in all the way to your bicep and curl it back out again. Repeat 10 times.
- Shoulder press (in photo) – hold arms out shoulder hight, bent at the elbows with small weights in hand. Raise hands straight up over head and back down to the bent elbow position. Repeat 10 times.
- Leg raises – will improve your back and buttock strength. All you need to do is stand behind a chair, holding on to the back of it, and raise your leg behind you, hold the position, release and repeat 10 times on each leg. As this gets easier, you can add a resistance band to make it more challenging!
Keep Your Balance
Balance is easier to maintain if you stay in practice. Yoga is wonderful for balance (and strength) but if you are just getting started it can be challenging. Practice these near a chair or a wall in case you need support while you work on your balance.
- Tree pose – standing tall, bend one leg and place the bottom your foot against the side of your calf below the knee (or above if experienced), hands at your sides, in heart centre or above your head. Hold for 30 seconds.
- Table pose – on your hands and knees, with a flat back first lift you right arm straight out in front of you, then your left leg straight out behind you. Hold this post for 30 seconds. Release. Then the other side – left arm straight out in front, right leg straight out behind you. Hold for 30 seconds.
- Standing pose – with a chair or wall beside you for balance, start standing tall, lift your right leg, bend at the knee and hold at a 90 degree angle. Slowly straighten the leg. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat with the left leg.
One you have made this easy indoor exercise plan part of your weekly routine, you can go one step further to preserving your muscles by feeding them the right foods! Make sure that you include the right amount of proteins for your age & activity level (check this handy chart) in your diet, along with B, C and D Vitamins and amino acids like Leucine, all of which help maintain and even improve muscle tone!
~ The combination of protein and leucine found in Boomer Nutrition ENERGY Whey and NEW Organic Vegan Protein has been clinically proven to be effective in building new muscle which in turn slows age-related muscle loss. ~
Preserve muscle and slow age-related muscle loss by exercising regularly and enjoying a protein smoothie at least once day !