In a world where social distancing has become the norm you may wonder how to keep healthy and active. The good news is that you can find a plethora of YouTube exercise videos, making home workouts easier than ever. Not all videos are created equal, though, so we’ve scoured the Internet to find excellent videos geared to seniors who want to get or stay fit.
Our first recommendation is the National Institute for Aging’s sample workouts of varying lengths. Other fitness resources include:
Strength training is one of the most effective things you can do to stay active and independent as it can ward off age-related muscle loss and keep bones and joints strong, all of which and help prevent falls. Here are a few resources that will show you how to build strength safely:
Incorporating balance exercises into your routine can also help prevent falls. One of the best ways to add a little balance into your life is to take up Tai Chi, a gentle exercise practice that can enhance mobility as well. Here’s two good introductory videos: Easy Nine-Minute Daily Practice and Tai Chi for Seniors. Also consider the Discover Tai Chi For Balance and Mobility Scott Cole Wellness Series, which can be purchased on Amazon.
If Tai Chi does not appeal, Feldenkrais, which uses gentle, mindful movements, may be a better fit. Check out Seven Balance Exercises You Need to Know | Feldenkrais Style.
Any exercise routine should include stretching, as this keeps muscles strong, flexible and healthy, increasing range of motion as well as circulation and blood flow. The National Institute for Aging has produced a nice playlist of stretching videos. You can also improve your flexibility by practicing yoga, as many poses emphasize stretching. Here are some yoga picks geared to seniors:
The ELDOA Method, a series of precise exercises, is another practice that can boost flexibility as well as posture. These exercises, which also provide pain relief, create space within a precise segment of the spine, using myofascial tension and muscle contraction. Cornerstone Pilates has a great beginner warm-up video as well as one that targets L5-S1 on the lower back.
Finally, don’t forget cardiovascular exercise as this can reduce your risk for chronic diseases like heart disease and dementia. Walking is one of the best cardio choices for older adults–although, in times like these you may not feel safe going outside. Fortunately, walking at home videos like this one can provide the same benefits.
Other cardio options includes aerobics geared to seniors or fun dance workouts like Quarantine Dance Party, Line Dances for Seniors and Beginners and Low-Impact Salsa Dance for Beginners. You can even learn ballet at home—an amateur dancer and her 70-something mother have created a website for “beyond 50s” and beginners.
These are just a few of the many ways you can keep fit (and have fun!) while you’re cooped up in your apartment. Bear in mind that it’s especially crucial to keep physically active during troubling times, as exercise can boost your emotional well-being as well as your physical health.
*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living, April, 2020.