Who says doing bodyweight exercises is for the young ones?
Even when you’re old and gray, you can still perform various health and fitness activities such as lifting weights, strength training, and leg lifts.
While everyone can easily benefit from different forms of exercise, seniors can reap even more benefits doing these lifestyle changes even in their 50s.
A strong body can fortify the mind and soul to achieve new heights!
If you want to know the best bodyweight exercises for seniors, look no further as we’ve sorted everything out.
Bodyweight Exercises for Older Adults
Strength training and full bodyweight exercises are all essential to a senior’s wellness, balance, flexibility, and overall quality of life.
Even if there’s no trainer present, you can still do various workouts at home that are perfect for your age.
If you recently started doing exercises, here are some beginner exercises for seniors that are pretty easy to follow:
Beginner Exercises for Seniors
If you are planning to start your journey towards a healthier you, here are some beginner workouts for you to follow.
IMPORTANT TIP: Before doing any bodyweight workout, make sure to warm yourself up and do plenty of stretches that involve the joints, hips, arms, and legs.
Side Leg Lifts Exercise
Leg lifts are perfect for older adults who target their lower and upper abdominal muscles as it builds strength around this area.
Side Leg Lifts Steps:
- Hold onto the chair with your feet hip-width apart and your arms straight. This is your starting position.
- Shift your body weight on one leg, and slowly raise the other leg laterally until it is hip height. Slowly place it back again to its original position touching the ground.
- Lift your leg 10 times a set.
- Do the same step on the opposite side. One leg at a time.
Chair Squats Exercise
If you’re a little bit bored of the standard squats, incorporating some new elements to your squats might give you that added boost to work out.
Chair Squats Steps:
- Stand in front of a chair. Place your feet around shoulder width apart.
- Slowly lower and bend your knees as you sit straight; your hips should be pushed back while going down, and place your arms forward to balance as your body forms a sitting position.
- After bending your knees down, stand back up once your butt touches the chair. By the time your butt touches the chair, your upper region should be leaning forward. Repeat. Maintain balance and good form.
- If you can, try not to use any momentum or motion that may help you propel yourself back up. Instead, use your heels to help you push back to standing up again.
- If you’re a beginner, doing 12 repetitions for 2 sets goes a long way with this bodyweight exercise.
Wall Push-Ups Exercise
Older adults tend to have difficulties doing traditional pushups. A wall pushup is a great starting position for seniors.
Once you get used to wall pushups, doing the standard pushups will be easy.
Wall Push-Ups Steps:
- Start by standing an arm’s length facing the wall.
- At shoulder height, place your hands on the wall and slightly widen your shoulders to accommodate your weight.
- With both of your feet, take one step back.
- Slowly bend your elbows diagonally to engage your lats as you’re nearing the wall.
- Once you’re already facing the wall, let your heels lift off the floor.
- Then slowly press your arms to straighten up like the standard pushup.
- Do 12 repetitions for 2 sets.
Basic Exercises for Seniors
These are some basic fitness regimens for seniors still learning quite a few things. Worry not, these are easy to do, and the results are wonderful!
Dead Bugs Exercise
While it has a funny name, dead bugs are one of the best exercises for older adults for overall strength, greater balance, and core stability.
Dead Bugs Steps:
- Lie flat on your back. Your right leg and left hand should reach straight into the ceiling while keeping your knees bent.
- Next, lower your right leg while your left arm extends behind your head.
- Return to your starting position and repeat the steps on the opposite side.
- Do 10 repetitions for 2 sets.
Side Lying Circles Exercise
Side-lying circles are great for strengthening the hamstrings and the quadriceps area. For seniors, it strengthens the hip joints and helps in torso and pelvis stability.
Side Lying Circles Steps:
- Lie on your left or right side in a straight line with your bottom arm extending over your head. Let your head rest around your bottom arm.
- Rotate your top leg in small clockwise circles and then make a counterclockwise motion after. It is important to keep your leg pointed towards your body.
- Breathe regularly.
- One rep equals one rotation. Do 10 reps on each side for 2 sets.
Full Body Workout for Seniors
Full body workouts are perfect for some light cardio, strength conditioning, and a simple exercise most seniors can do in their homes.
Knee Lift With a Medicine Ball
Knee lifts can help seniors increase their heart rate without strenuous activities.
At the same time, it incorporates both the upper and the lower body regions with stability and strength.
Knee Lifts With a Medicine Ball Steps:
- Hold your medicine ball with two hands. You can also use dumbbells that are around 2 to 5 pounds.
- Next, hold the ball with your arm extended straight past your head with your feet at shoulder width.
- Bring both arms down while slowly raising your knee around the hip level.
- After, bring down your knee while bringing the ball up over your head.
- Repeat this step on the opposite side.
- One rep of this exercise is around 30 to 60 seconds.
At Home Exercises for Seniors
For seniors who prefer working out at home, here are some quick and easy steps to start at home.
One of the health benefits of doing regular side planks is strengthening the back area to prevent back pains for seniors.
It invigorates your core without putting too much stress on your back.
Side Planks Steps:
- Put your feet out and prop up your elbow to the ground. It’s like leaning on the wall, but only you’re doing it on the ground.
- Be sure to keep yourself in a straight line so you’re not arching up or sagging downwards.
- To hold the position longer, squeeze your butt area while keeping your abdominals tight. Ensure you are in a natural position.
- For seniors, plank for around 15 to 20 seconds, depending on your strength.
- Rest between sets. Do 15 to 20 seconds per set for 3 sets.
Hand Weight Exercises for Seniors
One of the benefits of doing hand weight workouts for seniors is to build lower and upper body strength.
It is also good for seniors with bad knees whose fitness levels aren’t as advanced as others.
Front Dumbbell Raise Workout for Seniors
Chest and shoulder workouts are great for keeping the heart healthy while strengthening the shoulders and upper body area. Also, it can be achieved with the right dumbbell for seniors.
Front Dumbbell Raise Workout Workout Steps:
- Stand straight, keep your legs straight and body straight.
- In each hand, hold a dumbbell that is not heavy enough as you will be doing many repetitions for this type of workout.
- Slowly lift the weights to shoulder level while inhaling once it reaches shoulder level; slowly lower them down while exhaling. Keep your chest upright before bringing them down while keeping your arms straight.
- Exhale before you start moving the dumbbells down.
- For seniors, do this hand weight workout for 3 repetitions for three sets.
NOTE: If you’re having difficulties lifting both weights, try alternating both arms and slowly raising them while keeping your feet flat on the ground.
Workout Routines for Older Adults
Simple workout routines for older adults are great as they can be done without putting too much pressure on an elderly’s body.
Resistance training is perfect for older adults who want to strengthen their muscles and improve their range of motion, flexibility, coordination, and balance.
You usually make use of bands and ropes for these types of workouts
Standing Glute Kickbacks Resistance band workout
Resistance band workouts are perfect for adults as they can be done daily without putting too much strain on a person’s body.
Standing Glute Kickbacks Steps:
- Place your resistance band around your ankles.
- Strand straight with your feet hip-width apart; this is your start position.
- Keep your hips and left leg squared while facing forward, then step your opposite foot straight back at a 45-degree angle. When doing this, avoid rotating your spine and keep it in a stationary position.
- Maintain this position for 3 to 5 seconds or three breaths before returning your one foot to its original position.
- Do the step on the opposite foot.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
If you have questions regarding bodyweight workouts for seniors, you might find them below:
What Is the Best Exercise for Over 70?
Water aerobics has become one of the most popular bodyweight workout programs for people over 70.
Doing various workouts in the water has helped people have an easier time doing aerobic training.
When a person is well over 70, they have difficulty doing regular workouts as they deal with joint pains caused by arthritis and other conditions.
However, the buoyancy of the water helps reduces the stress on their joints. In addition, water’s natural resistance to a person’s movement is a great form of strength workout without needing gym equipment.
How Can a 70-Year-Old Build Muscle?
Muscle building knows no age — it can be achieved if an individual can still lift weights and make lifestyle changes.
However, dedication and hard work are needed to build muscle because older people’s muscle mass decreases as they age.
Strength training is the best workout for seniors over 70 years of age.
As a result, they should be in the gym more often, lifting weights, eating a balanced diet, doing aerobic workouts, and many more.
Rest is always important as your body takes longer to recover.
What Is the Best Strength Training for Seniors?
Dumbbell strength training is by far one of the best strength training for seniors.
Doing variations of dumbbell training alleviates symptoms of osteoporosis, diabetes, depression, and joint pains.
Here are some dumbbell exercises for strength training:
- The overhead press is great for shoulder strengthening.
- The front raise method is great for back muscles.
- Arms curls are great for the biceps.
- For triceps, tricep extension curls are the best workout.
- Bent-over rows are perfect for shoulder and back muscles.
These variations can help a senior’s body gain strength and balance within its upper body region. Always remember that these are for dumbbells only.
Do not use heavy barbells as they may be too heavy for a beginner to do repetitions with them.
Are Free Weights Good for Older Adults?
No matter your age, free weights are perfect for everyone of all ages. Keeping your muscle mass at an optimal is essential as you age.
As we’ve mentioned, your muscle mass decreases as you age, starting from age 30. So, free weights are great tools to keep your muscle mass in check.
In addition, choose free weights according to your fitness level. Straining your muscles when lifting heavier weights might result in a longer recovery period.
Regardless of age, body weight exercises are for everyone. It knows no age and should benefit everyone of all ages.
Before doing these various workouts, let your physical therapist know about what you’re doing so you will be guided throughout your health and fitness journey.
Good luck, and exercise now for a healthier you!