Staying Active with Low Impact, Low Intensity Exercises
With life expectancy now reaching into the 80s and 90s, staying active during old age is important. You enjoy many different kinds of activities and stay in shape without needing to be a senior athlete (although being a senior athlete is entirely possible!). The ideal activities for seniors are both low-intensity and low-impact. Low-intensity activities have light physical requirements and are easy to do (like walking or swimming), or are simply shorter in duration. Low-impact activities are ones that exercise muscles without causing too much shock or stress on the joints.
Low-impact, low-intensity muscle exercises
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the ideal time for an older adult to spend exercising per week is 150 minutes, or 2.5 hours. That may seem like a lot, but you don't have to do it all at once. Simple activities like walking or aerobics count, so include your trips to the grocery store and the mornings chasing grandkids!
Muscle exercises fall into three categories: strength building, balance, and flexibility. All three qualities are good to practice, and many exercises help build multiple qualities.
For a list of exercises, check out this guide from Healthline.com. It has an extensive list of strength-building exercises for seniors, helpfully broken down into 10- to 15-minute chunks, and includes pictures and GIFs to illustrate each movement.
Low-impact, low-intensity activities
When you're done working muscles and stretching, there are a number of enjoyable low-impact activities you can do. Try walking, swimming, yoga, pilates, and biking. Here are some recommendations from Always Best Care on low impact exercises.
Activities for those with arthritis and impaired mobility
Sometimes arthritis, osteoporosis, or other mobility impairments interfere with getting the kind of activity level you want. If you are employing an in-home caregiver, you can ask them to help you with some basic muscle exercises. There are also different modifications you can make to basic activities to help compensate for delicate joints. Check out this guide from UKS Mobility about ways to modify all kinds of activities, from sedentary hobbies like knitting to more active pursuits like hiking and yoga.