Seniors who are facing a serious disability or are frail from an illness or accident need exercise too. Nursing homes have found that arm and leg exercises performed with residents during the day helps them sleep better at night and stimulates the appetite of those who may have trouble eating.
Even if an elderly person seems to be totally without functional capacity, it’s scientifically and medically known that when engaged in a strength-training program on a regular basis, spontaneous activity is improved. Light aerobic exercises and mobilizing joints may also help with osteoarthritis issues.
Psychological benefits are also prevalent when seniors engage in regular exercises. It has been shown to relieve depression symptoms, cognitive abilities and provides a sense of self-confidence. Cardio is also improved as the senior gets more oxygen because of the light workouts.
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Below are some of the main exercises for seniors who may be disabled or frail or suffering from an illness where much exercise is prohibitive:
• Stretching – Even seniors confined in a wheelchair can perform stretching exercises. Stretching improves range-of-motion, joint and muscle health and strength and flexibility. Stretching movements should be customized for seniors as to time and type of exercising involved.
• Strength – Resistance training is the best way to improve strength in disabled or frail seniors. It helps build muscles and endurance and can increase mobility of the seniors and prevent serious falls by improving balance.
• Wheelchair sports – It’s especially helpful for seniors who are confined to wheelchairs to become social and active. Adding some competition to the workouts can be adapted to a wheelchair by practicing basketball, weightlifting, track and field and more.
• Chair aerobics – This is performed while the senior is in a sitting position and involves rapid repetitive movements. These movements will raise the heart rate, help burn calories and result in more mobility.
• Swimming – Many health centers and hospital facilities offer pool therapy. A water aerobics class is an excellent choice for those who may be immobilized or have little leg function.
• Cardio – Seniors can get an excellent cardio workout by “air-punching” – simply punching at the air either with or without weights. Playing along with an Xbox or Nintendo’s Wii makes it even more fun.
The benefits of exercises to disabled or frail seniors can’t be stressed enough. Exercise boosts the mind as well as the body and can greatly improve the physical state and mental state of all seniors. Be sure to tailor the exercise to the fitness level of the senior and speak to a health care provider for the go-ahead.
To read about the many benefits of exercise for the elderly, click here
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