8 Fun Pool Exercises for Seniors

water exercises for seniors

Staying active is the best way to maintain mobility and health as you age, but exercise can be difficult if you have joint pain or other medical issues. Pool exercises allow you to stay active without putting excess stress on your joints. In fact, the buoyancy of the water actually reduces stress on the joints, helping you find relief.

To improve your strength and mobility, we suggest that you try adding the following pool exercises to your weekly workout routine.

Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any exercise routine, and be aware of your limits.

1. Flutter Kicks

Flutter kicks are a great low-impact exercise that will get your heart rate up. You can perform this exercise with or without a kickboard.

If using a kickboard:

  • Hold the board in front of you.
  • Flutter kick with your legs to propel yourself across the pool.

If you can’t use a kickboard:

  • Perform a front float while keeping your head above the water and holding onto one side of the pool.
  • Flutter kick with your legs.

It doesn’t matter which method you choose. The important thing is to kick at a steady pace to avoid tiring yourself out.

2. Leg Swings

Leg swings are a great way to strengthen your upper leg muscles, and keep your hips strong and flexible.

To perform leg swings:

  • Stand at one side of the pool. The water should be deep enough to reach your lower back.
  • Hold on to the edge of the pool.
  • Swing the outside leg forward, and hold for five seconds. Make sure your other leg is straight.
  • Swing the outside leg backward, and hold for five seconds.
  • Repeat in both directions 12 times.
  • Repeat on the other side.

3. Arm Curls

Water arm curls are a great way to maintain upper body strength. For this exercise, you’ll need a pair of water weights.

While standing in the middle of the pool:

  • Hold the weights directly out in front of you. Keep your palms facing out.
  • Curl the weights up, and then back down.
  • Repeat until your arms are fatigued.

Arm curls can also be performed with the palms facing toward you, like a conventional bicep curl exercise. The resistance of the water makes this exercises surprisingly effective.

4. Arm Circles

Arm circles are a great way to work your upper body, but they’re also fun to do. Find an area along the edge of the pool where the water reaches your neck. Standing next to the edge of the pool will help you catch your balance if necessary.

  • Stand with one foot in front of you and one foot behind you.
  • Lift your arms out to the side until they are just below the surface of the water.
  • Keep your arms straight and your palms down.
  • Move your arms in a circular motion.
  • Continue moving your arms in a circular motion for 10-15 seconds in one direction.
  • Repeat in the other direction.

Making circles at a rigorous pace will help get your heart rate up while strengthening your shoulders and upper back.

5. Swimming

Swimming is another great way to exercise in the pool. Not only does it deliver a great cardiovascular workout, but it also works the entire body. Along with heart and lung function, swimming also improves muscle strength and tone.

It’s also a low-impact exercise that can burn as much as 600 calories per hour.
But for swimming to be an effective form of exercise, you need to move at a challenging pace. Leisurely swims may be enjoyable, but the goal is to raise your heart rate.

6. Water Marching

Water marches will get your whole body moving, and boost your heart rate at the same time.

To perform this exercise, find a spot in the pool where the water reaches your chest.

  • Standing straight, extend your arms and legs as far as possible in a marching motion.
  • Keep your toes pointed, and move your arms with energy.
  • March until you are out of breath.

The resistance from the water will make the exercise more challenging, which will help you build strength. Aim for a rhythmic march, and keep a steady pace.

7. Chest Fly

Bring this classic gym workout to the pool to minimize its impact on your joints. Chest flys can be performed with or without water weights, but weights will help you build or maintain strength.

Start out by standing in water that’s chest-high.

  • Hold your arms in front of you at chest height.
  • Palms should be facing each other, and sitting just below the surface of the water.
  • Push your arms out to the side.
  • Push your arms back to the center.
  • Repeat 10 times.

8. Calf Raises

Calf raises work your calves, which helps promote healthy lower body strength.

To perform this exercise, stand in water that’s at least waist-deep and near the edge of the pool or near the ladder.

  • Shift your weight forward to the balls of your feet.
  • Lift up your heels to stand on your toes.
  • Hold for few seconds, and lower down your heels.
  • Repeat 10 times.

These eight pool exercises can help you stay active without putting any excess strain on your joints. They’re fun, too, so it doesn’t even feel like you are exercising.

Have You Tried Yoga?

Another great way to get a gentle workout is through yoga. With these simple flowing movements you can work out your whole body in one session. There are a lot of great benefits as well including. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should.

Preventing Falls – 5 Fall Prevention Tips for Seniors

Slips and falls happen at all ages, but they’re more serious for seniors. Why? Bone strength weakens, and weaker muscles allow for less control during a fall. As you age, it’s important to take the proper steps to prevent falls from happening.

Fall prevention for seniors requires action.

1.     Speak to Your Doctor

Seniors fall prevention starts with a doctor. There are a lot of variables that can lead to falling more often. The goal is to:

  • Discuss weaknesses
  • Express concerns of falling

You may feel weaker, or you might fall on occasion. It’s never fun to fall, and if you’ve fallen a few times, your doctor needs to know. There can be a lot of variables that can cause you to fall:

  • Medications: A list of medications should be given to the doctor. Medications can cause you to fall if they have side effects. If a medication is causing your problems, a switch may resolve your issues.
  • Weaknesses: Mobility issues are a common reason for falling. Weak muscles may need to be strengthened, and this would resolve most falls.
  • Health Concerns: If you have health issues that cause you to lose control of your muscles or if you have dizzy spells and fall, this needs to be diagnosed and discussed with a physician.

Your doctor may advise you to use a walker or cane to help prevent falls, or you may be better suited for physical therapy, which will help you strengthen weak muscles.

2.     Stay Active and Exercise

Seniors that sit at home all day need to stay active. Sitting on the couch daily will lead to muscle loss. You want to stay as active as possible, and a few activities you can start doing today to stay active are:

  • Walk around the neighborhood or park
  • Walk around the mall to get out and socialize
  • Join senior groups aimed at staying active
  • Ride a bicycle
  • Play a sport you enjoy

It doesn’t take much to stay active, but one thing that helps is to have a hobby. Even a small hobby, such as gardening, helps to get people out of the house.

If you like a more intense routine, you’ll want to start exercising. There are plenty of guides for seniors who want to build muscle.

A few points to keep in mind are:

  • Exercise 3 – 4 times a week at minimum
  • Start slow and focus on form and safety
  • Add weight over time to build muscle and put the muscles under more tension
  • Remain consistent with your workouts

You don’t need to go crazy with your exercises. Building muscle takes time, so try focusing on week muscles first. The muscles that are weak and leading to your falls need to be trained to grow stronger.

Even if you need to start with no weight, it’s all about moving and engaging your muscles in the process.

There’s no rulebook that says you need to weight train. You can choose to join:

Anything that engages the muscles will lead to fall prevention for seniors.

3.     Remove Hazards and Lighten Up Your Space

If you have hazards around your home, it’s time to correct these issues. The common hazards in a home are:

  • Electrical cords and debris in walkways
  • Coffee tables and furniture that can trip a person
  • Loose floorboards or carpeting
  • Slippery bathtubs or floors

Place mats on slipper floors, move furniture around, make necessary repairs and move electrical cords as needed. If a leak leaves water on a tile floor, have the leak repaired.

Spills need to be cleaned up promptly, too, to reduce slick areas that lead to falls.

Light sensors can help a person illuminate dark rooms or spaces where falls are common. A nightlight in the bedroom or hallway can also help reduce the risks of falling. Flashlights can be used, too, to illuminate dark areas and prevent accidental trips and falls.

4.     Add or Use Assistive Devices

Assistive devices can prevent a fall from occurring. There are many assistive devices that can lead to enhanced mobility and additional safety. A few of the mobility devices that can help you walk are:

  • Canes
  • Walkers
  • Wheelchairs
  • Crutches

But these are mobility devices – there are numerous other devices that can be placed around the home to add further stability and reduce falling risks. These devices include:

  • Sturdy handrails for steps. Handrails on both sides of a stairway offer optimal safety.
  • Raised toilets with armrests can help prevent strains and falls when trying to get off a toilet.
  • Shower grab bars can help you get in and out of a tub with ease, and the bar helps add to stability.
  • Shower seats can be placed in the shower to allow you to sit and shower while eliminating the risks of falling.
  • Mats placed on the floor can add traction and reduce unnecessary slips and falls.

An occupational or physical therapist can visit your home to help assess potential dangers and options to reduce the risk of falling. Even a small change can lead to a much safer environment for you that prevents unnecessary slips and falls.

5.     Wear Proper Shoes and Clothing

Improperly sized shoes lead to falls. If you’ve been buying the same size shoe for years, go to a shoe store and ask for help measuring your foot size. You would be surprised by how many people wear shoes that are too long for their feet.

Shoes that are too big can lead to the shoe catching while going up a step, or kicking the floor with your toe.

Pants that are too long can lead to unnecessary trips, too.

Properly sized clothes and shoes are a must to reduce falls.

6 Tips to Improve Mobility in Seniors

seniors need exercise

As seniors age it is common for them to experience a loss mobility.  This is the main reason for many seniors living less active lifestyles. When you’re used to walking around your entire life unaided, learning to walk with a walker, cane or even using a wheelchair is a struggle.

The world is harder for people with less mobility to get around but, thankfully laws are making it a little easier for the elderly as more areas are required to have accessibility features.

The good news is that there are exercises you can do to increase your mobility. Exercising regularly will allow you to walk with greater ease, feel more stable and be more confident.

6 Tips to Improve Your Mobility

1.      Start or Maintain an Active Lifestyle

Lounging around on the couch all day won’t help you build muscle. It’s pertinent that you maintain an active lifestyle – or start transitioning into an active lifestyle now. Being active engages your muscles, helps you maintain your weight and will also help with flexibility.

Starting can be difficult for some, but it’s a lot easier than it sounds:

  • Join a senior group
  • Meet people on meetup.com
  • Take walks around the park or neighborhood

Any activity is better than staying immobile. If you can walk around the block for twenty minutes a day, you’re well on your way to maintaining an active lifestyle and improving your mobility.

2.      Use the Proper Walking Aid

Walking unassisted is great, but if your balance is impaired, the worst thing you can do is not walk with a walking aid. Use a walking aid that offers maximum mobility while working all your muscles properly.

If you need just a cane to walk, please don’t use a walker.

Why?

If you use a walking aid that offers too much assistance, this will cause you to use less of your muscles and rely on the walking aid too much. This is not a good way to remain mobile. Click here to find the right walking aid for your needs.

3.      Work on Your Balance

One of the key most important things a person can do to maintain mobility is to work on balance. Why? A lack of proper balance can lead to slips and falls – something no elderly person wants.

A fall can set you back months, and if you break a hip or leg in the process, your mobility can end up worse than ever before.

Proper balance is the key to your mobility, and this balance comes from your:

  • Core muscles
  • Back
  • Butt
  • Hips

NIHSeniorHealth has a list of exercises geared towards seniors that are balance-oriented. A few of the exercises recommended are:

  • Standing on One Foot: You can stand on one foot to improve your balance. This should be done in a safe environment, and whenever possible, stand next to a wall or bed you can use to brace yourself when you fall off balance.
  • Side Leg Raises: Holding onto a sturdy surface, lift your leg sideways using just your hip muscles. This is an exercise that should be done on both legs.
  • Back Leg Raises: Much like the side leg raises, back leg raises are done next to a surface you’re safe against. Lift your leg backwards, keeping the knee straight to engage the glutes.

Gentle Yoga is also becoming popular with seniors. It is fun, and gets you to move parts of your body you don’t normally use on a day-to-day basis.

If you work on your balance, you’ll be well on your way to improving your mobility.

4.      Maintain a Healthy Weight, or Start Dieting

Are you overweight? If so, your body needs to work in overdrive to be able to function properly. Added weight puts exponential weight on to your knees when you take a step or go down a step, and this is one of the most complained about pains for an elderly person.

You need to ensure you’re a healthy weight if you want to be mobile.

A few tips to losing and maintaining weight are:

  • Track what you eat – Apps and even a journal can be used to track what you eat.
  • Ditch the soft drinks – Water will keep you hydrated, eliminate headaches and has zero calories.
  • Let go of junk food – All junk food must go (candy, sweets, processed food, etc.).

If you don’t know what body weight you ought to be, it’s time to talk to a nutritionist. A professional can help you determine your ideal body weight and provide you with a solid diet to stay healthy and keep the pounds off.

5.      Engage in Strength Training

Contrary to popular belief, you can still gain muscle into your old age – if you’ve never weight trained before. There is a genetic limit, or so it seems, to how strong some people get. This may be a plateau, of course.

And while someone that has strength trained their whole life may not be able to gain more muscle, if you haven’t strength trained seriously, you can gain muscle and strength to help you regain your mobility.

You’re a senior, so you want to take it nice and slow.

A personal trainer that deals with senior strength training is best. You’ll likely be in the gym 3 – 4 times a week, and this will be more than enough time to be able to build strength, lose fat and regain your balance.

6.      Discuss Your Health with a Doctor

I wasn’t going to put this tip in here, but it’s vital to your health and well-being. A doctor will update you on your health. You may have a health condition that doesn’t permit you to be active, and if you do, it’s important to know what your limitations are before moving forward.

You’ll also want to discuss your mobility with your medical professional.

Ask him or her which exercises or activities they recommend that you do to better your mobility.

And if possible, ask if the doctor recommends going to a physical therapist or personal trainer. Oftentimes, your doctor will be able to recommend a highly trained professional to provide you with the help and guidance you need to improve your mobility.

Whenever you engage in an activity, make sure you put safety first so that you don’t injure yourself. Injuries for seniors can impede any progress made on mobility and can cause a serious loss of mobility, depending on the severity of the injury.

10 Health Benefits of Walking for Seniors – Staying Strong and Fit

health benefits of walking

People are spending more time indoors. While walking around a city center may be common in some countries, people in the United States are walking much less. The lack of movement is a major issue for the current generation of seniors.

Walking may not seem as beneficial as other cardiovascular exercises like, running, biking or swimming, but there are a lot of health benefits to walking regularly. Especially for seniors.

should seniors be trying to walk more often?

We strongly believe so. Here are some reasons why:

1. Walking Can Stop Bone Mass Loss

Bone mass loss can lead to bones that break faster and more easily. Older people that are at risk of osteoporosis should be walking in an attempt to maintain their bone mass into old age. Hip fractures, a common occurrence in seniors, was reduced by 40% by walking just 30 minutes per day, according to one study.

2. Walking Strengthens Muscles

A major complaint that follows aging is that a person isn’t able to maintain their muscle mass going into old age. The loss of muscle mass is natural, and it begins occurring in your 30’s and 40’s, but these losses can be offset or stopped with regular exercise.

Walking has been shown to strengthen the:

  • Legs
  • Abdominals

Stronger muscles lead to better overall mobility, and they also alleviate pressure put on the joints, which can worsen the effects of arthritis.

3. Improved Circulation

Circulation problems do occur when you age. This can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure and a variety of other health-related issues. The University of Tennessee found that walking improves circulation, offering the following benefits:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Less risk of heart disease

Poor circulation can further lead to swelling and water retention among many other issues. Studies find that walking just 30 minutes a day can reduce blood pressure by nearly 11 points on average.

4. Weight Loss

Weight gain is detrimental to a senior’s mobility. Walking increases the metabolism and helps to burn excess calories. Just 30 minutes of walking per day can lead to an additional 200 calories burned per session.

This can lead to weight loss and an easier time maintaining weight.

5. Sleep Improvement

Seniors, or anyone for that matter, that have issues with sleeping the night through will find that walking can greatly help improve their sleep. Studies have shown that people between the ages of 50 and 73 that took one hour walks found that their insomnia was greatly relieved.

This has a lot to do with the physical exertion of walking.

Anyone that has issues sleeping at night will want to go for a long walk during the day. Exercise of any kind before bed is not recommended because it has been shown to make sleeping more difficult initially.

6. Mental Sharpness is Increased

The mental sharpness of a senior is very important for self-esteem and confidence. The University of California conducted a study on walking and the slowing of mental decline. The study included 6,000 women who were aged 65 and older.

Women who walked more often were found to have less memory decline than their non-walking counterparts.

Women who walked an average of 2.5 miles per day were able to lower their mental decline to 17%, rather than 25% for women who walked less than 0.5 miles per week.

Studies have also been conducted on the lowering of Alzheimer’s risks and walking. Men between the age of 71 and 93 were found to have a lower risk (roughly 50% less risk) of getting Alzheimer’s disease or dementia if they walked just a quarter mile per day.

Your brain needs walking to stay young and vibrant.

7. Joint Support

Walking as opposed to running is good for the joints. When you walk, you’re engaging in a low-impact exercise that promotes joint health. What many people don’t know is that the cartilage in the body, or in the joints, doesn’t have a direct line of blow flow that enters it.

Blood is vital to the transport of nutrients.

Nutrition is supplied to the joints through synovial fluid that is circulated as a person moves around. This can also be called joint fluid.

Oxygen and nutrients are delivered to your cartilage as you walk, increasing necessary fluid to the joints.

If you don’t move around, the fluid in the cartilage will be lacking, essentially starving the cartilage in the process. This will result in an increased speed of cartilage deterioration in the body.

8. Walking Makes You Happier

Depression plagues a lot of people as they age. When seniors lose some of their mobility, they may even become depressed. Happiness and walking have been linked together. Cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, will help your body release endorphins.

These endorphins are what make you happy and also increase your mental stability.

9. Increased Balance and Stability

Slips and falls are common among the elderly. This is often caused from a lack of hip strength and a loss in overall balance. Walking engages the hips, abdominals and numerous other muscles that work together to ensure that a person is able to stay balanced.

Walking alleviates slips and falls and helps boost stability and balance.

10. Walking Increases Lifespan

Seniors who want to live a happy, long and healthy life will find that walking has been shown to reduce the risk of death. A study conducted on people that exercise regularly in their 50’s and 60’s found that these individuals were 35% less likely to die over an eight-year period than their counterparts.

Final Thoughts

Walking just 30 minutes a day is recommended for seniors and people of all ages. A brisk walk can help you lead a happier, healthy life well into old age. It is very important as you get older to stay active. Maintaining your muscle mass and flexibility goes a long way in keeping you healthy and independent. It will also greatly reduce the need for a walker or other type or walking aid. However, if you do find that you are needing some support when you are getting around you may need a mobility aid. To see what we recommend please click the following link: https://www.upliftingmobility.com/walkers-for-seniors/.

4 Ways to Ensure You’re Using Mobility Aids Safely

using a walking aid safetly

Using mobility aids safely is the most important thing that the elderly and disabled can do to ensure that when they walk, they’re at a low risk of injury. However, most often people that use mobility aids may choose to purchase and take them home without learning how to to use them properly.

There are a lot of considerations that go into choosing a mobility aid, and they include:

1.     Picking the Right Device

using a walking aid safelyThe right device is a necessity. You may need a cane, or a walker, or something completely different. It’s essential to pick the right mobility aid so that you can be secure when walking and also not using a device that limits your natural movement.

One of the worst things a person can do is lessen their mobility by choosing a mobility aid that is overkill.

An example of this would be a person choosing to use a walker when they really need a cane. In this case, they’ll:

  • Remain very stable, but
    • Lose mobility speed and agility
    • Weaken muscles over time

Those who use only a cane will be using their backs, hips and other muscles more than a person that uses a walker.

A general rule of thumb is that:

  • Canes are needed when there are only balance issues that aren’t too severe. Quad canes can be chosen for a person that needs a little more stability than with a normal cane.
  • Walkers are needed when a person suffers from severe balance deficits. A person may need a walker if they have issues with weight bearing. For example, a person may need a walker following knee surgery while they can’t put all of their weight on their knee without pain or buckling.

The right device is essential for your safety. A physician or physical therapist will be able to offer their guidance as to which mobility device you can use safely.

2.     Proper Fit Reduces Safety Issues

A proper size is required to ensure that the mobility aid is able to produce the right amount of support for the user. The right fit depends on:

  • Weight
  • Height

Anyone who is on the heavier side will want to make sure that the device is able to support their weight. For example, a person that is 500 pounds would need a wider seated wheelchair and a model that can hold people that are 500 pounds.

For the most part, people under 300 pounds won’t have to worry about this too much.

The height of the mobility aid will matter a lot. Wheelchairs are more universal, but custom options do exist for anyone who will be using their wheelchair for the long-term.

How do you properly adjust a cane or walker?

  • Cane: When the cane is hanging straight down the side, the top of the cane should reach the crease of the waist. Your elbow should be at around a 15-degree angle. If the arm is fully extended, the cane is fit too low.
  • Walker: Place the walker in front of you, and allow your hands to hang normally at your side. The top of the walker will need to reach the crease of the waist. When your hands are on the handles, your elbows should be bent approximately 15 degrees.

If you don’t have a properly fitting mobility aid, you’re at a higher risk of injury.

3.     Comfort Means a Lot

Comfort and stability mean everything when it comes to a mobility aid. Some people find that their cane causes the skin on their hands to burn, or if the mobility aid isn’t fitted right, it can lead to a lot of discomfort.

There are also times when a mobility aid may actually limit your movement.

a rollator mobility aidA standard walker will need to be lifted and moved with each step. This means you’ll walk slower and the walker may be too heavy and uncomfortable. You may need a rollator instead. A rollator is a walker on wheels and will offer a faster walking experience, lighter weight and more overall function.

Pain or discomfort shouldn’t be the result of using a mobility aid.

You can try to adjust the handle or height of the mobility aid. There may also be accessories or added padding that will allow for the mobility aid to be more comfortable.

If nothing seems to work to reduce the aches, pains or discomfort, you may want to try and choose a new mobility aid, or ask your therapist what can be done to lessen or eliminate the pain altogether.

4.     Properly Use the Mobility Aid

Using mobility aids safely will require you to use the mobility aid properly. This sounds trivial, but a lot of people don’t use their devices properly. A few tips to using a mobility aid properly, are:

  • Cane: Hold the cane on the side which is strongest. Take a step forward with your bad leg and move the cane forward at the same time. This allows you to bear weight on your bad leg and the cane at the same time.
  • Crutches: Normal crutches should be squeezed under your arms as you move them 6” to 12” forward. Place your weight on your hands, ensure you have proper balance and then move forward.
  • Walker: Walkers are meant for the utmost in support and weight bearing. Bring the walker forward followed by walking forward towards the walker. Step forward with your weaker leg first followed by your stronger leg. Click here to see which walker is suitable for you.

With these safety tips in mind, you’ll be on the right path to using your mobility aid properly and safely.