Sedentary, Homebound, Isolated, or Seniors need exercise even more than their outwardly active counterparts. Homebound often equals sedentary, if you’re not careful. Fortunately, there are plenty of exercises that you can do right in the comfort of your own home – even if you’re wheelchair or bedbound.
Please Note: Seniors and/or their caregivers should always speak to their physician about any new exercise routine to verify it’s advisable for their physical condition. If not, the doctor will have specific exercise instructions more personalized to the individual’s needs.
Exercises for Homebound Seniors
Here are 5 exercises that are safe for seniors to do at home, according to Citrus Heights CA health coaches. The benefits will be noticeable via improved muscle tone, increased strength and stamina and better balance. Plus, most experts agree that regular exercise – at least five days a week – improves mood and can improve sleep habits.
The HASFIT YouTube channel has two great chair exercises. If you’re just starting out, we recommend the 10-minute version. Once you’ve built endurance, move on up to the 20-minute version. With everything from brisk “marches in place” to arm exercises, these well-planned sequences get almost every part of your body moving.
If you are able, we recommend adding one or two-pound weights to wrist and ankles, as weight-bearing exercises are better for bone-building and reducing your risk of osteoporosis.
Get out to the garden
Have access to a small backyard, patio or balcony? Take advantage of the space you have and plant a garden. Gardening gets homebound seniors outside and working – not to mention producing nutritious vegetables and fruits and or gorgeous ornamental flowers that add meaning, flavor and value to life. If you don’t have the space for a raised bed, you can grow virtually any vegetable or fruit you can think of (climate-relevant, of course) in containers.
Take a yoga class (online)
There was a time when taking a yoga class meant leaving the home and visiting a yoga studio or a senior center that offered yoga classes. Now, all you need is a TV, the right DVD, a computer, a tablet or some other form of screen technology and you can take a class at home.
Amazon.com has multiple DVD options for senior-oriented yoga poses – both seated and standing. You can also visit YouTube to watch senior yoga classes filmed at yoga studios by certified yoga instructors. Two favorites are:
- Actively Aging with Energizing Yoga by Sherry Zak Morris
- Lively Chair Yoga Class with Tatis Cervantes-Aiken
Always listen to your body. Never force any exercise motion or pose, and always modify any exercises, stretches, or poses that triggers or exacerbates an existing injury.
Overhead arm raises
This seated exercise helps to strengthen the arms. If you don’t have weights, you can use soup cans or water bottles instead. Even that little bit of resistance makes a big difference when you’re exercising.
- Sit comfortably in a chair with your body straight
- Place feet flat on the floor, hips-width apart
- Hold the weights in your hand and raise your forearms up, as if you’re making muscles with each arm, with the upper-arm perpendicular to the body, elbows bent at 90° angles. Palms should be facing forwards.
- Take a deep breath in and out, and in again.
- As you exhale, slowly reach your arms up until elbows are almost straight, but not quite. Take a breath and then slowly lower your arms back to the starting position. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
- Rest between each set and try to work up to 10 to 15 sets per session.
Leg straightening (extensions)
Now it’s time to balance that upper-body workout with a lower-body workout. Still seated, roll a towel and place it under your thighs on the chair, right behind the knee, providing thigh support.
- Take one full breath, in and out.
- Breathe in again and as you breathe out, slowly raise one leg out in front of you, without allowing your knee to lose contact with the chair.
- Flex your foot so your toe is in the air and hold this position for one or two seconds.
- Slowly lower your foot to the ground, take another breath and repeat.
- Do this 10 to 15 times. Then switch and repeat with the other leg.
- Do 10 to 15 different sets, per leg, each day.