If you’re a senior with weak bones or mobility problems, weight-bearing exercises are what you need to protect yourself against osteoporosis. Check out this article for the 6 best weight-bearing exercises for seniors.
Aging often brings with it reduced bone mineral density, which makes it more difficult to stay active without experiencing pain or injury. But aging does not have to be accompanied by an inability to exercise safely. In fact, it is weight-bearing exercises that will help you stay strong and healthy as you age.
As we age, our ability to exercise on a regular basis often decreases. Even the most vigorous activity can cause pain and reduce mobility. However, strength training can be particularly beneficial for seniors, helping to build muscle mass that increases bone density. This will help to prevent painful osteoporosis later. You can also improve your balance and coordination as you age by including resistance training in your exercise routine.
Table of Contents
What are Weight-Bearing Exercises?
Any exercise that involves standing on muscle-working surfaces is a weight-bearing exercise. For example, lifting weights in a standing position or exercising in a step aerobics class could be considered a type of resistance training.
Be aware that most muscles are not used in weight-bearing exercises, so you will need to work on the stabilizing muscles of your body to make sure you are safe during exercise. This can be achieved by doing specific stretches for those muscles as well as strengthening them with daily weight-bearing exercises.
Benefits of Weight-Bearing Exercises
We all want to stay strong and mobile as we age, but many of us neglect the effort that should be spent on at-home exercise. Exercise may seem like too much work, or it might feel like you’re too old to make a difference. But it turns out you can reap rewards with very little exertion if you do it right.
Weight-bearing exercises are good for seniors because they can help lower the risk of falls, which will protect their health. They also provide stimulation to the joints and muscles, enabling seniors to maintain muscle strength. In addition, weight-bearing exercise helps with balancing and coordination, which can help prevent falls.
In general, weight-bearing exercises to improve strength are good for people of all ages. It can be hard for seniors to build up their muscle mass, but resistance training will help them to do this. Over time, seniors who implement weight-bearing exercises will enjoy improved balance and coordination.
6 Best Weight-bearing Exercises for Seniors
If you want to stay strong and healthy as you age, make sure that your exercise routine includes weight-bearing exercises. You can burn calories and reduce the risk of osteoporosis by using your own body weight as resistance for exercising. Here are some of the best weight-bearing exercises for seniors.
Knee Push Up
This exercise is similar to the ordinary push-up except that you are kneeling on the floor. You will need some form of cushioning so that your knees will not become sore with time.
To do this exercise, you will need to find a flat surface that can take your weight, remember your knees on the floor and your feet crossed in the air. When you are at the bottom of the push-up, position your hands so they are underneath your shoulders and in front of your chest rather than on both sides of your body. Push up into a straightened position by straightening out one arm then the other until your arms are back by their side.
Another exercise also works the same as the regular push-up except that you will need to reach for the wall with one hand and reach back with your other. This is an excellent exercise which you can do anywhere and it is not as strenuous as regular push-ups.
To do this exercise, set up on a wall with your feet shoulder-distance apart. Bend your elbows at 90 degrees to the body, this stretches the muscles in your chest and shoulders. Place one hand on top of the other by placing the top of your fingers on the wall, palms down, keep them there while doing push-ups. The fingers should be straight making a pyramid shape, not pointed outwards or inwards.
Dumbbell Crunch and Punches
The benefit of this exercise is that it works the abdomen without putting too much pressure or strain on your back. The key to this exercise is to keep your abdominal muscles contracted at all times.
To do this exercise, you will need a pair of dumbbells, you can use the weighted dumbbells that are available at most gyms or just opt for using hand weights. For this exercise, you will need to perform the crunch and then punches.
Start lying on the floors with your knees bent and feet against a wall. Then hold the dumbbell in each hand. Raise your shoulders and alternately extend your left and right arm. Slowly return and repeat.
Dumbbell Curl to Press
This exercise is an excellent workout for your arms and upper body. It will help keep you from losing grip strength that comes with age. You can use a lightweight or heavier object to do this move.
To do this exercise, you will want to begin the curl with your chest at the starting position and then bring it up until your bent arm is behind you. Then bring it back down and continue this motion. Keep doing this motion until you can’t do any more reps. Then take another rep by bringing your chest down to the starting position and lifting up until your bent arm is behind you again.
This is another really good exercise for people who are recovering from leg injuries. It improves blood circulation to the lower extremities and strengthens the muscles in your legs, groin and hips.
To do this exercise, you will need to position your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand resting against your shoulders. You will need to sit back by bending at the hip and knees until the dumbbells are completely lowered. Then you can slowly come back up to complete one repetition.
Using the step-up exercise is one of the easiest and quickest ways to boost your cardiovascular fitness. This exercise is especially advised for out-patients and seniors who are recovering from surgery or an injury. It also makes a great workout on rainy days when weather does not permit you to go outdoors on a nice sunny day.
To do this, you will need a footstool, chair or any step that can be used for stepping up and down like a staircase. When you step up with your right leg, bring it back to a 90 degree bend and then bend your right knee again. Step out with your left leg, keeping your knees slightly bent so that you will not strain them. Next, flex your abdominal muscles and use the muscles in the inside of both legs to lift yourself off of the ground with each step.
Always remember to stay active even if you are recovering from an injury. If you are not able to walk, do what you can so that your body can begin building strength and stamina once again. Elderly people have a tendency to regain loss of muscle mass that they have lost due to age or due to being inactive for long periods of time.
By doing these exercises, it will bring back the muscle mass that you have lost and allow your body to grow stronger and sturdier once again.
Weight-bearing Exercises Tips
As a senior, your bones are most likely more fragile and your weight might be heavier. As a result, exercise can be more challenging and rewarding. If you want to start a weight-bearing exercise routine, use these tips to help you get started.
- Start with a professional evaluation from your doctor or physical therapist to determine the level of intensity that is appropriate for you.
- Warm up before exercising and cool down after exercising using stretching techniques that are appropriate for seniors.
- After warming up, be sure to cool down after exercising by stretching again and doing knee bends to lower your heart rate to normal levels before stopping completely.
- Avoid overstretching when stretching your muscles. This can lead to injury.
- Focus on strength training exercises. This improves balance and flexibility.
- Stay hydrated and avoid overheating during your exercise routine.
- Use an exercise band to help you improve your balance.
- Keep an eye on how your knees are feeling after exercising. If you feel pain, stop immediately and call your doctor or physical therapist to see if there is any damage to your tendons, ligaments or bones that could be causing the pain.
Weight-bearing exercises are beneficial for seniors because they strengthen bones, improve balance and help stimulate your bones to remain healthy. Remember to consult with your doctor or physical therapist prior to starting a weight-bearing exercise routine.
Why are weight-bearing exercises important?
Weight-bearing exercises are important for helping you stay active, keeping the weight off, and preventing osteoporosis.
Are there any risks with weight-bearing exercises?
There can be. Weight-bearing exercises are activities that put stress on your bones, joints, and muscles. If you have an existing injury or illness, you should consult your doctor before starting any new exercise regimen.
When should I start weight-bearing exercises?
You should start with light weight-bearing exercises when bones are still strong enough to handle it and well-balanced in the joints so they don’t bear all the stress of heavy weight bearing exercises.
How long should I do these exercises for?
The length of time depends on your condition and your strength level. Generally, you should do these exercises for 20 – 30 minutes at a time, three times a week.
What exercises work best?
The best weight-bearing exercises for seniors are those that exercise the muscles of the legs, hips, and back as well as work as a support for the spine. You can choose from a variety of activities to find activities that suit your needs.