How many seniors have you seen doing Burpees? If you didn’t already know, Burpees are an exercise where you do a pushup, jump forward, then stand up. This is probably not an exercise that I would ask many seniors to do, however there are many other challenging exercises that seniors could perform, as long as you modify the exercise. The reason you want to modify exercise, is that it still allows you to workout at an effective level within a comfortable range of motion, and avoid injury.
Here are 3 common exercises, and how you can modify them for seniors:
- Push-ups- Usually push-ups are performed with your palms on the ground, however because many seniors have hand or wrist issues, this may not always work. Wall pushups are a great alternative to doing push-ups from the ground, because you don’t put as much of your body weight on your hands. Since you don’t put as much of your body weight, the exercise isn’t as intense, meaning you should probably do more repetitions.
- Squats – If you have ever read my previous posts, you know that I think everyone should try to do squats well. Squats are important because they translate into how well you will be able to get out of chairs, climb stairs or do pretty much any activity that involves leg strength. The easiest way to modify a squat, if your knees hurt, is to not go as low as you would normally. Another modification to squatting would be to do a wall squat. Wall squats are a good way to strengthen your legs without having to go up and down. To perform a wall squat, place your back against a stable wall, with your feet about 1.5 feet away from the wall, Bend your legs until you are lower, keeping your back pressed against the wall. Hold for 30 seconds or as long as you can.
- Planks- One of the best core exercises that seniors can do are planks. Planks from your toes help strengthen your core but sometimes it can be tough starting for seniors. A couple of ways to make planks easier, would be to do them from your knees instead of your toes. Also, you can do them from higher surfaces like a chair or your kitchen counter (see pictures).
Unfortunately when our body hurts, it is easy not to be active. However with a few simple tweaks, you can modify exercise to fit your needs.