Your elderly relative may have difficulty getting out and about to exercise, but this does not mean they cannot exercise at all. In fact, there are many types of exercises they can do in the home, and here are some that you may want to try out to increase their strength and improve flexibility.
Some exercises don’t even require standing, and this may be more suitable for your relative. Start by finding a stable chair at the right height so they can rest their feet flat on the floor. One with no arm rests is also best. Some of the exercises you could try include:
- Stretching the neck – look ahead and hold your right shoulder with your left hand. Tilt your head to the left and hold for a few seconds, then repeat on the other side, and do this three times. This can help to loosen muscles that have become tight.
- Twisting the chest – sit upright, cross your arms and reach for your shoulders. Turn your body to the left as far as it can go, and hold for five seconds. Repeat this in the other direction, and aim for five of each.
- Stretching ankles – hold the side of the chair and straighten your right leg and hold your foot off the floor. Point your toes away and then back, and repeat five times, doing two sets on each foot. This can help to improve flexibility and reduce the risk of blood clots.
- Lifting arms – sit with your arms at your sides with your palms forwards, and lift your arms out to the sides then up as far as possible, keeping them straight and breathing out at the same time. Then lower the arms, breathing out as you do so. This is a good exercise for building shoulder strength.
These exercises focus on increasing strength and should make up part of your routine:
- Move from sitting to standing – this exercise involves sitting on the edge of a chair and standing up slowly using only the legs, looking forwards all the time. Sit down slowly again, and repeat five times.
- Press up against the wall – stand arm length from the wall with your hands flat against it and fingers pointing up. Bend your arms slowly, keeping your elbows at your side, and close the gap as far as possible before returning. Aim to do this five to 10 times for three sets.
- Raise calves – resting your hands on the back of the chair to keep you stable, lift both heels from the floor as far as you can, and then go down again. Repeat five times.
Increasing flexibility is important as people get older, so assist your elderly relative with the following exercises:
- Bend sideways – stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms by your side, and slide one arm down one side as far as you can go. Hold for two seconds and repeat with the other arm.
- Stretch calf muscles – place your hands against the wall to keep stable, then bend one leg and step back on the other leg a foot or more. Keep the leg straight with both feet flat on the floor. Do this with the other leg, and repeat three times.
General Tips for Exercises
Whether you use any of the above exercises or instead decide on different exercises, make sure your elderly relative stays safe and comfortable. This means wearing comfortable clothing that is loose fitting, starting slowly and building up to more rigorous exercise, and always having a bottle of water within reach.
Do the exercises together to start with so that you can help them with any difficulties they encounter, and work together to find an exercise routine that works for them.