Posture exercises for seniors – are they really necessary at that age? Isn’t it just ‘okay’ for posture to go bad with age without requiring any work to fix it?
You will be amazed to find out how a good posture can positively affect the aging process. Without good posture, you can suffer from an increase in the wearing out of joint surfaces. It can also cause the spine to get permanently fixed in an abnormal position, resulting in fatigue and increasing back and muscular pain.
Having proper posture alignment or good posture helps to keep the body working well. It keeps bones and muscles working like a well oiled machine. This is specially useful for seniors because of the normal wear and tear in their bodies being higher due to aging. But that isn’t the only thing that good posture does. A good posture also makes a person look and feel young, and we all know just how important that is.
There are some fantastic posture exercises for seniors and the elderly that can help fix bad posture. Depending on your age and the condition of your back, the type of exercises that you can probably do will vary. With that in mind, we look at simple, easy-to-do posture exercises for seniors.
We have divided our exercises into three types i.e. Balance Exercises, Chair Exercises and Stretching Exercises.
A word of caution. If you are suffering from chronic pain in the joints, it is best to consult your doctor before trying any of the following posture exercises for seniors.
1. Balance Exercises
Why are balance exercises relevant? Simple, with age we tend to lose our balance. Statistically, a decline in balance is 40% of the reason an elderly person falls. The following are great balance exercises for seniors:
Balancing on one leg –
Using a chair as support, try to balance on one leg. This will help center your gravity. Start by holding the chair with both hands, then holding it with one and then none. Start with small intervals of 10 seconds working up to a minute. Remember to work each leg in the same manner.
Walking in a straight line –
Using masking tape, make a straight line on the floor a couple of meters in length. Then walk heel to toe over the line. Initially, use the support of chairs and when you are confident enough, do it without the chairs. Walk with your arms out to the sides to help balance and when comfortable, slowly move your arms down to your sides.
Raising your legs backwards-
This particular posture exercise for seniors will not only help with balance, it will also contribute to strengthening the lower back. Use a chair as support. Lift one leg at a time as far back as possible. Bend the leg you are standing on slightly. Try not bending forward when raising your leg. Hold the position for a couple of seconds. Repeat ten to fifteen times. Then do the same with the other leg.
Side Leg Raises –
The side leg raises will help give strength to the upper legs and hips. This is similar to the previous leg lift exercise except that you lift the leg to the side instead of towards the back.
Hold on to the back of a good sturdy chair and lift your leg out to the side. Make sure you keep your back straight. Also, keep your toes facing forward. Hold the position for a couple of seconds. Repeat the action ten to fifteen times with each leg. Make sure you breathe slow and steady.
All of these are excellent posture exercises for seniors that help improve balance. Make sure while exercising that you do not overexert yourself. If at any point you feel pain or too tired, it is time to take a break. Don’t push yourself too hard.
2. Chair Exercises
If you are someone who gets tired too fast or have trouble standing up, well the good news is that you don’t have to exercise standing up all the time. It can wear you out pretty quick. There are many exercises that you can do while you sit straight in a sturdy chair.
Before starting any of these exercises make sure you have a good sturdy, armless chair to sit in. A dining chair or kitchen table chair will do. Our recommended chair exercises for seniors that help improve posture are:
Arm Circles –
Sitting up straight in a chair, lift both arms above your head. Use a light weight ball to help or a can of beans. Now rotate your arms like you are making a big circle in the air Do ten to the right and then 10 to the left.
Side twists or tummy twists –
Sitting on a chair hold a ball at arms length at shoulder height. Twist slowly to the left first and then to the right. Repeat this action ten times on both sides.
Hand squeezes –
This particular exercise helps to strengthen the arms. It is also one of the better posture exercises for seniors. You lock you shoulders straight. Then bend your elbows and bring your hands together. Now, push with both hands so that your right hand is pushing into your left and vice versa. You can also grasp a ball between your hands to make it easier.
3. Stretching Exercises
Stretching exercises for seniors are crucial. Not only do they help body posture they also increase and retain body flexibility. Age tends to stiffen the joints, so moving when older becomes difficult and even painful. These posture exercises for seniors help avoid stiffness in the body making everyday activities all the more easier.
Knee Chest Stretch
Make sure you have a mat. Lie down on your mat with your arms resting at your side and your legs straight out. Bring your right knee towards you chest. Take it as far as you can comfortably, and hold the position for ten seconds. Do the same with your left leg. Repeat the motion five to ten times for each leg.
These stretches will help strengthen the shoulders. Sitting on a chair, place your arms on your sides. Make sure your arms are slightly bent and not completely straight. Keep your feet flat and back straight. Now slowly raise both arms together to shoulder height and hold for a couple of seconds. Continue to take both arms towards your head. Hold the highest position that you can take your arms to comfortably and hold for ten seconds. Repeat the action, at least, ten times in one go.
These are some of the most basic and simple posture exercises for seniors. There are numerous other forms and types of activities that can help you retain flexibility and strengthen your back and shoulders. As you gain confidence in the exercises you are doing, consider taking up yoga or tai chi. Both can help in the fluidity of movement that ensures that the body remains healthy and allows you feel young again.