Senior Exercises for Healthy Aging

Senior exercises are not that much different than other exercises.

The primary difference is in the intensity, duration and how and where they are performed.

As with younger adults, exercises for seniors includes strength training, stretching routines and endurance or aerobic workouts.

In addition to these types of workouts, as a senior you want to add some balancing movements as well.

In fact, these four types of workouts for seniors are recommended by the National Institute of Health (NIH).

To learn more about each of these types of exercises for seniors, click on a link below or scroll through this page.

Types of Exercises for Seniors

Strength Training

Balance Exercises



Strength Training

Strength training has many health benefits for seniors.

These types of senior exercises helps lower the “bad cholesterol” and raise the good.

It reduces risk of diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis.

It also helps lower blood pressure and increases your immune system reducing your chances of getting a cold or other illnesses.

Other benefits of strength training for seniors includes;

Increased Bone Mineral Density

As we get older we begin to lose bone mass. This is because your bones are breaking down faster than new bone can be rebuilt.

With strength training and getting enough calcium you can minimize the amount of bone loss.

Increased Strength

With increased strength and balance seniors are less likely to injure themselves due to a fall. You want to keep strong legs and body to be able to perform everyday tasks without the worry or risk of injury.

Improves Sleep

Exercise helps improve your ability to get a good nights sleep. With proper sleep you are more alert, you will have better cognitive functions and improved state of mind.

Before you begin any strength training routine make sure you know your limitations. Check with your doctor if you are unsure.

Make sure you breathe during your strengthening exercises to avoid rising blood pressure. Avoid jerky moves and instead use smooth, steady movements. Avoid locking your elbows, knees and other joints to minimize strain on these joints.

Don't worry if you feel some muscle soreness and slight fatigue as this is normal. However, if it lasts more than a few days check with your doctor.

Aches in your joints, painful muscle pulls or exhaustion are not normal so if you experience these symptoms, check with your doctor.

Here are several senior strength training exercises with instructions and an exercise video to ensure you are doing them correctly.

If you want to exercise in the safety of a chair, then check out the list of chair exercises on this site.

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Balance Exercises

Senior exercises for balance are designed to help strengthen the legs and improve your balance. Loss of balance is common in seniors and can cause injuries to your hips, knees and other areas.

woman doing balance exerciseU.S. hospitals report about 300,000 admissions for broken hips with most of these due to falling.

When doing balancing exercises be sure to use a table or chair to hold onto when using just one hand for the exercise.

As you begin to gain more balance, try holding on with just a few of your finger tips.

Once you are more comfortable, really challenge yourself and let go of the chair or table. Be sure to keep them close by in case you need them to regain your balance.

Here are several balance exercises for seniors which includes step by step instructions and an exercise video to ensure you are doing them correctly.

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Senior Stretches

Stretching as part of your senior exercise routine keeps your muscles loose and healthy.

With stretching you are not only lengthening your muscles but strengthening them as well.
Stretching your muscles give you a better range of motion, increases your flexibility, reduces stress, improves posture and circulation.

Seniors can benefit greatly from adding stretching exercises to their weekly routine. Check out these benefits to stretching exercises.

If you are concerned about balance, then try performing stretches while seated in a chair.

You still get the benefit of stretching your muscles without risking a fall and injury.

Many stretching exercises can easily be modified to be performed while sitting in a chair. Check out these seated senior stretching exercises.

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Endurance Exercises(Aerobics)

Aerobics are often thought of as 3 mile long runs, sweating at the gym or pounding away on a treadmill. Your senior exercises don't have to be fast nor do you have to sweat to get a good workout.
Aerobics, also known as cardiovascular exercises, are those activities that get your heart pumping and the blood circulating. So your endurance training can be a brisk walk, swimming, or even gardening and playing golf.

senior couple riding bikesPick activities that you enjoy and will stick with.

Start out slow especially if you have been relatively inactive for awhile.

Try doing an activity that keeps your heart rate slightly elevated for a duration of 5 minutes.

As you get comfortable with this, increase your time.

Your endurance workouts should be at a level where you can still talk. You don't want to be out of breath as this can cause dizziness.

If you experience dizziness, chest pains or difficulty talking while working out then you are working at too high of a level. Slow it down.

If you are still experiencing these symptoms, consult with your doctor. Make sure you drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout.

Don't forget to stretch your muscles before and after your workouts and always warm up before and after your senior exercises as well.

Here's a 5 minute chair aerobics video you can use to get your cardio workout in for the day.

To help you pick the right senior aerobic workouts, check out these useful articles.

Water Aerobics
Walking for Exercise
Fun Activities and Calories Burned

Back to Senior Exercises List

Useful Links

Here are some helpful links for seniors

Nursing Assistant Guides

CDC - Healthy Aging

Assisted Living Today

Additional Articles

Warming Up Before Exercise Find out why warming up your muscles before exercise can help prevent injuries and make the most out of your workout.

Eating Before Exercise
Getting the proper nutrition before and after exercise is key to healthy living.

Weight Loss Over 40
Exercising can help you lose weight even after you have turned 40. Check out these tips for more ways to lose weight.