The thought of establishing an exercise plan for older adults is probably less exciting than just about anything else that you can think of. But it’s also more important than anything else to be honest. If you were to write out a pro’s and con’s list, the con side would be pretty much empty. Whereas your ‘pro’ side, well that side would have at least 10 benefits that I’m pretty sure, you’d be pretty stoked about. Those benefits all focus on your body, but how about the improvement in your quality of life? Little harder to measure maybe, but things like being able to walk around the block without getting out of breathe sort of speaks for itself. Or how about being able to pick up or run around after your grand-babies? That’s gotta be worth something right?
What Does the CDC Tell Us About Exercise?
While the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, they’ve also kindly, given their approval to breaking it down into 10 or 15 minute chunks of time. Which is great because it’s a lot easier to talk yourself into doing something physical for 10 minutes, than it is to force yourself out the door 3 or 4 times a week to go to the gym. Unless of course you fell in love with gyms the first time out. But for the rest of us? Sure thing, 10 minutes wins! That’s something I could be comfortable with. Besides, new habits like an exercise plan for older adults takes time to establish. Hey, we like to move slower you know. We’ve learned the beauty of the phrase, ‘everything in it’s time’. So baby steps of 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there makes it possible.
The Weights in My ‘Gym’
So last week, in this post I gave you a list of basic exercises that I do using my free weights. In my ‘gym’ there is a pair of 10 pound weights, and a pair of 8 pound weights. I also have a 15 pound kettlebell but I hardly use that. And further down in this post, I’m going to demonstrate that list. As well, I’ll provide some pointers for you to remember while you’re getting busy with your easy exercise plan for older adults.
Are you Teetering ?
Now I’m going to assume that you’re either teetering on the edge of ‘going for it’ and starting a new easy exercise plan for older adults, or you’ve already made that decision and now you just need to know what’s the basic you can get away with to start. Like I mentioned somewhere around here, we used to have a home gym machine in our basement rec room. But in the years since, out of necessity I’ve pared it down until I have just what is necessary and nothing wasted….well, except for the kettlebell. I haven’t quite had the heart to ‘minimalize’ that out the door yet.
Not a Fan of Gyms? You Can Make Your Home Your ‘Gym’
As you may have gathered by now, I’m not a fan of going to the gym. My husband likes it and our daughter loves the gym. But me? Nope, not so much. With the weights I mentioned just above, my home gym is our bathroom. So I have my two pairs of weights just tucked down in a corner by the vanity. And pretty much every day, just before I take my shower I do my workout.
I do a series of pushups, catch my breathe for a few seconds and then pick up a pair of weights. With those, I do a couple sets each of two or three of the exercises that you’ll see below. Adds about ten minutes to my ‘shower’ time, and that’s it. Then if I take the dog out for a brisk walk later, I’ve easily hit the mark!
WHAT DO YOU NEED FOR AN EASY EXERCISE PLAN FOR OLDER ADULTS?
- Comfortable walking shoes (and of course, sunglasses and comfortable clothing as well as a cap to protect your skin from the sun).
- A pair of weights that are just heavy enough to be a little bit of a challenge. And a second pair of weights that are one step up from that. So if the first set are 5 pound weights, then the second could be 8 or 10 pound weights. I’d also suggest that you get those weights that have the colourful neoprene coating on them. In Canada, Superstore carries that sort. Even in summer when it’s really hot, my hands have never started feeling sweaty or slippery while I used them. I did have one of those steel ones for a while but I always made sure the dog didn’t wander under my arm when I was using it. Especially if it was a hot day. My hand would start sweating a bit on the cold steel and it just didn’t feel as secure.
Just a small cost upfront, but the payback? Priceless!
And that’s it. Can you believe it? Not even a hugely outlay of cash despite just starting out with an easy exercise plan for older adults! How cool is that right? And what do you get in exchange for that ’not huge’ outlay of cash? More physical comfort, a sense of psychological accomplishment as you progress and a better looking body. Who says we can’t be a little bit vain about how we look even as we get older right? As well, you take fewer medications (which means more money stays in your pocket), less time at the doctor’s office, less time off work to go to the doctors office….and then there’s the good stuff like being able to scoop your toddler grandchild up for a big squeeze and feeling stable and strong! The good stuff right!
Workout advice for an easy exercise plan for older adults!
So I’m going to demonstrate the above mentioned exercises. Furthermore, I’ll give you a little explanation of the basics of each one. But, first a few points to remember, when you are using your weights at home:
- Visit and discuss your plans with your doctor. If it’s been a very long time since you were active or if you have any health concerns, talk to your physician before you jump in.
- Keep your back straight and bend from the hips if you are called to bend forward. Like when you do the Kickbacks or the Upright Row. You want to protect your back muscles and keeping them straight does that. It also provides it’s own isometric exercise action for those back muscles.
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and expand your chest when you are up on your feet. It’s been my experience that I have a tendency to kind of ‘curl-in’ on myself and get a little stooped through the day. Maybe that’s part of the reason why humans seem to shrink as we age? We’re actually just curling up. As well, standing with your feet like that puts your centre of balance back over your pelvis which is better for your stability.
- And when you open your chest up, your breathing is improved and it improves your frame of mind overall. Somehow, it makes you feel more capable, more confident….at least that’s the way it affects me. So when you’re working out, remember, stand tall and ‘open’.
- You can sit down or stand up for some of them.
Professional Fitness Blogs vs. An Old Lady’s Experience.
There are a host of professional fitness blogs out there, that are going to give you ‘recipes’ for workouts and weekly workout schedules, but I’m not going to try and match them. What I’m going to do tell you is to listen to your body. Warm up before you dive in and then do as many pushups as you can.
Starting with your smallest weight, choose and do three of these weight training exercises. You’ll do each of those three exercises until you can’t make your arm go up any more. And then stop. Take a 10 second break to catch your breathe. And when you’re ready, move on to the next exercise. And the next one…. But whether you do it before your shower like I do or another time, do it every day. Go for a walk after supper. And then you can regale your Significant-Other with a blow by blow description of how good you’re starting to feel. Who knows, maybe you’ll inspire them to start their own exercise plan for older adults!
Small Adjustments, Big Payback!
So, you make this little adjustment in your routine, and I guarantee that you will start to feel better as time goes by. It’s a given. Our design calls for movement, so when you do what you were supposed to do? Well let’s just say the benefits far outweigh the early aggravations!
Anyway, simplicity in all things is my motto and fitness is no different. What I’m proposing here will get you started towards better fitness and better health. And if you discover a latent passion for fitness and working out and want to turn into a gym rat, then you’ll be a little more ready to dive right into the deep end.
DEMONSTRATION PHOTOS OF AN EASY EXERCISE PLAN FOR OLDER ADULTS
I’ve never much liked having my picture taken so I felt totally awkward about doing these photos folks. But I thought it would be a good thing if I demo’d these exercises and mentioned some of the relevant information about them. Like how I protect my back, etc.
Squats, Hold a Chair for Stability or do Free Standing.
– increases hip flexibility, improves your ability to walk or stand up from a seated position. It improves your balance. And you can perform this exercise free standing or you can use a chair back or a counter edge for support. Just remember to keep your back straight and as you ‘sit’ down, your knees shouldn’t pass your toes. Squats are also great for bringing your backside back up where it belongs, tightening and toning your butt muscles.
– strengthens your bicep muscle in the front of your upper arms. Use weights appropriate to your ability and move up as you get stronger. If you’re going to buy a set of weights to start with at home, I’d recommend the foam wrapped kind. You can buy in weights from 2 to 15 pounds and the foam exterior means they don’t get slippery if your hands are a little sweaty in warm weather.
Tricep exercise – Single arm overhead extension.
– this type of movement is the one to focus on, to tighten up those ‘bat wings’ ladies! The tricep muscle is at the back of your arm and when those muscles shrink from lack of use, you wind up with those dreaded bat wings! But you can minimize them by working them. As well, any pushups that you do, whether against the wall or down on the floor are going to benefit those muscles as well. As you get stronger, you can eventually raise your ‘weight arm’ up so that it is pointing straight up. And you lay that weight back, then come back to vertical. But continue always to be stabilizing that arm by holding onto your elbow.
And here’s the second kind of tricep exercise
– also using an appropriately sized weight. This second one is called a kickback and can be done either sitting or standing. If you’re going to do it sitting, then remember to lean forward, feet well placed to stabilize you. In the beginning, use the lightest weight. It looks simple but you want to be sure to build up your strength with the smaller weights. Then you can get adventurous with ‘the big guys’.
– will tone your upper arms and chest muscles and back muscles. They also improve your ability to move your shoulders.
– will strengthen your back, abs, shoulders, upper arms and improve your balance. All while it works your hamstrings and your butt muscles. Your toes should be a comfortable distance apart and your elbows or your hands under your shoulders. Raise your knees off the floor and keep your top line as flat as you can. Hold that pose for as long as you can. Probably the best that you can do will be only a few seconds in the beginning. And that’s just fine. You just keep adding the seconds to it with practise.
– are a great way to use your own body weight to provide resistance. No equipment necessary and should be part of everyone’s easy exercise plan for older adults. They work your upper body and strengthen all the core muscles that help you stand upright and keep you stable on your feet. But if you aren’t able to get down on the floor, you can substitute a wall pushup to provide a good workout for those same muscles. Just remember to wear slip proof shoes or do this one barefoot.
And again dears, as you get stronger, you can start including the floor version in your exercise plan for older adults. You may find that you have to cut back on the number that you’re able to do, but that’s okay. Just do as many as you can. Keep to that number for a few days, then add one more pushup (or maybe three?). I’m not sure how long exactly it took, but I started with five and now my routine includes 45 pushups.
Are we Excited Yet!!!
Are you thoroughly excited now about getting started with your new easy exercise plan for older adults? Or maybe if I rephrase that. Are you thoroughly excited about feeling stronger and healthier after you’ve been working out for a couple months? Oh yes, much more palatable eh?
Well I hope that you do decide to try this. As you can see, getting active and becoming healthier doesn’t have to take up your life, but it can be fitted into the little spaces of time in your life. Finally, I’d love to hear your success stories if you decide to get going with this or if you’ve already turned your health story around because you got active. Bring us your good news stories! We’d love to hear from you.
Love to you all and have a great day, wherever you are!
As always, I remind you that while I’ve spent the last 20 years focusing on and learning to ‘grow’ my own health, I’m not a medical doctor. What I’m sharing here is based on my own experiences and the things that I’ve learned from the real experts! Those are the researchers and doctors who’ve seen the actual patients, worked in the labs and write the medical reports that are sprinkled throughout these posts.
My goal is to motivate and help you find your best way to live a healthier and more peaceful life. I and Ageless at Sixty cannot be held liable for any resulting injury or adverse change in health status.
I also advise that any changes that might affect your health status be checked with your accredited physician. This would include changes to your exercise routines and any medications you might be taking or other supplements.
As well, this blog and each post may contain affiliate links. That means that if you buy something through them, I’ll receive a commission, at no extra cost to you.