Indoor Exercises for Older People

Ed CrottyUncategorized

It is important that you keep active while you are staying at home or cocooning during the coronavirus outbreak.

Anyone can get active, it’s easy to start and it’s never too late. Anything that gets you moving is physical activity and it benefits you whatever your age. Get motivated to improve your fitness.

The following exercises are recommended for Older People to perform indoors.  All older adults are at increased risk of falls. Try including any of the following in your daily routine to improve your stability

Note that this content has been created by the NHS in the UK and modified for circulation in Ireland by HSE, the original web page can be found here

Balance exercises

These simple balance exercises can be done at home to help improve your health and mobility.

Don’t worry if you haven’t done much exercise for a while – these balance exercises are gentle and easy to follow.

Wear loose, comfortable clothing and keep some water handy. Build up slowly and aim to gradually increase the repetitions of each exercise over time.

Consider doing the exercises near a wall or a stable chair just in case you lose your balance.

Try to do these exercises at least twice a week and combine them with:

Sideways walking

  1. Stand with your feet together, knees slightly bent.
  2. Step sideways in a slow and controlled manner, moving one foot to the side first.
  3. Move the other to join it.

Avoid dropping your hips as you step. Perform 10 steps each way or step from one side of the room to the other.

Simple grapevine

This involves walking sideways by crossing one foot over the other.

  1. Start by crossing your right foot over your left.
  2. Bring your left foot to join it.

Attempt 5 cross-steps on each side. If necessary, put your fingers against a wall for stability. The smaller the step, the more you work on your balance.

Heel-to-toe walk

  1. Standing upright, place your right heel on the floor directly in front of your left toe.
  2. Then do the same with your left heel. Make sure you keep looking forward at all times. If necessary, put your fingers against a wall for stability.

Try to perform at least 5 steps. As you progress, move away from the wall.

One-leg stand

  1. Start by standing facing the wall, with arms outstretched and your fingertips touching the wall.
  2. Lift your left leg, keep your hips level and keep a slight bend in the opposite leg. Gently place your foot back on the floor.

Hold the lift for 5 to 10 seconds and perform 3 on each side.

Step-up

Use a step, preferably with a railing or near a wall, to use as support.

  1. Step up with your right leg.
  2. Bring your left leg up to join it.
  3. Step down again and return to the start position.

The key for building balance is to step up and down slowly and in a controlled manner. Perform up to 5 steps with each leg.

Strength exercises

Strength exercises like these can be done at home to improve your health and mobility.

Do not worry if you have not done much for a while – these strength exercises are gentle and easy to follow.

For the chair-based exercises, choose a solid, stable chair that does not have wheels.

You should be able to sit with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent at right angles. Avoid chairs with arms, as these will restrict your movement.

Wear loose, comfortable clothing and keep some water handy.

Build up slowly and aim to gradually increase the repetitions of each exercise over time.

Sit-to-stand

  1. Sit on the edge of the chair, feet hip-width apart. Lean slightly forwards.
  2. Stand up slowly using your legs, not arms. Keep looking forward and do not look down.
  3. Stand upright and then slowly sit down, bottom-first.

Aim for 5 repetitions – the slower, the better.

Mini-squats

  1. Rest your hands on the back of the chair for stability and stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Slowly bend your knees as far as is comfortable, keeping them facing forwards. Aim to get them over your big toe. Keep your back straight at all times.
  3. Gently come up to standing, squeezing (clenching) your buttocks as you do so.

Repeat 5 times.

Calf raises

  1. Rest your hands on the back of a chair for stability.
  2. Lift both heels off the floor as far as is comfortable. The movement should be slow and controlled.

 

Repeat 5 times.

To make this more difficult, perform the exercise without support.

Sideways leg lift

  1. Rest your hands on the back of a chair for stability.
  2. Raise your left leg to the side as far as is comfortable, keeping your back and hips straight. Avoid tilting to the right.
  3. Return to the starting position. Now raise your right leg to the side as far as possible.

Raise and lower each leg 5 times.

Leg extension

  1. Rest your hands on the back of a chair for stability.
  2. Standing upright, raise your left leg backwards, keeping it straight. Avoid arching your back as you take your leg back. You should feel the effort in the back of your thigh and bottom.
  3. Repeat with the right leg.

Hold the lift for up to 5 seconds and repeat 5 times with each leg.

Wall press-up

  1. Stand arm’s length from the wall. Place your hands flat against the wall at chest level, with your fingers pointing upwards.
  2. With your back straight, slowly bend your arms, keeping your elbows by your side. Aim to close the gap between you and the wall as much as you can.
  3. Slowly return to the start.

Attempt 3 sets of 5 to 10 repetitions.

Biceps curls

  1. Hold a pair of light weights (filled water bottles will do) and stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Keeping your arms by your side, slowly bend them until the weight in your hand reaches your shoulder.
  3. Slowly lower again.

This can also be carried out while sitting. Attempt 3 sets of 5 curls with each arm.

Flexibility exercises

These flexibility exercises can be done at home to help improve your health and mobility.

Don’t worry if you haven’t done much for a while – the exercises are gentle and easy to follow.

Wear loose, comfortable clothing and keep some water handy. Build up slowly and aim to gradually increase the repetitions of each exercise over time.

Neck rotation

Improves neck mobility and flexibility.

  1. Sit upright with shoulders down. Look straight ahead.
  2. Slowly turn your head towards your left shoulder as far as is comfortable. Hold for 5 seconds and return to the starting position.
  3. Repeat on the right.

Do 3 rotations on each side.

Neck stretch

Good for loosening tight neck muscles.

  1. Sitting upright, look straight ahead and hold your left shoulder down with your right hand.
  2. Slowly tilt your head to the right while holding your shoulder down.
  3. Repeat on the opposite side.

Hold each stretch for 5 seconds and repeat 3 times on each side.

Sideways bend

Helps restore flexibility to the lower back.

  1. Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart and arms by your sides.
  2. Slide your left arm down your side as far as is comfortable. As you lower your arm, you should feel a stretch on the opposite hip.
  3. Repeat with your right arm.

Hold each stretch for 2 seconds and perform 3 on each side.

Calf stretch

Good for loosening tight calf muscles.

  1. Place your hands against a wall for stability. Bend the right leg and step the left leg back at least a foot’s distance, keeping it straight. Both feet should be flat on the floor.
  2. The left calf muscle is stretched by keeping the left leg as straight as possible and the left heel on the floor.
  3. Repeat with the opposite leg.

Sitting exercises

These gentle sitting exercises will help improve your mobility and prevent falls.

Don’t worry if you’ve not done much for a while – these seated exercises are gentle and easy to follow.

For these exercises, choose a solid, stable chair that does not have wheels.

You should be able to sit with your feet flat on the floor and knees bent at right angles. Avoid chairs with arms, as these will restrict your movement.

Wear loose, comfortable clothing and keep some water handy.

Build up slowly and aim to gradually increase the repetitions of each exercise over time.

Chest stretch

This stretch is good for posture.

  1. Sit upright and away from the back of the chair. Pull your shoulders back and down. Extend your arms out to the side.
  2. Gently push your chest forward and up until you feel a stretch across your chest.

Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and repeat 5 times.

Upper-body twist

This stretch will develop and maintain flexibility in the upper back.

  1. Sit upright with your feet flat on the floor, cross your arms and reach for your shoulders.
  2. Without moving your hips, turn your upper body to the left as far as is comfortable. Hold for 5 seconds.
  3. Repeat on the right side.

Do 5 times on each side.

Hip marching

This exercise will strengthen hips and thighs, and improve flexibility.

  1. Sit upright and do not lean on the back of the chair. Hold on to the sides of the chair.
  2. Lift your left leg with your knee bent as far as is comfortable. Place your foot down with control.
  3. Repeat with the opposite leg.

Do 5 lifts with each leg.

Ankle stretch

This stretch will improve ankle flexibility and lower the risk of developing a blood clot.

  1. Sit upright, hold on to the side of the chair and straighten your left leg with your foot off the floor.
  2. With your leg straight and raised, point your toes away from you.
  3. Point your toes back towards you.

Try 2 sets of 5 stretches with each foot.

Arm raises

This exercise builds shoulder strength.

  1. Sit upright with your arms by your sides.
  2. With palms forwards, raise both arms out and to the side, and up as far as is comfortable.
  3. Return to the starting position.

Keep your shoulders down and arms straight throughout. Breathe out as you raise your arms and breathe in as you lower them. Repeat 5 times.

Neck rotation

This stretch is good for improving neck mobility and flexibility.

  1. Sit upright with your shoulders down. Look straight ahead.
  2. Slowly turn your head towards your left shoulder as far as is comfortable. Hold for 5 seconds and return to the starting position.
  3. Repeat on the right.

Do 3 rotations on each side.

Neck stretch

This stretch is good for loosening tight neck muscles.

  1. Sitting upright, look straight ahead and hold your left shoulder down with your right hand.
  2. Slowly tilt your head to the right while holding your shoulder down.
  3. Repeat on the opposite side.

Hold each stretch for 5 seconds and repeat 3 times on each side.

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