Exercise Routines Safe For Seniors
I had the privilege of speaking to the AER Division on Aging about Eyes-Free Fitness® programs and how they can be incorporated into the lives of senior citizens with vision impairments.
The question I get most often is “Which of the Eyes-Free Fitness® programs are safe for seniors at home and in various group settings?” I think the answer might help you choose a program for yourself or a family member.
While some seniors remain vigorous and active, the loss of sight or other medical factors may cause many to adopt a sedentary lifestyle. The workouts mentioned here will help these individuals gain renewed strength and confidence.
Exercise is essential for everyone, no matter what his or her age in order to maintain optimum health for many decades. For older individuals who may be new to vision loss, exercising may seem impossible. The barriers may feel insurmountable. I assure you they are not. With some support and understanding, older people with vision loss can learn these routines and can gain strength and confidence as a result.
First let’s talk about the most important component to maintaining an active lifestyle. We need to prevent falls, so incorporating balance and strengthening exercises is essential. Our Balance Series does this gently and safely.
It consists of three programs which build on each other. Strengthen for balance comes first. It is designed to strengthen the lower body and grow awareness of proper posture. Then comes Flirting with balance which uses stillness and smaller movements to increase proprioception. A supportive surface such as a sturdy piece of furniture or counter is needed for this one. Last is Balanced movement. These exercises are more dynamic. The person moves across a larger space in order to gain confidence and muscle memory. All of the programs can be learned and then done throughout the day. These moves can be performed at home or in a group setting.
Another helpful program we offer is the Whole Body Stretch. Flexibility and blood flow to muscles and joints will help prevent injury and pain. These stretches are performed in a chair and either the floor or a bed. Once they are learned, they can also be performed while listening to music, the radio, TV, or while waiting for food to cook.
Another helpful option is Pilates Chair With Ring. This routine is a full body workout done in a chair. The Pilates Ring is a versatile resistance tool. It is used in place of weights or resistance bands. This workout is gentle or challenging according to how strongly you press the ring.
The Gentle Workout Set is next on the menu. It is a set of four 20-minute workouts which can be done standing or in a chair. The set includes Cardio, Upper Body and Core, Lower Body and Balance, and Light Warm up and Stretch. This grouping is perfect for anyone wanting to get back into living a more active life. The starting point can be in a chair and you can graduate to standing and using weights over time.
Chair Yoga is the last of our chair based programs. This one is delightful. It is strengthening, stretching, relaxing. There is also a balance component at the end. This one is truly a favorite.
I hope this information will help you move past your own barriers or help you encourage someone important to you to be more active. Of course, if we may provide additional help or information, you are always welcome to contact us.