As you walk through the course of life, you’re faced with many challenges–including those that involve your overall health.

Many senior citizens in the Philippines suffer from bone and muscle conditions. In 2019, it was reported that 16.6% of ages 60 to 69 year-olds, 20.1% of 70 to 79 year-olds, and 18.8% of Filipinos over 80 years old suffer from arthritis, neuralgia, or rheumatism.

Bones and muscles tend to deteriorate as you age. But this can be prevented with muscle and bone-strengthening activities even at home. This Bone & Joint Awareness week, improve your overall health by conducting physical activities every day.

Improve your bone and muscle density with the following simple exercises:

Weight-Bearing Exercises

Weight-bearing exercises are defined as activities that make you move against gravity while staying upright. Here are some exercises you can do to strengthen your bones and muscles.

1. Brisk Walking

Walking plays an important role in a senior’s exercise life. Brisk walking helps prevent the development of arthritis and reduces arthritis pain if one is diagnosed with it. It is recommended that people over 65 years of age conduct 30 to 60 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise at least five times a week, and brisk walking fits the requirement.

What you need: Running shoes to support your feet and ankles when taking a walk.

2. Jogging

While walking poses benefits to seniors bone and muscle condition. How about taking it up a notch with jogging? Running at a steady pace allows you to build muscle and help strengthen your bones. In turn, your range of motion is well maintained, allowing you to do your usual things and more even as you age. It is recommended that seniors could jog at least 5 to 10 minutes a day, or 50 minutes each week to gain benefits.

What you need: Running shoes to support your feet and ankles when jogging

3. Stair Walking

If you have stairs at home and walking outside is not your thing, how about going against gravity and try stair walking at home instead? Climbing stairs on a daily basis help achieve healthy body weight and help build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints as you age. In turn, this exercise increases leg power in the long run To add, stair climbing greatly helps in postmenopausal women’s bone density.

The great thing about stair walking is that this can be accumulated throughout the day. It is recommended to climb up and down a flight of stairs for a good 30 minutes daily. This can be squeezed in while working on your household chores or going to and from the living room and the bedroom.

Strength-Training Exercises

Don’t let old age stop you from feeling healthier, more energetic, and younger even. You can do that with a series of strength-training exercises. Improve your strength and endurance even as you age with these equipment-free activities.

1. Wall Push-ups

You don’t need to go down on the floor to do push-ups. All you need to do is stand two feet away from the wall, put your hands against the wall at shoulder height. Keep your body straight and slowly lower your chest to the wall, and let your heels come off the floor. After that, slowly press through your hands and straighten your elbows. Then repeat.

Wall push-ups help you work on your biceps, triceps, pecs, and other anterior deltoids that not only improve your upper-body strength and maintain proper movement of your shoulder. It is recommended for seniors to do push up at least two to four times a week, with an interval of 24 hours each time.

2. Weights

Strength training remains essential even when you reach senior age. With a good set of weights, you’re able to improve your flexibility, build muscle strength, reduce lower back pain, and even improve your cardiorespiratory functions.

However, when you already have a bone or muscle condition, it’s best to consult with an orthopedic surgeon before starting on lifting weights.

What you need: A pair of weights compatible with your weight and current health condition

3. Resistance band workouts

No to weights? Don’t worry. There are other ways to do resistance training at home. You can conduct workouts at home with resistance bands. This is a good series of exercises perfect for seniors and beginners. Among the resistance band workouts for seniors include:

  • Leg press
  • Triceps press
  • Lateral raise
  • Bicep curl
  • Band pull apart

Resistance band workouts don’t require expensive equipment and can be done in the comfort of your home. These workouts help improve your posture, mobility, and balance and also strengthen your core.

4. Pilates

Another popular core strengthening exercise for seniors is pilates. Developed over a century ago, Pilates is known to help build muscle strength without having to go through higher-impact exercises which can be more challenging and damaging for those in the older ages. Some pilates exercises for senior citizens include:

  • Mermaid movement
  • Side circles
  • Food slides
  • Step ups
  • Leg Circle

Pilates has been proven to improve one’s balance and flexibility among senior citizens. Furthermore, it helps the development of muscle strength and tone, thus improving your core strength.

What you need: mats, pilates balls, or other inflated accessories.

Other exercises

Photo courtesy of JD Mason via Unsplash

If you’re up for the challenge. Here are other forms of exercise that can also help strengthen your muscle and bones even as you enter the senior citizen age.

1. Water Aerobics

If you love the pool, then you’ll enjoy doing aerobics while enjoying a refreshing splash on the pool. Water aerobics is popular and is an ideal exercise for older folks with arthritis and joint pain. Water buoyancy puts less stress on one’s joints. And since water has natural resistance factors, this greatly helps in muscle and bone-strengthening exercises. Here are some of the recommended water aerobics exercises for seniors:

  • Aqua jogging
  • Flutter kicking
  • Leg lifts
  • Arm curls

Conducting water aerobics help improve your body’s strength, flexibility, and balance, which makes it perfect for seniors who look to improve their overall health.

2. Yoga

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle as you age doesn’t require overstretching your muscles and bones. One of the best ways to do that is by doing yoga. Whether taking yoga classes or doing it at home, this is one of the best forms of exercise for older adults.

While there have yet to be studies that prove the benefits of yoga on muscle strength, this exercise can strengthen bones and prevent the onset of osteoporosis. Furthermore, yoga can enhance one’s balance, movement, mobility, and strength, and at the same time, help reduce pains that come along with aging.

3. Side-Lying Circles

Improve your mobility and core strength even as you age. The side-lying circles are a simple activity that works on the glutes, the body’s largest muscle group. All you have to do is lie on one side on the floor with a straight body with the bottom arm extended to your head, and lifting your leg in small clockwise circles, and counterclockwise in the air.

These little moves won’t stress you out too much but greatly help in improving your mobility through the joints.

4. Squats to chair

Squats are one of the most functional exercises for all ages – including senior citizens. Squatting helps strengthen your entire lower body and core, especially when you need to pick something up from the floor or getting up from the couch.

In doing this, you would need a chair in front of you. Like a usual squat, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Keep your chest upright and gently push your hips back and bend your knees to lower your body just above the chair. It is important to distribute your weight over your heels and mid-feet to help improve your muscular strength.

Taking care of your body is an essential part of healthy aging. If you’re afraid of your joints cracking in the process, keep in mind that little physical activity is better than none at all. Exercise for people above 60 poses great health benefits, like preventing various chronic conditions like osteoporosis and rheumatism.

If you find yourself suffering from body pain, or hear more bones cracking than usual, it’s best to consult a doctor before continuing your usual physical activities.

Book an appointment at The Hospital at Maayo Well today.

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